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My 20-Year-Wedding-Anniversary Reflection.

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As crawling gives way to toddling and then striding, so does every relationship that would stand the test of time! It is like a child moving more steadily through the physical world, un-perturbed by the unknown rough pathway ahead, but determined to thrive.

Our relationship with others should always crave for improvements and ability to reject being the ultimate mentalist! Or self-appointed mind-readers we think we are. Only if we make room for acceptance.

How often have we erringly misjudged the mental states of others, such as their background upbringing, sexual orientation, feelings, thoughts, intentions, baggages and deceptions because we feel there just isn’t enough vacancy in our hearts, anymore?

Should we allow our minds to navigate deeper into the cross-currents of the broader social world while we struggle with our differences? Is there really a perfect mate? And for people who have given up on searching or loving, should there exist a fundamental difficulty in trusting again? ‘Fear of series of strong headwinds, uncertain tacks, and treacherous eddies?

 

So, here I am today, August 14th 2017, exactly 20 years ago my ever so-loving-Father walked me down the hallway of The Marriage registry at City Hall Lagos, into the arms of the one true love I would ever encounter! The same bespectacled-guy I met 3.5 years earlier who couldn’t keep his eyes off my one-nation orange halter-neck romper and wouldn’t get off the wall of the newly opened Club Towers night club to dance, who’d pledged the same night jokingly ‘He would marry me someday’ on the dance floor at The Whyte’s party on Glover road and then, Oh-my-word! ‘eventually showed up at my home church, Holy Cross Cathedral by making himself comfortable in my family pew, singing Agnus Dei, like he took Latin classes in college, showing off in his brand new well ironed patterned shirt, brown suede penny loafers while driving the smallest blue car ever driven in Lagos! … #Daewoo Tico

#WE DO…then in 1997, and 20 years later…#WE STILL DO

20 3Phew! It wasn’t easy…trust me, but was worth the fight to keep on keeping on!

From the misconception of what the romantic novels we read say about marriages, to the soap operas and knowledge based books or audio we tune to! From the no-experience marriage counselors or confused life coaches sprawled all over, to the perception social media breeds about what marriage should be…that’s just 1% of the back-slap advice compared to what your destiny has to offer you…’there is no manual or directory to the quick fix we all want to know.

After decades of seeking internal peace…I’d realize Oh my goodness! I don’t know it all, He doesn’t know it all either, we are actually both still learning, and our ultimate wisdom should come from God. Alone. Period.

Isn’t it like someone giving you a relationship advice and it just doesn’t work? Their wisdom, your wisdom and my own wisdom are limited. It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead us to the safety and ease we long for deep inside. Some marriages must surely pass through the burning funnel for a couple to become certified companions, while others would fall along the way if their hopes of survival is based on other people’s manual and perceptions.

20 6Let’s face it. Relationships can be cruel, Life can be scary and marriages that have refused to hit the rock after series of extended-third-party-family-or-friends-interrupters-involvement-busy-bodies melodramatic episodes have finally shut-the-front-door after them…’what’s next?

If you are reading this and wondering, How-in-the-world-did-THEY-do-it? I know right? I usually ask myself too (lol). But, God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. You just have to name the challenges… We have both walked through it together…24 years and counting.

I am hoping someone reading this, at any point of their relationship would also tune in to God’s wisdom – when we hear it, yield to it, apply it and obey it – we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s peace. We will be at ease with all imperfections. Not with perfect lives, but with lives that are led and not controlled by fear and anxiousness of what tomorrow would bring in their marriages, relationships, courtship or friendship. We can and will experience peace in spite of the chaos in our relationships. Be encouraged!

Yours in HOPE as I share our wedding dance/favorite song “FOR YOU” by Kenny Lattimore.

Yinka.

 

 

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God of Broken Things by Wadza Mhute.

I was having a discussion with my friend about therapy for Christians. My friend is seeing a therapist for work-related trauma but she had doubts about the process because she is a Christian. She moved passed initial misgivings once she started seeing a therapist and realized the need to speak to someone about her issues. Then a day later another Christian friend casually mentioned advice her therapist gave.broken 2

The message I was receiving from these seemingly random discussions was the need for me to look inward. It seems, at least to me, that once one receives Christ then the need for personal reflection takes a back seat and we are sometimes mired in religiosity and fail to understand ourselves. As Christians we speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us in many ways including through His word. In our prayer time, however, do we ask God to show us ourselves? This oversight maybe the reason a person who has been saved for 20 years still drinks spiritual milk while a new Christian is already on solid food.

I am not advocating for therapy, that’s a personal decision, but I am pointing to the need for introspection. We must take a step back, look at our lives and question why we think and act the way we do. This requires an openness to honestly view ourselves the way God sees us, through His lens without justifications or excuses. When you give your life to Christ, you are made whole and old things pass away. The issue with some of us is that we hang on to those old things without realizing. How will you know you need God’s help in certain areas of your life if you don’t analyze your thoughts and actions?broken 1

Change comes from a broken spirit, when we truly give up our lives for Christ. Living on the fence as a Christian, especially in this increasingly dark world, is not an option. We need to shatter the facade of being alright when we are not. We need to move from pride to humility. We need to understand our need for God everyday, every minute in everything we do. That requires brokenness. Often we ask God for help but behind the scenes we are working to solve our own problems.

David – the man after God’s own heart – understood his need for God. His words in Psalms show a man who knew his human limitations. However when he committed adultery and then murder, the Lord sent Nathan to show David who he had become. David did not even recognize himself in the story that Nathan told him. His internal decline had been a process that eventually manifested physically.

Therefore introspection is not to be done once but continually. We can never be too spiritual to accept that we are not perfect and as surely as sin entered this world, we will not attain perfection, only Jesus earns that distinction. On this side of eternity we have work to do. God is patient and merciful, He is waiting for your broken and contrite heart.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Written by Wadza Mhute for #Moving Forward With 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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