I decided to start on my blog while I am sitting and waiting to board the plane to Addis Ababa and I am a mess right now. I just said goodbye to mummy(Patrice Miles) and it feels like she is coming back to pick me up, we all know that is not happening.
30 Hours Later!!!
I want to say a huge Thank you to all those who were and are praying for me because I felt your prayers. A week to leaving Nigeria, I had a lot going on up in my head, I had never been on a plane before and my first time would be flying all the way to America with three connecting flights. I was scared and anxious that I was somehow going to miss one of my connecting flights and get stuck at someplace( I know!! now that I am typing this it sounds stupid). It took us five hours to get to Addis Ababa then seven Hours to get to Dublin where we had to refuel and another long seven hours to Washington, where I went through customs and I got on another plane that took me to Philadelphia where the Harrars( the family I am living with was there to pick me up). Through it all I was calm, collected and did not get lost, not even once, all because you guys were praying for me. Thank you!!
Now I am currently in my precious room typing away!! So thankful to the Harrars that help set it all up especially Sam and Lydia, with them guiding me I feel I will be more prepared for my life in America.
My precious room!!
Painting done by cute Sam and Lydia!
I want to say Thank you again to all those who made this happen by prayers, donations, words of encouragement and so much more. Thank you and God bless!!
Mondays and Wednesdays look the same in my schedule, they are filled with most of my classes, so it’s common for my friends to see me bounding from one class to the next. One of these is my PHE class that is structured around four major sports; Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer and Softball. We are supposed to dabble into all four throughout the course of the semester, and we currently just wrapped up volleyball today.
I will admit, I do not necessarily classify myself as an athletic person, asides from running, I am not too intrigued by sports in general. We started the class with Basketball, although I was not good, I still made shots and was able to dribble and defend. However, when we launched into Volleyball, I was faced with old, uncomfortable, and frustrating emotions.
You guys, I suck at Volleyball. Not the-‘oh with practice she’ll get better’ kind, but the ‘oh my goodness pathetic!’ kind. I cannot even hit the ball right. Every time the ball heads towards me I panic and do whatever jargon my hands tend to do when hitting the ball. At first it was funny to me because I cannot remember the last time I failed at something with such intensity. However, as time progressed, my competitive streak reared its head and anxiety along with frustration rose with it.
This might appear trivial but if you understand my personality and what my cognitive processing looks like, you would know that whatever I do has to be my best with an evidence of success, or nothing at all (I know I know, thats not an ideal approach). I am frustrated because of how helpless and useless I am to my team. An interesting character on the opposing team also did not help my frustration. She had a condescending voice and you can literally hear the hysteria in her voice whenever her team was losing. Today was bad, I could hear the scratchy lilt to her voice, as she provided false and dubious encouragements. I scowled at her and I have not had the urge to smack someone that strong ever since I read the Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. This shocked me and snapped me out of whatever high I was on.
I say this all the time- ‘Its a process, it’ll take a while’. I don’t think I will ever fully comprehend the intensity of that statement. I told myself today- ‘I thought you were done with this attitude Titi, throwing tantrums when things don’t go how you planned it is not going to change the direction of the circumstance’. I will tell you one thing, I wasn’t proud of myself this afternoon.
There are many instances in my life that God has continually taught me to not expect things to go according to my human plans, especially with decisions that will have significant impact on the course of my life. He shows me all the time that He is sovereign and will not do things my way because I think it’s better. The truth is I don’t know the best way to do things, God does and He never fails even when I do. Even with this understanding, I am still here. To apply this sounds simple but we all know that it is not, it’s a process and it will take a while. I just want to remind you all; when people don’t change, when we don’t change, when circumstances don’t change, and when results don’t change remember that it’s a process and it’ll take a while.
I wish I could tell you that I have moved to the next part of the process, or that I learnt from my many experiences. Deep down I’m still thinking-‘at least it’s soccer we’re tackling next, things will go my way a little’. (Insert face palm). It’s a process and it will take a while.
Its slithering tentacles slowly wrapping itself around the last of my resolve. It’s hard to open my eyes, it’s dark in here.
My heart is racing, pumping useless adrenaline through my body, increasing my crippling anxiety. The part of me that is of the darkness fights the light and I struggle as I will not give in to the darkness.
But for how long? How long before the shadows seep into my unconscious self? How long before I lose myself?
Why is this so hard? Why can’t the whole of me desire the light? I need it, this light.
Of what use are my desires anyways? They sing to the messengers of the dark like a siren’s song craving destruction, seeking to drag me to my demise and away from whom I have only ever bared my soul to.
He who showed me what it means to love, the one who I engaged with in pure love. I want it, this light.
The one that completes me, the dregs of my being cry out for him and his light. My nothingness cries out for his fulfillment, my heart longs for moments not clouded with sin.
My will falls apart everyday, it’s harder to build it back up. I crave it, this light from my savior.
Is our choice between life and death, a blessing or curse? My dejected self longs for destruction, my flesh is the epitome of foolishness as it continues to crave misery. It is a constant battle, draining and exhausting.
Yet I will keep fighting to see and live in his light, this light will permeate through the darkness of my heart.
Ara mi gbōn, okan mi gbògbé, iye mi wuwó! sugbon otí mumi larada!
(My body is weak, my heart bleeds, my mind is heavy but you have saved me!)
Fear not, my dejected self, if only you would completely surrender. For the thick and deep shadows fail to stop his light from shining through.
One day! One day! He will come back and we will forever be free from this growing weight.
It is a testimony, It is your testimony, embrace it for He embraces you- the whole of you.
Remember when I was excited to move in back to school? Well that excitement only lasted two days! Now I am just tired and school hasn’t even started yet, I am seriously laughing at myself right now. The craziness is yet to begin!
If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I was a commuter last year. I lived with the wonderful Harrars who were missionaries in Nigeria for a year. I met them while they were in Nigeria and they were graceful enough to let me stay with them for a whole year! How awesome is that? Their family really played a big part in my transition into a different culture, of which I’ll always be thankful for.
Well, I moved into the dorms at LBC two weeks ago and it has been very interesting! I have been overwhelmed by different training sessions and I’ve had to push myself further than I have in the past five years. All in the period of two weeks! If you know me, you’ll know just how weird and anxious I am around people I do not know, or how much I prefer keeping to myself. Let’s just say that now I understand why God prompted me to apply for the RA position.
I know some people were surprised when they heard that I wanted to be an RA because of my anxiety with new situations. The truth is that I love to guide, mentor, listen and take care of others. I thrive in situations like this and that is why I wanted to be an RA.
This weekend is when everyone moves in and school starts on Monday. I already met the Freshmen moving into my section and it’s being wonderful so far. Please pray for me, my team, and my girls that we can continue to care for each other. Even when there are misunderstandings that we would choose to let Jesus shine through us.
“Why do you love to stay up so late?” I prefer not going to bed early because I would rather experience the calmness at night than waste it by sleeping. At night when everyone else is sleeping, it is calm inside and it is calm outside and I can finally let out the breath I do not always realize I am holding onto all day long. It does sound ridiculous if you like to go to bed before twelve, or maybe it sounds like a luxury if unlike me you have a lot to do during the day and cannot keep your eyes open at night.
Another reason would probably be that I cannot stop thinking…for the life of me I can not get my brain to shut up, ever! At school I am using my brain a lot day and night, because my brain is tasked with a lot of things. However, in the absence of school my thoughts whirl around in a seemingly endless cycle. And so I read books…again and again. If you ever wondered why I am obsessed with books? Well, there you go!
It is my birthday today, July 16th and I will be going back to Lancaster in four weeks, Ahhh! I have to resume early because I am going to be an RA next semester. I am excited to start another semester, another beginning. That excitement will probably wear of the first week of resumption but lets hold on to it for now. It has been a long break and I enjoyed it a lot. I got to spend time with the people I care about and I met new people I have started to hold close to my heart. I have also experienced a wide range of emotions during the break, more so than before. I feel excitement of which I already talked about, I also feel anxious which is normal because I start another school year with two jobs. I feel grateful because I received new scholarships but I also feel worry and fear because I still have a lot of tuition money to raise. I am scared but I have had time to talk to God and he has reminded me of who He is and that he is in control. I feel blessed because of the people God has given to me, how they have continued to support me without growing weary. I want to say thank you to everyone for not giving up, you don’t understand how much it means to me.
If you are reading this, I need your help in one of three ways. This would be a wonderful birthday present too. After scholarships and donations I still owe $8,530 for my tuition. This covers the entire year 2019/2020.
PRAY for me as I raise funds for this next school year. Pray for those that God would spur to come alongside me this next year. Pray for my stress level during the school year too.
SHARE about me on social media and or to your family and friends. Would you consider putting this link https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/scholarship on your social media page and asking everyone you know to consider donating, You could also do your own fundraiser and C.A.R.E. Africa can set up your own personal fundraising page that you can share with everyone you know. Just message me and I can set it up.
Thank you so much for helping make my birthday extra special this year in the U.S.A.
That’s right! By God’s grace I completed my first year of college. I was going to celebrate by dancing and posting a short version of it here, but who am I kidding? I was so busy at the end of the semester that it felt like I was having an out of body experience, observing myself from afar and wondering how much I could bear. Well, I found that I do accomplish things even while stressed but I do so while functioning basically like a zombie, just like everybody else! I already gave an update on how I survived my first semester of college;) So, this is an update on the second semester. I took eighteen credits this last semester and the reason is because my department, Counseling and Social Work, requires a certain number of credits to graduate which is slightly above the usual number. I realized that if I do not take as much classes as I can in my first two years, I might end up having to take above fifteen credits my last two years. So, I do not want to do that to myself:)
My classes were pretty interesting and as usual I’ll start with my favorite. OT II is a term for the divided portion of the Old Testament that ranges from Joshua to the post-exilic period. Dr. Carver is absolutely intelligent! I love his wide chasm of knowledge. He is blatantly honest and he gives satisfying answers to all my questions. Somedays he would even answer the questions in my heart and I am thankful that God used him to start questions in my head, or to clarify confusing issues that I struggled with. Its not a surprise that I ended with an A in that one.
My next one would be Child Welfare. This class dealt with the wide range of fostering, adoptions, protective services and so on. I loved it, it gave me a glimpse of what life as a Social Worker would probably look like. It provoked questions like- do I want to pursue a career in Child Welfare, or do I have enough courage to diligently pursue my major. I’m glad I was able to be in that class with Dr. Miller, who happens to be my academic advisor. Calling him Dr. Miller feels weird since we all just call him Kurt. He does not accept lukewarmness and has such high expectations from his students. I ended with an A- on this one, not because of anything peculiar. It’s just because my APA writing technique is still at amateur but I am getting there. My major requires me to be a very good writer, especially in APA.
The beginning of the semester started with me hating on Literature but guess what happened at the middle of the semester, I fell in love with it. I think the reason was because I realized that it gave me an opportunity to present my opinions in such a subtle way that it is assumed that I am addressing the general public. I am very opinionated, I love it and sometimes I hate it.However, that opinionated side of me loves writing:) I especially loved my final paper because I got to explore that side of me really well. Its an A- on this one, cheers to that. I’m even grateful I was able to end up with an A-, it wasn’t looking that great at the middle of the semester. Oh, it was wonderful Professor Churchville who molded me on this one.
Woah! Woah! Dr. Chakara, I know you are intelligent and all but give the rest of us a break, hmm? So this guy dragged Sandy and I through some some tough spots this semester. I love Psychology, I was going to study just that before I realized that my purpose was in a different direction, I might still find my way to it though;) However, this dude is some neuropsychology genius, my problem with him is that he does not understand that not all of us are as gifted as he is. BUT, I kid you not, I do not know how I ended with an A. I was so sure I was going to have a B+ because the end of the semester was looking so bleak. Maybe its because I got a good start, nevertheless I am not complaining;)
Another good one is cultural diversity, oh I love Dr. Dinse! She is amazing and I was able to get a whopping A. If you are a social worker it is disastrous to be culturally incompetent. So it was compulsory for me to take that class and I am glad I did, I only wish everybody would too. We had real amazing conversations in that class, conversations that are termed as uncomfortable and thereby avoided or crucified if brought up in some parts of the society. Dr. Dinse did an amazing job of explaining and being honest about her research on different cultures and the people. The last class would be Biblical Hermeneutics. Dr. Nichols is amazing and so I cannot really point to what’s wrong, I don’t even know what it is. Even though I also got an A in the class it still cannot compare to my OT II with Dr. Carver.
That’s it for the last semester of my first year in college. I am spending my summer with the Miles and I am currently with them. Ah! I missed them so much, especially precious mummy (Patrice Miles). I also miss my family in Nigeria too, I still can’t talk about my mother because I miss her so much it hurts and I am scared that if I start talking, I’ll burst into tears and never shut up:) I am getting there y’all, I just take a little longer than most people. I do have a prayer and a praise. After one year of getting used to school here, I start working next semester. I currently have two jobs secured by the wonderful grace of God, the first is the position of an RA and the second is as a writing mentor at the writing center at my school. Since I will be living on campus as from next semester because of my position as an RA, this would be a new territory for me. My awkward self will have to adjust again and also proceed to grow, this is good but we all know that growth can be very painful. God is working here, just prayers that I would submit and go with his flow.
Thank you all so much for supporting me, even if it is just by reading my blogs, I am very grateful. God bless you all!
When someone says ‘beautiful!’, our brains are wired to think of something perfect and flawless. My definition of beautiful these days is really different from the popular definition. Imperfections, weaknesses, vulnerability, struggles, mistakes and resilience now mean ‘beautiful’ to me. Life is beautiful! Although sometimes I wonder, if life is really beautiful why do I need to repeat this phrase to myself like a mantra?
I do, we all do. We are humans, we tend to drift off all the time. We get caught up in our struggles and we forget to appreciate the mundane things, we forget to appreciate God. I would know because I am especially guilty of this…. Beloved people, I am just going to give you a recap of school so far. Since in just two months I will be through with my first year in college…crazy, I know right?
Last semester I took sixteen credits, which equals five courses. I loved almost every single one. I’ll start with my favorite;) Intro to Social Work is a great course, this course would put my mind to rest every time I had doubts about my major. Professor Yager was wonderful and did a good job in introducing us to the broad field of Social Work. Not surprising I ended up with an A in that one…wink wink.
The next favorite is Engaging Faith and Life, this is one of the mandated Bible classes we all have to take at LBC. I am sure glad it is required, Doc Ayers is absolutely a wonderful person (I could cry with appreciation), I am so glad I ended up in his section. This course is mainly about the application of the word of God in our lives and circumstances, boy I loved that class. As a result of how wonderful Doc. really is, I was able to get an A in this course too.
This next one is not really a favorite, but Professor Klopp (you are NOT allowed to laugh at this name) did a great job. So in her honor, College Composition and Research comes third in the list. Just like its name, the course is really about writing and how to do effective research on whatever it is you are planning to write about. I don’t really like following rules in writing so I struggled with that course. How I ended up with an A is a miracle, I am not kidding. We always had SOMETHING to write about hmmph!
This one is Public Speaking, not really much to it. Just like its name we have to come up with something impressive every two week for Professor Toews. We had different categories available to us, and so every two weeks we had to stand in front of the class with an impressive speech. I almost had an heart attack every time it was my turn…wheww! My friends don’t believe that I do get nervous every time, apparently I look confident up there (rolling my eyes right now). Professor Toews graced me with a whopping A.. lol
This one, Lord have mercy. Prelude to Biblical Studies is another mandated Bible class. Although I really learned a lot from it, I’ll grudgingly agree to that. Prof. Kim though, woah! My professor has a weird way of teaching, dude will just take points of your paper without telling you what you are doing wrong. I bet he grudgingly awarded me the A- I ended up with. All things being equal Prof. Kim is good, just weird.
Its almost mid-term of the second semester, and its passing by. I am taking eighteen credits this time, which equals six courses. I will let you know how everything turns out soon, but you bet I’ll have a lot of complaints. If I have this much and its just mid-term, imagine the end of the semester (smirk). I will also have a lot of praises too;)
LOL…the Queen I am..
Old picture, Jolie!!
Thank you all for sticking close to me, I really appreciate everyone’s effort. Thank you and God bless you all, enjoy my random pictures. Peace y’all!
I came across this piece of writing a few days ago in a small notebook, I apparently jotted down my prayer to God the beginning of last year. I would just say that the stage I was then, is the truth. I have definitely come a long way since then, understood a lot more. But, here goes…
I literally have no life outside Jesus, he holds me together through it all. I definitely did not have it together before I knew Him. I would handle everything badly, break my relationships with people all the time. I would hurt people over and over again because I did not have any idea how to do better. I still hurt people but at least now I can say sorry, stick to my word, and try not to do it again. I am scared to live fully surrendered to God, because I am afraid it will kill me. I am not letting it all go because I have at the back of my mind the fear of disappointment.
I am scared and afraid of trusting Him, because I am worried He will take me to where I will never recover. I have been hiding pieces of my heart from God because I doubt he will be a good father. Even after accepting Him, I still go ahead and do things on my own. In the process of not trusting Him fully and not allowing myself to heal, I could not see the beauty of His word.
God, I don’t know how to do this better than just opening up to you. Truth is; I suck, always will. Thank you for your son though, at least through Him I can be better. I could go on and on and make excuses about why I did not open up to you before, why I always question your decisions because I feel you should handle situations differently, but I won’t. I am sorry Jesus, I am so so sorry.
Help me, because I have no idea what I am doing or where you are taking me. But Spirit lead me to where my faith would be stronger, where my trust is deeper than my feet could ever wander. Let me walk upon the waters where you would call me. Help me to stop doubting your capability in taking care of my life and every situation there is. I am no longer calling on God because He is the only one I have, but because I want to. He is the only one who loves, understands and completely saves.
Is anyone else surprised that I am currently where my feet would never have wandered on their own? I’m not. I can safely say that the phase I was then brought me closer to Christ and I am thankful. Is it not wonderful that we have a God that transcends our world and is willing to listen to us? I think it is beautiful that God wants us to be open to Him, and call out to Him. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
The truth is, this is my life as a Christian. To be a Christian is to walk with Christ, now that path has never been easy and it will not be easy. But I do not think that Christ has called us to live easy lives. Peace y’all!
It is hard for people to believe in miracles these days. Humans no longer walk on water, the Red sea doesn’t need to be parted into two again because you can always just book a ticket and fly across the sea. Even some Christians are skeptical of miracles these days, mainly when it cannot be explained by science. Love is a miracle though, it cannot be fully explained by science and it is absolutely beautiful.
Most of my generation have misinterpreted the meaning of love, absolutely reconstructed the meaning that only a few will recognize it. Mostly we search for how another person makes us feel, how happy we become in their presence, or even how much fun we can have with them. These can surely be part of it, but most of the time we forget that love is a verb and requires a lot of sacrifice.
The few days I have spent with the Riddle’s have made me recognize that love is a miracle, and it works wonders. From Testimony’s laughter, to Miracle’s dry jokes, or Finn’s absolute shrieks of delight. The confidence that is so obvious in them now that was not there before, and the smiles that now come easily to them. All these were really refreshing to me, we all made small and big memories together.
We rode bicycles down the neighborhood with cold fingers, and listened to Testimony make Maui sounds every time we go down a free fall- ‘Cheeeee ooooo’. I watched Testimony interact with friends, and participate in different events with confidence. I had to endure Miracle’s constant repetition of a country song. It was refreshing to listen to Finn’s laugh every time I said ‘ridiculous’. I got this weird feeling in my chest when we had a sing-along to ‘a million dreams’ of the Greatest Showman soundtrack, while we were on our way to their school.
At Testimony’s concert
Love is definitely not about how happy or content another person makes you feel, it is how far you are willing to go for the sake of another individual. This is purely evident in the lives of the Riddle’s, in Nick & Katie’s fight to secure a better future for Testimony and Miracle. Their continuous love for them even when they had a valid reason to give up, and this inspires me. No wonder the Bible places so much emphasis on love, of course it is powerful and magical. But we throw around the word ‘love’ so much these days its easy to think it’s all about feeling, well it is not.
These few days with the Riddle’s have jarred me awake. The next time we tell ourselves we love someone, let us also remember to ask ourselves how far we are willing to go for that person. Peace y’all.