At first I wasn’t going to share my journey but a testimony is only a testimony if it’s shared so here we go. It’s been a while since I posted but I had a million ideas that didn’t finish executing. I’ll start from the beginning. In the Christmas holiday 2016 , my mum came over to spend Christmas with my siblings and I and she was really ill having lost 20kg. I didn’t understand what was going on and even though we were having some conflict because we disagreed on something, I was very concerned about her health and felt she was hiding something from me. We went to the hospital because she was terribly jaundiced and she went back to Nigeria because she had to work but we were meant to go to Singapore together in February and I planned to miss uni for a week to travel with her. When she went back to Nigeria , I spoke to her nearly everyday but sometimes she was in too much pain to pick up the phone. At some point she just stopped picking up the phone and that is when I became seriously worried. It had been a week or so and there was no response to emails, phone calls or texts from a woman who requested that I called her everyday and was angry when I did otherwise. She called me after a week and spoke for about three minutes because she was on morphin and then the network gave in and there was no call back. That was the last time I spoke to my mum.
On Wednesday the 1st of March I had a heavy feeling that my mum was going to die. I normally go to church Wednesday evenings but I stayed home to pray, cry and talk to God. I came to the conclusion that it was all in my head but whatever happens , God is on my side. That Saturday, I was in Warwick for my friend’s 20th birthday celebration and my brother called me, told me to sit where my friends are and then told me my mum had passed away. It felt almost unreal and a rush of questions ran through my head all at once such that pain was building up in my heart yet. I did not “feel God” at that moment but as those questions rushed through my head, so did a range of bible verses that kept my spirit going through the difficult year.
“Planted in you is a seed of peace and prosperity ”
“God withholds no good thing from those who walk up rightly ”
“There is joy for those whose strength is in the Lord ”
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2
How does one consider the experience of a mother’s death as an opportunity for joy? The bible can be backwards. The first week after I was in denial of emotions. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I do not embrace my emotions but this was heavy. I was constantly tired, I couldn’t do any uni work and emotionally there was a weight on my chest. There was a lot to sort out so I dove into organisation to keep myself busy and avoid being by myself. Regardless of my denial, God was still speaking through sermons and in my quiet time to tell me to keep building. I’m going to be honest with you. At this point , I didn’t see what more I can build. My mum was my financial support, my encourager, a role model and the person I have so many memories with. She was the one who bothered herself daily when I was ill and who told me things about myself no one ever dared to tell me. I was shook. We never liked to imagine the worst and my mum passed away from pancreatic cancer that metastasised to her liver and I didn’t know. I’m some ways, I felt guilty. On another hand, I felt incapable of filling the shoes left behind. I could not be business mogul and mother so that lack of sufficiency layed heavy on me but that is where God’s promises come in to affirm us that through our insufficiency , Gods grace is sufficient. It’s strange how through the painful experience , God has shown me so much love. From the first day I found out, all my families have been a massive support for my siblings and I. My church family have filled my life with more laughter and hope through the word of God and banter. My family in Nigeria stepped in from day one to lift the load for all of us in terms of organisation and funds.
I hadn’t been back to Nigeria for 4 years due to a range of family issues that I won’t go into detail about so as to not give Lagos gossips something to talk about. I was scared to come back because I was so used to having such a small family. I didn’t remember what it was like to have a massive amount of people care for me. I had gone through the journey of forgiveness but God showed me I still had more forgiving to do. I’ll say something, if you think you are a born again Christian and you refuse to let go of any fixed negative opinion or slight hatred (an absence of love ) for someone, your salvation will be hindered. I had to let go completely of whatever i had heard or been told about anyone , start from the beginning and trust God. I have met so many people with trust issues and I have come to the conclusion that trust issues is an issue for those who try to trust in people more than God. My trust issues had to be thrown aside along with every sin that was keeping me from seeing God’s hand (Hebrews 12) and I had to go into Nigeria with an open mind and graceful heart. I thank God for letting me do that because he showed me that there was more to the story than I thought. Throughout this whole process, there are a million things I learnt but I will share a valuable lesson. If you are not born again, you are living for nothing because when the going gets tough , you will want to get tougher and come to the realisation that some things are beyond human strength. God’s words are the most comforting words and fulfilling promises. Moreover, the Holy Spirit that plays out the truth of those words with power in our hearts will take a problem and show you that you are a human by letting you go through the pain and experience emotions but will comfort you by showing you who God is. God is a father. God is the only one who can restore in a way that surpasses our understanding. God wants us to talk to him about our pain and know that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. It’s okay to cry and scream and tell God you have no idea what to do because it is when you embrace your weakness that God in his infinite strength can step in. Faith as small as a mustard seed is literally all you need. I had the littlest faith every day as I never expected God to do half the amazing things He did, I just knew he would do something and that little something is all I held on to for prayers to be answered with provision , joy and peace.
Now, I’m still not 100 percent okay. Exam season is coming and I don’t know where to start. There are a million things to sort out and I’m relearning so many people in both sides of my massive family so it’s a tad bit overwhelming. All I know at the point is that God has me in the palm of his hands and whatever happens, as long as I put my feet when he puts his light, the darkness before my eyes will become light. He’s so good even when the circumstances are bitter. I am so thankful for every step of trouble I have experienced to get to this point of fulfilment in Christ. After a month of offloading emotions and battling with my pride, I can finally say that from embracing weakness I count it all as joy.