By Ovundah Nyeche.
Chisa was really really worried, this was the third month since the birth of her son. But she was losing weight and joy. Her baby’s dedication time was approaching and her family was under intense pressure at the moment.
Weeks ago she was in Sandra’s baby’s dedication; the reception held in a popular hotel in GRA, the environment was serene and peaceful, the lighting in the hall was scintillating and breath taking, she had hired a professional lighting specialist to light up the place to match the colours of the day. Sandra was dressed like an angel and she was adorned with pearls made from the finest of hands.
Sandra looked so good, her husband also gave her an SUV as her child’s dedication gift, the caterers serving the food also looked well groomed, the aroma coming from the small chops, samosa, spring rolls and snails prepared was enough to satisfy you, each table had a small bottle of Martinellis wine for each guest and there were also customised souvenirs for each guest.
They even invited a top gospel artiste, who sent the guests on a tour to heaven and back, the MC was also reeling out rib cracking jokes to the delight of the guests.
After she left, she felt more worried, how will hers be? The pictures of the event on social media also made her more depressed. Three weeks later Tracy invited her for her baby’s dedication too, it was not different from Sandie’s. How do these people get money, do they plant money on trees?
Her baby’s dedication would not be any different. She would borrow if there was need to, #300,000 would be adequate to do at least the smallest dedication. She wanted to rock those beads her mum gave to her and she wanted to tie that beautiful wrapper she saw in Chioma’s shop. At worse she would buy on credit and pay back later.
She would also order matching shirts for her entire family from a good fashion designer who was her friend on social media. Her other friends got their clothes from him and these outfits made her salivate.
Her husband was also under pressure as the proposed date was approaching, and the money they expected was not in sight. What kind of embarrassment was this? She suddenly started fasting and praying, for breakthrough, money must change hands. All the money they needed must come. Her own case would not be different.
Come on, even Daisy not doing as well as they were doing, had her child’s dedication; no way if needs be, they would borrow money for their own baby’s dedication. She knew it would be shameful to borrow from Sandie, so she made up her mind to borrow money from the money lender who lives not too far from her. “At all, at all, na in bad pass”!
However something happened seven days ago that changed everything and changed her. She went to see her Pastor to remind him of the date for her baby’s dedication. She had earlier met the money lender , who had agreed to give her the loan for the dedication , with only a 25% interest rate and she was to borrow, #300,000.
But as she approached her Pastor after the midweek service something happened. She noticed a lady and her husband was standing with their Pastor. The Pastor was also praying and laying hands on their baby. Was this not Miriam and her husband doing very well financially? They were living in their own house and Miriam had one of the biggest baby shop in a very choice location.
Did Miriam not deliver almost at the same time with her, was it not Miriam’s baby the Pastor’s wife was carrying? Was the pastor not dedicating the baby? What is happening here? She said to herself.
As the husband, wife, their baby left the altar, she moved towards them to greet them. She had not seen Miriam’s baby, since she delivered, as they also delivered at about the same time. She exchanged pleasantries with the family and they told her they just had their baby’s dedication.
She went with them outside and as they entered their car to leave, she took her phone out of her purse, called her husband and they spoke for a while. After speaking with her husband, she went back into the church and spoke with the Pastor, they were fixing their baby’s dedication for next week Wednesday after the mid-week service and it was strictly a family affair.
She just counted her teeth, with her tongue and it was 32; and yes God answered her prayers, money did not change hands as she expected, but wisdom changed hands, which was far better.
The Parable of the Forgotten Shoes
By Benjamin Dike
So this was how I was dressed in church today!
Forgot my shoes? No. My wife did. Before you think my wife practically slaves for me, she doesn’t. She is actually the boss; I live in her house. So here is what happened.
We had got set for church and I was carrying things to the car. As I stooped to pick my shoes (I don’t like driving with my shoes on if I can help it), she offered to help me bring the shoes to the car.
I pulled out the car and we drive to church. Then I asked her for my shoes. Now you already know the response. She had forgotten the shoes at home. First, I ‘froze’. This was quite serious. I can’t go home to get the shoes. Home is on the Island; Church is on the mainland. Then I was about saying, But I wanted to pick the shoes and you … (Yeah, at least I should blame her). But one look at her stopped me in my tracks. She looked so subdued and beaten like a little child.
This woman is one of the most meticulous persons I know. I can keep something somewhere in her absence and will later forget where I kept it. My only hope is my wife or the Holy Spirit (when she is not available). I will just tell her that I am looking for so and so and she will either tell me where it is or she will go find it. So, one look at Madam Meticulous, I felt enormous pity (or was it compassion) well up inside me. She obviously had no bad intentions. Things just happen sometimes.
I chuckled and told her not to worry. My mood shifted immediately. It was now a sense of excitement to dress up in my nice suit – with a slipper on! I will look different, I told myself. And I will leave people guessing – that is if they even notice! (Often we forget that people are busy focusing on themselves that they may not even notice the shoes you are wearing).
I started looking forward to it. Then I asked myself, what has my dressing got to do with my worship after all? Wow! It felt so liberating. It was a powerful deliverance from human expectations and convention. It was a refocusing on what really matters. Perhaps, it’s really my heart that matters, my heart that God cares about, not merely the outer trappings. Don’t get me wrong, proper dressing is proper – when you can help it! But now, I couldn’t help it. And I wasn’t about to ruin my day and my worship on the altar of a ‘forgotten shoes’.
Meanwhile, my wife was still deeply beaten and looking for how to fix the ‘mess’. She got one of my young men to go home and get me his shoes. But I flatly refused. I was just fine. Sometimes a little bit of mischief can spice up life. And I was loving the mischief of a suit with some marching slippers!
So here are 4 quick lessons that came to mind
1) How you live your day is a choice – joy or ruin.
2) Sometimes, people don’t wrong you because they are bad. It’s just because they are people – they can fail.
3) What if we were to judge people by their true intentions and not their actions. Maybe we will have better relationships. The reality is that we often judge people by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions.
4) What you see as a problem is what becomes a problem. A messy situation is really a matter of interpretation.
My friends, trust me, I had a very beautiful time in church today – shoes or no shoes. So, focus on what’s important and free yourself from the needless clutter than ruin your fun in life.
Choose to enjoy your life, mbok!
Benjamin C. Dike, PhD
Benjamin is the executive Chairman of Joshua Leadership Project. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom and a Doctorate degree in Credit Management from the International University of Panama. Benjamin is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a Fellow of both the Institute of Credit Administration and the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria. A prolific and insightful writer, he has several published works, including God of My Right Hand and EveryDay Leadership.
Don’t Fake it, Face it…
By Ovundah Nyeche.
Few days ago, I called a friend on phone and told him I needed to see him urgently. We had fixed meetings several times in the past, but work and other things prevented these from holding. This time however, the meeting had to hold.
He breathed heavily when he picked up the phone, and asked me, ‘Ovd did my wife call you?’, a question I did not answer. In response I told him we should meet the following day at a particular venue for a man-to-man talk.
The day of the meeting came and we sat down, man-to-man, brother-to-brother. We talked, no holds barred and at the end, he said ‘Bro, I did not see this stuff in this light, I feel very sorry. I have to make peace’. He left the meeting much better than he came, and he made commitments to stop the offence that caused the issue and immediately ended all appointments and made plans to go home to his wife.
I smiled. I have also been on the hot seat, one call to mentors or friends when I no dey hear word and I am put in my place and vice versa. No, my own relationship is not without its own challenges.
I called to follow up later on my friends and it was as though a problem that had lasted years had disappeared, and the smiles and number of ‘Thank yous’ on the other side of the phone was enough to build a flyover.
This is why I shake my head when I see couples build their home on the erroneous maxim ‘a third party must never know what is happening in your home’. This sounds nice, sweet and motivational but in many cases it backfires.
Sassy and Lassy are breaking up after 1 year in marriage and you ask to know what the issue is or was and you find out they are issues that if they were sorted out in time would not have resulted in the mountain or chasm that the problem now looks like or if counsel was sought on time they would have found out that they were not the only ones who had that issue, and it is actually not an issue if faced with wisdom.
Unsurprisingly, many things people face are not unique and many times not novel.
This journey is too important to isolate yourself from wise counsel and from people that can make you accountable, people that can mentor you and guide you in the right path.
Today Hear Word and do the right thing.
Today Hear Word and invest in the right relationships.
Today Hear Word and be intentional about the success of your marriage.
Today Hear Word and suffocate needless problems.
Today, Hear Word.
Hearword #ovdspeaks #HearWordSeries
House Rent Palaver.
By Ovundah Nyeche.
When you get married, apart from your children school fees, one issue that will talk to you every year/season, if you stay in a country like Nigeria and you don’t have your property, stay in your organization’s accommodation, or have your accommodation sorted out by your organization, is the issue of house rent.
Yes, house rents speaks so loud…and house rents can cause family problems if not tackled with wisdom, reality and the truth.
As a couple, it is important you tell yourself basic truths about your finances and plan accordingly.
Yes your ‘levels’ may be saying GRA or Peter Odili road or Banana Island, but what does your pocket say? Knowing that in 12 months time, the house rent bell will ring again…and for unexplained reasons it is usually easier to pay the first rent than subsequent ones in many cases.
Like someone advised your yearly house rent should not be more than 20% of your yearly income or yearly profi and trust me ‘e no easy to bring out’ the whole rent at once, so it may be wisdom to save monthly for it. So if you can’t bring out (let’s say your house rent is #1,000,000 yearly) #100,000 monthly comfortably, it may be very difficult to pay the #1,000,000 at once and it may be a pointer, that you are living above your means.
May the Lord grant us wisdom and may you not live your life on other people’s impression about you…or plan your budget based on the circle of friends you belong to. All fingers are not equal, even if they are part of the same hand.
Telling yourselves basic truths, can save your family a whole lot of headache…yes, life is not always straight forward and hard times and emergencies can sometimes come unannounced, but to the best of your abilities, be truthful to yourselves.
Like a proverb says “No look another person pot of soup, do garri”…’e go shock you’.
May wisdom lead you.
#HearWord #ovdspeaks #HearWordseries
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