She dropped the knife in confusion.
She had forgotten to lock the door in her haste to get things done, and face whatever eternity held for her. She never even thought anyone would be around at that time, to come knock on the door.
The person at the door refused to go away, while Martha also refused to stand up. She sat on her buttocks, with legs spread wide, staring pointedly at a spot, as if she had already seen the spirit of death.
With repeated knockings without response, the door was opened by the knocker; an elderly, plump, and nice- matronly looking woman, with the characteristic christian -mother fleshy arm.
She was surprised at Martha, who continued looking at same spot, oblivious to her entry.
Moving towards her, she assessed the situation; Martha in a trance like posture, the kitchen knife beside her, and the note; which she scanned through at a glance.
She bent towards her and drew her up, taking her small frame into her large one. As Martha’s head rested on her chest, she felt a kind of warmth she had long longed for, a welcome home, a motherly bosom.
Emotions over-ran Martha, and she burst into uncontrollable tears; venting, pouring, washing her innermost of all that was bottled inside.
Mrs. Ndukwe was a neigbour to the Aboderins, a spirit- filled child of God; who promptly acted on the nudging of the Holy spirit, to knock on the door. She was glad, that she did not disobey.
She allowed Martha to cry, then led her to her house; which was the next flat, where she offered her a hot cup of tea, and a plate of well prepared, and steaming cat fish pepper soup.
Martha ate like a wolf, and confessed that she had been craving for pepper soup for a long time.
Mrs. Ndukwe explained to her that, craving for different varieties of food is part of the issues of pregnancy. And that Martha could always come to her, for anything.
That encounter heralded the beginning of an enduring, mother and daughter relationship, between the two.
Martha found solace in the fact that, Mrs. Ndukwe was a mother to the core. With all her children married and out of the family nest, she saw Martha as a gift from God to nurture, until she could stand on her feet again.
Martha not only benefited from her deep spiritual knowledge, emanating from a close relationship with God, but also from her versatality In different skills like baking, bead making, tailoring and decoration.
Mrs. Ndukwe was a replica of the virteous woman in Proverbs 31. She possessed all required qualities.
Martha never got tired of asking questions, and sitting silently to learn from her.
Mrs. Ndukwe would tell her that, “ It is the duty of every parent, to train and bring the children up in the fear of the Lord. But many lack the know how, and even those that know what to do, are often too busy, to create time for the children. Some claim they are engaged in church activities, not knowing that the home is the first mission field of the parents.”
“Did you allow your children have friends of the opposite sex, when they were growing up?” Martha asked during one of such talks.
Mrs. Ndukwe smiled and said, “I wasn’t scared of my children having friends. Nevertheless, I made sure they were involved in healthy relationships. I and daddy personally led our children to Christ at very early age. The desire for the children to know Christ, should always be paramount in the mind of every parent. But we are often preoccupied with the desire for them to go to the best schools, wear the best clothes, eat the best foods, that we forget the most Important need.”
“The most important need?”
“The salvation of their souls.It has been established that, 84% of people, make the decision to follow Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. Only about 10% make the decision between ages 15 and 30 years.”
“It is better when you catch them young. You know, when a child is in God, and you plant the word of God in his heart,” Mrs. Ndukwe said, pointing towards her heart. “The child will know that God has a purpose for his existence. At every junction of decision making; having a life partner, choosing a career, that individual will always wait on God to know his perfect will.”
“I see,” Kike nodded.
“Things were easier for I and Daddy, because we are both born-again. We have the same principles about God, about religion, and about child upbringing. After leading our children to Christ, we kept nurturing them in the truth of the word of God. All the while, we did not spare the rod. We used the rod whenever necessary, and used the word at all times. We never got tired of praying for them.”
“We allowed them to socialize, while setting boundaries. We also gave them sound sx education.”
“You taught them about sx?”
“ Yes! We started by making them know the proper names for sxual ©rgans, and then knowing the key differences between the male and the female gender. Before attaining puberty, we prepared them for what to expect, and what to do with sxual urge. We made them realiize the dangers in premarital sx, p©n©ghraphy, ma$turbation and other vices.
“Oh God! Martha exclaimed, “ My mum never taught me all that, except telling me that I must remain a vrgin, if I want to have a white wedding. She emphasized on white wedding so much, that I thought it was a ticket to enter paradise.”
“Well, it is possible your mum lacked the knowledge of how to go about it. I see people getting into marriages, without proper education on child upbringing. Parents, especially the mothers, must have good knowledge of raising chlidren. What you don’t have, you can’t give.”
“I believe all your children must have turned out well,” Martha summised.
“Yes they did, but it wasn’t easy. Even with all the trainings and prayers, our last baby derailed.”
“The enemy is always after the children of God, especially when he sees their glorious future. Our last child went way-ward in the university, and got pregnant for a fellow student.”
“What did you do?”
“We had no choice but to lead her back to Christ, support, and encourage her. She deferred a year at the university, delivered her baby, went back to face her studies squarely, and came out as a first class graduate of Nursing science.”
“She later got married to the father of her baby, after he eventually gave his life to Christ. They are settled in the UK, and doing well.”
Martha fell into silence after the conversation, and Mrs. Ndukwe knew something was bothering her. She probed until Martha voiced out.
“Is there any hope for me?” she asked, with a shaky voice. “My Dad said I’m hopeless.”
“Oh mine!” Mrs. Ndukwe cried, and took her into her arms; soothing her like one would a baby. “You are not hopeless,” she said and jerked Martha up.
Looking at her directly, and pointing a finger, she said, “Hear the word of God. Job 14:7-9- For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”
“You are like that plant! You will bud! You will bring forth fruits, and fulfil God’s purpose. Go forth and bask in the glory of God.”
© Bosede Fagbemi