who am i?

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Got My Eyes On You...

I pride myself on being a superb babysitter, aunty extraordinaire and future super mummy. Thus I was so sure I had an eagle eye on my niece Steph… I took her to fantasyland in Ikoyi, back in the day when it still had a little fantasy to keep the kids excited. She had so much fun playing on the indoor rides but got bored soon enough. We went outside where there was dancing with the carton character mascots. I put Steph in the fold and sat down to watch…

Aunty eagle eyes sat and watched them dance, and oh boy, what a shock I got when I suddenly couldn’t see my niece in the fold, I assumed she must have inched to the other side of the dance floor and got up to check only to find no cute little girl in the crowd smiling at me. My heart stopped as all sorts of scenarios ran through my head. Truth be told, nothing ran through my head, I was blank like I usually am in times of shock. I told myself I was calm. And calmly walked towards the administrative building and as I headed there, I saw her, looking lost and scared as a staff held her hands and brought her towards me, the relief I felt knew no bounds.

Apparently, she lost sight of me sitting down and panicked and walked round looking for me thinking I had left her; what a bummer. I never took my eyes off that dance floor; it probably took just a blink to loose sight of her. I didn’t want to tell the story of what could have been to my sister, but I had to, if I didn’t the little sweet heart would, cause she kept telling me in the car as we drove home that she thought I left her, with unmistakable fear written all over her face even when I tried to joke about it with her, I reassured her that I could never leave her alone.

She thought I left her, and I thought I had my eyes on her, I was so confident that I had everything in control. I was wrong, I wasn’t as on top of things as I imagined. Right under my watchful mother hen wannabe eyes, she disappeared from the group and I had no idea…. I always wondered how mothers could loose their children,  and kind of judged them, now I know it’s that easy.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Cor 10:12

Isn’t that how we feel sometimes, like we’re all that and more spiritually when we really aren’t all that?
Right under your nose you fall from the high horse of spirituality without you knowing. Standing there, judging the world for being humans living on grace. One day you get up like Sampson and realize your hair has been cut off and you’re powerless after all.
Its time to step down that high horse, because you never know when you find yourself tumbling down and face buried in dirt even when you’re so sure you had a tight grip of the reins of self-righteousness. Humble yourself and you’ll do just fine. Sometimes it takes just a blink to tumble down… and have such a great fall that even after all the king’s men struggle to put you together, you still walk around limping in shame.

“…you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Romans 11:20

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Marriage, Offsprings, Beauty and Plastic Surgeries...

“I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues,” he told the Irish Times. “Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me.”
The words of Jian Feng, the man who sued his wife for giving birth to an ugly baby. True story! Jian’s wife was ordered by the court to pay him $120,000 after he sued her on grounds of false pretense. He was ‘duped’ into believing she was a beautiful woman.

This young handsome man married a perfect beautiful woman and was one happy arm candy carrier until their first child was born. According to the news, the baby was so ugly her father accused the mother of cheating on him…. Because, he’s a fine dude, she’s a fine dude; a combination of their genes would not create something way out of the boundary of beauty. Thus he carried out a DNA test to prove she cheated on him, and alas, said baby was his. That’s when the true confession came out to play. The wife confessed that she had extensive plastic surgery before they met. She enhanced her looks… more like transformed herself to a beautiful swan. Ouch!!!

For your Maker is your Husband–the Lord of hosts is His name–and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called. Isaiah 54:5

If we say we are Christians, then we are the bride of Christ. But we do well in deceiving the world like Jain's wife with our plastic surgery, making it think we really are beautiful brides, because we have put up a fake picture. Thus we walk around church in sacred steps, that if we were in a carton flick, there’d be an obvious halo floating above our heads. By all means enhance your looks, but true beauty in Christianity isn’t about faking it, its about an inner transformation of the heart that brings out the inner beauty in us, we wouldn’t need to go under the knife to impress the world. 
"You’d be surprised at the things that look great on the outside but are dysfunctional on the inside. Be sure to function as good as you look" T.D Jakes

Everyone is impressed by the perfect union, but soon enough we bear seeds that make the world question the paternity of our fruits, because what they see does not resemble what we claim to be and certainly isn’t an offspring of Christ, our bridegroom. Fruits of sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties. Galatians 5:19-21
Our fruits are nothing like His genes and what we claim to be. A true bride of Christ takes in the Holy Spirit and produces joy, love, peace and all things gorgeous. But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)...” Galatians 5:22-23

Now God has every reason to ask to be separated from us forever when our deceit is brought to light, and He will be justified. But thank God our bridegroom, our Christ isn’t as hardhearted as the man who sued His wife. He loves us still and gives us chance after chance to empty ourselves and come as we are so He can love us as we are, all ugly in our sins, and fill us with His Spirit that transforms us from the inside and makes us such a beautiful bride as we produce seeds worthy of His name. When we walk in His transformation, we walk in truth, not in calculated steps trying to impress a portion of the world that we need to pretend to.
(not the real couple... this picture was taken for an ad, the children's looks were Photoshopped.) A Chinese ad showed a beautiful couple and their three not-so-pretty little kids, with the caption: “The only thing you have to worry about after plastic surgery is explaining it to your children.”

How apt, the caption for the ad is. I'd say the only thing to worry about faking your Christianity is explaining your fruits to the world.
Are you bearing ugly fruits? Making your groom question your identity? You can deceive the world of your calling, but soon enough they’ll see there’s a big cover up, a conspiracy when you begin to produce fruits.

I’m not perfect yet; daily I come to Him in all my ugliness, willing for a touch, a transformation. I thank God for the grace to refuse to cover up in my makeup and try to make Him think I am more than what I am. I am just a girl, who wants to receive the love of the man who has seen me at my worst and still loves me. I am just a girl, who comes before Him to drink of His love and His grace that transforms me into a beautiful swan by His Spirit within me. I am a work in progress, I may drop one of two ugly seeds, but He hasn’t finished His work in me, I am on the path to perfection. Thank God He hasn’t casted me away as He patiently waits for me to see myself in the light of His beauty.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Small Prints...

Recently, there was a story on the blogs about a Nigerian artist who broke ties with his record label, and released a new album as an independent artist… According to people, he’s a pretty good singer, I’ve lost track of the entertainers out there. Anyway his previous label got an injunction against him, stopping him from releasing any work outside the label till after a few years because of the terms of their contract when he was signed on.

You see, sometimes the deal is too sweet, the excitement too deep that we don’t bother reading the small prints in contracts. The juicy details of the deal magnify themselves in our eyes and that’s all that matters. If I was an artist just coming up, no one knows my name, and then a big record label approaches me with all the glitz and benefits of being a signed artist with their reputable company, I’ll be ecstatic and I’ll sign the contracts. Reading through but not really seeing what it states. Maybe he didn’t even get a lawyer to make adjustments; maybe he overlooked certain terms, I wouldn’t know. But the truth is the small print gets you if you don’t deliberately magnify it and meditate on it.
The benefits of the contract of salvation, doesn’t begin in life after death, the reward of heaven and being in the beauty of God’s presence. It isn’t just that. There’s a small print we fail to read like the humans that we are… we forget to, or choose not to read it. I mean how many of us have read the terms and conditions before ticking the box claiming we’ve read it on some of those websites? We sign our names, take out the basic info and go… thus sometimes we end up missing out on benefits of contracts, warranties etc or getting into deep trouble.

You have the right to peace, righteousness, joy, and a happy life…. A beautiful career, satisfaction, wealth…  It is your right, but only yours when you grab at it, and demand it from the treasure room of heaven, meditate on the terms and conditions of the contract in the bible and grab at it. When you live with the anything goes mentality, you miss out.

He says ask… before you call He will answer. You have 24hr security and you can command heavens secret service guarding you… your angels are ALWAYS on guard, and He says nothing shall in anyway harm you… Have you read all that in your bible? Have you meditated on them? Have you held Him up to His promises? If He really is a covenant keeper, then you better start tasking Him to do what He says He will.

Small prints are what the devil, like some of those companies who give sweet deals use to trap you. They tell you you’re getting a brand new ipad ‘absolutely free’, what they don’t tell you is there are hidden charges for certain things… You excitedly sign up, only to hear a different story from their email or telemarketer. I read this advice on some website If you're looking at another kind of iPad giveaway, make sure you check for hidden catches. Many of these so-called "freebies" ask you to sign up for various offers, which can cost you money or jeopardize your privacy. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you start.”
Have you read the small prints? Don’t just sign on before you get on board, read the prints, comb it for any clause that’ll do you in. He’ll give you a wife… but he wouldn’t give you peace and joy in that marriage, it’ll be filled with distrust and all.
He’ll give you wealth, but there’ll be such a clause attached to it.
He’ll give you red velvet cake and take away the cream cheese… what’s red velvet without cream cheese?
But the blessings of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). That’s the difference between the blessings from God and the blessings from the devil.

I have seen the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) There’s goodness and a glory and such blessings to see here on earth before you die and go to heaven… Read the contract and don’t be ignorant.
 “Jesus Saves!’ The big question is what from? What does ‘saved’ mean? Actually, it means so much it can’t be put in a sentence. Jesus saves all the way through, ‘from the guttermost to the uttermost’. Salvation isn’t just insurance from hellfire and a passport to heaven. It is comprehensive. All sixty-six Bible books are needed to explain it. It has fathomless depths, like all God does. Even children enjoy it and yet it challenges scholarship and inspires new thought every day. This glorious Gospel is the landscape of eternity with intriguing perspectives. Salvation is Jesus and Jesus is salvation.” - Reinhard Bonnke

“We were not saved to go to heaven, but saved to restore the original plan of rulership. We were saved to bring heaven down to earth and make a difference to our world. What we have embedded in us is to be utilized on earth, not made to be taken back to heaven because heaven does not need it.
Stop the surrender lifestyle, aspire for more, go get that job, go start that business and be the standard in your industry. The reason why the economy is corrupt is because the righteous are running instead of staying, standing firm and establishing a government by being the light”. Chapel of uncommon grace.

Have you seen how stiff some Christians are? Living wretched, not willing to try to get out because wretchedness is humble, it’s a Christian thing to do, so they sit judging the world around and those enjoying themselves while they suffer… Well my Christian thing to do is to live a rich and satisfying life. I have chosen to read the small prints and I choose to enjoy every benefit to the fullest. I’m still learning about the terms of the contract, and how to place demands on them.

Its like staying in a luxury hotel and just being in your room all day or going out sight seeing/shopping all day, and on the last day of your stay, you decide to pass the time by browsing through the hotel’s welcome pack that’s been in the room since the day you arrived, and as you read, you discover to your dismay that there’s a complimentary steam room and sauna for you, there’s a complimentary full package treatment and make over at the hotel spa for you and you’re entitled to a free meal at the five star rooftop restaurant every evening of your stay, but its too late, you can’t cramp everything into your last day and you stay hissing because you spent so much on the hotel, and missed out on the benefits that come with it. You kept paying for things that were available to you for free because you didn’t take time out to read the small prints of your welcome package. You realize too late that the joy of staying in that hotel goes beyond it’s brand name and the architectural masterpiece that it is… there’s much more offered for free and you missed out on it.

Grace makes you worthy of heaven; grace qualifies you for heaven on earth. You just have to start making demands on the blessings grace has freely given you. Don’t wait for heaven after death, start enjoying heaven on earth. Read the small prints and don’t get cut short.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Travelling, Packing and Excess Luggage.

I love to travel… but I need salvation from the pain of packing. I can’t pack to save myself. My friend Afi is such a pro at packing up a suitcase. If I had all the money in the world I would hire her to be my personal packer. She would pack my suitcases for me and be a billionaire off me. I don’t know how she does it, but what I need two suitcases to pack, she would carefully hurl in one suitcase and it wouldn’t have an excess luggage bill to it.

The term packing light doesn’t seem to make sense to me and I pay for this. I travelled for a wedding once. I was to be away for just a week. I felt embarrassed when my luggage was being loaded into the car… I had to keep explaining to my travelling companions that I had three weddings in one day and had no idea what to wear, thus the excess load. Something came up and my week long trip turned into a month… what I packed for one week sustained me for the month and I didn’t have to repeat outfits often.

There’s the ‘what if’ outfit, the just incase dress, I mean you never know when you’ll be invited to a dinner with the president right? *raised eyebrows* There’s the what if I had to attend an event and the this and the that, and of course there’s shoes and bags to go with all that … like seriously, and you only end up wearing nothing most times.

I always have excess luggage when flying. It’s horrible! I realized at the last minute that BA had doubled its fee for extra suitcases. Now that hit me hard, I was mad at them, having to pay #140 instead of #70 per extra bag. That cut out a whole chunk from my duty free shopping list. Excess luggage is not only a pain, but it steals your joy… imagine not being able to get all you planned from duty free because you had to pay more than you bargained for excess… its more annoying when you get home to realize most of the things you filled the suitcases up with are just worthless junk you could have done without. Why buy packs of crisps and cartons of biscuits and other junk? We just love to hoard when we travel… don’t we?

I remember once in Dubai, after paying a lot of dollars at the airport for just a few extra kgs, I saw a woman open her suitcase and drop purse after purse, she dropped the lovely purses on the floor to be discarded because she couldn’t afford to pay the excess luggage fee for all the bags she had on her. She was probably buying them for resale. I’m sure she bought them from one of the markets and figured they were cheap enough and worth sacrificing than paying the price for the excess luggage. Some things we drag around we really don’t need, we can afford to leave them behind as we check in for our flights in life.

There’s so much baggage we’ve packed up and hurl around the place with us as we journey through life. It isn’t really worth it, the baggage and the fees we pay. We’ve let this excess baggage steal our joy and deny us of the rich and satisfying life we were promised. Thus we walk as Christians and hardly have time to enjoy the benefits of walking easy and picking up joy and peace on our walk, like shopping in duty free because we’re hurling luggage we don’t need and we’ve spent so much on the unnecessary we don’t have room to enjoy ourselves.

The people you carry in your head(or plan for as we like to say). The things you worry about. Trying to impress the world around you. Stop for a minute and repack. Do you really need that dress of worry? Do you really need the extra shoes of revenge? Do you need those pants of unforgiveness? Stop hoarding petty things that’ll weigh you down… Stop falling over yourselves and burying yourself in packed suitcases of sin because you’re trying to keep up with the world around you and impress your friends. It really isn’t worth it. There’s only one-way to enjoy your life’s journey, and that’s by being as free as you can possibly be.

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Calling It Off...

A friend called off her engagement a few weeks to her wedding. They say better a broken engagement than a broken marriage, but its so much easier mouthing that off than actually doing it.

Breaking off an engagement is as hard as it sounds, even harder… but in the end, it’s easier than breaking off a marriage or going into one knowing you really don’t want to.

Many have gone ahead even as they got a forceful wake up call that they were making a mistake, because the hall had been paid for, air tickets had been bought, years have been spent together, mother had crushed all restraints in planning and the train was moving so fast and they were afraid of the feathers that would be ruffled if they asked to alight one stop from the destination.

It got me thinking… would I be as brave as she was if I realize it’s all wrong? Not only in marriage, there are loads of things we go ahead to do even when we feel its all wrong because we’re too scared to back down at the last minute. We don’t want to disappoint people or seem weak; we think we’ve gone through all the hurdles to come this far to start doubting at the last minute.

It doesn’t matter how you react to a break up, locking yourself up and crying for weeks and months, shaving off your eyebrows, loosing so much weight and being sick for weeks… it doesn’t matter if you go skydiving or mountain climbing or learn to ride a bike. It doesn’t matter if you’re seen as weak and chicken for not braving it… It doesn’t matter if crying is all you do. The truth is, however you react, you are the strongest person for walking away, for listening to yourself and your truth, for choosing your truth over everything and what people would say. For seeing reason, even in the fog of laces, and trimmings and white dresses and asoebi. For seeing reason even when the world around you define your path as perfect.

I pray to have the strength to walk away from anything or anyone that I am convinced in my spirit is all-wrong for me. I want to be strong enough to give it all up even in my weakness and my tears. I don’t want to be the weak one who went ahead because she couldn’t be anything else, I don’t want to be foolish enough to dress my weakness up in a costume of strength as I make the wrong choice because I want it to be right even when my truest witness within tells me otherwise.

I want to know myself as being strong even as I break down and die a thousand deaths of heartbreak from walking away, because I know I will still live, and I’ll be happy after it all, and another lucrative deal would come, another wonderful man would come... another perfect opportunity that’ll be perfectly perfect with no hidden clause would come.

How long will we continue to deceive ourselves by parading our weakness in a mask of strength?  Learn to walk away from anything and anyone when the warning bells wouldn’t stop ringing.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Look Before You Scratch...

We went for lunch at some new Buffet place somewhere in V/I, Lagos. I shall not name the place since I was not impressed with the food. I was lost in thought, probably wondering why we didn’t settle for yellow chilli for Sunday lunch instead of the new place when the sight right in front of me jolted me back with a bang!
We sat close to one of the glass walls. It’s got inscriptions on the outside, hence if you stand outside, you wouldn’t see through the writings inside, but if you’re inside and seated, you can see the bottom half of the person standing outside. I’m not sure if you get the picture I’m trying to paint, I found a picture of the restaurant to give you an idea. (but I still don't see what I'm trying to describe in it.. oh well!).

There I was, minding my own business with my thoughts when a well-dressed guy positioned himself against the glass wall outside and proceeded to spend a good number of minutes scratching his butt. That itch must have been such a burden, and that glass wall with the inscriptions on it was a deceitful cover. I can imagine the relief he got when he found a good spot to just chill and dig into his butt and scratch out that frustrating itch as he waited for the other members of his party.

Unfortunately for him, it was as clear as the sun to me and my laughter attracted the other members of my table and we watched that show for as long as it lasted, yuked out and amused at the same time, I mean, I know we have to scratch when it itches but etiquette demands that you don’t tolerate such in public. It was real restraint that stopped me from taking a picture of the poor poor man.  I tried not to stare too hard and laugh some more when he finally walked into the restaurant with a gentlemanly fine boy swag, with the ladies in his party. If only he knew how he entertained us…

Never underestimate the power of being visible. You never know who’s watching even when you feel no one is. Think about that when you’re about doing something less honorable.
As Christians, we’re more visible than we think. Sometimes our lives are the only bible the world sees, it could bring them running in or send them running off and scoffing at the hypocrisy in our fancy dress show of religion.

Whether you realize it or not, people are watching you. Even in small areas, make sure you’re representing God in a great way. Joel Osteen
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