Letter to Ola #5

Dear Olaedo,

On Prayers

I wish I could write ‘PRAYER WORKS‘, drop the mic and hope you would understand enough to appreciate the depth of that truth.

Perhaps, after I tell you the story of my friend, Onuegbu, you would understand better. To protect his identity, we’ll call him Onuegbu. He and I became friends in 2013. He calls me his best friend although I don’t feel worthy of the title. His life is devoid of true friendship which perhaps is why he considers the little I offer the best he has ever had.

Onuegbu has a beautiful heart and sees only the good in people. I have never heard him talk ill of anybody even when people constantly leave his back fiercely itching after he has done a thorough job scratching their backs.

Nobody wants to drown with a drowning person.

Life is not as fair to him as he is to life’s benefactors.

Onuegbu has sickle cell anemia and ordinarily, he may have been able to cope comfortably if well treated but his financial state is so unstable, he could barely eat, let alone afford medications.

His health got so bad that his family abandoned him and he was left alone to cater for himself. Being his friend has its dark side. He always needs company. It helps in distracting him from the pains of stiffening bones and excruciating pains.

I think talking about his problems is a form of therapy for him so even when my own life is crashing, I would stay on the phone for hours and listen to him complain.

The difficulty in feeding is the most heartbreaking part. He would call and ask for as little as a transfer of N500 to eat as he had not eaten all day.
I prayed first in 2015 for his healing. Oh well, it continued. I prayed again in August 2020. This time, I fasted for 3 days.

He wanted to give up. He was ready to commit suicide. His hustle has been fruitless. The lack of capital wasn’t helping matters. Each time he got a little money to put into something, his health would knock him down and he would use the money to pay hospital bills.

He was in so much anguish and I couldn’t take it. I prayed and fasted for a way; for something to work for him. I kept asking how he felt from time to time as I prayed but nothing changed. (Ha. I was tired oh. What’s all this nah?)

It can be frustrating when you can do little to alleviate such pain from a friend’s life. The darkness is contagious. (You don’t contact the sickle cell silly. You just drown in misery alongside him).

This was us until we got a glimmer of hope yesterday.

I replied to a tweet by Ozzy Etomi on Twitter yesterday and talked about my anemic friend and his ordeal in a brief yet explicit manner.

It got a lot of reactions and comments from people sending their love and light, and other anemic people saying that sickle cell anemia can easily be lived with but with medications and good food which involves money.
One particular man replied and asked me to give his international number to my friend to contact him as he would like to be of assistance!
Glory!

We’ll be calling our man ‘Godsent’.
Onuegbu chatted up Godsent on WhatsApp and after a long talk, GodSent said he will set up a business fully for him.

Did I cry? Yes. The pieces of my thankfulness were all over the place and I wished I could mould it into a clay medal of thankfulness and present it wholly to God.

Instead, I sang ‘Great is thy faithfulness’, then muttered words in tongues, then exploded in laughter after which crying followed.
The crying and laughter started happening so concurrently that I couldn’t differentiate my laughter from my cry.

Long pause.

Tongues again.

Plain words of gratitude.

Blast of memories.

Feelings of inadequacy because I could not mould a perfect ‘thank you’.

I curled up and breathed softly knowing that even my breath was drawing invisible strokes of thankfulness in the air.

Your Mama


ChyD

©2020

Letter to Ola #4

Dear Olaedo,

On Friends with Benefits

When my therapist said the life of every relationship is dependent on benefits, I thought it was a selfish thing to say but a critical examination showed it was true.

Ever wondered why your best friend is your best friend? My guess is that she understands you. This is because you have the same values, so talking to her is easy and soothing. Your conversations are mostly warm because when you discuss fundamental issues, you vibe on the same frequency.

When you learn something new, you can’t wait to share it with her. You’ll literally blow up with information hoarding if you don’t share it.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever face is when your best friend is going through pain. Any kind of pain. It hurts like it’s a personal pain because it is.

On occasion, where distance reduces the frequency of your communication, the heart still knows where its loyalty lies and every reunion feels like no time has been lost.

Healthy friendships are beautiful and are the most important institution humanity has ever seen. Marriages and family relationships are shams without friendship.

I lost my dad at a period when I didn’t care about the size of a mustard seed. The mustard seed that could challenge me had not mustered any courage. I prayed for his healing and believed but he still died. I had a journal where I called God all sorts of vile names. My favourite was ‘scam’. I considered him my best friend and he did me dirty. I still believed in his sovereignty but the relationship seemed like a master-slave relationship since he could just let my dad die just like that. Ah!

I think those prayers ‘we’ made far back in the days to not be able to breathe nor live without Christ came through for me because I could only last three months of not speaking with God before I ran back to ask him why he did me like that. That was not how friends acted. He showed me things happening around me I took for granted and we made up.

At another time, I had issues with my best friend and we both knew we were suffering but couldn’t resolve our issues and I prayed fervently that God should heal our friendship. It seemed like a flippant thing to pray about but I knew that no matter how flippant it was, if it affected me, then it was important enough to God. She came to me and we talked. The mountain of a problem we had became a levelled ground and I gave her a letter I wrote to her at the exact time she came to meet me.

Sometime later, I had an issue that stole my peace and I tried all I could to be of sound mind including going for therapy but my efforts were futile until I turned to God. Yes! You guessed right!

I got my peace back.

Most times, we get it all wrong. My friend would say you should test and see if your Lord is good. Don’t just hear it and carry it about when you can’t boast strongly without a doubt of one thing he has done for you aside from the cross you’ve heard of and believed or things you can cross off as coincidences.

What reinforces the cross are your experiences today. Maybe that’s why you struggle with consistency in ministry. You may be doing it because it’s a command and I don’t think that is a sustainable reason.

I became so dependent on God that I wanted to give back too; so I started asking him how I can go about doing things for him also. I wanted to reciprocate.

What we think we owe God, what He requires of us and what we think our blessings are dependent on are wrong notions we’ll address in the future.

For today, what benefits have you gotten from your relationship with God?

Do you have a relationship at all? Life is easier with such a beneficial friendship.


With Love,
Mama

ChyD

©2020

Letter to Ola #1

Dear Olaedo,


In my previous letter, I asked you to evolve and leave behind things you have outgrown. Let me tell you about what I outgrew recently.


I constantly try to understand myself, why I do the things I do, and why I think the way I do which most times are different from how others think.


I read a story of a self-sufficient man. He wants just enough to feed himself and his family. He doesn’t care about being a global figure or being on the Forbes list. I guess we can call him a family enthusiast. He would rather spend every day at home with his family than leave them to make money he doesn’t need.


I’m not that man. I am a few years away from thirty and it worries me that I am not anything near the Forbes’ under 30 CEOs or any recognition close to that. I try though. I search for opportunities and utilize the ones I can. Ola, I want to make money, travel, live the good life, and above all, make an impact. I felt money is necessary for the kind of impact I want to make. But apart from the cliche of living an impactful life, I just like shiny things and luxury.


The way life ought to be was pretty obvious to me. I would get married of course. I love Love. I would have perhaps a kid or two because let us be honest, taking care of kids require time. My husband and I would build an empire because we are goal-driven and ambitious. And we’ll live happily ever after.


It turns out life doesn’t always go as planned and I was wrong about what life is all about. As you would expect, I am financially intelligent. I am shrewd in spending and I’ve learnt investment strategies so when I lost millions to a bad investment just a year after my NYSC, I had to start all over again. It was hard but not disastrous. I still had a job.


The disastrous event was my parents’ divorce. They loved each other or they seemed to be in love. After fifteen years of marriage, they split. It tore my idea of a perfect life. I was depressed and confused. I hated the feeling. It was easy to decide to see a shrink because I am a logical person and it seemed psychotherapy was what was going to fix my mind.


I read a post on Twitter that said ‘The Holy Spirit is my therapist’ and I scoffed. ‘As if I don’t pray too. The occupation is there for a reason’. Therapy is expensive but I hated feeling shitty so it passed for a good investment for my mental health. After one month of therapy, nothing changed. My therapist used phrases like ‘you religious people would say…’ and I had to sift his advice to see which isn’t deviant from my Christain faith.


I intentionally didn’t seek a Christain shrink because I didn’t want a religious person. The effect of a religious shrink is as bad as a secular shrink. One seeks to put you in bondage while the other seeks to make you use your freedom as an occasion to satisfy the flesh.


My friend said I hadn’t healed because I hadn’t prayed enough and I wondered what amount of prayer would be ‘enough’. I had prayed. I like a good challenge so I decided to pray ‘enough’. I never understood fasting as a means of receiving from God because I felt if God is my father, I could ask with faith and receive.

However, I decided to turn up fully gauged for this praying ‘enough’.


I started fasting without a stop date in mind. I planned to stop was whenever I got healed. I had exhausted all my options and the only option left was praying ‘enough’. I had nothing to live for and I wished I could die. I prayed earnestly with all that was in me. I lost weight but that wasn’t important. I told God I would go for months and years if need be and I meant it.


I surrendered everything because I was really tired of handling the affairs of my life. Life lost its taste. In the place of prayer, I learnt that I could ask God for direction and trust him to direct my path. Nothing in the world is constant. You could have a perfect husband, house, kids, money, and lose it all in a heartbeat.


A man’s heart is where his treasure is.’

I saw myself in the rich man that got angry and turned away when Jesus told him the way for him to enter the kingdom of God was by giving away all he had. I placed the essence of life on physical things – marriage, money, fame.


Ola, ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ is not a cliche. He healed my mind and gave me a new purpose that I thought I always had. The same purpose.


By the time I lost my job to the COVID-19 retrenchment, I was already fortified with blind trust in God. I have handed over the wheels of my life to him. It turns out I don’t quite enjoy driving so I am occupying the back seat now.


The peace I have is beautiful and it beats any luxury I could ever have.


Don’t misunderstand me. I still like luxury and the good life. I still seek and grab opportunities. I am still working to be on the Forbes list but without any of these things, I will be as good as I am with them. Like Paul, all things that were gain to me I counted loss for Christ.


Christ is the only constant in a world where every other thing is inconsistent.

The assurance of salvation I have in Christ is all that matters; which is why I wonder how people who believe they can lose their salvation cope.

The struggle they must be going through!!! We should teach them, Ola.

With Love,
Mama.

-ChyD
© 2020

Who I Belong To

I’ve heard of the sweat and essence
Of loved ones
Worn in a vial around the neck
Wrapping them in the fragrance of love

I’ve heard of a lady’s favour
Worn on armour
To protect the soldier in battle
And surround them with home

I’ve heard of love marks
Left by lovers
Like dogs marking their territory
Each tiny red welt saying “mine”

I’ve always wanted one of those
I’ve always wanted to feel owned
And belonged to
And belonging to

This craving has drove me into the arms
Of pharaohs and philistines
And mad scientists and thieves
Who plunder and take and take apart

I seemed to have forgotten
I did belong to One
Father, Son and Spirit

I wore the fragrance of His peace
My heart was His favour
Worn around His ‘holey’ palms in pride
His Spirit was my love mark
Shining through my words and my eyes and my prayers
Screaming “Mine!”

When I did remember
My world was alright again.

Ifechukwu Miracle
©2020

The Upgrade

I love you Lord;
For your voice means the world to me;
Say it, I’ll do it,
I needn’t understand
For you have made your dwelling with me.

O Lord you will lead me through the valleys,
Of the shadows of the death of me,
You O Lord puts the word in season in my mouth;
You have made my tongue the pen of a ready writer,
For you have chosen me for deeds noble.

I will never really understand your love,
How you choose to love an adulterer,
Or make prayers in folded palms,
For the ones whom a hole,
They drilled into your palms,
Or choose to let a kiss betray you,
And yet still gave your life,
As a sacrifice! All for what?
To prove your love for me,
Yes, I have denied you more than three times,
Yet, you choose to love me,
I guess my eyes will always see love differently,
Love that crossed my I’s,
Love on the crossed-eye
love of God, for I!

How do I tell this story,
A tale as old as two cities,
Before time could even speak,
My brain never seems to figure out the math,
Of how you could love scandalously,
How a Prince gave up everything,
To love a low-life like me!
My scars didn’t scare Him,
Rather He kissed them!
Now I see nothing but love!

And when I kept at you,
You looked at me so tender
You said, “spread your mercy abroad,
To the good and to the ungrateful,
You’re like me that way,
What I do for my living,
This is the upgrade you need”.

Olaoye Adeleye,
Favour Omeje,
©2020

Oh God!

God in these times when there is fear,
Fear even to move from here to there,
The news are becoming too much to bear,
Lord we know that you still care.

The world at large is afraid of the virus,
And the news O Lord is getting serious,
There seems to be no one to trust,
But we know that you are with us.

So Lord we proclaim peace not fear,
We know that you are forever near,
Forgive our sins and heal our Land,
By your mighty power and stretched out hand.

Lord give us the wisdom to wash and pray,
As thou grants us the grace to watch and pray,
And in thy power keep us safe and near.
For we speak peace and not fear.

Lekesax
(c) 2020

You are a Blessing and that’s no joke at all.

It is tempting!

Especially when you live in a country like Nigeria where you are struggling to make ends meet here, trying to raise a Godly family in Nigeria, watching the level of corruption in the system, living daily in fear of kidnap, rape, one chance, 419, Islamist agenda’s, neck deep in Insurgence, SARS ‘wahala’ , lets not even get into NEPA and politics. Bottom line, with all this temptation left right and centre, my brothers and sisters

It is very tempting! To dwell on the curse.
To sleep with a negative and overly cautious mind, always anxious and suspecting every feather that drops next to you.
It is tempting to pay more attention to the curse.
But listen to this as you read carefully, we all must be conscious about Blessing others.
Pray the blessing upon yourself and your family every time. Pray for those who hate you, bless those who curse you, this is the key to make us thrive.
Why? you might ask?
The answer is simple, Where the Blessing exists, the Curse cannot!

Where the Blessing exists, the Curse cannot.

If I am blessed and you are blessed and your families are blessed and the ones who hate you are blessed, then there is a blessing in the Land and the Curse is inevitably lifted.

This has been God’s strategy from the beginning. He looked upon a dead and dark world and on it He poured an Eternal Blessing. A Blood so pure it washes clean all who receive His touch.

The root word “Bless” means to “Be marked by Blood”. A far more deeper meaning than its mistaken cousin “Bliss” which refers to the pleasures of things.

To pray for the Blessing of God on all people and upon all nations is to reinforce the place of Light in this earth.
It is to invoke an everlasting covenant God cut in His very own Blood. Living Blood He used to build the earth’s New foundation.
The one that we have not yet seen but by every faithful “God Bless you” we speak, we believe.
In every heartfelt prayer for the nations, for the ones who hate us, for a lost generation found in Christ we believe.
We are Marked by Eternal Covenant to mark others. Blessed to Bless nations.

No pipe that water flows through can ever be dry.

Today deliberately choose, decide to be a blessing. Speak Life and not death into situations, Shine light in honesty and truth , don’t cower in darkness. Don’t you dare blend in the crowd. You are made to stand out, to be a shining example, a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

If you didn’t know before, now you do.

You Are A Blessing.

———–

Wahala: Nigerian slang for “troubles” or “problems”

©Msray 2019

End of the tunnel

Do you feel alone?
Zoned by doubt and fear, feel owned?
Praying for water to wash your stones?
Worry not! Your sins are atoned

Lost in this vast darkness?
Listen!!! HE says let there be light!
Why not re-invite to reignite your might
Let him cure your fright to catch your flight

She was made whole by HIS clothe
12 years!!! HE cured her flow
Defeated death by the touch of HIS hands
Sickness flees at HIS command

Are you at that crossroad?
The crossroad of giving up?
Why not cast your cares on HIM
Cos HE cares!

Olaoye Adeleye
© 2019