By Ifeyinwa Kojo
So my phone rang and I picked.
"Hello? Good morning!" I said airily.
It was a nondescript number.
"Hello, good morning Ma".
"Happy new year, how are you?". A bit cautious, couldn't place the voice. Female, soft and a sense of sadness.
"Same to you Ma"
"Okay, so who am I speaking to?" Apologies this number is not registered on mine"
"Am Rita, Rose's younger sister".
I was lost. My being direct was to get some sort of identity, but the way she responded, I was meant to know her and/or the Rose. I had no clue.
I drilled my brain to come up with every Rose I have ever met. It drew up 3 and went blank. Those didn't seem to match. They had no sister named Rita, that I know of.
"Hi Rita", good to hear from you but it's still a bit vague, can you help me? Maybe some clue?
"Rita Nwafor. We were all together in Enugu - Marcus Garvey.
Click! The brain connected the dots.
New Heaven, Enugu!
They lived at Lumumba street and I liked to spend time with them.
Way back. Way way back but somehow, Rose and I met again in Lagos and kinda stayed a little bit in touch. You can hardly stay fully in touch in Lagos.
Regina, Rebecca, Rose and Rita. We used to joke about how their mum had a thing for the letter "R" and mine for "Agartha-christie", the novelist.
Their mum had only girls and their Father was not a very happy camper. Life in their house was interesting and I became a keen observer. Everything and everyone was dapper and dandy until dad came home. He was not exactly an aggressive one, but he always had this permanent disapproving frown. A kinda constant state of irritability.
Everyone tiptoed around him. Their mum especially, I believe she was born to serve that man. She hung on every word, every whine and request was met with alacrity. Their Father was priority over every and all.
The whole family seemed to seek and crave his approval which he solemnly gave. If he finished his food, their mum will practically do a tap dance.
His best and highest reward for good work was a nod.
Rose was my friend and age mate. As a child she was constantly under pressure to live up to some expectations. She was always seeking validation. Is my handwriting okay? Did I wash the cup clean? Do you think this and that likes it?
Rose Nwafor. Pretty, intelligent, long suffering and always smiling. Rita was the baby of the house then, after their father, you could say she was next in line for a miracle.
"Waoooooooooh", I shouted laughing. "Longest time!, like ages right?
"How is your mum? Your sisters? How did you get my number? Are you in Lagos too? I met Rosie some years ago, kinda lost touch again.
I ran my tarred of questions without waiting for answers. I was really glad to hear from her, but something told me I was alone in my excitement.
If she wasn't excited to hear from me, why did she call me?
"We are doing well", she said not convinced.
"I got your number from my sister's phone......"
"Oh waoh, how is she? Where is she now?"
I wasn't sure I heard right. If you got my number from her......
"She died last October"
There was a sniff or am I hearing things now?
My mouth went dry. I struggled with words.
Oh Dad, why do You always put me in this kind of situations?
The receptionist gave me a sign that the customer will see me in 5mins.
This girl didn't call me just to tell me that her sister was dead. She wanted to talk to someone. And I needed to be in that meeting.
Oh God, I felt the pressure.
5mins? Then I will make the most of it.
"What happened?" I said in my coach voice, relaxed and in control. If she hears the panic in my voice, it might tick her off on a weeping spray, I couldn't afford that.
"I don't......we don't know.....doctors said chronic dysthymia"
Gosh! When will these doctors learn to keep things simple? Everyone didn't go to medical school!
"It started after the divorce, she was fine or so we thought. She was very much her usual self, even started a business on the side and was doing well but then, we started seeing less and less of her.
Mum got worried and came to Lagos to see her, but by the time she got to her, it was too late.
"What was too late?"
She sighed again.
She was so sad all along, and we didn't know it. She didn't show it. By the time we got to her, it was chronic.
"Chronic sadness? Depression? How?"
That girl that smiles as if there was no tomorrow?
The customer was heading towards me, Oh God......please, I need to hear this.
"Rita, honestly am speechless, I can't picture Rosie in a sad mood so am struggling....."
"I know right? Doctors says it creeps up on you, and envelopes you if you don't shake it"
I shuddered. What a creepy illness!
My time was up, the customer gave me the sign to follow him......my meeting has started.
"Rita, listen I love that you called me....thank you. I need to go into a meeting right now, please can I call you back after that....please?"
"Yes, please. I understand. I called to say thank you"
Now she completely lost me.
"Thank me?" I asked, "I don't understand".
"During those terrible months, your messages were one of the most important things to her. 1st we noticed that she will wake up very early on Saturday and hold her phone as if she was waiting. Then she will read it, smile and lie back again.
It was your messages. She loved them. We believed they were part of her last pleasant things. That's how I got your number....Thank You.
I felt a swelling from my toe, straight to my hair. I couldn't breathe.
I said I wasn't going to cry again. I said I wouldn't let anything hurt me again. I lied.
I stood there and the tears welled up.
"You okay?" my customer said concerned.
"Can I use the bathroom please?", I asked
He nodded quietly and pointed me to the direction.
I stared at myself in the mirror.
God! What is this? What did You do?
Are You trying to blackmail me into not stopping?
I thought about my friend in the loneliest moments of her life.
I thought about all I had written.
I couldn't reach her, but my write-ups did.
I thought about the moments I felt so lazy to write when I wake up sometimes.
How did she feel when she didn't get any messages?
I felt the pressure again.
Oh God! Oh my God! What have I done?
I tidied up and walked tall and confident into my meeting.
I will call Rita again. I will get to the root of this.
Rosie maybe gone, but Rita is here, and she may need a friend.
If this is what You want Lord? Then consider it done!
This is Your daughter and I will always check in.
That was the 2nd time they were showing that documentary. I had put a reminder for my favorite John Wick movie that was coming up and had to check from time to time if it had started.
But each time that documentary occupied the screen.
Done with what I was doing, ready to relax and enjoy some actions, I picked up the remote to change the channel but something caught my attention and held it.
I stared in fascination as what 1st seemed like a gentle breeze gathered momentum as it progressed and within seconds turned into a deadly whirlwind.
Seamlessly, almost without effort, it lifted objects, molded them into alignment and moved on with it.
As it traveled, it became stronger and larger and before long, it was lifting cars and houses.
I was speechless. Ordinary element?. Wind?
I have not really had the presence of mind, to watch any of these natural disasters, I always assumed knowledge. That documentary cured my self-absorbed class.
The whirlwind passed through the town, and what was a modest structured habitat became plain ground. It made a grand sweep all the way, not a debris leftover.
It caved out a huge tunnel and practically swallowed every and anything inside the tunnel. It moved in a python dance style, gliding with easy through all obstacles until it got to that tree.
I had seen it root out other trees so, I braced myself for the destruction of this one.
Maybe if the whirlwind had known, it would have danced around this one and moved on, but no. It couldn't resist the destructive thirst for more. So it went for the tree. It enclosed the entire tree in its makaba dance and attempted to lift it but it wouldn't yield. The whirlwind backed up, used every object it carried to hit the tree. It bent over backwards, some branches snapped under the strain, but it bounced back up.
I cheered. I was so excited.
Maybe the whirlwind heard me cheer because it kinda got madder, pulled, pushed, heifed , but the tree wont move.
I was on my feet, hopping up and down, shouting my support.
I didn't care whether the tree could hear me or not. What was important was that, the whirlwind was losing its momentum, because its baggages were dropping all around the tree giving the tree more protection and sapping its energy.
Finally, the whirlwind deposited all of its contents on and around the tree and glided away in defeat.
I laughed and hailed. I was so happy.
What a show?
Hours later the inhabitants of the town crawled out of their hideouts. They had all taken shelter in an undercover cave provided as such natural disaster was a part of their existence.
They assembled near the tree, each sorting and looking to salvage anything.
The documentary had it that the tree has stood as their wind breaker for Decades.
How old is this tree?
How long will it continue to hold for the town?
This brings me to the lessons learnt...
How old are You Lord?
How long will You continue to be our wind breaker?
The whirlwind reminds me of the makaba dance we do with the devil. It comes with its destructive thirst and sweeps us off.
Destroying any resemblance of self that we have.
Until we meet You.
The tussle between the tree and the whirlwind reminds me of the work on the cross.
And finally you finished it, every sin, every guilt, past and present deposited at the cross. Finished.
Did You notice how the whirlwind started, a gentle breeze that gathered momentum. Same with our dance with the devil, an innocent handshake that turns to a dance.
I cheered when the whirlwind was defeated, I am cheering now because it's so clear to me, that sin has no hold on me.
I cheer because like the tree, You are our wind breaker, our destruction stopper.
I cheer because You will always hide us under Your shadow as the people hide in the underground cave until the destroyer passed over.
I cheer because the devil is defeated, he is under our feet.
I cheer because I am Your daughter and I am checking in.
The little boy kept crying. He seemed to modulate the tempo to suit his depth of emotions. So sometimes, he just whines it down, then from nowhere, it tunes up to a near scream.
I was irritated. The mum would just glance at him, adjust a thing or two around him and look away again.
She showed no emotion, no anger, no irritation, no empathy, just a blank kind stare of someone used to the effects.
Poor woman. Children, no matter how adorable, can sometimes make you want to pull your hair.
The boy got up after sometime and reached for something towards his mum. The woman shook her head silently and pointed him to a seat.
The next thing we knew, the boy threw up a storm of tantrums. He fell to the ground and rolled all over kicking up anything within reach. At this time, child or not, abuse or not, I would have smacked the devil out of him, there and then.
But No, his sweet mum, picked him up still kicking and placed him on a chair. She even strengthened his clothes and dusted him up. And still, she showed no emotions, just the kind look.
The boy was a very normal, very handsome little chap. I checked.
I wanted to be sure he wasn't mentally challenged. His behaviour though was close to that. He is the kind of boy that will lack for nothing, which maybe a pointer to his entitlement mentality.
Finally, one of the group handed him a bottle of whatever he was clamoring for.
He snatched it up and immediately started gulping it down.
The mum reached out to take it after a few gulps but he ran out of reach. He finished it, grinned at the mum and went off to play.
Few minutes later, he returned, doubledover in pains. Before we could process what was happening he emptied his stomach on everything.
Typically, the mum grabbed him, cleaned him up, held him close to her heart and lured him to sleep. As he slept, she planted a kiss on his forehead and smiled in victory.
I watched the drama with a mixture of anger and humility.
That child was me and the mum was You in 2018. No doubt.
I wanted it and I wanted it now!
I asked, and reached and whined it up, but You took it all in. Absorbed my shame.
Calm, All knowing, All seeing You are.
You knew what was good for me to have and never indulged me not matter how much I reached for it.
In my worst moments, You showed absolute kindness, in my weakness You showed strength and Love.
The things I got that You didn't give, You still did not allow it to consume me.
You could have punished me, but You didn't...Thank You.
You could have left me to stew in my mess, but You didn't.....Thank You.
I will cuddle in Your Presence the year long.
I will not pray to be bigger this year, I will pray to be better.
I will not pray to be wiser, I will pray to have more understanding.
I will not pray to be richer, I will pray to be a better money/wealth manager.
And I will pray to see things differently and have a better perspective.
Thank You for the years gone by.
Thank You for this year and the more we will spend together.
I am ready, I am here.
Wachak Achaka......Let's just begin!
This is Your daughter and I am checking in.
My story continues...
"Chubby and I met in downtown Optija"
"Where's that?", I said too quickly surprised
"Google", the brain mocked me. I ignored it.
"It's one of the worst places in our great Croatian country, quite a mess of a place", she sighed. I could feel a sudden change in her countenance. "Regret?, not exactly"
"I was a social worker assigned to those areas and you won't believe half the problems we have there", she continued thoughtfully.
She was a social worker?..... What made her stop?. I decided to keep my questions for later so as not to stop the flow.
"There was a terrible snow storm and as always, we had to check some of the streets after to see if there are any homeless trapped in the Strom. That's how I met Chubby", she smiled.
"He was trapped in the storm?", I whispered, shocked to my core. She nodded.
"He was half dead, almost frozen. I nearly walked past him but I just felt this sense that we could save him and I called the medics. Luckily we did. He was homeless and starved, but even in that condition, there was this thing in his eyes that wouldn't let go of life.
I stared. These Igbo boys will not kill me! Homeless, half frozen and starved in Optima! What the heck is wrong with these boys! Why this compulsion to leave the country or die trying!
"The usual routine was to release them to their fate after treatment. There was no way to accommodate all of them especially with immigration breathing down on us but within that time we kinda developed a bond.
He was funny and quick minded, and I kinda liked him. So we agreed that he will stay with me for sometime until he can get a job and get off the streets.
One thing led to another and fast forward 2 years later, here we are....married and in Lagos...his country."
I shook my head. Someone hit me please.
"What made you help him?", I asked.
This is a woman I almost condemned for marrying a boy young enough to be her son or at least younger brother. She was quiet for a while, then smiled.
"I am not exactly sure why I picked him out that day, maybe "Cosmic Intervention". But I do know why I married him", she said laughing.
"You know when you have this very strong urge to do something....Good. You can call it Fate in religion."
"Helping him was like an atonement for me. I also lived a rather rough life. So I could easily identify with him. Always running and hiding. Once upon a time someone good dragged me out of the trenches, thought to do the same for him".
I stared at her like she was a saint in the flesh. I knew this woman had lived "that life", but she definitely had my absolute respect right now.
In all my churchy-girl disposition, would I extend such love to a stranger? This is exactly the line......"What would Jesus do?" Meanwhile she is not a Christian.
"When you took him in, did he get a job?", I asked.
She shrugged. "An illegal black foreigner, without any known skill, or education.... His chance of survival was slim. In the city where he found himself, the next thing was drugs. The one good thing going for him was his willpower. If he wanted to do drugs, he would have easily survived but he didn't. So the other friends wouldn't help him. They left him to roast alone. That's why I called it Cosmic Intervention, some Comic Powers wanted to save him."
"Lord, I take that to be You. "Thank You" I thought to myself.
"So, knowing he probably won't get any job, you still took him in?"
She nodded. I squeezed her hand in gratitude. I was close to tears.
"Father, I love this Nwa Bekee"
She smiled at me, and reached for some tissues.
"You Nigerians are really nice", she said. I have met some awesome people.
"We are the nicest, happiest, poor people in the world", I thought.
We were quiet for sometime, each with our own thoughts.
"Why did you marry him?", I asked suddenly remembering what she said earlier.
"The Sex is Good, ....No Great!", she said without qualms.
"W...h..a..t?", I screamed, shocked to the core.
"Black boys get down so good, and Chubby is a blast"
I covered my ears with my two hands and she burst out in a loud laugh.
Seriously, I am done here.
Dad, this is Your daughter, I need to check in right here, right now.
Nwa Bekees' nose had turned carrot red. She kept slapping her face a little to even up the colors without success. I looked at my collection of make-up accessories, and held it up to her.
Together we burst into laughter. The sound of it felt good. I guess we both imagined what she will look like using my shade of powder. She examined her face critically and sighed.
I watched her. It wasn't easy pinning her to a particular age. I had a feeling she could be older than I am but couldn't tell. Her skin was roughened a bit and there were tell-tail traces of wrinkles. Was it the Nigerian sun or she......?
But, I give it to her, she was pretty, very. She had not answered my question yet.
I bid my time, if she needs to talk, I will listen but I wasn't ready to push her.
"Can't go out there like this" she sighed unhappily.
I nodded. I didn't want another run of sobbing so I thought quickly. "You know what, I think I need some fresh air, would you be interested in going out to the garden with me?. A bit of air will do us good". She nodded eagerly.
The crying actually brought out her age to the surface. And she felt a bit self conscious. I left her in the lobby after explaining that I needed to let my Adam know where to find me. She nodded but made no move to do the same with her Okoro. Guess she was still pissed with him.
More buddies had joined our table and my Adam was well engaged. I managed to squeeze in the message with a sign llanguage. My cousin took a cue and rose to follow me, I quickly froze her to her seat. Two is company, three is a crowd. I could feel her missiles down my spine as I walked away. Whatever!
Nwa Bekee and I walked out to the garden and stood by the fountain. The air was good and the wind was doing an East-West pendulum swing.
She inhaled deeply, and reached in to her bag for a cigarette. She paused and arched an eye at me. I shrugged. Not my thing but I won't stop her.
She lit up, drew long and hard at the poor tiny stick. I watched her mmesmerized
At the point I thought she had swallowed all the smoke, she let them out in a long snake dance. She was a pro, no doubt about that, this is no baby chick.....this is a "chicken". The aroma hit me and my tummy turned, I moved out further.
What did I get myself into? What was that?
The aroma was very strong though not bad. Just being near her gave me a heady minty feeling already.
"You OK?, she asked me.
"Seriously?", my mind screamed. Thank God she couldn't hear it. "I will survive", I said pointing at her stick. She laughed, took another deep one, and put it out.
I smiled my gratitude, didn't think I would have lasted long against the onslaught of that poison.
"Hubby Chubby".....she finally answered the question. I wasn't sure what she called him....Lobby, hubby, chubby or Bobby. The idea of her calling that small Okoro boy "hubby" phased me.
"What did you just call him?", I asked.
"My hubby "Chobyike" she attempted in Igbo.
"Chibuike?", I volunteered smiling.
That guy didn't look like any Chibuike to me, Donatus, or Magnus would have fitted better I thought. "Chobby Hobby", or Hubby Chubby...." See naming things!......To think I feel so cool calling my Adam "Sweet"... Chai, Nwa Bekee!
Hubby Chubby..... Alias "Okoro with a stamp"....couldn't be a day older than 30. And I was standing with a nearly 50 elegant and pretty Nwa Bekee calling him "hubby"
I felt a wave of sadness hit me inside......what wouldn't this small Igbo boys do to leave this country and survive....?. What won't they....
"Judge not", my heart warned. I sighed.
"The cover does not make the book a work of art", you must first read it", my dear heart declared.
I agreed with it this time.
I hear You Lord, I will be patient and non-judgemental in this. There is never a smoke without fire.
Again, You will always use the little things in life to confound the wise.
I am here, I am ready, And I will listen.
This is Your daughter, and I am checking in.
My cousin, My Adam and I sat beside their table at the event. In all honesty, I did not notice the couple at first until....
"Don't look, but something interesting is going on there...", my cousin said.
"Stay out of it", warned my Adam under his breathe.
"What?", I rolled my very innocent eyes at him. He shook his head at me, trying to be very stern. I winked at him. Looking and feeling very good with myself. What was he trying to prevent me from interfering with?
As far as I was concerned everything was A-Ok, the party was revving hot. The hotel was grand and the entertainment super.
Whatever it was must be behind me, so I did a 2 O'clock' shift to my left and saw the couple.
My Adam just knows me too well. What got my attention was the lady's face. The scene was too obvious, lady Bekee and a typical Okoro boy with "illiteracy" stamped across his forehead. And Adam doesn't want me to see this? Hiaa!
I quickly adjusted my seat to the right angle, to ensure I can have good visual access to lady Bekee.
My Adam gave me a sharp look and shook his head again.
"What?", I gave him my sweetest smile and did a zip sign. I was at a vintage position now and could see the scene clearly.
Lady Bekee had a strange colour on her face. It was obvious that she was very upset, and was practically sobbing silently. The Okoro with a stamp, had a little too much to drink and was becoming way too boisterous.
"She needs help Sweet" I whispered to my Adam.
"She needs a friend or a shoulder", my cousin giggled.
"Stay out of it" he insisted.
How can you ask a goat to stay out of the barn? I love stories......OK fine, I am very compassionate, and I'd love to help!
"I have to use the bathroom'", I said to My Adam. My Cousin laughed.
"You have to?", my Adam eyed me.
"Seriously!", I said pretending a squeeze.
"You are simply impossible", he raised his hand in surrender.
The silly cousin was still giggling. I smiled Innocently, picked my purse and walked.
I intentionally bumped in to lady Bekee's seat. She thumped forward to her table and dropped her tissue. "Oops!", I cried innocently, "I am so sorry"
"You OK?", I asked
She shook her head, tears loading back into her eyes.
"Would you like to come with me to the lady's?; I am headed there"
She grabbed the invite with two hands. She jumped out of her seat and held my hand immediately. She was shaking. I gave my Adam a very sad pleading look and he shrugged. To the Okoro boy, I plastered politeness on my face and nodded in the direction of the bathroom. He stared at me like a clueless Tom. Lady Bekee and I walked straight out.
We met two Ladies there touching up their make up. As soon as the door closed on them, Lady Bekee broke down and sobbed.
I was so surprised. For a brief moment, I wished I had listened to my Adam. I knew she was upset about something, but the sobbing seemed to have triggered something deeper. Am I really able to help her?
What is her story? Why was she sobbing her heart out on the shoulders of a total stranger in a strange country? I held her and stood there, rubbing her back very gently.
I tried to find some memory verses that will back up my kind words but they all disappeared. So I stuck to ...
"It's fine, it's all good....it will be well!" Gradually lady Bekee calmed down and tidied up a bit.
She stared at her reddened face in the mirror and attempted a smile.
"Thank You", she whispered. I nodded....."Its nothing", I smiled back.
I nodded again.... "I could tell"
"He's been so horrible lately"......
I will finish this Lord, I promise You, but right now, my baby is awake and needs me.
I love You.
I know I can be very daring, but then again, You said that all things work together for good to them that love You. I am number one!
This is Your daughter, I am checking in.
I watched the Lion King again with my daughter. And like always, it amazes me how Simba, a would-be king of the jungle took so easily to the life of a worm-eater. How those who should normally be his meal became his best friends. He adapted to a contrary identity so much so that even when he was told who he really was, he had a hard time believing that.
Until he truly saw a reflection of himself for who he really was.
Life conditioned Simba early to lose his identity and he did. He believed who he had become not who he really was.
Every time I watch that movie Dad, I feel so drawn to Simba. Isn't it the same life I live?
Life has conditioned me to run instead of chase. To quack Instead of roar, and to live like a workmaid instead of the heir apparent to Your Kingdom.
What is more apt is that I have turned my relationship with You into a Hakuna Matata!
A problem free association, feel happy, be happy opium! No consistency, one moment I am soaring like an Eagle, the next moment I am flip-flopping with the chickens.
I like Simba a lot Dad, he got his roar back and he became who he was born to be. The King of the jungle.
"Mum, Do you think Simba will ever eat worms again?", my daughter asked me.
"No, I think not", I answered. "He has found the Him that he lost. And that Him eats no worms"
"I like Simba alot, but Nala is my favorite person" she said thoughtfully.
"She never lost her strength or her identity, she was so sure of who she was", she said simply.
Hmm! Never thought of that. I am always fixated on Simba "
"But Nala didn't have the bad experience Simba had, maybe she would not have done better if the role was changed.
"No Mum, remember what you used to say, It's not what happened to you, it's how you react to it that matters".
"Wow! That is my girl Dad! That is the daughter of my heart!
"I want to be like Nala, she continued, I will stay focused no matter what"
I hugged her fiercely. I love that girl. "Yeah, I'd like to be like Nala too, I agreed, but it's OK to be like Simba. It's OK to make mistakes but most importantly, it's okay to correct them and move on to your destiny. Lesson ended Dad.
This is your daughter and I am checking in.
Hmm, I did ponder for a while what I should say on this first note of the year. Should I tell you about my resolutions? The dos and don'ts that I will eventually breach?
Should I tell You about my goals? The long list of things that will keep me awake at night and keep me praying for answers?
Should we talk about the lesson learnt these past years?
Hmm, I doubt if I will ever graduate from my school of lessons.
I finally decided to just say Thank You again. Yes, Dad.
Please don't laugh at me, I may be repeating myself but if it's not such a bother, I'd say Thank You again and again.
For all the healings You already did this year....Oh I have a special reason for this... Thank You.
For the amazing Grace that will take us through it all... Thank You.
For the certainties and uncertainties... Thank You.
For the knowns and unknowns... Thank You.
For the tears that will follow and the joys to come... Thank You.
For the ones we will win and those we will lose... Thank You.
For all the challenges to come and the corresponding triumphs... Thank You.
For the times I will be faithful and the times I will be faithless... Thank You.
For the times my heart will leap and the times it will sink.... Thank You.
For all things beautiful and all things ugly... Thank You.
For the times I will give and the times I will receive... Thank You.
Dad, what I am saying in effect is that I am ready for this year. Yes I Am.
I fear no Fear. For Thou art with me.
See, Goodness and Mercy follow me around...Yes? So what's to fear?
Goodness will ensure my triumphs and Mercy will keep me safe from all evil.
So, let's do it Dad, let's drive through this year. I so look forward to it.
Hmm, If You like Smile, if You like shake Your Head..... Thank You Lord!
I actually love saying it... Thank You.
This is your daughter and I am so checking in with Thanks.
A long time ago my fellowship in school declared a fast and in that same blessed weekend, my friend decided to celebrate, without consultation.
Lord, You remember my struggles with fasting then, whenever I engaged in it, people with culinary skills appear, and meals for kings crawl out of nowhere.
So that day, the innocent me, determined to do the will of my Father walked into my friend's house and the first things that assailed me were a variety of aromas from the kitchen.
My first thought was "RUN! GET OUT!"
But my legs had already stepped on glue, I stood there... stuck! Staring and wondering why on earth I got born-again!
All around me friends were having fun! Dancing, eating and drinking. They hailed when they saw me, and I smiled. My heart was doing its own lumba dance.
"Get out or you will fall! "..One voice urged me.. (The voice of the Law)
"You are not a coward", the other reminder me... "You can do all things".... (The voice of Grace)
"Do All things?... Hmmn, it's not your tummy that is riding a roller-coaster inside"
I hugged my friend, gave her my sincere wishes and sat down!
As if on cue, a tray of everything I love appeared before me. Right there in a plate all by itself, was "fried meat" Meat! My favorite thing in the world! Chai, when temptation means you, it comes prepared for you. How many times my hand voluntarily stretched! How many times I mentally questioned the rational for the fast!
Poor Eve! Is that what you went through when you saw the Apple? I forgive you! I sat there like a nice girl but the battle I fought in my heart was mind-blowing. Finally, I stood up, I had to leave. My friends didn't believe it.. She did NOT eat meat?
Dad, Thank You so much for helping me that day. That I did not eat meat wasn't because I was strong, it was simply because You did NOT want me to.
Today, I know that even if I had eaten that meat, it wouldn't have meant Jack to You, because it's not what enters a man that defiles him, it's what comes out of him.
You helped me because my heart so wanted to obey You so Your Grace stood up for me. Thank You.
Today I know that coming short of Your Glory is simply Not believing The Who that You are and The Work of Grace.
Today, I understand why I came back from fellowship that day and found out that my friends packed the whole foods plus the "meat" and left them for me in the room.
Today this reminds me that righteousness is by Grace and Not Works.
Today, I again Thank You for The Cross, and for The Grace! I am so proud to be Born-again. To Believe.
This is Your daughter and I am checking in.