Stories

JOY

January 14, 2024

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They were neighbours as children

Her father was the Manager of a bank

His father was a teacher

Her father built a mansion fitting for a king

His father rented a three-bedroom flat on the same street

He was twelve and so was she

Both of them were in the first year of their secondary education

She attended Methodist High School, Bodija

He attended Loyola college

She was pretty

He was gawky

She had a brother, two years older than him

Her brother took a liking to him and they became friends

It helped a bit

Even though he had always liked and admired her from afar

Her brother was his Trojan horse

He was able to gain access to their mansion and see her first-hand

They played all sorts of games those days

Board games like Scrabble, Chess, and monopoly

Her father had ten children from two wives

His father had five from one wife

They often played group games to accommodate other players

Somehow they became friends

Talking friends and later, they started exchanging letters

She wrote to him first when they were fifteen

She said she was owing someone a certain amount of money and needed a loan to pay the debt before her mother would hear of it

She had bought a hair relaxer from a neighbour and the neighbour was threatening to come to the house and report her to her mother

He sent her all his savings as a reply

She in turn gave him his first kiss under the mango tree in her father’s compound the next day

They had started dating

She repaid him and insisted he must collect the money

She said she heard he was seeing another girl in the neighbourhood from one of her sisters and wanted to be sure of what she heard

It was true but why would he tell her that truth?

Another babe in the neighbourhood took an interest in him and would deliberately come into their compound around 7 pm to do whatever she could claim she came to do and then ask him to walk her home

This happened daily until the babe started holding his hand and made it known that she wanted him to see her as a lover would

He knew what she wanted but he only played along because he really didn’t know what was going on between her and his friend’s sister

That kiss however separated Israel from Egypt

Her mother was a nurse, a matron with the Reproductive Family Health department

Her mother noticed the sudden change in their friendship and invited her, his friend, and him to her office at UCH

She lectured them about sex and pregnancy and so on

It was a full lecture with practical demonstrations

When her mother was done, she said “I don’t want my daughter going through abortions or catching STDs, I don’t want the same for you but I have noticed the way the two of you are gumming body together everywhere, it will happen sooner rather than later

Be wise and take to what I have taught you”

He took her mother’s advice to heart but it never happened

A week later, he was whisked off to the boarding school for his Senior Secondary education

By the time he returned after just one term, she had blatantly started dating and sleeping with another guy in the neighbourhnood

The guy was four years older than him and already in the polytechnic

Her brother told him to take heart and forget all about her

Throughout the holidays, he would see her and her new lover, as he spent time in her father’s mansion playing games or spending time with her brother

She was quite cavalier about the whole thing, sometimes it even seemed to him like she felt she had caught a bigger fish than him

When he returned to school he decided to stop nursing the hope that she would return to him

He avoided going to her father’s house as much as possible after then

Then they met at the Cultural Center two years later

Her guy had dumped her

Her brother was trying to get her out of the heartbreak

He was on the talking stage with a dentistry student

There was a film show and the four of them met there

They sat in silence for a while until she excused herself to powder her nose

He immediately followed after her so that she would not be without a chaperone

When she came out of the restroom, she held his hand and they went on a long walk

Nothing was said, she was his friend and she was in distress

The walk was for more than an hour

By the time they got back, his date was furious

He tried to explain but she did not listen

She just stomped off in a huff, muttering stuff under her breath

The three of them drove back to their estate together, laughing and crying at the same time

She from her heartbreak and his date’s attitude

He from the pain of not being with her and the relief that the date huffed off

He wasn’t enjoying his date’s company

When they got to their estate they met with some street preachers doing evangelism rounds

The preachers spoke with the three of them and gave them tracts

She laughed them off and threw her tracts away

Her brother did the same but there was something that struck a cord in his heart from that meeting

He couldn’t explain it but it was there and it was real

When he got home he read the tract and gave his life to Jesus

For a week, he locked himself in his room and read the Bible

He was born into a Christian home but he never had any intimate relationship with God nor know the person of the Holy Spirit until that week

By the time they came to check on him after a week, he had changed

She observed it right from the moment she laid her eyes on him

She said, “It is those tract people, they have brainwashed him, see how he is looking like one of them”

He couldn’t deny it

The funny thing was, he didn’t care if she liked it or not

How come she could take on a lover casually without any apologies or explanations to him and he couldn’t take on a relationship with Jesus for the benefit of his own soul

They drifted apart after that day

When she was leaving his house, she said, “I came with the intention of sorting things out with you but I don’t think I can reason with this new you”

They went off to different higher institutions after she started dating another guy

He became a campus fellowship leader

She got married

He became a pastor

She remained in Ibadan

He had moved to Lagos

Her husband left her a month after their marriage

Her second husband left her a year after their marriage

Her third husband left her three months after their marriage

Fifteen years went by

He had gotten married with three children

Then her mother invited him to the dedication of her house

When he got there, he saw her again

This time she was a shell of herself

She saw him and his family and began to weep

“How come God forsook me”, she lamented

He said, “You never had God, all you had was religion”

She said, “How can I have God?”

He led her to Christ and got her filled with the Holy Spirit

They spent the entire event together, sharing scriptures and learning the Supernatural life

Before he left, he told her by the Spirit

When we see each other again, you will have been resettled in your own home and you will be carrying your own child”

She said Amen!

The following month, she met her husband at a friend’s birthday party

A year later, at the age of 43, she delivered her first child

PS: Joy gave birth to her baby two days ago

Ironically, the same Jesus that brought her joy was the same Jesus she shunned several years ago

It is also ironic that the same Jesus used her ex-boyfriend who accepted Him to minister to her and bring her to the light

Putting off your walk with the Lord till tomorrow is of no benefit whatsoever

Today is the day of salvation, the acceptable time is now

Glory be to God for this awesome testimony

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