As I looked into Zoe’s swollen face, I could not but pray to God for mercy. She had cried her face out all through the night.
I was at the Monday Bible Study yesterday when I received a call from an unknown number.
‘Mummy, I am coming home o. Enough is enough.’ I had Zoe’s voice ring from the other end. I was shocked
‘What’s the matter?’ I had asked, so patiently.
Though I was perplexed, life had taught me so pricelessly, the importance of listening patiently and considering all pros and cons before diving into a matter no matter how little.
‘I am tired of Joe. We had a date yesterday, he slapped me just because I said I smelt alcohol in his mouth’ she lamented and I sighed heavily.
I had told Zoe for a number of times that I had my doubts about that Benin boy whose hair was so ‘afroish’ that it could make an osuka for a market woman carrying a large heavy bowl on her head!
When she was overly blinded by this love thing (or should I call it infatuation?), I had gone on my knees to pray against mistake in this aspect for my only kid.
Oh how I prayed!
Now, that same guy had slapped her for the second time.
The first time he slapped her, it was because she had confronted him on why he used the picture of a girl that was not even a relative of his as the profile picture on Facebook.
He apologized for an umpteenth time to have Zoe back saying it was the devil’s handiwork- there are many people Satan would slap for lying against him in hell!
What else should I do oh Lord?
How do I teach my own daughter how to go on her knees and ask God for guidance in this critical aspect of her life?
I missed it in life and I now live in remembrance of my terrible mistake forever.
I am the most miserable, worst, unqualified marriage counselor on earth and since my failure; I had never attempted to advise anyone on that matter.
She drove into the compound that day in her official car- she had a nice job with a very prominent oil and gas company in Port Harcourt and she was one of their directors.
As she walked inside the house, she defied my open arms and just rushed into her room. She didn’t come out of her room until the next morning.
While she was inside, crying her heart out, I was in my room pouring my heart unto God to proffer solution to the issue and also help my daughter through me.
‘You are qualified to counsel her’ the Holy Spirit whispered to me
‘How? I am a failure. I failed in this aspect, so how can I successfully do this Father?’ I asked so calmly, my heart really heavy.
‘You failed indeed but your real failure comes if your daughter fails too!’ the Holy Spirit whispered to me.
Lizzy had really been a great help to my spiritual life, telling me what to do and how I should go about it especially in listening to the Holy Spirit. Over two years now, the Holy Spirit had been speaking expressly to me.
‘Sit her down and talk to her. You are able!’ the Holy Spirit assured me and I heaved a sigh of anxiety.- I had lost my voice, my boldness, my courage and I was really lost all together.
The effect of the mercury-laden drink that my husband fed me almost two decades back still lingered.
If not for God and his mercy, I often wondered how hot the hell I would go to would have burnt!- I would have been the firewood that the devil would use forever and ever in that burning furnace!
After I had passed out that day when Zoe refused to come into my bloody outstretched arms, I didn’t know what happened to me again- I was totally dead, in darkness.
I couldn’t even see God- in movies some people see some men in white that would chase them back to earth saying their time wasn’t over but for me, all I could see was total blackout!
I woke up from the unconsciousness when my ten years old Zoe was already 15 years old!
5 years unconsciousness just from a sip of mercury-laden drink!
Even after regaining consciousness, my condition relapsed severally before I became stable a bit.
I later learnt that Lizzy still lingered in the sitting room that day after Zack ordered her out of our house.
‘The Holy Spirit was the one who woke me up from sleep that I needed to be in your house and I couldn’t leave simply because Zack said I should leave. Thank God I waited. I found both of you in blood!’ she later narrated to me. My vomitus was intermixed with blood tht day, according to her.
She was the one who rushed both of us to the clinic and had us resuscitated and admitted.
But from then even till now, I experience labors to produce speech from my poison-twisted body;
My hands flutter like wounded birds;
My right eye rolls upward and;
My mouth contorts with effort.
When I was newly discharged from the hospital, I needed a friend to translate some of the ensuing sounds into language a stranger can understand.
The process was slow and obviously exhausting, but I was undaunted.
I was angry and wanted to be heard!
I wanted to speak again and I started to heal- little by little.
To start speaking now on matters that I really dread was something I couldn’t even fathom but I had to do it anyways as the Holy Spirit kept on bidding me.
‘Read Exodus 4:12” He spoke again.
I reached for my bed and opened my Bible.
‘Now, go, therefore, I will be with your mouth and shall teach you what thou shalt say’ I read aloud meaningfully, nodding as the great promise of God sank deep into my heart.
With a set mind, I put down my Bible, ensure Zack was sleeping soundly and I went out of the room quietly so has not to wake him.
If you see Zack now, he is in a very bad shape!
Since the stab from me, he was attacked severely by tetanus and had relapsed lots of time despite surgery.
Now, he could barely use his back as he moved around in a wheel chair!
As Zoe cried so heavily, I couldn’t but shake my head because she didn’t know that all things was working together for her good.
‘Why are you crying this much? Do you love him this much?’ I asked and she nodded affirmatively, sobbing to the extent that her body shook.
‘Does he love you this much too?’ I asked and she looked up at me, waving her long, wet hair off her tears-soaked face. I saw doubt
‘He loves me too but he can’t be crying like this. He is a man’ she defended him and I gasped in confusion.
‘Men don’t cry?’ I asked
‘They do, but his own kind of personality…’ she kept on saying when I cut in
‘Can you die for him?…Like, you have one kidney left and he needs one to survive…’ she didn’t let me land
‘I would give it to him.’ She said and I watched on in amazement.
‘What about him? Could he give it to you? Could he because of you give up his life?’ I asked and she chuckled as tears ran down her face.
‘No mum, he’s human’ She said
‘And you are an alien?’ I almost shouted. She broke down into tears the more.
‘See daughter, be grateful that you still have this opportunity. If you had tied the nuptial knot with this [b] ‘Puncher’, I don’t know what you would be saying now.’
‘Mum, Joe has always been my crush since the university’ she said and I shook my head.
‘Crush? What’s a crush?…see my love, a crush would eventually crush the ‘crushee’!’ I didn’t know if that word was in the dictionary but I was so desperate to pass my message to this infatuated girl.
‘Really?’ she asked and I nodded
‘See, I had a serious crush on a brother in my fellowship. In my thoughts, it was Bro Dave, when I wore a cloth; it was for Bro Dave that I wore it. Whatever I did, I did it with Bro Dave in mind.” I swallowed hard as I relived the whole scenes in my head. I remembered so clearly.
‘The funniest part is, he played along, notices the new dresses I wore, appreciated them, visited me, held my hands to pray for me when I was sick and all’ I smiled bitterly and Zoe watched on, her cries had subsided but she still shook from the sobs.
‘Until one day when he gladly pulled me outside the church, smiling heartily and jumping as if he had won a lottery. I was happy too, jumping as if I knew what it was for.’ I stood up and walked to the window.
‘So, what happened?’ she asked and I smiled regrettably
‘He started screaming ‘ She said yes, she said yes. As my only friend, I am telling you first but Liz said yes! ’ That was what he kept saying. Those words are still registered in my head as if. Oh my God!’ I exclaimed and went to sit beside her.
I placed my hands on her shoulders
‘I ought to have told you this story long ago my daughter but I hate failure. I hate it so much!’ I fought my tears as Zoe was about to resume her crying business.
‘Wow! Crush would eventually crush the crushee!’ she used my coined word and nodded so seriously
‘Yeah! Most times’ I added
‘Getting married to Joe who beats you like craze over minute matters –if you go on with it, the Lord would judge me for leading you astray’
‘Why?’ she asked, naively
‘Because despite my failure, I failed to still guide you aright’ I said and she nodded regrettably.
‘Is Joe a Christian?’ I asked further
‘Yes, he goes to church’ she replied
‘Is there no big difference between someone who goes to church and someone who is a true child of God?’
‘Yeah!’ she nodded
‘Where exactly did you meet him?’ I asked and she looked away
‘His sister was my course mate. She introduced him to me’
‘Like a matchmaking process?’
‘Did you pray about it?’ I asked and she shot me a serious look
‘Pray? About what?’ she asked and my spirit stirred within me.
I had really had it in mind to bring up this girl in the way of the Lord until the unfortunate accident that held me down for years.
She had stayed with Lizzy for a year before Zack’s mother came for her.
See my once very sharp girl talking nonsense!
‘See my dear; you should pray about every single step you want to take in life. Let me tell you my own story and why it has turned out to be this way for me’ I said and she listened with rapt attention as I unwrapped my dirty past as one would unwrap gently, molded pap served in the leaves.
She had started crying and I later joined especially when I recounted how the whole issue severed the relationship between Zoe and I and how Zack and I became bedridden for years.
‘Now, Zack can do possibly nothing without me-bath, eat, walk, talk, all! The girls he was always carrying around are where now? The companies he wanted to steal from me? The money he wanted to steal—all back in my hands but the pain and perils of a bad marriage are all still etched on my heart my baby. I can’t send him out especially now that he is born again. He is the cross I have to bear. No one placed it on me, I did! Bitterness did! Envy did! Resentment and jealousy did and Crush did!’ I lamented and Zoe cried
‘I was really looking forward to ‘Zoe and Joe’. I loved the fact that the names are similar and thought we were meant for each other’ she said childishly.
‘Daughter, that’s where you are wrong because they might only have similarities in the spelling, even the pronunciations are different’ I said and she nodded
‘True! Zo-e and Jo. That’s true. But what should I do now?’ she asked and I smiled.
‘That’s the very best question to ask daughter. First, we would sit together and watch a movie’ I said and looked into her face.
The expression was expected
‘Movie? Mum, like seriously?’ she asked and I smiled
‘Like seriously! After the movie, we would know what to do. Get into the kitchen and bring two packs of popcorn from the popcorn machine’ I said and she shot me a confused look. I smiled reassuringly.
Few minutes later, I looked at her as she set her face like a flint on the Television screen, watching with rapt attention.
I kept on munching my popcorn so the noise would distract her little bit but no! ‘War Room’ had taken the best of my adorable daughter.
Her pack of popcorn was just thrown beside the settee as tears rolled down her face.
‘This is similar to your marriage mum…though yours was worse!’ she said absent-mindedly and I smiled
A while later, I woke up from my slumber and looked towards the TV screen. It was showing the cast and I knew the movie just ended.
I looked over to the settee and found Zoe stuffing pop-corn into her mouth in very large quantities with tears on her face.
My method worked!
The Holy Spirit took charge!
‘Mum, we’ve gat to pray!’ she screamed as she ran towards me. She held my hands and I looked into her face. My beautiful little baby!
From giving thanks to God;to asking for forgiveness for the sins of self-reliance and all; to total surrender to Christ’s Lordship to commit our futures into God’s hands; to asking for the leading of the spirit in all we do, we really did pray for over 4 hours, drenched in sweat and tears.
By the time we were done, Zack had crawled to the sitting room, praying fervently together with us!
‘For speedy answers to our prayers we have prayed in Jesus’ holy name ’ I rounded off
‘Amen!’ both of them chorused