When I stumbled upon Kemi Adetiba’s King Women series on You Tube a few months back, it was a very happy discovery indeed! I was surprised, not only that she had conceptualized the idea (my assumption), but that she actually got some notable women to feature in the series. I was enthralled by the stories of the women from diverse areas of business and enterprise. I was encouraged by their confidence, their candor, their success, especially when it didn’t look like much would be forthcoming from them at the beginning! The stories were as much alike as they were different. It got me thinking for a very long time.
I had watched most of the series during my commute to and from work. What started as a hunger for some entertainment to take my attention off the standstill traffic to and from work, ended up being a treat I looked forward to at the end of the working day. After watching a few episodes in the morning, I decided that nighttime was better, as it afforded better lighting. I would restrict my viewing to one episode per night, to ensure it lasted as long as possible. On nights when I felt really tired, I would watch an episode I had previously viewed, to be sure I left the new ones for a day I was more alert. Needless to say, I ran out of episodes quite fast!
What did I enjoy about the interview sessions? I loved the way the stories revealed that each woman had a unique story, which, if you really look at it, confirmed the fact that their stories were not unique at all. Most of the time when we feel life has been unkind to us, we hear another person’s story and simmer down. Our erstwhile good excuses for failure fly out the window, when we realise that other people had similar or worse challenges and were able to overcome, and not just survive but break through and thrive!
I saw similar threads running through the stories, challenges in life were confronted with determination, even when success seemed far-fetched. Women pressed on in the face of hard hitting problems and went on to succeed. Even when success came, it wasn’t always an overnight success. There was still that continuous struggle to maintain the success. And the problems did not vanish overnight. Sometimes, success and pain survived side by side!
I saw a worrisome thread of abuse also. Who could have thought that abuse was so prevalent in our communities? And these are just a handful of women! What is happening out there?
What is the summary of the matter? I have concluded that every woman has a story. Every woman has her own unique, interesting, action-packed mystery thriller that is non-fiction: the story she lives out every day. And while it has been easy and enjoyable listening to these women talk (and sometimes cry), I know that these women portray a peep into the lives of the many millions of Nigerian women who are going through similar life stories of their own, but have not succeed sufficiently to be recognized. Others have actually not succeeded, but have not given up, pushing their hustle every passing hour of each day. Like the story of Joseph.
How interesting the story of Joseph reads in the Bible. You can actually read through the few chapters of Genesis detailing his story in one sitting. But think again, his is a story covering about one hundred and twenty years or more, from the time his father married his mother, to his own death. We read how he was a special child to his parents because his mother conceived him after many years of marriage; and how his father loved his mother specially and better than her sister. He was treated differently, given a special coat to wear, not working in the fields like his older brothers. And then one day, the bubble bursts. He transits from spoilt kid to slave, to prisoner! And the Bible says that God was with him (Gen. 39:2, 23). What a paradox!
Have you ever imagined how Joseph felt during that march, to Egypt, chained to other slaves on their way to the slave market? Or how he felt after Potiphar’s wife’s betrayal and the sentence to prison? Or how he felt the years that the baker conveniently forgot him in prison, after he had interpreted his dream for him? The pain, the tears, the betrayals left and right? Even recalling the incident many years later, as prime minister of Egypt, he couldn’t help himself but wept loudly and profusely! (Gen. 45:1-2)
The truth is that God had His hand on Joseph and had a purpose in mind for Him. So that while Joseph felt his life would come to an end as a result of his suffering and removal from family and parents who doted on him, God was silently unfolding His master plan, that would have Joseph saving the lives of not only his immediate and extended family, but a whole nation and neighbouring countries from a long and severe famine that could have wiped out millions of people.
God works that way in our lives too. His method might differ from person to person, but He always has a plan for each person. While the unfolding might be painful and heart breaking at times, it is always for a good end. According to Jeremiah 29:11, His thoughts towards us are good and not evil, leading to an expected end. We squirm under His hands, we worry, we cry, we ponder and wonder, because we can’t immediately see that expected end. But it will come. And with the passage of time, it does come, so that we can now look back and tell the story, like the story of Joseph was told, in one sitting, with joyful tears, wondering in relief how great God is, to have brought us out so victoriously!!!