The Wilderness Journey

This morning on my way to work, I couldn’t help but think of some of the life challenges I have faced in retrospect. My moments of weaknesses, the tears, heart aches, the loss of loved ones, the struggle to make ends meet.

Please do not judge me as a sadist, I usually reflect on things a lot especially while driving alone.

Lately, I have seen posts against sharing happy moments on social media and how we all need to be cautious about the things we put up. Most of these posts are from the perspective that the world isn’t usually happy with you when you succeed and you do not know where people’s minds are towards you. If this is true, then sharing our worst moments probably isn’t the best either.

The wilderness journey is a delicate personal experience that only you can understand and appreciate. This is the time that I have realized that God’s power is most ‘potent’.

Let us take some learnings from the Bible. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years and during this time, they saw the mighty wonders of God. From the pillar of cloud by day to guide them to the pillar of fire by night to give them light, to food raining from the sky and many other ‘raw’ miracles.

I have come to realize that God’s mighty hand is usually seen the most during the wilderness journey. Although, sometimes it seems that God is far from us during this period, in retrospect I realize that this isn’t so. What happens is that we get so caught up in the moment and with all the issues that we fail to take into cognizance what the Lord is doing.

I recall a particular time in my life when all went wrong in 4 successions – one month (one bad experience followed another for four weeks straight!). Back then, it seemed like God had left me, I felt all alone. My sins weighed down on me and the consequences crushed me.

Looking back now, I don’t think I have ever felt so close to God as I did that period. When I cried, I cried to Him. When I smiled, I smiled through him. My every breath was hinged on Him.

So back to sharing our moments with the world, I think if we are cautious with sharing the good moments, I’ll be doubly cautious with sharing the bad. My wilderness journey as hard as it was is really precious to me and has taught me most of the good I know now.

Here is an encouragement to all who are going through the wilderness; 1. it does not last forever – there is an end date, 2. the mighty hand of God is most seen in the wilderness, 3. you will come out a victor, 4. you will help others through theirs.

Wishing you a blessed and fulfilling week!

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L.O.V.E in spite of…

My sister turned a year older yesterday!!! Whoop whoop!!!

I am particularly happy because as a family, we have been through so much in the last few years and all I can do is be thankful to God for how far we have come.

She is eleven years older than me and this I believe largely placed a strain on our relationship more than anything else (for this reason my Uni project was ‘Birth order and its effect on personality’ – I found out so much).

When I was much younger, I saw her as my younger mommy lol! I remember how she would take care of me, take me everywhere, show me off to her friends – her friends were my friends!, carry me on her back, buy me all the trendy clothes ( I never shopped for myself) and many fond memories.

We never really had the usual ‘sisterly’ relationship where we tell each other everything and were best friends but we are indeed close. I can’t imagine having to share my mom with any other person.

We are both so close to my mom, we both slept on her bed till the day we got married! Although I would have loved to have brothers (who I think would have spiced up the dynamics), my selfish self is perfectly okay with how we are.

Marriage has brought us much closer.

Managing separate families has taught us to respect each other more.

To be honest, you never can understand what it feels like to run a home until you have been there. I remember judging people’s techniques and method of parenting, etc. before I got there and now I know, you don’t know till you get there!

This brings me to a topic I have tried so hard (but failed) not to comment on…. the current happenings in the Big brother Nigeria house. The world has deemed it fit to throw shades at TTT’s wife and all I can do is pray for strength for her while she goes through this period. No one should be held responsible for a partner’s actions / flaw / error.

I read a devotional last night which basically pointed out that our happiness should not be hinged on our relationships / marriage or spouse.

Our perfection, our joy, our sanity, our hope, our peace comes from the Lord and no one can fill whatever void we feel.

The family is indeed a gift which God blesses us with but it is made up of imperfect people.

I celebrate the imperfections of my loved ones, I love my family (in-laws inclusive) ‘in spite of’….

lurv

The Day after Valentine’s…

I woke up beside my man, early Wednesday morning. It was about 5am in the morning and it felt great. The night before was amazing. I had gotten back home from work to meet the door open. This was strange as we are usually security conscious. I figured my husband had just been outside and left the door open for me as I told him I was on my way back. I walked past the living room to see one of my favorite meals – Beans and dodo (fried plantain) complete with a mug of hot chocolate. This man sha managed to surprise me for Valentine’s. I was happy of course as he had obviously taken time out to make this for me! As I walked on up, I noticed rose petals on the staircase leading up to our room. There were candle lights all over the bedroom  floor, red rose petals scattered all over our neatly laid bed, the curtains had been drawn casting only a ray of the setting sun into the dimly lit room, the ambience took my breathe away. How romantic of my man to have gone all out to impress me even after eight valentine’s together!

He had convinced me to send our daughter to his sister’s for the week. Little did I know the plans he had for me on this special day. I dropped my bag on the floor and took off most of my clothes. I still hadn’t seen him. What was he up to? I wondered. I walked into the bathroom to see him leaning over the tub filled with water with my favorite bath scents. My heart raced as I walked towards him. This was my husband, sitting there doing all he could to make me happy, my rock, my king. He tries to treat me like a queen every single day but days like this just made me realize how blessed I am.

He sure knows how to treat his woman and I’ll forever be thankful for the day I said I do to him. I settled into the bath tub and he reached out to give me a back rub. As I laid my head on his laps, I closed my eyes and said a prayer for him, for us, for our children, for our marriage…

***

I woke up… again…

All that didn’t happen the day before. I realized I had dreamt it all up.

What had happened the day before?

It sure was Valentine’s Day but none of that happened!

As I sat dazed from the apparent dreaming, I cast my mind back. Tuesday had gone on normal, nothing extraordinarily special happened.

We had gotten up early for work and I had to remind my husband it was Valentine’s Day. We had hugged and kissed and as he gave me a tight hug, he whispered ‘I love you baby’ and of course I replied, ‘I love you too’. That was it.

I had gotten back home late from work and busied myself with house chores. The only other time I remembered it was Valentine’s Day was just before I went to bed.

I had to ask a group of my friends who are all married, how to deal with a man who doesn’t totally acknowledge Valentine’s and it turned out that most of us had husbands who don’t really send the day at afterall!

To be honest, I am not a sucker for Valentine’s Day but the world has somehow put it in my head that special mind blowing things must happen on this day.

In marriage, everyday should be special. You don’t have to wait for special days to make your spouse feel good.

Most people close to me know how close I am to my husband.

Every day is a day of love at home. It is a conscious effort we put in to bond on different levels every day.

So when my husband didn’t make a fuss on Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t offended. The little things he does on ordinary days make it all worth it.

Permit me to liken Valentine’s Day to the Wedding Day. There’s euphoria, there’s hype, there’s love and love making. What happens the day after? Do you wake up 3 years after and still stare at your spouse and say a prayer under your breath?

Think about it.

Merging families

Hello everyone!

I really hope you all had a good / restful weekend.

I know I did. I spent it with my mom! I needed a break so I went and spent the weekend with her!

Anyway, I have been pondering on this topic for a while – Merging families and I finally got the courage to write about it.

Not so many people know I almost ended up with someone else as I had gotten pregnant and mostly due to our religious custom, I nearly married him for it. To be honest, I am glad that I did not make that mistake as I was far from ready for marriage neither was I with the right person for me.

It was never my wish to lose a child but that happened which made moving on both tough and easy at the same time. I still struggle to imagine what may have happened if he survived and I ended up marrying another man.

One major question I ask is how easy would it have been for my husband to accept this child? Would it have been selfish of me to want him to accept full responsibility for a child that wasn’t his? Another question that bugs me is would my child’s father have been okay with another man bringing up his child?

Other questions that I ask are: how easy will it have been to merge families? Would my child grow up to love my husband as his father? Would my in-laws have accepted us even with the ‘baggage’? How would the world see me? Would I have had to play mediator between my husband and the child? These are a few of the many questions that I cannot seem to find answers to.

My mind ponders on how people do it.

I know the situation would have been tough for all parties involved but I know there is always a way out. The role of Love cannot be over emphasized or downplayed when it comes to handling issues in marriage.

The Bible says ‘Love covers all sin’… I believe the Love that exists between a man and his wife can definitely overcome whatever issues may occur when merging families.

One mistake I have realized people we make is personalizing a problem. We tend to forget that whatever affects us, affects the people closest to us.

In marriage, your problem is your spouse’s problem.

Your child is your spouse’s child. This should be settled and agreed upon before the wedding. Bringing a child into a home is not like bringing in a dog or an animal. This is far more intimate and sensitive.

If your spouse can love you regardless of your many flaws, this should not be any different. Of course there is room for negotiation and sacrifice. If your spouse and child clash (this happens usually for older children) then there should be room for negotiation.

Managing the relationship between spouse and child is key. The child must be informed of the position and place of your spouse and vice versa. Both parties should be given equal opportunities to make it work. Just like we grow in love, relationships are not built in a day.

Finally, the place of the extended family must be kept as stated….Extended. I know we (Nigerians) are family oriented. Especially in the Yoruba culture, you marry your spouse and the family. This must not hinder the growth of the marriage. There should be clearly defined lines that both parties must not cross. “…that is why the man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife…” His wife, not his wife’s family, not his wife’s friends, his wife alone.

I was motivated to write this based on an experience of someone close to me, I really hope all who find themselves having to merge families do so with the guidance of God and find this post helpful.

Cheers!

Depression

Today on my way to work, I remembered my doctor’s appointment last Sunday and couldn’t help but smile at how far I have come. We had gone over the activities of the last couple of months and I couldn’t help but thank God for how well I am doing now.

I was diagnosed with depression many months after I recovered from a mental break down. This did not come as a shock to my doctor as there had been symptoms of depression before it morphed into psychosis.

The fact that I was diagnosed with depression came to me as a bit of shock (I wasn’t really involved with my initial diagnosis as I was far from conscious out of touch with reality). What shocked me really were the symptoms that led to the diagnosis. I have really never considered suicide (my religion and learnings won’t let me). Suicide has always been my idea of the symptom of depression… little did I know how close I was to it.

I recall I had many bad thoughts which haunted my mind.

I saw images of me or my loved ones dying, being shot, being tortured and so on. I remember having nightmares that haunted my sleep. I became very frightened. Driving was a chore as I struggled to stay focused on the road and generally. This went on for about two weeks before I finally decided I had to see my doctor. Thank God I did, as that was how I found out those were also symptoms of depression and she thankfully started me on an anti-depressant.

Now if you’ve been here before, you should know how horrid those meds are. The side effects (especially the first couple of days) were horrible. I could hardly keep my eyes open at work, I ate like I had four stomachs, I had nausea and felt generally worse off. I would have stopped the medication if not for my husband (a psychologist) who ensured I took my meds religiously. I have had to take it for almost a year now and I am glad to say I am ending it this weekend!

The road to recovery hasn’t been easy.

So many people here (Nigeria) do not believe in mental illness. In fact mental illness to some = antichrist. You can’t be a Christian and suffer mental illness. I have heard a lot. Some think depression is ‘white man’s illness, some think we Nigerians are too strong for that, some think it simply doesn’t exist while others feel it’s a demonic spirit.

Depression is an illness. It is real. Just like Malaria it is foreign to the body and can be cured. Postpartum depression is growing by the day. We are exposed to so much hardship and psychological torture that our threshold level has significantly dropped.

This post is actually to educate and encourage everyone who knows someone / is going through this. It is not the end of the world.

For some weird reason I have had to experience postpartum psychosis and depression and it hasn’t been easy. The battle is real, but God is bigger. Join me as I celebrate this milestone in my recovery journey!

depression

Have a good weekend everyone!

Team Work

I am back, just as I promised in my last post! Though a bit later than usual, that is because I have had the most eventful week so far this year.

I learnt a critical phenomenon in the past few days.

Team work.

This is something I have always been really passionate about and these past few days just proved to me how important it is.

During my youth service year, the then GMD at my office (PCA) ensured this was the core of our learnings. We were drilled in this regard, the art of team work. I call it an art because it is indeed a powerful skill. In my almost seven years of experience, I have come to realize that team work will take you places.

We had an important presentation planned for today and the way everyone responded to it was truly amazing. Every single person at the office had something to chip in – this was pleasing to me, as I earlier stated, I am a sucker for team work! and of course, it is my account.

Now if you are in the Advertising industry you can somewhat relate to this.

Prepping for a pitch or presentation often times is restricted to a certain group of people – Business Development /Client Service, Strategy and Creative. These are the primary group of people who interact with clients.

We as the Business Development / Client service team take pride in servicing our clients. Brands are our babies. I recall a time when I was on the Ford account, everyone close to me knew my love and bias for Ford. Both the brand and the people become lifestyle (it takes grace not to call your spouse your client’s name). Anyway most times, we restrict other department’s interactions with the clients – trust me this is best for all parties. So this time, we did it differently. We opened up ourselves, ideas and thoughts to all and everyone for once had a say.

The results were amazing.

Our minds were so open, we explored areas we could have easily left out, we took into cognizance the little things, the preparation process was easy (though stressful) and we ended up wowing the clients and strengthening our relationship with them.

This has impacted my life even more, as I have another reason to believe in team work.

No man is an island as they say.

We really need to be more open in our approach in life.

I know not everyone is comfortable with being completely open to others neither is it easy especially for those that have been hurt before. We however cannot go through life as a loner. Especially in marriage, you learn to open up to your spouse, trusting wholeheartedly that he / she has your back.

This is a charge to you. Try something different, try another approach.

Are you a lone ranger who loves to do things strictly your own way? You’ll be surprised what you can achieve if only you let someone help out.

meee

Here’s my happy face!

Shout out to PCA, you turned a year older yesterday. You are a blessing to generations, keep being you!

You lack nothing

I tried so hard to write earlier today but couldn’t find the time to think.

This morning, I saw a quote that ministered to me and thought to share… 

Often times we focus our minds so much on the things we wish or hope to have than realizing and capitalizing on what we already own. 

Many times I have drowned myself in sorrow, thinking about all the things I wish I had; wanting a better paying job, travelling around the world, owning my home, driving a better car, having a billion pounds to my name and many other things I can’t put down. 

The truth is I am rich. 

I have been blessed with so much that money can / can’t buy. I am alive, I have shelter over my head, I have a beautiful family, I drive my own car, I have a job I love and the list is endless. 

Today after seeing that quote, I began to thank God for all I have. Yes, we my not have ‘PHCN’ light, thank God I have a generator and can afford to fuel it, thank God I can afford to buy water, thank God I have a home, thank God I have a job, thank God I have a family, thank God I have my blog, thank God I have you. 

I am hoping to encourage someone out there tonight. I know we have an insatiable desire for the good things of life but don’t let that stop you from living a purpose filled / abundance life. 

Remember that God loves you and He has your best interest at heart, know that everything happens for a reason, believe that all is working together for your good…. You lack nothing. 

Special shout out to Kimberly Jones Pothier #realtalkkim for always posting with me in mind! 

Have a blessed weekend!