Category Archives: marriage

WHY NOT YOU?

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I recently went through a situation that got me really sapped. The situation was compounded by that fact that I couldn’t place my hands on what the issue was until much later. I sought counsel with some people and they rose to help. To God’s glory, I overcame.

However, I couldn’t understand why I had to go through what I went through. More so, it wasn’t palatable in any way. Of course God saw my heart and heard my question, though not uttered.

Some weeks after, a lady walked up to me to seek audience with me over an issue she had been battling with. Because I couldn’t make out time to see her immediately due to other pre-scheduled appointments,  we both agreed to meet on a particular day. You can imagine my surprise when we eventually met and she began to narrate what she was dealing with. It was the same issues I had gone through. I couldn’t believe my ears. So this was part of the reasons why I went through all that I did? I counselled her and shared my experience with her. I told her how God helped me and brought me out stronger. Today, she is a lot more joyful than she was when we spoke.

As if that wasn’t enough, I was at a meeting with another lady just some days back. I had prepared what I wanted to discuss. But the lady, almost at the point of tears, suddenly blurted out and began to narrate what she had been going through for some weeks. Guess what? It was exactly what I had gone through. Whao! By God’s grace, I counselled and encouraged her to stay strong.

These two different episodes got me thinking. God knew these ladies would one day face this mountain and so had prepared a source of comfort and solution for them in me-by first taking me through the same. I began to see the purpose behind my pain and discomfort.

As humans, we don’t like challenges. We love our peace and don’t want to be ruffled. Unfortunately, life is not designed to work like that. Regardless of your lack of preparedness, challenges are going to crop up. We will have mountains to climb and rivers to cross. There will be issues to deal with and trials to overcome. Some of life’s situations can really grate your nerves or even leave you overwhelmed and ready to quit. We are sometimes pushed to the point where we find ourselves asking ‘But why me?’, ‘So, what have I done wrong?’

My purpose for this post is to help us see things from a changed perspective. Rather than feeling sad and pitiful, let us brace up and ask ‘Why not me?’ Rather than having a victim’s mentality, ask for the purpose behind your pain. Could it be that the liberation of millions of other people is tied to the problem you are currently facing and their hope hinged on the fact that if you could survive, then they will. You know it is not impossible that your story which is being woven with the fabric of that ugly situation you are presently fighting to overcome is the only reason why some guy somewhere will refuse to commit suicide. That is how life works, so don’t waste your pain or develop a sour attitude because of your troubles.

As I have discovered first hand, going through a tough time is demanding enough, but when you lace it with a negative attitude, it becomes unbearable. Aside from that, you become so blinded by the situation that you are in no shape or frame of mind to help others which is a major purpose of life.

So, the next time life throws one of its heavyweight problems at you, brace up and ask, WHY NOT ME? Let the joy of the many others who will be set free through your experience fuel your desire to overcome and stand tall at the end of it all.
Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

 

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PROTECT YOURSELF

Protect Yourself

About 9 months after my husband moved out of the house, he had a meeting with my family members. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that two other meetings be fixed with me in attendance. One would be at my sister’s while the second would hold at his brother’s. The one at my sister’s place held and my husband was asked again why he thought separation/divorce was the way out. He gave his reasons and I must say I was shocked. His words were so hurtful and so painful that for two days I couldn’t sleep. Worse still, the elderly people in attendance at the meeting did not give me the opportunity to say anything!

By the time I assessed my emotional state, I knew I was in no state to hold another meeting and so when he called some days after to discuss the meeting at his brother’s I had to decline. I knew I didn’t have any inner strength to either sit and listen to those hurtful words again or defend myself, even if I was given the opportunity. I just wasn’t interested anymore. My sanity was all that was paramount on my mind. There was a lot of pressure mounted on me so as to get me to attend the meeting but I politely declined and stood my ground.

Now I did this not because I was being obstinate or opposed to reconciliation. Rather I did it because I knew I had to protect my peace and sanity. I had to take responsibility for my emotional state. My emotions had been badgered over a period of time and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was my duty to take care of myself whether people understood or not.

In the part of the world where I come from,  whenever issues arise in a relationship especially marriage, many moves are made by family members and well wishers towards reconciliation. There would be meetings and deliberation sessions. The simple truth is these meetings take their toll on the emotions. So, while I am in support of attending  please also pay attention to your emotional well-being. It is your responsibility. Going through separation or divorce is bad enough. When you add the burden of showing up at different meetings, it can become a bit unbearable.

I know an average person desires reconciliation,  but don’t expose yourself to any situation that is toxic to your emotional or mental state. Don’t sit through meetings where your self-worth would further be questioned. Don’t spend the rest of your life holding conversations that will leave you emotionally drained. Remember that whether you succeed at reconciliation or not, you still have a life to live. With the days ahead, you need to be strong emotionally and mentally.
Also, don’t forget that it is your life and no one will protect you if you don’t. Know what you can cope with mentally.  If you don’t feel up to a meeting or discussion,  politely decline and ask for a reschedule where possible. If you stay peaceful and maintain your peace, there is nothing God cannot do.

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

PRIVACY OF THOUGHTS

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The security of lives and the privacy of thoughts go hand in hand. Some lives are over-exposed.’ Pastor Poju Oyemade via Facebook.

One of the things that escalated the issues in my marriage was because I confided in someone who I thought was a friend only for me to start getting winds of her involvement with my then husband. We were praying and meeting together to discuss business and life generally. But because she knew there was already a crack in the marriage, she capitalised on that. Yes, things were not too rosy, but with her in the picture, they just got messier.

Now, the big lesson God taught me as He began to unveil the reasons for the myraid of issues I was having then is that the only information the enemy or people in general can use against you is the one you give to them. So, how about if we all just learn to maintain privacy of thoughts. Don’t over-expose the cracks in your life lest the serpent creeps in stealthily.

I am not talking about putting up a front and pretending that you have life together when you actually don’t. Rather I am talking about applying discretion when it comes to sharing personal issues, especially when it has to do with your marriage. Not all your friends need to know what is going on in your home, your next big idea or how much you get as house allowance.

If you want your life to be secured, then maintain privacy of thoughts!

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

PURSUE GOD!!!

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There is a part of us as humans that longs to be accepted. For years, I made several efforts to get my husband to accept me. I wanted him to communicate to me that I was special. Aside from that, I also wanted him to be happy being my husband. But it didn’t happen. I would ask for his opinion periodically on how we were fairing. I wanted to see changes and looked forward to positive feedbacks. Unfortunately, the few that I got weren’t so encouraging. It felt like, there was nothing that could be done about our relationship.

I shared my frustration with a very dear friend and sister. She looked me in the eye and said ‘Chase God!’ She went ahead to explain that people who chase God will eventually have men and women desiring their audience. Hmmm…! I decided to heed her counsel and learnt to face God squarely. Not that I didn’t have a close walk with God before my friend’s advice, but knowing what she had also been through and how soaking herself in God had helped her, I decided to pursue God much more than ever before. I learnt how to befriend Him by spending more time with him in worship, the word and prayers. I learnt how to pour my heart to him. I am not talking about getting busier with more church activities. Rather I am talking about learning to love and desire God more.

Of course this did not eradicate the loneliness but I had more joy and peace. I discovered how to be joyful without waiting for my husband’s appraisal of the marriage. I also learnt I didn’t have to wait for things to be perfect to have peace.

I did not realise the power of being a God chaser until my husband left the marriage. Yes, I was hurt and felt bad, but I wasn’t devastated. I did not become a wreck. God provided a padded landing place for me making it easy for me to absorb the shock of the whole event. What was meant to crash and crush me became a walk over because God had helped me to build and gather strength in His presence. Each time I share what had happened with people, they are always shocked and would say “You are a strong woman”. But I have enough common sense to know that I don’t have any strength of my own. God has been and still is my strength.

It’s been almost 3 years now since I returned to an empty flat after my trip, yet God has kept me going. Looking back, I am so glad for the time spent with Him, even in the midst of pain and loneliness. God has made it all count for my good.

I know as women and humans in general, we want to be loved and accepted. We want to be that special somebody in someone’s life. But I have also realised first hand that it may not happen this way. So perhaps you are going through some form of rejection-from your husband, wife or a friend. Or you are frustrated with your marriage because it has become a constant source of pain, may I offer you the same counsel I was given then: CHASE GOD! Chase Him with every fibre of your being. Not only will He not reject you, He will also equip you with the strength to deal with whatever comes your way. With Him, you may be lonely, but you are definitely not alone!

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pain!

OF THINGS AND YOU…

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One of the hard lessons I have learnt in the course of separation is that things don’t make a man or woman as the case may be. Things are things while you are you. I know a lot of us grew up accustomed to a certain lifestyle and often derive our self worth from our possessions. So whenever anything tampers with the things we own, it tends to affect our personal assessment of ourselves.

Now getting personal, I was already accustomed to a certain comfortable standard of living. Based on agreement, my husband and I sold our old car and bought a new one which we shared. We lived in a decent area in Lagos state, Nigeria. Though we were not the summer vacation type, we travelled as the need arose or whenever the opportunity showed up. All of these changed with the separation because my husband took the car. I had to change accommodation so as to get away from the prying eyes around. And because I needed time to stabilise financially I couldn’t afford to take a vacation outside of Nigeria for a while. Did all of these situations try to redefine me? You bet they did. For one, I couldn’t imagine my life without a car! How was I to attend meetings with clients, move around etc? It was as if my brain shut down. I felt incomplete without a car. Oh! And the accommodation. Although the flat I got was quite expensive, the environment was nothing like where I was coming from. People who know me know that I do not like crowded areas. But here I was in this busy part of Lagos. As for travelling, each time I picked my passport and saw my unused visa, my heart would always ache. This continued until I started having a better understanding of who I really am.

Over time, God helped me to separate my identity from my possessions. He made me see that with or without a car, I am who I am. The presence of a car doesn’t add to me and so the absence shouldn’t subtract from me. Also, I learnt that the area where I stay does not define me because I am already who I am. Ah! These were tough lessons for me I must confess, but embracing them freed me from the pressure. I stopped feeling ashamed or less than others simply because I didn’t have a car. I also stopped feeling bad about my location or my inability to travel as frequently as I used to before the separation.

Daily, I am learning to see myself as I really I am and not through the eyes of my ‘haves and have nots.’ When I look at myself today, what I see is a strong, resourceful, determined, beautiful woman. I see a fighter and a winner. I see a woman with potentials. I see a change agent, who has been healed so as to help others experience healing. I have desires and aspirations quite alright and love to enjoy the good things of life, yet I have enough insight today to know that I am not my possessions, neither am I my achievements or location. Things are things and I am me. And that for me suffices.

Are there things you have lost due to one problem or the other? Are you experiencing a drop in the level of comfort you are used to? Have you been stripped of everything you once had and enjoyed? Whatever the case, don’t loose yourself. You are all that matters. Things don’t make a man. So, keep yourself and stay at peace. Restoration is on the way and I mean it!

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pains

 

When the only way forward is behind…

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 As part of my commitment to professional and personal development, I decided to register for a professional exam. If my memory doesn’t fail me, the last time I sat for one of the stages of this exam was eleven years ago. Yes, you read me right, eleven years.

After making this decision, I started feeling awkward because I felt like it had been such a long time. Why did I not complete the exams then? But then, I also reminded myself that what is important is to go ahead and just do it, regardless of my feelings.

As if that was not enough, I had to go through the gruelling process of having my old registration and past exam documents dug out amidst loud gum-chewing employees of the professional body in question. This process took hours and repeated visits but I had to bear it. More so, there was no way I would be allowed to proceed with registering for and writing the exams unless all these past documents were found as a way of validating my membership and how to proceed. It was a perfect case of looking backwards to move forward.

This got me thinking. I remember clearly that one word/advise that people repeatedly gave me after the separation was to move on with my life. Good piece of advice I must tell you. Life is not static so why should you be? I have however found out that sometimes to really move forward, we might have to pay the past a visit-like I am doing right now.

Now, I know that many people do not like to deal with the past for the following reasons:

– it makes them feel uncomfortable: when you decide to face the past momentarily, you will be confronted with facts that you would rather just close your eyes to. My advice? Open your eyes and deal with the ‘dealables’. You are setting yourself free to embrace the future.

-it makes them feel awkward: enrolling for an exam that my colleagues had concluded on years ago made me feel somehow. But I put feelings aside so I could deal with life

-it takes too much time: I had to wait for hours for my old documents to be fished out and also make several visits to the office of the organisation in charge of the exam. Not too palatable if you ask me, but absolutely necessary.

-it reminds us of what could have been: only God knows how far I would have progressed professionally if I had gone ahead to write all the stages of the professional exam when I started. All the same, I also realised that I have the opportunity of creating my future so that I won’t have to deal with this type of regret again.

This list can go on and on but the point still is, the clue to the future can sometimes be found in the past.

Personally, I am at a point where I want to take my business to the next level and also position it for bigger opportunities. After a lot of praying(yes I do pray!) and thinking, sitting for this exam is one of the many steps to take. So I have a decision to make: go ahead with it and see the business attract bigger clients and grow or forgo it and stay on the same level. It was totally up to me.

So, are there unresolved issues in the past that only facing and dealing with is the way out? Then by all means, go ahead and do so. Could it be that the past holds the key to your deepest dreams and aspirations? It is time to step back then, so you can really step forward. Perhaps, your life is littered with abandoned or half-done projects, ventures and all. Go back and get them done. That is moving forward!

As I was in the process of getting the exam registration sorted, on a number of occasions the thought of forgetting about the whole thing popped up in my mind. But each time it did, I felt stuck, stagnant and limited. On the other hand, each time I told myself I was going ahead no matter what, I felt like I was making progress and my life was going in the right direction. The decision alone filled me with peace so I can imagine my ecstasy when I eventually write the exam and emerge the best graduating student in my set/class(that is part of my dream and promise to myself). I don’t need a soothsayer to confirm that I was doing the right thing.

I know we live in an age where we want everything smooth and quick. So many of us do not like to experience any form of delay, so asking you to go back to the past sounds distasteful to you. But my advice is, if that is the key to living the kind of life you desire, if it is the key to being happy, then by all means, step back so that you can experience real progress.

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pains!

 

 

HURT TO HEAL

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Hurting people hurt others, isn’t it? When you have been treated badly and hurt by people you love or loved so dearly (and maybe who also loved you at one point or the other), the tendency to go through life lashing back at people-even without knowing it is so high. You might not really mean to, but you find yourself reacting to people-including the ones who are trying to show you love, out of the abundance of your pains. It is so easy to feel helpless in this situation.

From my personal experiences, I have however found that our pains can serve a higher purpose than using them as an excuse to hurt everyone that comes our way. We can use it as the motivation to step out and help others so they won’t have to go through what we have. And if they must, we can aid and guide them as they do, so that they are informed and prepared for whatever life throws at them.

I have purposed not to empower my pains and the wrongs done to me by allowing them to bend me out of shape. They won’t become my reason for having a sour attitude to life and infecting others with same.

From where I stand, I can see that I have been hurt so I can heal, rejected so I can love and despised so I can embrace many others who will one day walk in my shoes. That is the purpose of my pains.

Whatever hurts or pain you are dealing with today, you can either empower it and become enslaved to it…or you can let it propel you to reach out to others. The choice is not only yours to make, but ultimately to live with…

Pearl …helping you find the gains in your pain.

 

CREATING YOUR OWN HAPPINESS

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For most women going through separation, or who are divorced or widowed, keeping body and soul together or making ends meet can be a big challenge. With mouths to feed and bills to pay, making money sometimes becomes a major focus. In cases where the woman was totally dependent on the man financially it can be really tough as she is now left to fend for herself (and the children as the case may be.) This is further worsened by the Nigerian legal system which does not really mandate the man to do anything for the woman in the case of separation or divorce

The first few year after separation was a bit rough financially for me. Yes, I had and still have a business, but I had never had to depend solely on it. Before marriage I had a job and was living with my sister so I was already used to getting one form of support or the other. But with the separation everything changed. And because I knew I couldn’t afford to fail and was to dignified to beg, I threw myself fully into the business. I began to do business as business. I gave every brief that came my best shot. I was determined to cross this hurdle and be as comfortable as possible. Over the years, things began to ease out financially. However I had grown accustomed to working with my teeth clenched and had no social life at all. My itinerary was office, church/fellowship, visits to family and few friends. Before I knew what was happening, I started having a deep sense of sadness in my soul. I couldn’t place it. Yes, I was going through separation, but I had made progress emotionally. It took a while to realise what the problem was. I was sad because I had no time to have fun and catch my breath. I wasn’t doing things that would make me laugh. In short, I wasn’t feeding my positive emotions.

I decided to make adjustments. I began to recollect the things that I loved to do and that brought me joy such as watching cartoons (especially Tom and Jerry), reading Christian fictions, going out with friends to eat or just chat. I started to incorporate these things into my life. I invested in Tom and Jerry collections and I must tell you I always have a good laugh each time I watch. I also bought and borrowed Tyler Perry’s Madea collections and create time to watch. I have also gone back to reading Christian fictions and once in a while, I go out with friends. Today, my soul is lifted and there is sunshine again. This experience has since taught me the importance of living a balanced life As much as I have to work hard, I also have to ensure that my joy tank is full. Yes, I have bills to pay and demands to meet, but not at the expense of life, because as I have recently discovered, JOY ITSELF IS LIFE!

So here is my advice, work hard and give it your best shot. But also don’t forget to create your own happiness-daily. Don’t just make a living, have a life. Deliberately do things that make you happy. Have fun, throw your head back and laugh. Feed your positive emotions and create joyful memories.

For the woman out there who has no support and must make ends meet, I feel you, seriously I do. But always remember that you still have a life beyond paying bills. Work hard but play hard and be joyful as well!

Pearl

…helping you find the gains in your pains.

 

Dont stay there!

 

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Over this Christmas by God’s grace, myself and a couple of other women will be having lunch at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos Nigeria. I am actually looking forward to this outing. What’s the big deal you might ask? Well, when you consider that we are all women who have had our fair share of low self esteem, self doubt, emotional abuse, rejection, separation and all the works that accompany a bad relationship or a sour marriage, then, you will realise why the outing is special to us. When you also consider that some of us have battled financial setbacks at one point in time or the other-and maybe still learning how to truly make ends meet, then you’ll appreciate the fact that going to Sheraton just to have a great ‘me-time’ is a quantum leap for us.

Yes life has dealt us the wrong hand, but we have decided not to turn that into an eternal sore. Yes, we know when you are separated, you are expected to struggle financially forever, but we beg to differ. I know we aren’t expected to really want any extraordinarily good thing in life-like spending some thousands of Naira on a meal, but we decided to step out of the mould. We choose not to live up to anyone’s expectations except the ones dictated to us by our hearts. We were left at a level and are expected to conduct ourselves in certain ways, but we have made our rules according to what we deem fit and proper for us.

Hmm…when you are separated or divorced, I know all about the pitying looks (which I actually detest). I know how people feel so concerned for you. But I have decided to be an odd one out. I have chosen to be most enviable. I know I am expected to live in squalor, but I have decided to reach for things beyond my limit knowing that they aren’t out of God’s reach. I have purposed to attempt the unthinkable, dare the unimaginable and live an unbelievably rich and juicy life. I refuse to be defined by an event or the actions of a man! I shall be happy! I shall be joyful! I shall live and not just exist! Whaoooo…..

So, who left you? A friend, a spouse, a lover? Trust me, they expect to meet you where you were when they took off. Will you let them? Come on, get up! The world beckons! Take a journey of joy. Embrace delight all the way. Live each day purposefully. Do things you never thought you could. Maybe one day, you will run into those who left you in places they never thought you could be found-1st class cabin on a business trip, at a 5 star hotel having lunch with friends, in Havard enrolling for your MBA. It’s all possible, but only if you get up today-first within, then without! Come on…life awaits!

Pearl.

…helping you find the gains in your pain Continue reading Dont stay there!