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!
“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