Faith or Foolishness? You Decide.

Faith is one of those things one cannot explain, not even to one’s self.

My cousin Dee told me a story I will never forget, not even if I contract amnesia.

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It was the year 2000. A young girl was moved to Lagos from her village in Benin, to marry a vagrant who is my cousin’s cousin. Her husband to be had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and his mother thought settling down and having kids would curb his self destructive ways. The young girl was beautiful by any standards; flawless skin, striking features and a figure so perfect, she looked sculpted. Stunning though she was, the most beautiful thing about her was her disposition.  She had a heart of gold; always joyful, always positive, ever loving, ever forgiving.

Three years into the marriage, her husband, who had managed to hold down a job in that time, in spite of his demons, was made redundant. He decided he’d worked enough.  He’d much rather stay home drinking, smoking and sniffing anyway. Never mind that he had a wife and three young children to support.  His wife set up a little kiosk outside their house and would wake up early, fry akara (bean cakes) by the bucket load and sell them out her kiosk. Business was good.

Her husband on the other hand convinced himself that the only reason she was doing it was to get the attention of her predominantly male punters. Forget the fact that they needed money to survive. Forget the fact that he needed to fund his habits somehow. Every time she came home from the kiosk, he would beat her till the neighbors intervened.  Over a four year period, he broke every bone possible in her body. After each beating, my cousin Dee and her sisters would beg her to run away with her kids.

Each time, she would respond, tears pouring from her eyes, ‘my Jesus will save me.’

They told her there was a difference between faith and madness, she told them she certainly wasn’t mad.  One day, she was sitting outside the house frying a batch of akara over an open fire. Her husband as usual was standing behind her hurling insults she had become a dab hand at ducking.

‘Am I not talking to you? Answer me!’

She ignored him.

Before she realised what was happening, he’d picked up the pot of hot oil and poured it over her.

Her screams could be heard for miles.

The neighbours ran out to find her burning up, her skin and clothes, melting, fusing into one. Convinced he had killed her, her husband fled the scene. She was rushed to the hospital and when my cousins swore they would make him pay for his action, she pleaded through her burnt lips, ‘Please don’t hurt him. Please look for him and tell him I’m okay. My Jesus will not let me die. Please look after him for me, my Jesus will save him.’  She wouldn’t let them have him arrested, wouldn’t let prosecute him.

Everyone was convinced she had gone mad but reluctantly, they did as she asked. It was the only way they could put her mind at ease and at that point, her well being was all that mattered.

Fast forward nine years.

My cousin Dee who had since moved out of Nigeria returned home for a family wedding. She was chatting away with her mother when she noticed an attractive couple walking towards them. The guy was good looking but the woman was stunning, like drop dead gorgeous. Judging by the diamond earrings hanging from the woman’s ears and the cut of the guy’s suit, they had money…lots of money. They looked familiar but it wasn’t till they stood in front of her she realised who they were.  It was the vagrant and his village bride. She couldn’t hide her shock. Her cousin smiled at her and said, his twinkling, ‘He saved me. She was right, he saved me.’

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15 comments

  1. Dats not faith dats utter madness.
    That only happen like one in a million. And the others usually end up in early grave.

    My pastor said he used to believe dat a woman must stay wit her man regardless of d beating she receives. He preached dis to a member till her husband killed her out of anger n serious beating. He carries d guilt.
    So he now preaches dat if a man is beating u (as long as u r not provoking him to) carry year bag n run. Lol
    Wud like to see other point of views on dis sensitive issue.

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  2. @Adun: I knew someone would ask. Lol. Bar a scar on her shoulder blade, she was as good as new. Now ain’t THAT a miracle?!

    @Ruth: I don’t know that I would have stayed but you have to admire her faith…crazy though it is!

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  3. LOL@ can it be verified! LMAO!!!

    True that this ain’t by no means a normal series of occurences…. one in a zillion I would say ……….. she could actually have died!

    What if it wasn’t faith? what if she just never thought she could live without him for example? and she just was trapped emotionally like some women who stay in physically abusive relationships?

    Whatever the case, grace definitely came in and thank God for that! He makes all things new 🙂

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  4. Wow this story is hard to believe… I know someone already asked the question…but I guess she did not really get burnt. And NO it’s not faith, it’s stupidity, but God is still gracious even in our stupidity.

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  5. To each his own. Its as long as the spirits leads. Someone that doesn’t have as much faith as she has would be in that situation and come out dead.

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  6. Like u say dear Waila, faith is difficult to explain. I like faith but I think I would’ve faithed it from a distance…
    I personally will NEVER advise a woman to stay amidst physical abuse (which is also mental). I know of a recent case where a man who is normally abusive, beat his wife yet again and she was in a coma for 3 days (hospitalised for 3 weeks in all). When someone intervened, she was foaming at the mouth unconcious and he was still beating her. They got back together – in no time in my opinion, Not sure how much counselling they got, I don’t think it makes sense (my opinion) and certainly not a good example to their kids. I have no respect to that – I’m sorry.
    Sometimes you make the difficult decision to leave not just for yourself but for posterity. But having said that, in the case of yellow sisi (dee’s sister-in-law) the vagrant himself ran away (for how long? you didn’t say) but its nice that they are back together, the bigger question is; how healed is she emotionally? I know some happy endings where everyone celebrates the fact that he’s stopped the abuse and is now in God, HalleluYAH, not sure how many of us comfirm her healing from the betrayal and trust that had been broken and the trees of bitterness that would’ve grown in that time.

    Ok comment is late! Sowwy!

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  7. I quite like Vee’s comment.
    The question is does d man really change or can he switch back to old habit?
    Wat is d extent of damage to d woman?

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  8. Interestingly, I asked the young people in my Sunday School about this and it was interesting that most of them (mainly teenagers) were on the side of the wife beater, saying you can’t question love. I heard all sorts of excuses for the man – they blamed his upbringing, his father, said perhaps he was psychologically imbalanced etc.

    What was interesting was that they felt it was understandable to be in such a relationship, because you can’t choose who you love ( a lie I had to jump in and rip apart quickly) and that you can’t help who you love ( another lie I tried to obliterate from their minds)

    Go figure…

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  9. Interesting comments. If you ask me, I think she took a huge risk. I’m not sure I’d encourage anyone to do the same. Like Vee said, I’m not about to wait for death to help me make my exit.

    @MsLuffa: It’s a travesty that young people have been taught to make excuses for such despicable behaviour. Granted, people who are violent more often than not have a compelling history but ultimately, every human being is accountable for his/her actions and rather than perpetuating stereotypes, we should be learn to rise above our circumstances.

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  10. Ha ha! I agree, the end is a little cheesy. I quoted it verbatim…as the story was told to me. I wondered when someone would notice. Well done! 🙂

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