MEET MY BFFL (BEST FRIEND FOR LIFE)
Today, I want to celebrate a very special woman, a woman who is very close to my heart. If anyone asks me on campus, “Have you seen your beloved?” or “I saw your sister driving this way. Has she arrived?”, then know they are speaking of Grace Uka, my BFFL. I’m not doing this because it’s her birthday or anything like that. As I showed in the short story “An Anniversary Gift (Parts I and II),” you don’t need to wait for a special day to celebrate someone you love.
I met Grace in the early 1990s as my student. She had a fleeting fascination with Mass Communication and enrolled in our diploma programme but after doing most of the work, she abandoned the programme to concentrate on her Bachelor’s degree programme in History. She has since added a Masters degree to her CV and is a senior administrative staff at the University of Nigeria.
What attracted me to Grace was her warmth and strong faith in God. Over the years, I’ve learnt so much from her and some of that knowledge I’ve reflected in some of my writing. Grace lived in Aba before moving with her family to Nsukka. While there, she was groomed at the Living Word Ministries. Whenever we prayed together, I was fascinated by her approach of backing up her prayers with the scriptures. My meditation on this gave rise to the piece, “Bible Study Aids Prayer.” She’s the sister I referred to in “A Brand Snatched from the Fire” who helped me see the special meaning in a verse from the Book of Zechariah.
Grace’s life is filled with astounding testimonies. I’ll take the liberty to share just one. From trusting God and declaring His promises, Grace is today the mother of a medical doctor, two engineers, a pharmacist and a food technologist. When you hear about a praying (and fasting) woman, about someone holding unto God when there is no material evidence of a headway, of faithfulness in the midst of leanness, you are hearing about my beloved.
Her faith has not only served her and her family, it has upheld me in my own trying times. On many occasions when I’ve been sick, she has cared for and prayed me out. Once I was under a spiritual siege, it was like I was losing my mind. Grace took me to her house and she began to feed me with the word of God like a baby. Ironically, I was the teacher of the teachers in our Sunday School then. Being one of the teachers, she began to remind me of the things I had taught them over the years and gradually, God used her to pull me out of the pit I was in.
I cannot and have no intention of sharing all that she has done for me. But I believe the Lord would have me share this much to encourage some people out there: Your labour of love will not be forgotten. Your travails over your children and others close to you will surely bear fruit. Grace’s testimonies did not come overnight. They took years and years of holding unto God and serving Him.
But like everyone of us, she still has challenges, mountains to cross, so much that she is believing God for. My joy is that she is growing in faith and in her knowledge of God. She is also very appreciative of what God has done so far.
Every time we meet, I learn something new, I am encouraged and built up in ways I didn’t anticipate. So I’m going to leave you with some things I learnt from her. She has said them so often around me that it’s now like they are inscribed on stone. These things are based on scripture but I’ll have you fish them out if you wish to.
<> God will not leave Himself without a witness. Check your life if you are a believer. No matter what you are passing through, there must be something God has done or is doing to assure you that He is with you and that He will come through for you.
<> God hates robbery and iniquity. The programme of the devil against your life is to steal what God has lined up for you and he is relentless about it. But Jehovah abhors that and as you align yourself with Him, He will fight the robbers of your destiny.
<> God is a God of equity and fairness. He does not forget any of His own.
He says, “I have not told you to call upon me in vain. I will reward, yes, I will visit my faithful ones. I will avenge the wrongs done against them and I will heal their wounds.”
So, beautiful people, I hope that in introducing you to my BFFL, I have in some measure restored hope to you that your redeemer, her redeemer and my redeemer lives and He reigns in your circumstances if you have received Him into your life. May His name be praised forever from one end of the earth to the other in Jesus’ name.
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