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2016. You have been raw. Unpredictable, surprising, damaging, pleasant, memorable.
You have shown me that happiness lies within me, and not the material things that I so desperately seem to feel the need to acquire.

You have shown me the depths of my loneliness. The depths of my emotions.

You have shown me the extent of my selfishness. I have no choice but to notice the self-absorbed person I’ve become. Yet I disguise this selfishness as aiming for personal development. 30 minute prayer sessions consisting of demands. Tears meant to validate the pain that I feel. Every second, every minute spent in a world that revolves around me.

Mehn 2016, you’ve just been a mess. But that kind of mess that sometimes looks pretty, you get?

I thought it was pretty, sha. This year has been a learning experience to say the least. Started off the year by finally doing the big chop. One of the most liberating things I have experienced. Didn’t even get to really enjoy it before I fell into sin. Couldn’t seem to figure out how to stand up until I realized I was never going to be able to stand up till I asked God for help. I asked him, He answered, we became best friends.

School started. I got bigger. You know that resolution you constantly give yourself? The one that you haven’t quite accomplished yet, but you still remain hopeful about? That’s what losing weight has been for me. I’m still here, sha. Weight has been fluctuating upandan. But issokay. There’s always next year right? Another year to do better, be better. Right? Let’s hope so.

Spring semester was great academically and spiritually, we’re still working on that financial aspect. And family wise, well, that one is on the agenda as well. Spring semester was God. But you know how it goes. When things get too good, you start to give yourself credit for that good. And that I did. One thing I’ve realized is when you start losing sight of who is really in control of the show, things start to go wrong, and mehn, they did they go wrong.

Summer came, I went home. Home was sad. You know that feeling of dread you get when you think about certain things? That’s home for me. Home had become this place of pain, this place of sadness. It was this year that I truly realized that I don’t know what a family looks like, feels like. At times, I find myself wanting to be content with being angry at my parents. Angry at them for not trying. For seeing the broken pieces of this family on the floor and simply walking past it. And especially angry at them for expecting me to be indestructible. For expecting me to look at the fire and smile.

Summer was a blur. Shed enough tears for the whole family. Got a new job, it was nice. Took a leap of faith and went after something I wanted. Or someone, I should say. That was a bust. Safe to say I’m content sitting in my corner from now on. I wasted a lot of money, lost some weight. Things kept going wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I picked up my bible this summer, sef. I tried and tried but something would always get in the way. Summer came and it went.

And now I’m here. Another year almost ending, and once again I am here, on my knees begging to be in the presence of the one who truly holds control of my life. You truly feel a difference when God is and isn’t present in your life. It is so easy to think that one lesson is all it takes to understand just how dependent we are on God, but I’m still learning. I’m still trying.

2016, you have shown me the beauty in humility. The necessity of kindness. You have thrown challenges in my path that have tested my strength, and many times I have failed.

You have taught me to embrace dependence on the one that sees all and knows all. To my knees I have fallen as I continuously find myself begging to feel the presence of God. Through trial and error you have disproved the idea that I can do this thing called life on my own, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for the peace that is found in looking to the Almighty One for guidance. Grateful for the vulnerability that comes with submission. Submission to the one who sees the depths of my heart and still loves me the same.

2016, you have made me brave. You have challenged my shyness and pushed my boundaries.You have tested my fragility. You have broken my heart time and time again and while my heart is healing, it is still broken.

You have shown me the extent of my loneliness. Loneliness that is confined to this mind. Internalize and keep it pushing, abi? And as time is passing by, I am realizing that I am lost. I have found myself amidst the darkness that is life, and at times, I see light. I see light that parallels the darkness that has become my norm, and 2016, you have shown me that I want light. You have teased me with the gift that is light, and I am hooked.

This year has been like one long car ride in Lagos traffic. At so many points I felt like I was at a standstill, then those brief moments of progress would come along, giving me hope of smooth sailing from that point on. But of course, I came to a standstill again. This year has been hard. I have cried. I have analyzed and overanalyzed. And while I’ve noticed the bad, I’ve also noticed the good. This year has taught me to be thankful for both the big and the little things. For prayers answered and unanswered. And while it’s sometimes hard to do be thankful, I’m trying. Shebi they said we should rejoice through adversities?

I have gotten better at photography. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I definitely see some progress. I’ve grown closer to people, and also drifted from others. I’ve been reunited with the source of happiness that is my grandmother. A woman who is tireless in her prayers for me. A woman who radiates positivity amidst the darkness. A woman who I aspire to be like. God only knows how thankful I am for her. God only knows the depths of the love I have for her.

I’m thankful for the rock that is my sister. Thankful for her relentless strength amidst the chaos. I’m thankful for her spirit. Thankful for her existence. I’m thankful for a mother who goes above and beyond for me, may she live to see the fruits of her labor. I give thanks for a dad that pushes through adversities to support me. I’m thankful for being able to feel things as deeply as I do. As saddening as this can be at times, I would have it no other way. I’m thankful for being the emotional, sentimental sap that I am. I’m thankful for the chance to create that difference that I so desperately desire. I’m thankful for a Father who welcomes me with open arms time and time again. Thankful for His grace that knows no bounds. I am thankful that I serve a God that does not work according the expectations of this world. A Father who does the impossible, a Father that turns mountains to molehills, that makes beauty out of ashes.  I am thankful because I know that joy will come in the morning. I am thankful for the possibility of love. Genuine love that stands the test of time. I am thankful for the future. Thankful for where I have been, where I am and where I am going.

I am thankful for life. Through the pain and the discomfort, I am thankful that my heart is breathing. Thankful that through the pain and discomfort, my soul is living. I am thankful for the fact that I can surrender all to Him, withholding nothing.

I’m in His hands. 2017, we’re ready for you.

Oluwa mi, mo sope.

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