I smile when I think of the time I felt no heaviness, no worry when my spirit was light and free. I experienced it when I was on a missions trip in Spain, the summer between college and law school. That summer I felt completely in line with God and in the middle of His will. It didn’t matter what I was doing, weeding the garden, interpreting, or handing out water & Bibles; I was doing the most important job in the world. A lot has happened since then, and I am no longer the same person, but I so want to get back to that place, that sense of peace.
I am from Lagos, Nigeria – a very commercialized and densely populated city. Some referred to it as the NY of West Africa. Concrete everywhere, and not many parks or forests. Probably why I am not an outdoors person. What is it like living in Nigeria? People in Nigeria are very friendly, and we love to entertain. Hospitality means giving the best you have to drink and eat to your guests. And within the family, showing respect for your elders is one of the most important things.
Growing up, we went to church three times a week, and I couldn’t sleep over at anyone’s house. I was very sheltered. Despite the overly protective environment, I moved to the U.S. by myself when I was 17. The experience shaped me for sure. It was the first time I had that level of freedom. I graduated college at 19 and started law school when I was 20.
In law school, I had my first real heartbreak. Most of my friends had experienced that before but I hadn’t, and I didn’t know how to handle it. Because I didn’t know, I went a little wild and allowed my life to unravel. I let my hair down and decided it was easier not to care. I moved away from God. I was reckless, self-destructive, and did stupid things. I am grateful no harm happened to me; it was all because of God’s covering.
During that time, I was singing in a choir, but I didn’t get too close to any Christians because I didn’t want anyone to challenge my lifestyle. Sporadically, I would sing and sob at the same time. One day, a friend pulled me aside and asked why. Then he asked some more questions. He called me out and said I needed help. It became a turning point for me. I was in distress, and someone cared enough to challenge me. He suggested a local church he thought I might like. I visited that church and stayed.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. One of the toughest moments was when I found out a good friend jumped down 15 stories. At the time, I kept asking, “How is he doing?” I couldn’t comprehend he wasn’t alive anymore. He was someone caught in a set of unfortunate circumstances. He asked me for money and things. And I gave them to him for a while until one day I stopped. Then we lost touch. After his death, I kept wondering what would have happened if I didn’t stop giving to him? Could I have done more? If anyone else is going through a similar situation, I’d say – It wasn’t your fault.
The World is a crazy place. If I didn’t have Jesus, what would I do? I will be lost and swallowed up by the darkness if I let go of Jesus’s hand. Now I am a mom; my prayers are more for my son than for me. I know it sounds cheesy, but I am most proud of my son. The fact that he is here and I get to be his mom. I pray he will know the Lord early. He will walk with Jesus his whole life. For myself, I hope to get back to the summer in Spain, to feel convicted that I am in the middle of God’s will and content in Him. I still feel the wild side knocking. But now I want to do crazy things for Christ.