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*The camera image wobbles then focuses on a snow-filled frozen pond in a wind-swept housing sub-division in a small city in South East Michigan. After a few seconds, it zooms out till the entire mainland United States is in view. It then zooms in to Northern California, to The City by the Bay, to the main room of a club in the city’s financial district where several couples are on the dance floor moving to the rhythms of the mid-tempo Latin music thumping from the speakers. The image finally focuses on a sweating bald black man in an African-styled shirt executing a dip with his dance partner.*

*CD scratch. Freeze frame*

*The man lifts his shiny head and stares intensely into the camera*

You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. Especially considering where we left off the last time I was on here. Well then, gather round while I regale you with this tale of 2016; a year of victory granted after utter defeat. A year where God was literally on a mission to blow my mind.

The summary of my 2016 story is that God NEVER fails. When you earnestly resolve to trust Him with your life, He TAKES CHARGE. Your resolve WILL be tested but you have to stick with Him. I promise you, the results will leave you in awe. Strengthening my relationship with God is the best thing that happened to me this year. As I write this to you my fire isn’t as hot as it was in the first half of the year, but without a doubt, where I am today isn’t where I was when I wrote my last review. I’m grateful for SOOOO many things this year. Heck, I started a #30DaysOfThanks series on my blog to mark my thirtieth birthday (yes I’m officially twenty now, cos thirty is the new twenty, duh!!) and chronicle all the things I’m grateful for. The goal is to finish that series before the year ends *knocks on wood*.

So, the year began with me deciding I was done with braving my struggle on my own. I basically told God, “Look, I’m back and I surrender. I’m going to let go and let You do whatever it is You want to do.” I mean, after going through some PRETTY dark periods last year because of the emotional, mental and financial challenges I was facing with the job hunting process, I had no option but to swallow my pride and come back to my Father. I was ready to admit that I had finally realized that my identity wasn’t in my intelligence, my family, my friends, my heritage, my degrees, my privilege, nor my abilities. That if ALL those things failed me, it still wouldn’t matter because my identity was in Him through Christ.

Having said all of that, it isn’t like my year suddenly became sunshine and roses. Are you kidding? You haven’t seen this movie before? Of course my resolve had to be tested. And boy was it tested. TWICE! Biggest one was in March/April, when after going through the full interview process from January through March, with the ONLY company I got to interview with (after sending in over fifty different job applications) I was told “We’re sorry but we can’t offer you the internship position.” An internship position they had suggested to act as an extended interview. To say I was disappointed would be a solid euphemism. I was devastated. Imagine this dream job that I thought God had finally given me; to have it dangled in front of me then yanked away? Nah!!! I was HURT!! But when God is in charge of your story, things will happen that will leave you stunned. Almost a month later, I got an email and then a phone call saying “We’ve decided to offer you a full-time position, with a six month probationary period. Please let us know when you would like to start.” And the icing on the cake? On the day I completed four months at the company I was confirmed as a full-time staff. See yeah, it’s one thing to think something is a God-given dream job before you get it, it’s another thing entirely for you to actually still believe it is after you’ve been working there for a bit (it’s been less than a year, but STILL). I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I’m legit awake.

The second time was when I went home to Nigeria for one of my best friends’ wedding. God knows how much this boy means to me, and knows how much I REALLY wanted to go for this wedding; especially after missing my brother’s wedding the year before and my sister’s wedding in March this year. USCIS first used me to catch cruise, but I kept trusting God. The day before I was scheduled to leave, the decision was made to extend my work authorization. Biggest hurdle sorted, but I wasn’t home and dry yet (see what I did there?). There was still a pretty huge risk getting on that flight, because without my new work authorization card I could jeopardize my visa renewal application. If that were to happen I would be stuck in Nigeria. But I decided to go anyway because I believed that the God that had let everything happen the way it did, would stay in control. In spite of the complications, my visa interview, and CBP interview were the smoothest I’ve ever had. They were literally conversations that lasted for less than 3 minutes. In fact, after I finished with the CBP officer, my bags weren’t checked even though I told them I had food (nothing illegal sha).

The rest of the highlight reel: I’ve moved cities; I miss Ann Arbor and my Michigan fam, but I love San Francisco and the Bay Area; I LOVE my job, and my coworkers; I still play volleyball once a week, got to take a clinic with a world and Olympic champion; I’m once again part of a dance performance team, InEssence Dance Company ROCKS!!!. There’s an even bigger African community out here with some pretty amazing people, so I’m still staying rooted; I still haven’t gotten a spiritual family here yet, but I know it’ll happen soon because I love my church; my family is doing great, I have a nephew now (and I cannot wait to spoil him *evil grin*) and Mama Sawyerr is currently enjoying grandma time in Australia with the nieces.

So folks, through the ups and downs (2016 had some spectacular ones e.g. the #MAGA election, and Nigeria officially being in a recession), I know I am one of a very small number of people who can actually say, this year has been amazing. I’m sorry for the length of this, but seeing as 2016 was the year of ‘Daddy Burst My Brain’, even this abridged version had to be lengthy.

Thank you so much for reading. Mallam out!!!

Frame unfreezes. Bald black man completes the dip as the camera zooms out to fade.

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