The Survivors; Arewa Evelyn Damilola Talabi (3)
The Redeemed Christian Fellowship
When I got to 200 level, I was invited to RCF (Redeemed Christian Fellowship). I became a member and soon, I joined the ushering department. I love ushering because at a time in my life, my family survived a fire incident in 2004 and in the process my thigh got dislocated so I couldn’t stand for so long. I joined ushering because I get to stand and I trusted God for healing. I never had any issues with that again after joining the department.
I have always been an attractive person and it wasn’t just in RCF, it was in school generally. Majorly because of my skin colour (I’m fair in complexion), all eyes were on me. There is this tag people put on fair, attractive people; that we cannot be firm. It is assumed that you cannot have beautiful people who know God or do kingdom stuffs, who are serious about Kingdom affairs. Many have this view that it is always fake when you see such people committed in pursuing God.
It was a challenge for me then because I had to face a lot of persecutions, a lot of people coming out to question my life and all of that. I couldn’t defend myself and I didn’t have to because God showed up. He showed them who I really was and who I still am. One gift that God has actually given me is that whatever I find myself doing, I put my best into it. So I was committed and when I found out I was going to be an executive in the fellowship, I left. I changed hostels at the time, so that was a good excuse for me; I wasn’t living close to the fellowship so I couldn’t come. But still, God was looking at me. I felt I could run from the fellowship but then my departmental fellowship caught up with me (Department of English Christian Students Association) and made me an executive (General Secretary and later Welfare).
Eventually, I had no excuse, I had to return to RCF. But then, several persecutions came because people were really shocked that as a young, beautiful lady in school; I wasn’t living the “life” that I was supposed to be living but was deeply involved in spiritual things. God taught me a lot because people thought my faith walk was a pretence at the time. I was going from lectures to fellowships to evangelism, and then I would go for my study group and then from my study group, I would go to vigil and so on. They thought perhaps I should be doing what other attractive girls were doing; runs, clubbing, chasing men, money and so on. That was the life then and to an extent still is. However, I wasn’t doing any of that and because they could not join me, they had to hate me. It was all hatred. I didn’t let that break me down because it was actually a confirmation that I was growing and some of them would later come back to apologize or tell me how my life has actually blessed them.
Do not give up on being your real self. You don’t have to defend yourself or try to tell people who you really are. You are a light that can never be hidden. They would see who you really are and they will come around.
When I became an executive in RCF, my spiritual life took another turn. Then, I could understand God better than before and I could study my bible for hours on end, without sleeping. From a verse, I could take on chapters. I could tell when God was speaking to me and when I was speaking to myself (my instincts). I started seeing a glimpse of purpose. I didn’t know it was purpose then, I only thought it was my passion, what I loved doing; and that was giving, taking care of people, loving people, speaking to people on a particular issue and making them happy.
God has a way of bringing out what you love and turning it to your purpose and sometimes, it is that particular thing you are running from that He will use to evolve you.
Then, my focus was on women alone due to the fact that some people expected me to have a particular life I should be living. I felt I could actually tell or show them the ideal life of a woman. So I wrote an article then; “Ideal Woman” and there God placed it in my heart to start my NGO (The Needed Woman) in 2013. My teaching and caring gift has been evolving since then.
I started speaking on purpose, career, decency, family, lifestyle and all of that; reaching out to people on the street, feeding the less privileged, visiting orphanages, aged homes, and so on. And to the glory of God, He gave me a wonderful team, women who were actually passionate about all these things and we were able to achieve a lot together. I actually love them so much, I don’t joke with them.
It wasn’t all a smooth sail, but God’s wisdom has always been available. During youth service, I also thought I needed a nap, let me just go and serve my fatherland, enjoy life and get back home. But God knew I could not afford to be out of the field. God had to make me understand that my life is not my own, it is His to live. I don’t own myself anymore, He owns me and so I cannot do things my own way. And then you shouldn’t feel like you are losing out on the world because some people call you “too spiritual”. The world actually envies spiritual people.
So at NCCF, I learned how to balance my life with work, family, activities and my personal time with God. Apart from corporate gatherings, God actually wants a God-Daughter relationship with me. And He wants the same thing with you. That is, God-Daughter or God-Son relationship. In moving with God, do not get tired, do not get weary, many are actually looking up to you without you knowing. Many are praying for you to keep moving because, you are actually their inspiration and you don’t want to let them down.
It is not going to go all smooth but just know that God is the ever present help, He is ever present with you. Friends will leave you, the ones you least expect would; your family would forget about you or perhaps not have time for you. It’s this same God that will be with you. My relationship with God has been crazy, so sweet but not normal.
I cannot describe it because if I try to, it sounds foolish. And yes, to think of it, the things of God are actually foolish in the sight of men because they are things that are not normal and the world wants you to be normal. My relationship with God has been crazy because it is not what I hear or see every day. Just sit down and imagine and feel that God is sitting down beside you. You hold hands; sometimes I dance with God, I dance with Jesus; I love to dance so while I am praising, I imagine us holding hands and dancing together. I talk to Him like He is right in front of me and so on.
My Encouragement to You
On your journey to purpose, you need strength. I don’t have it all figured out; in fact, purpose has just started for me and definitely, I will need people to also pray for me and I trust God. Nobody has got it all figured out but we just got to trust God. Sometimes, you need to get out of the crowd to see well, you need to get out of the norm to see what you need to see. Find time to be alone and think. Even God thinks that is why He said His thoughts for us are of good and not of evil. Don’t overthink though but think. Discipline yourself, life is all about discipline; when to fast, when to eat, when to talk, when to bridle your tongue, when to be a Lamb and when to be a Lion.
I hope I have been able to encourage some persons. Life is not going to be smooth all through but God promises to be with you in all circumstances. Do not let go, don’t get weary, don’t get tired, just focus on what you are meant to do, focus on your call, pray about it. I mentioned that when I was young, I cried profusely, I didn’t know that it was the Holy Spirit within me that was looking for expression. I had no understanding then but thank God I do now.
You Are Never Alone