who am i?

"I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself." - CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Desperately desperate...

“Some loves are like that. Your heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self-respect and your independence. After a while, you start throwing people out. Your friends, everyone you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The life boat is still sinking and you know it’s going to take you down with it” excerpt from the book shantaram. 

I'm currently reading the book 'Shantaram' and the excerpt above gave me a picture of how deadly it is to be desperate for love. There’s something tragically comical about desperation. It’s like sitting in a sauna for hours, every sense of reason is steamed out of you and you’re a hot mess of foolishness in the end. Drained of every common sense.

It’s a good feeling to want something, but when we get desperate, we’re a time bomb waiting to explode. Our judgment becomes flawed, bad begins to look like all things great, bright and beautiful… We're so blinded by the sting in our feet to move forward that we fail to notice how much we stink, not even when we gag from our own stench.
A woman desperate for love looses herself in the sea of flawed illusions, just like the quote from the book says, she keeps holding on even as she begins to feel the life boat sinking with her, because false hope is better than waiting, and racing against the psychological clock of time beats not knowing. You can’t always trust your judgment when you’ve been on the bottommost side of down for so long.

 Desperate for a husband/wife, you find yourself married to a beast. Desperate for bread, and you find yourself chewing on stone. Being desperate takes you to a boutique of optical illusion, where dresses of your desires are displayed on mannequins of lies.

But thank God for God. He knows just how desperate we can be, thus he opens his arms to invite us to come into his rest… “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) His rest is the only thing that saves us from the shackles of desperateness. His rest doesn't stop us from desiring things, but it gives us a confident assurance that it is ours in his time, which is the right time.

In good time, all things we hope for will come to pass as long as we hold on to our source. We've been such slaves to our desperate desires for so long. It's time to let go of the craziness of being desperate and grab at God's rest.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Running back...

I have this suitcase; it's my special suitcase. I put in all those outfits I spent a fortune buying... You know, those really beautiful ones, that can't be put in with the rest. The outfits that snob the regulars, not solely because of their price, but just because they're special.

A variety of beautiful things with beautiful labels have lodged in that suitcase over the years. My Deola Sagoe couture pants, the sagoe jeans, the Tiffany Amber cream dress, the oxygen dress, the ‘extra special’ designer jeans, and other labeled dresses are just a few.

The DS Jeans is now a regular everyday jeans, dumped with the regular clothes, the couture pants have been separated from it's top and the price forgotten as I make space for something new and more glamorous in the suitcase. The designer jeans has been torn apart for an experiment with ankara and jeans, some of the dresses have turned to regular wears... some Tiffany Amber top i cherished has been displaced from that coveted space in the suitcase.
Same with shoes... My first ever Louboutin isn’t treated like some rare gem of a shoe anymore; it’s half way to being one of the regular guys, it barely makes it into it's dust bag before i fling it in the wardrobe.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that. Get something new and expensive and treat it so special for as long as the excitement lasts, then comes a time when it wears off and suddenly it losses the x-factor, and you see no reason why you should treat it special, you loose that patience and initial excitement that was there in the beginning. You just dump it in the wardrobe.

I was up like I usually am late at night, and it occurred to me that there was a time I was in too deep in this relationship with Christ. There was a time I’d dance my heart out deep into the night, a time dancing was a routine, not just a reflex thing, but one with meaning… there was a time I was so excited to just praise, it was a pleasure, not a chore. My fun time with the one who loves me. Just me dancing, and causing a racket when the world was asleep. 

There was a time I would spend more time studying the word deeply, spread out before me, my three favorite translations: the message, new living translation and the amplified bible. I would spend time listening to all the podcasts and cds of my favorite people preach… there was a time I would do the whole February fasting with Redeemed church, even if i panicked at the thought, i also stood strong. I loved to go to camp... I didn't mind the stress. There was a time this relationship was folded up in that special suitcase.

But like my new dresses, something changed with time, something wore out, and as much as I maintain this relationship, I don’t do those little things that made it so special. I hardly ever dance in the deep of the night anymore, I still stay awake in the midnight hour and pray, then I move on to other things. 
That thought jolted me back, and I scrambled to the wardrobe with the ordinary things to fish out those special feelings and place them back in the suitcase where they belong. I danced this early morning, and it felt good. Just like old times. I felt fulfilled. I was a lover who just added some spark into her relationship.

Salvation has to be worked with trembling, like throwing wood on the embers of a fire and fanning it into flames daily to keep it burning, because if we allow it to die out, it’d be like that special dress that was so sacred but soon became a regular dress like the rest.

“The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.” Leviticus 6:13

I pray for grace, I need that extra passion back.

"I see what you've done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can't stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause that you never wear out.
"But you walked away from your first love-why? What's going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you've fallen? A Lucifer fall! "Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I'm well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.”… Revelation 2:2-5(msg)
I read this part of revelation after i had a nice time dancing. It felt like a direct but loving rebuke...
"I see what you've done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. …… . I know your persistence, your courage in my cause that you never wear out. "But you walked away from your first love-why?”
It doesn’t mean I am back to my old ways or that i hate God, it just means that the little things and time spent is more important than my walk and work itself.  It means I am putting less important things way ahead of my intimacy. 

I'm running back to my first love...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Changed Status: 31 to be exact

Every girl needs to watch this... Janette...ikz says it as it is.
She spits the word like it's hot :)
We all need to be that girl... the 31 girl. It's worth more than anything we could ever hope to achieve in life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How safe is your car?

I get a little careless when it comes to keeping cars secure. I see no reason why I have to lock it up if I’m just dashing into a shop for a few minutes. Sometimes I’m on alert in traffic and make sure I’m locked in, because I’ve had some near robbery experiences in Lekki traffic. I also try to remember to lock up when I park in less secure places like markets and parts of town susceptible to crime. 
But I get carefree in places that seem well guarded. Like when visiting friends in secure estates. I see no reason to lock up. But I’ve had friends whose cars have been entered and robbed in the safest of places because of their carelessness… it hasn’t happened to me, and I don’t intend to let that happen, so I make a conscious effort. You can’t imagine how annoying It is when i drive into a house with mobile police men and all sorts of security and I find myself locking up or even the fact that i have to go through the stress of locking up when i get home… it amuses me, it’s almost comical. But then, you never know who’s in the compound, you never know who’s in the mood to steal, who'll see your carefree attitude as his lucky break.
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4:23
We need to show more enthusiasm in locking our hearts than i do when it comes to locking cars. Most of us are careful, we know when to bolt the heart up.  We know the company to be weary of, we know the movies and the books and the magazines to avoid. We know just how to keep it safe at the right time. We know if we’re driving to that area of town that's known to be notorious, we should be ready to lock up and be extra cautious. We know if Jane's coming over, we should guard our heart against whatever negative influence she may have on us.
But we let our guards down when we come into the secure homes, those with high fences and well guarded with armed policemen.
We let our guards down in church. 
We don’t see the need to be weary in the midst of fellow Christians. But I’ve learned that like cars, even in the most secure places, we have to lock up. Because you never know…  You can imagine the joy a thief feels when he strolls around one of those places, an innocent stroll, and just his luck, he sees a car that hasn't been locked... an open invitation to take what he can.  "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8  He may just stroll into church and peep into our hearts, looking for one that isn't well guarded, and the first chance he gets to break in, he takes it.
Its easy to think there’s no need to lock up in church, but that’s where we need to guard ourselves most. We have all sorts of doctrines floating around, we shouldn't just swallow them because it comes from our pastors, we should be able to study for ourselves to avoid falling prey. That's why you hear stories of pastors impregnating congregation members(and the unbelievable stories of how they were seduced), or Ushers playing on girls in church... or girls meeting seemingly born again boys in church and getting pregnant and dumped in the end. We have christian friends, who see no big deal in doing certain things our hearts cry out against, it's easy to be influenced, because we think "after all Sam is in the choir, there's no way what he's doing is wrong. Maybe i take being a christian too setious". Now that's the voice of a heart that has been broken into.
There's so much going on in the church, my friend once said, that church is a collection of some of the 'baddest' people around. Everyone knows there's a need for right living, and so they come in to empty out the previous weeks filth on Sunday, before filling up on more during the week, very few come in for true redemption. Don't get carried away with the facade of church many are dressed in.
One of the best security system for the heart is Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Knowing the word for yourself saves you a lot of trouble in church and when you're in the midst of Christians. You don't get burgled easily because your defense is so strong in the word, no falseness can press through. 
I pray Gods word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to lead us in our path(psalm 119:105)... That we will have the grace to study it, and allow it to lead us in the path of righteousness, and save us from having to deal with poorly secured hearts.

"Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection." Proverbs 30:5

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Say it with a song.

I have the perfect songs all planned out for my wedding... I'll take the mic and give some hardcore soft acapella performance with my sultry voice for my hubby, ballad after ballad I'll sing, I'll sing so good, i might even get signed at my wedding. It'll be perfect. Only hitch is, my sister recently condemned my singing, she said i need a voice coach, and she wasn't so nice about it. So I'll settle with my imaginations for now, or hope my 'dear future husband' is a better singer than i am. I wouldn't mind a song or two.

Here's a clip of Obiora Obiwon performing an unreleased number "when i say i love you" for his bride, right before he switches to the crowd favorite of Obi Mu O, he finally got to sing it at his own wedding, for the person it was originally written for(well i assume she's the inspiration behind the song)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Somebody Lied.

Dear Brother,

Somebody lied. We graduated from Harvard law; magna cum laude. We married wives that made mother proud. Father made sure we were true to the faith. We had private tutors to help us understand as children. I was faithful brother. You of all should know how faithful I was.
But I got stupid along the way. I remember the sad look on your face the last time I saw you. Somehow, you knew what I was getting into. Do you remember the question you asked? You said “Nizzar, why?” I couldn’t answer. You called me a crazy fanatic, holding on to a doctrine outside what our faith teaches.
I’ll tell you why now. Amidst this torture, this eternal heat, this pain and terror… this nightmare that intensifies every second, I’ll tell you why.
I was desperate for something outside myself, so desperate in trying to find it, that I lost it all.

They lied to us brother. I wish I were as wise as you are. I wish you would even get wiser now and know the whole truth before you find yourself in this place where I languish.
You see, I fell in love with a boy, he was a young boy brother, he was just 12, and then I fell in love with another boy, and then there was another and another. I fell in love with the taste of good scotch in my mouth… I fell in love with the very things our religion speaks against. There were wild parties and orgies with beautiful women and beautiful young boys, I had them all. I fell in love with the vices and got covered with shame, especially when I looked at the portrait of father in the office foyer. It was everything outside what he wanted us to be. My path to redemption was the path I thought I followed.

Most of us took the fanaticism route, because we had fallen so out of ourselves in our sin that we felt going the extreme in our faith was redemption for our weakness.  A weakness we fell into every night. Because we hated it in us, we tortured those who dared to get caught. We acted as the keepers of the faith, punishing them in such harsh ways; we meted out our frustration on them because they were covered in the dirt of what we were on the inside. I was said to be one of the extremely religious ones.
Those virgins? Somebody lied brother. You see, I felt I’d rather redeem myself and get to that place of endless orgies with the virgins, the comfort, exotic food and the peace, than keep torturing myself on earth.
Ali came in yesterday. I don’t know what his driving force was. He certainly wasn’t one of the frauds that paraded themselves for the faith; he strangely truly believed his cause. His mission was to take out a commercial airplane. He must have been proud of his mission. It was comical, his reaction when he found himself here. I would have laughed if little demons weren’t poking me every second.

I walked into a church brother. They looked so happy singing and dancing, I know you would have walked out at that point, but I was desperate, I couldn’t get myself to leave. I needed redemption badly, that’s why I pressed the trigger, the one that sent a signal to the explosives wrapped around my body. The last thing I remember seeing was a smiling baby crawling towards me, and his mother chasing after him. We estimated two hundred deaths. The moment the explosion went off, I knew somebody lied.
I am in a place like no other brother.

I regret the day we met Zubayr… I wish I walked away like you did, I wish I headed out to the airport with you, back home to my wife like I planned. But I hadn't seen him in years and I needed to catch up. And so I stayed back and got sucked into his words. He knows how to convince a fish that air is really water and make it want to stay on the beach all day. I, with my Harvard degree got sucked in. I once thought that the crazy extremism of fundamentalism was something the uneducated people who didn’t know better embraced. Obviously I was wrong. You knew better. You’ve always been more like father.
I am in pain brother. I hurt. I can’t describe what it feels like. But I can tell you this because I love you, please don’t come here. I have no hope in this place, but I write this all the same, using any second I can spare from the torture, to imagine it would get to you. I need you to tell cousin Aminu that it’s all lies. He's searching for redemption too; I hear he’ll be carrying out an assignment next month. Tell him brother. Work harder at convincing him than you did with me.

I know some do it for the money promised to their families, but we are wealthy brother, I did it for redemption. One thing I have understood from this is, we cannot redeem ourselves from whatever vices we’ve fallen into. We cannot redeem ourselves brother. Even with doing all the good we can muster. I learned this lesson too late.  There’s something deeper, a truth we don’t understand, one we haven’t been taught. My self-redemption has sucked me deeper into a helpless and hopeless place of no return filled with torture.
Somebody lied brother. I don’t know where the lie started from, but it’s sipped through generations and made itself a whole river flowing in the minds of many in this age, in both the educated and the illiterate, the elites and the poor. Somebody lied so good that we are willing to give ourselves up for promises that are none existent. 
Somebody lied, and I am paying for it.

Inspired by stories of the vices of the Taliban I've read. i.e The kite runner.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

General Butt Naked

Joshua Milton Blahyi  aka General Butt Naked was a feared and ruthless, blood thirsty warlord in Liberia during the Civil war. He was also ordained as a priest over his tribes men when he was eleven. The 'General' went into battle as an act of revenge, after Rebels videotaped their torture and murder of Liberian President Samuel Doe, a member of his tribe.
He would go into battles striped of everything but a pair of leather shoes and his Ak-47, thus the name 'General Butt Naked'. Some of his boys went in naked with him while some dressed up in women's clothes and colored wigs. He partook in and led several rituals that saw young innocent children sacrificed, their blood drained out and body parts butchered for he and his followers to feast on before every battle. This practice was their insurance against death. A deal with the devil; cannibalism and human sacrifice in exchange for power.

He recruited child soldiers as young as nine years old, and traded blood diamonds for guns and cocaine. Cocaine that he fed the young boys with, draining every emotion out of them as he led them out on killing sprees, using severed heads as a football sometimes. The 'General' destroyed lives, caused pain and ruined hope.

Today General Butt Naked is Pastor Joshua Milton Blahyi.
After years of a close bond with the devil(he claimed to have nightly conversations with the devil) He had a blinding vision of Christ, one that changed his life, that put an immediate stop to the sacrifices, and a distance between he and his followers. One that haunted him and tortured him as he struggled with the fact of what he was and the truth of what he was meant to be.
Today he runs a rehabilitation center for ex-child soldiers, he goes around Liberia as an evangelist preaching the message of redemption. He knows he must pay for what he's done and has expressed willingness to face the International Criminal Court at The Hague and be tried for war crimes.

How easy is it to forgive? For stealing, for lying, for cheating, for betraying, for cutting the line and going ahead of us at the payment till? Not easy. Harder to forgive when a person has eaten your child, kidnapped your child and made him kill, killed your mother and your brothers, raped your sister and your daughters.

Maybe we can forgive, but can we really forget? I watched a documentary on the 'general' and I was torn between two emotions, joy for his salvation and pain for lives that were ruined and cut short.
I can't imagine how hard it must be for his country to forgive him(although he was pardoned by the Liberia's TRC)
Seeing them watch him preach repentance, teaches me a lesson in forgiveness, change and God not writing anyone off. No matter how gruesome your sins are and how far gone you are, he still leaves the door of hope and redemption open to us. He really means it when he says "...Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
There isn't any human logic to that.

Thank God for the change in his life. But then, only the strong can truly forgive and forget, and seat under his sermon without seeing pictures of him as he was. It's easier for me to wipe the tears off my face as i hear about his past and see his redemption... but how emotional and forgiving would i be if i lived through a war in Liberia, if i lost a loved one to his ruthlessness?
Makes me think how the Christians and Apostles must have felt when Saul became Paul. How many people grumbled about his acceptance into the gathering of the saints. How many people read his letters and heard his messages with a flash of him giving the command for Steven to be stoned to death, and many other Christians?

Pastor Joshua Milton Blahyi's life is a story of redemption, from the darkest night into the light of truth; the power of change, a transformed heart and the length, breath, and weight of forgiveness.

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”C.S Lewis

Monday, February 6, 2012

99 Most Beautiful People... They left you out :(

Another one of those 'Top 20 most beautiful women in the world' list.
I saw Rihanna's name on one of them :| 
I'm not saying she isn't beautiful... I'm just saying there are more deserving women that should be on those lists. 
Haven't you ever looked through the various lists from '100 sexiest women/men alive' to '99 most beautiful people in the world' et co, and gone "Where is my neighbors niece in all these? Where is the fulani woman i bought fura de nunu from yesterday? heck... where am i in all these? Hollywood seems to be so flawed in their portrayal of beauty... I say this with love; but strip Beyonce of her stylist,personal trainer :), weaves and makeup(or we could leave her with the hair) and put her to stand beside Mama Nkechi's daughter. #enoughsaid
Unfortunately that would never happen, and so we have no choice but to believe what is put before us and get beat by this assault on our senses.(no denying she's fine)

You can imagine what aliens think when they pick up their subscription of GQ, or Cosmo or some magazine that has a "fine girl/boy, no pimple" list. 
They must think earth is such a sad place to have these people representing our finest(Not saying they aren't beautiful. I’m just saying there are more deserving people. Don't get me wrong, deserving people make the list too) I mean Robert Pattison makes the list of finest men, even Eminem managed to sneak in on one of the lists, and your brother isn't on it... we don't dispute Denzel being on the list, but we question a couple of other names.

That’s why a beautiful girl would start doubting herself, and try to enhance her looks to be like someone, anyone that made the list. Only problem is, she ends up down playing her beauty. You really think if you stand beside Pipa Middleton, the aliens would pick her over you?

If the search light was broad enough, it’d shine in all the corners of the earth to bring out the most exotic and beautiful men and women ever… People that would knock out the top two hundred thousand beauties from their spots. Aliens idea of earths beauty, is limited to what the press in Hollywood has provided them with. Pity. 

Same way, the world has an idea of what Christianity is about by what is available to them in the media… the Christians that are highlighted in the press. Thus a preconceived notion is formed from the flaws of those who have been portrayed as Christians.
All these makes people comfortable in dumping accusations on the Christians... we are portrayed as thieves, liars, scam artists... and the list goes on. Like the Most beautiful people list, some who claim to be representing Christ do not deserve to be out there. Paul says "Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.” Romans 2:21-24(with emphasis)

But those of us on the sideline are saying "have you seen what we see? The true Christians." Just because they are not all in your face doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Just because your search light hasn't found them doing the good they do in their corners, doesn't mean they don't exist. Don't have a preconceived notion of what Christianity offers from the headlines you see in the papers "fake pastor impregnates 10 church members" "Priest molest little boys" bla bla bla bla

Are you one of those people that make others/aliens think "If this is what Christianity is about, then earth must be a very sad place?" Are you preaching Christ and living on the other side of your words? Are you one of those that cause people to say "and she calls herself a Christian"? Do “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you"?
Are you amongst those that give meaning to the faith? Do people look at you and know you deserve the title you hold… are you worthy of the 'faithful Christians' list?

It's time to start living what we preach, to show the world why we are blessed to believe what we believe. To show what God's grace is about and how Jesus is our joy... To show the world that righteousness, peace, joy, love, hope, grace amongst other wonderful things are the fruits of our belief. To show them it's all worth it and make them desire to have and search for what we have in Christ.   

***I still maintain that mama Nkechi's daughter would beat Beyonce hands down in a face off of the natural... I just haven't found Mama Nkechi or her daughter yet :)

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