Who built your house?

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1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;

 Psalm 127: 1a

What is a house? A house is a place of rest. It is an abode. A place where we unwind, where we are at our freest. It is also a prized possession, something we are proud of. Something we contributed towards. The Bible says to us that unless God is in on the erection of a building, all those working on it are, simply put, wasting their time. I was thinking about this passage and I really thought and thought, I mean I was staring at it for like 15 minutes straight!

What does this simple verse REALLY mean? I came up with the following:

The Lord is our all in all. It is through Him that we live, move and have our being. We need Him to survive. We need Him to live a lasting life. We need Him to live a worthy life.

The fact that the Psalmist’s labourers labour in vain does not necessarily mean that the building will not spring forth. It may or it may not. This means sometimes when you use the arm of flesh to conduct your activities, it might not initially look like it is being done in vain. In fact, it may seem as though you are smarter than all others. It may look like the bouquet catchers are carrying last whilst the throwers are the sharp girls. But of what use is a building that collapses within 3 years of its completion? Isn’t that the same thing as building in vain?

This must have been why David in Psalm 73 encourages us not to envy evil doers who appear to be flourishing. He knew too well that this type of progress is never long lasting.

He says:

“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men… Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”

I’d rather have God help me build my beautiful building over time than rush to build my Tower of Babel that will eventually come crashing down before or even as I am enjoying it.

‘Building’ could be anything: it could be your education, your career, your business, your relationship, your marriage, bringing up your children, anything at all. It is essential to let go and let God take absolute charge. He knows the way through the wilderness and all we have to do is trust and obey Him.

***

Now what happens when you have built so far without God’s hand in the venture? Do you break it all down and start all over again? Do you ask God to please take over from where you stopped? For instance, you have picked a course for your Masters and it is beginning to look like that was not the right thing for you to have chosen and 1st semester is about to end. Do you withdraw and pray and reapply or ask God for wisdom to do well even in that ‘wrong’ course? What if you married the man you picked out for yourself without involving God, will you divorce Him? Ok, maybe that’s too extreme, let’s try this: what if you’re dating a girl who’s not a bad person but the truth is that you never really sought God’s face before starting the relationship. Do you break up and then ask God for His opinion or do you submit your relationship to Him to help you sort out if it is His will or end it peacefully if not?

The Bible says ‘if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ A lot of Christians I meet seem to think the answer to this is ‘nothing’. In their view, once you erect a building on a faulty foundation, you have to break it down and do it right. I beg to differ (LOL! I hate that phrase by the way). If the foundation be destroyed, the righteous man can seek God’s face and God’s help and assistance. If it really is something He does not want for you, then He will gently break it down and help you get to a better solution without you losing your senses out of pain in the process. Other times, He can make the best out of our foibles. He is God after all. GOD, GREAT GOD!

I learnt this listening to Pastor Poju Oyemade: you can go to God and get your proper title deed and start afresh with Him without losing it all. You don’t always have to divorce, breakup, withdraw from University, quit your job for Him to make it right. That is as far as man’s understanding goes but we serve a mighty God who can help our infirmities and our weaknesses.

Now, please get me not wrong! Sometimes, arguably most times, you might have to submit that thing to Him and have Him do with it as He deems fit. Sometimes, you might have to sacrifice your Isaac and watch Him deliver him back to you with more or you could be a David who might unfortunately lose his son in order to start afresh with his Bathsheba to bring forth his Solomon. Or in another case, you might have committed a wrong deed that will go on to affect generations to come like the birth Ishmael did. God cannot be put in a box. He is sovereign like that. There is no fixed approach. Each case is dealt with on its merits. It’s all ad hoc.

One thing I would emphasise is this: the devil seeks to make you feel worthless and makes you believe that there’s no point going back to God for direction after initially taking a wrong turn. Please, let’s not fall for his foils and gimmicks because God’s arms are always wide open to accept us back if only we acknowledge our blunder and genuinely repent from our obstinacy.

You might have said ‘I do’ to the man who looked good on paper but wasn’t God’s best for you. It doesn’t mean your marriage will crash, no! You might have God’s permissive and not perfect will but He can work it out for you, still.

Now to the second bit:
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalm 127:1b

This is the simpler one of the two, in my opinion. All you have to do is let God know you now know that you have no power of your own. It’s not enough to turn to over protecting and caging your kids because you want them to turn out perfect. Policing them will not necessarily yield the perfect fruits. Ask today’s parents of young adults. Ask women who have acquired degrees in FBI/CIA/SSS work with regards to guarding their men, it will not fetch much. Bodily exercise, He says, profiteth little. Not ‘nothing’ but ‘little’. Ask people who slave away at work day in day out but hardly get promoted. Ask Pastors who do all the media coverage necessary but still record more empty than occupied seats every Sunday. ‘It’s not by power, it’s not by might but by my Spirit, says the LORD’. Trust in the Lord with your core, with your being, with your strength and watch Him work things out for you so that He alone can take all the glory.

2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Psalm 127:2

God gives His beloved sleep. Who are His beloved? These are the sheep who hear His voice and recognize it AND obey Him. They have learned that stalking their partners would do no good. They have learned that worrying will yield no fruits. They have learned the art of implicit trust in God. Yes, it is an art that is honed over time. These type of people sleep undisturbed.

What does sleep mean. It could be literal or figurative. When you sleep, you relax, you are at rest, your laughter is genuine, you snore, lol. You don’t sleep with one eye open. You don’t check up on your partner’s every move. You don’t worry about your job and career progression. Those who God gives ‘sleep’ live a life filled with peace. They don’t fret over what life hurls at them because they know they have a Father, an Almighty Father who is King of kings and Lord of lords!

***

So what shall we say to these things? Am I advocating a lazy, chilled, laid back lifestyle, one that believes if God wants me to have it, He will bring it to my doorstep? Not really. Instead, I encourage you and myself even more, to pray more, fast more, read the Word more for in so doing, we get direction for everyday life. We live lives that make people wonder, ‘is it only him/her?’. I’m not promising a problem-free life when you walk in the light of His word, no. Instead, I’m promising a life of triumph and victory no matter what may come our way. When people ask you ‘Who built your house?’ Let God Himself in His small still voice respond, ‘I AM THAT I AM built it’.

God bless you guys.

I think I’ve lost weight!!! *dancing to La Bamba* Encourage me and say you see the changes too, lol!!!

Temiville.xoxo

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Unplayed Symphony…

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Two days have gone past since we met. I am not one to fall in love. I am not in love but I think this is it, my final bus-stop. After all the searching and attempts made at finding a wife, I have no doubt in my heart that Kemi is the real thing. We met a wedding reception. As is my (bad) habit, I skipped the actual wedding and strolled into the reception with the rest of the guests. I really did not feel like going out. My mom had called that she was feeling a bit under the weather so I had to go to my parents’ after work on Friday and stay with her. It turned out she was just missing me. Either that or she miraculously received her healing as soon as I walked in.

The wedding was all the way in Festac. My car was overheating and most importantly, I was really in no mood to meet with the people I knew would be in attendance. But my friend, Ofo, would have none of my excuses. He had driven all the way from Magodo to pick me up from my parents’ in Oniru so there was no way I could say no.

You see, I had many reasons not to want to attend the wedding. The major one, however, was because I had dated the bride, Olabisi for 6 years. Yes, 6 years: all the way from my 300 level till two years ago. I had gotten over her but our relationship, though it did not end mutually, had not gone completely sour. However, to be seeing her getting married to another man, especially when I was still very much single was a bit more than I thought I could handle. So I decided not to go. Ofo dragged me there, citing maturity, Christian values as his reasons. As soon as we walked into the hall, I got glances from almost all the tables and those who had not previously stared did so after being whispered to by their table mates.

Everyone knew the Afolabi/Olabisi story. We had had a very public relationship and no one thought we could ever break up. I was already married to her in my mind. We were just waiting for the time to be right for us to do it right. It turned out that Olabisi was unhappy in our relationship. She was from a financially struggling family but had one of the best attitudes a woman could have. She was next to my mother. Hell, I even thought she was better than my mom sometimes.

She was very warm and friendly. She had impeccable manners and could cook well. She was born with a silver spoon which got snatched away when her dad died. She and her sisters had attended the best primary and secondary schools in Lagos. Her dad was killed in an autocrash when she was just in SS1 but despite how difficult things got, her mom made sure she completed her secondary education in Atlantic Hall, just as her sisters had before her. Things had gone from bad to worse but despite all the challenges the family faced, Olabisi had remained focused.

I had no idea how bad things were for them. She and her sisters always looked good. It was only after getting so close to her that she revealed things to me. I took it upon myself to be her provider. It turns out that was my greatest blunder. I have heard that men always try to fix things. I guess it’s true. I tried to fix their financial situation. I gave her a car because I was not comfortable that in my parents’ house were 6 cars just lying there whilst they had not even one. So I took one I knew my parents would not notice whether it was there or not and asked the driver to drive it behind me as I drove to their Ayobo home.

Well, it turned out that was a bad idea. She refused it blatantly and seemed almost insulted by the gesture. ‘Is it because I told you something in confidence that you are embarrassing my family this way?!’ I did not get her. I thought I was doing something good but that car had to go back home with me. I tried giving her money so many times but she always returned it with a smile. She hardly complained about not having money but one day when we at my house, she received a call from her mom about something, she went deathly cold as soon as she hung up and it was then I knew I had to look for a way of forcing the money on her.

I asked her to lend me a thousand naira one day and asked for her account number to pay it back into. When I was returning the money the next day, I paid in a hundred thousand naira. She received notification on her phone and then she called me. I was scared she was going to refuse it again but to my amazement, all she said was a solemn ‘Thank you’ and then she hung up. That was how I started paying for everything for her and even her mom. I was happy because I was helping her. I come from a wealthy home so there was no way I would sit and watch my girlfriend wallow in poverty. Six years down the line, she explained to me that because of all I did for her, even when she was upset and frustrated, she felt the need to keep mute as she was indebted to me.

As a sign of gratitude, she gave me the one thing she vowed to keep untouched for her husband. And slowly, gratitude was all she began to feel for me. We were no longer equals and friends. I became the guy through whose link her mom acquired business deals that helped her run her home. She told me that there were times her mom was upset with me because I had driven into their home really late to see her but she could not speak. She didn’t want a rescuer, she wanted a friend. She could not marry a saviour so she broke up with me.

As devastated as I was, my level of respect for her soared. All my friends were her friends. I knew it must have been hard letting go of obvious abundance which I represented. It was then I knew I had lost a treasure. Not many girls will do that, if any at all.

I watch her throw her bouquet in the air, giggling. I watch as the ladies scramble for the flowers. No matter who it is that catches those roses, they cannot match up to that bride, I think to myself. I’m happy for her husband. He is a lucky man. He is not wealthy but he is not struggling either. I hear they plan on starting a business together. That has always been Olabisi. She always wanted to contribute to the lives around her. I guess with mine, she supposed I was complete, needing nothing thereby making her useless. The only thing she knew she shouldn’t give, she gave. I raise a toast to the life I never had with the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

A lone tear slips down my right eye and thankfully no one notices.

***

It turns out someone did notice. That someone was Kemi. She managed to strike up a conversation and carefully avoided talking about the tear. Wise her.

It has only been two days but in a way I feel like I have reached my destination. I can see me loving Kemi but she will need to be strong for both of us because day and night, I will pine for the love I lost. Day and night, I will compare her to the love I lost-her carriage, her cooking, her dressing, her being. Day I night, I will long to dance to that unplayed symphony with my ex-soulmate. She will need to be patient with me because I will move on and she will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Eventually.

To wait or not to wait

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Hi guys,

How have you been? I have had a really good week so far. I have found a church FINALLY…. Harvesters in Gbagada. I have thoroughly enjoyed their Thursday Fellowship here on the Island and their Sunday service in Gbagada has also been interesting. So after all these months, I can comfortably and proudly say I have a church in which I can work. I’m thinking of joining the Children’s Department…Let’s see how that goes.

I went for Wednesday Mid week at TWB yesterday and it was quite an interesting experience. Dr. Cindy Trimm was ministering and it was PACKED! One thing is for sure, I don’t like crowds, lol. I like the good ol’ small fellowship and was shocked at the number of people there. I had to bribe the car park assistant to let me park inside the Oriental lot because parking in the 2nd building would have led to a night mare when it ended. It was good sha.

Now to today’s post…

My friend is probably going to kill me for putting this up but I’ve always trusted in the wisdom of MCLA readers. This might seem relatively simple but what are your thoughts guys?

***

I met Olu in July 2011 at a friend’s bridal shower. Weird, I know. He came with his friend, the groom , to drop off the bride  at the venue. It was a surprise so they had both cooked up some tale about him having something to do at 4 Points. We did not officially meet as we were neither introduced nor did we speak but our eyes held for a while and as soon as the ‘SURPRISE!’ was screamed the two men left.

Naturally, we met again at the engagement ceremony and this time, we spoke. To cut short what could easily become a long tale, I started liking him and we were hanging out pretty often. It was then I noticed that he was always receiving phone calls from a particular UK number saved under ‘Bimpe’.

I decided to ask him who she was and  then he told me that himself and Bimpe are in a relationship. They had been dating for about 5 months but had agreed to break up if she was unable to  relocate to Nigeria by February 2012. She had completed her programme and was trying to get work experience in England before returning. Now, he’s asking that we carry on till February when the FINAL decision will be made. In short, I’ll be dating another girl’s man till February??? He said no that we could be tight friends till then.

I appreciated his openness but is this right? What do we do till then? Do we carry on this way or do I completely cut off from him till he’s free of any baggage? I thought we could ‘keep’ being friends but the truth is I’m finding it hard to accept her in his life. She believes she is in a relationship (which she is) and his picture is permanently her DP. Had it been that he was growing out of love with her, I would understand but what’s the assurance that she won’t move back thereby making me look and feel bad? What’s the assurance that if having being able to hold on for almost a year, he wouldn’t decide to stick with her and try and make it work even as a long distance relationship? I’m already totally into him and we spend loads of time together.

I really don’t know what to do.

Any ideas?

 

***

Oya help a sister in distress out and share your thoughts people…

Temiville.xoxo

Would you stay?

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*Cleaning the cobwebs*

Hey people!

In fact, I don’t have words. Lol! I have been so busy you would not even understand! Busy with work, busy with personal sturvz. Anyways, it’s good to be back here. I have so much to report lol.

There’s a new commenter on BN who goes by Temi. It’s not me oh! LOL!!! Please because someone commented recently and said something like, ‘Temi for the first time I disagree with you’ and it was clear that there was a bit of confusion because we have two things in common: we look at issues from a Biblical point of view and we make loooong comments lol. The difference is that I have my picture on BN and also I don’t respond to replies to me unless a specific question is asked. I just thought to clear that up hehehe…

Now to the story of the day, please lemme know what your thoughts are here and yes, it is real.

God bless you all… I’m sooo late for work!!!

***

He hit me the first time. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. But then I dismissed it. I must have angered him by comparing him with Deji, my brother who is a year younger than him but has since graduation been working and is doing well. I thought to myself: I would be tempted to slap my sister if she said such too and so it was not such a big deal that he had hit me. The next time he hit me. I had done nothing wrong. I had said nothing wrong. I was only late in picking up his sister up from the cinema. He is not my husband just a boyfriend of 3 years and I don’t know where I would start from if we broke up, so I forgave him…again.

I cannot say the three years have been blissful, I think we look good together. Darn, everyone thinks we look good together. So I keep up with the pretense that all is well. He has no job. He wants to set up a business. He has been wanting to set up a business for 18 months to no avail. There is a saying: man no work, man no chop. Well, not in his case. He has no work but his monthly pocket money is more than what some earn in a year. He has a car to himself which he did not contribute a dime to.

He comes from a wealthy background so money is no issue. His ‘real’ family home is a mini palace in Accra. In Nigeria, his parents own another mini palace in Ojodu where his 2 siblings and an aunt in live. His parents come over one weekend every month. He rents a flat in 1004. His parents are an elderly couple and seem so peaceful and in love. It is hard to imagine him to be their offspring when he gets angry.

I have prayed and prayed and even fasted about this issue. I discussed it with my friends. You see, I have two best friends (cousins) who are as different as night and day. Anne thinks I should manage. No relationship is perfect, she insists. Her mom gets occasionally slapped around by her dad and in all reality, she’d rather be slapped by a man that apologises with all expense paid trips to Dubai and St Tropez than be loved day and night by a broke nobody. Marrying Tayo was a good way to secure my future as his parents’ wealth, even if they stopped making money today, was still adequate to ensure we lived a very lavish life when we marry. T0kunbo gets disgusted when Anne speaks. She wonders how she ended up with such a materialistic cousin. Tokunbo maintains that I leave Tayo and that if I’m not careful, one day, he will end up killing me. I hope she’s wrong.

I love Tayo and when he’s being himself, he’s the sweetest ever. He’s prayerful. Reads the Bible every morning and my prayer is that God will work on his heart. Didn’t the Bible say that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and like a river of water, He can direct it as He pleases?

I’ve done all in my powers to show him I’m a loving, lovely girl and that he should appreciate me. I would go to his house as often as I can manage and cook and clean. A lot of the times, he shows so much appreciation, he even took me out to have dinner for a whole week to say thank you for all my effort-every night from Monday to Friday! On Friday, I forgot to pick up his sister and I got the most recent slap. The sister of whom we speak is not an infant, neither is she a toddler. She is a grown 19 year old who drives and is old enough to call a cab or find her own way from the cinema.

Now, here is my dilemma: inasmuch as I would like to be the ‘strong woman’ and up and leave, I am finding this difficult as not only am I in love with and love Tayo, I’m also used to him. Also, a lot of people would love to see us throw in the towel and though I know this is a bad reason to hang on, I’m really determined to prove that ‘we made it!’. Despite all these, Tayo is a born again Christian who aside of the pressures here and there, has left me sexually untouched in all our three years together. This is rare, trust me. In addition, I have met his entire clan and they like me. He has met mine and they like him (no one knows about the beatings).

If you were in my heels, would you leave him?