I really don’t think that there is no one reading this tonight who is as excited as I am today. Yeah! It’s my birthday and for some reason, I can’t seem to stop these thankful tears flowing down my cheeks from flooding my face. Before I start walking down memory lane, let me quickly share my testimony with you – God’s gift to me today.
14 – 01 – 18 : God’s Gift to Me
My day started with tears of pain. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to be alive but my tooth seemed to have other plans. For over a week now, I’ve been experiencing this excruciating pain because of a hole I had in my tooth. It was so bad that I could neither sleep nor think straight. So, I went to the dentist for a check up on Monday last week and I was given 2 options – Root Canal Therapy [a way to isolate the infected area and save the tooth] or Extraction [complete removal of my tooth]. Of course, I opted for Root Canal Therapy but the cost was too high. It was #80000+ and I didn’t have that kind of money. Asking my parents for money wasn’t an option either because they had battles of their own. They were trying to send my siblings back to school and #80000+ isn’t some sort of loose change lying around the house for now.
Well, I told the hospital that I’d get back to them. Funny enough, NYSC orientation course is scheduled to start on the 16th so I had less than a week to get myself fixed up. To cut the long story short, I couldn’t raise the money so every day was a leap of faith for me. The painkillers they prescribed for me weren’t working at all. I tried using salt water solution and even onions but it only worked for a while. So, I tried having faith in God’s ability to numb the pain and He answered by giving me temporary relief which allowed me to sleep well for at least 2-3 nights. Yesterday, the pain started again. This time, it was worse than before. I couldn’t close mouth completely because doing that only made the pain worse.
All I could do was cry and ask God to intervene.
Before then, my mum was considering speaking to a dentist in my church for him to do it at a reduced price but she hadn’t done that yet. I was to travel on Monday so even if the doctor agreed, it’d be too late because today is Sunday already. So, I prayed and told God that I needed Him to go ahead of me and speak to the doctor’s heart so he’d agree to do it for me. That was my birthday wish. I had to drag myself to have my bath and get ready for church and when I finally got to church, I couldn’t concentrate. The pain was just so much and the praise and worship session made it worse because I was singing and dancing in Thanksgiving. To cut the long story short, I met him through my dad after service because I didn’t know him in person. After telling him about my predicament, he agreed to take me to his clinic and check it out. As God would have it, the only feasible option after running some tests was extraction. I agreed and He did it. Now, that’s not even the best part. My dad later called to thank him and find out how much the process cost and He said it cost nothing!!! That is how God reduced what was supposed to be an 80k operation to Zero Naira. The pain is gone and I have no debt on my lap or my parents’. Isn’t God just too awesome? It reminds me of how much God cares for us even in the little things. I just had to share this even though that’s not what I planned to say tonight, to remind you that God cares so much. All you have to do is believe He will do it. Obedience is the best way to show you believe. Do your actions show that you believe?
Walking Down Memory Lane
Now to my actual agenda for tonight. Walking down memory lane isn’t something I enjoy doing but today is different. I believe that whoever that can relate to what I’m about to write is going to be so encouraged to ask Jesus for help and actually be willing to let Him help. So, please take the time to read through. I pray it becomes your turning point.
Just as every tree has its root connected to the ground being its source, some of my wrong choices that led to bad results were as a result of fear. I was so afraid of a lot of things – afraid of rejection, afraid that I wouldn’t be a success in life, afraid to let go of certain relationships and habits because I felt I’d be nothing without them. These fears ruled my life. However, one fear that haunted me too often was the fear of rejection. I was afraid that I’d be rejected by people, specifically the men in my life, once they found out I stammered. It was something that became like a curse because I kept wondering, “How is it that a girl stammers? It’s a man thing”, I thought…
So because of my stutter, I became so fearful of losing people.
I tried to hide the fact that I stuttered. I don’t know if you’ve seen what they do to people that stammer. The way we are mimicked as though it’s our fault we are unique that way. That was my biggest fear and I attached so much importance to it. It actually hindered me from participating in a lot of things I knew I was gifted in. So, I started hiding it. Instead of saying words as they are, I’d look for an easier alternative and say it. I purposely mixed up words just to hide what I thought was shameful. When there was no alternative word, I’d go for filler words like “Emm” or make a sound just to force out the words. It was so embarrassing for me. At some point, I stopped trying to communicate altogether because people weren’t really understanding what I was saying because of the way I switched words or sometimes said them in reverse.
Some people who found out about it actually mimicked me. On the surface, I’d laugh but deep within me, I was so upset. I’d ask God why He had to make me like this and it was clearly an issue for me. I shied away from the things I knew I was good at whenever it involved speaking. Usually, when people meet me, most of them say, “Wow… She’s quiet, smart, well mannered and beautiful.” Little did they know that I had contemplated suicide severally for a lot of reasons including this, because I thought I was a problem. That’s a part of me that no one but me could see.
Slowly, my success in life became dependent on when I stopped stuttering.
I prayed about it frequently but it seemed to me like there was no forthcoming answer. Sometimes, I had to rehearse what I want to say in my mind to make sure I didn’t make any stutter in any way but the moment I tried to give voice to those rehearsed words, my throat just got stuck and all I could do was stammer again!!! I think it was more frustrating when I wanted to pass an important message or when I got upset. In those moments, all I could do was let out tears of frustration because I couldn’t express myself. A lot of people misunderstood me but that’s alright. They had no idea what I was going through.
Relationships Weren’t Any Different
I settled for guys who didn’t have a problem with my stutter even when they realized that I did that. I had a lot of friends who’d in their own way try to console me and tell me that I wasn’t a stammerer. Some even suggested public speaking training. I did all that yet no help from anywhere. Maybe you are like me or you have something else that makes you feel less than yourself and makes you esteem others more than yourself. I stayed in relationships even when it was clear that the relationship wasn’t healthy. The first thought that usually came to mind when some of those guys start to avoid me is that they finally got tired of Jessica the Stammerer. Funny but true. These thoughts were real to me.
Then, I’d start abusing myself in my mind, looking for ways to keep the relationship going. In those times, I became desperate, doing everything in my power to keep their attention on me but what I didn’t know then was that the problem had nothing to do with me. My desperation only made me appear like a cheap second choice you can look to for comfort anytime. These are things I dealt with.
It wasn’t until I encountered Jesus that the eyes of my understanding began to open
I actually encountered Him for a different reason but Jesus never comes into a life and leaves it the same way. He started to help me gain my confidence back. The first step for me was to cut off from all the toxic relationships I had acquired and accumulated in the past. It wasn’t an easy choice and trust me, I struggled with God on this matter but finally, I knew I had to make a choice. Having those people around me would give me cause to keep looking back with the hope that someday they’d look my way and finally see how stupid they were for walking away from me. Stuff like that. So, I listened to God.
One next step that helped me a lot was the study of God’s Word. I never joked about it because like a dog hungry for bone, I knew I couldn’t get my mind renewed without it. Until you learn to see how important God’s Word is and make it a priority, you’d eventually fall back to what you have walked away from. It’s not about trying. It’s about being deliberate. See, let me tell you, even though I walked away, the devil never stopped trying to use other means to get me roped in. I just knew I had to fight and the only weapon for a battle as serious as this is the Word of God. Maybe you don’t see it yet but I hope for your own sake that you do.
I lost a lot of friends too
Yeah. Some people have to go. Most of them ended intentionally while others just happened without me trying to pull away. I had a lot of things that needed a reset in my life but first, the old and everyone in it had to go. I’m not asking you to cut off your friends but God will ask you to do that if they are the ones hindering you from breaking away.
With all these out, I was able to focus on spending time with the Holy Spirit as He showed me the truth. God created me fearfully and wonderfully. If he thought there was an issue with me, He never would have made me. He knew I’d eventually start stammering yet He created me. What He keeps showing me is His relationship with Moses. Moses was a stammerer yet He led the people of Israel and addressed them all the time. He was fearful at first and thought he needed Aaron but it turns out He didn’t need him after all. Just staying in God’s presence taught Him to trust God and then He gradually became transformed from the fearful leader he was to the man God created Him to be.
That’s how I know there is nothing wrong with the fact that I stammer. I don’t need an Aaron. All I need is to establish a constant, continuous relationship with God because the confidence I need is contacted there, in His presence. Maybe you have been told you are short, too tall, too shy or whatever, just know that their opinions are lies about you. They tell you what they see but God tells you who you really are and helps you become that great vessel He created you to be. That’s the process I’m in right now. You too can join in. Just believe. Do what is required of you. Trust God. Let Him lead you. This is my birthday cake to you. I drop the pen here.
I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who celebrated me. The love was so overwhelming. I can’t begin to explain to you how much your goodwill wishes and heart confessions inspired me. And oh! I cried too so thank you. I pray I become more of a blessing to you in the coming year and I know you will be celebrated more than this. I love you and God bless you!