Click here to read Episode 11
Segun shook Femi’s hand. ‘Hello Femi.’
‘Can I come in?’ Femi asked. Segun stepped aside. Femi entered the living room and went to the sofa. Segun stood behind a three-seater chair, anxious to get to the bottom of the reason for Femi’s visit.
Femi clasped his hands. ‘Tomi told me about what happened.’
Segun came around to settle on the edge of the chair. He kept his eyes on the floor. ‘It was a stupid thing I did. If you want to take this up with the law, I’m ready for the consequences.’
‘That’s not why I’m here. Listen, I want to help you.’
Segun flared up. ‘No you can’t! What do you know about the struggles I am going through. You are a perfect gentleman. Have you ever slept with a woman before?’
Femi looked at him and didn’t say anything.
‘Answer me please.’
Femi wondered if paying Segun a visit was not a huge mistake. ‘No.’
‘Have you ever battled pornography?’
‘Have you ever kissed a woman in your life?’
‘Answer.’ Segun insisted. His lips were quivering and his eyes fierce.
Femi hesitated. Segun should be rotting in jail for almost raping his fiancée. What right did he have to question him this way? His eyes flashed with disdain at a man who couldn’t control his libido. When Femi glanced at Segun, the anger disappeared and was replaced with compassion. He saw behind the stony glare, a man screaming for help.
‘No. I have never kissed a woman in my life.’ Femi responded dryly.
Segun gave a bleak laugh. ‘So how do you want to help me? You can’t understand the demons I fight every night. I would kill to be in your position right now. But that’s not possible because I am ruined beyond repairs. Hell is what I deserve right now.’
Femi sighed. ‘It was for you that Christ came. He went to the cross to rescue us from hell. I may not have done any of the things you mentioned but I know God’s Love. I know the freedom in Christ. I am fully persuaded that our unflinching faith in the finished works of Christ is the victory we have to overcome this corrupt world. Segun, when the revelation of the finished works become life to you and the reality of your position in Christ consumes your mind, sinful habit will have no room to thrive.’
Segun closed his eyes and tears trickled down his face. He bowed his head. ‘I want to be free. I’ve watched hard porn videos every day for more than six years. Lust is driving me to my ruin. I’m tired Femi. I don’t even know if I’m saved.’
Femi grabbed one of the stools and placed it in front of Segun. He sat down. ‘God loves you. He is not mad at you at all. Jesus Christ took all of your sins in his body and put an end to sin’s power. When he resurrected, you rose with him to a newness of life. All you have to do is believe and accept his offer of salvation.’
Femi opened up his palms. Segun placed his hands in them. They bowed their heads and Femi led him to Christ.
When the prayers ended, Femi smiled, his hands still locked in with Segun’s hands. ‘This is the beginning of abundant life for you. You have received the gift of righteousness and abundant grace to reign in this life. Never let anyone talk you out of what you have received. You are joint heirs with Christ. Not even when you find yourself slipping back into those habits should you doubt your position as a son. If you will maintain your stand and constantly renew your mind with the Word, you will see transformation.’
Segun listened to every word Femi said. He didn’t want him to stop talking. There was something about this man that gave him so much hope. His heart felt light. He was joyful too.
As he saw Femi to the door, he decided to say what had been on his mind while Femi prayed for him.
‘Femi, I really need someone to help me grow.’ Segun said, standing in front of the door. ‘I know there are lots of things I need to know. Will you be willing to disciple me?’
Femi smiled. ‘I’ll be glad to do so.’ He stopped. ‘There is one more thing. You can be filled with the Holy Ghost right now.’
Segun’s eye widened. ‘Really?’
‘You want that?’ Femi asked.
Right there, as they stood at the entrance, Femi spoke to him about the baptism of the spirit. After a few minutes, he laid his hands on Segun’s head and began to pray in the Spirit. Suddenly, Segun began to hear sounds that stayed in his throat but he was afraid to open his mouth.
‘Until you open your mouth, nothing will happen.’
As Segun obeyed, his lips felt dried and no words came out. But as he responded slowly to the incoherent words, he felt an overwhelming force take control of his lips. He fell to his knees and words he couldn’t understand flowed seamlessly from his lips.
‘That’s it!’ Femi laughed aloud. ‘Glory!’
‘We’ll fix a time every weekend where we’ll meet to discuss and pray.’ Femi said, as they walked towards the entrance where his car was parked.
Segun couldn’t control his excitement. He was bouncing with his hands in his pocket like he had just won an award of hundred million dollars.
Femi continued. ‘I’ll be calling you every week by God’s grace. Possibly, once in a week, we’ll have morning devotions together. There are lots of things I’ll love to share with you.’
Segun exhaled slowly. Who was he that God could love him this much. When he thought his life was never going to make sense, God in his mercy had sent Femi to him. He couldn’t explain the joy that filled his heart. He was a son in the kingdom. He was seated in heavenly places in Christ. What other greater thing could he ask for.
When they got outside the gate, Segun was surprised to see Tomi sitting in Femi’s car. Her eyes were glued to her phone screen. The a.c was turned on and the windows rolled up. Femi had to tap the window to get her attention. She opened the door and stepped out of the car.
Segun closed his eyes for a brief moment, memories of the night he had brought Tomi to his house flooding his mind. Tomi had every reason not to forgive him. He had almost raped her. He wished he could run away and never see Tomi again. Had Femi convinced her to come?
‘I forgive you Segun.’ Tomi said, leaning on the car.
Segun looked at her and what he saw in her eyes was not what he’d expected. No mockery. No taunts. Instead he saw compassion and love. Segun couldn’t understand it. He just stood there speechless. Femi moved closer to him.
‘Always remember, there is no more condemnation to you. You are in union with Christ and everything God has provided to every child of his, is available to you. Stand in the victory you have received by declaring what God says about you. When I get home, I’ll text you some scriptural verses.’
Femi hugged his new convert and climbed into the car. Tomi waved at him as Femi drove away.
An hour later, Femi pulled up in front of Tomi’s shop, his heart still bursting with so much joy. When he’d received a strong urge to pray for Segun, he had at first kicked against it. This was the man who almost raped his girl. But the urge had stayed strong in his heart throughout the day until close of work. He had responded and while praying he had known God wanted him to speak to Segun when he came to Ado for the weekend. He was happy he obeyed. He could feel God’s hand squeezing him gently on his shoulder as he said, ‘Weldone my dear son.’
‘What happened with you and Segun in the house. That guy came out with his heart full of joy.’
Femi smiled. ‘He needed help. God choose me to help him. Christ is glorified.’
Tomi looked at the shop and saw her apprentices laughing as they worked. She turned to face Femi. ‘I’m so privileged to have a man like you in my life.’
Femi touched her cheeks. ‘I want to ask for a favour.’
Tomi frowned, wondering what Femi could possibly want. She searched his eyes for a clue. Nothing.
‘Spill.’ Tomi said.
‘Remove your wig.’
Tomi’s hands immediately went to her head. ‘No way! I’m not removing it.’
Femi stared long at her, grinning. ‘Tomi please. For God’s sake, you are going to be wearing this from our bedroom. Why not let me see what I’ll wake up to every morning.’
Tomi shook her head. ‘Femi, No. You can’t see my hair.’
Femi’s hand went to the braided wig. Tomi slapped his hand away, laughing.
‘Can we do this some other time?’ Tomi pleaded.
Femi shook his head. ‘I want to see the hair now. When I call you for our morning devotion, I’m always eager to see that hair but you are either wearing a hair net or tying a scarf.’
‘My front hair is all gone. I’m just trying to grow it back.’
Femi’s eyes were focused on the wig. ‘Can we get the wig out of the way already.’
Slowly, Tomi pulled off the wig and threw her head back on the headrest. She felt exposed. Panic seized her at first, but gradually, she relaxed and slowly turned her face towards Femi. There was a broad smile on his face.
Femi touched her bald hair edges. ‘My beautiful princess.’
‘Becky introduced me to some natural hair remedies to grow back my front hair. I just pray it works. I’ve used onions and rice water but none of it worked.’
Femi chuckled. ‘Rice water to grow your hair. Women!’
Femi’s phone rang. He raised his eyebrows when he saw the caller ID. ‘It’s your dad.’
Tomi wore back her wig, using the side mirror to arrange it properly while Femi answered the phone.
‘Good afternoon sir.’ Femi greeted.
‘This is Tomi’s father.’
‘My wife and I will like to meet with you and Bukola tomorrow evening at your place. Is 5 p.m okay?’
‘Yes, it is. We’ll be expecting you.’
When Tomi’s father hung up, Femi repeated what Tomi’s father had said. Tomi smiled and continued to arrange the braids.
‘Wait o. You’ve been arranging this braids since. Are you sure we will not be going late to church every Sunday morning like this.’
Tomi rolled her eyes at Femi and returned her attention to the mirror. She held the tip of the braids and wrapped two rubber bands firmly around it. She released the tips to fall back to her shoulder.
‘I wonder what you said to my father when you went to see him. I don’t know what you do to these people that just bring them back to their senses.’
Femi smiled. ‘I just shared mum’s last words with your father along with some other things God placed in my heart to tell him.’
Tomi weaved her fingers through Femi’s fingers and stared lovingly at him.
‘I can’t wait to be your wife.’ Tomi muttered. Warmth and desire filled her eyes.
Femi couldn’t tear his gaze away from her. ‘My beautiful princess.’
Paul woke up Sunday morning. He glanced at his wife sleeping beside him and checked the time on his phone. 4.37a.m. He got down from the bed and went to sit on the sofa.
What was wrong with him? Why did he wake up with this deep seated anger? He looked around the sitting area of the bedroom and remembered the times he’d pretended to watch TV while his wife taunted him on the adulterous affair. Had they not decided to let go of the past and start afresh? Why was he still feeling this way?
Since they returned from the hotel, Folake had completely changed. She’d treated him with so much care that it had first scared him. Not once had any foul word come out of her lips. Yet he felt angry. He couldn’t get over the emotional trauma he had suffered from her words.
Paul paced the room, fighting the thoughts and the voices trying to choke him. They were all demanding for a pound of flesh.
Deal with her, the thoughts screamed at him.
Don’t let her get away with this. Remember the time you were depressed and had to take anti-depressant pills? Look at what she did to Bimbo. What sane woman would act that way.
Paul sighed and pulled out his phone from under the pillow.
He called his spiritual father. It was not dawn yet but he had to talk to someone. Pastor Adepoju picked the call on the second ring.
‘My dear son, in whom I am well pleased.’ The Pastor said softly.
‘Good morning sir.’ Paul greeted.
‘I just finished praying for you. How is Folake?’
Paul turned slightly to his wife who was still fast asleep. ‘She’s asleep.’
‘You sound bothered.’ Pastor Adepoju noted.
Paul let out a deep sigh. ‘When I reconciled with Folake, I was happy and I was ready to let go. We even lodged in a hotel for some days. It was fun. We let our feelings out in the open and I apologized again and she did same. We prayed together. I was really glad to have my marriage back. Right now, I don’t understand why I feel so angry and upset. Every wrong thing she has done for me just keeps rushing back into my mind.’
Pastor Adepoju didn’t say anything for a while. ‘Can you remember when Jesus asked Peter who he thought he was?’
‘Yes I remember.’ Paul said. ‘Peter said, you are the Christ, the son of the living God.’
‘What was Jesus’ response?’
‘Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my father in heaven.’
‘I trained you well in the word.’ Pastor Adepoju laughed. ‘Now, remember, what happened afterwards. The same Peter who had by the Spirit of the Lord declared Christ’s identity was rebuked by our Lord when he bluntly told Jesus, he would not go to the cross. What did Jesus say?’
‘Get thee behind me Satan.’ Paul responded.
Pastor Adepoju continued. ‘How could a man move from a declaration birthed by the spirit to one spearheaded by the flesh within a short period of time?’ Pastor Adepoju paused. ‘Paul, the mind is a battlefield. The fact that you won a victory over a particular situation one minute does not mean the flesh cannot attack the next moment.’
Paul exhaled, taking in every word his mentor was saying to him. He had to take charge of his mind. This was exactly what had happened. He had allowed thoughts of the past take room in his heart and it had left with it negative emotions.
‘Speak to your mind Paul. Don’t just sit there and wonder where those thoughts originate from. Declare God’s word over the union between yourself and your wife. Paul, pray. Never give the devil any room in your life.’
Paul jumped up from the sofa and began to march round the room. He held the phone close to his ear while he listened as his mentor raised prayer declarations.
‘My family is blessed.’ Paul prayed. ‘The love of Christ is shed abroad in my heart. Oh there is fresh love for my wife! That love that passes all knowledge consumes my heart in the name of Jesus.’
He stopped in front of the bed. ‘I bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. I have the mind of Christ. I think the thoughts of the Lord. I love my wife as Christ loves the church. The deep realities of the love walk is revealed to me, in the name of Jesus.’
The more Pastor Adepoju prayed, the stronger the fire Paul felt in his bones. At a point he got on his knees and was lost in prayer.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word.
The scripture dropped in his heart with an understanding that he had never seen before.
Long after Pastor Adepoju ended the call, he remained on his knees praying. Calmness settled in his heart with an inexplicable joy. When he stood up from the floor, Folake was already up, kneeling by the bedside, praying.
‘Tomi’s parents are coming to see us? For what?’ Bukola asked, as she sat in the living room with Rotimi and her brother. Femi had just returned from church and Rotimi had stopped by to pick a parcel his sister-in-law had sent through Femi.
‘Calm down, at least let them get here first.’ Femi said to his sister.
Bukola hissed. ‘That’s if I’ll not first pour hot water on their bodies. Let me guess, they are coming to bribe me so I can keep my mouth shut. They have not seen anything yet.’
Femi removed his shoes and took them into the room. He came out to meet Rotimi on his feet. He was set to go home.
Bukola was still ranting. ‘They ruined our family. Things would have been better if not for their wickedness. That church has not heard the last of me.’
‘Keep quiet!’ Rotimi yelled. Bukola glanced at him, shocked. Femi too was surprised.
‘What is wrong with you?’ Rotimi started. ‘How your life will turn out eventually is your responsibility. Yes, they treated your mother terribly. But right now, she is in heaven resting while you are here, squeaking like a duck. You stopped school. Got into prostitution. Started drinking. You refuse to do anything tangible with your life. Bukola, you are in your late twenties, for goodness sake. If you do not sit down and figure out what to do with your life, you’ll go to your old age and all you’ll ever been known for is that you came to this world to whine.’
Bukola looked away hurt. Femi stood there liking every bit of the conversation.
Rotimi was not done. ‘We don’t allow the bad experiences we’ve encountered push us further down the valley. We use those circumstances as stepping stones to get the best from life. My mother abandoned me in an old farm. What if I had decided to live recklessly in an attempt to get back at my mum. Who will suffer the consequences at the end? Thank God for the gift of salvation. Your mother received it. Your brother and I received that life too. Christ transformed us. He will do same for you too. Take a stand. The choice is yours to make.’
When Rotimi finished talking, he walked out of the house. Bukola stared blankly at the wall and remained that way even after Tomi’s parents came to the house.
Femi received the visitors warmly and set two bottles of orange juice before them. As far as Bukola was concerned, Tomi’s parents could as well have been invisible.
‘I’m sorry about the lie I told against your mother.’ Folake started. ‘She had nothing to do with the abortion. She was falsely excommunicated from the church. I had a hand in it. Please find it in your heart to forgive me.’
Tears welled up Bukola’s eyes. ‘Forgiveness, does that word still exist?’
Folake ignored her question. ‘I’m inviting you to Garden Assembly next week Sunday. I am going to stand before the congregation to tell them what I did to your mother.’
Bukola raised her head and stared at Tomi’s mother. This was not what she expected to hear. She kept looking at the woman even after they stood up to leave. Could Mama Folake really mean what she said?
Folake apologized again and left the house with her husband. Femi followed behind. When they got outside, Paul stopped and face Femi.
‘So what’s the situation report. You still want to marry my daughter?’
Femi’s eyes widened. He was tongue-tied for a second. ‘Yes! Yes! I love her so much. I want to marry her. We-we -love each other.’
Folake laughed and walked to the car. She turned slightly towards Femi. ‘Who wouldn’t want a man like you for a son-in-law.’
Paul smiled. You have our consent. Just let us know your plans.’
Femi prostrated flat on the floor. ‘Thank you so much.’
‘Stand up.’ Tomi’s father tapped his shoulder gently. ‘Go break the news to your girl.’
When he got back to the house, Bukola was still sitting at the spot where he had left her. He would have to tell her whether or not she liked the news. He sat quietly beside her.
‘Bukola, I finally got the consent of Tomi’s parents. I’m getting married to Tomi.’
Bukola stared at her brother, dumbfounded. ‘Wait, is this a super story or what?’ She wanted to say more but instead she stood up and walked angrily into her room. Femi picked up his phone to call Tomi.
A heap of clothes lay towards the edge of Becky’s bed. Shoes of different colours were scattered in different directions on the floor. Tomi leaned close to the window, watching Peju fold clothes into a big box. Becky was sweating profusely as she arranged her shoes into another box.
‘Babe, hope you know you can’t take all these clothes to Canada. It does not make sense. Go and buy correct clothes there and leave these for us.’
Becky laughed. ‘You know most of my clothes cannot size you.’
Peju held up a beautiful purple gown. ‘This will.’
Becky tried to snatch the gown away. Peju hid it behind her.
Becky shook her head. ‘Peju please, I just bought that gown. See, I’ll definitely give you some of my clothes and you can even take any of my shoes but you see that gown, it’s going with me to Canada.’
Peju glanced at Tomi who had refused to join the conversation.
‘What’s wrong with this one?’
‘She is still vexed that I’ll be out of this country in a couple of days. I don’t know what she wants me to be doing here.’ Becky said.
Peju went to Tomi and tickled her. Her body remained stiff. Peju noticed there were tears in her eyes.
‘Omo, babe don dey cry o. I wonder what will happen when we get to the airport on wednesday.’
Becky went to her and put her hands around her neck. ‘I’m going to miss you too. It’s so sad that I won’t be around for your wedding.’
Tomi chuckled. ‘Wedding that we have no idea when it’s going to happen. The last thing I want to do is ask my parents for their consent. I need to give them some time to figure out their lives.’
‘At least there is hope.’ Peju said.
Becky held her hand and pulled her away from the wall and towards the bed. As Tomi sat down, her phone rang. She smiled and glanced up at her friends.
Peju pout her lips. ‘That must be Femi. No long discussion o. Tell him we are having girl time.’
Tomi answered the call. ‘Hey sweetheart.’
‘You won’t believe what just happened.’ Femi said, laughing loudly. ‘Your dad was here and while I was seeing him off to the car, he asked when we’d love to get married. Lorokan sha, He has given us his consent.’
Tomi jumped to her feet. ‘Jesus!’ She turned to her friend, in excitement. ‘My parents have agreed. I’m getting married soon!’
Her friends hugged her so tightly that the phone fell from her hands. Tomi couldn’t contain the excitement. Tears of joy trickled down her face.
‘I have to go home now. I need to see my parents.’
Tomi grabbed her bag and ran out of the room. She flagged down a motorbike and gave directions to her house. Her heart raced as the bike man sped down her street and finally stopped in front of her house. She jumped down, paid him the fare and ran into the house.
Tomi’s mother was engaged in a conversation with Ayo when Tomi entered.
‘Mum, is it true? Femi said you and dad agreed for us to get married.’
Folake nodded, her face beaming with smiles. Tomi ran to hug her.
‘Thank you so much. Where is dad?’
‘He went out with your brother.’
Tomi hugged her mother. ‘I love you mum.’
Ayo clapped her hands. ‘You too like man abeg. See tears in your eyes.’
‘Leave my daughter alone o.’ Folake cautioned her younger daughter playfully and pulled Tomi into her embrace.
Read Episode 13 here