Ronke will never forget that day. She had gone to see Osa’s parents for the first time. Mama Ore, who is his mom’s eldest sister, was there. Osa’s mom had fallen in love with Ronke immediately, and on hearing, she is an orphan, drew her even closer. A type of love she had prayed for.
Ronke on the other hand was surprised yet grateful, she would go back to tell her friends that such woman still exists. Earlier, they had filled her with fears by their horrible mother-in-law’s tales.
“What if she doesn’t like you?” Nkechi her friend had asked. “You know how these mothers-in-law can be full of venom.”
“Not this one Nkechi, I have spoken with her on the phone and she is lovely.” Ronke had countered
“I asked God for a mother-in-law like Naomi. One who would take me like the child she bore. One who would draw me close and teach me things my mother would have taught me if she was alive.”
“That’s a nice prayer but my dear after I heard what my course mate’s mother-in-law did to her eh, I joined to pray that my mother-in-law would be dead by the time I marry her son.” Nkechi had said.
“Nkechi!” The other ladies chorused in shock
“What a wicked prayer.” Bisi, another friend rebuked. “In that case, your mom is on the line since you have 3 brothers?”
“God forbid! Nkechi shouted, snapping her fingers in earnest.
Ronke remembered laughing at her reaction.
“God forbid what?” When you pray for someone’s mother to die, someone else would pray the same over your mother.”
Nkechi became sober, “Honestly, I didn’t think of it that way ah. God, please forgive me.
Ronke, I key into your prayers Jare. “
“Ehen, that’s the Spirit.” Ronke had smiled. “Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Eghosa called tapping Ronke gently.
“You were saying something.”
“Yes, the day you took me to meet your parents for the first time. Remember what Mama Ore said?”
“I wonder if she could see into the future because it’s exactly what is happening now. 3 miscarriages within 7 months after 5 years of waiting.”
“Aderonke!, what is coming out of your mouth?” Osa asked in surprise.
Something is taking hold of his wife’s mind and he needs to deal with that first.
“Sorry, but today those words came back fresh into my heart and I can’t help but wonder what Mama Ore saw in me that first time to speak into my life without any motherly love.”
Eghosa wanted to stop Ronke because he felt fear was getting a better hold of her. As he proceeded, however, there was a restraint in his spirit.
Let her speak, Listen to her, Let healing come
The words were gentle, yet firm………. Let healing come. He relaxed as he felt the Holy Spirit was in charge. He would listen and let his wife find healing.
With this assurance, he encouraged her to continue talking.
“The first meeting of mom ( referring to Osa’s mom) was heavenly. She practically lifted me off my feet.” Ronke continued, smiling as the memories came flooding back.
How could Eghosa ever forget that?
He had taken Ronke to see his mom for the first time. Dele his best friend and Bisi Ronke’s friend had accompanied them. There they met Mama Ore, Eghosa’s aunt. She came to visit too.
As soon as they got into the sitting room Eghosa’s mom called Ronke away to the kitchen.
“Thank you for agreeing to marry my special boy – my prayer machine,” she said.
Ronke smiled. “So you know that name, Ma? That’s what we called him on campus.”
Her mother-in-law laughed. “My dear, among all my children, he was the only one I thought we would have to persuade or even coax to marry. He was practically focused on God and his books. Nothing else mattered to him. When he told me about you, I was overjoyed because…”
“God has already shown you.” Eghosa finished the sentence for his mom.
The trio laughed.
“Eghosa, please leave my daughter and I alone. Go and hang out with your father, friends, or your aunt.”
Eghosa turned to his mom. “You mean Mama Ore?” he asked, making a face.
“No, thank you.” he shook his head after his mother nodded in affirmation to his question.
“I will go talk with Dad.”
Turning to Ronke, she said “Tell me about yourself.”
Ronke spoke about her childhood and losing both parents while in secondary school. She described how she was cared for by a couple who were members of her church till they were killed in an accident, and how she was taken custody of by her pastor. She talked about her salvation and how she had met Eghosa during their NYSC year.
“Oh, my child!” Her mother-in-law exclaimed gathering Ronke into her arms. “You have a mother now, and I pray that this relationship between us will be like Naomi and Ruth in the Bible times.”
Ronke was surprised. Wasn’t that what she had asked God for?
Ronke felt at home with this woman whom she can now call mom. Eghosa’s mom went ahead to explain the dynamics of marriage to Ronke.
“Honey.” Ronke called bringing Eghosa back to the present. I wish mom will come back from the U.S. already. She has stayed for more than one year with Abies and her husband (Abies is Eghosa’s younger sister residing in the US. Eghosa’s mom had gone to care for her new baby).
“I remember what mom told me that day. She said as a woman I am the gatekeeper of my home and my husband is the head. More than that as a godly man, he becomes a priest and as a priest of his home, he is a man who hears from God and God hears from him concerning issues in his life and home. He becomes a man in charge spiritually, physically and in major areas of his family life”
Ronke paused briefly and continued
“She also said as a woman, that I am the gatekeeper of my home. Everything stops with me. I determine what comes in and goes out of my home. She said I call the shots. As a gatekeeper, I determine what door gets open and how wide, but that the job of the gatekeeper is much more than that. She determines who even comes near her gate. There is no unusual loitering around the woman who understands her place as a gatekeeper. She said a gatekeeper is a dangerous woman on her knees.”
Such woman basically saturates her home, her life, her husband with the fragrance of her prayers that when perceived, it is the strong aroma of the secret place.
“As I remember her words now, I ask myself how much of a gatekeeper have I been” Ronke paused, allowing her own words time to sink in.
It would have ended on a perfect note that evening but Mama Ore walked into the kitchen and on seeing mother and daughter-in-law in an intimate conversation interrupted loudly.
“Jumoke ( referring to Osa’s mom), is this the girl that Osa brought home for us to see?” She had asked slapping her hands together in a derisive way.
“This one that is so thin, you can count her bones and intestine. This one looks like something that cannot even hold a child.”
“Osa!” She called out to Eghosa. “Are you sure this one can give you a child? Think well o before you will be full of gray hairs without any children.” She concluded in yoruba.
“Sister mi!” Eghosa’s mom rebuked Mama Ore. “Please don’t talk about my daughter that way. She is my Wura, (my gold). Osa and Ronke are for signs and wonders. They will enjoy their union in marriage. They will be fruitful, and they will excel.” Eghosa’s mom had declared vehemently silencing Mama Ore for the rest of the evening.”
But that incident had left a sour taste in Ronke’s mouth even after Eghosa’s parents prayed over them and gave their blessings. Ronke could not shake Mama Ore’s words off her mind. She wondered why the woman disliked her so much.
Eghosa finally understood that a seed had been sown in the form of words over his home. It was time to change the tide. Although he had canceled Mama Ore’s words that same day, and encouraged Ronke not to take it to heart, he realized there was more to do. It was time to silence any and every tongue or occurrence that has taken hold of his home.
He turned to Ronke.
“You know I initially wanted to stop this conversation, but the Holy Spirit said to let you speak so that healing can take place. I think it is time for us to take our rightful places. You as a gatekeeper and me as the priest. However, we first have to make sure there’s no room for the devil so that the wicked one cometh and finds nothing in us.” Eghosa said and held his wife.
“We are going to take out any root of bitterness. You must forgive Mama Ore totally, and take authority over any words that have been replaced with God’s promises over our lives and home.”
“I am sorry for allowing her so much place in our home,” Eghosa turned towards his wife
As they held hands together and knelt to pray. They knew it was time to give the devil some licking of his own wounds. It was not a time to face Mama Ore or the diagnosis given to Ronke. It was time to take their rightful places as children of God and put the devil where he belongs.
Once the devil is bound, every other name fades away.
As they held their hands together, there was a shaking in the Spirit realm. Didn’t the word of God say
One shall chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight?
It was so, as the gatekeeper and priest raised their voices to the Ancient of Days.
The house was extremely quiet for days. Yet, Mama Ore couldn’t be at peace. She felt so uneasy at every corner of the house. A sudden fear was gripping her too. Pacing up and down, there was a restlessness she couldn’t shake.
She opened her mouth to call Ronke, but the name got stuck in her mouth.
……to be continued