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More than a day….

It is not unusual to hear some people refer to days like Valentine, Birthdays and Anniversaries as just another day. I think differently, first of all, every day is a blessing in my world. Another chance to do right, live better and do more.

Special days are even more important as they mark the start of something new. Each recurrence presents an opportunity to evaluate how well you have done, applaud yourself or course correct.

The thought of an applause worthy Special day gives me an adrenaline rush since I get to give myself a treat for a job well done.

O well, you can say I love celebrations in whatever form, after all we only get to live once. So when our tenth anniversary came knocking, we could not resist the urge to celebrate.

As I dreamed up ways to make this more than just a day, an amazing Black Friday Deal too good to be true popped up on my screen. You can call it a coincidence, I will choose miraculous. I watched my dream escape to the island of Cape Verde become a reality; the right price and an irresistible deal and Voila, Project Verde was activated.

Four hours later, we touched down on the beautiful island of Cape Verde somewhere off the West African coast surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. Blue beaches, lovely resorts, great foods, beautiful sunset and world class hospitality.

Project Verde Goals accomplished…….

A well deserved celebration of ten awesome years of growing and learning together. As we celebrated, we are reminded that we are better today because yesterday we chose tomorrow together. We believed, we worked and now the project continues.

Life is a project with milestones along the way, so think of today as a milestone in the ‘Love’ department. Even though, some folks say ‘love don’t cost a thing’, love does cost something, it is in the action and the sacrifice. It is never idle, it is always doing. So whenever an opportunity presents itself for love to be expressed, sound the alarm and make it loud and clear that you love and you love for real. Don’t just sit back and watch today go by, find a box of chocolate or whatever tickles you and take sometime out to celebrate love and friendship.

Because love is a beautiful thing, make this Valentine more than just a day…………

Happy Valentine Day!!!

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Never too late…..

I often marvel at the elasticity of the human spirit, something in us keeps striving, keeps pressing and keeps trying until we have more than an aha moment.

Meet Ms. Grace or ‘mummy’ as i like to call her and yes this is a real person and a real story.

A few months ago, we all listened to a young lady speak to us at a Women Conference on the topic, ‘Dare to Dream’.

Mummy is in her late fifties and I found it surprising that she was as excited as we younger folks. Fast forward to a few weeks later, she whispered to me, I have started sewing again. Even though I don’t know if that spark lit a fire, I was just excited that someone took the learning and acted on it.

Exactly one year later, while gisting away, she mentioned a store, I didn’t probe much because we were talking about more important things. On a Sunday morning right after church, she slipped an invitation into my hand.

Mummy was opening a restaurant, she called it ‘Souper Woman Kitchen’; Souper I guess because of the mainly soup dishes that she will be serenading her customers with.As I look more closely at the word ‘Souper’, I think of the closest English word to it ‘Super’. 

Ms. Grace is an example of so many ‘super’ humans out there striving, pressing and demonstrating the elasticity of the human spirit.

At close to 60, Ms. Grace listened to a young lady tell us that if we don’t take action, our dreams will remain what there are ‘dreams’.

She took action, not just one, several little steps. Souper Woman Kitchen opened, I missed the opening but heard that she is excited about this new opportunity.

As I reflect on this story and my interactions with Ms. Grace,  I recall that she was always on time for all meetings (Discipline), listened with intent  (Deliberate), acted on what she heard (Determined) and was very comfortable around young people (Teachable). I find that you gain a lot of fresh insight from being around younger folks.

Now and in the years to come, it is not OK to dream and write goals, be like Ms. Grace and take action.

We will love to hear from you, so leave a comment, subscribe to our blog to read more stories and share this post with a friend.

Here is wishing you the best life has to offer, see you next week…….

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Hi, We are Idorenyin and Thelma Mbang

We love to tell stories that draw out lessons from every day life.

If our stories strike a cord with one person, then our day is made.

Life is a journey, it leaves imprints along the way; good, bad and sometimes just plain ugly. As you go through daily life, keep your 👀 on who you are BEcoming.

We hope you enjoy our post each week, don’t forget to leave a comment, subscribe to read more stories and tell your friends about us.

Here is wishing you the best that life has to offer

Idorenyin & Thelma Mbang

First Flight

We love to travel; we both enjoy the planning process – scanning destinations and flights, hotels, restaurants and all. Most of all, I love the feeling of happiness that comes with going away from routine and resting from the hustle of daily life. Over the years, travelling anywhere has become our personal gift to ourselves.

If you live in a region where flight schedules are uncertain and you have somewhere important to go or a pressing deadline, often times, travellers will aim for the first flight, bus or train in other to avoid stories that touch. If you live where there is heavy road traffic, you will wake up early to beat the traffic. Throughout history, you will find records of how human beings found a way to adapt to their environment.

We share a collective love for travel that we could spend time talking about, but today, we will be talking about a different type of flight, probably the most important flight.

Last year, when the world shut down in response to COVID-19, everyone was surprised that it was possible for the whole world to go on vacation. I hear that in some cities, wild life began to encroach into the city because of human inactivity. As usual, we settled into the routine of staying still in our homes. Later on, vaccines were introduced, amidst the debate in favor of or against, people were encouraged to take it. This year, there has been a greater push for people to take the vaccine with increasing restrictions imposed on those who have refused to take it.

Everywhere you go, your vaccination status seems to be the visa required for entry. I have heard some people suggest that the vaccine is the mark of the beast and I do not agree with that school of thought because when that time comes, it will be clear that you are taking the mark of the beast. But as I watch the increasing limitations that will eventually be enforced, it all feels too familiar, like reading the pages of my Bible jump out to life. I feel like this season gives me a glimpse of what is to come. From my point of view, it is not pretty to have to flash a card or QR code to have access to the people, places and things that have become a part of my daily life. Assuming we get to a time and place when getting vaccinated is the requirement for us to interact with all things that we associate with daily living, then being cut off for lack of it has the potential for untold hardship. If this season is a dress rehearsal of what is to come, we need to be thankful to be able to witness it and begin to take our walk with God more seriously.

I have spent the last few days in awe of how true God’s word is. How is it possible that a book written so long ago could be so true and relevant today? How could men of old be so current and accurate about a future that they knew nothing about? How could the ancient be so in touch with the present? How could a book so despised make it from generation to generation?

God has being speaking to us, sending warnings through His word, His prophets and His creation. He desires all of us, not some of us and there is a place for everyone who chooses Heaven. As you look around the world today and reflect on the things that mark the end of time, do not get bug down by when the end will come but focus on mending your relationship with God.

It is as simple as a prayer of surrender and then living each day with the awareness of a surrendered life. A surrendered life is one committed to doing what God says and going where He sends.

If the world that I see today is a glimpse of the future that will be, then more than ever, I want to be on the first flight to Heaven. Two scriptures stand out for me –

  1. ‘This is the day that the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’ – reminding yourself that everyday is the Lord’s day and living in the Lord’s day keeps you conscious of how you should live in it.

2. ‘And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart’ – Our Christian walk is about doing well by God’s standard, if you don’t get tired of doing what God says, you will make it to the finish line.

If you are wondering how to live each day conscious of the Lord and not fainting in your walk, we share some simple steps below:

1. A simple prayer – With just a simple prayer, ask God to take the lead in your life – you can make a decision for God today.

2. Get back to the word – the Bible is God’s guidebook for Christians, it tells you how God designed us to live.

3. Don’t walk alone – find a fellowship of Christians to help you walk this path.

4. Keep growing, if you fall, pick yourself up and keep moving. His hands are always there to lift you up.

Note to self – When the saints go marching in, Lord, how I want to be in that number.

We love to hear from you so please share your thoughts on the post with us and tell a friend.

Hand in Hand

Bread and butter, pen and paper, salt and pepper, Batman and Robin and the list goes on and on…. there are a lot of things that go hand in hand. They kind of need each other to make meaning or one to make the other become better. Batman is strong but with Robin, he is stronger. Pen is useless without paper and butter makes bread taste better.

This is the story of Love and Submission in a marriage. They are like bread and butter. When they are understood and well applied, it is a beautiful sight to behold. It makes a marriage a strong united force and it certainly taste better. When misunderstood and wrongly applied, it is an ugly sight, it is damaging and can have a long lasting negative effect on a marriage and ultimately a home.

In today’s post, we focus on Love

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Ephesians 5:22-25 NKJV

If Love and Submission go hand in hand, it means that they support each other and one is needed for the other to thrive. We strongly believe that submission thrives in a conducive environment and that environment is LOVE. The man has to create the environment of Love for submission to thrive. If you create an environment with the Christ kind of love referred to in the passage above, submission on the path of the wife comes naturally. A good wife will certainly submit, honour, respect and adore a man who will love her to the point of giving his life for her.

I remember talking to someone about this some time ago, and he argued with me that in the Bible, submission comes first and so the woman should submit to the man first and he would in turn show her love. My response to him was; you find her right? And bring her to your home. What kind of environment will she meet in your home?” I explained to him that the man finds the wife (Prov.18:22), and he brings her to his home (environment) and so the kind of environment she meets in his home will determine the level of submission, honour, respect and adoration she will give him. When Eve was brought to Adam, the first thing he said was This is now the bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh” acknowledging and instantly creating an ATMOSPHERE OF LOVE. Before anything else, he took ownership of his environment and gave her the foundation to which she would build on.

We are instructed to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. How did Christ love the Church? Christ loved us and died for us even while we were yet sinners, meaning no submission yet? He gave us an environment of ultimate love first and we His bride (the Church) submit, honour, adore and live for Him.

I read this quote a long time ago. (Disclaimer) I don’t know who said it, so I can’t give credit to the owner but its so relevant for this topic.

If a man expects a woman to be an Angel in his life, he must first create a Heaven for her… Angels don’t live in Hell.

Unknown

Marriage is a beautiful union, a representation of the union between Christ and the Church. Jesus has a role in this union, He watches out for us, intercedes for us, protects us, defends us, provides for us, shares with us, covers us, forgives us, is not in competition with us rather we are “joint heirs” with Him.

Husbands, be the Christ in your marriage.

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

Ephesians 5:28-29 NKJV

We love to hear from you so please share your thoughts on the post with us and tell a friend.

The Things That Matter

In a romantic candlelight dinner setting, knees on the ground and camera light flashing, he popped the question, “Will you marry me?” I said YES!

Falling and being in love and all the niceties that come along with it can sometimes make us drift and forget the things that really matter.

Today’s post is for our single readers, we share some helpful tips on finding the one and being found by the one. If you are married, enjoy the read, reflect and reset!

 Here is our list of things that matter –

1.      Character matters
There will always be silent cues to help you open a conversation to get to know each other more. If these cues give you concern, talk about them and deal with them early. Be watchful about how your partner treats others because how you both treat others will eventually show up in the way you treat yourself?

Your attitude to work, money and other relationships in your life are pointers to your character. What is the strength of your character, are you both able to handle conversation maturely without fear of judgement or breach of confidence?

As great as looks and possessions are, you cannot go wrong with God-fearing, responsible and grounded.

2.      Reputation matters
If you ask, you will find out what people think or say about you. In other words, there is a word on the street about every individual – good, bad, lies or truth.

You may categorise some of it as noise but even behind what we call noise, you can determine the substance of a thing if you pay close attention. After all, there is no smoke without a fire, even if it is just smoke, it is worth looking at before you leap. Marriage is for life so do not feel it is a waste of time to cross all ‘Ts’ and dot all ‘I’s.

 Think of it like when you shop online, the first thing you do when you see a product you like is to check the ratings, how many stars pop up and how many people bother to give stars. In addition, you seek out actual comments to weigh the reviews. If we spend this much time researching on products, hotels, sites etc that give you short term satisfaction, should we not spend more time finding reviews for a decision that has a lifetime tenure attached to it.

 Pay attention to what people are saying and not saying; sift out the noise and search for the common denominator. Even the faintest of rumours can bring light to a dark side. Remember, out of a multitude of counsellors, there is safety. We are not asking you to go on a hunt for gist just for the fun of it, what you are looking out for is context, perspective, and insight. The more pieces you put together, the more informed you are as you embark on this journey of a lifetime.

3.      The Wishlist and Real list matter

It is ok to have a wishlist of qualities that you desire in a spouse but it is more important to have a real list. Know when to draw the line and know when to declare ‘check’ like when you play a game of cards. You cannot have it all, but you can also have it all depending on what you have on your list. Keep your list reasonable and if it passes the reasonableness test, do not bend over too much, so, you do not feel like you settled. The feeling of settling leaves a bitter taste in your mouth because you will always wonder if they were better out there in the great unknown if you waited just a little more.

My wishlist was quite short, I wanted the “Mr” dark and tall –  I am tall, and I love my heels
(she laughs). We are physical beings and it is important that we are physically attracted to our spouse, in other words, Spec matters.

More importantly, I had my real list, a list of things that I was not willing to compromise on. Think of it as my “must have’ list. Three things made that list – Faith in God, Nurture and Ambition

[  ]  Faith matters –  A growing relationship with God is important. If you find someone who takes their relationship with God serious enough to go where God will lead, you are in good company. For a marriage to work, your fundamentals must align, your core values must be in sync because that is the voice of reason that you will both leverage on when storms come. You must both be heading in the same direction in life. If one person wants to go to Hell and the other person wants to go to Heaven and you decide to go in the same car, guess what, as long as you stay in the same car, you can only go in one of two directions because Hell and Heaven are two destinations in different directions. If you start on the same right foundation, you minimize the list of things that you do not agree on. Marriage already has a lot of figuring out on its own for you to deal with, do not use your hands to elongate your list of worries and prayer points. If you do not like abusive words used on you and you are with someone with a mouthful of them, you are headed for a lot of emotional abuse. Since you can’t see into the future to gain assurance that the person will change, if I was in your shoe, I will only proceed on two conditions – can I live with a lifetime of verbal abuse if he doesn’t change? or God will have to speak to me in a clear audible voice to assure me that ‘this too shall pass’.

[  ] Nurture matters – There is a saying that ‘the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree’, the saying is true some of the time but could also be false. Most of the time, people become who they were raised to be, relying on their default mode, they act out the only pattern they know. A few may stumble on a better way and choose it.  It is important to know how you were both raised so that you are aware of each other’s perspectives on life.

If you find someone who comes from a good family, consider it a blessing to your marriage. By virtue of their nurture, you are likely going to start your marriage from a place of advantage. Think of it like this, if 10 is the final destination, a good family background gives you a good head start at say 5, while someone from a challenging family background will be starting the race at zero and require more effort to get to 10. Not to say you will not get to 10 but you will require a lot more effort.

Take time to share stories and ask questions, develop a healthy interest in everything that pertains to the other person. Spend time with those close to them, you learn a lot by observing interactions, asking questions and hearing stories about their growing years. Parents and siblings should be the closest allies in your quest to know so do not cut them off unnecessarily, they are your window to each other’s world.

[  ]   Ambition – Do you see potential or a drive to accomplish something. Is this person going somewhere and doing what is required to get there. You may be wondering how to assess potential; getting a degree or acquiring relevant skills for trade are good signs of potential; having a vision of tomorrow and putting in place a plan to accomplish it; showing seriousness about a current endeavour, looking for and willing to accept help when required are a few ways to gauge ambition.

Always have a wish list (nice to have) and a real list (must have) as you decide to settle in any area of your life especially marriage. Look out for good content in a good container with greater emphasis on the content because you can work on the container but only God can work on the content.

4.      Relationships matter

Who is in your future spouse immediate circle? Do they constitute good or bad company? How much influence do they have on your FS? Does this person act differently around them? As you watch your FS friendships, remember to look at yours too. Surround yourself with the right friends, who keep you accountable for your choices and call you out if required to get you back on track. The right friends keep your blind spot in view and call your attention to them at the right time.

5.      We sum up to one person
It is worth reminding yourself as you choose a partner that I become him or her. That realization should make you shine your eyes some more. Are you ready for this person to become you and vice versa? When we get married, we become the sum total of each other? Are they gaps, can I live with the gaps, can I pull this person up, and if they pull me down, am I comfortable falling to where they are? Can I trust this person to make decisions on my behalf? Do I see myself respecting this person no matter the season of life that we go through? All of these questions should provide some food for thought.  In marriage, these four possibilities will likely manifest:

a. You become like your spouse

b. Your spouse becomes like you

c. You blend so perfectly and become better or worst versions of yourselves

d. You remain individuals

Marriage is a lifetime commitment, finding someone to go on that journey should be an intentional and well-planned action. Take your time to observe, build a friendship, focus on the things that matter, then as you both grow, you can prayerfully make the move.

We love to hear from you so please share your thoughts on the post with us and tell a friend.

Yielded

Someone asked for practical steps to become one in marriage, our answer to that question is captured by one word ‘Yielded‘. The dictionary defines the word ‘yield’ as to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist. Other words that can be used in its place are submitted, surrender, defer, succumb, give way. A Christian marriage is one in which two people decide to give up customs, traditions and decide to defer or give way for God’s way to rule their hearts and homes.

As part of the marriage counselling process, most couples are introduced to the legendary triangle which depicts marriage as a triangular relationship with God on the top end and the husband and wife on both sides. The highlight of the triangle is the interesting discovery that the more the couple focus on their horizontal relationship, the fruits that come because of a transformed life benefits their vertical relationship.

During our own session, our marriage counsellor made us write out a vision for our marriage – a simple statement to capture our desire for our marriage. We took it a little further by depicting a triangle on the page where we put down our vision and then in prayers, we invited God to take charge of our marriage to be. This gesture was simple but symbolic for us. We have grown a lot in our walk with God since then and we have observed that same level of growth in our marriage.

By focusing on pleasing God, our marriage was winning by default. In a conflict scenario, to please God, it was easier to know that ‘we could get angry but not allow the sun go down on our anger’, we also knew that our words were to be seasoned – so no insult no matter how angry we got. Submitting our conflicts to godly standards became a habit, and you know what happens with habits, after a while, they become you. That simple commitment to ‘yield’ kept our quarrels contained.

Most of us tend to compartmentalise our marital lives. We keep God in the living room and only give him access pass to other areas when we feel like it is convenient. God’s expectation for marriage is oneness in every area, decision making, finances, children, siblings, friendships. If it bothers you, it bothers him, that is what a partnership looks like. When you are in partnership, you only hide aspects of the business from your partner if you are up to no good. God is a visible partner which means He sees everything that is happening because He is omnipresent but he is also a gentleman which means he will only step in if you invite Him to, if you don’t, He remains a silent observer.

Yielding to God and letting your light shine in and through your relationship is a great starting point to becoming one. Give God his rightful place in your home, read His word with the intention to follow through on what it says and rely on the Holy Spirit to order your steps. When He said in Matthew 6:33 that you should ‘Seek Him first and all other things will be added to you’, emphasis on the word ALL, includes peace in marriage. You can imagine the impact that godly words, thoughts and actions will produce in your marriage. When your life is yielded, it will be easier to be ‘naked’ and ‘unashamed’.

We are sharing an inexhaustive list of actions that become easier to do with a yielded life and position you to become one:

·        Spend time exploring your experiences and  vulnerabilities, the more you know about each other the closer you become

·         Praying on issues together as a couple and even in your personal altars

·         Exchanging passwords/pins for emails, phones, social media accounts, bank accounts fosters openness and accountability

·         Openly talking about income, expenses, investments, property

·         Being invested in each other’s future and supporting each other to achieve all God-given potential

·         Build memories together – take time out for yourself to do fun things together.  Take pictures together – there is a fondness that comes to play when you watch each other grow together

·         Let your relationships converge, his family and friends become your family and friends and her family and friends become your family and friends

·         Portray an image of oneness to the people around you – people can see through your relationship and take advantage of it when you are divided

·         Always look forward to sharing and listening to the highlights and low points of each other’s day. Give your spouse the right of first information – Your spouse should not be the last to know what’s going on in your life

·         Never stop dating, husband, you need to keep chasing and wives, you need to stay chaseable

Now the floor is open, we will love to hear you share some ways that you and your spouse have grown as one.

As One…

“Let’s go back to the drawing board” is a statement you would often hear when people get stuck on a project. Beginnings are important, they give you an idea of what the creator had in mind, and set out to achieve.

“And Adam said “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man”. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become ONE FLESH.

Gen 2:23-24 (NKJV)


This scripture represents the first words spoken by Adam and God and we believe that they set the tone for what a successful marriage would look like. Adam realized that Eve was him, she may have looked different, sounded different, but she was him. Then God said, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become ONE FLESH” . The commandment to be one was all they needed. No other advice was necessary and this is still the most important advice a couple needs as they go through the marriage walk.

God’s expectation for married couples is to become ONE. ‘One’ physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially and in every other way. Couples are expected to have one vision, one mission, one goal and become one family under God. Becoming one flesh is as physical as it is spiritual.

One of the major problems that married couples face is truly becoming one. Today, you find couples who are selectively one, that is one spiritually but two financially, one physically but two emotionally. Where there is selective expression of oneness, we break away from the original design for marriage and a crack slowly emerges. Interestingly, the only way to seal up a crack is to take the two divided parts, join them together and seal it up to become one again. If you must prevent a crack, the item must always remain single! This applies to marriage too.

Becoming one flesh means ‘she is hurt, I am hurt, he is sad, I am sad, she is rich, I am rich, he is poor, I am poor’. We decide to take on each other burdens and walk alongside each other in this journey of life. It makes us wonder if ‘the friend that sticks closer than a brother’ was a reference to a married couple.

To represent this concept of oneness differently, think of two puzzle pieces, they are individual pieces with a unique expression but come together, each one nicely chiseled in the right places to form one beautiful piece. Coming together does not take away the individuality of each piece, it only creates room for the space that needs to be filled and the right fit for that space. Each piece retains its best features while giving room for the better feature that the other puzzle piece brings to make one perfect piece. To stay this beautiful, they must remain joined together.

When we discovered this truth of oneness in marriage, it changed the way we looked at our marriage. We realized that if we treated each other the way we treated our own selves, we would be more careful with our words, our actions and possibly our thoughts towards each other. It got to a point where we told ourselves – ‘if I think a bad thought towards you, I am thinking it about myself’. It felt awkward at first, but the more we kept at it, the more it began to feel normal. This did not stop quarrels or misunderstandings from happening in our marriage, but it certainly helped us feel more comfortable when we had to make the first move at reconciliation. The realization that ‘you are me and I am you’ – one team, has helped us grow and adapt our approach to marriage.

When we counsel couples before marriage, we would often tell them that they are going to receive a lot of advice from different sources concerning marriage. We encouraged them to measure the advice and weigh it on the scale of Gen 2: 23-24 and if it falls short of the principle of oneness, it should be discarded. Any advice that doesn’t move you towards achieving oneness in marriage, goes against God’s foundational principles of marriage no matter how well intentioned.

For your walk in marriage, the first step is understanding that you both have become one. Working to fully achieve oneness is the next step in the process and it take continuous and intentional effort.

Though, we may never fully understand the complexities of what it takes to become one, but we can summed it up this way – I am everything She is, and He is everything I am. This is what happened the day we are joined together in Holy Matrimony.

We pray that God will help us identify areas that we need to work on to move towards becoming one with our spouse and give us the courage to take those steps so that we can fully enjoy what he had in store when he designed marriage.

We love to hear from you, Pop a question or share a thought. Through out this series, we will be responding to every question. Don’t forget to like, leave a comment, and tell a friend. Thank you

The Marriage Walk

The votes are in! and we have more votes in favour of marriage.

So for the next few weeks, we are happy to invite you to join us on “The Marriage Walk”.

Today, we will be doing a “Meet the Mbangs” write up as an introduction to the series. We will share a little bit about ourselves and why the subject of marriage has a special place in our hearts. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the read!

Marriage is a subject that we have spent a lot of our time talking about, we make these time investments because we believe in the principle and validity of the institution of marriage, especially the way God had it planned from the beginning. We have witnessed the joys of marriages that are working and the sadness that comes when there is a deviation. We believe that as we embark on this journey together, we will learn from God’s word and our unique experiences.

If you are reading our blog for the first time, we will start with a quick introduction. Throughout this series, you will be reading from Idorenyin and Thelma Mbang. We co-author the blog and take turns writing or editing stories. We met during our university days, developed a strong friendship and like the stuff of fairy tales, we got married and lived happily ever after. This year, we will celebrate 12 years of marriage and almost 20 years of friendship…. we look forward to sharing many stories and lessons with you

Disclaimer: We are Christian writers, so our stories and the lessons that we share are deeply rooted in our Christian faith. The principles that we share will help couples and intending couples who want to approach marriage God’s way – as prescribed by the Bible.

Early Influences

As a young girl in my teens, I watched my parents’ counsel new couples, encourage older ones, settle quarrels and even fights. As I peeped through the keyhole that gave me a blurred view of the sitting room (bad behaviour I know but I couldn’t resist feeding my curious ears), it was not difficult to fill in the gaps, tears were shed, insults exchanged, and tempers flared. My dear parents watched, talked, and prayed with each couple. Some lived happily ever after, others could not take it anymore and went their separate ways. I found myself wanting to become a Marriage Counsellor, but I thought to myself, who will listen to a teenager.

I also watched my parents navigate their unique challenges, just like every marriage, they had happy, sad, and angry days. In my humble and unbiased opinion, I will say they have a great marriage, not because it was devoid of troubles but because they went through all the storms head-on, they had the maturity to set aside their differences when another marriage needed their help and they resolved issues that arose within their marriage sometimes quickly and at other times, at snail speed. I watched closely and I learnt from them.

Thelma

While growing up, I lived with a family and I was often woken up as early as 5 am by the sound of their laughter and inaudible chats. It became a ritual that I grew to expect every morning. It was clear that even in their 60s, they shared a friendship that they both enjoyed.

My dad also shared a story with me about a couple who lived in the same house but slept in separate bedrooms and hadn’t spoken to each other for many years. They lived together to “save face”.

These two stories show the extremes that are possible. I chose to chart the path that looks more like the early morning lovebirds.

Idorenyin

We came into our marriage with these influences and decided early, which ones will come to define our own home. We made some early notes to ourselves and agreed that with the right level of commitment to the relationship,

[  ]  It is possible to be happily married and enjoy a friendship that is exciting and evergreen
[  ]  It is possible to keep disagreement contained and not need the intervention of third parties
[  ]  It is possible to head in the direction of forever if you do it the way God says it should be done and surround yourself with people who believe and act the same way.

Welcome to the “The Marriage Walk”

Idorenyin & Thelma

Let’s Connect

We are taking a Literary Break!

Not on a fancy island even though that will be amazing.

For the next two Saturdays, there will be no new write-ups but we will like to continue to engage with you in all of these ways:

1. Play catch up on some older posts, there is a whole lot you can learn by looking back

2. Help us reach others by sharing one of your favourites with a friend or loved one

3. Pop a question, say hello or share a thought.  We will love to hear from you and yes, we will be responding to every single comment.

Finally, we have something exciting coming in September but we will like you to decide.

If you had to read from the Mbangs, which one of these two topics will you like us to write on:

1. Parenting

or

2. Marriage

Let the fun begin……

99

In my early teens, I got carried away by my wants and the need to be like everyone else. I wanted to be among the happening guys, wear the latest clothes, shoes and all. Of course, this was not possible for me financially, so the obvious happened, I started stealing from my dad. That time felt good and great, I could buy what I wanted, I felt like the big boy who always had cash available to give out and boy did I milk it. I felt on top of the world and all was well. Until one day, everything stopped. I got caught! I remember that day like yesterday. The funny thing was that, it wasn’t the fact that I was caught that made me feel bad, it was the look of disappointment on my dad’s face that got to me. He was sad and I felt worse. Even after many years, all forgiven and forgotten, when I remember that look, I still feel cold. I went back to my room that afternoon and these words sank in…

“99 days for the thief and 1 day for the owner”

This is a statement I don’t hear a lot of these days, but sometimes, I wonder if people really think deep about what this statement means and how it can affect us even if we are not physically stealing.

99 represents very long days of fun and enjoyment, a time when all seems to be going well with the things we are doing. It is a time when we feel on top of the world. What could possibly happen or go wrong? We ask. Who can stop me? why do I need to slow down? I could keep at this forever. “Pepper dem” we would add. I am a master at this… and the very many things we tell ourselves to keep us going in that direction.

There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death.

Proverbs 16:25

99 also represents very long days of warnings, a call to stop, a time when our conscience is at its loudest, screaming “pull back”. A time when good advice seems like hatred and a quest to stop our progress. We say “now that I have found “the way”, you want to stop me” and we label our advisers haters. In our local slangs, we say “they want to pour sand in my garri”

In fact, some days, we almost get caught but we somehow escape and as if that is not enough for us to stop, it serves as motivation to keep going. We are getting smarter we say. In my story, there were times, I knew I should stop, times I knew that what I was doing was not right and I would feel terrible at my actions but the road ahead always looked sweet.

Sweet to the flesh but bitter to the soul.

99 days are like the 2 sides of a rolling coin. When you roll a coin, the two sides always go in the same direction, they are up at the same time running side by side. Perceived enjoyment and advanced warning all happening at the same time. Perceived enjoyment urges you to keep rolling and advanced warning says that the coin would soon stop. Without notice, the coin stops. 1 DAY happens in an instant.

1 day is when everything stops. The excitement is cut short, the swelling head is popped, the raised shoulders are brought down. Hot becomes cold, fun becomes pain and you suddenly realise that the “haters” were actually lovers. The 99 days feel like a curse. Your conscience is silent, it had screamed its voice out. You only hear one voice saying “I should have stopped”.

Most people recover from 1 Day but there are some that don’t. 1 day can sometimes be fatal. But one thing is similar to us all, we all have 100 days.

Everyone has gone through or is currently going through a 99 day season. We hear the 2 sides of the coin while we move. 1 day is certainly ahead. It comes for all of us. Will you rejoice at 1 or will you be ashamed? The main regret with 1 is always the thought of how many chances 99 gave us.

Note to Self – “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” .

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)

That is your 99 days.

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, and tell a friend. Thank you.

Stillwaters

One of my fondest memories from secondary (high) school is the story of ‘the list’. Back then in boarding school, we had these demi-gods, they called themselves class or school prefects and they milked the authority that was given to them. They were always on the lookout for offenders of all sorts, they wrote down names of everyone who mutter any sound at study time.  At the end of the school week, the list is read and punishment served out. On this particular Friday, it seemed my friend won the award for noisemaking as she managed to make it onto about ten different lists and had to serve on ten different punishment sites doing everything from sweeping classrooms, washing dishes, mowing lawns, picking up litter, all in one day. We had a good laugh about it and split ourselves to help out in solidarity with our dear friend.

Proverbs 17 vs 27 – 28 says, ‘There is a time to be quiet and a wise person knows that time’. It seems we all missed that lesson in secondary school and had to pay for it each time our names made it to the list for talking at the wrong time.

A lot of times, we get uncomfortable when our environment is quiet. We take it upon ourselves to say something that breaks the silence. Quietness is good and the book of Proverbs encourages us to resist the urge to fill in the gaps of silence with noise. Instead, we should treasure moments of silence. King David recounts being led beside still waters in Ps 23. Stillwaters represents moments of silence when we can hear God speak so clearly.

It is easier for God to speak when He doesn’t have to yell Shut up! to get our attention. It is easier for our voice to be heard and adhered to when we are not always saying something – mostly noise. People struggle to take perceived noisemakers seriously – in fact, they don’t listen to most of what you say even when you have something worth listening to.

If God has something to say to you, you need to be quiet to hear Him. If God has something to say through you, you need to be quieter, so when you speak, people listen.

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, and tell a friend. Thank you.

Worth the Find III

We are still on this wisdom matter, we hope that everyone who reads our blog this season begins to approach life a little differently.

According to the words of Proverbs, wisdom is actively looking for following, likes and tags; begging to be used and referenced.

One area that the book of Proverbs seems to over-flog is the subject of sexual immorality, promiscuity and all related vices. As I read through the chapters, I was beginning to yawn dreading the next verse with a warning about ‘the dangers of a strange woman’. I muttered ‘not again’ and then it hit me why there is so much emphasis and still so many offenders.

My pen began to write…..

It is amazing how much time has been spent on instilling wisdom and warning about the subject of immorality.

I am tempted to gloss over but reminded that many have strayed away from the faith because of ‘It’, many families have been disrupted because of ‘It’, many have lost their lives because of ‘It’. News stories tell of men and women caught short in their prime because of ‘It’. Even the pulpit is not spared, callings lost and crowns surrendered at the feet of “It’.

I remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph ran, in fact, he fled. Joseph was a wise man, he saw into the future and knew exactly what to do.

The Bible warns that ‘let anyone who thinks they stand, take heed lest they fall’.
I Corinthians 10:12 NKJV

It is a simple warning that we should not lose our guard or think that scriptures with warnings are for others, not us. When something is repeated over and over in a book written by the wisest man with a special type of history with the subject matter, it is for emphasis. It was probably his way of saying to us, ‘I have been there, done that and it didn’t pay’.

So let us hold the warnings and words in Proverbs to heart. They keep us aware of the dangers that lurk in the day and night, reminding us to guard our hearts, eyes, ears and steps.

As believers, we also have a duty of care to those around us – we can each make one simple adjustment in our lives to help ourselves and others stay on the straight and narrow path.

Next time you find yourself on the path leading to ‘it’, be wise and flee as Joseph did.

Let those with ears listen and heed these words. Selah

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, and tell a friend. Thank you.

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