HE SAID NO.
Grace re-ad the letter, shaking her head and wi-dening her eyes at intervals.
“Wow, wow, wow! Thank God his suicide attempt failed, you know what this means,” Grace said, “The devil is such a bastard you know, dying without Jesus is the worst thing to happen to a man, thank God for his mercies,” Grace continued, breathing in de-eply,
“I felt so bad when I re-ad that letter, considering the fact that I abandoned him even when God told me to reach out to him, I allowed my res£ntment for him to cloud my heart and I disregarded God’s voice. He has been bottling so much inside while walking throu-gh life as a hopeless man, “
“Yes, but we thank God for his mercies, and that is why we must always allow God’s spirit to take the lead in our lives. Our obe-dience or disobe-dience to God’s voice is key, as our lives and even that of others depend on it. If you had reached out to him on time, who knows, he might never have attem-pted suicide in the first place, but all the same, we thank God for his mercies and timely intervention.”
“I really thank God for his mercies, and I am grateful to you too, Grace, for being there for me every time. Knowing you has been a blessing, “Mrs. Akinwale said, giving her hand a gentle squee-ze.
“It’s my plea-sure, I am glad you are happy.”
“You just always seem to have the right words for different occasions, you are such a woman of wisdom, “Mrs. Akinwale said as Grace smiled on. “I just thank God for you oh, I don’t know what would have become of me by now,”
“With or without me, God would still have found a means to reach out to you, he loves you too much to give up that easily, I am just an instrument that God used to reach out to you,”
“Yes, that’s true. All the same, thank you for being available for God to use,” Mrs. Akinwale smiled.
“Its all by God’s Grace and I am happy to be a p@rt of this,” Grace smiled back, “Amifel told me she was here earlier today,”
“Yes, yes… I never expected Amifel to be this nice to me after all I have done to her,” Mrs. Akinwale said, her voice reeked of remorse.
“That is how a Christian is supposed to act, re-ady to forgive and let go, no matter the circu-mtance,” Grace said proudly while Mrs. Akinwale paused a bit as if to allow her words to sink.
“I am re-ady to go back to be with my husband, “she declared as Grace sh0t her a surprised look, “I have forgiven him wholeheartedly, “ she continued.
“Really? Wow! When did this happen, I mean when did you make that decision?” Grace asked, unable to contain her excitement.
“It was yesternight, right here in the hospital, God led me to re-ad the book of Matthew 18 verse 23 to the end, I was a bit puzzled on that story at the end and I felt like God won’t forgive me until I forgave my husband. Then while I dwelt on it and asked the holy spirit for insight, I realized that the king in the Matthew story pardoned the servant before he required that the servant also pardon his offender.” While Mrs. Akinwale was talking, Grace kept nodding as her heart bubbled with joy.
“Then, the holy spirit directed me to 1 John 1 verse 9 and Ephesians 4 verse 32, and I realized that God has alre-ady forgiven me and my response to his undeserved gesture is to also forgive people who have wronged me, the holy spirit spoke to my heart and corrected me by his word. I prayed for God’s help yesternight and I re-leased all the hate and res£ntment I felt for my husband. After all, God has forgiven me of all my inadequacies so why should I be holding on to a wrong done to me by my husband or anyb©dy else “Mrs. Akinwale continued.
“Wow, boss move! That’s the spirit, I am so so happy to hear this,” Grace said, drawing her closer for a super-ti-ght hvg. “This is really amazing, I have prayed and believed God for such a time as this, Thank you father, Glory to God!” Tears slid down Mrs. Akinwale’s face as she held on ti-ghtly to Grace. Grace wiped her tears with her palm as she continued.
“I nee-d you to help me preach to my husband, he nee-ds Jesus too,” Mrs. Akinwale said amidst sobs as Grace re-leased her from his embr@ce.
“I would have loved to, but how about you? “Grace asked,
“You can preach to him, God has empowered you for it. The only qualification you nee-d to preach is to be saved. Listen, When God told me that he was working on you, I did not know that it would be this fast. The work has not ended,” Grace said, “Now, when your husband is more stable to talk, you have to minister God’s love and forgiveness to him, as the holy spirit leads you,”
“What would I say? I have never preached before, “
“You don’t have to memorize a script to preach, you know that Jesus died, he was buried and he rose again, right? “Grace asked as Mrs. Akinwale nodded in response.
“You know more than enough. You know what you’ll do now, pray in ton-gues till you are edified, and then declare the gospel. A beautiful speech has never saved anyone, what saves is the Gospel which is the power of God!” Grace declared with a quic-k cl@p. “Afterwards, let him know that you have completely forgiven him, and you are re-ady to come back home with him,” Grace concluded while Mrs. Akinwale sighed de-eply.
“Okay, “ Mrs. Akinwale said, she had no choice.
“Let me pray with you,” Grace offered as she held her hands and led her to a quiet corner in the parking lot.
Amifel had wra-pped a Louis Vuitton perfume and an array of her favorite cookies in a fancy gift wra-pper, she had quite a ha-rd time choosing a birthday gift for Grace, before she finally settled for the duo.
She was headed to Grace’s place in a taxi. She was a little worn out from the day’s activities but she dared not miss Grace’s birthday. She peeped into the paper bag momentarily, Grace would love it, she appreciated even the tiniest gestures.
She had also made plans for them to go out and she was simply dressed for the occasion in a casual black flair go-wn. The cu-p of the go-wn was decorated with white coral beads in a simple yet elegant manner. She matched her outfit with a white wedge sandal and purse.
Mr. Robert was coming back that same day and she didn’t want to take long, she had missed her dad and she looked forward to seeing him. So, she decided to leave for Grace’s place early so Grace could re-lease her soon enough.
As soon as she stepped into Grace’s compound, the serenity of the atmosphere that greeted her made her start hoping that Grace would be home. It was not that she was expecting a p@rty or something close but she didn’t call Grace before coming, because she wanted to surprise her but it seemed like she was going to be surprised instead.
She got to her door and gave it a light knock, she heaved a sigh of relief when she heard her thin voice rather faintly.
“Who is it?” Grace asked,
“Open the door abeg, ”
“Ami!” she squawked, “You know, for a moment I was preparing on how to fight you,” she joked with her arms akimbo.
“Fight me? But why?”
“I was like, ‘so all I deserve from this girl is a text?’ ehn?”
“Awwn I am sorry, I had such a busy day that I had to rush throu-gh to be here, I should have at least called” Amifel apologized, and almost immediately she continued, “Moreso, what else were you expecting, am I your husband?” You better call Mike for that one,” she cackled as she locked the door behind her, Grace let out a bur-st of throaty laughter.
” You are such a bully.” Grace frowned as Amifel laughed lightly.
“I didn’t come here to ton-gue-lash you, it’s your birthday after all.” Amifel eyed her pla-yfully “Happy birthday bestie!” she said as she drew her closer for a bear hvg.
“Thank you, baby,” Grace hvgged her back even ti-ghter.
“I got these for you, “Amifel announced, stretching the paper bag she c@m£ with towards her.
“My favorite cookies!” She screeched as she unwra-pped the gift items after bringing out the total bundle from the paper bag, “Omg! Louis Vuitton! “she screamed, holding out the perfume box as she jumped excitedly on Amifel who was now seated on her be-d. “You are a darling!”
“I’m glad you love it!” Amifel said proudly while trying to catch her breath.
“I have had my eyes on that perfume since you got it,” Grace said, as she gushed over the perfume.
“Really? And I was there hoping you would like it,”
“Like? I love it! Thank you!’
“You are welcome, so what do you say, you dress up and let’s go out!” Amifel announced,
“I would have loved to but we might be having a guest, ”
“Yes, Mike is coming around,”
“Oh, I see…your geek baby,” Amifel tea-sed,
“St©p it now, ”
“I can’t believe that I would be seeing that funny man today,” she chuckled as her eyes caught sight of the cakes arranged on her wooden table, “Ahn Ahn! What is going on here, how many birthdays are we celebr@ting? “Amifel asked as she stood up to take a closer look at the beautiful cakes. There were two fondant cakes and one with bu-ttered icing.
“Can I have a bite?”
“I want the one with bu-ttered icing,”
“That means you would be eating Bro Mike’s cake,” Grace snickered,
“Yeah, he s£nt it to my office,”
“Awwn, so ro-mantic,” Amifel gushed,
They kept teasing each other as Amifel cut a generous portion of the cake. Not too long afterward, they heard a knock at the door and Grace went to get it.
“Happy birthday dear,” Mike smiled as he held out a bunch of beautiful flowers.
“Thank you, thank you, Mike,” Grace blu-shed, she was short of words. She gave him a light hvg before she ushered him in.
“Hey, Mike!” Amifel greeted as she dusted the fritters off her mouth.
“Amifel! Good to see you, “Mike smiled as he held out his hands to her,
“Same here, “she smiled back, taking his hands in hers.
Amifel peeked at him as he settled on the plastic chair close to where she sat. He was looking different from the last time he saw him. He was no longer on Afro and he had in its place a lower and more decent haircut. He was on a navy blue and white patterned shi-t neatly tucked into a navy blue trou-ser, whose ti-p was sewn to fit his legs. His beards were neatly shaved and it made him looked more handsome.
Grace offered him jui-ce and cut a fairly big portion of the cake for him while Amifel stole glances at them as they smiled occasionally at each other.
Some moments later, they heard yet another knock, and Amifel sh0t Grace a questioning look before standing up to get it.
On opening the door, she was stunned to see some ladies with colorful balloons, another large and beautiful cake, and two young men with trumpets, she asked them to come in before they could introduce themselves.
“This is serious,” Amifel thought to herself as she glanced throu-gh the small crowd for a familiar face, she found none.
The men set to work, showing off their expertise as they pla-yed the popular birthday tune melodiously.
Grace stood up excitedly as she wondered where the gifts c@m£ from, the ladies greeted her with warm hvgs as they pres£nted her with the gifts. Although she was just as confused as Amifel was, she received the gifts with smiles, as she waited patiently for them to be done so they could explain things to her.
When the trumpet guys were done, everywhere grew silent abruptly and everyone seemed to be looking behind her, she turned back in an instant and met Mike on one knee holding a glistering silver ring up to her.
“Will you marry me?” he asked with an unsteady voice while gawking intently at her with pleading eyes, he looked perturbe-d, as he was skeptical about what her response would be.
For a moment, there was silence as different things began to run throu-gh Mike’s mind. “Hope I am not rushing this? Maybe she is not re-ady?” He thought as his once eager face dropped.
“Yes!” She screamed, nodding her head as sounds of ‘awwwn’ filled the air. Amifel and the others cl@pped excitedly as she held out her for an overjoyed Mike to in-sert his ring.
TO BE CONTINUED
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