Pending the time I post the next chapters on THE PAIN, I want to share one of my archived short stories with you. I really hope you enjoy it and are blessed by it. Feel free to leave your comments and feedback.
“Hello” said Mrs Nnamdi as she picked up her phone. She was just on her way home from the market. “Who is speaking” she continued.
“Hello ma. Am I speaking with Mrs Nnamdi?” said the person on the other line
“Yes. Who am I speaking with now? Abi you no wan answer?” she said
“Sorry ma. This is Mr Yakubu from Highland Secondary School. Your daughter Chidera has fallen ill and is presently at the state hospital. We would need you to come over immediately” he said
“Ye!! Ee wooo!! What happened to her?! Is she alright?! Please answer me o”
“She’s getting better. We just thought it best she goes home to recuperate. That’s why I am calling”
“Thank you very. Dalu, chukwu gozie gi!!” she replied “I will be on my way now” she continued
“Alright ma. We’ll be expecting you. Bye ma”
“Bye.” she said and cut the line.
Mrs Nnamdi just turned around and went straight to her daughter’s school which was a good 40 minutes drive away from the main city. Her daughter Chidera was a J.S.S. 1 student and in her second term in school. She was the only girl and only child of the Nnamdi’s. “I hope this people are telling the truth about Chidera” thought Mrs Nnamdi, “I will fight this people if I find out they have a hand in her sickness o”.
It was already past 5pm in the evening and she didn’t even remember to call her husband. Besides, she had a row with him that morning concerning some money she wanted to collect from him. She needed money to pay for some of the goods she bought from Mama Bisi which was over N200,000. Her husband had out rightly refused to pay saying that it was too much for clothes and the other materials she always bought for herself. He insisted that he would prefer to give that money to the poor than give to her. She had been so angry that she vowed she wasn’t going to talk to him throughout that week. How could he talk to her that way? Didn’t he want her to look good so that she would always be in ‘setting’ among her friends?! At least it was to his credit whenever people complimented him about her, she had thought. Right now all that was on her mind was how she would see Chidera as she drove with a sense of urgency.
On the other side of town, Mrs Temisan Teniola just got home from work and was in a very foul mood. She had a very bad day at work. Her boss was just all out to frustrate her. He criticised virtually everything she did that day. He even threatened to give her a query. ‘Ptscheewww’ she thought. As she got home and opened the door with her key, her 4 year old son and her 1 and a half year old daughter both jumped on her.
“Mummy! Mummy!!” they both shouted. “Mummy, what did you buy for me!” “Mummy, carry me!” her younger child said. She embraced them both, sat down and finally took in a fill of the sitting room. It was very filthy with toys, papers and dirt all over!
“Blessing! Blessing!!” she shouted
“Ma” Blessing answered and came into the sitting room where Mrs Teniola was. “Welcome Ma” she knelt down in greeting.
“You’re even greeting me!” she hissed and slapped her hard on the face. “Stand up you this stupid girl, oponu, omo oniranu, omo onidoti. Are you blind?! Didn’t you clean this sitting room today? I’m sure you didn’t. See how dirty it is. If a visitor came in here now, they wouldn’t know that you’re the pig we are breeding in this house!”
“Sorry ma” Blessing said in tears. “I was in the kitchen cooking ma. I cleaned the sitting room today o. Na dis afternoon I clean am ma. Na Banji and Omawumi just dirty am wen dey kom home from school” she continued.
“So you’re saying I am lying, abi? That my children are the pigs, ehn?” she slapped her even harder “You are very stupid! And I will show you who’s the liar today!!” she shouted at her angrily. She then picked up her shoes and started beating the girl mercilessly. Her children sat there terrified as they watched their mother beat her. Omawumi started whimpering quietly at the scene before her. “Oya, clean this mess up now! I give you just 20 minutes to finish. Ptscheww” she hissed and pushed her away.
Banji also stood up and made a move to help. “Drop that paper now!” shouted his mum “So you’ve been teaching my children to do your work for you abi? It’s not your fault now, it is my own fault. Stupid girl! Ptscheeww!” she went on. “Banji, Omawumi, follow mummy to the room now” she said as she picked up her daughter.
“And you,” turning to her maid “make sure u finish before I come out. Also, the food must be ready before my husband gets back. Did you hear me?!” she said to Blessing.
“Yes ma” Blessing replied as Mrs Teniola left the sitting room with her children.
“Darling, I’m hungry” said Tunji Atilola as he walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms round his wife’s waist. “Isn’t this soup ready yet?” he said and kissed her on her neck.
“No dear. You have to be patient. I just put this soup on fire. It should be ready in like 15 to 20 minutes. Ma binu oko mi, ehn? said Bimpe his wife of almost 13 years as she also returned his kiss.
“Na wa o for this kind ‘pornography’ you are always exposing us to” joked their 20 year old daughter Foyinsola as she walked into the kitchen just as her dad was kissing her mum. “Can’t we just have one week of ‘no-touching-or-kissing’ when you’re not alone? You’re indirectly telling us children that you can’t wait to get rid of us. Don’t worry, I would be going back to school soon” she said as she took a cup and went to the water dispenser to take water.
“Foyin!! How can you say that?” laughed Bimpe as she playfully wiggled herself out of her husband’s arms. “Tee, are you not going to say anything? You’re just standing there acting like nothing is happening here” she said to her husband.
Mr Atilola in response picked up a magazine he saw lying on the kitchen cabinet, opened it and walked out of the kitchen saying “I will be back in 20 minutes”. Foyin and Bimpe looked at each other and burst into laughter.
“What’s wrong with him?” said his wife, as Foyin continued laughing as she walked out of the kitchen also.
Bimpe Atilola, a mother of two was a teacher in a private school not too far from her house. God had blessed her so much. He gave her family a second chance of harmony, peace and joy, and she was very grateful to Him for everything. She had Foyin when she was just 16 years old (was impregnated by Tunji), she got born-again at 18 years old and married Tunji a few years later, who also got born again around the same time she did. Their first 5 years of marriage was bliss until their second child, a boy, had died suddenly. He wasn’t ill and didn’t have a health condition either, he just died like that. The next three years was hell for the Atilola’s! They both backslide completely as Tunji took to drinking and womanizing while Bimpe took to heavy partying and food binging. Several things happened during that period as they both allowed their son’s death to tear them farther away from God, the brethren and themselves. But thanks to God and Bimpe’s mum who had helped out with Foyin during that period, they found God’s love again and had Oluwafifehansimi Ayodamope Atilola. His birth was instrumental to their healing and in bringing them back to God. Even though he was conceived as a result of a drunken episode they both had, she was very grateful to God for how things eventually turned out.
As she was cooking, Bimpe remembered an incident that happened around the time she found out she was pregnant with Damope (as he was fondly called). She had walked into her matrimonial home to meet her husband in bed with another woman, a ‘friend’ of hers way back in secondary school. She was so shocked and hurt that she just fainted. She had always known Tunji slept with other women but to actually catch him red-handed, with her ‘friend‘, was just too much to bear. While recuperating at the hospital, one of those churches that went out on evangelistic missions to hospitals came to her room and spoke with her and Tunji. In fact, a word of wisdom was given specifically concerning their case, and the Holy Spirit both convicted them of their ways. They both broke down in tears and re-dedicated their lives to God. It hadn’t been easy though, but God had really helped them so far. They both learnt to forgive, love, respect and trust each other again, and with the help of the Holy Spirit and their fellowship with other members of God’s body, their relationship and love for each other deepened. Bimpe sighed wistfully as she came back to the present. “Thank you Jesus!” she said out loud as she tasted the vegetable soup to check if was tasty enough.
People were trooping into Valley Pentecostal Church located somewhere in town. It had over 2,000 members. The residing pastor, Pastor Charles Edet was a very humble man who loved God very much and taught God’s word with passion to his members. God had used him mightily in the life of his members and non-members alike. Pastor Charles, as he was fondly called, was married to Pastor Joke (his co-pastor) and they were blessed with three boys.
The service had already started, with the worship going on. Brother Dejo was taking the worship session and one could feel the presence of the Lord in the building.
Already in church were the Atilola’s and the Teniola’s. Both couples were workers in church, with Mr Tunji Atilola as a protocol officer, Mr Jaiye Teniola as a media team member and both their wife’s in the choir. The Nnamdi’s were just entering the building, with Mrs Nnamdi gorgeously dressed in her expensive george material, jewelry and shoe and bag to match. Mr Nnamdi was looking very smart as well in a simple traditional attire. Their daughter however, looked totally out of place in her outfit. She was dressed in very skimpy clothes exposing some of her developing sensitive parts. It made one wonder if her parents were blind to all the skin she was displaying in church. They were all ushered to their seats as they joined the congregation in worship.
Earlier that morning, Bimpe Atilola had a bad dream about Temisan which she shared with her husband, Tunji. They had both stood in the gap for Temisan and her family and prayed for them before leaving for church.
Meanwhile that morning, there was fire on the mountain at the Teniola’s house. Temisan had woken up to find out that Blessing had forgotten to dry the bed sheets she had washed the previous day. She had been angry and confronted Blessing about it. As usual, Jaiye didn’t support of her method of ‘reprimanding’ – beating. She became angry with him for always supporting Blessing and making their children participate in some of the house chores. She felt it was pure stupidity to pay someone to work for you and still have someone else help in doing them. But Jaiye saw things from a very different perspective. He felt Temisan maltreated Blessing too much and over pampered their kids.
“You know she’s a human being like you too. Stop finding faults unnecessarily with her.” Tunji had said. “Remember that this is our fourth help since we got married. Besides, our children should begin to learn responsibility at this age” he continued as he tried to make her see reason while they got ready for church.
“Is this how your mother taught you responsibility?! I know what’s best for my children, and it is not house chores at this age!” Temisan shouted, walked out and slammed the door.
Jaiye was really getting frustrated with his wife’s attitude and he had prayed to God severally about this and even tried to talk to her, all to no avail. He didn’t even want a live-in maid at all. It was the love he had for her and the fact that he didn’t want her stressed that made him change his mind. He would have preferred they got someone who would come in from time to time to clean, cook and do other house chores. Since he conceded to having a live-in maid, she did practically nothing at home. He had to fill in for some of the lapses in their house by asking Blessing from time to time about the stock level of food and other things. She came home always complaining about how tired she was, such that any time he made a move to make love to her, she had one excuse or the other. He was really getting tired of everything, and at the moment, he had a secret lust in his heart. “No one must suspect this o, at least I’m a man, I can handle it” he thought to himself.
The Nnamdi’s also had their issues at home before leaving for church. Mr Ugo Nnamdi was very moody and still unhappy with his wife over how she handled the matter of their daughter’s illness. He felt she should have at least called him to let him know before going all the way to her school. He could have gone there himself instead of her. He had gotten home that day, very hungry and tired and met no one at home. To make matters worse, he kept trying his wife’s number and it didn’t going through, and when she got back, she didn’t even apologize! She also always wasted his time whenever they were to go out together, and she even took ‘forever’ as she got ready for church. On the other hand, Mama was on his neck constantly pestering him to marry a second wife who would give him a male child. As if the woman was responsible for determining the sex of a child he had thought. He had constantly refused his mum because he loved his wife dearly. But her pompous and uncaring attitude was getting at him and it was slowly driving him mad.
Pastor Charles was already on the altar as he said “People of God I want you to stand up on your feet and give a loud shout of rejoicing to our Lord Jesus Christ!!”
The whole church got up and started shouting and screaming in praise to God. And of course, the instrumentalists and musicians started rejoicing with their instruments. The whole church praised in a joyful uproar. After a few minutes, Pastor Charles cut in “Amen! Amen!!! Can we all be seated please? As we take a look into God’s word today” he continued.
The congregation quieted and settled into their seats a few minutes later.
“People of God, let’s open our bibles to the book of Ephesians, chapter 5 from verse 21 to the end. That’s our main text for today. I know we’re supposed to continue in our series ‘Born to reign’, but as I was preparing for today’s service, the Lord impressed it upon my heart that there are some of you today that are having challenges in your homes and marriages. His grace is available to set you free and bring back His joy into your homes” He said. A loud “AMEN!!!” rent the air as some people stood up to ‘receive’ the word. Pastor Charles went on with his sermon for the next 45 minutes, talking passionately to the church about God’s standard in marriage and the relationship that should exist between a man and his wife. It was so obvious that God was speaking through him as he spoke directly to the people and addressing the situations they were in.
Temisan who was sitting with the choir began to weep quietly as the Holy Spirit began to minister directly to her. She began to see where everything started falling apart; it was when she thought she could handle things all alone that things started changing. After having Banji, she begged her husband to employ a live-in maid. She knew they had discussed this while courting, but she just wasn’t ready to adjust to make things work out without a maid. Jaiye had refused and was ready to help out more with the house chores and their new baby, but her mind was made up, and of course, she had her way. Deep down in her heart, she knew that decision wasn’t the right one but she just didn’t care. She didn’t even ask God about it. She had already sent three maids packing and was on her fourth maid. She couldn’t just fight off the feeling that she had done very wrong to all four maids, her children and her husband, and might face the consequences for it if she didn’t repent. She continued weeping quietly and began to pray for God’s mercy as the message went on. Bimpe who was sitting not too far away from her could sense that God had begun His work in Temisan’s life. She also began to pray for her.
Jaiye on the other hand was busy in the media room and hardly heard a word from the day’s sermon. He was too engrossed in his work as a major issue came up just before the pastor climbed up to preach. He was busy ensuring nothing went wrong as the service went on. He also had no idea that God was at work in his wife’s life and in his marriage.
“So if you’re here today, and you know you need Jesus in every aspect of your life, I want you to stand up on your feet and start walking towards me now” Pastor Charles said as the worship team came up and began to minister softly in songs. People began to respond to the call and come out. Amongst the new converts were the whole Nnamdi family. Mrs Nnamdi was crying so profusely that an usher had to hold her and lead her to the altar where she fell on her knees and continued weeping. She saw that she had made a god out of her physical appearance and had no regard for her husband. She was so humbled and at the same time grateful for God’s love. She vowed to put God first in everything as she finally gave her life to Jesus. Mr Nnamdi was just very sober and saw that he had indeed neglected his wife over the years. He knew she wasn’t materialistic when they got married, but because they hadn’t been very communicative, she had resorted to that lifestyle to soothe her ego. He also thought about his mother’s constant naggings and decided to let his wife know about it. He willingly gave his life to God hoping that what the Pastor said about the ‘triple braided cord’ would manifest in his marriage. Chidera on the other hand just came out because her parents did. She wasn’t interested in all the pastor had said. She brought out a bubble gum from her small bag and began to chew.
Pastor Charles led the new converts in prayers and told them to attend the church’s Believer’s Classes which held every Saturday evening. It was meant to help them grow and mature spiritually. The service continued and ended 30 minutes later. Members began to troop out, socialize and finally go home.
Jaiye had one more work to do, he had to edit some parts of the message for audio use. As he was working, a statement Pastor Charles had said earlier during the service caught his attention. He said “Some of you men think you can handle any situation, that’s a lie from the pit of hell! No man, I repeat, no man can handle any situation on his own! Only God can help you. Husbands, tell your wives when something is wrong! Don’t keep that attraction you have for another woman in your heart. Speak up, pray about it and flee!!! That’s the only way to overcome temptation!” That word struck him like a thunder bolt! It was like Pastor Charles had privy to the secret he had so desperately tried to conceal and that was the beginning of service for Jaiye, as the Holy Spirit arrested him right there and began to minister to him. He just sat there, glued to his seat and unable to speak or move! But in that state, God was saying a whole lot to him!! After about an hour, he left the media room, told one of the media guys to continue the editing as he left in search of his wife. He didn’t find her at the choir seats. He checked round church and didn’t see her. He was already getting worried when he spotted Foyin and Damope with Blessing and his children at the car park.
“Have you seen my wife?” he asked her, trying to understand why his children and Blessing were with them.
“Yes uncle, she’s with my parents at the basement” she replied. “They told me to look after them” she continued.
“Ok, thanks” he said as he greeted his children and promised to be back soon. He was now seriously worried that something had definitely gone wrong. He entered the basement with trepidation and was even more afraid when he saw his wife weeping uncontrollably holding tightly to Mrs Atilola. “Please, what’s happening?” Jaiye asked in an unnaturally quiet voice as he looked from the couple before him to his wife, and back.
“Excuse us” said Bimpe, as she and her husband stood up and walked away. Jaiye who didn’t know what was happening was scared as he said “Darling, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” All she did was to cry some more. He was suddenly filled with trepidation as he held her. He thought to himself that something very bad must have happened. “Please, let’s leave here before one of the members see us” he said. They both stood up, Temi tried to compose herself and they left the basement. As they walked to the car park, his phone vibrated in his pocket and he got a message that read
“We’ve taken Blessing and the children with us, so don’t worry. We would drop them off later at night. Sorry for not informing you before we left, we thought it best to leave you two to be alone. Love you both, the Atilola’s”.
“Darling, the Atilola’s just sent me an sms telling me they’ve taken Blessing and the children with them” he said “Temisan, what is happening now??! You’ve not said anything to me and you’re killing me with your silence!” he said frustratingly.
“Please, let’s just go home, then we would talk” she answered as she tried hard not to start crying again. They entered the car and drove home in silence.
On getting home, Jaiye who couldn’t contain himself any longer asked exasperatedly “What is wrong? Are you ill or something? Please, talk to me!”
“My husband, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry” she said as she started crying again as she looked pleadingly into his eyes. “I’ve not been a good wife to you or a good mother to our children. I’ve been selfish and haven’t given any mind to ‘us’ or the vows I took. I know we agreed on so many things while courting, but I just didn’t think it was going to be this challenging once we had children. I’ve allowed myself grow angry and bitter towards you. I’ve allowed work and everything else get in the way of being my best for you while being my best for church members and friends. You’ve really tried by putting up with my attitude. I’m so sorry my love” she said amidst tears.
“Temisan, look at me” Jaiye said tenderly as he cupped her chin with his hands “You’re not the only one to blame. I would blame myself more” he said.
“Why?” his wife asked as she looked at him strangely. She had always seen her husband as very Christ-like who despite all her misbehaviour put up with her. He sometimes seemed too good to be true which was why she had taken him for granted over the past years. She knew she had a good husband because she had heard several stories of how some men treated their wives. Her colleague Sandra was more than enough evidence.
“I have neglected my place as a priest in our home because I’ve allowed wrong things in my life” he said as Temisan looked at him in surprise as he continued “I never planned to tell you this, but I’ve been struggling with lust for a while” he said “Please don’t look so shocked, I am human with feelings you know?” he continued as he saw the look of pure shock on his wife’s face. “I’ve really tried hard to kill those feelings, but I found it hard to get rid of it, especially since we haven’t been intimate for a while now. Today’s message was exactly what I needed to hear. I realised how far I had fallen out of God’s will for me, you, our marriage and our children. I realised that I had failed you all and that whatever you do is just a reflection of my present state” he said. “You remember Tolani, my former classmate when we were in school?” his wife nodded in affirmation “I bumped into her like 3 months ago and I was surprised to find myself attracted to her. We went out for lunch a couple of times and I’ve been this close to doing more than that” he said describing how close he was with his hands. “She still isn’t born again and neither is she married. She’s subtlety implied she wants us to have an affair even though she knows I’m married. To tell you that I didn’t consider it would be an understatement. I’ve fantasized and thought about things I’m not proud of and all I need is your forgiveness” he said as he looked away from her eyes “Please, forgive me” he said pleadingly.
“Waow!” was the only word Temisan could mutter as she began to laugh. It was Jaiye’s turn to look at his wife in shock. Temisan laughed so hard that she had tears rolling down her cheeks. She suddenly stood up and started singing loudly, clapping and dancing around the room.
“Temi, are you alright?” he asked tentatively as he was trying to take in the scene in front of him.
“My husband” she said pulling him from the bed “Join me to thank God o!” she said happily “We have won! We have overcome! Halleluyah!!!” She kept shouting repeatedly. Jaiye who was still very confused obliged her and held her hands as she praised God and danced, pulling him along. This went on for like 5 minutes till Temi burst into this song:
King of Kings, Majesty
God of heaven living in me
Gentle saviour, closest friend
Strong deliverer, beginning and end
All within me falls at your throne…
Your majesty, I can’t but bow
I lay my all before you now
In royal robe, I don’t deserve
I live to serve, Your Majesty
Earth and Heaven worship you
Love eternal, faithful and true
Who bought the nations, ransomed souls
Brought this sinner near to your throne
All within me cries out in praise
As she started this song, God’s presence was suddenly palpable in their bedroom. Jaiye joined in too and they both worshiped God in songs for the next 30 minutes. They were both drenched in tears as they held on to each other and communed with their master. As they did, they felt all the weights being lifted. They felt peace and joy as all guilt and pain was lifted. They were able to pray together and for each other, something they hadn’t done in a very long time. They spoke about things they hadn’t said before. As they spoke to each other, they felt something change and saw the need in each other’s eyes to fellowship ‘intensely’, something they both gladly succumbed to. It was indeed a new day in their lives.
Later that night, after dropping off Blessing and the Teniola’s children, Bimpe and Tunji thanked God using them for Temisan and Jaiye. They were glad they had prayed earlier that morning and were grateful for the opportunity to counsel Bimpe. They also knew that God had placed the Teniola’s in their hands as yet another assignment to work on. They have over the years been used to counsel singles and married couples alike. They’ve been able to use their story to encourage others and point out that God has the ‘success formula’ for any marriage and relationship. They were also very happy at the massive turnout of the new converts in church earlier in the day. They knew that God had started a great work in the church. They prayed for wisdom, grace and strength to do exactly what God wanted them to do especially for their new assignment. They also prayed for their pastor and his wife for more grace and anointing, and went to bed.
The Nnamdi’s became workers in church and began to grow fervently in the faith. Mrs Nnamdi particularly began to understand what the bible said about a wise woman building her home. She had even withdrawn her daughter from boarding school to day school, so that they could give more attention to her moral and spiritual development. Chidera was already spoilt rotten by her mum and needed a miracle to get her back on track. She needed Jesus in her life. Mrs Nnamdi had changed her aggressive and pompous character by the help of the Holy Spirit, and had stopped using jewellery altogether (a very painful and hard step she). She made that decision because she realized they had become demi-gods to her. So till she was sure God had all of her, wearing of jewellery was a no-no for her.
Mr Nnamdi on the other hand told his wife about his mother’s persistent request and the secret arrangement she was making. They both went to see Pastor Charles for counselling and were sorting things out. Although they got on each other’s nerves once in a while, they’ve learnt through patience and love to handle situations maturely.
After that wonderful Sunday, the Teniola’s home was transformed into a loving and peaceful ‘foul language’ free home. Things weren’t perfect (far from it), but things were much better. Temisan had finally let Blessing go after apologizing to her, and was working really hard on making things work out. Her husband Jaiye was really supportive, and of course, with the help Holy Spirit, they were both learning to forgive and sacrifice for one another. She had started getting some business ideas that could give her less stress and more time on her hands. Jaiye was also doing the same. After learning of his near affair with Tolani, she knew she needed to take her marriage and home more seriously. She was indeed very grateful to God for this second chance to put things right and was determined not to let her guard down ever again. This time, she would be the wise woman would builds her home.
As for the Atilola’s, they continued reaching out to other families as they were led to, blessing many lives. They also grew strong in love and never took God for granted.
————– THE END ——————
In all, these three women realised how powerful the Holy Spirit is. You cannot be a virtuous woman, enjoy your home, be successful or be fulfilled while you down play the role of the Holy Spirit in day to day living. We’re in a world today where the demand for a woman’s attention is high. How then can we cope with this demand and not fall apart? It’s simply by making the Holy Spirit your friend! You might be going through hell in your home, but the truth is that the Holy Spirit is there to comfort and guide you. God is still God and can change any situation. Don’t give up! Let go of any grudge and forgive. Just remember, that it is a gradual process, and your adversary the devil would not stop at wanting to frustrate you. Also, locate your calling and stay in it (II Peter 1vs10). Don’t let the triple braided cord of you, your husband and God be broken! Just stay yielded to God. If your husband is the main problem, may God himself sort him out for you.
😀 ALL WILL BE WELL!!! 😀