The Desolate Woman
I met the Desolate Woman at Ibadan.
I remember the meeting which led to my meeting her in 2018 vividly.
As a minister of the gospel, you are never told the whole story, only the part that would get you to offer whatever help you can or even defend the one that came to you with the story without a second thought.
I remember ministering in that church
The youth ministry of the church had invited the GSWMI ministers and I to an event very close to the New Year.
We went as led by the Holy Spirit to teach on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and also got the entire youth church filled with the Holy Ghost.
In the course of my sermon delivery that day, I mentioned that I was a graduate of Bowen University and shared with the church how I met with the Holy Spirit while I was in 300 level in that school.
After the service, there was quite a queue of people who wanted to meet with me
Some wanted to get some insight into the challenges they were facing at the time
Some others wanted a word of prayer
Some wanted to share their testimony
Some others wanted to take a picture with me in order to preserve the date
The senior pastor himself came to me with a woman in tow
The woman looked extremely sad in her local blue lace attire
The Pastor said she came crying to him when she heard that I attended Bowen University
I asked why
The Pastor said the woman's husband took away her three children several years ago and refused to allow her contact or have anything to do with the children since then
He said the children attended Bowen University and had graduated around the time I did
He said from the little information the woman had, the three children had all now traveled abroad for their masters degree
The woman was desperate for any contact with her children, even if it was a phone call or a text message, anything!
I was perplexed.
Who would do this to a woman?
What could the woman have done?
A woman you married and impregnated three times!
No matter what she could have done, the treatment seemed too harsh
I sat with the woman and listened to her story
She told me everything she could remember about her children
How they looked, their names, what they studied in school, who their father was, etcetera
She didn't tell me what went wrong though
I tried to probe but she stylishly evaded my inquiries about the genesis of the whole issue
She just wanted me to try as much as possible to reestablish contact between her and her children physically and use the name of Jesus, to cause there to be a strong bond between her and her children
When I got to Lagos, I got to work
I didn't just engage spiritually, I got on Google and on the Alumni groups of my alma mater
I fished out the woman's children
I fished out the father
I know the children very well and they know me
I was their fellowship leader for four years while I was on campus
I reached out to the eldest of the three
I told her about my meeting with her mother at Ibadan and broached the topic of a possible reconciliation
She was patient
She listened to me until I was done
Then she said, "That woman might have given birth to us but she is not our mother. Brother Gbenga, if you are a lady, I would have shown you a scar on my left breast, my mother held me to the coal pot when I was 8, I mean she tried roasting me alive because she sent me to bring a glass cup and I made the mistake of bringing her a plate!
The kind of woman that would lock three children in a room and sit in the living room watching TV and eating a hearty meal while her children cried themselves to sleep out of hunger and pain...”
She said a lot, she said enough to make one cry...
"My father was a bursar with a federal secondary school and he traveled a lot for work
My mother was a full housewife, a terror that scarred our minds and hearts to the point where when we see her coming, we wet ourselves
We were timid and unexpressive, afraid of everything and unable to function like human beings
Our youngest brother couldn't talk until he was six due to psychological trauma
We couldn't tell my father what was going on out of fear but one day, he found out
He came home and met my mother in her Gestapo mood and he saw us covered with marks all over as she flogged us mercilessly for fun
My father didn't say a word
He took us into his car, lodged us in a hotel, and stayed there with us for several days
He got a nurse to check us and ensure the sores on our bodies got healed
He asked us questions and we answered honestly
We showed him marks and told him how she would starve us or make us go to sleep whenever she was having her episodes
My father went home after five days to have a talk with my mother, do you know what she said?
"You travel all over carrying women and enjoying your life while I am stuck here raising your children and you expect me to be kind to them? For every stroke of sex, you have out there, they will suffer!"
My father said he didn't argue with my mother.
Her words merely helped him make up his mind about what to do
He got police reports, reported at the welfare office everything he saw and what we told him and then he sued for divorce and sole custody of me and my younger ones.
He took us with him to Asaba, where we started all over with him
He didn't even let us know anything about the court case
After the divorce, he was posted to Kaduna and we moved with him
Brother Gbenga, my father had some girlfriends from time to time but he never remarried till today
He watched over us like eagle
When he eventually moved to another federal government agency in a senior capacity, in Abuja, we were teenagers then and we came to Bowen University
None of us forgot who our mother was or what she did to us
My Father didn't have to warn us to keep away from her, we all instinctively knew that we must keep far away from her.
Let me tell you, Brother, that I saw her twice before I came to the United Kingdom
On both occasions, I was in a car and she was walking by the roadside, I felt nothing for her but deep rage and hatred, the way some people will see a snake and immediately look for stones and sticks to kill it. That was how I felt."
The other two siblings gave a similar story.
You could taste the venom in their words as they gave details of the horrible treatment they got from their mother as children
I had to change my approach towards the children, I told them the dangers of hatred and unforgiveness and how it affects our walk with the Holy Spirit as believers
We had a long session
There were tears and declarations of forgiveness and supernatural healing
One of the children who had been suffering from insomnia got healed, the other got healed from amnesia
They forgave their mother but they didn't feel strong enough to establish any form of contact with her
I didn't push it
I had to agree with their father when I eventually spoke with him that the children were better off without their mother
He said he had to choose between raising the children alone in love and helping them heal and grow into responsible citizens or leaving them at the mercy of their mother and watch them die or turn into notorious criminals due to her treatment.
He said he chose the path that he believed was best for the welfare of his children
He said that the desolate woman remarried and had two children but the two children died before the age of five
He said she was sent packing by her second husband and labeled a witch
He said this was what shifted her attention back to the older children
As for the desolate woman, she called me several times but I didn't have any word to say to her
If I told her I had spoken with her children and ex-husband, she would expect me to be a sport and share details of their lives with her
She was really hopeful for news but I had none to give her
I pray that God will comfort her and bring her to the point where she would accept that her children will reach out to her when they have the conviction from the Holy Spirit to do so
Her story redefined many things for me
Judging a case without knowing its merit became a no for me since then
Once in a while, I remember the "Desolate woman" as I have tagged her and I say a word of prayer for her
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