On Broken Teeth and Broken Roofs..

So I mentioned a while ago that my tooth mysteriously broke right? Right. So this tooth broke and I was living in terrible pain for months. My nerves were exposed so I could neither eat nor drink nor chew nor even smile. I was in deep torment but I did not want to deal with the extraction. However, last week I bit the bullet and went in for a tooth extraction and though I am still recovering from the process, I feel awesome! I feel so relieved, I am gradually able to chew again, to smile again, to do all those things I couldn’t do and it has been bliss.

Now, let us liken a broken or decayed tooth to the friends we have. The Bible tells us of a man who was paralyzed and bed ridden and was in a very helpless situation. His friends heard that the Lord Jesus was in town and they took their friend to go see him. When they got there the place was so packed that there was literally no path to carry their bed ridden friend inside the building. When it seemed like all hope was lost, they looked up and saw the roof and then they climbed up to what I will assume was someone else’s house and they broke the roof. When the roof caved in, they lowered their friend in until he lay at the feet of Jesus. Of course this caught the Lord’s attention and when he looked at the faith of his friends, the sheer ferocity with which they believed that He would heal their friend, He said the word and the man who had been carried in through the roof, got up and walked.

This is to me is friendship, love in its purest form. When they got the house and found it full, they could have been discouraged and left but they didn’t, they broke the damn roof of a building that did not belong to them! They did the impossible, they believed for their friend who did not believe as much as they did and that singular act brought about their friends healing. Let me ask you what I have been asking myself; will the friends you have right now break the roof for you literally or figuratively? Will they go the extra mile to see that all is well with you? Do they pray for you, correct you, encourage you, cover in you love, defend you and put your needs above their own? Will they open their home to you if you need shelter or their wallets to you when you are in need? If they do not, then perhaps this is worth thinking about. I do not take friendship lightly, I never have. It is a sacred bond, and a very big deal to open up to someone, let them in, and tell them your deepest thoughts and dreams, to love them even when they sometimes hurt you, to tell them things about you and your past that very few people on earth know, not even your parents! that to me is sacred and is not an opportunity to be given at random.

My tooth was broken and hurting and it had to go. People that add no value to you have to go. I have been asking myself how good a friend I am; will I break the roof for my friends? I will also be the first to admit that I am not always a good friend, I become so self involved in my own issues and I forget that others need me and are going through issues too, and I am trying to change. I have few friends, and I love them and pray for them and cover them as much as I can, I will not rest on my oars though, I will keep striving till I become that friend that the Bible teaches us about, the friend that sticks closer than a brother/sister.

Ps: My beautiful, precious, adorable niece is here and I will share her pictures and her birth story in the next post so watch this space!

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him or her is a blessing.”- Baltasar Gracian

 

Why I Won’t Give Up…

So my brothers and I have this inside joke, whenever I start to tell a story that they have heard a hundred times before, they start to sing “story of my life, searching for the right”…(I know, it’s only funny if you hear them sing it)

6:10 am; standing in front of my bathroom mirror, toothbrush in hand, trying to gather myself to start my day. My tooth was throbbing so hard I was very afraid to put the toothbrush in my mouth. So I stood there for a while, and then I did what children do when they are in pain, I called my mother. She cheered me up, told me to be a big girl, brush my teeth and get on with my day but before she hung up, she said; wait, let me tell you a story of why you should never give up, Insert music; ” story of my life”…

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December 1988, Olodi Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. I had been sick for months, been admitted at LUTH for several months, I was not getting any better and the doctors gave up. They told my mum to take me home and let nature take its course. My fever was so high that my mother couldn’t sleep a wink, she had been up for days and she was exhausted but this particular day she was really tired and had to catch a quick nap. She had barely closed her eyes when she heard my cousin screaming for her, yelling at the top of her lungs because I had stopped breathing. My mum did not even look to see if it was true or not, her daughter was dying and she was terrified so she ran, she ran out the door into the street, wailing and crying for help, she was so overwhelmed and all she could do was cry.

I was convulsing again, and this time my jaws had locked up and my airway was completely blocked. Mama Chiago, one of our neighbors had heard my mum wailing and she ran into our house; she and my dad managed to pry my jaw open and administered medication to me. My parents weren’t even born again at the time, but my mum said she could remember my dad praying from the depths of his soul saying” Amarachukwu, you will not die! Not today, please God not today. It is safe to say that God answered that prayer because here I am today!

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My mother,my hero

My mum told me that after that day, I never had another seizure and I thrived and grew like I was supposed to. She recollects holding me for hours, looking at  my tired little face, bruised and battered from the efforts to pry my jaw open and just weeping and thanking God for sparing her little girl’s life. Amara, If God didn’t want you here, He would have taken you that day, you are here today for a reason. You went through that, you can go through anything! You see why the woman is my best friend? Anyway after we hung up, I braced myself, took a couple of pain pills, finally brushed my teeth and went about my day with a huge smile on my face. My tooth might ache like hell, my life might be going in the opposite direction from where I planned for it to go, 2016 might have been a whirlwind of tears and low moments; but I won’t give up! I have come too far from where I started from, God has been my God through all of it, and He didn’t bring me this far to leave me…

Don’t give up, not when the sun is just about to shine. 2017 will be our best year yet… ps: this is a heartfelt thank you to Mama Chiago, God bless you wherever you are today!

Fall seven times and stand up eight.”- Japanese Proverb

A Stranger’s Kindness

 

Dear Diary,

It was a really long day. Emotionally tasking and physically draining. Walking to the bus station seemed like a herculean task and as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, I found myself doing that which came naturally to me; crying. So I stood there, in the middle of Lindbergh station, bawling my eyes out, feeling the weight in every inch of my body. I could care less if anyone was watching me cry, I just knew I needed to ease the tight feeling in my chest and too bad if I was on the road. It was a windy day and my tears dried before they reached my lips, leaving streaks in my makeup and what was left of my eyeliner, I looked a mess.

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I needed to blow my nose so bad so I dug frantically in my handbag looking for tissue and I could not find any, somehow that made me even sadder. Now this is America, if you strip naked on the road people will probably walk right through you, because everyone is always in motion, and they just keep moving. Still digging through my bag in a frenzy, I felt a hand on my shoulder and the person said to me; here, you need this and handed me a pack of tissue. I took it buried my face in it for a minute, finally feeling shame and remembering where I was. When I looked up, the person who handed me the tissue was a man, dressed as a woman, make up and all.

He led me to the nearest park bench and asked me what was wrong and if I wanted to talk about it and the words came spewing from nowhere and we talked and talked. The bus came and went and we did not notice, this stranger somehow, had taken my pain away. He offered to buy me coffee but the next bus had come and I really wanted to go home so I declined politely. He encouraged me some more, gave me the warmest most comforting hug and thanked me for not looking at him like a crazy person. He was walking away and I called out to him and said; thank you so much, God bless you and Jesus loves you…His eyes lit up at that and he gave me his card and walked away.

I finally got on the bus and I thought about the experience I just had with a total stranger. I  was standing in the middle of the road, crying my heart out and straight, regular people walked by without a second glance. Not that they owed me anything but still, they did not care. This man, who is kind of confused about his gender and  judged by many to be crazy was the only one that stopped to show me basic human kindness and a love that trumped race and orientation. We are often quick to judge, condemn and dismiss people based on their outward looks, quick to label and call them names forgetting that we cannot reach anyone unless we do it in love and tolerance and humility. How as a Christian, do you hope to convert an unbeliever if you refuse to associate with them or talk to them? How will you tell them of God’s love, a God they do not know and  cannot see if you who they can see refuse to show them love? We cannot change anybody by sheer will power, only the Holy Spirit can do that. Our job is to obey the greatest commandment of all, to love our neighbors and to show them the way to God’s heart through love and patience rather than condemnation and disdain, at the end of the day, we are all broken. Whether or not we admit it, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and we all need Jesus.

Your life style, the words you speak and how you conduct yourself might be the only Bible an unbeliever ever gets to read, your life is a message, what are you saying? I made a friend today, and somehow someday I will invite him to Church but until then, I will be loving and kind to him, to show him a glimpse of the restoring power of the Love of God.

“It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, especially when we’d prefer not to be.”- Josh Radnor

 

Back and Better, Whole and Healed…

 

My people;

I am so sorry that once again I went MIA. It wasn’t intentional, I promise.  l meant to write, I really did but words failed me again and again so I just took a little break from it all. Life has taught me a couple of lessons over the past weeks that I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want to learn, all the things I had  been writing about battling with depression and finding joy came back to taunt me. I read those posts over and over but they didn’t help. If tears could solve anything, I would be problem and stress free, literally. But tears did not solve anything, they only left me with headaches and chest pains and no solutions. As if I wasn’t stressed enough, I woke up one morning to discover that my tooth broke while I was asleep, like actually broke into pieces, at that point I just gave up, I was done.

But I thank God for His love, and His friendship and His never ending grace because I wouldn’t be sitting here today writing this post if it wasn’t for Him. I have learned to pray for myself, to go to God and tell Him my woes instead of asking friends to pray for me. I have learned to depend solely on God because the people I found myself depending and leaning on also needed people to lean on as well and you can’t lean too much because as our people say, “lean on me no be press me die”.

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I’m obsessed with this app, totally random I know but download prisma and thank me later!

While I was busy letting the devil win and wallowing in depression, I had no clue the battle that God was fighting for me. Anyone who remotely knows me will testify to the fact that my mother is my best friend after God. So imagine my reaction when she called to tell me she had a close shave with death. I felt a million feelings at once, the most paramount of them being immense gratitude. What if I had lost my mum? All those other issues I was depressed about would have seemed like a needle dropping in a hay stack! Right there and then, my sorrows turned into joy and I finally saw the reasoning behind thanking God for all the things that He will and will not do.

So for all intents and purposes, I am back! And this is also my chance to say a heartfelt thank you to every one of you that reached out to me. I treasure those emails and it helped more than you’ll ever know… if you’re ever battling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please I beg of you pray. Pray and pray and pray and after praying call your mother, or your best friend, or email me I will reply swiftly. Don’t sit and let those thoughts overwhelm you, they are lies from the pit of hell and no matter how dark it gets, the sun will shine again.

Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I’ve made that commitment for my life’s sake and for the sake of those who love me.” -Susan Polis Schutz

What you believe is very powerful. If you have toxic emotions of fear, guilt and depression, it is because you have wrong thinking, and you have wrong thinking because of wrong believing.” -Joseph Prince

 

 

All The Things We Think Love Is, and All The Things Love Isn’t…

 

Right now, love has to be the most misused and misconstrued word that there is. It’s almost as if the entire world is fighting so hard to define what love should be, and to conceal what it actually is. Everybody has their own definition of the greatest word of all, and unfortunately it has nothing to do with what love actually is. For me, there is only one definition of love and it can be found in 1st Corinthians 13, vs: 4-8:

                ” 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

So I started watching Scandal all over again because for some weird reason this ongoing electoral process in the States made me want to watch the early seasons again.As I was watching, I got to a scene where senator Edison, who was hopelessly in love with Olivia Pope at the time was trying to get her to love him back and think about marrying him but she wouldn’t budge. He got frustrated and asked her why and she told him that she could not love him back because loving him was easy, and that she didn’t want easy. She wanted hard, painful, difficult and complicated, she basically told him that she wanted a love that would rip her to shreds from the pain it brought and when she was done talking, the senator looked at her and said: Love is nothing like what you have just described Olivia, love shouldn’t be painful or difficult or heart breaking, if it’s all that to you then that isn’t love. Love is beautiful Olivia and it’s a shame you don’t see it.

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I have probably watched that scene like ten times; in fact, I only stopped watching it so I could write this. I kept rewinding it because that was such a profound statement. I know that Scandal is just a TV show but man! Isn’t that the truth? I love you  means less and less every day. What has love become? In fact these days, the people who literally hate you are the ones who “love” you the most. The friends slandering your name will text you and say: “hey love!” the woman enduring physical, mental and verbal abuse from her husband and the father of her children is standing in harm’s way because maybe she thinks that’s his own way of showing her that he “loves” her. The married man who is simultaneously cheating on his wife and stringing his mistress along happens to be in “love ” with all the women in his life. The guy who has no intention of marrying the girl he’s with and sees no future with her will keep telling her that he “loves” her, because it shuts up her questions and keeps her sprung.

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If your love doesn’t hold up to the standards in first Corinthians then maybe you should look again. If he loves you, he will honor your body until he marries you because contrary to popular belief you can both do without sex. If he loves you, he will not cheat, or lie or beat you or harm your kids. If she loves you she will respect you, and take care of you and be the help meet that God made her to be, not give you lip and question your authority as the man of the home. If your friends love you, they will correct you when you are wrong rather than gossip about you, they will cover you in prayers and hold you up when you fall because love is patient and kind and it covers a multitude of sins. They will celebrate with you when you succeed rather than scowl in a corner and envy you because love does not envy. They will forgive you easily because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrong doings.

Love is a word that should not be misused. It’s too sacred, too deep to be carelessly tossed around the way it is these days. Love never fails. The bible was very clear on that so if it keeps failing you and beating you up and hurting you and making you cry every single time, then no, it is not love it is a poor imitation. Perfect love casts out fear, so if you have to compromise to keep him or her in your life, if you are always afraid they will walk away, then that isn’t love because the one thing that love is not is unsure. Love is always sure. Love is humble, there is not a trace of pride in it. So if your love is tainted with pride, well you already know what the answer is…

The true definition of love might seem lofty, difficult even especially in this world we live in today, but when you get it just right, when you love like you are supposed to, it makes all the difference in the world. So here’s to love, to real love, to not settling, and to loving exactly the way God taught us to. Here’s to loving ourselves, our spouses, our friends, our neighbors and even our enemies, yes even our enemies. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”Jesus Christ

When you say I love you, mean it!” Adaugo

 

Miracles

 

Miracles from Heaven. This movie has changed my life immensely. It was quite an emotional movie and I wept while I watched, but at the end of the movie, I felt a peace and joy that I haven’t felt in a while and a reassurance that God is still in the business of performing miracles, we just have to position ourselves to receive them. I highly recommend that you all watch it, it is an awe inspiring movie. So today, I would like to share with you guys a miracle that God gave to me in 2013.

As at March 2013, I didn’t have a job and I was MISERABLE! I was so depressed and I hated myself. I went for countless interviews; in areas of Lagos that I didn’t even know existed. It was an exhausting cycle of rejection emails. Each time I got my hopes up and each time they came crashing down. I stopped praying and just went about my life sad and beaten down. All that however changed on a Sunday night. I remember vividly not wanting to go for that service because I had already gone to Church in the morning and I couldn’t be bothered to go twice, but my mother made me, so I reluctantly went to the room to look for a scarf to cover my untidy hair and follow her (I was too broke to even make my hair)

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We were a little late so the worship session was already underway and I just sat quietly at the back and put my head down but somewhere during the worship, I started humming along and before I knew it I was overwhelmed by the love and presence of God and I was singing at the top of my lungs, completely oblivious to my surroundings. After the worship came the word and it felt as though God had told my pastor everything I was dealing with, I remember my mum looking back one time to see if I was hearing what she was hearing. And then it was time to pray and I did something I had never done before. I walked to the altar and lay on the ground and told God all my frustrations and that I wanted a job asap. I didn’t even care who was watching or that my clothes were stained. All I cared about was emptying my heart at my saviour’s feet. The service ended and we went home.

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We had just walked into the house when my phone rang and a very well spoken lady asked if she was speaking to Amara and when I confirmed it was me, she started to apologise profusely for not calling me earlier and that I had an interview scheduled for the next day which was Monday. I was rendered speechless and just a little confused because I had no clue who she was, how she got my number and what company she was talking about, she told me to look out for an email with details and that she’d see me tomorrow. I was dazed to say the least, I ran to my mum’s room screaming and dancing and my sister and I figured out what I was going to wear the next day.

I was so clueless about the company and the interview I was going to, so clueless that I had to read about them on the bus ride to the island. I got there and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The environment was so serene and I got such a warm reception. The two ladies that interviewed me were so friendly and awesome and it just felt like we were three old friends catching up with each other. To cut this long story short, it all played out like a dream. I went for a follow up interview with the CEO and in a matter of days the job was mine. It was so surreal, but God didn’t end there. Two days after I resumed I went on an official trip where I met a governor for the first time in my life! And I was paid enough money for that trip that I was able to buy myself a new blackberry. Till date, the ladies who interviewed me who by the way are now two of my closest friends refused to tell me how they got my resume. I NEVER applied for that job, I didn’t even know about the company till I got there, but somehow they got my resume and hired me out of the ten more qualified applicants!

God orchestrated my working for that company perfectly. The first time I went to America, they sent me there all expenses paid. It was like a movie to me, I found myself at the white house taking pictures and it dawned on me how far God had brought me. I live in America today and I would never have been able to do my masters here and stay if I hadn’t gone on that first trip to Washington DC. You see how one miracle sprouted many more? It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

I am sharing this story because I have been going through some difficult times and I completely focused on all that was going wrong and I forgot about the God that brought me here, against all odds in the first place. Don’t let the devil rob you of the greatness that God has for you; don’t limit God and His infinite power. Miracles still happen, and if they happened for me they will definitely happen for you. By the way I have a brand new miracle! I’ll share it soon, watch this space.

Knowing there’s one thing I still haven’t told you: I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen. ”― Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”Albert Einstein

Twenty eight lessons…

So, I have learned that some of my best writings have happened on the nights that Lady Sleep eludes me. Yes I am convinced that sleep is a woman and she is somehow mad at me, because why else will I spend more nights than I can count staring at my window, watching the sun rise? Everything hurts. My mind is tired, my eyes hurt, my chest hurts, and even my tattoo hurts. My mind is clouded, sigh…lonely is a bad place to be…and now I’ve digressed! Back to the matter at hand, sleep deprivation. Since I can’t sleep, I might as well write. 4:49am…

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I should have written this post in March seeing that I had my birthday in March and now this is July but better late than never right? So here goes: 28 lessons I have learned in my 28 years.

  1. Life doesn’t always go like you planned for it to go, and that’s ok. If your plans fall through, regroup and make new ones and try not dwell on what could have been.
  2. People will hurt you, especially those closest to you. But hey, that’s life. Be quick to forgive, for you, for your sanity and peace of mind.
  3. Pick your battles wisely. You absolutely don’t have to attend every argument that you get invited to. Master the art of walking away from toxic situations.
  4. Learn how to say No! You cannot be Mr or Ms nice every single time, because people will take you for granted. Be kind, but be smart and allocate your time to things that matter. I am not saying don’t help people, I am saying be smart.
  5. Be passionate. By now you should have figured out what you want to do with your life, hold on to it and be all out. Whatever your hands find to do, do it with gusto and do it with pride. Leave no room for mediocrity.
  6. Learn new things as often as you can; a song, a craft, a skill, a new dish, whatever it is, try to do something new, something you’ve never done before, venture into new things, the world is yours, take it!
  7. Find the time to read. Don’t be an ignorant 28 year old who knows nothing other than the crumbles gleaned from social media. Find the time to actually watch the news, read a book and be aware of the happenings in the world around you.
  8. Take care of yourself. You cannot be of use to anybody if you are unhappy or unwell. Take care of your body, your health, your mind. If you are a woman go for a pap smear and a mammogram, if you are a guy go for a body work up. Its dangerous to be nonchalant about your health.
  9. Refine your circle of friends; you are old enough to identify the toxic, no good people who only seek to tear others down. Re-evaluate the company you keep, if no meaning comes from it, detach yourself asap.
  10. Give yourself, your love, your time, and resources to those that are less fortunate than yourself. There is immense joy to be found in giving.
  11. Don’t make rash decisions. Always think things through as much as you can, there’s no need burdening yourself with the regrets that accompany bad decisions.
  12. Drink ALOT of water; drink water more than you drink alcohol. It does wonders for the body and the skin and hair and nails and everything. Why hasten your wrinkles when you can slow it down?
  13. Smile at strangers, smile at familiar people. You look more beautiful when you smile, plus it costs nothing and it does wonders for your face as well. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, true story! You are never fully dressed without a smile.
  14. Don’t take things too seriously, learn to laugh things off and just be happy. Nobody cares if you are miserable so you might as well be happy right?
  15. Old friends are awesome, but then so are new ones. Be open to meeting new people both older and younger and giving them a chance to be in your life. Friends are awesome and I am grateful for mine.quotescover-JPG-71
  16. Don’t be superman or super woman when you don’t have to be. Ask for help if you need it. You really don’t have to do it all by yourself, don’t be an island. Everybody needs somebody, and you are no exception.
  17. Be sensitive and alert to the seasons of your life. Some friendships and relationships are for a season. Most times that season will end abruptly and it will hurt you badly. But when it does, don’t sweat it or force it. Be wise enough to know when to let go.
  18. You are what you think you are, so think big.
  19. Be yourself. Be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. Don’t copy anyone; don’t make any decisions on a whim just because you saw it on social media or because everyone else is doing it.
  20. Speaking of social media, don’t be gullible. Facebook, instagram, snapchat and twitter are alternate universes. Don’t be fooled by the hype! Spending all your time on social media will lead you nowhere.
  21. Take risks. Pack up and leave your comfort zone!
  22. Don’t be afraid to fail. If and when you do, its ok to be sad but snap out of it and move on, try again and keep trying till you get it right.
  23. Value your time. You’re too old to spend your precious time on frivolities.
  24. Be happy when your friends are successful, even if it hasn’t happened for you yet. If you are like me and all your friends are getting married and having babies and it hasn’t happened for you yet, smile! Be sincerely happy and wish them well and be confident in the fact that your time will come.
  25. Be content in your season. Whatever season you find yourself in, be content and rest in God’s perfect timing. Run to God, note that I said run, not walk. You need Him at this stage of your life, more than you ever have!
  26. Take care of your parents; I don’t talk about this a lot but my dad is unable to walk as a result of an accident and sometimes he’s unable to do some things for himself. So one day he was in a fix and I ran to him and helped him and afterwards, he told me to go on my knees and he laid his hands on his heart and blessed me, he said some deep proclamations over me that left me with goose bumps…do something for your parents that will provoke them to bless you like they never have.
  27. Don’t give your pearls to the swine. Don’t have meaningless sex just because. Guard your heart. Don’t give your love, your time or your body to people who don’t deserve you. Be wise.
  28. Find joy in all the little things, like singing and dancing in front of the bathroom mirror, taking long walks, whatever it is that will make you happy do it. Your happiness is literally in your hands; don’t put it in other people’s hands because they will drop it, every single time.

Another sun rise and I am wide awake…well, I am thankful for life, for the gift of a new day, and for the presence of mind to gather my thoughts and share with you all. Have an awesome day!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  – Steve Jobs