Click here to read Episode 7
This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl- Season 1 Episode 8
Abigail suggested we pray Friday night. The plan was that I’d go straight to her place from work and then leave for home on Saturday morning. But that evening, as I left the office, I completely lost interest in praying. Wale was still not talking to me and my boss, Stephen had reprimanded me for a fundamental error I made while drafting a proposal for one of the senator’s sons.
I was not in the mood for any kind of prayers. What I wanted to do was go home, lock myself up in my room and not talk to anyone.
I called Abigail to inform her I’d not be able to make it to her house because I wasn’t feeling too well. I pleaded that we move the prayers to the following weekend.
‘I’m sorry about your health. You are healed in Jesus name.’ Abigail said. ‘Have you used any medication?’
‘Abigail, it’s not that type of sickness. I just feel emotionally down. Wale is not talking to me and I had a bad day at work today.’
Abigail hissed. ‘Get down here my friend! I thought it had to do with your body. I’m waiting for you.’
Abigail ended the call before I had any chance to convince her that I needed to be alone. I stood at the bus stop for almost thirty minutes torn between going home and travelling to Abigail’s house. It would take me 4 to 5 hours to get to her house and it wasn’t as if she lived outside Lagos. The traffic to her place ehn… Anyway, I chose the latter.
It was almost 11p.m when I got to Abigail’s place, no thanks to the heavy traffic. Her mother was not back from work, so we sat in the living room and waited for her to get home.
Abigail turned off the TV and looked at me. ‘Yemisi, I know God gave you a picture of the nature of your spouse’s assignment but the fact that Wale is in full time ministry is not enough to jump into conclusion on God’s leading. Listen, I’m not saying he is not the one. I just want to be sure you know what you are doing. ’
I stared at the blank TV and at my friend. Was there anything in my life that I was sure of? ‘I don’t even understand myself anymore. Right now, I’m more concerned about my spiritual growth. I’m tired of struggling.’
‘Your relationship is supposed to draw you closer to God.’
‘Exactly!’ I exclaimed. ‘Instead I feel drained out. It’s like Wale does not really love me for who I am but because of what he can get from me. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know. But I have that feeling somewhere in my heart that I need to take a step backward. It’s just so difficult to tear myself away.’
‘We’ll pray and seek God’s mind concerning this situation.’
I sighed. ‘Abigail, I’ve been praying. I can’t hear anything. God just seem so far away from me.’
Abigail leaned forward. ‘God never leaves. You are his daughter. You should know this basic truth already. He is always with us, nudging us towards his will and purpose but the problem is our receptivity to the instructions from the Holy Spirit. God’s voice becomes clear to us to the degree that our minds are available to receive. At this point, you need extra help. You can’t handle this alone because your mind is very much wrapped around Wale but by praying together, I’ll be helping you create an atmosphere to clear the channel that’ll open you up to more clarity.’
A car horn sounded. Abigail went to the window and pulled back the curtain.
‘Mum is back.’ Abigail danced, her face beaming with smiles. We went outside and waited at the veranda as the car pulled into the compound.
Abigail’s mum stepped out of the car. I could see her tired face from the light that shone from the garage. She pointed to the backseat and asked that we take in the things she had bought.
I took her handbag and high heels while Abigail carried two loaves of bread and two black nylon bags containing wrapped akara balls. We got into the living room and immediately dug into the akara.
‘Oh my God! This is heavenly’ Abigail exclaimed as she bit into one of the akara balls. I took one and chewed slowly. We tore open a loaf of bread and ate it alongside the akara.
‘Remember we are going to pray. Let’s eat small small o.’ Abigail said as she reached for the fourth ball. I laughed. My stomach was already getting heavy but the akara was so delicious that I didn’t want to stop.
We had finished one pack and were about to unwrap the second nylon bag of akara when Abigail’s mother shouted from the dining table.
‘That’s enough! Don’t open that pack. Haba! Are you sure you’ll be able to pray with the way you are eating? If I had remembered that you had a prayer vigil, I wouldn’t have bought the bean cakes.’
Abigail spoke with her mouth full. ‘Mummy, we will pray. The Lord is our strength.’
Abigail’s mother was right. Five minutes into our prayer, I could barely walk because my stomach was so heavy it felt ready to burst. I was staggering on the floor of the living room like a drunk woman. I could barely open my mouth to pray. Abigail was also having a hard time praying on her knees. She lay flat on the floor, praying in tongues and gradually, her voice died down and was replaced by heavy snores.
I didn’t even bother waking her up. I jumped on the sofa and slept off.
A loud voice woke me up. When I opened my eyes, Abigail’s mother was standing behind the sofa holding a cup of coffee. I yawned and rose to my feet. With the back of my hand, I blocked the light streaming into my eyes from the window. I turned and saw Abigail in the same position as I had left her. She opened her eyes, closed them and opened them again. Then she sat up.
‘What time is it?’ She said, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
Abigail’s mother sipped her coffee. ‘How was your prayer meeting?’
Abigail frowned as she looked towards the window. ‘It’s day already?’
‘I can’t believe we didn’t pray.’ I said. I checked the time. It was few minutes past seven a.m.
Abigail’s mother came around to sit in front of the TV. Andrew Wommack was on the screen, sitting with his bible opened on a table. I couldn’t hear what he was saying because the volume was turned low. Abigail’s mother looked at us. ‘When you were devouring akara and bread anyhow, you did not remember that praying effectively goes with having a light stomach.’
Abigail sighed and looked at me. ‘If you are not in a hurry, we can still pray after I’m done with the house chores.’
I was already on my feet. I had to be home early to clean up my place. ‘How can I help?’
Abigail looked around the living room. ‘I’ll put the dirty clothes in the machine and clean up the kitchen. You can help sweep the living room and veranda.’
Abigail’s mother put down the cup on a stool beside the sofa. ‘Leave everything and go into your room and pray. The chores can wait. Go and pray first.’
When we started praying, my mind wandered to Wale. There was this deep love for him that consumed my heart. I remembered the nice things we did together. I felt convinced that Wale was the man for me and that I was just looking for excuses to push a good man away. I pulled my mind back to the prayers. I told God I couldn’t do anything without him. I assured myself that I was his daughter and that I had the boldness to stand in his presence without fear or inferiority. I confessed that I knew what to do and that my eyes are enlightened to know the will of God.
My mind wandered again to Pavilion and how that if I continued to work there, I’d one day take over from Stephen. It wandered to Taiwo and to the party organized at my office. I was greatly distracted. I kept pulling my mind back to the place of prayer. One minute, I’d be enjoying fellowship. The next, my mind would be playing back annoying images and thoughts.
Abigail stopped the prayer. ‘I feel the Lord will have us pray some scriptural prayers right now as we also pray in the spirit. We will take hold of our emotions and deliberately bring it under the obedience of Christ.’
My phone rang. I had forgotten to turn off the ring volume. My heart jumped when I saw it was Wale. I wanted so badly to pick it up. Abigail saw my facial expression and knew who it was. She snatched the phone from my hand and declined the call before switching off the phone.
We paced the bedroom as we prayed, praying as the Spirit gave us utterance. We prayed in our understanding and prayed in tongues. I suddenly felt energy coursing through my body.
‘We cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. We bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’
‘I have the mind of Christ. I cannot be confused because I am in union with Christ. I know what to do. I know the thoughts of the Lord.’
‘My mind is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I have accurate understanding into the will of God. My eyes are enlightened.’
‘My spirit dominates my thought life. Oh I have a sound mind. I do not have the spirit of fear, but of power and discipline and of a sound mind.’
My mind became calm and quiet. The distractions stopped.
In a flash, I saw that I was sitting with some of my students from Cornerstone College but they were not dressed in their uniforms. We were sitting in front of a building that didn’t look like the school building. As I talked to my students, I noticed that one of them, Adesuwa was peeping from behind the building. I stood up to go to her and she ran. When I called her name and she turned, I saw that she was pregnant.
I stopped praying. God, what am I seeing? Was Adesuwa really pregnant? I remembered the day myself and Mariam had caught her with the games prefect romancing behind an uncompleted building. The following day, Mariam had reported to the vice-principal who called the two of them out during the school assembly.
God, what exactly are you saying? I muttered as I rested my head on the wall.
Yemisi, I am your father. I know what is best for you. You have to trust that I have great plans for you. Stop trying to bring to pass the instructions I have given to you. If I gave you those instructions, I know the right timing and process by which they’ll come into reality. Just walk with me. Stay in the process. Don’t make any move until I have given you further instructions on the things I’ve said concerning your future.
My heart trembled as I wrote down the words I was hearing in my spirit. Just then, Abigail stopped praying and looked at me.
‘It seems I’m hearing that you still have work to do with your students in Cornerstone College. I don’t see it like you’ll be going back there to teach but I sense that an opportunity will be created that’ll connect you to them.’
I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was blessed to have a friend who was sensitive to the mind of God. Abigail had confirmed the words God was saying to me.
‘I heard something about Wale.’ Abigail started. My eyes opened wide in anticipation. I was eager to know exactly what to do about Wale.
‘God says, you should listen closely. He is speaking to you right now on what to do about him.’
My hopes fell. I thought she’d give me exact words on the matter. As I closed my eyes, I knew immediately what I was supposed to do.
Let him go.
I didn’t hear any audible voice. I just knew in my spirit God wanted me to walk away from the relationship. At first, I thought it was my mind, but the more I prayed, the stronger it stayed on my heart.
‘Abigail, what God is asking me to do is difficult. He wants me to let Wale go. How am I supposed to do that?’
Abigail gave me a look that said, ‘I feel like slapping you right now.’ Abigail could not understand how much I loved Wale. How was I supposed to end the relationship like that?
‘Yemisi, if God is asking you to do this, then you can trust your future into his hands.’
I wasn’t convinced. This could be my mind at work. ‘I’ll still pray about it Abigail. I just need to be sure I’m taking the right step.’
Abigail shrugged. We prayed about other things and then ended the prayers. I helped Abigail with some chores before leaving for my place. Her mother made yam porridge that had chunks of stock fish scattered inside it. I was already salivating as Abigail packed my portion into a plastic container.
It was at the gate of my house that I remembered my phone was still switched off. Immediately I turned it on, I saw a message from Wale.
Yemisi, what’s this shakara about? Why did you reject my call? Oh you are angry with me because I haven’t called you in a while? I’m sorry okay. I’ll explain when we see. Guess what? I have moved to a three bedroom apartment. Yes, girl we are set for family life. We’ll go together to see the place after service tomorrow. I miss you sweetheart. I can’t wait to see you in the service tomorrow.
That night, for several hours, I battled between attending my former church and going for service at Pure Heaven Assembly. When I sent a message to my Pastor that I had moved to a new assembly, he’d called to ask why I made the move. I told him I was led to do so. He had not called me after that time.
I went to Pure Heaven Assembly the following day. What I saw at the service made me doubt what I had heard in prayers.
It was a special service and the hall was packed full. Wale ministered in such supernatural dimensions that I concluded I had heard wrongly. The prophetic words that flowed from his mouth shook me to my bones. The atmosphere was charged. You could literally feel the power of God in that hall. During the prayers, I landed flat on the floor and began to laugh with such joy that burst through my heart. Then we sat to listen to Wale preach and again it was as if I was looking at a different man.
It was not God who said those words to me in Abigail’s house. My prayer must have been influenced by fear, I concluded.
At the end of the service, as we drove to Wale’s house, I couldn’t take my gaze away from him. If truly God didn’t want me to marry Wale, then I wouldn’t have connected with him the way I did in church today. I could still feel strongly the effect of the service.
Wale glanced at me. ‘I’m very happy with the way the church is growing so fast. By August, we should be getting to a hundred members. I’m aiming for two thousand consistent members by our second anniversary.’
I smiled. Wale touched my hand. ‘I’m sorry about the way our conversation ended the last time we spoke. It was good you didn’t give me that money. God wanted me to stop depending on you.’
So why didn’t he pick my calls, I wanted to ask but I changed my mind. There was no point going back to the past.
‘Guess what?’ Wale said. ‘I got a mail from a lady who has decided to support my ministry.’
A lady? I didn’t like what I was hearing. ‘Was she in church today?’
Wale grinned. ‘Yes, she was. She sat just behind you. One pretty classy lady like that. She paid for the conference hall for the month. I was so surprised and amazed.’
‘Why would she do that?’ I asked.
‘She was at a meeting I was invited to minister few months ago. She said she was blessed by my ministration.’ Wale laughed. ‘Imagine having ten people like that committed to this ministry. I don blow finish. You see why I was particular about stepping up our game from the beginning. We are not paying heavily at Telilah for nothing. It is our way of attracting the right kind of members.’
Wale continued. ‘In fact I spoke to the head of the music team few weeks ago. We are planning to hire a drummer, pianist and three choristers with great voices.’
I looked at him, shocked. ‘Do you know the people you are hiring?’
‘Does it matter? We want the best. Service has to be top-notch. We’ll pay them at the end of every month. Just watch, they’ll join the church eventually because they won’t be able to resist the word of God in my mouth. I’m also hiring a music director. I found a guy who has agreed to take 80,000 naira every month.’
My mouth flew opened. This didn’t sound like the man I listened to few hours ago. Were there two personalities in one body? For goodness sake, who hires music directors? I’d thought men chosen for such positions were pulled out of faithful stewards in a local assembly.
‘What happened to Paul?’ I asked. ‘You made him the head of the music team. Why do you need a music director?’
‘To be candid, Paul is not my spec. The music isn’t as great as I’d want it to be. When he told me he’d be leaving next month for a master program at the Obafemi Awolowo University, in a way I was happy. We need class and excellence in this church.
I stared long at my fiancé, unable to believe the things he had said. Pure Heaven Assembly seemed more like a business organization than a church founded on Christ. Do I really want to go on this journey with a man like this? But we just saw the move of God during the service this morning. What exactly was going on?
My mum called me when Wale stopped in front of his new apartment. He turned off the car engine and sat back waiting.
‘Ekasan ma.’ I greeted.
‘Omo, bawoni?’ Mum’s voice seemed cheerful.
‘I’m fine ma. How’s dad?’
‘He’s getting better. We thank God for healing him but I’ve been telling him to stop going to the farm. He will not listen. I’ve told him Akin is capable of taking care of the farm. When he was still in the hospital, we got great harvest at the farm. Just yesterday, your brother was selected by the federal government for a three month agriculture program. I hear he will not only be trained but a large sum of money will be given to him after the training.’
‘Mum, I’m happy to hear this. God is faithful.’
‘Ehn, Yemisi, I called to talk to you concerning Wale.’
My heart skipped a beat. I closed my eyes, listening to my pounding heart, if she kicked against our relationship again, I’d be convinced that God wanted me to leave this man.
‘If you are sure this is the man you want to spend your life with, you have my full support. You can ask Wale to bring his family down to see us. We are ready to receive them and any day you fix for your wedding is fine by us. Apologize to Wale. Tell him I’m sorry about the way I treated him the last time you brought him home. I’ll make it up to him when he shows up here again.’
I held the phone to my ear, disappointed. There was still that nudging to end the relationship with Wale. It was as if I was expecting my mother to confirm what was in my heart and what I had heard during the prayers with Abigail.
I turned towards Wale and could see him staring at me with hope in his eyes. When the call ended, I rested my head on the car’s headrest and stared back at Wale.
Click here to read Episode 9
My dear blog family,
I want to pause here to say thank you for reading this story so far. If nobody were reading this, I wouldn’t be encouraged to keep going, but the fact that you show up every week gladdens my heart. Already we are close to having 9,000 views on the blog weekly. Soon we would have millions coming here daily, Amen!
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