For many years, my sons and I wanted to do something that would cause his face to light up in amazement, and bring out a wide and bright smile. It was difficult to find any gift that could have this effect, he is not easily dazzled by things. At Christmas, his birthday and at our wedding anniversary, it’s always a headache trying to phantom what gift to give him.
It was about eight years ago that I started thinking about how to celebrate him on his 50th Birthday. I was reflecting on what we had been through over the past years and I wanted an opportunity to appreciate him in a meaningful way. I believed that one must not wait until death before we start eulogizing our loved ones. We need to let them know how much they mean to us and how much we are grateful to God for blessing our lives with them, while they are still able to hear our voices.
At that time, I did not know what the next eight years was going to be like for us. It got to a point that it seemed that I might not be around to see the day come to pass. When I came “back to life” in May, 2013, my dream was rekindled. I wanted to do something to show and tell my husband how much I appreciate him. I wanted to celebrate his steadfastness when the storm was most torrential, his commitment, his dedication, and his selfless love and care for me and for our children.
I stopped working and earning an income since 2007. The burden of my medical expenses had put a huge strain on our finances. Yet my heart longed to see my dream come true: to have a musical night, a night of praise, to celebrate God’s goodness in my husband’s life. By November, I simply could not imagine how it could happen. My beading business was just taking off and that was a lot of investment plus all the medical bills coming in. I was ready to give up on my dream.
That was when my big Sista and dear friend called to ask me what my plans were to celebrate this fine man, God blessed my life with. I shared my dream with her and also told her just how impossible it was looking. She encouraged me to go ahead, start planning, and find out what it was going to cost, while we pray about it. I did.
I wrote to some members of the musical group he led when he was in medical school in Nigeria and continued to be a part off afterwards. I shared my dream with them that I wanted to enact a kind of homecoming and for them to have the opportunity to minister together again in music. They loved the idea and promised to make effort to come. I wrote to his siblings in Nigeria and US, and asked them to be a part of it. They were pleased with the idea.
When I drew up the budget in January 2014, I was crestfallen. It would require nothing short of a miracle to make this come to pass. I had less than 5% of the budget. I knew I could not touch our family account without my husband finding out about the surprise. And honestly, there was no way we could accommodate such an expense at that point of our lives. This was a classic case of “how can this be?”
I was greatly encouraged by my big Sista. She told me to focus on the dream and not give up on it but to trust God to bring it to pass. I remembered the word God gave us at the beginning of the year, “Prepare the ditches, for you shall neither see the rain nor hear the wind, yet the valley shall the filled with water” (2Kings 3:16-17). Also, I knew from experience, that God is God of exponential increase. I had studied much about Him as a God of multiplication. He was able to multiply the oil in a small jar to fill many vessels until there was sufficient to pay off the widow’s debt and there was enough left over for them to feed on. He multiplied 20 loaves of bread to feed 100 sons of prophets and there were some left over. Jesus, also gave thanks to God for 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, and 5000 men ate without counting the women and children, and there were 12 baskets left over.
The same God is more than able to multiply the little we have to meet our huge vat of needs to the extent that there will be enough left over to live on and bless others with. I committed my dreams and heart desire into God’s hands. I laid all my plans before Him. I knew I have to trust Him every step of the way to make provision not only for the event but for all our needs.
I wrote to some of our close friends and told them what I was planning. The response was overwhelming. Many of them acknowledged that my husband is a selfless giver and it was their pleasure to be a part of appreciating him and appreciating God Who made him such a blessing to many. What God provided through our family and friends was exceedingly more abundant than I could ever dreamt, imagine and ask for. God also raised up a friend who helped me with all the planning and organization. Given my circumstances, I simply could not leave home without giving my husband details about my movement. He usually takes me to wherever I needed to be.
I wanted that night not only to be a night of praise, but to be used by God to bring refreshing, revival and renewal to every relationship that would be represented there. I wanted God’s glory to be on display and for Him to the center of all we would do. I wanted lives to be touched for good. So I went before God with this request.
On Saturday, March 29th, two days after his 50th birthday, my husband and I arrived at the venue and he saw his name on the event board in the hotel reception, he exclaimed; “my name is all over the place.” When we entered the hall and he saw the number of guests there, he was truly amazed but that was not all.
We began to reveal the surprise guests: four old members of the Calvary Love Singers from his days in UCH, Ibadan, came from UK. He was expecting to see two of them but the remaining two were a pleasant surprise. Then we revealed our very dear friend from Ibadan, Nigeria and her sister from US, and that threw him. Lastly, we brought out his junior brother, also from Ibadan. That was the “crème de la crème.” He was astonished. His smile was broad. He was truly wowed. After a long time of waiting and dreaming, we finally dazzled him.
The theme for the Night of Praise was Musical and Blue.
My husband’s passion for gospel music pales only compared with his passion for God, and perhaps for me J. He loved to minister in music and his commitment to this ministry has not waned since the day I first met him at a Gospel Musical Concert organized by the Calvary Love Singers in Paul Hendricks Hall, UCH, Ibadan in December 1984.
Blue seemed to describe my husband best.
When hell unfurled its fury
And the stormy blast blew
He was as calm as the blue summer sea
He is solid like the snow-capped mountain
piercing the clear blue sky
He is deep like the deep blue ocean
When the shutter closes, and the blues creeps in
He is indigo as a moonless night.
I gave him his bass guitar and the night of praise began in earnest with the choir from our church, Tower of Refuge Church International, leading the guests in songs of thanks and praise. Then the old members of C.L.S. did a number of old songs with him. The Itinerant Gospel Ministries choir ministered in songs with one especially composed for us. It shared our testimony and was heart-touching. I was awed.
Our sons, my brother-in-law and I sang together. I read a poem I wrote for my husband; “On My Knees” that will be posted another day. The boys also shared what they learnt from their father, and friends spoke glowingly about him.
All in all, he was very happy and full of smiles. He enjoyed the evening. He felt truly loved and appreciated. He was humbled by the generosity and by the length families and friends went to give him a beautiful celebration.
Needless to say, I was of all women, most grateful to God. Against all the odds, God granted me the desire of my heart and made my dream come true. The dazzling smile on my husband’s face made it all worth the effort. Above all, God was glorified through it.
Another mind-burgling expectation fulfilled just as I wrote in my blog post in February. All praise and thanks be to God.