Friday, April 29, 2011

Letter to my Sister (2) :Naomi’s Response...

Dearest Eunice,

You’re right. The most important thing to remember is that it’s for God. I’m proud of you and glad you love God so much. I pray you remain steadfast in Him. About your prayer, the bible says;

‘Ask and it shall be given to you…’ Matthew 7:7a

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.’ Psalms 34:10

‘For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him’ 2 Chronicles 16:9a

‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’ Psalms 37:4

Hence, I do not believe God has a problem with giving you someone special to marry, or with you asking. Just remember that at the end of the day, it is His will not yours that you should seek to be established. So ask away and in the manner of our Lord, say ‘But Your will, not mine, Father.’ And mean it.

Whenever I think how unfair it seems when people wait on God and then end up marrying people who treat them so wrong, I remember that God never took your hand and placed it  in another’s. <We choose and our choices determine the outcomes of our lives and as Christians, it is our duty to learn how to make the right choices> (Mensah Otabil, paraphrase, mine). I pray we both do.

But if it appears God’s will was done and yet there is a mismatch, I remember Hosea who by all indications, God was pleased with and yet God made him marry a prostitute. Not a reformed one oh! This one continued prostituting herself even after she was married to the man of God. But it was all in God’s will, to illustrate His relationship between the church and Him. And I believe Hosea has the most striking portrait of that relationship between the church and God.

So if we are absolutely sure it was God’s leading, He will show us exactly why and how He intends to use it to His glory if we ask Him in prayer. But we must be careful not to attribute decisions of our flesh to God.

When I get home, we can search the scriptures more on this issue…

Your Sister,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Letter to my Sister (1)

This letter was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend’s younger sister. It was written to encourage those who may need encouragement or know someone who does… 

Dearest Naomi,

O, how the tables have turned from yesterday! I hear them whispering behind my back; saying in hushed tones ‘Can you believe her!’  I see them point and laugh. They call me ‘relic’, ‘dinosaur’ and taunt me with their stares. But I am unfazed; I do not care. And it only makes them stare harder, wonder more. What is with her?

I went to school the other day to find scrawled on my locker; ‘Get with the program, girl! The definition changed from dignity to a lack of opportunity’ I smile and wipe it off. When will they get that I don’t care? That I have no desire to enroll in the so-called program?

I thank God for the little talk we had before you went off to college. It’s helped me understand them and respond in love. Animosity towards what’s different from you is probably as old as society. We tend to shun and ridicule what we do not understand. But I’d be all too willing to explain if only they’d ask!

I’m not doing this to feel special or to get attention for being different. This kind of attention, I can live without. It’s neither cos I was told in Sunday school nor cos I have ice running through my veins. I have the same desires they do. I’m doing this for one reason only, to honor God’s temple.

And even then, this is not all it takes. It’s the purity of body, mind and spirit and becoming more and more like Christ by consistently doing God’s will through Christ who strengthens me that honors God. So I do not feel any better than anyone for all sin is sin.

I have a question for you though, do you remember at youth fellowship when Auntie Mary said there were fringe benefits to remaining a virgin before marriage and she gave the example of your husband not having to wonder if any guy who greets you a little too familiarly once owned what is now his? You got up, nostrils flaring and said, ‘If it was for a man, I would have given up ages ago; these men who cheat and beat their wives?’

Everyone was surprised because you were always so quiet but it did drive a point home; it’s for God. And that is why sometimes I worry when I find myself praying; ‘God, I really hope you have someone special for me’, as if I deserve some reward for honoring Him. Do you feel that way sometimes?

Your Sister,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let's talk about what we don't like talking about... (hehehe... not what you're thinking)

I don't know why, but I have female reproductive health on my mind. BTW, where is everyone rushing to with their first sexual encounters? 

I remember in high school, during a class on Reproductive health, I raised my hand and asked if girls could get pregnant from oral sex since the semen went into their bellies where babies are made... Yup, 16 year old me with her years of reading romance novels just had to ask this question which was bothering her mind in class. I got laughed at for my naivety, but I got my answer; No.

Today, people are proudly broadcasting that they had sex at twelve and ten years old. Mehn! The way I didn't want my childhood to end! And people are just rushing to be grown ups ASAP. Hmm...

Anyway, my friend recently turned 21 and when I called, I said; "Congratulations! You're now legal worldwide. In fact if you were in France, you could now finally vote! And now that you are fully grown up, it's time to make that trip to the doctor for your pap smear"
"For what?" She asked. 
"Your pap..." I started... 
"I heard you the first time. Why now?"
"Well, it's supposed to take place when you turn 21 or after your first sexual experience"
Being the clown that she is, she made my day by replying;
"Etoile, but if I haven't opened my legs for the person for whom it's meant, why would I go and lie down for some (stranger) doctor to poke around in the name of medicine?"
"So you'll know if everything is okay down there.."
"Please, everything is okay. What hasn't killed me till now, can wait till I marry"

We laughed about it but I wondered... How many of us do anything to check and make sure everything is okay with us? A doctor friend tells me many have had their lives saved through a routine check Why? Cervical cancer. A pap smear can be your lifeline because like all cancers, the earlier it's caught, the better your chances of survival. 

So yes, let's giggle and blush about it... but if you're 21 and above or are/have been sexually active, do yourself a favour and get that smear. Who knows? It may save your life...

So, apparently, a woman boosts her chances of getting cervical cancer if she:
  • Starts having sex before age 18
  • Has many sex partners
  • Has sex partners who have other sex partners
  • Has or has had a STI
(side-eying those deciding to have sex at age twelve and ten whilst their counterparts forced into prostitution would give almost anything to have their innocence back)

Friday, April 22, 2011

When the sea and roads become thirsty for Blood...

Easter is here. In Ghana, this is mega Chilling time. From para-gliding on the Kwahu mountains to beaches being choked with 'picnickers' on Easter Monday, it's a time to de-stress and make merry, often forgetting what we are commemorating. I lie?

As we celebrate the most precious gift there is, the gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let's pause and think of those who lose their lives every year as we celebrate this LIFE*

Every year, too many people die in accidents at Christmas & Easter. It's really unfortunate; especially the 'preventable' ones.

It's sad when you hear a young person is dead. It's sadder when you ask for the cause of death and are told drunk-driving & you feel any sympathy people may have had disappear. I bet it's hard to be sympathetic when traces of cocaine in the nostrils and alcohol on the breath are the first things to greet you when you get to an accident scene. Especially when you're a poiceman or coroner and have seen enough wasted youth to last you several lifetimes.

True, it will not be on your obituary because we are Africans and do not speak ill of the dead. But rest assured everyone who makes it to the funeral or asks after you and their family and friends will know. After all, we had our own wireless telephone systems way before cellphones came into their own and none will say it but many will think it; what a waste of youth! It's just like he/she committed willful suicide.

I wonder whether they tell the parents when they call... "We will need you to come over and identify a body we suspect may be your son/daughter. It was a car accident... but we wont be sure of the cause of death till after the autopsy. The amounts of alcohol and narcotics found in his/her blood stream were lethal" God help the parent who has to take that call!!! Please don't make your loved ones have to go through that.

If u're drunk, stay put! Don't put the bottle to your own head & pull the trigger. If you're high, stay put. That is not the time to show your Michael Phelps skills in the sea or your NASCAR skills on the potholed roads. And if u don't drink, etc. Please dont get in a car with a someone who is clearly out of it. sure, your friend loves u, but He/she isnt the one driving at that moment. 

My schoolmate lost a sister on Tuesday. She was sober. It didn't matter. The drunk-driver made it and should be discharged Today. I'm not saying he should have died... I'm just stating she didn't live.

So as you go a-chilling this Easter, please don't have an accident or drown at the beach because you were drunk. God forbid that it happen! I pray no one crashes nor drowns... But if it must, don't let it be by your own hand. Don't be reckless with life as we celebrate the gift of life..

What's up for  ? Kwahu mountains? While para-gliding, look at the amazing scenery and acknowledge the gift we commemorate. Salvation!

We know we will all go one day. WHEN & HOW you'll go is, for the most part, out of your control. At least make sure you know WHERE u'll go... It's where you'll spend the rest of time. Don't leave your destination to chance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I discovered you too young...

I discovered you too young...

When I was young and scared
And uncertain what to do with you
When the calluses in my hands were
too tender to handle your heat

For yes, even at that tender age
When the stars in my eyes still twinkled
I saw your warning label, tucked in an
obscure corner 'Highly Inflammable'

So even though you were 'Smoking Hot'
I ran, faster than I ever have
But midway, I stopped and waited
long enough for you to catch me...

And that was my sweet mistake
one that almost took my life... (To be continued :P)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What Helps you through Grief?

When we lost Serwah in 2005, I became thoroughly acquainted with Cece Winan's 'Comforter'. I would put it on repeat and pray and cry my my questions and turmoil out to God. I was talking to my friend during that period and as I asked 'God, why?' one more time, she asked me, 'Who fathoms the eternal thought?' 

She was reminding me of one of my favourite Methodist hymns which helped me immensely in high school when my Grandpa passed away. I'd had it on repeat on my 'voicebox' then. As we broke into song together, I felt comfort sweep over my soul. 

The hymn is MHB 513 and I have posted the lyrics below. Since Monday when I heard the news about my grandma, I haven't stopped singing this hymn nor playing 'Comforter'. What helps you in times of sorrow/grief?  Kindly share your go-to scripture, music, quotes, etc. that help you overcome times of grief.

1. Who fathoms the eternal thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.

2. I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.

3. Here in the maddening maze of things,
When tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed ground my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!

4. I long for household voices gone,
For vanished smiles I long:
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And He can do no wrong.

5. I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.

6. And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.

7. No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.

8. And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.

9. I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Icy-Handed, Unwelcome Visitor (Thief)

Death is never funny but here I am wishing, ten days after April fool's day, that my brother will apologize and say that it was a joke. Although It would be in very bad taste, I'd be too happy and relieved to scold him.

Even after confirmation from my mom, the news has still not sunk in... How can it? It's like being told the sun will not rise tomorrow. I am still very much tempted to call her phone to see if she would pick up and tell me it was just a dream... but equally scared that she won't pick up and I'd be forced to face the reality that she's really gone.

Something has fallen in my eyes, as is said in Akan, but tears are refusing to fall to clear that which has fallen onto my eyeballs. Who is dead? You may be wondering. If I said my grandma, it wouldn't be an accurate description... for she was more. 

Related by the blood of Christ more than anything else, this woman was my grandma, intercessor, advisor, you just name it. A mother to my mother for all the years I've been alive. Yet death, with impunity, just snatched her away this morning... I am sad... and I am angry... but mostly sad...

My only comfort is that she has gone to be with the Lord... May her soul rest in peace!

About that, I just have to ask... Will your family have that comfort when you're gone? I've been thinking a lot about this. Death has this way of punching you in the solar plexus with a reminder of the life hereafter... 

I believe it causes you to think even when you're an atheist or agnostic or say you do not care. For no one has come back to confirm that indeed this life is all there is, and religion is indeed 'rubbish' What if there's more?

Whilst we have life, we still have a chance to decide... Please think about it. After here, what next... And yes, if you ask me, I recommend Jesus...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Virginity versus Purity

An old post by Naijalines (Back door virgins) which I chanced upon recently got me thinking about an issue which interests me greatly... 

Especially in the light of a conversation I overheard recently where a girl was telling her friend how she was a virgin and got a phone call with her friend at the other end, asking which lubricant was best for anal sex. I don't know if she was advertising the sound quality of her phone that day, because the whole bus heard.

In high school, I wrote a piece about how many mothers were giving their daughters reason to believe the only reason they cared what they did with their sexualities was because they were afraid they'd contract HIV/AIDS or get pregnant and bring disgrace to the family. It's a sad truth in many homes and my problem was that I felt if that was really the issue, you might as well throw some condoms at your daughter when she turns ten or eleven and tell her to be careful. It was devaluing a mother's interest in her daughter's reproductive health to what society would think of the mother should her daughter get pregnant or HIV/AIDS.

In the issue at hand (Virginity versus Purity), my concern is that the idea of virginity is reduced to the technicality of having some sort of barrier (be it a hymen or unusual tightness) to bear witness to a purity which is often not there. 

At a Campus event, two years ago, a speaker ventured that the first kiss of any couple should be at the Altar. You should have seen the looks on our faces! It was like 'If that was the criteria, then we've all failed' And it was a Christian gathering. There is supposed to be 'Not even a hint' of sexual immorality amongst us and yet, it appeared impossible and ludicrous to us, in our day and age to expect that from us.

Another seminar I went to had the speaker asking us to guess the most asked question he got whenever he spoke to students about sex. You guessed right, 'How far is too far' was the question. The question although very valid exposed our hearts. We all wanted to know how much we could do and still be in God's good books. But then he asked us to think about the reason behind our boundaries...

This is what bugs me about the whole virginity issue. The only boundary appears to be a hymen... and I am not here to cast any stone because if this was the case of the Adulterous woman, I'd be one of the first to put her stone down and run home.

But seriously, when someone who has had anal sex, oral sex, boob sex, and many other types of sex you cannot begin to imagine acts holier than someone who has had penetrative V sex because she still has her hymen intact, it really bugs me. What's the point, really? 

The most valuable lesson on this issue I learnt, was from a guy who had managed with the help of God, to complete university an unkissed virgin. When I expressed surprise and admiration, he asked, aren't the lips part of virginity? To him, it was all about devotion to God and his future wife...

The question shouldn't be one of a hymen ('virginity') but one of purity of mind, heart and body, if indeed you are abstaining for religious reasons. And for husbands and families who demand blood on the wedding night and don't really care about the rest, seriously? I can have anal sex with a horse and you wouldn't care, so long as I produce blood on my wedding night? really?

If we're abstaining, let's be pure. If we are being responsible, let's go all out and get tested regularly and use protection at all times. If we're on the fence and playing the two sides, let's recognize our situation as such and stop acting holier than thou. 

Besides, if a hymen equaled holiness, it would soon be redundant, because didn't some plastic surgeon figure out how to recreate one? It's only a matter of time before we have 'virginity' for sale. Purity on the other hand, will never be for sale...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Melt You... (A response to my last post 'I Break Too...')

Sometimes, you're speaking and formulating your thoughts as you go; and as you pause to catch your breath or find an appropriate word, someone completes your sentence for you.

Sometimes, you may not have known at the time the person volunteered the words, exactly what you were going to say next. And yet, they say exactly what your unformed thoughts would have said if they had fully formed...

Sometimes, they say it better than you were thinking it would be... and your brain just goes to rest knowing that it's mission to communicate thoughts and feelings has been accomplished with very welcome help.

That is how I felt yesterday when Nii Amaah at Mouse's Musings wrote Melt You and credited the inspiration to my post. Like I commented on his post, If my monologue was to be a dialogue, I couldn't think of a better script for a response myself.

It may not have been meant as such but It's the best compliment my writing has been paid to date :) :) To be able to inspire such beauty! *sigh!*

I present to you... 'Melt You...'

Melt You

so i read this piece called 'I break too' which inspired 
this piece which i wrote off the cuff but i hope you enjoy. 

Melt You
I am asking for your love to flow, 
I know, I know,
you don't need me and you want me to stay away, 
but i can't help myself but to come close anyway, 
besides, it seems as if you want me close because 
you are everywhere, 
you claim its a glare but all i am reading is a wanting stare, 
engrossed in your book only to build a caricature of my smile,
with those "thees and thous", thine heart pleads to be mine, 
YOU need love and your thoughts of "leave me be" 
to my heart calls, 
your attempts to repulse, my passion engulfs, 
hidden behind the clothes and attempts to act aloof, 
is a want to care, a woman desiring to be loved 
and i am not fooled, 
so this time, my touch on the shoulder will only soothe, 
my tender hug goodbye will make you swoon,
I will pick at that crack, barge through that gate, 
i beg of you, don't fight this, don't push back 
because there is a twist, 
i can promise you this, 
i will not break you, 
i intend to melt the ice around your heart and ask 
that you drench me in your love, 
i will not break you, i will melt you, 
so please, let your love flow.

Credit: Nii Amaah (2011)

PS: If you don't melt, abeg, go and see a cardiologist. 
Your heart may have turned to stone. True story!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Break Too...

I am the girl with the 'I don't need you' smile
With the 'don't come close' walk
With the 'go away' glare

I am everywhere.

You see me in the cafeteria with my Classic Literature
Laughing at something a dead author wrote long ago
Looking engrossed in a world of my own
Glaring furiously at anyone who approached 
The seat across from me
Can't you see I don't want you here? My glare says
Can't you see I'm avoiding you?
Everyone? It asks.

I'm reading classic literature 
Because I do not want to fall in love
With a character whose kind may exist in real life
Who I may chance upon 
and actually fall in love with.
With the 'thees' and 'thous' and knights and dukes
I let my guard down
I laugh, I smile, I fall in love
It's a zero risk lottery because 
they cannot love me back even if they wanted to
And so I expect nothing, receive nothing
And that nothingness is comforting and safe
Because I control it

I am the girl with the 'who needs love' laugh
With the 'leave me be' tone
And the 'repulsed yet?' style

Hiding under clothes that blend me in...
With the walls and hallways of Campus
You see me and smile, I glance away
You say 'hello' and I bob my head furiously
To music only I can hear...
Music which does not exist
My earphones haven't been plugged in 
To anything for as long as I can remember

A tap on the shoulder causes me to cringe
A tender goodbye scares me...
Please don't ask for a hug
Don't stare, don't share, don't care
for I might do something crazy, like care back
Like let you in the fortress I've built around my heart
It's taken 20 something years, 10 months and 29 days
To get it just right
Don't poke through that crack; don't knock on that gate
Don't try to get through... 
Please don't try

Unless you're here to stay

For under the steel reinforced concrete lies a fragile heart
that breaks easily
Under the 'whatever' shrug and certain retreat
Is a woman and a girl with long buried feelings
Which seem to want to come back to life for you
And under all that ice,
I break too!

So Go Away!!!
(Please Stay!)

True, the walls keeping you out are locking me in
And I feel suffocated sometimes
But my fear and pride insist 'Stay out!'
As my heart cries feebly...
'Please, Stay?'

Whatever you decide, tread carefully
For be not fooled, I break too!