Eternity and the innumerable number of days

It’s starting to look like death spurs the writing in me. It’s only a look, I promise.

It’s 20112018 today, I wake and go for my morning run on Twitter and find out that Tosyn Bucknor passed. While I didn’t know her personally or ever listen to her, something about her vibe was right. Cheery. I particularly loved teasing Chu’s huge crush on her. As is usual with most of such news, people have flooded timelines with eulogies. It’s a unanimous verdict that she was a good person.

Only a couple of hours till we go back to regular programming, and heaves now and then when the thought of her crosses our mind.

I particularly felt sorry for Harry, in about a calendar year, Sickle cell had robbed him of 3 friends (that I know of). I remembered to pray for the ones we still had on earth, and for the seemingly whole ones too.

Reading all the eulogies and getting sad anew that all these kind words and sweet thoughts of her mean nothing to her.

Actually, this here is my piece of befuddlement.

The life after death side of things.

I am a Christian, and accordingly my faith attests to an eternity in heaven or hell, and the purpose on earth is to make heaven, return home.

Beginning or end?

Mans mind is conditioned to see a finite picture. The paintings have a beginning and an end. It puts perspective to things. Or does it?

Am I going to spend eternity in my 1 year old body, or 16 year old or this current Fat Albert stage that I am on?

I have read jokes, even my sister made one about wearing fancy designer clothes while on earth, because in heaven every one gets to wear the same white robe. Or is it the one where people don’t think a daily routine of singing hallelujahs is a prime way to spend the days.

We didn’t ask to be born, and the consequence of having to exist ad infinitum is a choice we didn’t even get to make.

I take consolation in the thought that if humans, mere mortals, can find ways to make these finite days we have created count, God is certainly able to do better.

Do you have any concerns about eternity?

xx

Jem

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League of Extra-Ordinary First-time Mothers.

Everything about birthing is nothing short of a miracle.

Be it Nannygoat or bitch.

But the birth of a human baby, the bringing of another life, knowing that earth is a miserable space and resolving to protect your child with your every breath from the misery therein.. I haven’t quite found the words to capture it.

I would shout out to all the mothers of stillborns, because even though I haven’t been in the same space as a birth, I have had to hold a mothers hand through a stillbirth experience, & there is hardly another agony that comes close. Those mothers deserve a dedicated post. This one is not about them.

This one is about Agbonma, Agatha and Donnie. Real life superheroes whose names I have changed to protect their privacy 😊. I have known these people (well, 2 out of 3) for most of my life. They all attained superhero status when they became mothers.

2 out of 3 had premature babies. At the time when it is said to be risky to birth a child before term.

I was mostly in touch with 2 out of 3 of them for most of their pregnancy. I knew it was tough, they had their big challenges and challenges with the experience, but they never let on.

Not in their voice. Not in their reactions.

They were not deluded in the least. They were instead gassed up by the incredible juice of faith.

3 out of 3 of these women, went at least 4 days after birth without their babies. Because their babies needed more than their colostrum at that point to live. They had waited 9 long months (let’s approximate, shall we?) to meet with their charming offspring, instead they had to learn new terms for their already populated vocabulary.

NICU. SCBU. Tubes and oxygen and more tubes because as much as you think they need to be cuddled, they need to survive the next minute more.

The boys are all bubbly and well, to the glory of our great God. The mothers recount their ordeals with pride and you cannot miss the gratitude in their voices. It’s underlying like a rug laid from corner to corner. I love to hear them share the testimonies, adds a skip to my step, reaffirms my belief that we are not alone.

Everyone (exaggerated but..) anticipates the joy that is motherhood/childbirth, but no one ever prepares you for the event that things may not go according to plan. Nothing breaks you into your reality.

I have seen strength, I have seen faith, but none comes close to these extra-ordinary women , first time mothers who literally carry the world on their shoulders. They do it with the smile and strength that puzzles me.

Cheers to the brilliant league of extra-ordinary first time mothers!!!🍻🍻🍻

The Orthodox girl musing.

The Orthodox girl musing.

I grew up an Anglican girl.

Singing hymns and the eucharist, Te deum’s and Benediction. This represented a worship service to me. I love the sobriety and piety of it all.

Let me rephrase that first line, I grew up an Anglican girl in a small conservative town. The only variations in my services were the language in which the service was held.

The same things people dont love about my denomination is the absolute reason I stay.

But then, Religion is not my favourite topic of discussion, so I won’t talk about it. I’m just going to ask what I came to ask…

There is a new trend where the teenagers, youth and young adult have their own church separate from the rest of the “adult”. These sections are funkier, for lack of a better adjective (considering how funky the church already is, which road are we going again, abeg), and tailored to suit the young people’s style of worship.

Here in lies my inquisition;

1. Where did young people assemble and thus decide that this is their preferred style of worship?

2. Why are we tailoring services to suit our fancy? Is this one too also about us?

3. Time passes and you are not a youth/young adult/teenager any more, you have to transcend to that “adult” church that wasn’t good enough for you before, is it going to be good enough for you now? Or are we just going to carry on with labels that don’t mean anything?

OK.

I don’t want to be that cat that curiousity you-know-what.

I’m deeply..deeply comforted that the power of prayer is not in the one who prays, but in the one who is prayed to (Max Lucado-paraphrased)

Peace & Bubble wrap

Jem.

The #HallelujahChallenge

I’m big on challenges.

Anything that makes me want to conciously do something is a welcome occurrence. I’d do a writing challenge,  a drawing challenge, a fasting challenge  sef,  if the end product includes an improved me.

It’s been 15 days since the #HallelujahChallenge began. 15 more days to go and I am certain my midnights will never be the same. I have never spent my midnights in a more productive way. Halfway through and I feel the need to document this special occurrence, that its memory may be more vivid.

I have always liked Nathaniel Bassey. I can’t tell you exactly what it is that drew me to him; his deep resonating worded songs, which reflected his love for God, or the way they are expressed in the most calming melodies in praise and worship. Or maybe because he somehow reminded me of my uncle Chidiegwu, who shared similar qualities with him ranging from their disarming smile to their disciplined servitude to God. I don’t know Nathaniel personally, but I know my uncle, and some how I am convinced that they are genuine and goals.

Now is a good time to appreciate everyone who shared a post, publicising the #Hallelujahchallenge. It was enough to encourage me to join in and I have loved the experience entirely.

I understand that there have been misreadings of what the Hallelujah Challenge is, and I believe now is also a good time to explain in my own words what it is to me. The convener, Nathaniel Bassey,  by inspiration scheduled June as a month of praise and worship to God. For one hour every day in June, between midnight and 1am, Christians are joined in praise and worship via an Instagram and Facebook Live feed (pros of technology). The guiding Bible text  is from the book of Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 16 verse 25 and 26, with additional readings from the book of Psalms (Psalm 150, Psalm 147,Psalm 149) It was originally a local bred assembly but with the ubiquitous nature of social media, Christians all over the world have keyed into this exercise and you know what they say about where two or more gather in the name of God- The blessings and the testimonies have been profound.

As a christian, I have always been fascinated with praise and worship to God. Not because I am fantastic at it but because it is the one thing and only thing God requires from me. He said if i wont praise him, he is able to raise rocks and stones to sing in my place, and never will I let a rock cry out in my place. He is more than worthy of whatever praise I can muster and so I shall go over and beyond any chance I get to render my praise. I have been enthralled by the Olowogbogboro, the God whose hands are mighty to save, the one who is able to turn situations suddenly, just like that! And I have been acquainted with the soothing melodies and the fulfillment of Kaestring‘s “He is here”(That’s Lowkey an anthem now, can’t explain the pump in my spirit when it comes on!)

Of course like all good things, there have been criticisms  on why we (hello every one of the 70k plus streaming and praising!) are doing what we are doing, so it is important to educate these naysayers a little. They say subscribing to the Hallelujah challenge is not the solution to the problems in our country, Nigeria, nor a cure for our collective hypocrisy. I’d like to inform the people of such school of thought that It is not a revival to bring about any change in the country, or a miracle wreaking crusade of any such. It’s like when I do a writing challenge or a drawing challenge, I want to consciously rise up at midnight for 30 days to sing praises, and worship my God whom I think is deserving of even more. It’s not my job to fix Nigeria with my praise and worship. It’s our collective responsibility to do so (with that hardwork you people prescribe) at a time which has not been set apart for something greater. After all, prior to this challenge, I either spent my midnights fast asleep or chugging down alcohol or something even more unproductive. It’s not like I am expending anybodys mahour.

If miracles happen and prayers are answered along the way, it’s only as a by-product of my exercise..and not the core reason why I do what I am doing.

I don’t even get why anyone would have a reservation to the #HallelujahChallenge.

Is it really a bad thing that people, who share a common faith are rising to praise without the barrier of denomination and “my pastor said”??

If you have not been joining the exercise and praise is what you do,i.e you are interested, trust me, it’s a refreshing way to spend an hour. If for nothing, I have become a brighter morning person (I have always been a morning person but it definitely has become cheerier!)

The instagram handle is @Nathanielblow, and the Facebook page is Nathaniel Bassey. Remember what I said about Nathaniel being disciplined, his live feeds are set in such a way that at exactly an hour it ends. So you don’t have to worry about losing too much sleep. I usually catch an hour or two before midnight and the rest after. If you would like to join but have difficulties waking, you can send me a message, I’d love to be your alarm.

Let us give thanks and praises to the Lord, for he is good and his mercies endures forever!

Jemjem.

That beautiful beautiful woman.

The miracle of the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament of the Bible is one of my favourite miracles in the Bible.

The woman is absolute role model material. Resolute and faith-full.

She’d had to live with this ailment for over a decade, the compassion and sympathy from her neighbours must have waned after about 2 years in. There must have been rumours about her condition and people who claimed to know the cause and suggest a perfect solution.

Over ten years later,  nothing has changed.

She must have felt sad, neglected ,  tired of her own self but she didn’t quite sit around bemoaning her fate.

Just as her rumours had gone about town, stories of Jesus and his many healing and deliverances must have filtered through. I assume nobody came directly to tell her to come see Jesus. They must have even mocked her when she suggested going to meet Jesus. Hence her resolution ;” If only I am able to touch the hem of his garment”.

She didn’t doubt that her neighbours would be reluctant to bring her to Jesus. She also didn’t doubt that her Solution lies with Jesus.

Knowing the multitude that was about Jesus all the time, while he taught, she must have had to creep on her knees , be shoved, be scolded and frowned at. Perhaps this wasn’t even her first attempt at trying to see Jesus ,  which explains why the hem of his cloth was enough for her.

She had seen him restore so many lives ,  the thought of her own healing overwhelmed her, bubbled her spirit, kindled and rekindled her faith.

And she crept and struggled and reached. I try to imagine the smile that came across her face when she touched it and was made whole, and it makes a smile reach across my face too. Imagine her shock too when Jesus inquired “who touched me?” She rose from her knees, probably didn’t bother dusting herself and presented herself, albeit blushing,  to her healer.

The faith of that woman is so exemplary, so inspirational, I find it as almost the absolute standard. She didn’t knock the idea of touching his garment till she had tried it. I imagine she had a handful of family and friends who were ecstatic for her..who had been supportive through the years.

I hope her story finds a way into our hearts and brings us consolation and renews our faith, especially when we need it the most.

Xoxo

Jemjem .

Karmastery

The word Karma is originally Indian. A word used to describe the relationship between cause and effect.

As a “theory”, the concept of Karma is essentially adapted in many of the religions of the world.

Rules to live by.

I am a Christian and I know that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I have known it a very long time (it’s hanging on a frame in my father’s living room). Even Science agrees because one of the founding theories says action and reaction are equal and opposite.

I am a dependant of this theory, especially when someone does me over. I shrug it off and send Karma their way; Go get ’em,B 😉

However, it puzzles me sometimes.

If Karma works in defence cause, when does this loop start?

Did I get the short end because sometime in the past I had served someone same?

And the person who fixes the wrong xyz did me, as per doing xyz over too, does it get counted as their own offence and does karma get set off again?

This would mean that we would be living in an endless loop of Karma doing “unnecessary” errand girl.

Karma is usually referred to as a bitch. This can be a good and bad thing. Good because it is fearless in serving its judgment. Bad because it may be unable to tell vessels from actual intended wrong-doers, and does not recognise repentance.

Our lives would probably be easier if we didn’t have to depend on karma to right the wrongs of the world, but to depend on love to lead us aright.

xoxo

Jemjem.