Joyous Laughter episode 2

Part 2
©Franca Uwuigiaren

God helped me, and I graduated with flying colours and served in Akwa Ibom State. I was thirty years old at that time. I returned to Lagos, squatted with my pastor and his wife, and then I got a job with their help. Seven months later, I was able to save money for accommodation. I moved out and started my life.

I was too concerned about my siblings that were separated from me. Their thoughts kept me awake most of the nights. I didn’t know how they were or treated. I didn’t receive any news from any of my relatives concerning whether my sisters were married or not.

It got to a stage, that I would cry when I remembered how my parents died miserably that led to the separation of my siblings. See the way we were shared and distributed like foodstuffs among my relatives. O death is wicked. I was pained how my parents died untimely.

The opportunity came that December, and I decided to travel home. I visited my relatives where my siblings were distributed. What a joy to reunite. We laughed and cried together.

I couldn’t leave them anymore with anyone. They looked so unkempt, malnourished and older than their age. If my parents had not died, three or four of us would have since graduated. No one can take care of ones children better than the parents.

Anyway, I returned with my siblings to Lagos. The day before we were to travel, we lodged in a hotel. I told my siblings about Jesus and the importance of giving their lives to him. My sisters wept, they began to confess how they allowed boys sexually exploit them because they needed money to run away.

“I aborted twice but aunty Rachael didn’t know anything about it.” Iyobosa told us crying. “Many nights aunty will starve me and tell me she didn’t kill my parents. I assisted aunty in her business yet she wouldn’t even buy me clothes. She said I was old enough to fend for myself so…”

I had tears on my face but I tried to remain calm.

“I hawked fruits for aunty Esosa. Immediately I return from school, aunty will load my tray with different fruits and I go out to sell. I won’t eat until I return to cook. I lost my virginity when I was fifteen by a boy of eighteen. He was the one giving me money to eat most of the time until I got another boy. Since that time, I didn’t look back. I didn’t bother to eat in the house anymore. Aunty and her husband never monitor me. I met other guys who took care of my needs. There were times I was giving money to aunty and she would pray that I marry good husband so I can take care of her. She never bothered to ask how I got money. I thought of where to run to but… I’m twenty six now, with only secondary school education.” She lamented.

My brothers told me how they suffered too. I wept listening to time. Sighing deeply, I told them that’s life without parents.

“Let’s forget the past now and look at what the future holds for us ”

It was beautiful listening to them confessing their sins to God and I led them to Christ.

I told them how I hustled my way to university. We got to Lagos and my sisters wanted to go to school. In February, both of them registered for jamb and wrote their exams in June and by God’s grace they got admitted to study their course of choice. I was the sole sponsor. My brothers looked for odd jobs and started hustling. One thing about us is that whatever we lay our hands on succeeds. While God kept favouring me at my place of work, my sisters were excelling in their education and my brothers were doing well. Joining resources with my brothers we got a bigger apartment and moved in.

Within a space of five to six years, my sisters were through with their education and my brothers had gotten their own place and started part time courses.

I had problems with relationships and time wasn’t on my side. I was already thirty six. Every guy that came my way wanted to have s*x with me. It wasn’t what I wanted. When I refused, they broke up with me. I had a lot of heartbreaks. Many nights I cried and asked God to send my husband to me. There were times I almost give in to their demands because I didn’t want to lose the one I have fallen in love with.

These guys were good looking, already made and they carry and quote the bible accurately but practicing what is written is the problem. You will hear:

“If you love me enough, you will allow me sleep with you. Who will know?

Other times you will hear, “since you don’t want s*x before marriage, why don’t we indulge in foreplay. It’s not a sin since penetration will not take place. Aisosa, stop calling what is not a sin a sin.”

Many times I was confused, and I tell them I can’t give in to their demands because that still small voice keep telling me it’s not right.

Each time I stand before the mirror, I love what I see. I’m very beautiful. God took special care creating me. I have lovely eyes, dimples and lips. I have curves in the right places. Since Iwinosa led me to Christ, I made up my mind to live for Him. And one way to live for Him is to dress well. I can’t expose the food my husband will eat to the public. Every genuine child of God appreciate my dress sense. I buy beautiful clothes that suits my complexion. I don’t wear clothes that exposes my cleavages or b*****s and laps. God forbid that I will lead one brother astray.

It was immediately after workers meeting one Sunday that brother Andrew told me he wanted to have a word with me. I followed him outside the church and we stood at a corner. In my heart, I was wondering what he wanted to tell me.

“Come Iwinosa, you’re a beautiful lady, you can’t be dressing like this nah.” He said bluntly.

My gaze first dropped to the big bible he was carrying before I looked at him again.

“Why? What’s wrong with the way I dress?”

“I have been observing you, you can’t attract a man dressed like this.” He insisted.

“Says who?” I challenged.

“I’m a brother and I know what brothers like.”

“Ehen! Really? You’re among the brothers mounting pressures on our sisters to open their legs before marriage. You’re among those threatening to walk away or break the relationships if they don’t give in to your demands. And when they eventually give in and get impregnated, you deny them. So tell me, how should I dress?”

He looked at me uncomfortably.

“I thought you are a genuine child of God. It just dawn on me that you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

“Show your cleavages a little and your well shaped legs. Wear clothes that accentuate your curves… perhaps I might be interested. New comers are now in the…”

“Andrew or whatever your name is, when my God ordained husband see me, he will appreciate me. I will not exposed the food my future husband will eat to flies.”

“Flies…”he asked looking quizzically at me.

“Yes flies! How do I expose my future husband’s food to flies?Just as flies are attracted to exposed food and can contaminate it, so also exposed bodies attract unwanted attention and harmful influences. Just as we keep food covered to preserve its purity and freshness, we should also dress decently to preserve our dignity and integrity. Andrew, just Imagine a delicious meal left uncovered on a table. What do you think will happen? Flies will swarm around it, landing on it and contaminating it with their germs. In the same way, when we dress indecently, we attract “flies” like unwanted gazes, inappropriate comments, or even harmful relationships. So by dressing decently and modestly, we cover our “food” (our bodies) and keep it pure and safe from harmful influences.”

He kept looking at me.

“Andrew, just as we protect our food from flies, every sister should also protect their bodies from unwanted attention.”

He couldn’t maintain his gaze on me anymore. I successfully disarmed every weapon he came to attack me with.

“I choose to preserve my dignity and self-respect, living for God and honouring Him with my decent dress.”

I heard him sigh deeply.

“And when you get married and start having children, don’t allow your daughter expose her body to flies.”

Without a word, brother Andrew returned to the church. For a moment I stood there wondering why some brothers are like that.

Well such were many encounters with some of our church brothers. Though there are wonderful brothers out there who are genuine christians. They know what the bible says and practice it. Brother Gerard came to me appreciating my dress sense. That day, he quoted 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that says, Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit… Honor God with your body and
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, God’s will is for you to be holy, to avoid sexual immorality, and to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” He told me he appreciate sisters who are well dressed.

“If only these sisters know their worth and what they carry.” He told me.

Few months after that encouragement from Gerard, I received a handwritten note. Till date, I don’t know who gave that note to a little boy to give to me. Service was over and it was raining heavily. No one could leave the church except those with

I remained in my seat waiting for the rain to stop when a little boy approached me, dropped a neatly folded piece of paper on my lap and ran off. Surprised, I took the paper and opened it. It read:

“Sister Iwinosa, I am a sister like you and I love the way you dress. You have really influenced me and good things are happening right now in my life.

I want to encourage you today not to be discouraged by the world’s standards of beauty and attractiveness. Instead, focus on pleasing God with your life and choices. You dress decently and honorably, as a daughter of the King, and this will not only bring you closer to God, but also attract the right kind of brother to you – one who values your inner beauty, character, and commitment to purity.

Please remember your worth and identity are in Christ, not in the world’s approval or validation. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and your body is a holy vessel to be used for God’s glory. Don’t settle for less than God’s best for you. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and trust that He will bring the right person into your life at the right time.

You are loved, valued, and cherished in Christ. Don’t forget it sister Iwinosa.”

I looked round for that boy but till date, I never saw him in church again. I kept that note in my handbag. Each time I feel discouraged, I bring it out and read.

My sisters were also experiencing what I was going through. We cried to God. Some of these brothers coming our way initially would tell us they’re Christians and later started demanding s*x as if it’s their right.

God did it for my sisters, and within two years of consistent prayers, they got married. I was already 38 years old then.

One day, my parents’ first son announced that he had found his missing ribs, and so we prayed and planned, and it came to pass.

I was happy for all of them but my prayers too was for God to settle me too. There was no man in my life and I didn’t see anyone coming. It was not as if I wasn’t beautiful. The single brothers that I know in my church had gotten married.

In fact, there was one brother in the church who wanted to marry me, but because I didn’t allow him see my pant, he cut off the relationship and started lying that I made advances at him. Everyone looked at me in a way I didn’t like, like I was a spoilt and desperate lady. I cried when I heard all the rubbish he said about me. He later got married to another lady in the church.

There were times I checked myself if there was something wrong with me physically. I have even asked myself if the powers killing people in my father’s family has located me and causing delays.

I got angry one night and said, “God, whether or not I get married, it doesn’t change who you are. You remain the sovereign God. No matter the pressure, I will never defile my body because I want to get married. I will allow holiness and righteousness rule in my life. I will not bow to the standard of the world. If it’s your will that I get married, nothing, no one and, no power will stop it.”

From that time on, I relaxed my mind. I didn’t think about marriage anymore. I focused my attention on God and my job. I made friends with people of positive attitudes to life. I never cuddled myself on the bed or couch crying because I have no husband. I allowed God take control. I had peace in my heart and I was joyfully joyous.

When my sisters and brother’s wife delivered their beautiful babies, I was there with all joy in my heart, carrying babies and playing the role my mother would have played if she was alive.

I pampered myself and visited my siblings a lot. One day, when I was alone, I just noticed that for the past eight years, there was no death in the family. I called my siblings to meet in my house, and they came, and I told them my observation. That day, the youngest of my siblings led us in praises to God. With his sonorous voice, he released praises and worship songs, and that day, God came down.

To be continued…

© Franca’s Pen ✍️ 2024

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