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Impacting Nations

MY GRACE STORY

Life comes in ways we don’t expect and sometimes the only words you can speak is tears.

I met Damilola Agboola recently, we were in a programme and we were talking about pains, she raised her hands and said she has a story to share. By the time Damilola and her husband were done sharing their story, we were all moved.

Her story was emotional and I knew in that instant she had to share her story on Naked with Onome Podcast. The Lord had been speaking to me about starting a series on sharing testimonies and I have been struggling because I am in my season of pain but after interviewing Damilola I knew that God has better plans for me and this podcast is blessing me.

Click here to listen on Google podcast and you can also download here.

Thank you for listening.

TOLULOPE MATTHEW: WAITING FOR THE PROMISE

Tolulope has been a lady I’ve always admired from afar, she knows what she wants, and she keeps going for it. She is that person who will give you some tough love and at the same time cheer you on when you are succeeding.

I interviewed her when she was getting married, and the joy she had was undeniable, but what happens when after your wedding, a baby is not coming? I tried my best not to have this conversation with her because fertility is a very sensitive topic.

I never knew Tolu was fighting some silent battle. I loved how she always showed up to celebrate with her friends who had a baby. I was over the moon when a mutual friend told me, “Tolu gave birth”. Tolu reached out to me some weeks ago and said she would like to share her testimony.

My prayer is that this testimony spurs your faith to trust God more.

Onome: Let’s meet you and how long have you been married?

Tolu: I’m Toluwalope Matthew, and I’ve been married for 2years and 5months.

Onome: How has the journey been?

Tolu: I will say with God the journey has been smooth. People indeed find it hard to share the good sides of their marriage; all we hear about is the turbulent ones. It has been a period of growth in all aspects of my life.

Onome: Hmmm….. I hope we can change that perspective.

Tolu: Yes, we can, and we will.

Onome: What’s your greatest challenge about marriage?

Tolu: Hmmm…. my greatest challenge was the difficulty in accepting my new location. Moving from an urban area to a semi-rural area with little or no opportunity is not a child’s play.

Let’s talk about your waiting season.

Onome: How long did you, and what was it like waiting?

Tolu: We waited for a year 6months.

Waiting, waiting, where do I start from Onome? is it from a monthly period or counting ovulation or cramping. It was not easy. I practically counted my period days and made sure I stayed indoors so I won’t show myself to the world.

The environment where I find myself even has its stigma. If you have been married for months or years without a child, most people address you as ‘iyawo’. So when you find yourself in gatherings and they say ‘iyawo’, everyone knows no child yet.

Or is it concerns from family or friends? Well, I believe none of them knew their concerns came as pressure indirectly, and that alone leaves one with silent thinking. I remember getting in touch with an undergraduate roommate in 500l when I was in 100l, she also had a delay, and her experience helped me put myself together.

Onome: Did you ever felt like God left you?

Tolu: No, I never felt God had left me. Never. Physically speaking, I was so anxious for this miracle but spiritually speaking, I knew God was preparing me for something extraordinary, even though I don’t know how long it will take.

Onome: How did your husband support you all through the journey?

Tolu: My husband and my immediate family are my special gift from God. I am incredibly grateful for the gift of in-laws too. My father and mother-in-law were just so supportive; they were a shoulder to lean on—their care whenever they hear me down lifts up my soul. My husband stood by me all through. When I insisted on going for fertility tests, he declined but supported me afterwards since I told him it would give me peace.

Onome: How was your miracle birthed?

I had multiple urinary tract infection (UTI) in secondary school. It was left untreated until I got to the university. In my final year, I got involved in a running competition. I fell on my stomach, I began to bleed, and it was not properly treated because I visited a general doctor and not a gynaecologist.

 Less than 3years after, I got diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. It was treated early enough, a year after (2019) fibroid was detected, and in 2020, we began our fertility journey, went through all the processes, and it was fine.

I had to proceed to take a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which is meant to determine the potency of the fallopian tubes; before I continue, my HSG scan was torture. I went to heaven and came back o. Hsg was deadly for me. After the test was over, my husband told me that no more fertility test. He told me I was more important to him than a million kids.

Hmmm, after the test, I got the shocker of my life. I was told my two tubes were blocked, and the only solution was to go for In vitro fertilization (IVF).

It was a rude shock. My husband stood by me. He made sure we kept it within ourselves and built our faith. I started getting depressed. I cannot just count or express the support, but the truth remains that there are still good men.

I enrolled in a fashion academy about an hour 30mins from my location. My husband was willing to let me go for anything that will help me gain my sanity.

I enrolled in July. I got back home excited and very busy cutting clothes. I had my last period that same month.

It was indeed a miracle. It was the least expected. It is only God that can say how it was birthed. But in all, positively, prayer seeds were sown by different people, financial seeds were sown, faith was built, relationships were built too.

Onome: Wao!!! God is undoubtedly a miracle worker. What would you say is the biggest lesson you have learnt on this journey?

Tolu: The biggest lesson I learnt while waiting is to hold on to God, turn deaf ears to negativity, gain my complete sanity. In all, I am indeed grateful for the gift of motherhood. It is an opportunity I will forever cherish. The waiting is worth it when I sight my bundle of joy.

Onome: How did you feel after delivery?

Tolu:  Truth ehn, I wasn’t so conscious the first day. But after naming when I got stronger, even when he gets cranky at night and I want to get frustrated cos of sleepless nights, I just look at him and thank him for coming and thank God for the gift. Onome, sometimes, waiting helps you appreciate God the more.

 I won’t know when I will burst into singing or just begin thanking God for the baby. It’s not as if I don’t get weak because I have sleepless nights but remembering how much prayers, fasting, pains I just can’t help but thank God.

Onome: How did you handle the pressure?

Tolu: The main pressure I experienced was environmental pressure sha. God didn’t allow room for family pressure but seeing the status of people that just got married or someone talking to you about his or her kids, and all can be overwhelming. Though not negatively o, I tried not to give room for envy; that’s why I remind myself that everyone has their time.

Onome: What would you say to anyone waiting?

Tolu: I sincerely pray for everyone waiting that God gives you double for your trouble and link you with people with the right mind.

While waiting, seek medical attention (gynaecologist or fertility specialist), get busy, pray, pray, pray and pray, have a mind of your own because advice will come, speak out to people who are willing to hear and understand you.

Onome: Thank you for sharing your testimony Tolu.

Tolu: It’s a pleasure, and it’s a promise I made to God that if He blesses me, I will share the testimony, and so it’s a big honour doing this.

CONCLUSION

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 KJV.

Nothing is exciting about the process of waiting, it is demanding, and a lot of times, it is filled with tears. The beauty of waiting is when you get results. You forget about the pain when the answer comes.

I don’t know what you are trusting God for today but let Tolu’s testimony encourage that joy comes in the morning.

If you are friends or a family member to young women who just got married or are trying to conceive, please be sensitive with them and don’t put pressure on them. Children are the heritage of the lord, and parents should have them at the right time. Let’s encourage each other and shield our women from societal and environmental pressure.

Let Tolu’s testimony increase your faith because God is writing your story, and I know it will be a marvellous testimony.

I look forward to sharing your story.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

I love you.

Your friend and sister.

Onome.

See also: Tolu’s wedding interview

MY WORSHIP PLAYLIST

Worship is something I enjoy doing, especially when I’m not in the best mood. It always makes me feel like I just slapped the devil in his face. Worship is my therapy when I’m sad, and even when I’m happy, it gives me this peace and joy I can’t explain.

I remember worshipping and praying one day, and the Lord said to me, “Whatever happens, always find your way back here” that day, I felt new, and I felt loved. On this journey of faith, there is a lot the Lord is teaching me, and I’m always excited to share the lessons.

You can’t get it wrong in the place of worship. When it gets tough and you don’t know what to do, enter into the place of worship, submit to His will and watch how He comes through for you.

These past months some songs have spoken to me in ways I’ve never imagined. These songs are my go-to songs, and each time I worship, I have my faith strengthened and renewed.

The songs are:

  1. Nobody by Tim Godfrey ft Ntonzo Mbambo
  2. Jireh by Maverick city &Elevation Music ft Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine
  3. You’re Gonna get the glory by Tasha Cobbs
  4. One moment by Freke Umoh
  5. Hymn Medley by Maveric city ft Chandler Moore
  6. Victory belongs to Jesus by Ric Hassani ft Called out music and Frank Edwards
  7. Yah by Dunsin Oyekan
  8. I’ll be here
  9. Isaiah song by Maverick city ft Chandler Moore
  10. Olorun Agbaye by Nathaniel Bassey ft Chandler Moore and Oba

Click play and enjoy a time of worship

CONCLUSION

When listening to these songs, let your faith be activated, key into the messages and watch how Papa comes to dine with you. Oh, don’t forget to go into His presence with a pen and a jotter. He is always ready to talk to you.

You can download each song by clicking the download icon by the side of each song

I love you.

Your friend and sister,

Onome.

FIVE LESSONS I LEARNT IN MY FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE

Hey Fam,

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Yeah, it’s been a whole year I came to give you the news of getting married, and it’s been a journey. Honestly, nothing has stretched me like marriage. I have grown, learned a lot, and unlearnt some things, and I’m still growing on this journey.

I want to share with you quickly five major lessons I’ve learned in my first year.

YOUR MARRIAGE IS WHAT YOU CALL IT

When I was getting married, I heard different things from different people. Everybody has an opinion to give newlyweds, which I think is not bad but you have to sieve what you hear. Some people told me the first year would be the hardest, and others said it would be easy. The people who said it would be hard have their reasons, and honestly, I fed on those words, and I found myself always afraid of what’s going to happen.

When we had no conflict, I was scared because I felt the peace was never going last. It took me a while to deal with this fear. I want to urge you if you are about to get married, protect your heart and declare what you want. I think the first year is the learning year, but at the same time, it can be sweet. The question is, what do you want?

I AM NOT A SUPERWOMAN

Ouch! This truth hurts. I grew up doing everything by myself, and it’s the reason I broke down quickly. Marriage is a partnership, and that is the whole point. After we got married, I noticed I was doing too much. I had a full-time job, a blog to run, a podcast, and other commitments, so I got tired quickly. All I had to do was ask for help. When I started asking my husband to help with some things, I felt better. I know you have been raised to be a home keeper, but you can’t do it all by yourself. It’s okay to ask for help. I find it easier when I’m cooking, and my husband is keeping me company. It lightens my burden. Women, it is okay to ask for help! You are not a superwoman.

MEN AND WOMEN COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY

You will learn this in marriage counseling, but the real deal happens when you enter into marriage. The way you communicate is different from your partner. I’m the one who wants to bear it all out, but my husband, on the other hand, wants to spend some time thinking about it before he voices out, so I find out that I get angry when he doesn’t tell me things on time. We had a talk about it, and we came to a middle ground, marriage is communication. Don’t expect your partner to communicate the same way you do. If you are not okay with anything, talk about it. Giving your partner silent treatment is not a wise decision. Talk about it.

DON’T TRY TO CHANGE YOUR PARTNER

This was a lesson I had to learn. For a long time, I wanted my husband to do things in my way. Let me give you an example. I believe in doing things ASAP, I don’t like it when decisions are taking a long time, but my husband, on the other hand, takes his time. He spends time analyzing and calculating the risks involved. This act would annoy me, but I noticed that he doesn’t like it when I forced him to make decisions on my terms. I had to sit down and understand the differences. Your partner cannot be you, so don’t force them to be like you. If you married yourself life would be boring so celebrate the differences.

YOU NEED JESUS

If you don’t remember anything, please do not forget this lesson. You cannot run marriage without God. You need the Holy Spirit. Forget about the paparazzi married people display on social media. It takes the help of God to keep a good home. You are two different people from different backgrounds trying to build a life together, so there would be frictions. We have had fights this first year that I thought would last for weeks but what we realize is that by the time we are on day two, the HolySpirit is dealing with us individually, and by the end of day two, we are apologizing and promising to do better.

CONCLUSION

Marriage is beautiful, and I can tell you that it’s fun, but the real deal is getting it right. Being on this journey with my partner has been blissful, and I can tell you that the wait is worth it. There are still good marriages, and yours would not be an exception.

I look forward to sharing and celebrating your love story.

I love you.

Your friend and sister,

Onome

see also: Our zero naira wedding

LETTER TO HOPE

Dear Hope,

As a little girl, Mama gave me lectures and sermons about you. She taught me about how important you are in everyone’s life. She said you are the one people hold on to for survival a lot of times. She also added that you had two siblings called Faith and Love, she said Love was the eldest, but I needed all three of you to survive, I remembered that sermon, and it became my mantra.

Growth happened, and the little girl became a teenager, life came at me, and I was so scared, I was scared to trust you because humans failed me and I felt you would too, but you did fail me, I held on for so long, but nothing happened, they said it was going to be better, but it wasn’t. Life dealt with me, and you didn’t save me, so I let go of you and your siblings.

Throwing you away became my greatest regret, the minute I kicked you out your rival took charge of my life, I can’t remember asking him to, but he did, and it almost ruined me. Depression took over, all I thought of was death, and I didn’t even know what to do so I resolved to tears and pains, and I wished I didn’t run from you, nobody could save me.

Fear crippled my life, Uncle Faith’s rival, and life wasn’t just worth living anymore. Still, in the middle of all of these, your brother Love found me. He looked for me, did all he could to rescue me from hurting myself. He came in a different package, I was so stubborn, yet he was patient, he was so persistent yet gentle, and because depression was gradually killing me, I succumbed to love, and my life received a revival.

Hope, I’m sorry I kicked you out, but I need you, I know Love will never leave me, but I have to keep working on my relationship with you and Faith, but it’s incredible to see that once I can work on my relationship with Love, you and Faith will be so natural. How I love your family.

I know it’s not going to be easy, even as a grown-up lady I still get scared about tomorrow, I sometimes worry about getting things right, I still get nervous I will mess things up and frustrate Love. Yet, Love said there is nothing I can do to push him away. I cried when he said that, so does that mean I have you and Faith for the rest of my life? That is such a great relief.

Life is always going to push me, challenges will come my way, friends will disappoint me, I will fight with my man, my parents, and siblings will get on my nerves, but I will choose you and your siblings over and over again, I will walk in Love, embrace you and keep Faith.

Hope, if there is one lesson the year 2020 taught me is that I need you to survive, you were my succour throughout the year.

I will remember Mama’s lecture because I can’t live life without you. I can’t run my marriage without you because there will always be challenges there, I can’t run my job without you because my boss will still want more from me, I can’t run my relationship with my friends without you because there will be issues, but I hold on to you.

With you and your siblings, life is worth living, and we can go to bed knowing that today may be challenging, but tomorrow is certainly going to better.

Thank you for being a constant support and strength!

I love you so much, please give my warm regards to Faith and Love, tell them they mean a lot to me, and one of these days I will write a note to them too.

Your buddy,

 Onome

CONCLUSION

The year 2020 tested me on so many levels, there were days I cried like a baby, and there were days filled with laughter, but each season taught me growth, perseverance, and God’s Love. I don’t know what this year brought for you but look at you, God kept you, and you survived!

2021 will bring marvellous testimonies.

Thank you for your Love and support!

I love you so much.