So I started off having everything figured out. I graduated with honors and within 6 months got a job, and it paid well. After a year, I could move out of the apartment I shared with two of my friends since graduation. I also got myself a fairly new second-hand car. I had a plan. Unlike my friends, I had a 10-year plan: I will get a job, work for some years, save enough money to take care of the future, build a house, start my business, then think of getting married. I was 22 when I graduated. I figured out that by 32, I should be ready to settle down.
I believed every man made his own destiny, yes it was okay to pray, but God only helps those who help themselves. I was determined not to turn out like my dad, who I believed worked very hard all his life, prayed all the time but did not plan for the future.
I was going to make sure my future and my family were secure before I got married.
Things went great, the 10 years flew by. I started my business 6 years into being an employee. I became a CEO, business was good, and before long I got a small piece of land in a top estate and started building my first house. It took me 19 months to complete the 4 bedroom bungalow. I had achieved all my goals in 9 years and 6 months and was pleased I met my 10-year goal.
My parents were happy with my progress. I was quick to point out that they should be, because I would not turn out like them. I was so cocky and full of myself. Nothing anybody could say, I wouldn’t listen. My parents warned me about bragging all the time, but I didn’t listen. I believed I had a right to brag about what I achieved, and that was final.
I did my duties as a son to them. They bought a car after I renovated their house. I also sent money to them regularly. The one thing they kept bothering me about was finding a lovely girl and settling down. To be honest, I had a couple of candidates I was considering for the position, but they were still going through a process of elimination. The one I would finally choose must also fit into my plan for a life partner and the mother of my children. She must be tall, pretty, smart, and come from a middle-class home. Also not want two children and be ready to join me in the business. She will also be willing to stop work once we have kids.
I finally decided it was time to pick a wife. So, I narrowed my future Mrs down, proposed and within 6 months we were married. Life was good. I had a house, money in the bank, my business, and a lovely wife. As far as I was concerned, I was on top of the world and nothing could go wrong.
Soon everything was going really well. I expanded the business, got some money from the bank using my house as collateral, and it paid off. Profits were pouring in. My wife was 5 months pregnant. Throughout, she took care of my every need, worked in our company as the human resources manager during the week and taught Sunday school on Sunday. I loved her dearly,and was glad I had made the right choice.
One faithful morning in February, I got a call that my father had slumped in the bathroom and rushed to the hospital. I left everything rushed over. The doctor called me into his office and told me my father had a major stroke. It paralysed him on his right side and would need 24-hour care and lots of medication. My mother was too weak to take on this task. I was unhappy to see my father in this situation, but I was glad money was not the problem.
After 21 days in the hospital, they discharged my father. I had gotten him a live-in nurse, to look after him round the clock. Paid her wages and medication for a year in advance.
Three months after, my mum died suddenly. She just slept and didn’t wake up. We buried her , moved my dad and his nurse into our home. He had complained he couldn’t live in his house without my mum. My wife welcomed him. She had lost her parents to an accident when she was 12, brought up by her aunt. She appreciated my father; he had been great to her since we got married.
Our baby came, weighed in at 7 pounds and 4 ounces, healthy and my replica. A bundle of joy as my dad seemed to get better once the baby arrived, he would spend hours sitting in his wheelchair next to his grandson’s crib, Praying for him, and his face lit up every time we put the baby in his arms but Life took a cruel turn for us a few months later .
I had always been stubborn, believing was right all the time. Because I had achieved all my plans within my set time limit, I choose to dabble into business I did not know. Imported 4 containers of relatively unknown products just because it was cheap, I thought I could make a good profit from it. To buy the new goods, I had to add 70% of our savings to the cost of procuring the goods. And just before I completed payment I discussed it with my wife. She wasn’t comfortable with the idea, and advised me it was unwise to buy so many goods without testing a negligible quantity in the market first, but with my ‘I know it all attitude” I dismissed her advice and went ahead, anyway .
The goods arrived within 2 months; the company recruited marketers to sell them, but 3 months down the line, we still had a warehouse full of goods with only about 10% sold. Most of our regular customers were not interested in our new found goods, and so moved their business elsewhere. By the end of that year. More than half of our staff had left, and we owed the other half 5 month’s wages. By this time, I had depleted the rest of our savings on paying for my father’s care, house upkeep and running the business. The banks were getting impatient as I still had a balance to pay off the loan I took from them, using our home as a collateral.
My wife fasted and prayed , and lost so much weight. I didn’t believe in all that. I believed in faith without works was nil, so as long as I worked hard, everything will be fine. My wife was exhausted. Between taking care of the baby, the home and my dad, we had to let the nurse go, because we could no longer afford her. My wife was literally tired every evening.
One morning after her prayers, she woke me up and told me she got a job. That upset me and asked her why she didn’t discuss it with me first. Things were working out, and I would soon bounce back, I said. I forbid her to take the job. My pride took the better of me. The banks had given us 3 months to begin repayments or our home would be repossed. All but 2 of my staff had left the company, and everything was falling apart around me. I didn’t tell my wife all this. I just left the house every morning for work and came back in the evening.
Things got terrible when the bank reposed the house. We had to move from our house in a posh area, into a rented 3-bed apartment, in a high-density area of town. My dad had loaned us his savings to pay for the apartment. It was a culture shock for us, and fitting in took a while. The lease on the factory had elapsed, so I no longer had an office to go to. My wife had started the Job I forbade her from taking when we had no choice. Her aunt sent us a house help, who looked after my dad and the baby while my wife was at work. She was our life saver, but I was miserable and unhappy.
By now, our marriage suffered from my foolishness. I would get irritated at the slightest provocation. I started drinking, smoking and staying most of the day at a bar near our apartment. Couldn’t understand what the problem was. Having planned everything from day one, did everything right according to my calculations. How did I go from having everything to having nothing? Things deteriorated because of my current status. I accused my wife of being disrespectful because of my insecurities. My dad tried talking to me about it, even asked me to pray and commit everything in God’s hands. But I dismissed him. My wife understood, she didn’t take offence at anything I did or say to her. The only car we had, she had to take to work. I resented the fact that I had to ask her for money all the time. She sorted that out by getting me a spare cash point card to her account. Although she had to cancel my card when I kept on depleting the account on alcohol and cigarettes. She pleaded with me to come to church with her every Sunday, but I would not hear of it.
On one of the Saturdays, I took the car to get it cleaned, as my car was being washed, I sat there smoking, a car pulled up and this guy got out of his car and walked towards me. At first, i didn’t recognise him, and then he called me by my nickname in university. It was one of my friends I had lived with after graduation. He was looking so posh, nice car, clothes, watch and shoes. I looked unkempt next to him. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries.
He looked at me and asked me what the matter was. We went to a near-by restaurant to talk. It surprised him when I finished narrating all that had gone on with me. I was the one voted most likely to succeed and stay successful out of all of our friends. Anyway, at the end of our discussion, he promised he was going to help me get back on my feet. He took me to his house. I could not believe my eyes when we drove to the most exclusive part of town and saw how big his house was. Instantly i declined his offer for me to come in and made an excuse that I was in a hurry and promised to be back the next day.
Meanwhile, I was envious and upset. This guy had worn my hand -me -downs when we were in school, and he hardly ever had over 2 pairs of presentable trousers at one time. His only pair of black slip-on shoes were the ones I gave him. I couldn’t believe that he was the one who wanted to help me. My pride was taking over. I got to our apartment, sat in the car for an hour thinking about my life, and when I finally went inside, I didn’t talk to anyone; I didn’t feel like eating either. I just went to our bedroom and fell asleep.
A few days later, I picked up my friend’s call. He had called me over 20 times from the day I saw him, but my pride and envy didn’t allow me to answer his calls. He invited me to his office. As it was a weekday, my wife had the car, so I took a taxi. They ushered me into his office immediately I got to the reception; it was obvious he had left instructions. 5 minutes later, he walks in and invites me to sit with him on the couch. He hands me an envelope; I open it. Inside is a cheque for a large sum of money and car key. I told him I couldn’t accept it, but he wore me down by saying he was only repaying all the good I did for him when we were in school. He further said if I could wait for a few minutes, he wanted to take me to see someone.
We left his office in the car he gave me. It was almost brand new with only 600 km on the odometer. We drove for about an hour, then pulled up in front of a plain-looking storey building surrounded by trees. Walked in. There were lots of people milling around, and everyone knew who he was. Before I knew what was going on, we were in front of this old man with an all grey beard, wearing a white gown and a black turban. As soon as I sat down, he told me I came because of all the misfortunes that had befallen me recently. It did not impress me. My friend could have told him that. He then asked me to think of a name. I thought of my son’s name. He told me what I was thinking of and he was right.
The old man had impressed me, I was hocked. He told me if I wanted, all I had lost back and more, all I had to do was pledge to their organisation. Their function was to lift up all their members and make sure they stay lifted. It all sounded too good to be true, but I didn’t care, I was desperate, anything was better than the current situation I was in, this was an opportunity to get back everything and gain more, I couldn’t go on like this, no money, no dignity, no pride, as far as I was concerned I was useless, so I accepted to become a member. There was one condition though, the old man said. I had to be ready to give up something precious for a new member when the time came. For now, my friend had given up something precious for me.
It was like magic. The following week, after I had pledged, I got a call from an old business partner, he wanted to meet with me. I got dressed and went to meet him. He said he had just won the American lottery and was about to move with his family; he needed to sell his business, but he will give me as much time as I needed to pay for it. This meant I could take it over immediately. This was the best news I had heard in a long time, the business comprising a large warehouse, 10 delivery trucks, 25 staff and 6 outlets spread across the city, I couldn’t believe it, the best part, he was asking for less than half of what it was worth; I agreed immediately. The organisation was right, things were on their way up.
Within a year, I had paid off the cost of the business, bought a new house, cars and had lots of money coming in, the one snag was my Dad and wife, they kept asking me what i was up too, I had changed. The organisation forbade us from eating a woman’s cooking, so I had hired a male chef to cook for me. I warned my wife never to cook for me again. My Wife had cried for days , asking what she had done wrong, eventually after getting no explanation from me why I made that decision, she gave up.
My dad called me one day and asked point-blank if I had joined a cult. I was so upset with him; I walked out and slammed the door behind me. My father was wise. He knew something was not right with me. He just asked my wife to continue praying, also asked her not to accept anything I bought for her. That was easy because she still worked, she bought food for my dad, our son, the house help and herself and could take care of everyone and the household needs, Besides, I had spent nights at a luxury apartment I just bought, before long I was there most nights, I would pop into the house on Sunday evening to play with my son, since my dad and wife took nothing for me, all I could do was say hello to them and leave after spending about an hour .
The organisation took me to a whole new level. Before long, my close buddies were billionaire CEO, judges, police commissioners, governors, senators and top government officials. I lived the highlife and travelled in their private jets and convoys. One thing I forgot to mention, which I was just about to find out how difficult it would be, was according to organisation rules, we must never reject a request from a member. The organisation had a clubhouse which was actually for members of the organisation only. We all hung out there evenings and weekends. One evening, a top judge called me into one of the private rooms. He said he had his eye on me for a while; he wanted us to be close. I was happy he was one of the powerful judges in the country, but unfortunately I didn’t understand what he meant by being close. Before I knew it, we were having sex regularly. The first time it happened. I cried all the way home; me having sex with a man? I couldn’t believe it. I got home, and took medication for the pain I was feeling in my behind, Although the pain in my heart was worse, I wanted to talk to someone about it but The organisation’s rules forbade us to discuss it or refuse a member’s request if I did; the consequences were immediate, instant insanity.
The organisation took its toll. Before I knew it, I was sexually servicing, 2 judges, 1 governor, a senator and 2 business executives. They passed me around like a whore. After every session with them, they gave me a cheque for so much money, anyone would be extremely happy. I wasn’t; I wanted out, but I was too in, if you get my drift. At this point I was ready to give up the money, the life, everything I had. I didn’t care anymore. I went to discuss my options with my friend who introduced me to the group. He warned me I had only one options for a way out, running mad and then Death.
I started losing weight; I became very ill, and wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. One Sunday, my wife turned up at my apartment. I hadn’t visited them in a couple of weeks. She found me in bed looking so weak; she rushed me to hospital. The doctors did tests on me, but couldn’t find anything physically wrong with me. My dad came to the hospital to see me. As soon as he did, he told my wife my problem wasn’t medical but spiritual and advised her to take me to her church.
Her pastor knew what was wrong with me once he lay his hands on me and prayed, he had seen loads of cases like mine; and he asked me to give my life to Christ, confess my sins and I would get better and my tie to the organisation would end. No harm would come to me he reassured me, but First I had to give up all I had gained since I joined the organisation.
After 5 months of prayer and fasting sessions, God’s grace, mercy and favour was established in my life. I became a new creature, started teaching Sunday school, and spent most of my time doing God’s work. My life took an amazing turn for the better.
Today, having put all my faith and trust in God Almighty, I have regained all I lost and more, My wife is pregnant with our 2nd child, my dad is much better, my first Son is growing up into a fine young boy, I have a new business and its thriving; we moved into a bigger house and there is enough money in the bank.
My brothers and Sisters, I failed to understand what the bible says in psalm 127verse 1″Unless the LORD builds a house, the labourers labour in vain, unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchmen stay alert in vain”. I thought I had it all figured out. I could do everything on my own and with my strength. We all face challenges every day. They are part of life, but all we need to do is trust God, cast all our burdens unto him and he will surely get us through them and elevate us. No matter what your situation is, God will turn it around for the better .
Learn from my mistakes…God bless you all, as you move forward with your own journey through life.
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