Running away from reality was one thing I was very good at. I kept telling myself that all was well even when I knew deep down that it wasn’t so. The more I thought about all that happened, the deeper the hurt I felt so I decided to sweep everything under my breath and bury them there.
I had become hardened towards God and his word, I was growing cold and distant and it pained my heart even more. I loved God and wanted to obey Him but it was becoming very difficult. Worse still, a part of me wanted to hold on to the hurt and pain even when it was eating me up, my heart was filled with resentment and malice. I knew it was wrong but I just couldn’t bring myself to the point of completely letting go.
Pastor Emeka’s wife called earlier in the day requesting that we meet at her place in the evening, she said she had some things to share with me and that we also needed to talk. I had some free time in the evening so I thought it was a great idea and looked forward to it.
When I closed from work, I headed for her home after I called to confirm she was around. In few minutes, I was seated in her house as I waited for the house help to inform her that I was around. I learnt she had just returned from work and went in to have a quick shower.
Mrs. Peace Emeka Ibe was one of the few people I still admired and respected. Even though I hadn’t had much contact with her in the past, she looked approachable and friendly. I tried to guess what we were to talk about as I looked round the beautiful and well arranged living room, I hoped I didn’t have to wait too long to ease the suspense. I still felt a bit nervous since that was my first time of having a one-on-one conversation with her.
Shortly, she joined me in the sitting room and apologized for keeping me waiting a while.
We exchanged pleasantries and for the next 30 minutes, we had the most amazing conversation I have had in a long while. She told me about her experience, she was raped at 13 by her uncle, yet she had to forgive him and let go. I was so shocked that all I could do was stare at her as she told me how God’s love conquered her heart and won her over. I wished I could say the same; but my heart had become so hardened that I wondered if there was any hope for me.
“When you don’t forgive people” she continued, “you keep them in a self-made prison and the sad thing is that you have to stay there with them to watch them and make sure they don’t ever get out; that way, you have imprisoned yourself too. I must confess that letting go is not an easy thing to do especially when you keep seeing the person, everything in you would want to fight back, but true peace and freedom comes when you forgive. I remember those days after I gave my life to Christ; I was just a young girl like you, I was 21. I had carried the hurt for 8 years and when God asked me to let go, I refused because I wanted revenge. I wanted God to punish him but instead God asked me to pray for him. Can you imagine that? He wanted me to pray for a man that raped me! It was so difficult because my uncle never even felt sorry rather he warned me never to tell anyone and even bragged that if I dared to tell anyone, they wouldn’t believe me because they held him in high esteem; they would never believe he would do a thing like that to me. He also threatened to deny it and even kill me.”
“Oh my God” I fumed
“When my husband came along 2 years later, it was a big issue for us and almost wrecked our relationship because I held on to the hurt and saw all men as evil, I battled with low-self esteem, rejection and unforgiveness. He kept talking to me, showing me the love of God and praying for me until one day, few months later, I listened to a message a friend gave me, I can never forget that day; 22nd of July, it was a Saturday. I sat in my room and wept all day; that was the day I let go. I surrendered my hurt to God and forgave my uncle completely, it was one of the most beautiful days in my life. The heavy load I had carried for years was taken away from me, I felt light, peaceful and loved like never before in my life. I knew boundless joy and true freedom.”
I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore, she lent me her shoulders as she pulled me close to her bosom.
“It’s so difficult ma, I have tried. I have prayed and fasted but I can’t, I feel so angry anytime I remember it”
“My dear, It is God that is at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure; what he commands, His grace enables us to do. I totally understand you dearie and I have been praying for you. This is what we have been called to do as Christians, remember how Christ loved and forgave us before we even realized we had sinned. Forgiveness is a free gift we have received from God and must continue to give freely to anyone who hurts us whether we think they deserve it or not; that’s what Christ did for us. I would like us to pray together now, He helped me, and I know he will help you too”
With that, she held my hand and the next few minutes were my most precious moments of surrender. I cried, I wept loud and hard, I don’t know for how long but she just let me. She prayed for me in words I didn’t understand and soon, I heard myself praying in other tongues too, though it was strange but I let them flow.
It was like God’s presence enveloped me, I felt all my hurts, pain and anger melt away. I felt light, really light and yet full of energy. I was kneeling on the floor by the time we were done praying, she was still holding my hand and encouraging my weary heart. At that moment I knew I had let go, I was filled with overwhelming joy.
“Nnenna, it is done! I sense a note of victory in my spirit and now, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit. I am so happy for you. Now you can pray in other tongues and have limitless fellowship with the Father. When you go back, you should pray in the Spirit more often and build up your most holy faith. Glory to God!”
I nodded my head as I stood up, a new person, refreshed and filled with new strength.
“Also, you must keep declaring God’s word because the devil is gonna come back to make you doubt and feel guilty. He will bring back memories and hurts, but you must stand on God’s word. Now that you have been filled with the Spirit, you must continue to study God’s word and let him speak to you; the Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus to you more, listen to Him daily and let Him do His work in you.”
“Now you will promise me that you will pray for Bro David and Frank and next Sunday you are going to walk up to them and speak with them. If you want me to be with you, I will be glad to go with you. Is that ok by you?”
“Yes ma” I said willingly.
“Meanwhile, you are always welcome here anytime and don’t forget to call me if you need help with anything. Let me quickly prepare something for us to eat and also for my husband, he must be on his way home now. You can join me here” She said as she led me to the kitchen.