Operation Andrew

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The Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina (CCC) is the oldest Anglican cathedral in the Church of Nigeria. The foundation stone of the first building was laid in 29/3/1867 and the cathedral established in 1869. While the construction of the current building began 1/11/1924 and completed in 1946.

But this isn’t about the church as we know it. Much of what the Anglican communion is today traces its origin to Church Missionary Society’s work (CMS). Little wonder if you spend some time in Nigerian villages, you’ll hear the oldies refer to Anglican churches as CMS or Mission rather than their given names. You’ll also see that the CCC sits at one of the most popular bus stops in Lagos, Nigeria called CMS.

The church exists because some people took up the call to bring the gospel to all of us. From the Apostles who died for the sake of Christ, to people who drive the CMS, and Christians today who remember what it means to be true disciples of Jesus.

Much is said about Apostle Peter, the Rock as Christ called him, but not many remember it was Andrew, his brother, who first saw Jesus and told Simon, “We have found the Messiah.” Then he took Simon to Jesus (John 1:35-42)

Today, as we remember the death of Christ on the cross and what it means to Christians all over the world, think about what His love and the Church unity is truly about.

It’s not in interdenominational bickering –whose church has the grandest design or who’s keeping with traditional doctrine or whose pastor performs the most miracles. We stray too far.

It’s in Mission. Being Andrews. Telling someone about our Jesus, what he’s done this Good Friday by becoming a willing sacrifice and what that means to anyone who will receive him.

So, will you be an Andrew?

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Don’t Buy Her A Gift…

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According to the movies and stories passed down over the decades, courtship in Africa, specifically Nigeria was rather a funny and awkward exercise; one that still influences how relationships pan out in present day society. In those days when a man became of age and his elders deemed it time for him to get married, he would be ‘let loose’ on the community to scout for a suitable maiden to wife.

Now, what made a maiden suitable you ask?

  • A broadened hip believed to make childbirth easier and also strong enough to ‘back’ the child when it cries.
  • An ample bosom to nurse a child.
  • A thin waist line to showcase an hourglass figure (they loved their amazons)
  • A good stock line to ensure children had no evil traits likely to rear up its ugly head.
  • And let’s not forget, the gift of preparing and serving meals in a manner that would rival Nigella Lawson.
  • Throw in a pretty face and the said scout had reached utopia.

Basically, he went about the process with the mannerism of a prospective buyer at a cattle market. And when our scout spots the right maiden does he personally take her a gift or try to interact with her? No. He interacts extensively with her family, including distant relatives, but rarely spends any quality time getting to know her as a person.  He bestows gifts on her parents, her relatives as a token of his interest. Any gift that makes it to the bride is delivered by a relative, not directly by our scout.

The maiden is seen as something you acquired after making a reasonable offer by way of a gift. There was no need to appeal to her emotions; it was more or less a business transaction.

Fast forward to present day society, not much has changed. Man still hasn’t mastered the act of gift giving without strings as a sign of intimacy and friendship.

Our modern day checklist will look something like this:

  • Does she have a job, is she hard-working?
  • Is she devoid of illness (this includes her bloodlines)?
  • Is she well known in the community? Hmm, this might be a sign that she flirts.
  • Is she prayerful? I have gathered a lot of demons and I need a stand by the exorcist.

And the list continues.

History has made it almost impossible for men to approach gift giving from any other angle other than as an investment that indirectly benefits him.

He gave gifts to her father, he got her. Business deal sealed and delivered.

However, today the woman has a choice and sadly that has thrown a spanner in the investment wheel of many scouts. Some have invested and lost heavily; some have played cautiously and still ended up cheated.

sheldon-cooper-quote

I know some of you are thinking, but we should invest in the ones we love. Absolutely true, however, investments are expected to yield returns; gifts are designed to please the recipient. A gift performs well under the atmosphere of love; selfishness on either side turns a gift into an investment tool for manipulation. Expecting to receive sexual favours or commitments because you gave a gift is totally opposed to the true meaning of gift giving.

 Most people give gifts to children simply to make them smile; to let them know you thought of them and you love them. If the lady in your life does not stir your feelings on gift giving the way a child would then I don’t think you should be together. Begrudging your partner a gift for any other reason other than you can’t afford or it feels inappropriate at the moment, is an indication that you evaluate your relationships based on what you expect in return from it.

Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.

Don’t buy her a gift this valentine because you see her as a potential ‘cow’ or ‘investment’ ready to yield an emotional, physical or spiritual bounty. Buy her a gift because she’s the girl who makes the sun feel brighter when she looks at you. Buy her a gift because your relationship is worth investing everything good into including gifts. Buy her a gift because you love her and respect her needs as a person.

Funny thing is when a girl senses she has your heart the benefits just keep giving ♥

 


 

Chioma is an avid reader and a non-biased writer. She writes to explore and change outlooks to life, while mothering and maintaining balance wherever she calls home. Visit her blogLifehomeandaway

Protected: A Man Like You

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A Long Way Home

I watch the bus make its last turn and come to a halt. The ride may have been a long uncomfortable one, but the early flutters of hope has my heart thumping in anticipation. The streets are full of people—old and young alike; some heaving bags out of boots, welcoming their loved ones with warm hugs; others chatting as they walk past. Rows of shops now replace a long line of familiar trees, sporting pepper soup restaurants with the promise of assorted meat, Continue reading

A Threefold Lesson  

“Some of our biggest lessons come in beautifully wrapped little packages of experience.” 

Of all her body parts, Mma’s hair held the least appeal. It frizzed, broke and resisted every act of taming irrespective of her efforts. This was a cross, a very surprising cross because for years she had been blessed with beautiful hair—long, soft and admirable. Continue reading

An All Excelling Love

For by grace you have been saved through faith—Ephesians 2:8a

As the day draws to an end, I am again swamped by the boundless, encompassing love the Father has shown to me, the world, in his son Jesus Christ. Continue reading

A Sprinting Love Affair

 

I hate to sweat

But baby we did good together

I was marred by uncertainty

Unsure if I could go the distance

But you were there

Sturdy. Steady. A reliable cushion. Continue reading

A Good Day For Change

First love yourself

My cousin Megan was the most annoying being my eleven years old self had encountered. At six she was a scrawny looking firecracker; at ten a full blown typhoon. Having spent a considerable part of my teenage years in a boarding school far from home, I had to make do with spending short holidays with my extended family. It was on one such visit that I met Megan in her glorious fury. Continue reading

Life Like A Movie

wpid-WP4Phone_20140818125841.jpgYou know how psychology tries to explain how the male-female mind works in different situations? Well I’ve had enough of it.

They say women make room for their emotions and as such carry hand bags; and men compartmentalize, hence carry a wallet.
Men are physical beings; women are emotional beings.
Men like to have sex; women would rather eat chocolates and cuddle than have sex.

When a man is stressed and going through some tough times– especially of the financial variety– he looks inward and tries to sort it out himself; women like company. I’m guessing whoever began the expression “misery loves company” was probably thinking women. Continue reading

Love Is An Algebraic Expression

algebraGuest post by Mynd

Human emotions are funny. Well funny is a good way to describe it because any other thing is just inadequate. I remember a story about a man who opened a facebook account and used that account to flirt with his wife. He continued with it until his wife fell in love with that alternate person and was even thinking of leaving her husband for the handle. This got me thinking: was the wife really wrong or was there more to this than we see on the surface?

Now I once likened falling in love to Boolean algebras and Truth tables. Of course the inputs of anything will definitely determine the output and like Boolean algebra, most times, the input describe and give a definite answer on what our emotions will be towards the person with the inputs. Continue reading

Counting Blessings

imagesCA96F1XR[1]The past months have been an emotional roller coaster for me; from momentary happiness to an instant bubble burst, I can’t say I have been the happiest woman on God’s green Earth. Continue reading

Footprints

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You are nothing, you are worth nothing.

Watching Tyler Perry’s Madea’s neighbor from hell resonated deep within me. How often we think people and even ourselves worthless in certain environment. How feelings like that make us feel helpless and unwanted, and how as people the desire to be needed by someone somewhere is inherent, but sometimes we feel like we have nothing to offer. Continue reading

Journey to self

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“Self-acceptance and self-knowing are deeply interconnected. To truly know something about yourself, you must accept it. Even things about yourself that you most deeply want to change must first be accepted – even embraced. Self-transformation is always preceded by self-acceptance.” – David G. Benner (The Gift of Being Yourself)

When P asked that I told him something about me that no one else knew, I froze. There are a hundred things people don’t know about me seeing as I am a reticent being by nature, never particularly willing to share myself completely with anyone. I’ve often been forced to wonder if I’ll make a decent lover or wife. Maybe I will, when I find a good reason to trust another man with myself. Or maybe I won’t. It’s is after all said that the heart of a woman is an ocean of secrets.

Either ways, there are two major reasons I don’t feel compelled to reveal my feelings to others: the first is that the more people know, the more vulnerable you become. The other being the fear of being misunderstood and judged. You see, I have stumbled too many times in search of my identity. I have discovered hidden perks that would make my folks and friends cringe inwardly. But right beside that quirky and perky female is the tolerant and compassionate one people are accustomed to.

For years I thought the latter persona a more acceptable version of me and inadvertently repressed the former. Can’t confess it was healthy. Sometimes an emotional outburst reflects itself in very crazy ways most people can’t relate with. It was widely assumed that I was most surely facing an identity crisis. I believed that for a while, until I realized they were all wrong. I wasn’t facing an identity crisis, I was learning more about what was in me.

The more I explored my mind, the more I discovered more colors and shades. The more curious I became of my environment, the more I understood that I could be both the quiet pool and the raging ocean. When I began to embrace my numerous personality traits–both those I loved and what I so desperately wished wasn’t mine, the better my relationship with myself and others got. Oh, they aren’t any less surprised by something new, but they’ve stopped thinking something’s wrong with me.

Today I am learning to hone my strengths, and manage my weaknesses–not shy away from them or pretend they don’t exist. I am learning to assess my blueprint and decide how to project this to the world, to create a healthy balance of sort with myself. Most importantly, I understand that to know love, I must first learn to love me–all of me; this way I can also learn to love others and all their different hues, and give those who want to, a chance to love me too.

“Being loved for our best selves is something we should rejoice at, but being loved for our very worst is a joy that reaches to the innermost parts of hearts, healing us, blessing us, and providing us with the strength we need to live a full and beautiful life.” – J.Soriano

Unrepentantly Human

There comes a time in our lives when we realise we owe some people an unreserved apology; I have reached that point. An apology not for a conventional wrong doing, but for it’s less thought-of, unconventional twin. I have expected so much from certain people, idolised–hero worship if you like–and placed them on the pedestal of perfection. I have thought them more than they truly are. I have stood in awe of them, showered them with lovve and affection due to gods. I have loved selfishly.

Our lives are so intertwined that we do not always know where one ends and the other begins. We feel a sense of responsibility for one another.  As parents, we feel responsible for our children. As older sibling, for our younger ones. As the head of states, for the citizens. As citizens, for our neighbours. As celebtities, for our fans. Teachers, for our students. Pastors, priests, for the church.
However, we do not always realise if we are at the receiving end, how difficult it is to be the giver. We feel disappointed, betrayed, lose interest and become judgemental when we receive anything less than perfect behaviour from others.

But at our very core, we are all the same. We all have good days and bad days. Dreams, fear, hopes. Joy and tears; strengths and weaknesses. We bleed when we fall. Break when bent. Snap when stretched beyong limit. Prone to make mistakes.  We are imperfect.

People are only as extraordinary as they can successfully mask their ordinary selves.

So I have been tried and found guilty of being unthoughtful about your needs. Hence forth,  you are allowed to take a break off that pedestal. Take a walk. Breathe in the air. Smell the flowers. Soak in the sun. Indulge.  Be inappropriate. Live. Most importantly,  step back up at your own convenience.

I may never be for you what you represent to me, but I can promise to be understanding when you slip; to give you a second and third chance, because in the end, we have been made to complement one another but at our very core, we will always remain one thing: human, and will everybody else.

Love is hardwork

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That one moment in your life when you realise you’ve just met that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The rush of emotions; the initial confusion, trying to come to terms with the sudden realisation or make it go away. That feeling of breathlessness when the object is near. The air cracks and sizzles–chemistry. The invasion of your mind, when it’s away. When you think you just saw it up ahead, or smelled it’s perfume by the roadside….it’s everywhere and nowhere.The hard thump of your heart against your ribs, and the mad dash of racing pulse. The stone at the pit of your stomach…or are those butterflies? Leaving you tongue tied when you really must say something.  Heightened emotions–everything matters so long it comes from it.
That helpless feeling when you realise you can’t walk away. It’s real when you can’t walk away, they say.
You get used to it. You accept it. You’re in–hook, line, and sinker. The whole 360 degrees.

But it isn’t rosy. It’s only as perfect as when you are together, and you must work to stay together. One day, all that breathlessness goes away. You must learn to coexist in the same space. Accomodate quirky habits. Fight. Make up. And they get more frequent–the cycle. You want to go away. End it. But you don’t. You fell for a package, and so you fight for a package. You fan the embers periodically. Build a flame. Revel in it.

But it grows old. It grows cold.

Someday you settle for comfort outside passion–or the next best thing. The deafening silence that screams a thousand words. That hums in the day and whispers at night of spoken promises of long ago to old weary bones. The cycle continues.

Then into the darkness you ask, ‘why?’
And the silence whispers, ‘because love is hardwork.’