Mangoholics Anonymous

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I love mangoes. I always have and will probably do so for all eternity. Rumour has it that I came out of my mother’s womb greedily clutching a mango in my little pudgy fist. The doctors thought it was gold. Lol. I wish I was old enough to see the look of disappointment on their faces when they saw a mango after prying my fingers open. Even when I’m chilling in heaven with my King and sibs, I’ll always have a basket of mangoes with me. I know this because we’ve discussed it and He said it’s cool.

Mango season is my favourite season of the year because it comes with my other favourite season – the rainy season. It sucks that mangoes don’t grow in these parts all year round so I have to wait for a whole year to sink my teeth into that juicy, sweet, succulent fruit.

Okay, so you know those really awesome, fun, albeit irresponsible (according to your parents, but you just didn’t see their point) uncles (or other relatives) that showed up like once every year for stretch of time? You couldn’t wait for them to come and when they left, your eyes wouldn’t stop bleeding until they showed up the next year? Well, mangoes are those lovely relatives for me. Those bad boys in the rainy season are the highlight of my year.

A few months ago, I was walking past the “grocery market” in my neighbourhood when I noticed a weird bounce in my step. It was familiar, yet strange. Then there was a flutter in the left side of my chest that shot straight into my throat and then into my stomach. There was a twitch in my eyebrow and my finger-nails started trembling. I tried to reconcile where/when I’d felt that feeling before. I stopped in my tracks, sniffed, and my eyes widened all the way to my hairline. I picked my jaw from the floor and my head darted from side to side. It’s…here. My heart literally stopped for like five seconds when I laid my eyes on those bad boys. That woman’s tray stood out, beckoning me. I did not front.

Pandora’s box open. Mangoes everywhere.

I couldn’t get enough of it. My parents were worried, siblings were teasing, priests came a-calling. I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. So what if I had mangoes infused in everything I consumed? So what if I soaked mangoes in my water before drinking? What was wrong with bread and mangoes? Who does not live for beans and mangoes? Who? And how amazing is it when you put chopped mangoes in the middle of your eggs and fry sunny side up? Yum! I may have crossed the line a bit when I added chopped mangoes in the bitter-leaf soup I prepared for the household, I must admit, but mangoes went with everything. Besides, the soup needed to be sweetened some. My dad didn’t think so, though, and threatened to take me to the in(famous) Yaba Left. That man does not appreciate the art of fine (mangoed) cooking sha.

As the mango season came to an end, I could feel the threads that held my heart to its spot begin to snap one by one until all I had was a crumpled heart. I began to stuff myself with three times as much of those bad boys as I did when I rested in the knowledge that they still had a few months with me. The months gave way to their exit and I began to have withdrawal symptoms: my hands were constantly shaking, I sweated everywhere – my feet inclusive, I couldn’t sleep at all, and the Lilliput miners pounded away merrily at my head without mercy.

I couldn’t bear it. I was enraged, frustrated, depressed, and monstrous so the (ex) mango seller only had it coming when I rammed her empty tray on her head and whacked her without mercy when I went to buy mangoes and she said it was out of season. Out of season, my foot. With blood-shot eyes, I used her tray to hit her over and over and over again. It was not irrational, I told the judge. Surely, Judge Judy, you can understand why I did what I did; I tried to reason with her as she looked at me through pigeon-like eyes full of pity and disbelief.

Now, I scrape back my chair and stand up. I know I’m not meant to be here with this strange people, but it’s either this or working with the waste management agency for two months. I look around the room full of weirdos and addicts and wonder if I’m ready for this. I’ll probably never be ready. Taking a deep breath, I introduce myself: Hi, my name is Ada, and I’m a mangoholic.

 

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My Proverbs 31 Mother

Today’s my mother’s birthday.

It’s 5 am, and I’ve been staring at my screen for quite a while now. If my sister wakes up, she’d probably think I’m reading for my exams – the evidence of coke and coffee is sitting right beside me. But I’m not, because all I can seem to think of is how favoured I am to have an amazing woman as my mother.

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I know many people say that their moms are the best, and that’s okay because my mom is better. Better than the best. I am grateful grateful to God for birthing greatness, and gave that greatness to me as a gift. And she in turn birthed greatness.

People say that children are a gift from God, and that’s true. Mothers, good mothers, are nothing short of a gift from God. And I have a good mother. A great mother. An awesome mother. And for that, I can only thank God. This woman He gave to me to call mother is the best.

She is a great teacher – she taught our infant lips to pray and showed us the Lord’s path to walk in. She taught us how to come into the presence of God and to fear God. She taught us to be obedient, respectful and tolerant. She is a spiritual warrior, always standing in the gap for her family, always flooding God’s mailbox with intercessory prayers for her husband and children. She’s a present mother, wife, daughter, sister and aunty. She’s funny, smart and wise. I love hanging out with her, she makes me very happy and she makes me laugh – hard. She is strong and supportive and is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. She is a great cook and seems to be perfect in everything she does. She puts herself last all the time, denying herself beautiful things over and over again just to make sure we are happy. . this world needs mothers like her.

She is my mother, my lover, my  friend. The one I can run to when I don’t think good will come to me. She has been sacrificial for her family and I’m overwhelmed by how much I love her. We have had our ups and down, as lovers should. She has spanked and scolded me when I needed to have been  because of her desire for me to become a woman of integrity.

 

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She is an excellent wife and mother, my virtuous woman, my Proverbs 31 mother. So I wrote a few things about her, inspired by Proverbs 31:10-31. I am doing this woman a great disservice because my words do her no justice. She is beautiful inside out and I hope one day, she can understand how much I love her and desire to give her the finest things. This is my little way of honouring her:

 

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?

For her worth is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;

So he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil

All the days of her life.

Well, my father did find a virtuous woman. Being a typical Ibo man, he may never say it but truth is, he could never have done better than her. I know that he knows that. He hit the jackpot when he met her…and exhibited immense wisdom when he got her to marry him. She has stuck by him through moments a lesser woman wouldn’t. She has his best interests at heart and strives for unity, peace and love between him and her children (My dad is a very stubborn man and unfortunately, all his children got at least 75% of that trait from him). She is a ride or die chick.  Although you may never catch him saying it, I know he loves her with all his heart and cannot imagine a life without her. Neither can I.

 

13 She seeks wool and flax,

And willingly works with her hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,

She brings her food from afar.

15 She also rises while it is yet night,

And provides food for her household,

And a portion for her maidservants.

I don’t think my mother got up to 7 hours of sleep from the day her first child was born till the day her last child left to boarding house. When we were kids, she would wake at 4 am to put the house in order, make our breakfast and school lunch, bath and dress our restless selves up and make sure we never got to school a minute late. We never wore rumpled or dirty clothes to school because on the weekends, this Super Woman would wash (by hand) all our clothes and iron them for the week. She would neatly plait all her 3 girls’ hair, make sure her boy gets a haircut, clip our nails, clean our ears, make sure all assignments are done on time. And still find time to run her business. My house, till this day, never lacks food. I usually tell my skinny friends, “if you want to add weight, come and stay in my house for 2 weeks”. My mom makes sure that nobody ever goes hungry…even to this day. She would call me on the phone and go “nne, irigo nni?” (Translated: Mother, have you eaten?). Even when things were real difficult for my dad and we didn’t have two coins to rub together, we the children, never felt it because we always had clothes on our backs and more than enough food in our bellies. My mama is a mother hen and would go through hell and high water to secure provisions for the family.

 

16 She considers a field and buys it;

From her profits she plants a vineyard.

My mother is very industrious…and wise. When my father struggled financially, we got by through the profits from my queen’s vineyard. A resourceful woman, she assists the bread-winner with butter for the bread.

 

17 She girds herself with strength,

And strengthens her arms.

Hmmm. My mother is a strong woman – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. If my mom should pound yam for you ehn…and you know that something exerts plenty energy…you will bow. She is strong, biko. She is a forgiving woman, and with oil on her skin, she lets the hurtful words spoken to her by her terribly ungrateful children slide. She opens her hands and embraces them over and over again.

 

18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,

And her lamp does not go out by night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,

And her hand holds the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,

Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

My mama is a very hard-worker and a generous woman. She appreciates her family and works hard, day and night, to keep them. She’s the gift that gives, a selfless woman with a great, big heart.

 

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,

For all her household is clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes tapestry for herself;

Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Because she is always concerned with the welfare of her family, my mother is always prepared for a change in season. She dresses nicely and takes care of herself. When we were kids, she always made sure we had pretty clothes. Now we are grown and can shop for ourselves, she is our Fashion Police: “nne, who is the wicked person that sold you that dress?”, “I like your shoes o, eh hen, this is how you should be dressing”, “where are your earrings, don’t you know you are a lady?” – more to me than anyone else. My sisters are fashionable and dressy as it is. And to my brother: “don’t you have belt-holes?” Lol!

 

23 Her husband is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land.

Me, I know that many of my daddy’s friends are jealous of him because – well, let’s face it – of his Super Woman. My mother takes care of that man, and it shows. She builds him up and respects him…and because of that, they respect him. Her virtue brings him a good reputation among his peers. She is the crown on his head.

 

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,

And supplies sashes for the merchants.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;

She shall rejoice in time to come.

She does not impoverish her husband but provides an additional source of income through her business. My mother’s inward clothing displays beauty, strength, wisdom. She is upright in her ways and I pray that God rewards her both on earth and in heaven. I pray that when she departs this earth, He will welcome his good and faithful servant and envelope her in his arms.

 

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.

My mom’s hands are literally never idle. She is not slothful and is an inspiration to me. She is kind, merciful and loving. She speaks words of wisdom to inspire and build up her children to be great people.

 

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many daughters have done well,

But you excel them all.”

Words cannot express how blessed this woman is. The English (or any other) language does not have the requisite words to praise this woman with. Her children do rise up and call her blessed.

 

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,

But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,

And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Well, my mom is ten across the board. She is beautiful to behold, with a radiant heart to boot. This priceless gem  is excellent and incomparable. This treasure is better than all others – nothing and no one can rival her.

 

Happy birthday, greatness. My siblings and I love you immensely. May God spare our lives so that we can try, with all our might, to reward the care you give to us and the sacrifices you have made for us. I know you strive for us to be greater than you are, but if I could be even a quarter of the woman you are, I know my works will praise me in the gates.

Happy birthday, Oriakum.

Happy birthday, Kpakpandom.

Happy birthday, Mommy.

I am favoured to be counted as one of your children.

Much Ado About Shoes

“I humbly command my angels to go forward and dry up the roads for me”

“Lord, the Israelites walked on dry land after You parted the Red Sea, let history repeat itself, dry up the roads that lead to my house”

“Jesus, please put this rain on pause, Your daughter’s being a tad selfish, but please…”

Those were a just a few of the prayers I sent up to heaven as I looked out of the window of the bus. The voices of my co-passengers were drowned out by the sound of Da Truth’s Love Hope War album blasting in my eardrums, which in turn was muffled by the prayers I was sending to God’s mailbox.

My friends had dropped me off at the bus stop after work. It had started drizzling while I was in the car and I had instructed the rain: You will not fall till I get home. The rain yimued me, brought on the thunder and got heavier. I thought about the shoes I had on. I had no backup plan (extra pair of slippers in my bag). My shoes were new, they were very cute, they were suede, they were not water-friendly, I love shoes…and they were new!

Now I was seated (squashed) in the bus, and used my little finger to doodle on the fog that had formed on the glass as little beads of water trickled down on the other side. I idly thought about how I loved doing that as a child for the briefest of moments before my thoughts were dragged back to my shoes. My youngest sister had given them to me for Christmas and I had planted multiple kisses all over her face as I hugged the shoes to my chest. It was barely 2 months old and I hadn’t even rocked it wella. Honestly, I felt stupid praying to God to save my shoes from ruin when I should be praying for…world peace or something rather significant. I tried, God knows I tried to discard the vanity but I just kept on going “please…please…please Lord, pleeeeeeaaaaassssseee”.  All I could picture was wading through the flooded streets leading to my house in the dead of the night in my poor shoes, the rain was extremely heavy – the kind of rain that escalates into the kind of flood that drowns mountains (ok, I exaggerate a bit, but you get sha).

As we got closer to my stop, the bus deterred from the regular route and decided to use a “shortcut”.

[Sidebar: Here’s a little observation I made about this little matter concerning shortcuts. Shortcuts are in fact longer than the regular route, in my opinion. I think the turns and zig-zags of the roads deceive people that that route is shorter, when it is actually longer. The regular routes are indeed shorter. ]

Back to my story, this is in fact why you are here.

So, being naturally Nigerians, the passengers started complaining and cussing out the driver in very colourful words. I, on the other hand, couldn’t help but smile like a Cheshire cat with a bowl full of fish. Why was I smiling when I was so close to home and the bus took a detour, you ask. Well, let me tell you why. You see, by the Lord’s doing, I was going to pass right in front of my sister’s friend’s house. Why is that a big deal, you ask again. Hold on to your breeches. You see, there was MAJOR traffic (hence, the shortcut). So I figured I could call her to get me a pair of bathroom slippers, collect them from her and continue my journey. I didn’t even have to get down from the bus. My “please…please…pleaaaaassse” turned into “thank You…thank You…thank Yoooooou”. I couldn’t believe it; God listened to my seemingly stupid prayer? Whoop! I started calling my sister’s friend. She wasn’t picking. Devil is a liar.

Then my phone rang. She was calling back! She said she was in Ibadan and I was like, nah, you cannot be, you simply cannot be in Ibadan. You know why? Because I need a pair of bathroom slippers, that’s why. She said her cousin was around that she would call her cousin and after a little while, her cousin called me and I tried to direct her to where I was. I waited for over five minutes which was weird because I was only a few blocks from her house. Then horror of all horrors, the road cleared for a bit and the bus started moving. Nooooooooooo! I mentally screamed, and slowly started bracing myself for the worst.

Then my phone rang. It was Cousin! She had misunderstood my jumbled directions and had gone in the opposite way but she was trying to catch up with me now, bless her heart. I got down from the bus so that she wouldn’t have to walk far, the rain had trickled to a very heavy drizzle by now, nothing I couldn’t handle as long as I wasn’t a pillar of salt, but the flood still worried me.  I spotted her in the distance and honestly, I could have done a cartwheel for her, if I could, but I couldn’t…nothing’s changed, I still can’t. So I ran (walked really fast) towards her, gave her a massive hug and wore the slippers (which was like 2 sizes smaller than my gigantic feet, but I didn’t currr).

Why did I bore you with this story? I don’t know. Why did you read it? Hehehe.

Well, I have a teensy weensy, itsy bitsy point. And that is this: God cares. As in, absolutely cares about every little thing that concerns you. And the best part is, He wants…nay, He loves to get involved with every mundane, trivial thing in your life, as well as the extremely important ones…and even the ones in-between. He wants you to bother Him, so don’t say “nah, God, I don’t want to bother You with this stupid, petty thing”, as we are wont to do. Is He complaining? No. So why are you doing that for Him? You are important to Him, therefore, if it’s important to you, it’s important to Him. If it matters to you, it matters to Him. If it bothers you, it bothers him…even if it’s as silly as wet shoes.

 I decided to walk the rest of the way home, and put my shoes in my bag…wait, what was that sound? The rustle of what…? Wait, was that a….?

It was. A chocolate bar! I literally skipped the rest of the way home. I felt loved.

The Danny Menu First-Timer

The DM notification was from one of my friends asking me if I want to join her and a few of her friends for a New Year fast. I was touched, not because I felt a hand upon my skin, but because I was amazed that she thought to ask me (I met her on twitter so you can imagine why I would be amazed…it was unexpected). It was really just sweet of her. On the other hand, I also felt a glory moment…I was reminded of a God who looks out for me, the way He pulls strings, untangles knots and makes everything work out perfectly. I mean, why did she seek me? Out of all her friends and all the people she may know? It could only be God’s orchestration. Wasn’t it just only days before I’d told God I wanted to do some sort of spiritual exercise for the new year?

Anyway, I really wanted to detoxify and discipline my mind and spirit and body, seek God and develop a tunnel vision where I’m focused only on Christ, so I told her I was on board. She said that the fast was for 21 days and I thought to myself “No biggie, I can do this”. I mean, it’s just a fast.

Turns out, it wasn’t just a fast. After a regular fast, I could eat whatever food I laid my paws on. Not with this one. This one is called the Daniel Fast. (Check out Daniel 10:2-3 for more info). Until then, I didn’t know it was a thing; it was very unfamiliar territory territory to me but somehow, it appealed to me. She laid on me the “rules”. No pleasure foods. No white foods. No juice. No coffee. No eba. No soup. No cookies. No ijebu garri. 😦 No this. No that. The list was endless. Infact, a shorter list was what one is allowed to eat:

All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.

Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

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For 21 days, no chocolate, no toast, no chocolate, no Ribena juice, no coffee? No Coffee???  Seriously, that was going to be hard. I opened my fridge and there sat 2 huge slices of cakes in all their glory, sitting crossed legged. Bread, cookies, drinks, eggs, butter, jam and other Daniel Menu forbidden foods fought for fridge room. I sighed and shut the fridge. I looked around the kitchen and a tear-drop escaped my right eye. Man up, lady! I scolded myself, grabbing some candy and chewing on a chicken bone.

The fast was to start on the 2nd of January and we formed a group…there were about 5 us in it. It was a sister support system where we checked in as often as we could to drop messages,  revelations, encouragement, recipes for meals using the items on Daniel’s list. All in all, I bless God for giving those ladies to me.

The day before the fast began, I tried to gorge myself, but there was only so much space in the stomach. I drank a mug of coffee and kissed it goodbye for the next 21 days. I thought of adding the coffee to Daniel’s menu, I mean it’s ground coffee BEANS. Jiminy Cricket said no. As it neared the end, I stuffed some crackers into my mouth and washed it down with water while my youngest sister told me I’ll be alright in between hiccups of laughter.  I called my sisters and begged banned them from bringing home any tempting food.  Then I went to pray.

I wish I could tell you I ate all those lovely looking foods in the list above. Sadly, for some reason unknown to me, I didn’t. For three weeks, I lived on boli, groundnuts, beans, fruits and vegetables. After a week and a half, I paused the veggies; I was beginning to feel more like a goat/sheep/cow and less like Popeye.

Temptation was everywhere! I mean, that dude snuck up on me at the worst times. One morning, I stayed up watching videos of people making shawarmas, spring rolls, chocolate fudge, samosa, rainbow cakes and bread, burgers etc. I must have watched at least 20 videos…I’m not even exaggerating. Throughout that day, my mind was invaded by what I had watched. As I ate my veggies, I tried imagining that I was eating samosas and spring rolls and shawarmas and bread. It didn’t work.

Sometimes, I would find myself sniffing coffee because I couldn’t drink it.  Some days were quite tough. I mean, on the first Sunday of the fast, I spent hours in the kitchen baking cute little meat pies for my sisters. They said it was my best yet…and I couldn’t even taste it to confirm. I was the one doing about 80% of the cooking. I would grill chicken, fish, make noodles, cook rice, cook this and that…and wouldn’t even have a taste. I may have been sad about that, but honestly? I felt myself growing spiritually and as a person. My rein on self-control was tightening and I was pleased with me.

I read a 21 day devotional “Made to Crave” and a 19 day devotional “She Reads Truth: Fresh Start”. I got into God’s word and felt myself happily drowning it. On the days when the temptation to eat foods that aren’t on Daniel’s Menu surfaced, I’d tell myself that I was doing this fast for Jesus. And if He could willingly give up His life for me, then giving up pleasure foods for 21 days was nothing when compared. This may seem a tad extreme, but it worked for me. I pumped myself with God’s truth and felt our connection strengthen daily. Somehow, it was just me and Him. Please don’t think this was a bed of feathers (something may have been done there. Do you see it?), it wasn’t. I am but a (wo)man. Thankfully, God knows this and so, He let me ride on His own strength.

On the last day, I was very pleased with myself for not dropping out and finishing the race. The first thought that ran through my mind the minutes my eyes fluttered open (being a Disney princess and all) was: Today is the last day of this fast! I made it! I gave all the glory to God. Throughout, I was assured of His presence. It was obvious it was all Him. That I could complete the 21 days, I owed it all to the grace of God because by myself, I would have given up on the first day. Jesus was always right beside me telling me: We are in this together!  He strengthened me and made me realize that I was made to crave nothing and nobody else but Him.

Can I just say, in retrospect, I love the Daniel Fast. This may have been my very first time, but it sure wouldn’t be my last. In subsequent fasts, I would be better prepared. I hear the first time is always the most difficult. I look forward to becoming a member of the League of Extraordinary Daniel Fast Regulars (it’s a thing).

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The day after my fast, I couldn’t eat anything not on Daniel’s menu for at least eleven hours after I woke up (woke up at 4am). I was worried. I wanted to eat something off the menu but nothing appealed to me. No way can I become a vegetarian, I thought to myself. Sidebar:  I have a new level of respect for vegetarians now.

This is the thing about temptation. How can you be tempted with what you can have? Would temptation exist without restrictions?  If Eve had been allowed to eat of the tree of life, would the devil have tempted her? All this while, I had been tempted with the off limits food and now that I was allowed to eat them, I didn’t have the appetite to? The devil is a liar.

After a while, I popped a ball of chocolate into my mouth. Then a cookie. A piece of meat followed. Then another cookie…another chocolate…a sliver of cake…another sliver….a third sliver. I was a moving train; there was no stopping me. It was like a dam had burst open. The delicate foods cried out to me in their pretty soft voices. The macho meat grunted out, “Me, ma’m. Pick me!” I was spoiled for choice. After trying to satisfy myself  them, I was stuffed. But then again, there’s always room for a cup of coffee.

coffee

*sips coffee*

An Ape Taught Me…

Please, forgive the cobwebs that greet you as you cross the threshold. The cleaning lady hasn’t shown up in months.

2 days ago Recently, I watched Rise Of The Planets Of The Apes for the very first time and I learnt a few things from the scene where Caesar the ape releases Buck, the vicious ape that was “permanently” locked up in a special cage in that faux forest and was never allowed out of his cage even when other apes had their play time. For those who haven’t seen it yet, well…watch it. 🙂

Here are the few lessons I learnt from Buck:

1.  Being imprisoned makes us unhappy, angry, frustrated and vicious. By imprisoned, I mean in a mental and spiritual context. When we are stuck in the world’s mind-set, we cannot know genuine peace.  The only way to experience this peace is through Christ…laying down that heavy load that breaks our backs for His easy, easy yoke. My life BC (before Christ) saw me as this angry, depressed, person lashing out without thinking. Because of this, I ate recklessly (yes, reckless eating is a thing), and the more I ate, the more I got depressed and angry and the more depressed and angry I got, the more I ate and the more I ate… it’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. Buck wasn’t mean because he was genetically wired that way, he was so because he was in captivity. He had no freedom; he was confined to that tiny space. Isn’t this redolent of us before we have the honour and privilege of colliding with grace? We get upset for no known reason, we are hurt, angry, and restless, at war with ourselves, frustrated because we want to get out from behind those wretched bars but we don’t know how? The good news is, Jesus’ got the keys to that cage. He not only specializes, He also delights in unlocking the gate and setting us free. To be honest, one can never know true peace unless one taps from the Source; the Prince of Peace.

2. When Caesar opened the cage, Buck wouldn’t come out. The door was wide open, there was so much out there for him, all he had to do was to step out of it but because he was already used to being incarcerated, it was hard for him to. He gingerly touched the grass before him with his fingers and quickly pulled back because it was way out of his comfort zone and this made him very afraid. He preferred the familiarity of confinement over the unfamiliarity of freedom. You can relate to this, yeah? Me too. Oh, so very much…at that moment, Buck was a kindred spirit.

Remember the Israelites when they first came out of Egypt? How they complained and grumbled? They had been set free but because they were used to being slaves, they wanted to go back to the life they had previously known. That life felt right. Familiar.  Predictable. Being abused and maltreated was “normal” for them and can you blame them? It was all they had ever known and now, some dude that called himself Moses was acting under the directives of the Almighty and uprooting them from the familiar cracks of whips they had known all their lives. The truth is, they had never known freedom. To be honest, I get pulled down by that mind-set more than half the time. The promised land stretches forth ahead of me but I find that I’m too scared to go forward because getting to the promised land is not easy…it is NEVER easy. It has its own hurdles and obstacles even though the reward is extraordinary, I am afraid of swimming in uncharted waters and long to go back to Shackletown.

Jesus sets us free but many of us don’t know what to do with it so we would rather go back to the familiarity of sin. Fear makes it hard for us to take that leap of faith because faith and fear cannot mix…they can’t be friends. We are afraid that if we fall, we may break our legs and maybe never walk again. We take the focus off Christ and on to ourselves, trusting in our (in)abilities instead of God’s ability. Sometimes, God will want to take us out of our comfort zones but like Buck, we simply want to stay in it…it is comfortable and very much more familiar than the unknown.  We are scared, terrified, and uncertain of what the future may hold. But see, God is not at a distant place, watching us. Unlike Ceaser, He isn’t at the top of a tree staying out of our way; He’s not a detached, aloof God. He’s not a God that just had a manicure so He can’t have anything to do with our filth and mess. He is right there solidly beside you every step of the way. When He said that He will be with us till the end of time, no be wash. He meant it.

3. Buck’s reaction after he gathered the courage to step out of captivity is actually infinitesimal to what freedom really feels like. His reaction was similar to that of Rapunzel’s the first time she left the tower she had been locked up in all her life in the Disney animated movie “Tangled”, loosely based on the classical fairy tale “Rapunzel”. I digress. Anyway, once out of the cage, he ran, he rolled, he climbed, he hooted, he chest-pounded, he did all the things he couldn’t do when he was in the cage and realised that life outside the cage was so much better than life in it. It was a whole new different world and there was nothing limiting his abilities anymore. As long as we live our lives in captivity i.e. in sin, we will never be able to partake of the wonderful things that God promises His people. God loathes sin. Sin is a wall that keeps us away from God and will always limit your abilities. Buck’s exhilaration when he left the cage is nowhere compared to the freedom that Christ brings.

Who woulda thunk Buck would teach me a lesson before the credits rolled? God tucks lessons in the most unexpected places.

We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us. There’s a limit to the word “some” but absolutely no limit to the word “All”. I pray that God pumps us up with the courage we need to get out of whatever confines we may be in. He has already set us free, we should then walk free.

PRESS RELEASE: PRAISEWORLD RADIO – NIGERIA’S #1 ONLINE GOSPEL RADIO STATION

                                                PRESS RELEASE: 
      PRAISEWORLD RADIO – NIGERIA’S #1 ONLINE GOSPEL RADIO STATION
Friday June 1, 2012 witnessed a dynamic shift in gospel entertainment with the launch of  Nigeria ’s #1 Online Urban Gospel Radio Station, PRAISEWORLD RADIO. This media outfit is dedicated to broadcasting pure gospel content 24/7, a move that has caused a reverberation of enthusiastic responses across gospel communities both here in Nigeria  and the world at large. Praiseworld Radio delivers gospel entertainment that is both hip and urban, employing programming techniques that appeal to teens and young adults who yearn for contemporary gospel music that they can relate with.You can tune in to Praiseworld Radio from anywhere in the world at any time of the day by logging on to www.praiseworldradio.com with your internet enabled device. It is also accessible via smartphones, blackberry phones, iPhones, iPads, and a variety of media players including iTunes, windows media player, winamp and other media players available on the site. Also listed on various radio directories around the world including Tunein, Jandus Radio, Nokia Internet Radio, etc. Also available on the website are free music downloads. The programs proffered by the radio station are fun, inspirational, trendy and very interactive. Popular with listeners right now is the Morning Show The Praise O’Clock Show with TOLA which has played host to gospel entertainment gurus like Midnight Crew, Gameman, Simi, Monique, Isaac Geralds, Ebele the flutist amongst many others. TheAfternoon Groove with A Cube is also a contender in the popularity contest and have had the likes of Henri Soul, Provabs and many more as guests. Other shows incude Mid Day Tunes, Billboard Top 10 Countdown, Morning Starter, Praise Party, to mention a few. www.praiseworldradio.com. As part of its youth oriented interactive programs, Praiseworld Radio initiated the harsh tag #PunchlineFriday, a Twitter activated trend that gets interested parties tweeting thought provoking lyrical lines that promote the gospel which trended in Nigeria the two times it has taken place. The next edition which is scheduled to be a special LIVE radio edition is set to storm the social media site and internet radio waves simultaneously on Friday, October 12, 2012.
In appreciation of the phenomenal favorable responses received from dedicated fans and listeners alike, Praiseworld Radio is set host a “Praise Party” on Sunday, October 28. This event will have various gospel celebrities and artistes present to party with the family, our fans and listeners, with all three in-house DJs as well as other guest DJs on the wheels of steel churning out melodies that is bound to open up the gates of praise! The party will also provide a forum for guests to mingle, socialize and get to meet their favorite celebrities and OAPs one on one.

To get real time updates from Praiseworld Radio, follow on twitter @PRAISEWORLD_ and on Facebook – Praiseworld Radio. Tune in by clicking www.praiseworldradio.com

Praiseworld Radio
Nigeria’s #1 Online Gospel Radio Station
www.praiseworldradio.com
Tel: 2348063022859, 2348127821518
Twitter@PRAISEWORLD_ FacebookPraiseworld Radio
Skype: OlutolaOmoniyi

Keeping Jane Alive

…during dialysis

…before she started getting ill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Omucha Okweshine was one of my classmates in secondary school, a really nice girl who always had a smile on her face. Five years ago, while still in her 3rd year at Olabisi Onabanjo University, she experienced kidney failure and had to undergo a kidney transplant in India, after successfully raising N5million. However, in November 2011, the kidney issues resurfaced, prompting her to pay a visit to the hospital, only to be told that the transplanted kidney had failed. And so the financial, emotional and physical strength-zapping ordeal called dialysis began. Jane spends close to N100,000 weekly on dialysis, epogen drugs to help build the blood, get transfused due to her low PCV and iron sucrose and other drugs to help control her blood pressure as she already has a high one.

Her doctors have informed her that undergoing a kidney transplant is inevitable. Jane needs the sum of N7 million for another transplant and the purchase of immune suppressive drugs (which are very expensive, I hear) to keep the kidney from failing again. Jane has witnessed a speedy deterioration of her health as a result of this kidney failure – recently, she had to have 6 litres of fluid drawn from her heart because she couldn’t pass out fluid from her body and she was experiencing breath seizures.

Jane needs our help financially so that she can live her life as the healthy woman she’s meant to be. Forgive the cliche, but nothing you donate is too small.

She undergoes her dialysis at SCAN CARE MEDICAL CENTRE Ojodu Lagos (an affiliation of Royan Hospital Ojodu). You can check up on her there and she also sees a consultant Dr Adekoya in LASUTH ikeja – nephrology dept. You can always make your findings to ascertain its not a scam.

As much as our financial donations are very necessary, please let’s not forget to put Jane in our prayers. For ultimately, it is the Lord who heals.

Kindly make your donations to Eco bank (Ojodu Branch) – Account Number: 0035306750. Account Name: Jane Okweshine.

For more information, contact Jane via her mobile phone: 08095679159 or via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/omucha (please, endeavour to drop encouraging words and prayers on her wall).

Thank you so much. God will forever bless you.