I can’t remember ever being a good girl even from way back secondary school and you won’t blame me for it. My parents were never at home; always travelling, on one business trip or the other, to make money to cater for me and my junior sister. Most times, we were left at the mercy of one house help or the other and they never really instilled any serious punishment other than the malicious “I will tell your mother!” they tossed around and never did. So I grew up quite untamed with a wild ideology about life. To me, everything life offered was meant to be taken, both the good and the bad. Life was supposed to be lived to the fullest and enjoyed with no regrets afterwards. That was how I lived my life; like there was no tomorrow. As far back as SS2, I had started drinking and clubbing, sleeping around and changing boyfriends like I was changing diapers. By the time I was finishing SS3 and getting into the University of Ibadan, I had committed two abortions.
My parents hadn’t the slightest clue of what I was doing with my life. Where they were concerned, I was in school studying Law; it never occurred to them to ask or even monitor my educational progress and I was fine with it. By the end of year 1, my womb had to be removed. That was only my fifth abortion. To me, that was good news. For one, I was spared the stress of trying to remove another pregnancy and all the pain and check-ups that came with it…then of course, I was free to indulge in a very active sexual life without fear of getting pregnant. I made use of the latter to the fullest, sleeping my way through almost every course and lecturer to pass, living from one guy’s apartment to another and from one bar to the next smoking, drinking and selling my body. My life was such a mess, to me it was a beautiful mess.
I was in year 3 when God decided to intervene in my situation. A friend and I met this lady at a salon on campus, one Saturday afternoon when we went to have our hair and nails fixed. Mama Gospel (that was her nickname on campus; her real name had become extinct) was a law student in year 4 and quite very notorious for preaching in classes, cafés, queues, rooms, campus shuttles…basically anywhere students gathered. As expected, she tried preaching to us but we were ready for her and turned her down as soon as she approached. She then moved on to the next customer beside me and started to encourage her from the scriptures. For reasons I couldn’t even explain, I eavesdropped on the one-sided conversation and when she told the other lady that Jesus can forgive us regardless of all the things we had done, I picked her up on it and began to argue that it was a lie. Mama Gospel patiently answered all my arguments from the bible and the more I tackled her, the more scriptures she blurted out. I was livid! By the time I was leaving the salon, I felt like I was going to explode. My friend kept telling me to ignore her and all the things she said, but I just couldn’t. Mama Gospel had struck a nerve. For the first time in ages, I was edgy and defensive about my craft. It was like I was trying to convince the world and myself that I was not wrong. Deep down, I began to feel hollow and lost and in order to fend off the feeling of depression that was fast overtaking my soul, I became more reckless, maybe even desperate. There was just the nagging voice that kept disturbing me and making me squirmish.
A week after, when I couldn’t deal with the nagging thoughts any longer, I tracked down mama Gospel ready to use myself as a case in point that God doesn’t forgive every sin. This time she carefully cited all the people in the bible who were formerly criminals or prostitutes, who God used to do mighty works for Him. I argued and argued again, but Mama Gospel was adamant and just wouldn’t budge. She told me plain and simple that God was calling me to Him but I was fighting Him. Then she went on to toss an unsolicited advice that I give up and let God in or He would come in by force. At that, I lost my cool, said some not-so-nice things and stormed off. And I was uneasy for many weeks. Nothing made me happy, I would just sit in my room and sulk.
ne morning I woke up tired, broken and all I wanted to do was just die. By noon time, I was convinced that I had overstayed my welcome on earth and was ready to write my last letter and wishes. One thing however kept me from taking my life, and that was the fear of going to hell. So I sat, miserably on my bed for hours, still contemplating suicide when there was a knock on my door. It turned out to be Mama Gospel, who happened to be doing room to room evangelism. I was so glad to see her. I relayed my latest decision to her, told her I wanted to accept Jesus so when I die I could go to heaven. She laughed, sat me down and began to explain things to me after which she led me to Christ and invited me to church on Sunday.
Somehow I forgot about killing myself and found myself looking forward to Sunday. I remember going to Mama Gospel’s church on Sunday and telling myself that I was never going to leave. I stayed on, joined the working force and became so committed to the things of God, but deep down, I still felt that God hadn’t entirely forgiven me. I felt I had to work hard in order to earn God’s total mercy and as I grew older and joined a bigger congregation after school, I was even more convinced that on some issues, God was never going to pardon me. For one, after turning my life over to Christ, no man ever approached me for a serious relationship and then there was the unresolved matter of no womb; which when I thought of, I thanked God for not allowing another guy my way.
To wrap up this story, a brother approached me in church some months later, a Tuesday to be precise, after bible study saying the Lord was leading him to me. Alarmed, I took him to our church pastor and told the pastor to relay my life history to him. Of course the pastor didn’t oblige me and I had to do it myself, but the brother still remained dogmatic about his stand. After a long time of extensive prayers and counseling, we got married, agreeing that we were just going to go ahead and adopt rather than expect any supernatural miracle. But a year after, I got pregnant (don’t ask how) and I gave birth to triplet nine months after.
God passed His message across and it finally stuck in my head – there was nothing like partial forgiveness or partial mercy with God. His love is far much greater and wide enough, with lots of extras remaining, to cover our mess ups. That is just simply amazing!
Thanks and God bless.