LT23 | Manipulations

Part 1

Tales From Home

I have quite an interesting family. My parents have a rough marriage, stay in two different rooms and have avoided each other most of the time as a result.

One time, my elder sister saw my dad with another woman. When my dad realized, he bribed her with meat not to tell my mum when she got back. However, she told my mum. I can only imagine the pain. The only time I notice my parents conversing for long was either on business or my dad saying things about how he slept with the neighbour’s wife or the bartender – just different women.

My mum told us these things as we grew older but she really didn’t need to, because we saw him woo every lady that came to the house: the teacher, mum’s sister, our friends, etc. He also used to come home drunk. I dreaded marriage or relationships because of these.

He never allowed us (the children) play or bond together, so we used to do it in secret. He hated seeing us look nice and so, he would terrorize us with words and beatings sometimes, whenever we dressed nicely for anything. I mean we tried to make him happy by making food or something on his birthdays, but he would beat or insult or do something emotionally wrecking. And so somehow, we determined over time never to dress well again (like people with no clothes). We got used to doing that so I grew up not knowing how to dress properly.

When I met one of the sisters in church here, Sis I. during my NYSC, this was one of the things that she addressed because I often wore dark colours, sometimes all black or dark brown. Imagine having money [being financially comfortable] and looking unkempt or shabby. After much encouragement, she helped me learn to dress and look better. It’s still something God is working on because I really couldn’t look at the mirror and properly assess how I looked before going out. It was at this point that things started to change and God began healing my heart with His life-giving words.

I desperately wanted to be loved. My sister and I had to put to death our emotions and at some point, we became suicidal as a result of not knowing what to do to please my father. The constant transfer of aggression, hearing my mum talk about how he takes her money and doesn’t give her money for all the responsibilities at home, whereas he spends money on women, amongst other things really got to us. Listening to these things at the age of 7 was really painful. There was a time I took my dad’s new money notes and kept them in the dog’s cage [just to get at him]. Once, we drank the liquid soap used for washing plates at that time but we didn’t die. We made bad choices. My sister even ate rat poop. Thinking about it now, I’m sorry for her, but it didn’t work.

We never said any mushy, sisterly or emotional things like “I love you” or “I’ll miss you” or anything. We didn’t show care or weakness. The good news is that since I began to get close to God, and other Christians, I’m beginning to ‘feel’ more than before. Now I can be hurt and express it. I know it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to acknowledge you are weak, it’s okay to miss people, it’s okay to love people. Although, it’s something I fight because most times I love to withdraw from people and not show emotions but God through Sister I. has pushed me into feeling more and trusting God with others I meet.

Part 2

Religion And Me

My dad is an unbeliever from a Muslim background. Growing up, my family attended a white garment church, and my mum used to give us concoctions for protection from my grandfather, because they practice African Traditional religion. We also had piercings from a church, bathed in the sea and many rivers, used coconut, candle, palm fronds and turkey or pigeon egg, all sorts of things. My sister even used catfish’s blood to wash her legs one time! They would say all these things were to prevent the evil people from killing us.

My mum had sworn an oath that she and her children would never leave the white garment church. When I was in my mum’s womb, she told me how she would walk on the streets and randomly, different people would call her and advise her to go and make a sacrifice, else either she or I would die  but she kept refusing. However, on the day she was to give birth to me, she fell into a gutter. It was like the enemy had been trying to own me. The kind of sacrifices they would have done would have certified his claim on me [as I’ve learnt in church now that these sacrifices open the door]. She [my mum] said she would “stick with God”. I don’t really get it, because both the advice to undertake sacrifices then, and the pattern of worship in the church group I grew up in were similar, and they were definitely not [of] God. 

We all have Muslim names in my family based on my dad’s background. I was a Muslim for the briefest time. I think I’ve always been one to cause trouble [challenge the status quo]. For instance, after joining my mum to the white garment church at home, while in secondary school, I began to admire their reverence for Allah. From JSS 1 to SS3, we recited the Islamic prayer on Thursdays and Fridays and I thought then that it meant the Muslim God and Christian God were the same. I began to go with them to pray because they actually feared Allah and were very organized, unlike the white garment church which to me, wasn’t. Also, my home tutor was ordering me not to go for the prayers which motivated me all the more to go. I did these things in rebellion.

Manipulation games

I think in primary 3, a boy touched my thighs all the way up, and from then on, I got comfortable with it and didn’t complain when another boy did it in primary 5 and another in JSS1. I was shown pornography by the boy in JSS1 and I learnt weird sexual things which I practiced with him in class.

I’ve always been strong willed and inquisitive. I somehow had a nice and matured voice over the phone too, so when I was in JSS2, I used to dial random numbers (belonging to men). One was in his 40’s, another was his 30’s, I think. I never met them but I indulged in what’s called “phone sex” and they would send me airtime for this.

I liked mind manipulation even at the young age of 12 or thereabout. I used to think of how I could get into guys’ minds, and conquer them to make them fall for me and be hung on me so I could call the shots. All of this was just a cover up for my broken or messed up heart that desperately needed approval, commendation, guidance and a direct show of affection. No one gave that in my house, everyone was pretty much emotionless. It was not until the wife of the man in his 30’s called me on the phone, and called me a husband snatcher that I felt terrible and stopped.

Then I tried moving on to psyching up my classmates and understanding their emotional weaknesses. I repented when I got worse and strangely began to start plucking out my own hair, from every part of my body.

Part 3

Scheming Was Part Of The Package

I had this internal pain which grew worse overtime. I separated from people and couldn’t have friends for long but I was usually with people that talked about evil things. They were older than I was though.

When I told my mum that I was plucking my hair, she said it was because I wasn’t praying or reading my Bible and this frightened me. So, I went into my room to pray and told Jesus to help me. After the prayers, I stopped watching porn and the mind issues were resolved miraculously but I had no real or proper spiritual care, so it was only temporary.

When I went to the University, I left my home church – the ‘White Garment’ church for good. My mum at the time was against it but it didn’t really matter because once I made up my mind, there was really no going back. I wasn’t ashamed of Jesus in the University. I actively joined Bible study to know more about the Scriptures, I got baptized in water, studied the Bible and became a Sunday school teacher. I got baptized in the Holy Spirit in my second year and loved receiving revelations from the Bible.

However, in the midst of all this, I was still dealing with my many issues. I never really dealt with the rebellious and the manipulative mindset I had. I read the books – ‘The Art of Seduction’ and ‘48 Laws of Power’ and I realized I had practiced the things already written so I felt I was on track. Plus I was very observant and could sound convincing even when I lied. I could convince people to do things they didn’t want to; I convinced fellow students to travel to other countries. These things were quite easy for me. I was working while in school and persuaded CEO’s of big companies in Nigeria to partner with the International Youth NGO I was working with at the time. I think I made about eight hundred thousand for them at the time.

The point in 2016 (my second year) before my mind got twisted again and I decided to become more manipulative was when I found out my dad beat my mum. I was terrified that things were getting worse and wondered what kind of wicked God I had given my life to. My mates were doing all sorts of [bad] things but I would ignore them [just] to follow Him and this was how He wanted to repay me? So I denounced Him [God] and wanted to hurt Him back by doing the things that will displease Him.

I had another roommate, someone in my class. I took the summer time while working in a law firm in Ikoyi [internship] to study and know what pleases her so I could make her my gay partner. I’d go to work before 6am and come back by 10 or 11pm and still have time to study her. At last, she fell for me (though neither of us ever said a thing about the weirdness that almost happened). However, there was a course mate of mine I began to fancy so I had to end the ‘friendship’. I eventually got talking to her and I wrote poems [which I could do well] which contained very high sounding words. This caught her attention, being that she grew up in London so I schemed and became exactly what she wanted. I wanted to be the one to make her fall for me, then leave. I heard the Holy Spirit telling me not to go to her room or text her at night, but I would ignore Him and make calls for hours. This lady had the same trust issues as I did and for two years [after she finally fell], I tried to leave this wrong relationship as was my initial intention, but I couldn’t. Many times people would walk up to us and comment on our friendship as being so beautiful and they would like to have friendships like ours. They didn’t know it was much deeper than they saw. It became really hard to leave because she wasn’t emotionless but rather said different things I never heard my family say.

I became depressed and had severe panic attacks when I tried to cut off from her. I told my sister who is a believer and she got me to pray and soak myself in sermons; delete the lady’s contact and counselled me. I ended things with her about four months later.

Part 4

An Emotional Wreck

But then the panic attacks continued with excessive sleepless nights. Fear of abandonment would overwhelm me at night until I gave in (continued the relationship), especially after I almost jumped down from the stairs. I wasn’t able to sleep properly during this period and I lost half of my weight.

In January 2018, when things became unbearable, I knelt down to pray. It was as though something lifted from my mind when I started praying. I repented and started planning on how to withdraw from her but the panic attacks became worse, with tremors. Truth is, I had money, I had good grades, I had the contacts of some high profile people in Nigeria, and my parents had nothing to do with all of these. I was the mouthpiece for projects, plus I represented my university in Eko hotel and other places for programmes. I had a life many people wanted, but I was miserable!

Thankfully, I travelled to the US for some months and when I had those panic attacks usually at night, I couldn’t call her because of the time differences. I had no choice but to wait on God to heal me. I cried myself to sleep pretty much every day for 4 months because of the pain in my heart which was caused mainly by the hatred I had for my dad and the things my mum had said and all their issues. The unforgiveness killed me more than homosexuality did. I tried to kill myself many times but something kept pulling me back, to wait and see what God would do with me. The church I was attending at the time only cared about ‘killing their enemies and having money’.

The Hand Of God

One night while in the US, I began to pray and seek God in my desperation. I had the impression that a being came into the room and touched my heart. I felt overwhelmed by God’s love and I was suddenly fine. I had joy and peace after about 15 years of my life. I felt and knew that I was loved. This was what I greatly desired. I used to say I hate people. This was my slang and I really did. But now, thanks to God, I understand that was wrong, and now I am learning the patience to endure people.

About two weeks later, I went for NYSC and I was led to be in NCCF, and I met sister I. who God used to change my life. She helped bring the lesbianism experience to light through the word of God. I was taught how to be a friend and have friends, express emotions and how to be free and happy. I also learnt to forgive my dad by first asking God to forgive him (Sis I. who was taught by pastor Ita taught me too), and learnt to love him. Now apart from the persecution at home [that after he (dad) sent me to school, I’m wasting his money], my dad and I are fine. At least now I can say, “I love you dad”. No one uses these words in my house but me.

My insecurities are reducing as I get closer to God. The emotionless or inexpressible state I was in is gone. I’m happy and more joyful and there’s so much peace in my heart to take different decisions to seek God, like coming down to Uyo to stay and fellowship with the brethren in God’s Lighthouse. So I followed sister I. to Uyo when I was done with NYSC.

Lies from the devil

The devil gave me dreams and many warnings to flee from sister I. This is why it is so important to test and check whatever revelations we receive [I was taught this in GLH]. In one of the dreams, she was portrayed as a bad person who was stopping me from doing God’s will. Even after I started coming to God’s Lighthouse, I had a dream where the pastor had many evil spirits and I was telling sister I. that we should go and cast out the evil spirits, but she was reluctant. In the dream, I went by myself with a boldness that I thought came from God and when I was done with the boldness, I drove away in a vehicle with a guy I was formerly in a sinful relationship with! How could that have been God?

I kept mixing God’s voice with satan’s but God helped me through all that. I’m thankful to be in Uyo. I have a lot to learn.

Part 5

Leaving It All

I have been separating myself from anything and any one that would pull me away from God. Leaving past sinful relationships, deleting contacts and walking away from my former work, were part of the decisions I made to follow God. I left it all.

During my NYSC, I went to Ghana for a UN conference because, it was the UN, my dream job! I also had a colleague offer me a job in the UN in Ethiopia during my NYSC. He said I should leave NYSC, and I could stay with him as he was ready to fund me. I also almost got into Amnesty International Youth Delegation, but I felt God’s restraint. I worked in a very big commercial law firm and it was funny how I got in.

Pride in my intellect almost finished me. I was working while schooling yet I had a GP of 4.89 that semester. That made me confident and all my many exposures would have made me meet a lot of people and increase my network. I was into networking and liked to have a lot of contacts.

Somehow I didn’t have a go ahead in my heart. I felt like God wanted me to just have a break from all of that, and stay back in Uyo and learn more of Him. It wasn’t so easy but I stayed back. Later on, one of the senators called me to come and just stay in his office, to just visit Abuja and to attend his son’s Gala (he was a musician) which would have been a perfect avenue to meet his friends, family, more senators and people!

I could as well have become a networker for his son, or sold my way into being his son’s spokesperson just by sitting down there, talking, relating with people and all that. But I knew I would have to compromise what God was telling me at the moment, to be in that kind of event. And God seemed to be putting a restriction on my travelling. So instead, I went for spiritual conferences like the one held in Jos at that time. These things helped me make decisions to stand and follow God’s will through.

I had meetings with heads of Polish embassy, and the European Union at the time too. I would have just gotten back into my busy routines. God gave me the grace to turn them down. Somehow during the period I was to visit the Polish embassy, I had a lot of favour from these kinds of meetings. I sent someone else to go on my behalf. I’ve been very ambitious but I don’t know how this happened. I left it all and focused on my service year and on God. I’ve also deleted and blocked some contacts.

I’ve obeyed in little things and desperately want to do more. Many will see me now as ‘NFA’ (No Future Ambition) in this age. God bless them. But right now, I’m just learning to wait on God with total surrender and no plans. And I’m so joyful and peaceful in the midst of it all!

A Place for Me too!

When I went for a conference in Jos, I felt terrible when I saw brethren from God’s Lighthouse, and how they had a relationship with God. I wanted to have one also! One of the prayers Pastor prayed for me was the Bible verse I read about how some workers came in early in the morning, and some others were brought in quite late. But the owner of the vineyard paid them equally. He went on to add that the first shall be the last and the last first (Matthew 20:1-16). I was greatly encouraged, I felt there was room for me too. I know I can also be a part of God’s army!

Now I’m different. I have peace. I don’t try to manipulate or read people’s minds. I used to like the challenge but I see God always killing those desires with His love and His word. I used to be afraid of myself and what I could do with my kind of mind but I saw Galatians 2:20 and now I can trust God to handle me.

I have been able to evangelize too! I preached to some cultists with boldness… It even made one of them angry but he became gentle later. 

I used to think that growing in God was all about fasting for long hours and waking up in the night to pray ‘dangerous’ prayers. I practiced this at first before I came to fellowship here (God’s Lighthouse) and learn more, but I was just getting more and more weary, and barely knew God’s words. Now I’m learning to sit and listen more, and to pay attention to God’s words corporately and personally. This therefore helps me obey Him, and pray with more faith, with ease, and more importantly, according to His will.

Thank God!

– Sis T.O

© God’s Lighthouse 2019.

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