Sunday, June 21, 2015

Where Have You Been, Adaeze?

Now, that’s a really good question.

I am back from my unplanned hiatus, folks. It feels like it’s been YEARS since I last got on the blog (in reality it’s only been close to two months but I daresay that’s long enough :)

So, where have I been? What have I been up to? What has been going on with me and my life?

Well, if you’d like to know, here’s the 4-1-1:

1.       I made a big move last month: I relocated from New Orleans, Louisiana to Abuja, NIGERIA. Ah! The idea of moving back to Nigeria has been on my mind for a good while now but I didn’t want to talk about it on the blog until my feet officially landed on Nigerian soil because honestly, I wasn’t 100% certain if I was going to go through with it or if I was going to chicken out from fear. It was much more of a faith move than anything else for me (it’s not like I have a confirmed job or anything) and like I expected, it’s already proving to be one heck of an adjustment. (I haven’t lived in Nigeria since 1999!) From the blazing heat during the afternoon time (which in honesty is simply an annoying extension of my experience in New Orleans because it gets ridiculously hot there too), to inconsistent light (I’m already familiar with this from my childhood time in Nigeria but still, it’s bloody annoying), to the current fuel scarcity problems (it’s 100% better now; if you saw the lines at the gas stations when I first returned! From morning to night, people were parked in their cars by the filling stations hoping to get a little bit of fuel to manage – it was madness), to the maniacal driving on city roads (there is ZERO driving order. Anxiety is trying to kill me.)

 2.       I have been feeling out-of-sorts medically: For the past few months, my body has felt TERRIBLE. My level of fatigue has been extreme. I’ve even had a hard time remembering everyday details that I never had an issue with before. It’s been stressful for me and as much as I love writing for the blog, I simply haven’t had the energy to write and edit.

3.       I have been on the outs with God: I haven’t felt His closeness. I haven’t felt any guidance from Him recently on which “right” move to make (work, blog, health, life, etc). I haven’t felt like He’s been “on my side”. I am constantly wondering what I’m going to do about my future in Nigeria. What am I going to do about money? How will I find work that fulfills me and allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of others? Will that even be possible for me here or will I have to live hustling from one miserable job to the next? When will I be able to get a place of my own? I’m currently staying with my parents and as grateful as I am that they’ve taken me in (if they hadn’t, I’d probably be homeless – not a joke), I’m simply no longer cut out to live with my parents.

From the viewpoint I’ve had, things have been looking BLEAK. My mind has been flooded with doubts, fears, and sheer disgust. The funny thing is that all this while, I’ve known that this is what “faith” calls for – TESTING. Testing to know whether my love and trust of God lives at ALL times or whether it only comes out when my life is unfolding as I want it to. Testing to mature me in my faith and lift me from my spiritually weak areas into a position of spiritual power and steadfastness. Testing to give me firm roots of faith. I’ve known all this, yet, I’ve been disgusted with every minute of it. You might be thinking, “But, you know faith is a process! We all require discipline. You know this!” Yes, you’re right, I do. However, I might not have made it clear in previous posts how much I really, REALLY don’t like the process. While I accept that it is a requirement in life, especially for a disciple of Christ, I still haven’t gotten to the point where I welcome tests with a happy embrace. I usually roll my eyes as I spot one heading my way lol. No amount of being told how “good” it is for me has ever made it feel more enjoyable of an experience. I’ve even tried to trick my mind into thinking thoughts like, “Discipline is fun! When I go through a test, I’m excited!”

Umm…yeah…no.

As you can see, my faith life has not been very hot; I’ve even had to force myself to go to Church since I’ve been back in Nigeria - going to Church was something I loved doing in New Orleans and I always felt the presence of God when I was there. I find that in my current situation I’ve lost trust in the fact that God's plans are always good for me (or that going through "the process" of struggle and testing is worth it) and consequently, my taste for the things of God - Church fellowship, reading my Bible, listening to sermons, etc - has somewhat soured. I keep thinking of the Prophet Jeremiah when he says in Jeremiah 20:7 “You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me." I somewhat feel “deceived” by God.

Funny enough, as I’m writing all of this, I notice that a lot of my sentences include the words “I feel”, “I felt”, “I’ve been feeling”, “I somewhat feel”, and “I haven’t felt”. And I am quietly reminded of the blog post I wrote a few months back on feelings versus faith, Is Your God-Filter Turned On? - how they rarely ever match up and when in conflict, it is wiser to go with your faith than your feelings (which a very dear friend of mine has consistently reminded me of since I’ve been back in Nigeria - thank you again for your concern and encouragement in person, via WhatsApp, on the phone, your prayers and more :) The one thing I can say for certain is that if I am going to come out of this “spiritual desert”, I must be the one to choose to do so. And at the moment, it really is HARD for me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on God or my God-given purpose. It just means that this is the part of the process that, for lack of a better term, SUCKS (pray for me to endure please). 

Now in regards to the blog, I plan to return to my regular posting schedule (one blog post per week) because I like to believe that this blog does help a good number of you in your own struggles with faith and life, as well as moi. So, expect new blog posts chock-full of brazen truth and vulnerability headed your way soon.

For now, adios dear blog readers :)

p.s. The smile in the photo above can be attributed to the fact that I had just finished eating before I took the shot. Food has a magical way of always turning my frowns upside down. 
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25 comments:

  1. I did miss you! Glad you're back. Praying God will open doors for you no man can shut!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much for your prayers Tracey! I truly appreciate your concern. I'm glad to be back in the blogging world too. I hope life has been treating you well :)

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  2. Yay! Adaeze is in Abuja.. Welcome back jare, am happy you moved back here, don't worry you will surely love it here. Will love to meet up with you someday. You know there are sometimes you just feel that God is so far, but at that moment he is so close. I was at this very point 2months back, I just wanted a break from the whole Christian thing, I just shut down. Please don't even ask of bible study because I closed my Bible and just faced nothing. Honestly, it's a sad and confusing place to be in, I remember telling God " I am your daughter you are supposed to have it all figured out".

    See God used that moment to make me realize I couldn't do without him. You know what your passing through is not new. You will come out of it, get good friends who will help pray for you. Just go on your knees and give it to God the way you feel, I mean yell if you want. Just talk to him and hand it all to him. Do you know that after I came out of that experience I feel so free.

    Staying with your parents is not easy you just need to find a way around it all, about a job God will lead you and see you through. Amen.

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    1. Ifeoma! Thank you for being honest about what you went through! And thank you for your wise advice - I'm happy you came out of that experience feeling freer than ever before. Amen to that being my outcome also :)

      And oh yes, I'd love for us to meetup! Do you stay in Abuja?

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  3. Welcome back Sis, i did miss you and hope u saw my mail. Had u on my mind and was still thinking of you yesternite then i woke up to this. Thank God for you and God bless ur parents.
    Pray that Doors open for you in Nigeria far beyond your expectations and that u find favor on every side. I also pray that you experience a new refreshing move of God in ur Life. Amen
    I am making the move in some weeks too and i cant but trust God for the best.
    With Love.

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    1. Thank you Augustina! I am beyond grateful for your prayers and that you had me on your mind :) I'm sorry but I don't remember getting your mail. Did you send a message to deserveyourgreatlife@gmail.com? I looked through my email but didn't see a message from you. What email address did you use please?

      So, you're moving back to Nigeria too! I pray that you are fully protected and guided by God's grace as you return in a few weeks. We should definitely meet up :)

      Will you be staying in Abuja also or somewhere else?

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    2. You welcome dear. I sent it with realkemotina@yahoo.com on 27th May.
      As regards moving back, it will be to Lagos first....

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  4. Welcome Back! Please share more about moving back to Nigeria. And may God draw you back to him.

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    1. Thanks Naija Girl Abroad! I'm praying to feel that closeness with God again sooner rather than later. And I thank you for your well wishes :)

      Now that you've mentioned it, I will work on getting some posts specifically tailored to my experience in Naija uploaded soon - it has been an interesting experience, to say the least lol

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  5. Hey lady! Welcome back (in more ways than one). I wondered whether you started a new site or just stopped social media.

    I can imagine the feeling of moving back (or going through a major change in life) and just feeling lost. I'm typically that kind of person. It gets hard to want to look for God, even though we know He's there. We're completely unmotivated to do anything like pray, it becomes easier and easier to skip church. I think that God understands when we feel like that, which makes it more important to just try.

    This morning I read 2 passages (trying to be consistent with daily reading) - Matthew 6:25-34 and James 1:1-12. I think they're apt for what you're going through.

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    1. Hey Berry! You pretty much summed up how lost and out-of-whack my feelings have been. It's always comforting to know that someone else understands and has persevered in faith through those feelings. Thank you for reminding me that I need to keep trying. And thank you for the Scriptural references! I more than need them :)

      p.s. I hope you and Cakes are doing well. I've seen the pictures of his latest masterpieces on IG - the cakes look awesome!

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    2. Thanks lady! We're coming to Abuja later this month. Hopefully we can meet up :)

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    3. I'd like that! Let me know what dates you'll be around and I'll do my best to be available to meet up for lunch or something :)

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  6. I was thinking about you earlier this week as you hadn't posted in a while.
    So you're back in Nigeria! I do hope you settle and readjust to this next chapter, and it'd be awesome to get your perspective on returning home. Does it still feel like home to you after so long?
    Stay as positive as you can, write through the 'feelings' and keep the good food on a steady stream ;)
    Wishing you all the best, God bless x

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    1. Hey Tomi! Thank you for your wishes and advice (the good food will definitely be in constant supply, as long as I have any say about it lol)

      I'm definitely going to be sharing my experiences in Nigeria and my perspective on several issues. As for feeling like "home", I felt like a fish out of water immediately I arrived at the airport in Lagos for my connecting flight to Abuja lol

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  7. Welcome back Ada!
    Praying for you all the way...
    It's a good thing that God doesn't roll by way of feelings, He rolls by His Word and His word says that He delights in the steps of the righteous, He orders our steps all the way..His plans, always good!
    And thank God, no amount of "feelings" can change that.
    Much love sis.

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    1. Thank you, Frances! And yes, I'm thankful that God operates beyond our feelings because Lord knows I would be in real trouble otherwise lol I'm grateful for your prayers and I pray God continues to bless you as you follow Him.

      Have a great week ahead, my dear :)

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  8. Yayy!! *dancing* I do stay in Abuja.. Will send you an email ASAP..

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  9. I definitely missed you! I understand your feelings of wondering what God wants you to do - I'm there often. I'm reminded of a series we had called "God's Will Is Whatever!" The series focused on "in whatever you do..." I'm learning to focus on doing God's ways and trusting Him that whatever I do will then fall into His will. We love that verse that says He'll give us the desires of our heart, but the focus should be on our heart aligning with His. You're always welcome here in NC! I'm glad to see you're okay. Love you my friend!

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    1. George!!!! Love you back, my dear friend! I've missed you too. How are you? How is life and work? I hope you're in great spirit :)

      You referenced the perfect verse for me, about God giving us the desires of our hearts, and reminded me exactly what that means if we are people that love and follow God - our desires will align with HIS desires. Not easy but nevertheless true and best.

      Thank you for always leaving an open invitation for me to visit! Don't be surprised if I take you up on that offer one day :)

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    2. I'm doing great, thank you! I'm off of my feet at work now, so I am physically able to volunteer at church more now. God is so good to us. I believe He rewarded my submission when I volunteered, knowing it would hurt, with the office job. If I hadn't been praising Him in the pain, who knows if any of this happens. When I realize where I could still be, it's much easier to keep an attitude of gratitude. I'll be sure to leave the light on for you. ;)

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  10. Hmmmnnnn... So Oooooossh... no scrap that... "The legendary Oshey Turn uP" doesn't apply to this post... Bubba you will be alright... Lemme just say that it is at times when we feel the most alone that GOD is very with us...standing by us... Maybe humming by us... But most definitely hearing our prayer and smiling at us... watching to see how well we will overcome... Cause a Training... That's all it is.... I am not a born again someboRRy Eh!!! Far from it (well not too far sha).... But my time with GOD... no matter how few... In this my 23 years 7 months and 25 days of confused days existence ehhhnn... aYav kuku learnt that at the end of everything yeah... Everything will be alright... so if everything is not alright now... then ya not kuku at the end... Chin up liRRle soldier... You will do great...

    In continuation of my preaching.. I see you as someone who plans a lot... You know planning for tomorrow.. worrying (for lack of a better word) about what tomorrow will bring... about if you will end up happy et al... but as Barr. Duru says... "Echi di Ime" ( that's igbo) so worrying doesn't change a thing... Live every day with as much passion as you can muster... Dance like no one is watching Ada... You know why?! Cause this Nigeria ehn... If you take the wahalasss too serioulsy... then OYO is your case oh... Cheers Ada...

    Commenter Note! Damn it feels good to be a ble to connect with the writer... and the crowd goes Yyyyyyyyeeeeaaahhhh mehn.

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Duru! Worrying definitely doesn't help so I'm doing my best not to get stuck in that rut.

      p.s. I love your "dance like no one is watching" piece of advice - I'm all for that :)

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    2. Yyyyyyaaaa she replied... Kai... You need to see my smile right now ehn **covers face... It could earn me a Nobel price... Cause aswear ehnn a NeFer hexSpeRRed it...

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