...a fresh slate or paper is a delight to behold, it practically beckons to me...begging to be utilized! With eyes that see and appreciate beauty in the midst of a crazy scenery...hands swift to pen what my 'wonder-filled' mind conjures! My name is Frances
It was a typical Lagos morning and you know the mix – plenty traffic (human and vehicular), music and horns blaring, and a cacophony of sounds from the rest of humanity. Then the conversation began, “who never pay me?!” demanded the driver. The mediator in the second row began recounting who-owned-what-money she had sent forward to the driver.
Meanwhile, the “culprit” sat silently, caught up in her world. The driver proceeded to park and start a cross examination with the mediator, whilst painstakingly counting the money in his hands and assigning ‘owners’ to them and their potential change, in the event that he couldn’t find his balance, he would hold onto those.
At last, she came forth and the observers wondered why she was initially silent. She claimed to have been on a call and didn’t hear him until the interrogation began. Of course, no one believed her and none voiced it out either, except one and he got a mouthful of invectives thrown at him.
The journey continued, as did the interrogation. The driver queried why she did that and also enquired to know where she would alight, so he could give her her balance. She rained the leftovers of her abuses on him and that gave the observers something to conclude on – and that’s who she is, despite the attempt to look and dress a part.
But I choose to sing, so I won’t engage an uncouth lady, that’s if she was a lady.
Today, I had an interesting conversation with one of my very dear friends. She was in a dilemma of some sort and honestly, as of today, I couldn’t offer her the assistance she needed (she knew, but still came to me). I thought about it and as we spoke, I knew why.
You see, we have different friends that play several and differing roles in our lives. She has her role in mine and it is a balanced one. Today, she needed to unburden her heart and ensure that I knew where she was at. Beyond that, she needed sound counsel from me. By the way, I have friends we gist and laugh a lot, but at some other times, I just call them up to rant and talk endlessly. They would sit quietly and let me unburden and then pray with me. Cool right? You should have one or two of those I tell you. Before you run off, you should be one of those to someone too!
As we spoke, I could feel her tend towards hopelessness and I remembered that a few months back, we had a conversation and after that we prayed and I said to God after the call, “don’t embarrass Yourself o! I’ve told her she will get an answer from You!” I won’t lie, she needed that answer in a few days and though I promised her on His behalf that it will happen. I had my own questions. Hmmm.
Why? You ask, ‘did I do that?’ Because I know I had spoken His Word and His Word is who He is. I knew He would respond to His Word I had faith in her faith…the way she said the ‘amen’ was something else, so I believed more than I prayed. That’s why I told Him, I had done my part, He should do His. And oh yes, HE DID!
As we spoke today, I reminded her that the God who did that then isn’t bankrupt and doesn’t need an account, so we can’t say He’s run out of money. I shared how we are told that ‘you reap what you sow, but in many folds’. Then the Holy Spirit said to me “If you sow beans and you don’t need beans, you will get what you need”. The scriptures in Philippians 4:19 jumped at me “And my God shall fulfill every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I said to her, “Yes, I may have sowed a bean seed, but if I need a house, that’s what I will get as long as my faith is in place” and I never thought about it till we had today’s discussion.
We gisted about my Shoe-Faith. What is “Shoe-Faith”? Whenever I need shoes (whatever kind), I simply just say to God (no formality to it), I need a pair of shoe (or shoes), state the height of the heel, the kind (canvas or work shoe or flats etc) and the quantity and He gives me more! I also noticed that the same goes for phones, I’ve never bought myself a phone (definitely for the Heritage – my children, and the house) but I’m always given a phone. My last phone had been begging to be changed because the memory was always full. So I told Him about it and viola! It came. So with phones and shoes, all I need do is ask Him. Once, He said to me, why don’t you use that Shoe-Faith for every other thing you need. I wish I could, it’s so easy with shoes (or so I think), but it just faith at work. And it works all the time.
After all these *tory. We prayed and by the time the call ended, even the walls knew a different person was on the other end of the line. Her voice sounded lighter and I could feel her faith tangibly!
My pastor says it all the time, “Faith is Rest” and I’m resting and enjoying the fruit of the labour Christ finished on the Cross, how about you?
I’m not a pastor, though surrounded by many and married to one. I just love the Lord and the way we do relationship is via words and deeds. He speaks and sends me messages, I understand and respond lovingly to Him…sometimes, I obey, other times I rationalise. But He knows me and understands me…what more could a girl ask for?! God is awe-amazing!
So, it’s Palm Sunday and many things have been said about today. But one that stood out for me was listening to Pastor Ifeanyi talk about the colt being tied up in an obscure place. It had never been used before, probably always ignored because according to the be-it-and-know-it-all, he doesn’t have anything to offer. Imagine, me (that colt) being called up, and prepared because the Master has need of me…omo! Small, ignored me being sought-for, hmmm…the Twitter world will get all the hashtags and I will trend as #TheColtJesusDrove #TheColt #NoLongerTiedUp #FreeToBeUsed #Untied2023…and many more.
As I listened to her give different scenarios of the many things that keep us tied, things that give us limited movement. Things that when we engage, we get pulled back into the same spot. I thought of the ones that have happened in my world and I gave God praise. So when Jesus has called for me and I am being led to Him, imagine the exhilarating feeling of freedom, only to leave my limited movement position and get into confusion in the name of a CROSSROAD, the place where two roads met.
When does it really end?
Will I ever be free, as in totally free to enjoy this liberty!? Well, the sooner I realise that being untied is not about me, but the One who needs my services, the better for me.
I’m off now to serve Him, as you lay your palms for me to walk on, I will keep raising my PALMS to Him in worship, in sweet surrender to the One who knows my end from my beginning. I’ll keep raising my PALMS (hands) to the One who knows that this week will definitely be different and end with sounds of jubilation. I raise my PALMS to the One who gives life to the many seeds that has been buried and given up for dead, because Sunday is going to be the time to RISE!
What would the world be like without women? I wonder. Lacking lustre without a doubt, on these I will not ponder. Say not that I praise her because I am one… But then you may not be far from the truth dearest one Known for her ability to multiply seeds and bring ease The world stands to benefit from her and find peace Little wonder the Proverbs 31 woman may sound like myth Yet a simply search and you find her in every midst We’ve heard it said, “why so many days celebrating women?” Deep down they realise what bore it would be with just men! Don’t think for a second we would have it otherwise…no way! With the men around we roll on all sides and sway!
Celebrating women everywhere and the men who are not afraid to have us in their space. It is not a man’s world, it is not a woman’s world.
“Remember” is not the word you use for someone unforgettable! You simply don’t go a day without reminiscing over something they did or said and even when you do, your life by default responds to what they would have said given the situation you find yourself.
Uncle Sam is present! He is not just present by being here through the legacy he built in lives and communities, for Kingdom and humanity, he is a PRESENT, a gift that we will always be thankful to God for.
When you passed on last year, I couldn’t bring myself to cry, I still haven’t. I went into shock because we had plans about uniting the family, rebuilding broken down altars and changing the few negative narratives around our families for good. Sometimes, when I think about our several conversations from my teenager years – how you encouraged me to speak up, how we would negotiate my ‘punishment’ because I dropped the ball concerning something you had said not to do…I smile. I’m always in your defence, telling all who cared to listen, that you are not a difficult person to live with as long as they obeyed your instructions. But they don’t believe me and truly never did stay long with you, but I did and our friendship (despite the age gap) grew till you passed on.
Being a voracious reader with no TV to watch back then (because you didn’t want one contaminating my values), I remember the look of disappointment on your face when you ‘caught’ me reading a James Hardley Chase! If anyone knows a “Chase” book, you would recall that the cover would definitely be that of a semi-clad woman. But like I told you in my defence, that it was a thriller and had no sexual thingy in it..and boy, I love thrillers! You still felt, the pictures were suggestive and would pollute the mind. You bi Deeperlife Pastor, what did I expect?! I particularly didn’t like the pictures either, but I needed to read the stories. So I resorted to taking off the back…or covering them with used calendar to avoid-stories-that-touch. I think eventually I stopped reading them whilst with you so I don’t feel guilty.
One of our favourite pastime were our conversations! You would ask me what I did during the day after school, write about my holiday when I returned from Port-Harcourt (it was in one of my “How I spent my holiday” that you learnt what I had been up to as I would give details) poor child, what did I know. I was just being myself, saying it the way it is. But these are the values I learnt from you, speaking the truth at all times and with boldness. Our conversations even after I had gotten married, was one that Oba couldn’t interrupt. LOL. He had his own special time with you.
I remember on one of your visits to see Daddy, you said to me, “you guys are still ‘disturbing’ popsie” and I responded, “you know your brother, he doesn’t know when to stop because as far as he is concerned, we will always be his children”. You continued that he still treats you guys as little brothers too even after marriage and children (and I wasn’t even married then) and we laughed conspiratorially because that’s Daddy for you.
Your commission to Ini and I to gather information and write about the family was never done. Will we do it? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is, I will keep sharing your values, the Word, listening to your VNs and reading the few chats I have left of you and remembering the Uncle who became a 2nd father to me.
Happy posthumous 70th birthday to you Uncle Sam, I miss you so much!
If no year has taught us anything, 2020 took us to school and had a spreadsheet of lessons to train us in various ways of living and survival, and live, we did! Sadly, as with all things human, once a phase is passed, we forget the lessons it brought and carry on as usual. But, some of us didn’t!
One phrase or thread you are likely to hear or see in my articles is, “Family is everything!” Another is, “I love Love!” By family, I refuse to limit the definition to those bond to us by blood, but expand it to include relationships that transcend blood and birth to bond via connection and friendship! Everyone should have one or more communities they are connected and committed to, not just for the help the community gives, but for the platform it provides us all to serve and help humanity.
Do you have a community?! Do you have a common union you can fall back on?
Our friend and brother passed on recently in another country far from his nuclear family. It was the community he had joined who reached out to his immediate family to inform them, whilst making plans to ensure his transition was almost stress-free to his immediate family. This is the GOSPEL of Jesus, having communities that propagate what Kingdom lifestyle is all about and living it. Don’t go thinking NGOs and don’t get me wrong, NGOs are good, but before you begin thinking of establishing one, branding it, getting a building and all the nitty gritty of having the papers to run one, we can all have pockets of communities where people can reach out to and find help, support and care. In some faith-based organisations, they are called fellowships, family units, home-cells, house fellowships, these should not only be about spreading the Word or doctrines we believe in, but true care for members.
I’ve been a member of one for a while and though it’s been ages I physically attended a meeting, yet we are constantly in the know about the well-being and welfare of our members. It is not always easy to assist, however, the few times we have stood our grounds and helped, we have had success stories. Beyond these fellowships, I have a group of ladies that we connect and share posts that help with life and sound mental living, we plan on hanging out which has not happened yet (because of our busy lives), but that is one hub we are ourselves, we laugh, cry and pray! Your family can also be a community, but you need to have a common focus and a foundation and no foundation can be best than having the Rock in place, so regardless of the storms and weather that life brings your way, you are still standing.
Being Christ-like is beyond speech and eloquence, it is deeds that show the characteristics of Christ. If we truly walk our talk, then will be fulfilled in our days, “Thy will be done on earth, as is in Heaven” and when there is a ready ground, it is so easy to plant seeds, water and the increase which God gives to come. We need to be the body of Christ in truth. How are you spreading the tents of this gathering, it is greater than the already established unions of the world. It is one (or more, as many as you love to build) which common ideals, faith, beliefs, goals are established and pushed for greater good. Mark those words, “GREATER GOOD”… if we decide to stand together in love and truth, no person or group of persons can overturn decisions we make. Interestingly, we have higher power as supernatural beings, let’s put it to work, your faith has been at ease for too long, work-mode activated!
The message is becoming increasingly clear and it’s no gainsaying, we need to grow our communities and strengthen the bonds of friends and family. Only then can we truly show our love for God by showing up for one another. The Community starts with you, your friends/neighbour, check up on one another, create a hub to log in a “hiya” every morning or evening or an emoji that says how you feel. I just checked up on mine…have you done yours?
I was shocked also when I saw that command. I thought of my father’s really beautiful house and the lush grass in front with several mango tress, and the backyard which boast of African Pear (Safou), Udara (African Star Apple) and Palm trees, not to mention the pineapples that are spread in the bush. I left out the Pawpaw trees and the native Apple (Rose Apple) tree amongst others; Daddy loves his farm and fruits!
I remembered the streams, the long path that leads to my maternal Uncle’s house, whom we call Captain. My 2nd daddy’s home, Uncle Richard and the rest of my family members that are in the village. The generational church (The Lutheran Church) we attended as children and still visit when we go for Carols and prayers. I looked at the statement again and I shuddered.
I have read Mark 8:23-26 in the King James Version (KJV) many times and my focus is always on the man and his failing sight; a sight so bad to the extent that even when the Sight-Giver touched him and he still didn’t see! My focus has also been on the need to see men for who they truly are, not metaphorically(I see men as trees, walking), but what and who they are, what they represent and who they represent. Mind you, trees don’t walk, they can sway from side to side, be uprooted, but walking isn’t their thing. It has always been about clear vision that ends all deceit.
But this time when I read it in The Message (MSG), it hit me! That the man had already been healed, but his faith didn’t pull hard enough to see through the maze. In fact verse 25 (KJV) says “After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” Jesus made him, encouraged him, redirected his focus from the mundane to the supreme (above) and when he obeyed, he saw clearly! MSG collaborates this by saying, “The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus.” Otherwise, we would be saying that Jesus was unable to heal him and that’s not true. The next thing Jesus did shocked me… Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, “Don’t enter the village.”
What is a village? What happens there? Why was the man who had just been healed given that instruction? I wondered…
A village is a small community or group of houses in a rural area. Jesus, the all-knowing Saviour of the world, knew the source of his trouble. He knew the man had a community he loved hanging out with, whose company he enjoyed, a group whose advice he took – hook, line and sinker without doubts, the familiar, the place he lets his guard down, the place his vision is downplayed on and he is robbed of his purpose to the point that he can no longer differentiate right from wrong, a zone he walks in greys – an astigmatic zone. Jesus says, “Don’t enter, don’t go there, go straight home!” Return to base, your vision, the place you have root, the place of certainty, where your heart is at peace. Stop the vacillation! Take a stand!
How many times have we been caught in this place of deceit where we keep thinking that a particular place or person holds the answer to the clarity of purpose we seek? I’m not sure if I have cleared your doubts, but one command I’ll leave you with is, whenever it has to do with your sight or purpose, go back to the Word, don’t enter the village!
I’m wondering if to go full pidgin English on you today or do a mix on this aspect of #MyLagos people. Well, a mix would be delicious, but the core will definitely come as it was said. I maintain, Lagos offers you countless stories daily, if you have seeing eyes and a listening ear, I’m sure where you are does the same too.
So one of those mornings, on my way to work. Our ‘seeming’ peace was rudely interrupted by some actions on the walk-way and of course accompanied by loud noise and spectators. Note to readers: If the action doesn’t have spectators, then it’s not worthy of taking notice of it, spectators just keep moving.
Back to my story: The spectators were finding it hard to contain him from causing bodily harm to his opponent (who is apparently, an annoying bus conductor, who after collecting full bus fare, decides to off-load his passengers half-way) and the next thing we heard from the conductor as he bent and picked up a weapon (a discarded piece of plastic) was, *“e bi like sey you wan wound…” and everyone in the vehicle went “ahhaa” signaling a case of “we have heard this before, all pump and no action”. Funnily enough, the one without the weapon (the passenger) was the one being detained because truth be told, the conductor was all hot air and if the spectators had let go of the passenger, someone would have had a bloodied nose and definitely not the passenger! 😂🙈
Daily, on our way round #MyLagos, we encounter the ‘E bi like sey’ WhatsApp group people, always spoiling for a fight and never having the strength to actually go for the jugular. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not campaigning that anyone be violent, I’m just saying wouldn’t it have been better, if we had a dialogue on whatever the issue was? It’s the same whether the person is learned or an illiterate, there’s this “I-can’t-be-seen-as-a-weakling-syndrome” going around and many have lost their lives or limbs engaging in this conquest, on the highway, I must add! If it is not ‘E bi like sey’, it is ‘Do you know who I am?’ 😳 😋 for this particular set, I think the best response should be, “do kindly introduce yourself, I’d love to make your acquaintance” hilarious! 😂😅
Well, my charge to you today, is a call to have a rethink about our behaviour in public. Every time that lout or another ‘sane’ thinking person pushes your upset button, stop, count and calm down and ask yourself; Which WhatsApp group am I about to join? How beneficial is what they are offering? Will it do my rep or BP any good? Which brand am I representing right now? I think the answers to these and some other unasked questions, will put you in check. Or what do you think?
By the way, what is it with people (drivers), immediately you indicate that you want to make a turn or change lanes, they quickly close up the space that was in front of them caused by their playing with their phones on a highway – traffic jam or not! Mtschewwwwwwww 😤😡
Glossary: *E bi like sey – it seems *E bi like sey you wan wound – it seems you want to be injured
One thing I’d miss when I stop my daily commute with commercial vehicles, will be the stories from drivers/passengers and their different perspectives to life. Everyone has an opinion and in my Lagos, the one with the loudest voice and knowledge (whether it’s true or false) gets an audience. But, the beautiful thing is, people are aware, so you’d want to be careful with the information you trade or you will be ridiculed even in my Lagos and amongst the agberos (area boys) sef.
I happened to be in this vehicle with a very comical driver. He said so many things that had me in stitches: 1) He picked a guy along the way, gave him a price for his destination and the guy beat down the price. The driver asked him if it was his first time in Lekki, because the price he was negotiating for didn’t sound like someone who had been to Lekki before. 🙈😳
2) My comical driver, received a call and from the tone of the conversation, he was supposed to remit money to the caller. The driver explained that he had lost his phone and had been praying that the caller would contact him. He promised to pay him at the end of the month (this was 26th January o). The caller was confused and asked him, “this month or next month?” The driver replied, “when is month-end?” The passengers erupted with laughter, as the conversation was not a silent one (though peaceful). It then occurred to the driver that the month had ended already.
3) I happened to sit in front with a young-lady between us. Apparently, the driver had been teasing her throughout the journey, he even bought water for her and they were in a conversation of some sort. I noticed someone kept interrupting their conversation with his call and she would say “I’m almost there”. During one of the calls, she told the guy who had been waiting, that she was near to his location. But this was about 5 bus-stops away 😮(she was at Igbuefon, but told him she was almost near Mega Chicken). At this the driver stopped teasing her and said to her, “God said I should tell you, if you change your ways, He will bless you this year!” She scoffed at him and his declaration, but he continued, “If I was a General Overseer or Pastor, you would believe me and shout ‘amen!’ don’t ignore me because I’m a Danfo driver”. Her ‘man’ called again (by this time we were at Chevron and the traffic was not smiling) and she said she could almost see Mega Chicken 😮. At this point, the driver shook his head, and informed her that it would take another hour + to get there. I was bemused at such bold lies and suggested she better get down and fly a bike rather than tell lies. She got off and that ended her chapter.
4) Still in traffic, as we drove past the Chevron tollgate, into a sea of slowly-driven cars, one of the lady passengers enquired about his conductor and the driver asked if she wanted to leave a message for him, she responded that he was owing her a balance for her fare. Uncle driver, told her that she could alight from the bus, that he will pass on the message to the conductor, when he picked him up down the road. after a while, Uncle driver asked her where her destination was and it was the last stop, to which he responded, “so why are you disturbing us?”
5) Further down the road, he picked someone he had been looking for and couldn’t reach. Another tale of missing phones and contact came from the fellow. Also, he recounted the drama that led to his abandoning his place of work. He mentioned how his employer accused him of stealing a client’s phone, only for the phone to be found in his employer’s brother’s bag; and the matter was killed without any drama. According to him, that his name had been tarnished and until his former employer corrected this misdeed to his name, he wouldn’t have anything to do with him. The driver asked him if he wanted his employer to write his name in crayon.
This is just an evening on my way home. How has your day been in #MyLagos or your city? Do share.