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As I looked into Zoe’s swollen face, I could not but pray to God for mercy. She had cried her face out all through the night.
I was at the Monday Bible Study yesterday when I received a call from an unknown number.
‘Mummy, I am coming home o. Enough is enough.’ I had Zoe’s voice ring from the other end. I was shocked
‘What’s the matter?’ I had asked, so patiently.
Though I was perplexed, life had taught me so pricelessly, the importance of listening patiently and considering all pros and cons before diving into a matter no matter how little.
‘I am tired of Joe. We had a date yesterday, he slapped me just because I said I smelt alcohol in his mouth’ she lamented and I sighed heavily.
I had told Zoe for a number of times that I had my doubts about that Benin boy whose hair was so ‘afroish’ that it could make an osuka for a market woman carrying a large heavy bowl on her head!
When she was overly blinded by this love thing (or should I call it infatuation?), I had gone on my knees to pray against mistake in this aspect for my only kid.
Oh how I prayed!
Now, that same guy had slapped her for the second time.
The first time he slapped her, it was because she had confronted him on why he used the picture of a girl that was not even a relative of his as the profile picture on Facebook. He apologized for an umpteenth time to have Zoe back saying it was the devil’s handiwork- there are many people Satan would slap for lying against him in hell!
What else should I do oh Lord?
How do I teach my own daughter how to go on her knees and ask God for guidance in this critical aspect of her life?
I missed it in life and I now live in remembrance of my terrible mistake forever.
I am the most miserable, worst, unqualified marriage counselor on earth and since my failure; I had never attempted to advise anyone on that matter.
She drove into the compound that day in her official car- she had a nice job with a very prominent oil and gas company in Port Harcourt and she was one of their directors.
As she walked inside the house, she defied my open arms and just rushed into her room. She didn’t come out of her room until the next morning.
While she was inside, crying her heart out, I was in my room pouring my heart unto God to proffer solution to the issue and also help my daughter through me.
‘You are qualified to counsel her’ the Holy Spirit whispered to me
‘How? I am a failure. I failed in this aspect, so how can I successfully do this Father?’ I asked so calmly, my heart really heavy.
‘You failed indeed but your real failure comes if your daughter fails too!’ the Holy Spirit whispered to me.
Lizzy had really been a great help to my spiritual life, telling me what to do and how I should go about it especially in listening to the Holy Spirit. Over two years now, the Holy Spirit had been speaking expressly to me.
‘Sit her down and talk to her. You are able!’ the Holy Spirit assured me and I heaved a sigh of anxiety.- I had lost my voice, my boldness, my courage and I was really lost all together.
The effect of the mercury-laden drink that my husband fed me almost two decades back still lingered.
If not for God and his mercy, I often wondered how hot the hell I would go to would have burnt!- I would have been the firewood that the devil would use forever and ever in that burning furnace!
After I had passed out that day when Zoe refused to come into my bloody outstretched arms, I didn’t know what happened to me again- I was totally dead, in darkness.
I couldn’t even see God- in movies some people see some men in white that would chase them back to earth saying their time wasn’t over but for me, all I could see was total blackout!
I woke up from the unconsciousness when my ten years old Zoe was already 15 years old!
5 years unconsciousness just from a sip of mercury-laden drink!
Even after regaining consciousness, my condition relapsed severally before I became stable a bit.
I later learnt that Lizzy still lingered in the sitting room that day after Zack ordered her out of our house.
‘The Holy Spirit was the one who woke me up from sleep that I needed to be in your house and I couldn’t leave simply because Zack said I should leave. Thank God I waited. I found both of you in blood!’ she later narrated to me. My vomitus was intermixed with blood tht day, according to her.
She was the one who rushed both of us to the clinic and had us resuscitated and admitted.
But from then even till now, I experience labors to produce speech from my poison-twisted body;
My hands flutter like wounded birds;
My right eye rolls upward and;
My mouth contorts with effort.
When I was newly discharged from the hospital, I needed a friend to translate some of the ensuing sounds into language a stranger can understand.
The process was slow and obviously exhausting, but I was undaunted.
I was angry and wanted to be heard!
I wanted to speak again and I started to heal- little by little.
To start speaking now on matters that I really dread was something I couldn’t even fathom but I had to do it anyways as the Holy Spirit kept on bidding me.
‘Read Exodus 4:12” He spoke again. I reached for my bed and opened my Bible.
‘Now, go, therefore, I will be with your mouth and shall teach you what thou shalt say’ I read aloud meaningfully, nodding as the great promise of God sank deep into my heart.
With a set mind, I put down my Bible, ensure Zack was sleeping soundly and I went out of the room quietly so has not to wake him.
If you see Zack now, he is in a very bad shape!
Since the stab from me, he was attacked severely by tetanus and had relapsed lots of time despite surgery.
Now, he could barely use his back as he moved around in a wheel chair!
As Zoe cried so heavily, I couldn’t but shake my head because she didn’t know that all things was working together for her good.
‘Why are you crying this much? Do you love him this much?’ I asked and she nodded affirmatively, sobbing to the extent that her body shook.
‘Does he love you this much too?’ I asked and she looked up at me, waving her long, wet hair off her tears-soaked face. I saw doubt
‘He loves me too but he can’t be crying like this. He is a man’ she defended him and I gasped in confusion.
‘Men don’t cry?’ I asked
‘They do, but his own kind of personality…’ she kept on saying when I cut in
‘Can you die for him?…Like, you have one kidney left and he needs one to survive…’ she didn’t let me land
‘I would give it to him.’ She said and I watched on in amazement.
‘What about him? Could he give it to you? Could he because of you give up his life?’ I asked and she chuckled as tears ran down her face.
‘No mum, he’s human’ She said
‘And you are an alien?’ I almost shouted. She broke down into tears the more.
‘See daughter, be grateful that you still have this opportunity. If you had tied the nuptial knot with this ‘Puncher’, I don’t know what you would be saying now.’
‘Mum, Joe has always been my crush since the university’ she said and I shook my head.
‘Crush? What’s a crush?…see my love, a crush would eventually crush the ‘crushee’!’ I didn’t know if that word was in the dictionary but I was so desperate to pass my message to this infatuated girl.
‘Really?’ she asked and I nodded
‘See, I had a serious crush on a brother in my fellowship. In my thoughts, it was Bro Dave, when I wore a cloth; it was for Bro Dave that I wore it. Whatever I did, I did it with Bro Dave in mind.” I swallowed hard as I relived the whole scenes in my head. I remembered so clearly.
‘The funniest part is, he played along, notices the new dresses I wore, appreciated them, visited me, held my hands to pray for me when I was sick and all’ I smiled bitterly and Zoe watched on, her cries had subsided but she still shook from the sobs.
‘Until one day when he gladly pulled me outside the church, smiling heartily and jumping as if he had won a lottery. I was happy too, jumping as if I knew what it was for.’ I stood up and walked to the window.
‘So, what happened?’ she asked and I smiled regrettably
‘He started screaming ‘She said yes, she said yes. As my only friend, I am telling you first but Liz said yes!’ That was what he kept saying. Those words are still registered in my head as if. Oh my God!’ I exclaimed and went to sit beside her.
I placed my hands on her shoulders
‘I ought to have told you this story long ago my daughter but I hate failure. I hate it so much!’ I fought my tears as Zoe was about to resume her crying business.
‘Wow! Crush would eventually crush the crushee!’ she used my coined word and nodded so seriously
‘Yeah! Most times’ I added
‘Getting married to Joe who beats you like craze over minute matters –if you go on with it, the Lord would judge me for leading you astray’
‘Why?’ she asked, naively
‘Because despite my failure, I failed to still guide you aright’ I said and she nodded regrettably.
‘Is Joe a Christian?’ I asked further
‘Yes, he goes to church’ she replied
‘Is there no big difference between someone who goes to church and someone who is a true child of God?’
‘Yeah!’ she nodded
‘Where exactly did you meet him?’ I asked and she looked away
‘His sister was my course mate. She introduced him to me’
‘Like a matchmaking process?’
‘Did you pray about it?’ I asked and she shot me a serious look
‘Pray? About what?’ she asked and my spirit stirred within me.
I had really had it in mind to bring up this girl in the way of the Lord until the unfortunate accident that held me down for years. She had stayed with Lizzy for a year before Zack’s mother came for her.
See my once very sharp girl talking nonsense!
‘See my dear; you should pray about every single step you want to take in life. Let me tell you my own story and why it has turned out to be this way for me’ I said and she listened with rapt attention as I unwrapped my dirty past as one would unwrap gently, molded pap served in the leaves.
She had started crying and I later joined especially when I recounted how the whole issue severed the relationship between Zoe and I and how Zack and I became bedridden for years.
‘Now, Zack can do possibly nothing without me-bath, eat, walk, talk, all! The girls he was always carrying around are where now? The companies he wanted to steal from me? The money he wanted to steal—all back in my hands but the pain and perils of a bad marriage are all still etched on my heart my baby. I can’t send him out especially now that he is born again. He is the cross I have to bear. No one placed it on me, I did! Bitterness did! Envy did! Resentment and jealousy did and Crush did!’ I lamented and Zoe cried
‘I was really looking forward to ‘Zoe and Joe’. I loved the fact that the names are similar and thought we were meant for each other’ she said childishly.
‘Daughter, that’s where you are wrong because they might only have similarities in the spelling, even the pronunciations are different’ I said and she nodded
‘True! Zo-e and Jo. That’s true. But what should I do now?’ she asked and I smiled.
‘That’s the very best question to ask daughter. First, we would sit together and watch a movie’ I said and looked into her face.
The expression was expected
‘Movie? Mum, like seriously?’ she asked and I smiled
‘Like seriously! After the movie, we would know what to do. Get into the kitchen and bring two packs of popcorn from the popcorn machine’ I said and she shot me a confused look. I smiled reassuringly.
Few minutes later, I looked at her as she set her face like a flint on the Television screen, watching with rapt attention.
I kept on munching my popcorn so the noise would distract her little bit but no! ‘War Room’ had taken the best of my adorable daughter. Her pack of popcorn was just thrown beside the settee as tears rolled down her face.
‘This is similar to your marriage mum…though yours was worse!’ she said absent-mindedly and I smiled
A while later, I woke up from my slumber and looked towards the TV screen. It was showing the cast and I knew the movie just ended. I looked over to the settee and found Zoe stuffing pop-corn into her mouth in very large quantities with tears on her face.
My method worked!
The Holy Spirit took charge!
‘Mum, we’ve gat to pray!’ she screamed as she ran towards me. She held my hands and I looked into her face. My beautiful little baby!
From giving thanks to God;to asking for forgiveness for the sins of self-reliance and all; to total surrender to Christ’s Lordship to commit our futures into God’s hands; to asking for the leading of the spirit in all we do, we really did pray for over 4 hours, drenched in sweat and tears.
By the time we were done, Zack had crawled to the sitting room, praying fervently together with us!
‘For speedy answers to our prayers we have prayed in Jesus’ holy name’ I rounded off
‘Amen!’ both of them chorused
I stood up from my bed in excitement. Zack was still sleeping, well covered in a white duvet. I pecked his forehead and tied my robe.
As I slipped into my slippers and opened the door, I bumped into Zoe who was shaking with excitement.
‘Mum’ she called out smiling
‘Zoe’ I called her too, wondering what had happened
‘God is real!’ she exclaimed and I threw my head back in assurance of that fact.
‘Sure he is!’
‘Mummy, he is really really really really real!’ she exclaimed, falling on her knees with tears on her face.
‘Ok daughter, what happened?’ I asked as we sat on a couch.
‘Mum, you can’t believe it.’
‘What? You saw a vision?’ I asked and her mouth was suspended with her mouth widened.
‘Mum, how did you know?’ she asked, obviously perturbed
‘I asked God to help me show you a vision’ I replied.
I suddenly woke up in the midnight and heard Zoe praying really hard. I knelt down too and prayed on my own when God showed me a vision about Zoe. It was too beautiful that I asked God to confirm its beauty by showing it to her herself.
How can answers to prayer be that immediate?
‘Really? So, it’s possible? That I ask God to show someone else a vision I had just seen?’ she asked, naivety written all over her face
‘Yes darling. Very much possible. God’s word says, command me concerning the works of my hands and it shall be established’ I said and she nodded
‘I see. God told me the name of my husband. Did he tell you too?’ she asked and I smiled broadly.
‘Yes He did’ I replied and her eyes broadened
‘One two go, lets chorus it together’ she said and whistled with her mouth
‘Sam!’ we echoed together and though I trusted God’s mighty power, I couldn’t fathom what just happened.
God is real!
We just don’t exercise God’s powers as Christians
He is ready to tell us anything, any secret, any solution- just about anything!
‘Did God show you any other thing?’ she asked and I looked up, trying to remember. I shook my head.
‘No. He did to you?’ I asked and she nodded, but her face was downcast
‘What?’ I asked again and she looked up, obviously confused and somewhat dejected
‘The person was also my crush and you just taught me that a crush would always crush its crushee. So, I am confused’ she said and I sighed
Holy Spirit, what should I say now?
‘Zoe, erm… that was why I added that ‘most time’ if you can remember vividly. Its not every time that your crush crushes you. Sometimes God might be behind the crush as long as it’s clean’ I tried to rectify my words
‘Oww, so it could be true really?’ she asked excitedly and I watched on
‘Who did you see? Who is Sam?’ I asked and she looked at me, surprised
‘Mummy, my Sam!’ she exclaimed, tugging at my shoulder and I tried and tried to remember to no avail! She looked disappointed
The doorbell rang.
We looked at each other
‘Who is there?’ I asked as I picked the receiver
‘Madam, na one guy dey ask for aunty o’ The gateman said
‘What’s his name?’ I asked
‘Oga, what’s your name?’
the driver seemed to be asking.
This guy doesn’t just know his job at all!
Get all details before putting the call through to the main building but he won’t listen.
‘Ma, this is Sam Anjolaoluwa’ I heard a very distinct gritty voice and my hands went numb
‘Sam?’ I screamed
‘Sam?’ Zoe asked, eyes widened
‘Please come in’ I said hurriedly and dropped the receiver.
I went close to Zoe and held her shoulder, trying so hard to catch my breath.
‘Sam Anjolaoluwa….does it ring a bell?’ I asked and she stood up
‘Mum, is he the one at the door?’ she asked anxiously
‘That was what I heard. You know him? ’ I asked
‘Jesus!’ she exclaimed and ran up the stairs excitedly. I tried to remember what name that was but no!
The only Anjolaoluwa family that I knew didn’t have a Sam.
Or, did it?
There was a knock at the door.
I stood up and walked to the door to open when I heard my daughter whispering.
‘Mum, wait! Don’t open yet’
I was shocked as I saw her dressed in long purple royal floral gown, her hair packed into a pony tail with different hairclips arranged in it.
‘Jesus Christ! What is this?’ I asked almost disgustingly.
She looked surprised
‘It’s not nice?’ she asked
‘See, the powder on your face can be enough to make a piece of buns if it were flour’ I exaggerated and she chuckled as I quickly reduced it with the shawl on my neck.
‘And I don’t know the meaning of these clips when you are not a baby.’ I added, about to remove it when she moved away
‘I like them that way’ she said and I shrugged
‘That’s your own wahala’ I said and the knock sounded again
‘I am coming’ I responded as if I was so far away
‘Ready?’ I whispered. Zoe ran back upstairs and gave me a thumbs up.
I opened the door and there in front of me was the most handsome young man I had ever seen.
‘Good morning dear’ I greeted and he prostrated flatly
‘You are welcome my son.’ I said as I gave offered him a seat.
‘Thank you ma’ he responded as he sat down. I sat down too.
‘This face looks familiar. Your name sounds familiar too’ I started.
‘Mummy, you can’t recognize me?’ he asked beautifully.
‘No I can’t’ The more I tried to figure it out, the more I became confused.
‘Ok ma. I will tell you ma.’ he said calmly. He adjusted his tie and took of his suit.
He felt really at home.
I love that!
‘You taught Zoe and I about saying no to the Devil’s Proposal!’ He smiled and his face glowed.
My understanding became clear.
My daughter’s first crush ever!
‘Am I for real?’ I asked ti be sure.
‘I came to say hello to Zoe. Its been years’
‘Lizzy’s child?’ I asked again. I wasn’t out if my shock already.
I tried hard to calm down but I couldn’t.
‘What the…! Who am I saying in my house… Just like that?’ I heard Zoe’s voice as she descended the stairs.
What an actress!… Naughty girl!
Sam smiled broadly and stood up. Then, he looked aghast suddenly.
‘The clips!’ he exclaimed and I looked up at the drama.
‘Yep! As if I knew you were going to be around. I kept the clips’ Zoe responded like a little ballet dancer.
Sam looked astounded with a ‘I dont understand what you are saying’ look on his face.
This girl is a bebeto!
Even if he gave her clips as souvenirs saying till we meet again, should she have brought them all out like that?…. Ugh!…. Really bad actress!
‘Zoe, you look bigger now but you look more matured and beautiful’ he said as he sat down.
I blushed as if I was the one being complimented.
‘And you are as cold as ever’ my baby responded and I felt like spanking her.
Who talks that way!… This girl needs grooming.
Sam laughed so well that I wondered why
‘You have always loved the cold Sam, shae?’
Zoe’s face changed a bit.
‘For your mind’ She responded. Sam laughed again
‘So, why the clips?’ he asked and obviously infuriated and disappointed, Zoe started to remove the clips.
Sam looked at me and smiled.
‘I am sorry that you are seeing this ma’am. Zoe is a still a baby… I just came around to ensure that she was fine. I would live to be on my way’
Just like that?
I could feel the jab at Zoe’s heart as Sam walked to the door.
‘Say me well to Blossom o. Tell her my geke woyld be as high as a mountain when I attend her wedding next month.’ I said, trying to liven the whole atmosphere.
‘I will ma. Her egusi has made me to take marriage prayers seriously too o. Her husband go enjoy am wella’ he said and I looked back at Zoe who wore a very fake smile.
‘Alright bye ma’ he said
‘Bye my dear’ I replied as I closed the door.
As I turned to go away, there was a knock at the doir and I opened it.
It was Sam again!
He beamed a smile.
…. And entered.
He went to sit before Zoe and chuckled.
‘Were you going to miss me that bad that you are crying? ‘ he asked and Zoe tried to clean her face. She chuckled loudly
‘ You sure are a proud boy! Cry?… For you?… Gosh!… I lived years without you bro. Please, wake up!’ she said so courageously that I looked perturbed.
Sam clapped loudly with smiles in his face.
‘So, whats with the tears on your face now?’ he asked.
Well, thats none of your own business!’ she replied sharoly obviously caught!
‘Sweet Zoe, I kbow you too well and its cute that you haven’t changed much. I need you to tell me something sincerely. Would you?’ he asked with a serious face. Zoe looked away.
‘Excuse me. I want to go and attend to my husband.’ I said and left the sitting room.
I hid behind the curtains. Its not nice to leave a spinster nmabd a bachelor together in a room-its blood that rund through their veins, not petrol!
So, I watched…
‘Ask’ Zoe replied curtly. Sam smiled again. Good boy!
Go for your girl!
‘Did you miss me?’ he asked and my heart twingled.
Zoe is caught!
Zoe looked at him with a straight face, trying so hard to cover her embarrassment.
‘Yes or no? ‘ he asked again and Zoe blushed.
‘I did.’ she said silently.
Sam looked happy, jumped up and banged the wall.
‘I said it! I knew she would miss me. I said it!’ he jumped up.
But Zoe looked unmoved.
What’s wrong with this girl?
Sam went on his knees and smiled happily.
‘Please Zoe, God is saying its you. The clips confirmed it to me when I came. Would you marry me? Please’ he asked
I looked at her expectantly.
Answer dear…. Say yes!
Just like a devil possessed witch, Zoe jumped up and pulled at Sam.
‘Why did it take you so long? Why Sam?’ She started the attack and my brain got busted.
This girl wont kill me!
What an embarrassment!
‘I am sorry. I just summoned courage’ he said, still smiling as Zoe still tugged at him
‘I almost said yes to the Devil’s Proposal. I almost did. You almost came late’ she cried.
‘But God is never too late. He never is, Zoe’
Zoe pulled at him the more and I ran inside the sitting room to save the poor boy.
She left his collar and jumped at me.
‘Mummy, God is good. It’s Sam!…Hallelujah!’ she screamed.
Sam stood up beaming with smiles.
‘Mum, she hasn’t even given her answer yet’ he said.
I’ve never seen
I’ve never seen
This God nawa o
This God nawa ya o
This God nawa o
This God nawa ya o
I’ve never seen
I’ve never seen
Zoe sang wholeheartedly and we both joined in the worship, as we knelt down to pray.
I looked at Zoe as tears cascaded down her face in humble adoration.
Thank you Jesus!
The devil’s butt has been kicked!
The End!Thanks for your time
Lets learn to say ‘no’ to the Devil’s Proposal and say ‘yes’ to God!
Its not by power nor by might but by my spirit says the Lord.
God bless you. Amen
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