Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Tribute to Late Mrs. Elizabeth Nneka Nwakakwa


'Grandma', we called her. The name that brought butterflies to our tummies whenever we heard she was visiting. No doubt we were interested in the sweets and biscuits, but more than that we were interested in the sincere love and care she brought home. We saw it in her eyes, her smile, her gentle touch as she patted our backs one by one and in her gift of Naira notes labelled for each one of us proportionate to our age and level in school. 


Grandma was the meekest person I’ve ever known. She was quiet in spirit. I never heard her complain though there were many reasons to. From mosquitoes that bore through weak bed nets, the beast heat from the east giving more exercise than rest at night, her oatmeal “swallow”-turned-porridge due to someone’s culinary incompetence to pension delays and all what nots.


She was a woman of God. We knew not to knock on her door in the early hours of the morning, but even at times in the afternoon, we met her staring down her glasses on her leather jacket Bible. 


It goes without a saying that she was a good mother for whoever taught my mother the values she passed down to us must have been good. 


Today we celebrate a life well lived, we mourn not as them without hope, but we know that if we follow the examples she gave us we will meet again where there are no pension delays, no mosquitoes, no sickness to hurt our bodies and certainly no death to separate our loved ones from us.


Adieu Grandma. See you in heaven.


Chidiogo Ibe (Grand daughter)

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Financial Wholeness Part 1 Audacious Church 15-04-2018


I moved to Manchester last week. In the past 1 year, I have lived in Nottingham, London and now Manchester. First thing I look out for when I get to a new environment, apart from the way to the nearest African grocery store, is a Pentecostal church. I was glad when I googled churches near me to discover Audacious church in Salford, Manchester. I visited their website and their mission appealed to me so I decided to pay a visit today.
I had quite some hindrances getting to church today. I had followed the bus schedules brought up by Google, yet stood at the bus stop for several minutes without my bus arriving. Next I decided to use my beloved Uber, but the distance between me and the driver kept increasing from 8 mins away to 13 mins away. Meanwhile I had seen an available taxi pass me by; however, it only accepted Advance bookings. So I downloaded the Crester cars app and booked a taxi which was 8 mins away while Uber was still 13 mins away after I had waited for 6 good minutes. I then decided to cancel my booking with Uber and I was charged £4. Well, I finally got to church just 5 mins late with Crester cars and settled in. There was praise session, welcoming of first timers, baptism of new converts, offering time and then the sermon.
A new series titled "Financial Wholeness" was started today by Pastor Glyn. Below are my take home points:


How to be Content
1. Enjoy what you have (Ecclesiastes 6:9). Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. What I have is a gift from God. Having the understanding that what I have currently is a gift from God to me will help me to be more thankful and less grumpy about what I desire that I don't have. He quoted an article from The Wall Street Journal which made a lot of sense. It says, "Freedom is not obtained by full enjoyment of what is desired but by controlling our desire".
2. Don't compare with others (2 Corinthians 10:12). God has got me just where He wants me to be. We complain because we compare. Thinking about it, the Isarelites started complaining in the wilderness because they compared their situation with how it was in Egypt when they had 'garlics and cucumbers' (of all things to crave for) instead of being thankful for the miraculous deliverance God had just wrought for them. Understanding that as long as we walk with God, he is working all things for our good will help us to remain content with where He has placed us.
3. Remember life is not about things (Luke 12:15). Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” The most valuable things are not things (2 Corinthians 4:18). So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. Experiences are worth more than we think.
If you would like to learn more on this topic, visit audaciouschurch.com/financialwholeness for very useful resources including helpful articles on achieving financial freedom and free downloadable budget plans. Or better still join the service next Sunday at 10am and 12pm. https://audaciouschurch.com/live/
Remember, contentment starts with connecting your life with the person of Jesus Christ. Accept him today.

Radiant ~ April 2018
Guess what's in my goody bag?


Sunday, 1 April 2018

I am healed!

Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus replied: Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:2 
God seems to like to show off where human wit has failed. Maybe that was why Paul said we should boast in our weaknesses because it is in our weakness that God's strength is made perfect.  
I have asked God severally why some people are born with deformities. Why do people have disabilities especially those that are congenital? Why are people born flawed? Why do they have to live all their lives wishing they were normal? What is God's plan for them? Is it to be healed completely and become "normal" or to find a way to adapt so well that the affliction becomes a blessing instead of a curse? It is easy to believe for the latter, but what is the will of God in this matter?  
Jesus made sure to heal every disease, disability, affliction, you name it, that came his way. He did not let the blind go home blind. He did not leave the crippled as they were. He healed the deaf and dumb. Was that because there was no science to help make their affliction more bearable? He made them whole. So why should we settle for less when we can be whole? Then you will ask me, “what is the definition of ‘whole’?”
Recently, it dawned on me what Jesus meant when he said "it is finished". Jesus healed 'all' sicknesses. There is no other healing to wait for than the one Jesus bought by His stripes over 2000 years ago. All we have to do is accept his finished work. Faith means believing what God has said he has done even when we cannot see it yet. When this hit me, I decided never to say again that I am a stammerer, hence the opening statement in my previous post - I used to be a stammerer. Since 4th February 2018 when I accepted the healing Jesus bought me over 2000 years ago, I am no longer a stammerer. I didn't care whether I did not see an immediate change physically. The truth is once the spiritual is settled, the physical has no choice but to align with it. So my words had better align with God's plan. 
Since then, actually I have stammered less and less. But I am not looking to see if it will work, i.e if I'll stop stammering completely. If Jesus said it is finished, it is finished - I have stopped stammering completely. He has made me whole. I have received my healing. I am healed. I do not care what it currently looks like on the physical because the devil will surely tempt you with a reality that is not in keeping with what the Word has said. Who would you rather believe? 
If you have an ailment, a sickness, a torment, just know that Jesus has paid the price already. He said, "It is finished!" God is not wicked. He does not enjoy seeing us suffer. That was why he sent his precious Son to die to save us from the eternal suffering for our sins and also to heal our bodies. If Christians can believe we have been saved from hell, why is it so difficult to believe he healed our bodies? It does not matter if the physical tells you contrary, you have been healed. Let your words affirm this truth for this is the essence of Easter. It is finished!
Radiant ~ April 2018

Monday, 26 March 2018

Inside A Stammerer's Pain

How does it feel like to have thoughts bottled up in you begging for freedom but finding none? I will not forget in a hurry.   
I used to be a stammerer. Yes the key word is "used to" because I'm no longer. And I don't care if you still hear me stammer sometimes. I said I'm no longer a stammerer. We'll talk about that next Sunday.  
The purpose of this post is to create an awareness. Just to give you a little sneaky peep into what life is like for a stammerer, of whom I was the least anyway. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for others who have it more severe.  
I am angered when people make fun of stammerers. They think it's a joke to mimic a stuttering speech. If only they knew what it felt like, it wouldn't be a laughing matter.   
Do you joke about people being blind? Or about someone on a wheelchair? So why would you make fun of someone being a stammerer? Don't you know it's quite a disability for some?   
How would you feel to be imprisoned in your thoughts, not being able to express yourself fully, having a social phobia, giving the impression that you're shy or that you're an introvert when in the real fact, you are the opposite? How would you feel to just easily give in to an argument because you can't afford to defend yourself? How would you feel to be embarrassed in front of a new crowd because there was no way you could escape saying your own name? How would you feel about deliberately telling half-truths just to escape the truth that wouldn't come out without shaming you. For example, you are asked, 'what's the time?'. You look at your watch and see it's 10:57. How unlucky! An F and an S, you know you can't escape stuttering on those. So you say it's 11. Imagine you had to almost always not say things how they are because you want to avoid some embarrassment.  
People think you're not sociable because your words are few or that you have a problem with English language because you have to substitute words with ones queer but more palatable for your cords.  
How would you feel to never be able to take on your dream job because despite equality and inclusion, you cannot bear to be a set back. The role requires you talk and that, fluently. You know you're not just fit for it.   
You know what I liken it to? Though I've never been there so I can't be sure. But I guess it feels like being crippled when you know you have a thing for athletics. Though I've heard stories of those who were able to overcome that to do something nice for themselves. I know of one who danced with her artificial limb. But however best you adapt, the truth of the matter is you still are not able to do what you really would have loved to do if you were like others and you can't escape that thought of "if only".   
It is really tough on stammerers. So please don't make it harder by mocking them. Don't mock people just because they are different from you. You can never know the tears they've shed, the endless prayers to be like you, the tireless efforts to save themselves, the exploitation they've gone through because of it.   
Don't mock the fat, the ugly, the short, the long, the unmarried, the childless, the divorced, and every other label you can think of. People did not create themselves. Situations happen upon people. If many had a choice, they would prefer to look like or talk like or be like someone else. It is hard enough that they are trying to play with the cards that nature served them.  
Don’t mock them because until you're in their shoes, you can never know their pain.  
Radiant ~ March 2018

Sunday, 18 March 2018

I Said I Must Write


So I said I must write and I didn't care about what. 
My Granny died 4 weeks ago and we were asked to write a tribute for the publication to be served on the day of her burial in May. The deadline for submission was last Thursday. I had thought I wasn't going to be able to write anything since I haven't had any inspiration to write this year. Not that I have not had any interesting experiences to be shared, but I was just waiting for the first line to drop on my lap before I would pick up my notepad to type 'cause that's what I'm used to.
But I've waited and you've waited. I still see the numbers coming to my blog every week to check and it hurts me. It hurts me that I don't have something for you, that you are disappointed again and again, that the numbers are dropping, that soon Radiant would be history. It hurt me.
Then the deadline for submission was approaching. How would I justify not writing a tribute for my Grand mom? Don't I miss her? And if I were to write a thing at all, it would really be disappointing to just say, "Rest in peace Grandma. I miss you." I already overhead them say, "Chidiogo will write us a poem", meaning that they are expecting from me, not just a tribute, but something creative as the writer that I am.
Well, this is the end of the story. On the eve of the d-day, I picked up my notepad, blank screen in front of me, blank mind inside of me, I didn't care. I had to write something. Anything.
"'Grandma', we called her..." and the words flowed like water from an unblocked tap. The next day I put finishing touches, sent to my editor to see if it made sense and he said, "it's beautiful". Really? I've had the secret all along but did nothing with it. It is called a writer's block, but the cure for it is for the writer to write. How ironic! 
So I said I must write today and here we are. I am excited that you'll be glad to see a "new post from me" and  you'll be happy to "read me", as some of you have requested in private messages. Shout out to y'all who don't let me drown in that block, who give me a reason to fight to write again. Your direct messages and even just the fact that you still visit this blog when there is nothing new here helps me keep hope alive.
Therefore, I'll write again. I'll write again but this time not for me. I've served myself all this while and maybe that's the lesson I needed to learn from this break. Life is not just about me. It's about you too. I want to serve you this time. I'll pick up my pad even when I don't feel like. I'll make the time even when I'm choked up my sleeves. So tell me, what would you want to read from me?
Let me know in the comment section below.

Radiant ~ March 2018