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2014 Epilogues: The Mended Heart – Neo’s Jade

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2014 has been a very interesting year. As it comes to an end, BellaNaija seeks to showcase a human interest segment, dedicated to looking back at the year. We’ve teamed up with a diverse group of individuals and asked them to share how their year has been. The brief was ‘a personal look back at the journey thus travelled. The idea is to use 2014 as a focal point. The honest and heartfelt piece should talk about your ups and downs / victories and failures – a general self assessment. It should be a raw piece which shows you as a person – the human angle is important.

Each of the participants has graciously sent us amazing pieces about themselves. As you read these pieces, and take stock of the year you’ve had, we encourage you to get inspiration from our 2014 Epilogues.

The 2014 Epilogues gemstones will be dropped at 2pm everyday till the end of the year!
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Sometimes God’s blessings are not in what He gives; but in what He takes away. He knows best. Trust Him

I saw this quote recently and I think it just about sums up my 2014. Let me try and put this in context as best as I can without necessarily telling a story that isn’t all mine to tell.

I moved cities in 2012 for a new job and the world was my oyster – new job, new house, new friends. I met him and it was one of those things that I couldn’t tell you how it started. All I know is that we were hanging out a lot and spending like three-quarters of a day together.We did everything together and somehow, in spite my better judgment, we crossed the severely blurred line from friendship to something more.

Up until now, I had never felt comfortable enough to do or say anything. My filters were permanently off, I didn’t play the games. I had his back and he mine. He got along with my people and vice versa. Though I wasn’t naïve enough to see into a future of talcum scented babies, we were ridiculously happy. 31st December 2013, I was at HOTR Lagos for crossover service. It was a time of spiritual lethargy for me and when they said to pray concerning 2014, all I could say was “God, if there’s anything in my life that you haven’t planted, uproot it – even if it breaks me” I prayed that prayer not knowing where it came from or why.

The first month of 2014, everything unravelled and I suffered the greatest betrayal at the hands of my best friend. I’ve never been one of those women who buy into the theory of “a man’s world”, nor will I ever condone cheating but I am not above mistakes or forgiveness; so as hurt as I was by this huge thing (trust me it was huge) I looked at a man who seemed to be hurting as much as I was, and I said “This is my person, you don’t leave your person when they need you, no matter how bad they mess up”. So I sucked in my pain and tried to be there for my friend. I was the self appointed Olivia Pope stepping in to handle his mess. I was even the one suggesting marriage to “the other significant other” (Kai! I can laugh now)

I always say this; when God tries to tell you something and you don’t listen, He shows you. And boy did God show me! He started to uncover so many lies and secrets, He made things bare and clearer right before my eyes. My bad memory became laser sharp, and God made this man naked before my eyes.

That was when I understood what it meant to be ugly inside. It wasn’t easy to see that a person who had claimed to love me had zero respect for me at all, and had concluded that my good heart was wrapped in bows of stupidity. I went through it all – maddening anger, earth shattering sadness, severe depression, and just lots of good old pain.

It wasn’t that a man cheated on me, it was that someone that I had put on a pedestal in my life had looked at me in the eye and lied to me for over a year. It hurt physically. What had I done? It felt like punishment for something. It was a dark period, but as dark as it was God, was so clearly in it. In fact, the spiritual manifestation of it was scary. From vivid dreams that played out right before my eyes, to sending messages through people I barely spoke to, to being called a witch. I was angry at God, it was all His doing.

Till I heard Him so clearly say “You asked me to do this, remember?” That was my rock bottom, and from there it was like swimming to the surface of a clear ocean. I could see the light and I knew all I had to do was to keep moving till I reached the top.

The hardest part of it all was forgiving myself for allowing me get so reckless with my heart. In order to heal, God told me I had to forgive completely. First the man who had hurt me, and then myself. I basically went from praying for God to go to Jihad-style war on my behalf, to asking God to forgive the man that hurt me so badly and bless him. It was hard o! Sometimes the words just wouldn’t come out, but I allowed God humble me and I could feel myself healing everyday.

Today I am at a place where I can think of the good memories and laugh, and even laugh at my low points. I’m no saint, so sometimes I still wish “motor will jam him small”, but they are few and far between.

I used to tell him “You will never have anyone love you like I did” like it was the ultimate punishment. Like can’t you see how awesome I am? The epiphany hit me smack in the face “Boohoo child, get over yourself!” It was as if I had been seeking validation for myself. Since I was so awesome no man could cheat or lie to me. I had to realise that it had nothing to do with who I am, and everything to do with who he is.

We are a product of our choices. I know who I am, I know what I’m worth flaws and all. If you can’t see that or I’m not your cup of tea…please jump and pass. Someone else will toss 2 sugars in and slurp me with delight. I just pray that at the end of the day, everyone stands at the right bus stop and does not miss their bus when it comes.

My friend asked me what I would do, if I could do things differently; and to be honest sometimes I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve taken the learning experiences from this and become a stronger person for it. God broke me down completely and put me back together. I can never doubt that God exists and looks out for me constantly.

It took about half a year but God healed my heart so completely, and turned my year around. Everything that seemed lost, He gave back in measures – my happiness, my sense of self and most of all His peace. I gained better friends from the whole experience and the cherry on top, was God just generally showing me a good time.

I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and in 2014 alone, I visited 4 continents (3 of them, one kobo of my money nor join inside!) and had the time of my life.

2014 may not have started well, but it is definitely ending on a high note. From here on, it can only get better.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Yolanda Van Niekerk

38 Comments

  1. daiva

    December 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I love dis…thank u and may God Bless u

  2. aurora

    December 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    eeya…happens to the best of us. well done for getting out if it stronger and better.

  3. Ephi

    December 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Wow, thanks for sharing your story Neo. The prayer you prayed was such an important one without you realising it….
    My fav line from the write-up: ” If you can’t see that or I’m not your cup of tea…please jump and pass. Someone else will toss 2 sugars in and slurp me with delight.” Lol!

  4. Que

    December 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Is this our BN commenter Neo?…. I’m glad you’re in a better place, keep getting better. Cheers!

    • Neo

      December 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      The one and only! Thanks dear.

  5. Jojononz

    December 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    This just about sums me up,the challenges, obstacles and punches life has thrown @ me has been unexplainable, am writing dis with pain and so much tears, I lost my mum who had been sick 4 sometime dis year and the care and finances had been on me as the 1st child,I made losses in business, since my mum died my only brother just keeps getting into deeper mess and am the only one he has to bail him out,my mum was a single mother so when she died life just took my sunlight and left me in d dark, my boyfriend who had always been my bestfriend and always held my hand thru all dis curves and had been my solace for the past 3 years broke up with me last night, I had never let my guard down with anyone b4 like I did with him, I poured everything I had in2 d relationship, cos I dont let people into my life and heart easily and when i do I give all without holding back ,he reasons for the break up are unreasonable, to top it off I found out he has a girlfriend in America and are planning marriage next year, I literally just fainted imagine the lies to my face all these years I feel so lost and ashamed dat I could give so much and get hurt,pain and tears in return, my heart hurts so much,this writeup is coming @ the right time cos d only thoughts in my head are suicidal I had even taken overdose so I could sleep and it wouldn’t hurt anymore. I feel so exposed, God sent dis to save me cos ur opening line just says it all. 2014 for me has been the worse year I have experienced………sorry 4 my long rant and pardon my incorrect spellings and misplaced commas and all, its cos my eyes are blurred with tears. Thank you

    • oleiray

      December 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      E-hugs dear!you are deeply loved and highly favoured

    • Ruby

      December 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      #hugs Keep breathing dear, it will get better.

    • God heals all wounds

      December 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Please keep your faith in God. The guy that I also thought will always be there for me recently told me that he didnt want to bring me with him into 2015. My heart is broken and I’m just praying to God for healing. Sister please don’t kill yourself over any man. It’s not worth it. God has a way of performing testimonies in people lives. God is the only one that can write your love story. Please I beg you just keep praying. Whenever I start thinking about the way this guy has treated me and the things I toleranted from him, i just startcrying. The pain in my heart overwhelms the anger in me. But I thank God for him daily. Because we don’t know what is deep in his heart. Only God knows. God takes us out of situation that we cannot handle and he puts us in situation that he knows is best for us. We may not appreciate it now but when the man that is destined to be our own comes around he will tell you. 2015 I am not leading with my emotions, I want God to lead me. I am still in pain, but God will heal my broken heart.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      December 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Agreed – no man is worth it. The only one who is, already paid the price over 2000 years ago so that you wouldn’t have to shed a drop of your won blood. I’m sorry to seem so clinical but bastards of the sort that you and @Jojononz have described don’t deserve a single new tear shed on their behalf. Your anger maybe but not another tear.

      The key is to focus on what matters to lead you out of that dark place, such as family. @Jojononz, I’m so sorry to read about the passing on of your dear mum. I know your pain must be unquantifiable with all of this happening and the knowledge that she isn’t even here to talk to or receive comfort from. I also know that if she loved you, she would want you to live a full and happy life – therefore, killing yourself would break her heart to pieces if she could see it and doing it for this reason would break it even further.

      All the hopes and dreams she had for you are the fuel needed to move on from this. And I daresay that she’d have wanted you to be there to help your brother, the only family you have left, as much as is in your power to.

      I’ll leave you and @Godhealsallwounds with the words of encouragement I got from James 5:11 (the MSG version) – “… God cares, cares right down to the last detail”. I wish I could hug you both right now but please don’t give up on turning to Him for your healing because He isn’t like any mere or fickle man. He loves you far too much and wants you to have joy in place of that pain.

    • Tunmi

      December 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      It will hurt but what comes out of it will be when stronger and even greater. I wish you peace and stability. Breathe and take it a day at a time

    • Neo

      December 24, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Hi dear. Trust me when I say I totally get how you feel now cos I’ve been there. It will take a lot from you but I’d you hold on to God he will replace and even give you more on top of it. One day at a time okay, even you will be surprised at how fast he will mend you. I will pray with you that God sees you through this period. Just trust him.

    • TA

      December 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      @ Jojononz, Big cyber hug. So so sorry for all the pain & hurt. Pele. One day you will look back and smile because you will be in a better place emotionally. Xoxo

    • Sisi

      December 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      The Lord is your strength my dear, just put all your hope and trust in him. In the physical it may seem like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders but remember that God knew all what was going to happen in your life before you were born and had made a way of escape for you. Just believe. It’s well with you.

    • Ephi

      December 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      You are in my prayers Jojononz. This too shall pass. Everyone goes through dark phases at one point or the other but you will come out stronger. Pele. It’s gonna be alright

    • Oluwabusola Adedire

      December 25, 2014 at 12:32 am

      As cliche as this may sound ‘everything happens for a reason’. For most people, it is hard to see whatever the reason is.. But you must trust the process. The road to healing is a very tricky one. You must fight for your sanity everyday. Cry, grieve, pray.. it does get lighter eventually. You cannot afford to give up on life, you cannot afford to give up on yourself… Why?? Because before the foundations of the earth, our stories had been written.

    • BN lover

      December 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      It is well dear…..life can only get better. E-hug n kisses

    • Frances Okoro

      December 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Jojononz…*hugs, hugs and hugs*
      I pray that God’s love and arms will wrap you securely even in this trying time.
      I’ve felt Him before, at a time in my life when a relationship went down…but when God wants to use you, He takes away your whole source and leaves you with just ABBA as it should be.
      God is still your source, your backbone, He loves you and loves you crazily,.
      I pray that through this darkness, you will find His light, in Jesus name, amen.
      Much love sis!

  6. Ruby

    December 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Neo, I can totally relate with this. Seemms liek we are sisters. #hugs This is almost a mirror of my 2014 (except the travelling part). His reason was that ‘his mum doesn’t approve of us’. Hmmm I was depressed for months, wailed, considered suicide, prayed for him to fall and die… But through it all, I can now look back and thank God for letting go through the phase. it really brought me closer to Him because eventually He was the only one that could mend the heart ‘the love of my life’ shattered.
    As I look on to a better 2015, I know I’m more experienced to make the best of it. I’m truly happy that God took him away.

    • Neo

      December 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Hugs! Thank you for this. Like the bible says there is no affliction uncommon to man.

    • lovin moi

      December 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      @ ruby,its beta he told u becos a wicked MIL is not a good sight to behold,a broken relationship is beta Dan a broken marriage,if he had gone ahead,i promise u they’ll give u FIRE so as much as it hurts forget him cos STAYING married to mummy’s boy is no joke!

  7. jummy

    December 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Your latter would be greater than the past a song that’s has kept me going

  8. Bee

    December 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    The way some people believe in God is just amazing. I need that in my life….

  9. Tee

    December 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    @Jojonoz, I can tell you that with God, by His grace, you’ll be fine. My 2013 was like this and towards the end of that year, I just turned all my hurt and pain over to God and trusted Him for a better year. The peace He gave me was just unbelievable! This year has just been beautiful to God’s glory. God brought so many wonderful opportunities and people into my life. I just kept on doing a ‘this time last year’ check every month and every month, this year was better than last year. So hang in there, trust God… you’ll be fine. *hugs*

  10. 2014

    December 24, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I think GOD make us go through all this and put us in situations like this because, he wants us to seek him and get closer to him. He has prepared something better and greater for us. 2014 taught a lot of lessons. “This too shall pass” Watchword for 2015 Jeremiah 29: 11

  11. Anne

    December 24, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    The beauty of God’s unconditional love!
    I’m reading and smiling because bits of your experience have been mine this year, 2014. I found myself saying ‘I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea but someone’s eventually’. So your line on that made me smile. God trusts the integrity of what He has put in us to let us go down for a moment but to rise victorious, heads held high crowned with His glory. We won’t know He’s our comforter if we had no reason to cry. We won’t know He’s the greatest lover if people didn’t leave us and only He stayed with us. Through thick and thin. Ride or die!
    Neo, this is a beautiful piece!
    Suggestion: Watch: TD Jakes’ sermon – Still Friends (on youtube).

  12. ice

    December 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    the man that leaves you today is not meant for your tomorrow, the best happens when he leave before the marriage. In life, look back at your experiences, you will notice that every thing happens for a purpose. of course, its not an easy process, the time,energy, money invested into a relationship is enough to cry for a year. but believe me, what goes around comes around.

  13. fiya

    December 26, 2014 at 9:21 am

    My best part “We are a product of our choices. I know who I am, I know what I’m worth flaws and all. If you can’t see that or I’m not your cup of tea…please jump and pass. Someone else will toss 2 sugars in and slurp me with delight. I just pray that at the end of the day, everyone stands at the right bus stop and does not miss their bus when it comes”. I love this so much……Although this was me in 2014 (I DO NOT!! tolerate nonsense from no man), this part of Neo’s post opened my eyes well well about the situation am currently in, cus I was having guilty conscience that am being too hard on the person, come to realize that am good……..this will still be me come 2015.

  14. Frances Okoro

    December 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you Neo for sharing your story with us and inspiring us with your life.

    My reoccurring and greatest lesson learnt in 2014 is God’s will…His will is better than mine and more glorious.
    Praying for God’s will may mean that relationships will break, jobs may be lost..it may be painful, but it’s always glorious at the end.

    I’ve been in a relationship where I almost made someone my source before..wrapped my life so around that person that God almost had no place in my life and when it ended, I felt terribly betrayed. But today, I can say thank you Lord for that stage of my life.
    God took that mess and turned it all into a message. I am grateful, grateful for the pain I felt then and I say that with all my heart.

    God always comes through for us..through the pain, through rejections..He makes His more glorious plan for our lives shine through.

    Happy new year to you in advance.
    May God continue to lead and direct your steps.

    http://www.imperfectlyperfectlives.com

  15. yea

    December 26, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    This story was me in 2011, I was in so much pain that it almost became a physical pain, thank God now, i’m happy now, extremely!

  16. funkie

    December 27, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I luv this write-up. Dis year has brought me so much pain but God has been there for me. I had a stillbirth in feb, June my hubby started actin up n said he wnts divorce just a year into d marriage. I did all I culd to save the marrige but no avail.. He said a pastor tld him to leave me cos am posessed or he will die. I don’t knw where to startT my life from. I need help if anyone in house has ever gone thru dis should pls advice. Thnks

    • Alive and Grateful

      December 28, 2014 at 2:20 am

      This is me giving you a hug. I don’t even know how to advise you but remember that “this too shall pass”, the wounds will heal and eventually the scars will fade.
      May God heal you.

    • Dola

      December 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Dear Funkie,

      I do not have the experience of divorce, but I have had stillbirth and other complications and for that I can emphatize with you. No mother should have to suffer the loss of a child…without adding the loss of a marriage to it. My thoughts are with you and my prayer is that God will turn your story around for good, howsoever He does it, I pray that sooner than later you have reason(S) to rejoice and celebrate. God be with you.

  17. Mz Socially Awkward...

    December 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Neo!! You penned an article!!!! And I’m just happening upon it… 🙁 Blame holiday lethargy, my laziness this period is unparalleled…

    Much of your story is hidden between the written lines: however, I’m glad to see your progress made with forgiving him and forgiving yourself. I have the most admiration for people who achieve these two feats, I really do. My own journey is still very far and while I wouldn’t ever use the word “bitter” to describe my current state, I can’t tell the outright lie that I’ve forgiven the monkey’s asshole (pardon my French) in my own story. 3 years on and I still wistfully fantasise about him getting run over by an armoured tank…. yes, I agree that it’s not healthy to moving on but why shall a man cause pain and continue to live life normally ever after? Mbanu. Your female children must reap the same injury a thousandfold.

    Thank God for other forms of fulfilling distractions in this life of hard-earned knocks. And thank God for bringing you through 2014 to joy on the other side, He really is a Father who hears and cares in every detail of our lives. Also, well done on the traveling – visiting 4 continenents in one year no be moin-moin, especially when you had much of it paid for! We shall grow up to be like you soon, don’t worry. 🙂

    Loads of love to you, nne, and my prayers for the best of your heart’s desires to be gifted to you in 2015… xx

    • Neo

      December 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I have arrived oh! MSA replied my piece. Loool. Don’t mind me, in my head you and i are best friends and we have the best lunches with peppered gist about PH life and many other matters.

      Thanks a lot. This totally made my night. Thanks for the kind words. I’m a work in progress oh, like i said sometimes i still wish motor will jam his legs into k-form for me. I wish i really could tell the full story but there are other parties involved and the extent of what they may or may not know held me back and i tried to tell it as just as it relates to me. Infact this is a very sweet gist of Afrimagic proportions. hehehe. I was bitter! Very bitter! Cos this was the first time i ever let myself go completely. Infact i comot armour keep for ground den con fire me bullet sotay i weak. But i just found out that my pain healed and i felt lighter the more i forgave. I prayed words i didn’t mean till i started to mean them and for me the greatest gift of all was understanding how God can still love and forgive even my greatest mess ups and all of this i learned in a year. Not a bad year i say.

      As for the travelling men, i had fun taya! Infact i ALMOST wished for another heartbreak so that God would compensate me again. look. Almost!

      Wish you an awesome 2015, please remove that load of a monkey’s behind from your mind and leave the mess in 2014. You deserve better than that kind of excess luggage. hugs!

  18. lovin moi

    December 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    My blog name says it all,i love moi so much!! Women pls learn to love yourselves,get busy doing what gives u joy and thank GOD that God opened your eyes to see these wicked men for who they are,enjoy your life and always know that it’s only YOU that is in charge of your happiness,when u read blogs like that of Stella dimoko, adorable mums,babes redefined and see the rate @ which women are crying and how men have turned to lords to be worshipped you’ll thank God that he exposed d wicked men u all dated,so pls my wonderful,fabulous BN babes, go out there and do d right thing that makes u happy,no pity parties pls,trust in God and he’ll perfect his plans for u and thank God u are about seeing 2015 afterall no be people dey mortuary? One luv people!

  19. Dunny

    January 4, 2015 at 8:07 am

    awwww, so proud of you Neo…… can’t believe I didn’t see this since. I’m so inspired. secretly jealousing the 4 continents bit sha,

  20. Martha

    November 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Hope this is the Neo…that I know (a friend from BN)..can’t believe I’m just reading this after reading the 2015 Epilogues. Proud of you darling Neo, glad God taught you alot in 2014 and hopefully 2015 has been a great year too. Wish you the best come 2016.
    @Jojonoz I’m sorry you had to go thru all that, I pray this 2015 has been abit fair to you and wish you the best come 2016..I relate too 2013 was a worse year, lost my only parent left dad, first born having younger siblings…Since then its not been an easy sail but with Christ, we have sailed through and still trusting for the end of the tunnel, the light will definitely shine.
    Awww hugs to the both of you lovelies Neo and Jojonoz…#blessed2016#TomoreoftheLORD’soverwhelminggoodness.

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