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What MY HEART needs to know…TWC’17.

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They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g! Would that be through food or tummy rub? Hmm. Just thinking-out-loud here!  #TimeToRefresh

I am yet to come across the proverb about the way to a woman’s heart, or is the way INTO her more important? flowers? empty promises? trust?  #TimeToRenew

But a woman’s heartfelt emotions never lie, even though she hides the bruises under her sleeves, her heart never stops beating, even when crushed by mere words. #TimeToRestore

In my Aunt’s house in Port Harcourt, where I spent my young adult life while in the University…’there is a huge kitchen, women around the kitchen table and topics that turns heads.

Young and vibrant as I was then, I couldn’t wait to fall in love and prove to them that their talk was cheap…or so I thought!

In that kitchen, there were always women who came to visit my Aunt from different walks of life for motherly advice: There were the single and high maintenance, married and moody, separated, divorced, recently rejected, frequently abused, hidden scar carrier from youth, runaway bride and complicated relationships.

Some came glamorously dressed in their flashy cars while some had to trek or take public transportation with a cranky crying baby strapped on their back. They were always inside the kitchen talking or standing by the sink wiping away tears.

And in the hearts of those women, there was always CONFUSION, HELPLESSNESS & FEAR.

Fear that this time around that mastered recipe of life won’t work for their current circumstances.

That the man who promises love and life would never propose! Or think they are not good enough!

That the single young adult girl will walk down the aisle only when she’s ready, and not when the society dictates or  calculates her biological clock!

That the man in their life will leave his meal unfinished and their marital bed untouched!

That the man they think they know will soon find pleasure in someone else’s arms or home!

That probably she has served him too much affection or not enough. That he is already too full of life, or hungry for something or someone else, and that it will be their fault.

That the womb that’s been praised so much would begin to alert restless in-laws to raise eyebrows and question the delay of childbirth or the loss of a baby?

That the wide beaded hips that swayed to the beats of the drum he so much-loved to hold would never carry the weight of his off springs?

That her place and destiny to propel would never be supported due to His insecurity or male chauvinism!

That the cold hands of death would ever separate them… so soon!

Matters of the heart of a woman may be hidden or tucked away behind the soft succulent tissues of her bosom; covered with fancy fabric woven with care, but also attacked by the  fingers that created the woolen fabric!

I don’t know about you, but for me, I want my heart to know it is okay to heal and beat again… ‘that just like any woman reading this right now to know that:  Hidden behind my skin so fair, soft and tender, that part which has been cracked once and still healing is finally ready to show the world… ‘I GOT THIS” by God’s grace!

So, as we begin to countdown to the upcoming TWC’17 on April 27th to April 29th 2017, permit me to indulge you in some surprises in store: IMG-20170330-WA0012

What should YOUR HEART expect at TWC’17 ?

  • That its time to put the past behind you and…’REFRESH, RENEW & RESTORE

  • Relax in a luxurious 2 night stay at a beautiful golf resort/conference center

  • Get served Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…’just as you like it!

  • Participate in a One-on-One counselling to discuss those topics we keep locked up

  • Engage in Me-Healing sessions: Will I be heard? Who gets what I am going through?

  • Listen to inspiring ministration from speakers and worship team

  • Indulge in Girls night!! Shhhhhhhh. It’s a surprise! #WeGotGameNight

  • Comedy night.., ’maybe laughter and good jokes is really all a girl needs to warm up her heart! #GuessWho’sComingTonight #FemiObama

  • Workshops & Breakout sessions

  • Support group building and bonding for challenging workplace issues

  • Morning power-walk and Zumba session

  • Share your story and inspire others… #ShareYourStoryInPhilly

As you read this, ask yourself…  ‘What is a valued centerpiece in my heart? Is my heart an arbitrary harbor of commotion? A solitary confinement for hope…ONLY I bear the burden deep inside as I suffer and smile to portray a perfection that is nonexistent? Does anyone care?

Have you ever considered that perhaps God isn’t longing for you to come to Him with perfect, polished prayers, with fifty-cent words and flowery language? Have you thought about the pleasure God experiences when you simply approach him just as you are, fragments, bruises, warts and all, because He loves you? He delights in your attention. He takes pleasure when you come to Him simply because you are His.

Total Woman Movement has a spot waiting for you. Join the movement today! www.totalwomanmovement.com

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

 

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Are we comfortably numb in our denial? ‘Time to speak up on ABUSE!

Connecting with “The Total Woman Movement” – A Refuge of Comfort in Brokenness.

I once attended a sorority party about 2000 miles away from my college in 1992. Our Destination: University of Calabar! Excitement mode activated! Trust me, I had carefully packed away my popular orange halter-neck dress, with matching brown lace up mules, and my hairstyle? Aha! I’d travelled all the way to Onne villa (outside Port Harcourt) just to patronize the best hair braider in the whole of Rivers state! Phew! Such youthful exuberance! Silly painful vanity!abuse 7

Halfway through the journey, I began to feel feverish and tired! Oh no! It can’t be happening to me… I was aching all over, ah!  It must be M-a-l-a-r-i-a! Oh great! How can this be happening to me? I had so prepared for this day! This wasn’t in the plan!

My temperature was spiking, this fever has no respect for my opinion! In fact, ‘it has come to stay like a desperate housewife! My travelling team was terrified! “How can it be (I was getting helpless).

Anyway, without much ado, as if that fever was a red flag, the party was cancelled due to serious vigilante watch as opposing rival confraternities were in the midst of a serious war. We all spent the night off campus, in a rented hostel.abuse 3

Six other girls and I shared 2 adjacent rooms. It was a night I will never forget. Amongst being confined inside our rooms, noises of gunshots blasting throughout the night, as we became more frightened we looked to each other for support.

In the middle of nowhere, we became each other’s trusted companion, well, we had no choice but to wait and see what the morning brings forth.abuse 4

The fear and helplessness we felt that night brought back horrific memories of abusive pasts, stories of years of abusive upbringing, relationships and stolen childhood. Storylines that 7 beautiful, intelligent and oh-so-cool girls have never dared to talk about!

Tales that have been buried for years with those clicking fancy bangles, baggy Pepe jeans, colorful trendy t-shirts, shining pink lip gloss and fake make-believe smiles! oh boy! Did we vent!

“Ah, I was molested by my neighbor when I was 10!“I couldn’t tell anyone”

I was raped by my uncle when I was 12, I’d wanted to commit suicide”

“ I was never touched, but told constantly that I was ugly and a weakling”  

“ My mother’s boyfriend was very aggressive, he would beat me up and rape me, I couldn’t tell anyone, I was too frightened

I was betrayed by a senior in school, she raped me, I can’t trust anyone anymore”

 “I watched my father beat up my mother for years”He told us he loved us, but couldn’t stop hurting us” “His anger was uncontrollable”

I was raped inside my house” “I was ganged raped and molested at a party on campus” 

and on and on and on…we all talked into the early hours of the next day…sleep eluding our consciousness…and we were never the same after that day…forsaking the beauty that material things have managed to conceal, our hearts were on fire!abuse 6

Party forgotten and ignored, we had released everything no one had ever inquired of us… or the story our culture forbids by acceptance or utterance! we released the dark secrets that harbors lingering pain! ‘the substance of our current day frustrations and rejections…’stories we could not confess to priests during penance…or even during deliverance…’stories that family traditions sweeps under the carpet as generation to come wallow in confusion…’these were stories hidden in misery and denial…but, we had to travel all the way out of town, be confided into a hostel with bullets flying outside our windows….just for those stories to surface. We all had closure after confiding and crying out about it and promised to seek help after. The burden is now shared, not to be chastised or reprimanded, but to begin healing and moving forward.

Ok…that was 24 years ago! I have lived past those stories, but currently still living amongst those who are unable to talk about their story…’Abuse stories or even use their experiences to help raise awareness and help someone going through it.

What’s your Abuse story? Broken dreams or failed relationship? Or what’s that Abusive storyline you played a part in? years ago, that is still lingering and haunting you presently? You know why it’s still trailing after you. But to get closure to it, someone else somewhere right now is going through the same ABUSE you encountered…and the circle is continual UNTIL you Seek help, Campaign against it! Create a platform for awareness!abuse 1

Let’s celebrate a season of closure and recovery…’like when a heavy burden has just been off-loaded from our shoulders. A sense of commitment and togetherness…like ‘Wow! I am not alone! I thought I was the only one!

Since that day, I have learned to respect and look at those ladies differently with respect and courage, for speaking up about their abusive past. And today, I am hoping our stories could save a life or two!  Or is it still happening?

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself…’Does my fragrance (that beautiful perfect-picture image, I carry with me effortlessly) have fragments (stains, shame, sorrow, abusive stories)? Am I really truthful to myself? Am I still hiding behind the veil of pretense and still hoping that one day I would wake up and say “It never happened”Ah! If you are reading this and have ever encountered any form of abuse (sexual, verbal, physical or emotional) – don’t let it define you. When we talk about some of our stories, it helps someone else going through it or someone who’s gone through it and still struggling with acceptance of the shame of the aftermath.abuse 5

Our fragrance did have fragments! And it was time to break it open, not to ridicule each other or laugh at each other but a time of total submission, after all, we were all skeptical we’ll make it out of that place, alive. But we did, and now, there’s a story to be told to help uplift someone going through something similar…our Alabaster Jar just got cracked, and the spill is totally healing and comforting, what do you think?

Are we even aware of the comfort in our brokenness? Do we know that refuge from our circumstances and contentment in the midst of mishaps is found in the center of our surrender. Or is it in our brokenness?

If that is true, then why are so many women still living lives with little or no joy based on their past? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy (the abuser), allowing him/her to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams, and unrealized goals are some of his/her favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him/her to use, “Our destructive abused past”

It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for so many years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain because we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, while  our joy is buried under a mountain of self loathing.abuse 2

Today, there’s HOPE! There’s a better tomorrow and it can be brighter than the past, the abusive past! Join the movement that comforts the abused today. The Total Woman Movement. Come as you are (BROKEN) learn how to release your inner fragrance (STORY) and let the scents relieve your life’s dents. (HEALING).

For more information about this movement, please visit www.totalwomanmovement.com

Yours in HOPE as I share Gloria Estefan’s “Coming Out Of The Dark”

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dangerously living in a fool’s paradise.

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It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you are going outside to take a walk and enjoy the brush of the heat on your skin. You change your mind, head back inside. Suddenly, you remember that you forgot to take your cell phone with you. But, you want to spend quality time with yourself un-interrupted, like meditate as you stroll around the neighborhood. You don’t want to be reminded of that heart ache you’ve been trying to bury, or that disturbing message you’d received that got you twisted and confused.  The back lash from the grapevine!

Instead, you go back inside, grab a bottle of water and sacrificially bury your cell phone inside the kitchen closet and walk out of the door; chin up, chest out, feeling proud of your little courage. You are certainly on a roll! Phew!

Wait-a-minute! ’Congratulations! Awesome bravery…but, for how long?

I remember in 1995 when the song “Gangsta Paradise by Coolio was just coolio 3released. Every house party in Port Harcourt then played it like they dined and wined with Coolio himself! I didn’t understand the content of the lyrics much, but we all just hummed to the chorus and showed off our hot steps.

Apparently, until much later when I sat down to watch the movie it featured in: “Dangerous Minds” Starring Michelle Pfeiffer as retired U.S. Marine Lou Anne Johnson, who took up a teaching position at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, in 1989, where most of her students were African-American and Latino teenagers from East Palo Alto, a poverty-stricken, racially segregated, economically deprived city at the opposite end of the school district., the film was released to a mixture of mostly negative critical reception, but became a surprise box office success in the summer of 1995, leading to the creation of a short-lived television series.

At the end of the year, the teacher announces to the class that she will not continue teaching at the school, which prompts an unbridled display of emotion from the students who refuse to let her leave. Overwhelmed, she decides to stay. Hmm!  Yeah…’stay back with the same students who had wickedly crawled up her skin into misery! Who does that?

So, our life is filled with twisters – indecisions, contemplating over lifelong struggles, overcrowded schedules, impossiblecoolio 2 demands from friends and families, unrealistic expectations, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. During those turbulent times, how did you handle it?

Growing up, I would run and hide under my blanket or just bury myself in a good book and block the world out until the storm passes over! But now, my blanket is consciously pulled off by my 3 wonderful children reminding me that  (1) Homework needs to be reviewed (2) Dinner needs to be served! (3) Mom! life goes onjust step out of that blanket and get-it-together!

So, I have come to two realizations; first, there will always be another storm and second, what I must do is learn how to prepare for storms before they hit or deal with the storm and move forward!

As we approach the end of the year, let’s think back to the past months and review the reasons why we have been stagnant, stuck or suppressed? any reasons why we just need to bury some hatchets and start afresh?  Have we embraced solitude after a storm?

‘Are we sincerely seeking God’s face for direction? how about how brave Michelle Pfeiffer was in the movie as she dealt with challenges that made her stronger and daring even at the face of death? Or Coolio’s heart rendering concerns on how we live our lives in false declaration?  ‘are we still in tune with personal goals to do better? Are we addicted to social praise? Craving for recognition or acceptance by a confused world itself?

Why do we still always end up hurting each other, with our bashful words and resentful attitude? Even as we portray such magnitude of holiness, while our personal mirror sees us as Pharisees? ‘Aren’t we still living in that hooded paradise? Hopefully, by the time we begin the countdown, our hearts will take us to places our emotions dare to thread; so that our mind, body and soul will be renewed for 2016.

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite Coolio’s music/Dangerous Minds soundtrack: “Gangsta Paradise”

Yinka.

 

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