Friday, 22 November 2013

You and Yourself!

" Have you ever had a door of opportunity slam in your face? A job application...that you did not get; a loan...that was turned down; a friendship or relationship...that ended; a proposal...where the answer was no.

When this happens in pursuit of your dream, don't focus on the closed door. Crawl through a window or tear a hole in the roof! Step back and do an assessment. What happened? What did you discover about yourself? What do you need to do? Who must you become to move forward in your life?

Whatever you do...don't give up simply because it becomes challenging. Don't expect life to make it easier for you to reach your goals. Make the decision to become a better person in order to accomplish your goals. 
Believe this - there will be other doors and more opportunities. Know that you will be stronger, wiser, more capable and better prepared to take advantage of them, because of what you have discovered about yourself, and how you have changed in the process. 

You have GREATNESS within you!!"

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Home front …………..Single or Married.

In life, there are different stages, there are
different seasons and as the scriptures says time for
different things, “…a time for every purpose under
heaven” (Ecc.3:1). There is a time to be single and a
time to be married.

It is essential that we first and foremost recognize
that as children of God, that the source of
our joy, fulfillment, wholeness and sense of
accomplishment in every stage of life, every season of
life (whether single or married) is the Holy Spirit
(Zech.4:6) and He is inside of us, inward and not
outward, which goes to say that our wholeness as a
person does not depend on any single outward and
physical factor. It is the Holy Spirit who equips us,
helping us through every stage of life and guiding us
to the one, enabling us to be the best that we can be,
always being vessels into honor in His hands in every

It is equally important that we bear in mind always
that we are firstly Christians, children of God, a
peculiar people, a royal priesthood…(2 Pet.2:9)a
people set aside for God. We are primarily God’s
people (Ps.100:3), then secondly a single person or a
married person. Our marital status is secondary to our
spiritual status. We should let the truth sink in that
at every stage of our lives, regardless of our marital
status, God wants 100% of us, He wants all of us, and
we should enjoy freely giving it all to Him.

Being single and by that I mean the stage when one is
unmarried is a great experience, a wonderful and very
exciting time in the life of an individual. It is a
time when you take decisions by yourself, (especially
if you’ve left home and parents) you decide what you
do and when , where you go and when , who your friends
are, who you spend time with and how much time you
spend with them and of course you decide when and what
you want to eat, when you want to cook and so on…,
but most importantly it is a time when as a child of
God, you have all the time and liberty to serve God to
the highest ( Cor.7:32-34). You have more than enough
time to study God’s word and to get to know Him more.
It is fundamental that you feel absolutely fulfilled
within yourself and with God, trusting Him, walking in
His favor and leading, and being available to him at
all times and for the next level where God would want
to lead you and be able to help others.

We have scriptural examples of great people who worked
out wonderfully well this season of singleness and
really got God’s best. We know the story of Ruth who
after she lost her husband at a young age, shunned the
idea of going back to her pagan people and remarrying,
and tenaciously stayed with her aged mother-in-law
Naomi because she desired strongly to remain among
God’s people and in God’s will (Ruth 1: 16-17) and she
sure got it and a wonderful husband.

Apostle Paul, by the leading of the Spirit followed God
without second thoughts, without reserve and he was
and still is one of the greatest apostle of all times.
He was unmarried (1 Cor.7:7) and his testimony is
that he fought a good fight, kept the faith …….and of
course there are several other examples in the bible.

As much as marriage is an equally great time in our
lives, it is a stage that brings with it extra cares,
added responsibility and the joy of coming together
with another individual to build a life together. It
doesn’t necessarily stop one from serving God like you
might have done as a single person, but it sure opens
a totally new and exciting way of serving God together
with your partner and this entails joint decision making.

In summary, we’ll share some truths that are
guaranteed to help you continue as a fulfilled and joyous
Christian single brother/sister.

¶ Accept that being single is a real and normal stage in life. 
It is a blessing and part of God’s divine purpose.

¶ Don’t waste the wait, make the most of your single

¶ Busy yourself with studying God’s word.

The word of God has the ability to redirect
your focus to what is truly important.

¶ Worship God all the time, making melodies in
your heart to God (Eph.5:19) There is something about
worship that is so releasing.

¶ Always wear a smile. A cheerful disposition, a merry
heart makes a whole lot of things a lot easier (prov.

¶ Turn your thoughts towards others. Think of
different ways to be a blessing to someone else life
to make someone else’s life better.

¶ Practice talking section with God, the words of your
mouth, your confessions are part of the core of who
you are.

¶ Get busy in the house of God.

¶ Constantly fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

¶ Think on things that are true, noble, right, pure,
lovely, admirable and excellent (Phil. 4:8) Remember
the scriptures says that you are what you think.
(Prov. 23:7) and what you think in your heart is what
comes out of your mouth.

When you’re busy doing these, you can’t help but be
content while in the exciting season of life until it
pleases God to provide you with a partner and lead you
to the next season whenever and however He sees fit. 

Above all, remember that your marital status does not define who you are. Marriage does not guarantee happiness and satisfaction.  Marriage does not provide completeness. It is definitely not a land flowing with milk and honey. 
It has its own challenges and if you go into it for the wrong reasons, you will find that it might be the single most costly mistake that will mar your destiny.
God bless!!!.

Being Graceful.

Is “the graceful woman” lost in today’s “anything you can do, I can do better” world? Does it end with having a flourishing career? Has being graceful been reduced to just the outward appearance, being well made up? 
I find the study of women in society and how drastically they’ve changed over the years to be positively riveting. And I like to ask questions about it. “Why?” "How?" "Are we better for it?”
 Gracefulness conjures up a number of characteristics: poise, eloquence, refinement, beauty amongst other attributes.
I think of the Proverbs 31 woman as graceful. Not “fragile”, though gracefulness surely must contain “delicacy” in her demeanor, but also a strength and dignity that exudes from the carrier. I picture calmness, stateliness, a self-controlled form in movement and carriage. I imagine, since “the law of kindness is on her tongue” that her words come from a disciplined spirit (it’s a law that rules it!) and carry a certain weight of dignity and import because they are meaningful and not wasteful.
It is hard to find gracefulness these days. I’ve tried. And when I do see a woman who displays the rare manners that were once highly sought after and cultivated, she stands out.
I’m not talking about “putting on airs” nor pretending to be what you're not. But I do find it perfectly acceptable to constantly learn from others and I encourage every woman to “practice” gracefulness until it becomes habit.
The Bible speaks of letting our adornment be of the “inner man”…a meek and quiet spirit. And as we seek those characteristics that Christ Himself so perfectly demonstrated, our outward demeanor will meet it.
I want to be a woman whose inner character spills into her outer deportment. I want to be a woman who blesses the world around her, whose words bring help, peace, joy, laughter and healing. I want to be a woman whose ways inspire others. A woman of grace and true beauty, not the idolatry of beauty found on the magazine stand. I don't want to be harsh, brash and careless, not in my words and not in my ways.
What is “gracefulness” to you? Perhaps we have been so influenced by "civilization" and the masculine sirens of the feminist movement that we must revisit some basic etiquette. I’m thinking out loud…would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

My purpose

By the time I become an old woman and wrinkled with age, I’ll still be given to meditation and prayer.
I would enjoy sitting in a rocker, listening to soft music, reading a good book, maybe even writing. Probably swallowing prescriptions,  and contemplating  the universe and all that sorround me with a great sense of fulfilment.
I would probably get under some people´s skin. I would be surrounded by lots of love and tenderness from family, grandchildren and friends.
But such activity might offer no challenge and make no contribution. Maybe, I would get bored and cranky occasionally.
So, today I wish to be up and doing. I wish to face each day with resolution and purpose. I wish to use every waking hour to give encouragement, to bless those whose burdens are heavy, to inspire, to motivate, to strenghten, to educate, to heal, to cheer and to build faith and strength of testimony.

This is my calling and my purpose!

What is yours?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Thankful for The Women in Our Lives

These are excerpts from an old man as he addressed his church after his wife´s burial..

"How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives.

My brethren and sisters, at the outset, if you will bear with me, I wish to exercise a personal privilege. Six months ago, at the close of our conference, I stated that my beloved companion of 67 years was seriously ill. She passed away two days later.  I wish to thank publicly the dedicated doctors and wonderful nurses who attended her during her final illness.

My children and I were at her bedside as she slipped peacefully into eternity. As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.

I am grateful to be able to say that in our long life together I cannot remember a serious quarrel. Small differences occasionally, yes, but nothing of a serious nature. I believe our marriage has been as idyllic as anyone’s could possibly be.

I recognize that many of you are similarly blessed, and I compliment you most warmly, for when all is said and done there is no association richer than the companionship of husband and wife, and nothing more portentous for good or evil than the unending consequences of marriage.

I see those consequences constantly. I see both beauty and tragedy. And so I have chosen to say a few words today on the women in our lives.

I begin with the Creation of the world.

There came first the forming of heaven and earth, to be followed by the separation of the light from the darkness. The waters were removed from the land. Then came vegetation, followed by the animals. There followed the crowning creation of man. Genesis records that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

But the process was not complete.

“For Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman” (Gen. 2:20–23).

And so Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before.

Notwithstanding this preeminence given the creation of woman, she has so frequently through the ages been relegated to a secondary position. She has been put down. She has been denigrated. She has been enslaved. She has been abused. And yet some few of the greatest characters of scripture have been women of integrity, accomplishment, and faith.

We have Esther, Naomi, and Ruth of the Old Testament. We have Sarah. We have Mary, the very mother of the Redeemer of the world. We have her as the chosen of God, described as “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Ne. 11:15).

She it was who nurtured Him in His boyhood and young manhood. She stood before Him when His pain-wracked body hung upon the cross on Calvary’s hill. 

Crossing through His life we have Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene. She it was who came to the tomb that first Easter morning. And to her, a woman, He first appeared as the resurrected Lord. Why is it that even though Jesus placed woman in a position of preeminence, so many men who profess His name fail to do so?

In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in marriage. One individual is complementary to the other. As Paul stated, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11).

There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other.

I recognize that we have many wonderful women among us who do not have the opportunity of marriage. And they, too, make such a tremendous contribution. They serve the Church faithfully and ably. They teach in the organizations. They stand as officers.

There are some men who, in a spirit of arrogance, think they are superior to women. They do not seem to realize that they would not exist but for the mother who gave them birth. When they assert their superiority they demean her. It has been said, “Man can not degrade woman without himself falling into degradation; he can not elevate her without at the same time elevating himself” (Alexander Walker, in Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book [1923], 204).

How very true that is. We see the bitter fruit of that degradation all about us. Divorce is one of its results. This evil runs rampant through our society. It is the outcome of disrespect for one’s marriage partner. It manifests itself in neglect, in criticism, in abuse, in abandonment. We in the Church are not immune from it.

Jesus declared, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

The word man is used in the generic sense, but the fact is that it is predominantly men who bring about the conditions that lead to divorce.

After dealing with hundreds of divorce situations through the years, I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to solve this grievous problem.

If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.

There was a popular song we sang many years ago, the lyrics of which said:

I want to be happy,

But I won’t be happy
Till I make you happy, too.
How true this is.

Every woman is a daughter of God. You cannot offend her without offending Him. I plead with the men of this Church to look for and nurture the divinity that lies within their companions. To the degree that happens, there will be harmony, peace, enrichment of family life, nurturing love.

Well did President McKay remind us that “no other success [in life] can compensate for failure in the home” (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).

Likewise, the truth of which President Lee reminded us: “The [greatest] work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home” (“Maintain Your Place as a Woman,” Ensign, Feb. 1972, 51).

It is a scene of great beauty when a young man and a young woman join hands at the altar in a covenant before God that they will honor and love one another. Then how dismal the picture when a few months later, or a few years later, there are offensive remarks, mean and cutting words, raised voices, bitter accusations.

The women in our lives are creatures endowed with particular qualities, divine qualities, which cause them to reach out in kindness and with love to those about them. We can encourage that outreach if we will give them opportunity to give expression to the talents and impulses that lie within them. In our old age my beloved companion said to me quietly one evening, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.”

I once knew a man who has since passed on but who insisted on making all of the decisions for his wife and children. They could not buy a pair of shoes without him. They could not take a piano lesson. They could not serve in the Church without his consent. I have since witnessed the outcome of that attitude, and that outcome is not good.

My father never hesitated to compliment my mother. We children knew that he loved her because of the way he treated her. He deferred to her. And I shall ever be profoundly grateful for his example. Many of you have been blessed likewise.

Now I might go on but it is not necessary. I wish only to give emphasis to the great, salient truth that we are all children of God, both sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.

As a father, do I love my daughters less than I love my sons? No. If I am guilty of any imbalance, it is in favor of my girls. I have said that when a man gets old he had better have daughters about him. They are so kind and good and thoughtful. I think I can say that my sons are able and wise. My daughters are clever and kind. And “my cup runneth over” (Ps. 23:5) because of this.

Women are such a necessary part of the plan of happiness which our Heavenly Father has outlined for us. That plan cannot operate without them.

Brethren, there is too much of unhappiness in the world. There is too much of misery and heartache and heartbreak. There are too many tears shed by grieving wives and daughters. There is too much negligence and abuse and unkindness.

How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives. God bless them. May His great love distill upon them and crown them with luster and beauty, grace and faith. And may His Spirit distill upon us as men and lead us ever to hold them in respect, in gratitude, giving encouragement, strength, nurture, and love, which is the very essence of the gospel of our Redeemer and Lord..."

She knows her worth.

A woman that knows her worth doesn't measure herself against another woman but stands strong, calmed and self confident.

The Strong Woman

"Sometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights battles that nobody knows about."

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Judgement on a Woman

Some week ago a blog post went viral. It was about a young woman and her affair with a well known pastor in the religious sector of an African country.
As unfortunate as it sounds, that didn't surprise me. What shook me to my very core is the response that her story generated. What irks me is not that a young girl had an affair with a married pastor, but rather the harsh and quick way which people jugded the whole thing...
The diverse opinions and the way of expressing them, are all worthy of note
Below is excerpts from the blog,

I recently came to know this event too was abuse (recently here means about 6 months ago). It has literally been eating me up having to drive by another billboard advertising preachers, or hearing his name, or even trying to ask about the validity of the entire salvation story and whether or not there is a God that truly watches over his people. That being said, I’m just going to say it as it is. This is a recap of my affair with Pastor B... This affair I have come to know as a form of abuse as you would see the different elements of abuse very present.
I met Pastor B many years ago. I was getting bored of the church I was attending and someone suggested the church. At the time, I had never heard about it. My friend said, go there, I’m sure you would enjoy the word. But he also gave me a strong warning. He said he would advice that I remain a member only and not join the workforce. I agreed. The first time I attended the church, I felt it was my church and decided I was going to plant my ass there. About eleven months had gone by and I was still attending the services quietly and faithfully. I really did like the church. One day a worker in the church approached me that the senior pastor wanted to see me.
Me? I thought. Why would the senior pastor want to see me? Not the second man but the head nigga in charge? Ok na! I started to think my sin was oozing so bad the pastor could tell I needed Jesus. (Poor old me.) I saw him at the end of the second service (they had two services at the time) and he said to me that he would like me to work with him. I knew I had no intentions of becoming a pastor so I had to ask in what capacity. He said he’d like for me to join a department, preferably the Pastoral Care Unit (PCU).
A few weeks later, against my friend’s advice not to join the workforce, I was a PCU member. All of a sudden, I had some status in church. I was ‘somebody.’ Dress had to be on point, hair, shoes and what not… As workers, we were literally trying to outshine each other or so it seemed. Anyways, I felt like I was a privileged member of an elite circle. Hehehe. (It did feel good though, for the most part.)
About a year after joining the workforce, I was on my way to London for a Masters degree program that would last two years. As was the rule for workers travelling, I wrote to say I would be away for 2 years and Pastor B asked that I keep in touch by sending him my number and email when I had settled in London so he “makes sure I continue in the faith” because according to him, people loose their faith when they leave home and he wanted to make sure I didn’t. So, on that note, as soon as I got a phone line in London, I was sure to call ‘my pastor’ to say I arrived safe, had settled in and also gave my phone number. 
We had spoken a few times especially when the church started to stream online. I always watched and would give feedback on quality of production and share a little bit on the challenges I faced settling in a new land. One evening, Pastor B called me that he was coming to London and needed me to help him make some hotel bookings as the person who was meant to do it couldn’t get it done (this was rather strange as I had never been involved in his travel itinerary) Later that day, he said it had been sorted and my help would not be required but that he would like me to arrange a cab to pick him up from Heathrow. I was happy to help my pastor from Nigeria and even saw it as a privilege. (I would later come to learn that all of this was a calculated attempt to hatch a plan that I suspect was set in motion when I was asked to join the workforce.)
The cab guy was there to get him the next day and when he arrived, he called to ask why I didn’t accompany the cab to pick him up (again, this was strange but I stopped my mind from overanalyzing the situation as I knew I had no business with his visit to London) About two hours later, he called me and said he would like to see me. When I arrived his hotel, I called from the reception but he asked that I come upstairs. I got to the room and tried to stop my mind from thinking why I was going to his room. As he opened the door and invited me in, I had to speak to my heart to stop its palpitations. My better judgment asked me not to go into the room but the kind of reverence I had for Pasotr Biodun Fatoyinbo bordered on fear and I steeped into that room. 
“Care for a drink?” asked Pastor B.
“No sir,” I said.
“You don’t have to be shy Ese, even if it’s alcohol, feel free and order what you want.” I wasn’t sure I heard my pastor asking me to order alcohol. I imagined it was a test and ignored the voice inside that was saying, “I’d have henny and coke please.” He proceeded to ask how I had been coping in London and if I was a committed member of any church. He also said he thought there was something special about me and wanted to know that I had not strayed from my faith. I really thought he had heard I was doing something I shouldn’t while in London but tried my best to focus on the conversation instead of my straying thoughts. He kept telling me to relax and feel comfortable with talking to him. After a few minutes, he asked that we go to the roof of the hotel as his room was a pent suite and had a connecting door to the roof.
While there, he sat on a reclining chair and asked me to come sit on his laps. This was a bit awkward for me and I froze for a moment as I asked why. He said he had told me to feel free with him and loosen up. I found myself strolling to sit on his laps. At that moment, I felt like a little girl who was experiencing something her mind couldn’t fathom. He asked me to kiss him and all I could think about was seeing him preach on the pulpit back in the church, which was my home church. He again said ‘feel free Ese.’ And asked again, that I kiss him.
A few hours later, let’s just say, we were rolling under the sheets. It felt as though my mind had paused. I am not saying I was jazzed, (although it’s possible I was in some trancelike state and didn’t know it but I just was so afraid that I couldn’t say or think otherwise.) That was the beginning of this affair. A sexual affair that went on for a little over a week, DAILY!
I can hear somebody’s mind thinking, ‘well, you weren’t raped.” And I remember a pastor I opened up to when I couldn’t take all the mind games asking if I seduced him. No, I didn’t seduce him and no, I wasn’t raped but I felt trapped in this affair. Come to think of it, how could I have seduced him when I wanted nothing from him? I mean, I was too busy minding my business in London trying to get through with my masters program and I was overly comfortable. And even if I wanted to seduce anyone, it wouldn’t be a married man, not to mention a married pastor.  
What I couldn’t reconcile the whole time, was how the same person who preached against the very things we were doing (i.e drinking in pubs, fornicating, committing adultery) was the same person endorsing and encouraging it.
At some point, I got really confused about what Pastor and I were doing that I had to ask how he handles it. I will never forget what he said to me. He said and I quote, “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” My mind couldn’t fathom that somehow grace was enough covering for not just fornication on my path, adultery on his path and the many lies that was bound to follow what we were doing that was clearly abominable. I somehow dealt with the thoughts and fears that followed on my path. He had said to me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend and he would take me around the world and spoil me with money and things. Somehow, money had never been one of the things that motivated me (I am from a home where all my needs have been adequately met) In all my ‘badness’ through finding myself, I never did things I did for money but more of rebellion against rules and authority.
Pastor B also said to me that he had a dream where I exposed what was happening to the media. Said it was all over the place and that people were calling me the girl that caused chaos in the church. He also said I should remember the bible said to “touch not God’s anointed.” I immediately started to rebuke the devil and said I could never do anything like that. I was almost swearing with my entire family as I thought really I had touched God’s anointed by submitting my body to be used. Little did I know at the time that all of these were ways to mess with my mind and even manipulate my thoughts.
Fast-forward a few months later, I was back home and my church had become uncomfortable. Anytime I sat in church and listened to Pastor  preach, I felt shame. I finally sent him a message saying I wasn’t comfortable anymore. I was confused and needed to talk about what had happened. He said I should meet him to talk and I did. It was a really weird meeting for me especially when he tried to kiss me at our meeting. I finally realized at this point that he couldn’t help me. I thought God was angry with me and I couldn’t pray so I decided to withdraw completely from the church. This was the beginning of my mental torture. I couldn’t talk to my family because already, I was the only one attending a different church and somehow my mom never liked the idea. As the days went by I tried to use drinking and smoking to cover up the deep shame and guilt I was battling with. But as soon as the high was over, the thoughts came back and I felt stuck like I couldn’t move forward.
I felt I had to talk to someone and I decided to speak to my then good friend, Ernest but unfortunately for me, Mr. Ernest did not have the capacity to hold what I said to him. He broke down completely the days that followed and I found myself having to pause how I was feeling and what I was struggling with to help my friend be strong. After a while, he withdrew from not just me but his then fiancĂ© and friends. I had to then tell the fiancĂ© what had caused it (she suspected we were having an affair so I had to clear the air) To my surprise she was a lot stronger than her man and told me to suck it up (I’m paraphrasing). She said if she were me, she wouldn’t leave the church but stay to torment Pastor and collect money from him. Ok! That sounded extreme for me, as my intention was not to blackmail but to heal my broken self. Anyways, I finally found the courage to speak to my then unit head who said he was going to talk to Pastor B but didn’t have the liver to do so. Before long, the story was spreading and naturally getting twisted.
I went to a new church and it seemed like the church bug had chased me there. The pastor would always refer to the church as some example and each time that was done, it seemed like a spear was thrust through my chest. One day, I broke down in the service and started crying uncontrollably, as I couldn’t take another mention of the church and the pictures it painted in my head.
Very long, boring story cut short, for the last 5 months I gave the whole church thing a big space and break. I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I wasn’t sure I understood what it meant when people said ‘Jesus saves” and I definitely wasn’t sure how to deal with the mental torture that was affecting not just me but my relationships with family and friends. I was very unstable, fearful and worst of all guilty. I got a chance to talk to another Pastor F of  another Chapter, about everything. I made an effort to reach out to him because I realized the right thing to do was talk to an elder in the church and seek some sort of remedy to a wrong I believed had been done me. Instead, Pastor F. said, Pastor B had confessed to him and they had ‘talked’ about it and somehow that was supposed to be Ok. He asked what it was I wanted coming to talk to him about it when I did, I told him I realized what happened between Pastor B and I was wrong and not just that I felt abused and manipulated. I also said I thought it was wrong for Pastor B to go on preaching without taking time to deal with his personal character flaws. I said I thought he was a danger to all the young women that attended the church. Come to think of it, maybe he meant if I wanted something monetary or material (as someone had suggested when I opened up to her) but the truth is, I never wanted his money (or is it the church member’s money.) All I wanted was to meet with him and have him accept that he misled me, betrayed his wife and the church he pastors. I wasn’t the only lady in the church who had been a victim of his sexcapades and manipulative patterns but I was the one who could come back after months of struggle with not just my faith but also my affair with him. And I wanted to set things right. I wanted to talk to Pastor B maybe for closure and I felt like I needed an apology because he played the “touch not my anointed” card to keep me locked in guilt, shame and fear when all along it was a calculated plan and I dare say, it started when he asked me to join the workforce.
Not to mention the audacity to talk about teaching me a level of grace I didn’t understand. I had no intention of understanding a grace that would permit me to go on doing things that were wrong and what’s worse having to carry the burden for almost a year.
Different surprising advises came up in the weeks that followed the rumour making rounds. I was told to hush because Pastor B had been a cultist in the past and could send people to shut me up. All my so-called friends in the church withdrew from me and treated me like I had the plague. What was worse was Pastor F finally saw my then pastor to ‘talk’ about what had happened with Pastor B and lied that it happened once and was a mistake. My question then became, ‘do these people even care how broken I had become?’ ’do they care about the emotional and spiritual welfare of the people they were pastoring?’ The sad answer was NO. Most of us old members of  the church kept leaving but they couldn’t care less. What was important was to keep growing the church and having more and more cars with stickers that read “More than enough.”  Back then, I always felt horrible when I saw another car drive past me with the sticker. I was breaking, I was struggling but no one could help. All they could do was ask me to hide so Pastor B’s goons don’t hurt me. And then the interesting one was if I had evidence to prove my claim. Let me just say here that, it isn’t a claim, it’s a confession to free me from all of the guilt and shame I have had to live with for no reason at all. (That being said, I have evidence to prove all I have said here, the latest being a 58 minutes recording of my meeting with Pastor F a few months back)
This is my confession and I cannot begin to describe how much weight has been lifted off of my shoulders just pouring the truth out about what went down. So, to all my ex church friends gossiping about me, get your facts right. To those who said they’d help me deal with the pain but didn’t, I forgive you, I have learnt how to deal with it and I am doing just fine. To those who fear for my safety saying Pastor B would send people to shut me up, I really have gone past fearing for my life. To live is gain and to die is Christ (or how does Paul say it again?) And to the only person who ever supported me through it all, thank you, I am learning to be brave. Please don’t think I am perfect in all of this but in line with living my authentic life and putting all forms of abuse behind me, this is where I press the stop button and stop the bleeding. This is where I break the silence and call the church to stand up for what it has been commissioned to do. If you will not enter the Kingdom, please don’t stop others who are trying to enter.
I still remember when I used to nurse the idea of digging up emails, text messages, hotel billings (as once I used my card to pay for his room when his master card failed to work) to prove there was an affair. It was pathetic. Why for the love of heaven was I trying to dig up evidence? I am satisfied setting the record straight. I am ready for any shaming or bashing that would follow because the truth is, because of what I have suffered and come through, I am really not moved by what people say or think about me anymore. I am a stronger woman and a damn abuse survivor seeking to connect with other victims of abuse to show them how to deal with the shame, hurt and guilt and how to come out stronger. Turning their mess into their message.
I am Ese Walter and I have gone through all forms of abuse from family, boyfriends, my ex pastor and some strangers not to break me, but so I stand and so I qualify to help victims. My scars have qualified me and when all is said and done, I will still be standing. I AM WOMAN, I BEND, I DON’T BREAK!

Now after reading this piece, my first thought was;  "What a shame? Poor girl!..., and, what else is new?"  Not necesarilly in that order. 
Then I got curious, and decided to read the comments. There were thousands of them! More than half of the commentators called the girl all kinds of unprintable names, some openly blamed her for whatever happened, some questioned her motives and then there were the ones who openely accused her of the being an agent of satan sent to destroy the church. 
Now, there were a small minority who applauded the girl´s strenght in speaking up, there were the ones who encouraged her to heal and even admired her 

Below are a few excerpt from the comment section:
omoibo August 23, 2013 at 5:33 PM
Reading some of the comments & seeing how people are quick to castigate & vilify the lady in question is sad. Until our people stop the attitude of HERO worshiping i.e pastors, politicians etc and begin to see these individuals as fellow humans nothing more nothing less. What a lot of people forget is that the so called men/ woman of God are humans & are face the exact same demons we all deal.
Sure, the lady has her flaws & which of us doesn’t? But from what she has written, here is a man in a position or authority & trust that has abused these privileges.
Before you bible slingers come out blazing please know that this ladies confession whether you agree with it or not, in my opinion is not for you to judge but rather for her & her creator.
If saddens me to read comments whenever something is written about religion & how people react, being religious should NOT replace your critical thinking abilities!!! ssh ……”My people perish for a lack of vision”…….
Joanna August 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM
Good job Ese for speaking out! Consensual or not, it is important for other young women to be aware that there is a sexual predator in their church so they are not fooled. May God bless you and help you to move on. Pastors of today are true ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing!
picto August 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm
all these men are commending you….can any of them marry you… are such a disgrace to both yourself, (your country) and to the faith of christianity….you are doin these just to make people respect you for your act and by making them learn from ur mistake……but bringing shame to the death of christ on the cross…uhm, “”60 seconds determines a *MINUTE*,60 minutes determines an *HOUR*,24 hours determines a *DAY*,7 days determines a *WEEK*,4 weeks determines a *MONTH*,12 months determines a *YEAR*,10 years determines a *DECADE*,10 decades determines a *CENTURY*,10 centuries determines a *MILLENNIUM*……BUT,NO NUMBER OF SECONDS,MINUTES,HOURS,DAYS,WEEKS,MONTHS,YEARS,DECADES,CENTURIES OR MILLENNIUMS DETERMIMES *FOREVER*…,.,…HELL IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO GO AFTER DEATH,……..(REVELATION 20:10-15).
'Mide August 23, 2013 at 7:57 PM
Ese , abeg take responsibility for your actions. Sex is no big deal o !. You were played and you should have sucked it up like an adult and moved on. Pastor or no pastor, he used his common male jive to enter you pants and you gladly took them off to be nacked nastly position to hoodwink you and you wanted it so badly you spread your legs yakata. Stupid gal ! Na you going to town with some story wey go affect others not involved in your affair. The pastor’s relatives, his kids, if he has any. And you future husband and children. This was a stupid move. You should have let it slide. If you didn’t want it you would not have been going back to be bunked for a complete week. You wanted some spiritual bonding and bunking and you got it. Now you dey hala, haba!
Stephen Paul August 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM
This girl is so fake!!! she wanted the affair to happen. She’s gotten what she wanted, and now she writes about it?! Mehn!!!! some girls really do lack class. Babe you lack class. You think explaining what happened between you and the pastor makes it ok? Nah babe, nah.
You shouldn’t even show yourself on social media, have u no shame?
You better buy some class, because you lack it. No class!!!
Joe August 24, 2013 at 2:20 PM
Ese, you do well. When you bring your dirty clothes outside, expect different voices, so no one should complain if you get bashed. I am sure you enjoyed the 7 nights of Pleasure in London. I don’t want to guess or make wild accusations, I believe Men of God should live above board with issues of sex, especially with a wife at home. However, what do you want now? You had sex with Pastor, same way you have had sex with several other men, some married too and some Christian brothers, if we castrate this Pst B now, will you keep your legs closed until you get married? I just hope you will be able to handle this scandal as you progress in life.

Believe, begin, become.

Whatever your hands finds to do:

Do it well.

Make it different,

make it great,

make it count,

make it today, 

make it stay,

make it now!

Believe, begin, become.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

And I envied her.

Charlotte is a lawyer, and a single mother of 3 boys aged between 13 and 7. Today, during our session, a call came through on her phone and she looked at me apologetically and said she had to take the call. I said to go ahead.
As I heard her talking to her son, her eldest son of 13 years, I couldn´t help but wonder the kind of mother she is..

After her conversation, we got talking and she told me how the boy had exams that morning, but because he also had a blood test at the clinic, he arrived half an hour late. She told me that she had been very worried about him and if he was able to finish his exams. The call confirmed that he was given extra time.

The conversation went on to other things and we started talking about raising children to be independent, to be strong, to define their own limits.
I remebered a TEDtalk I saw some weeks ago titled "Five dangerous things you should let your kids do".
I also remembered how my Mum taught all seven of us the dangers of a fire flame; Seeing the flame of a candlelight and its infinite attraction to a kid of about 1 year or more, she would only tell you twice very gently not to put your hands to the flame, the third time you try, she´d either not say anything and watch you put your fingers and snap it back when you felt the heat or how she sometimes even helped put your fingers over the flame. That was a life lesson.

We spoke about so many different things and through it all, her love, commitment and admiration for her boys shone out.
She told me about how special her sons are, especially the eldest one.  With a special light in her eyes, she told me about the birthday present the boys prepared for her on her last birthday...
They had run her a warm bath with scented oils, candles, incense, they made dinner for her and as she sat down to dinner, they sat facing her, watching her with what she described as the most tender looks she had ever recieved. And then they sang her the happy birthday song, gave her hugs and told her how much they love her!

As I observed the transformation she underwent talking about her boys, I envied her. Not her job, not her marital or social status, I envied her the love and admiration of 3 potentially excellent men.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

And for the Mothers!

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay, honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purses.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars.

And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and meant it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who never stops wondering if they´re doing it right, always wondering what they could do better.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shootings.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their children who just came home from school safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation... And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without, struggling to make ends meet.

For all the mothers at heart who are still yearning for a child of their own..
And for all the women who´ve loved kids of others as if they were theirs...

This is for you all. For all of us...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

10 years without the most important of them all.

Weeks to the 10th year without you, I'm feeling the now familiar dull ache. I'm feeling the heavy heartedness that has characterized every month of May/June for the past 10 years.
They say that time heals all wounds, but they never tell you that there are wounds that will never heal.
The pain might dull with time as you busy yourself with life and living, but it never really heals, the emptiness remains.
When faced with challenging situations, I miss your  gentle yet firm words of encouragement.
I miss the sound of your early mornings and midnight prayers. Praying for us, one after the other.
You settled our success in life on your knees, before you left.
You were and still is the most solid influence I and all my siblings ever had. You were mother, friend, confidante, counsellor, adviser, guide and teacher. You were intercessor and prayer partner.
You were strict and the firmest disciplinarian. You believed very strongly that sparing the rod spoils the child, so you spared not the rod. However, you were also generous with praise and affirmation.
You taught us to be strong, independent and generous with both ourselves and resources. You said that if we wanted anything, to go out and get it. You taught to know how to abound and to abase.
Growing up, we went back and forth between having it all and barely making ends meet, but in all of it, neither we nor the world could tell the difference.
Because of his business choices, Dad was hardly ever there and when he was, he was preoccupied with being the good cop amongst other things that he ended up not qualifying as a parental role model. He did qualify as our reference in style and elegance.

10 years without them both. We've tried to keep the fire burning, we've held on to the legacy. We are all doing well, all 7 of us. We've stayed united, even when we've disagreed with each other. And now more than ever, I feel that the love we have for each other is true and strong.

I love my 4 sisters to bits and I adore my 2 brothers.
I look around and I know we've been blessed to be borne by the most special of all women.
The woman who positively touched the life of every one who came in contact with her, in her vocation as a nurse/midwife, as a deaconess in church and as a mother to all and sundry.
This is to the most important of all the women in my life.
This is to You Mum, the woman who made me happen.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Journey of the Heart

 When We Marry The Wrong Person: A Journey Of The Heart
Love is enough… Love conquers all…

My young heart took these statements into my marriage and lugged them around for 22 years. I knew before I ever said, “I do,” that God was saying, “Don’t.”  But I married anyway, and I paid a heavy price.
The first four years of marriage were blissful, and then it started.

The cycle was always the same – he would accuse, I would cry, I would reason, we would talk, he would apologize – I’m so sorry. I know you’ve never cheated on me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me – and I would forgive. Over and over for 18 years my husband accused me of having multiple affairs. With every painful accusation, every cutting look, through each hellish argument I told myself, It will be okay because we love each other. I didn’t see that things weren’t even close to being okay.

I soon understood why God had said, “Don’t.”
I still remember the first accusation; I was shocked, blindsided, dumbfounded. I didn’t even know how to react. An affair?! Me?! I had never even had any offers or an inappropriate conversation with another man. I was never unfaithful, but that didn’t matter. My husband was my accuser. He was the source of my pain and my comfort. He was my best friend and my worst enemy. Bad was mingled with good, hurt intertwined with love.

Years went by, our children came and grew and life seemed normal. But normal in my marriage wasn’t normal at all. My husband never laid a hand on me, but I was terrified of him. His words and eyes cut me deeper and did more damage than his fists ever could have. Physical wounds would have healed much sooner than the gaping cuts my heart walked around with. Maybe if he could have seen that I was battered and bleeding inside, he wouldn’t have repeatedly demanded that I “just get over it.” Even when things were great between us, I was acutely aware that it all could go south in a heartbeat. I walked on egg shells all day, every day.  The ache in my heart was constant.  I cried more than I care to remember. All I had ever wanted out of life was to be married and have kids. I used to think, I guess I got my wish, but this is not what I had in mind.

On the outside, my marriage looked fine. My kids were happy, and I was smiling. I wanted to be okay, so I acted like I was okay. Only God knew I was going through hell. No one at church knew, not even my family. I was completely isolated. I was a genius at covering up my pain. Survival mode said, “Preserve the marriage; protect the kids,” and I did.

I was then and am now deeply in love with Jesus.  I love my kids dearly.  They’re so great, and I love being a mom. I loved being married in spite of the junk. I was happy in spite of living in fear every day. I was full of joy and yet hopelessly sad. I didn’t want a divorce, I only wanted my husband to stop treating me so terribly. I wanted him to trust me. I wanted him to believe in me. To see into my heart and know that I truly loved him. To know that all my heart was for my family. I was desperate for him to know, once and for all, that the affairs he imagined in his mind never happened, and that his suspicions were unwarranted. I wanted him to stop taking back his apology with the next accusation. I wanted him to be the good man that I knew he could be. I told myself the same things that I’m sure most women do in my situation, But we’re Christians. If I pray enough, hope enough, believe enough… I know God can fix this. Divorce is not the plan!

And divorce is never the plan.

I know that God can fix a troubled marriage and that nothing is too hard for Him. I know He is the Great Physician and healer of all hurt. I know of His life-changing power. This knowledge kept me going, gave me hope and kept me sane. God will not, however, force someone to change. I remember the day this realization hit me like a truck. If a person isn’t willing to change, change will not happen. No matter how much I prayed for God to change my husband, to change me, or how much I tried to adapt to this ever-changing/always-the-same situation, it was never enough. I told myself, If my words, expressions and actions are just right, he won’t suspect me of having an affair. If I just try to be the perfect wife, maybe then he will see that I really do love him. But no matter what I did, nothing changed. It never dawned on me that I was in an abusive relationship. My every move was controlled, and I didn’t even realize it.

The abuse escalated during the last three years of the marriage. The accusations became more disgusting, more harsh and more frequent. His words and eyes grew more violent. No one has ever looked at me or spoken to me with more contempt than my husband. My husband – the one who promised before God to cherish and protect me. The one who should know me better than anyone. How could he hate me so much one minute and love me so much the next? I prayed repeatedly, How much of this do I have to take?! When will things change?! Each time I heard God softly tell me to stay. To this day I don’t know why, but I knew I couldn’t leave him. God didn’t remove me from the situation when I would have chosen, but He sustained me. He was so faithful to hold me and wipe my tears. Every. Time. Never. Failing.
And then one day, out of the blue, God said, “It’s time.” I didn’t have to ask, “Time for what?” He didn’t have to tell me twice. I knew exactly what He meant, and I ran. I ran and didn’t look back. Some may argue that God would never tell a person to leave a marriage, but I have no doubt that had I stayed, the abuse would have become physical. I believe God rescued me that day.

I literally felt like I had been let out of a cage.  I felt so free and yet so afraid!  The thought of being a single mom kind of terrified me, and I was so concerned about my kids.  Accusations continued to fly, and no matter what I did to protect my children and their ears, they were not to be immune from the lies. But a full year before the day of my escape, God had spoken to me very clearly. He said, “Don’t worry about your kids; I’ve got them. I love them more than you do.” Little did I know then how much those words would impact my life. I have clutched them so tightly, and they have brought me great peace.
I would love to tell you that my husband changed. I would love to tell you that we worked things out and my marriage was saved. But that is not the case. I learned some hard lessons when I disobeyed God all those years ago.

I learned that love does not conquer all. I learned that love is not enough.

I said earlier that no matter what I did, nothing changed. That’s not entirely true. I changed.
God took my disobedience and exchanged it for priceless truth. He taught me how to run to Him, and every time He met me with strength and wisdom that I did not possess on my own. I learned how to pray and trust on an entirely different level. I learned that real worship doesn’t just happen on a warm and fuzzy Sunday morning. Real worship happens when you remain faithful in the trenches day after day even though your life is falling apart around you. I learned what it means to be truly happy despite your circumstances. Real joy comes from God alone and cannot be taken from you when life gets hard. Little by little, year after year, through stubborn determination, I learned. I learned what real love is. You see, the truth is, I did have a love affair. I fell so desperately in love with God during those awful years, and that is how I survived. I had no one else to turn to. God was all I had, and I learned that He is all I need.

I learned that His love conquers all, and that His love is enough.
I disobeyed God and walked willingly into a situation with an outcome I could never have foreseen. But God, in His grace and mercy, didn’t abandon me. He followed me. He took my hand and walked with me on my journey, even though it was not His plan. He protected me and comforted me. He never once said, “I told you so.” He never once – not one time – left my side. He has never condemned me. He is gentle in His correction and passionate in His love for me.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (Isaiah 46:4)

I am not advocating divorce. I hope that is not what you take from my story. I want to impress upon you the unconditional love of a God who passionately pursues us. A God who redeems all of our mistakes. A God who runs after us into our storm with an umbrella and an anchor. He is our refuge and our strength (Psalm 46:1). God is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer (Psalm 18:2). He will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) even in our disobedience.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Three years have passed since God brought me out of that situation. He has taken me on a journey of healing that has been so amazing. I no longer live in fear or feel the incredible pain that was my constant companion for nearly my entire adult life. He has put my heart back together, replacing the missing pieces with pieces of His own heart. He has wiped away my regrets and my shame along with my tears. He is my perfect husband who knows me better than anyone. He cherishes me and protects me, and I am precious to Him.  He speaks only words of life, and if I could see His eyes, I know they would be filled, not with hatred or contempt, but with great love. He is the forever faithful love of my life. I know this today more than ever before.
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I feel Him singing over me today, and it feels oh so good.
I hope that you feel the love of God today and every day no matter where you are in life or what you are going through.  In gain and lack, in peace and turmoil, in hope and despair, God is a good God.  He loves you unconditionally.  This is my prayer for you always.

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your heart as you trust in Him. That your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)