“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
“Hi Everyone! My name is Promise, and I am a former sex addict. Well, I wouldn’t have really described myself as a sex addict… I thought I was in control of my sexual behaviour and habits. But, it’s obvious I didn’t have as much control as I thought I did. My sexcapades almost cost me my marriage to the most wonderful man I have ever known…” I stop to pull myself together. Ope is in the audience, cheering me on with his smile and a thumbs up.
“I am married to Openiyi Olamisan, my angel. We’ll be married for two years in two weeks time. We’ve decided to renew our vows, and you’re all invited to celebrate with us! Apparently, I owe you deeply for the support you have given him over the last year. Thank you.” The audience applauds, and I smile.
“I really don’t know where to begin to tell my story. I guess it all started with Uncle Bill. When I was nine years old, I stayed home one day from school, because I had fallen from the tree in our backyard and badly sprained my ankle. My mother’s elder brother, William, who I knew as Uncle Bill, stayed home with me. Instead of looking after me, he took advantage of me, and molested me.
“What was worse was that he made me believe that that was love. He made me want him. He perverted me and made my desire for sex insatiable. Sometimes I think if he had been forceful, so that I had hated the experience, maybe I would have known I needed help ages ago. It would have been clear that it was rape, and evil, and I wouldn’t have craved his next assault.
“By the time I was a teenager, sex meant nothing to me. Uncle Bill was not always around, and I still had needs. I remember the first time I had sex with someone else. It was my neighbour’s son. He was no where as experienced as William, and I felt nothing afterwards. I craved a more sadistic form of sex, and I never offered myself to him again.
“Then one day, his father called me to his house and offered me chocolates and treats if I would give him a blow job. That was when I knew I could get something for what I was offering, even though I would have done it for free. I asked him for money instead, and he smiled at me and said that for the amount I requested, he wanted sex too.
“From that time on, I always used sex to my advantage, and I couldn’t hold a platonic relationship with any man. If we were not having sex, and so he wasn’t doing anything for me, I had no interest nor business with him. Women came to know about me, and naturally, they hated me. I broke up countless marriages, not because I wanted the men, just because they wanted sex with me, and they had something I wanted. I never once lost sleep over the hurt I caused others.
“Things changed when I met Ope. I actually made him my friend! Someone had told me that he practised celibacy, and I thought it was the biggest joke ever. I sought him out and flirted with him, hoping to tempt him to succumb, but he never did. By then, I was used to talking to him and having him around, and so, I suddenly had a friend. I liked that I could be myself with him, and he was the only one I ever really opened up to and told about my past.
“Even though I said I didn’t believe in God, I really admired that about Ope. I admired his faith, and how he lived true to it. I actually invited myself to his Church. I remember thinking if they were all like him, I might become a Christian. But people like Ope are truly one in a million!
“The Church thing didn’t work for me. I felt their judgmental stares, and heard their critical whispers and I even saw a few of my exes, or should I say clients, sitting in dignified seats. I thought the whole religion was a farce, and didn’t give much more thought to it.
“So, to cut a long story short, I fell in love with Ope and discovered years later, that he loved me too. I wanted to be good enough for him, and so I changed my ways. I practised abstinence until marriage for him. But it was so so hard to not do what felt so natural, so normal… To not express my passionate love for him the only way I really knew how.
“I fantasised a lot about our first time. But it wasn’t all I imagined, because my expectations were perverted. I knew nothing of sexual intimacy, only sexual intercourse, and I wasn’t ready to learn, because I thought I was an expert. An expert at sex, maybe, but a novice at making love.
“I only just discovered the beauty of love making. I made love to my husband last week for the first time since we have been married. And my body responded to him like I was experiencing sex for the first time.
“You see, I thought I was broken when my uncle assaulted me as a child, but I wasn’t truly broken until Tony. Whatever ideas I had about sex, whatever imaginations, he destroyed them and made me despise what I once loved. He broke and crushed my spirit, making me question everything I ever thought I knew, I was or I wanted.
“Tony was the man I thought I wanted. He was sexy and attractive. He understood and fed my insatiable desire for sex, which I had elevated to the status of greatest need. I didn’t care that he didn’t know God, nor fear Him. I didn’t care that his character was questionable. He was like me, and he made me feel normal. With him, I felt I was really myself, but I was only indulging in a selfish fantasy.
“The reality of the man I left my husband for was soon revealed. At the drop of a hat, at the slightest inconvenience to himself, Tony threw me to the dogs. He turned me into his sex slave, and made me serve an average of eight men a day, some days, as many as 12. Men, who delighted in doing all manner of sadistic things to me, as though I wasn’t even human. That was the monster I left my husband for, because I foolishly traded love for sex.
“I used to blame God for what happened to me as a child, and how my life turned out afterwards. I even blamed God for Tony’s abuse. But Tony and Uncle Bill made their own selfish decisions, just as I made my selfish decision to hurt my husband repeatedly.
“I’ve come to realise that it’s not God’s will that hurts us, it’s our’s. We choose evil. But the problem with evil is that you can’t choose the type or portion of evil you permit in your life. When you choose evil, you get the whole package and are exposed to the full potency of evil. God offers us the choice between life or death, but we keep choosing death, and make ourselves victims of evil.
“The silver lining in my story was that someone loved me. Someone saw me, the real me. Someone believed in me. That someone was Ope, and he never gave up on me! After everything I did to him and put him through, he still loved me and did good to me, and even came after me, when I ran away.
“I used to tell him that I see Jesus in him, but you know, I really did see Jesus in him! The day he came to me in Ibadan, when I first saw him, I was sure I was looking at Jesus… He…” Ope raises his hands and interrupts me.
“Ummm…. Promise, what are you talking about?” He asked, looking at me strangely.
“You know, when you came to Ibadan last week and brought me home?”
“Uh, that wasn’t me. Are you sure?” Ope asked.
“What do you mean it wasn’t you? Of course it was you! Who else would it be?”
It was Me.
I threw my hand to my mouth as the truth dawned on me. “Oh my God! It wasn’t you? How…? How???”
“Darling, the day you came back home, I was returning from a business trip to Abuja. I still have the ticket stub.” Ope said, looking around the room. Everyone was passing glances between me and Ope, probably trying to figure out if this was a prank. “Did he drive my car?”
I shook my head, feeling my legs go weak. “We took the bus…”
“And when you got to the house…?”
“The door was opened. I remember thinking how lucky we were that no one had broken in. We didn’t use a key,” I gasped. How had I missed it? “Oh my God. Oh my God. I’ve seen Jesus…and I didn’t know. It was all so surreal.”
“Is this a joke?” The Facilitator asked, looking at me seriously. “You’re saying that Jesus came down from Heaven, and took you home to your husband, and then left? Why should anyone believe that? Maybe you were in a trance, or something!”
“Well, my mother and my sister saw Him too… Maybe they can confirm my story.”
Everywhere was quiet, while I brought my phone out of my pocket to call my mother.
“Mama, eka’san. Mom, do you remember the day I left?”
“What do you mean? Wasn’t it just last week?” Mama asked.
“Was someone with me? Did you meet my husband?”
“Yes. Are you okay? Why are you asking me that?”
“Can you describe him?”
“Tejumola! Is there something wrong? You don’t know what your husband looks like? Why are you asking such strange questions?”
“Mama, Ope said he never came for me. He said he was in Abuja that day.”
“Eh… So who was that then?” Mama asked. “You know I have never seen your husband before, and you said that he was your husband!”
“Mummy, I will call you later…” I was about to hang up, when the Facilitator took the phone from me.
“Hello,” he said to my mother. “Are you Promise’s mother? So you remember that she left Ibadan with a man, who she thought was her husband? Okay. Thank you.”
Ope was the first to laugh. I soon joined him in joyful laughter. GOD IS REAL! My spirit was speaking wonders that began to escape my lips. I was speaking in tongues, praising God with everything in me.
A lady began to sing. “God of wonders beyond our Galaxy… You are holy! Holy! The Universe declares Your Majesty… You are holy! Holy!”
The atmosphere in the room changed and soon everyone was either singing or praying or speaking in tongues. Even the Facilitator was crying and praying. I am not much of a singer, and I didn’t know the song well, but when it came into my spirit, it was all I could do… And the audience carried me through like a choir, as we sang the simple verse again and again.
Your grace has found me just as I am
Empty handed but alive in Your hands
(We’re singing) Majesty, (we’re singing) Majesty
(Forever) forever I am changed by Your love
In the presence of Your Majesty…”
Eventually, the atmosphere died down, leaving me in tears. Before I thought it was Ope who came for me, now I knew it was Jesus. I recalled the words He had spoken to me, they came flooding back to me. He had chosen me. I had nothing to offer Him, but I was enough. I had done my worst to Him, and He had forgiven me, and healed me. It was oh so personal, so real.
Ope came to meet me on the stage and we hugged and cried in each other’s arms. I didn’t have any more to say, and I didn’t need to. We all knew what had happened. The lengths God would go to reveal Himself, undeniably to me…to us.
That evening, every soul in that room, 52, gave their lives to Christ, and those who knew Him already renewed their dedication to Him. And I knew their testimonies were sure to have a ripple effect on those around them too, just as mine did.
As we journeyed home in Ope’s car together, I wondered why I hadn’t pieced it together earlier. Did I know at a particular level that He was not Ope, and just wanted to believe that it was Ope who came for me? I turned to Ope and looked at him as he drove.
“I was just thinking… It’s great that Jesus came for me. But it sucks a little that you didn’t,” I said cheekily.
Ope laughed. “I wanted to come for you. When I got the notification that you withdrew money from Ibadan, I knew you had gone home and I wanted to come. But my spirit held me back. I just thought you were not ready. Now I see that He wanted the glory! And what a testimony!”
“Wow. So you would have come… I was quite stubborn though. Maybe I wouldn’t have followed you.”
“Yeah… I like how it happened. I was so shocked and thrilled when I found you at home waiting for me. It had been a secret prayer of mine… I hadn’t even asked God, just kept wishing and longing that you would come home. And he went and brought you for me…”
He reached across and took my hand in his. “I think you needed to know that as much as I love you, God loves you more. He already showed you the greatest love possible, when He laid down His life on the Cross for you and me and all the world. He doesn’t want me to be your idol… I am only His vessel. And this was His plan from the beginning…from the moment I laid eyes on you. I knew, and could never tell you…because you wouldn’t have believed me. I just had to wait for God’s timing.”
“I’m glad you did, Baby. Thank you for waiting for me. Thank you for making this possible with your obedience and faithfulness. I love you, Ope.”
“I love you, Promise.”
The story concludes with an Epilogue…
Read all episodes HERE.