Uncluttered: Are Your Insides Tidy or a Junkyard?

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

I’m not a neat freak, but as much as I can manage, I like tidiness. I like to be tidy. I don’t usually measure by inches and metres the placement of objects and ornaments in my room, but I like a semblance of order.

I remember when it all began for me. You see, I was an untidy child. It was so bad that I could hardly tell my neat clothes from my soiled ones because I never separated them and I never folded. How yucky is that? Anyway, my sister, Unekwu, returns from university for a certain holiday, and I am her target. I hated her. She made me wash and fold…all the time. I hated it. I dreaded it. She’d say to me, Ele, your wardrobe is making the room stink. It’s making you stink. And dirt bugs will love you. Have I mentioned how much I hated her? I was an 11 year old being forced to grow up. Ugh. I didn’t want to.

But guess what? By the time I turn 16, I’m mentally thanking her for the training. She helped me learn to do away with clutter. And it was a good thing. I began to dislike clutter too. When I’d walk into an untidy environment, my first instinct would be to start to pickup and clean up.

More than that, I began to like the fact that when I returned home after a long day, I would return to a tidy room and a neat kitchen, and I wouldn’t have to go through a rigorous process to figure out anything.
I liked the fact that walking about in my room at night wasn’t hazardous; I knew where everything was situated and I could navigate seamlessly in the dark.

I liked the fact that the house was a lot freer and more airy in a tidy state than in an untidy one. It generally promoted the lightness in the atmosphere.

I’m finding that our heart is a lot like our bedrooms, our closets and our kitchens. It’s where we live from, after all. When we don’t learn to tidy up, we leave room for unwelcome guests. We open the door wide for rats, roaches and arachnids to come in and dwell in relative comfort. I’ve never seen a roach or a rat in a tidy kitchen. I mean, a kitchen that’s known for tidiness. Things are in their rightful place, dishes are well done and stacked. Cupboards and drawers are always clean. Even the kitchen hater will want to cook.

When a heart is cluttered and untidy, it’s actually quite difficult to be unconfused. One can’t seem to find things when they need them, and you seem to always be missing something. Underneath the layers of junk and dirt, it’s always a chore to try to pick out sound counsel. And it’s even harder because you can’t tell whether what you’re thinking and deciding is neat or not: you never wash and you never fold. Age old crap still resides in there, so when new stuff comes along, you dump it all in, and in no time, you can’t differentiate. All the ideologies and mindsets that you are guarding are keeping you from actually putting the Word of God first, so it’s lying around on the floor…somewhere. And the cluttering continues.

Without clutter, there is clarity. Vision. Insight. Contentment. Strategy. Execution. Without clutter, there is peace.

Shouldn’t you do some uncluttering today? This week? This year? Stay tidy in your heart and guard the precious gift of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. That peace is enough to keep you happy.

All photos (including featured image): Pinterest


Only God

Only God could Father us

For only He could understand us

Only He made us

With really no help from any of us

He truly gets us

Our hearts and minds

Our fears and tears

Our ambitions and suspicions

Our anxiety and anguish

Our insecurities and pride

Our lies and our hurts

Our pain and our gain

He gets why we lie

He gets why we cry

He gets why we turn away from each other

He gets why we faint

He gets why we sulk

He gets why we draw smaller circles when our hearts break

He gets why we criticize

He gets why we judge

He gets the us that is inside us that we don’t know is in there


I don’t know if He gets why we resist Him

For only He could Father us

He is our light…

If you knew what this light is;

Who is within this light

He is our Answer

He is our Peace

He is our Righteousness

The sense of justice and peace

the kind that calms the soul

The sense of rest and belonging

the kind that silences restless hearts

The sense of wholeness

the kind that emboldens a man

He is all of that and more

To us

He makes wars to cease

Even in hearts and souls

He breaks bows of division and arrows of bitterness

He unites in love and understanding

He does things to a human heart

that the human mind will never understand

Only God could Father us

Only He could love us

and only He can teach us true love.

[Photo: Domino Images with permission from Serah Nwaezeapu]


Here’s what they told me: they said, “Ele, you don’t understand because you’ve never been a parent.” They said, “One day, when you have children, you will understand and relate.” They said, “You should understand that they want the best for you.”

So I waited. To become a parent. So I could maybe understand exactly what they are saying. But I decided to do a trial run with my nephew. And I realized that they lied to me. They spoke of sentiments of the selfish human soul, not of charity begotten in the new heart of righteousness. Because as I looked upon Muna’s face, day in and day out, I was gripped so hard with a desire for him to grow to be exactly who God saw in His heart when He gifted him to his parents. I sent up silent pleas and prayers that this child would turn out to be a man of conviction, and whose way would be made steady by the Lord. And, I prayed that his parents would have the courage to let him be who he was made to be.

So, no. I truly do not understand. I will probably never understand. I hope I don’t.

I pray I turn out to be the kind of parent or parent-figure who, silently or otherwise, expresses and lends her support to any child following after Jesus and the calling on him or her. I pray I become the kind of parent who shows in word and in deed that God is love, light, and good. I pray I become the kind of parent that my children will be thankful for at the end of time, not just in earthly inheritance but for spiritual legacy. I pray that my children, four to ten generations after me, will be God-chasers and world changers, ever supporting the cause of local churches, other believers and the expansion of the Kingdom.

And that will be my future effectively changing my past.

And that will be my legacy.

And it will be worth it all.

Love and Loss


Did you ever hear the story of the guy and the girl who met, and the guy fell in love with the girl, but she fell in love with someone else, and he always hoped she might realize that he loved her and come back to him, but she never did, because the guy she fell in love with was a really great guy, not a punk or a loser, and he really loved her back, and she married him and they lived happily ever after, and her other guy friend just remained…there. Well, I just made it up, actually, but living in a world like ours, you must have heard some variation of this story once or twice. Many times, when we love and we do not get loved in return, it’s a shattering experience. There’s so much conflict generated, sometimes bitterness stops by, resentment and anger, and for some others, withdrawal.

So often, when we lose, the memories of the times we gained seem to fade into oblivion and all our faculties focus on this one loss of love. That’s just a trick of the devil. On my most recent “loss”, I had quite a struggle. It was so crazy that I felt like I had never known love before. Things like bitterness, resentment and confusion that were so alien to me began to be familiar. I felt so many things I had never felt before, in degrees I never imagined I could feel, and it was all I could do not to give in. Suddenly, memories of every loss I’d ever experienced came flooding back and with them, more of these feelings. For the first time, I knew what people felt when they’d say they couldn’t forgive. Truthfully, it scared me to my bones. I couldn’t be this person. I could see how so many others who had let these foreigners fester turned out, and that was the worst fear of all. I had two choices: seek God, forgive and let Him heal, or don’t forgive, keep fighting, and fester for the rest of my days. Easy choice, as I’m sure you can tell. Well, easy in the sense of the results I could foresee, not necessarily the process. So I started seeking, and boy, did I seek.


One of the things I had to confront in this period of my life was the ugly face of unforgiveness. I had seen it in different ways before, but this face was one I couldn’t seem to defeat. It had pitted me against myself. I just couldn’t seem to forgive myself. I could let others go, and I was doing so, but something wicked in my head just kept telling me how it was entirely my fault…for loving, and expecting, hoping, yearning to be loved back. He was using my desire, a legitimate desire, against me. I began to detest myself for not being strong enough to “walk away” (I don’t even know what people mean when they say that anymore). I began to wish I had never even loved in the first place, but even that didn’t make me feel better. I was bitter toward myself, and I wasn’t about to let Ele off the hook for getting me into trouble with all this loving.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that giving your heart away was a mistake? Have you ever felt like you gave yourself to the wrong person(s) and what they gave you back was your own fault?

After weeks and months of seeking and searching (and more of which continues still), I realized that love has so much more to do with my heart than it does with the response of the other person or people. Love is God, and if He must transform my heart and my mind and my orientation, then I must experience love. Not just when it is good, but also when it is crazy and hurting and painful. The end is not a sadistic tendency in God’s mind, but largeness, an elasticity that takes you beyond the realms of this earth and into the realms of God. I confess, many times, it feels nothing like you imagine “supernatural” feels. But that’s where you’re headed when you love. I began to see that it may not have been God’s intention for me to lose, but I could look at it as a win, too. I won so much on the inside. I learned to love beyond myself. I learned to forgive especially when it would have been so much easier to get mad, bitter, and walk away. I learned that it is okay to be vulnerable sometimes. I learned not to judge, because all men are fallible. I learned to have compassion on even those who are bitter and angry, knowing that they’re really just hurting and need the love of the Father as much as I do. I learned to be silent in Zion, offering prayer and praise from deep within the broken places within me, and trusting Him, my Father and my King, to make beauty out of the things I simply couldn’t understand. I learned to not let one event mark my entire existence; so I had to get up in the morning, smile at other people genuinely and get work done to bless others in spite of whatever was going on inside me. I learned to listen and understand the silent sounds within. I learned the value of true friendships I may never have known otherwise. I learned to be a more balanced individual, not living on a high or a low, but on the equilibrium of God’s peace and calm delight. I got a glimpse into the heart of God and I was completely sucked in at the wealth of love in there, not just for me, but also for the ones who make mistakes…because we all do. I got a glimpse into the truth of his MAKING; to realize that love isn’t just a means to an end, LOVE IS MY LIFE and no matter how many times I lose, I WILL BE UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT LOVE.


I want to share some of the words that helped me and gave me perspective in this time:

“Falling in love is a gift from God.” – Reverend Arome Emmanuel Adah

“Wise [women] hold on to God’s promises, His faithfulness, His character, His love, His forgiving power, and His plans for their futures. Foolish [women] hold on to bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, pain, fear, jealousy, disappointment, hatred, turmoil, and the past.” – Lisa Bevere

“Because of all that God has done, we now have a new perspective. We used to show regard for people based on worldly standards and interests. No longer. We used to think of the Liberating King the same way. No longer. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Liberator, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a healthy and restored relationship with Him through the Liberator. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to Him…He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (The Voice Bible)

In the end, losing is just a perception.


“My Life is More”

Love is more, it is much more.


I am a total fan of the TV Series, One Tree Hill. I know it’s completely 2007, juvenile, and for teenage girls, but you can’t blame me. I was a teenage girl when I first saw it. Yes, first, and yes, I have seen it more than twice. In fact, I am currently watching it again. Ha! I like to watch movies with perspective, which is why I watch it more than once. That way, I can look out for what I missed the first time when I was too emotionally involved to be objective about anything that was going on.

Anyway, I am watching One Tree Hill all over again, and paying more attention than I did the last time, trying to see and hear beyond the opinions that my clique of friends expressed when we all saw it together. I am at a certain point in my life, so it seemed only natural that I would be looking to draw something meaningful even from such a drama filled series.

Season 3 has the Naley Reunion (Nathan Scott and his wife, Haley). They need a reunion because Haley left on tour in Season 2 after an ultimatum issued her by Nathan, and she eventually came back after a long time but they have been separated ever since. Trying to get back together is one of Haley’s major goals. So I am watching this scene and Haley has won Nathan in a game called “Fantasy Boy Draft” where girls pick guys they like and/or want and take them out. Haley, in hopes of reminding Nathan about the early buddings of their love in order to help him decide against an annulment and stay together, organizes a date. Of course, interruptions from the aggravating Chris Keller and an irritated Brooke Davis crash some of her plans, but she isn’t to be deterred. At some point during the date, however, Nathan says that he wishes they never got married because it feels he forced her into something she didn’t want. Naturally, Haley is taken aback. When she questions him about it, his response is that he feels Haley would’ve had so much more in her life if he weren’t there to keep her restricted. Then she looks at him with those expressive eyes that are full of love for the man Nathan is (even though he is still 17), and she tells him how she broke down on tour, in front of a crowd of 3,000 people, to the sound of “Missing You”, because she realized that it all meant nothing without Nathan. And then she says to him, “You’re right, Nathan. Maybe this wasn’t the life I would’ve had. It is so much more…with you.” Or something like that. Haha. It is a total “Naley” moment, and it has the desired effect on me (I am a true romantic!). Her reply takes me somewhere that is entirely off the set of One Tree Hill. It made me think about sometimes when we meet certain people who eventually become a major part of our lives; people who are anything but safe. They have a bold existence, and by being in your life, they make you really live. Your normal safe life becomes a spectacle, and a beautiful one at that. They make you scream, cry, and get mad, but most of all, they make you love. You become vulnerable, too. Your safe spaces are finally invaded, and nothing is the same. Do you yet understand how elastic your life becomes after love? You cannot be the same person. No, not with actual love. You are stretched beyond the limits of your comfort and your own selfishness into the world of another. Oh, wow. It is the most amazing and humbling thing (albeit scary at times).

Haley did a song at Tric in Season Two of One Tree Hill, and in it she said, “…but if I cry a little, die a little, at least I know I lived…” and this was after she married Nathan. I completely understand her saying her life was more. She wasn’t just thinking of getting by like every other 17 year old at Tree Hill High. Her life was full. Her life was more.


So. Here’s my question: Have you let anyone make your life full in recent times? My dear, you need it. When you look past the ups and downs, the inconveniences, the possible pain (‘cause I can’t lie about that though), the rigour, and even the joy of love, you will experience its power. I haven’t known or heard of anything that could change a life like love. This human heart, it was made for love. We can’t resist it. People who do, they have a hard time of it. The configuration of our humanity is set in love. Love is the singular thing that can reset the factory settings of any human here on earth. LOVE IS FULLNESS. LOVE IS MUCH, MUCH MORE.

Now, if you have loved and lost, that’s a story for another day. However, I would love to give you some perspective on love and loss, so maybe you should look out for when I write about that. I promise you, it’s great perspective, straight from the heart of Love Himself.

Oh, and by the way, you were right. Nathan and Haley are my favourite couple on the show! Haha!

Learning and living love,



Life is an Interruption


Growing up is a wonder. It is so little of all the things you thought you wanted, so much of all the things that never crossed your mind to desire, and even worse, much more of interruptions to the things you thought would go smoothly.

I came to this conclusion some months ago, that life is largely the interruptions in our lifetime. We love to make plans and think big and strategize, and we really dislike being interrupted on the road to the life we thought we really wanted. But do we really hate the interruption that much?

I don’t know about everyone else, but I find that so much of my plans get interrupted by people. Then, I am at an impasse. Should I simply ignore this interruption and fight for my right to continue with my life or should I stop and check on this guy bleeding by the road? Do I really want to go to the Straight Road and meet with this Ananias guy, or do I want to continue on to Damascus because I won’t be deterred from my goal? Do I want to help this bleeding guy carry his cross a while or will I slither surreptitiously through the crowds and quietly sneak into my house?

For all those who think I have no desire to make progress in life (I don’t even know what that means anymore), I have made lists and plans. I have thought and envisioned how to really live that “me” life that will be so shiny and impressive it either blinds you or nauseates you. I have envisioned doing one or two “generous” things to ease any inner turmoil I might feel at living selfishly. I have looked through that telescope of a minuscule life that ends with a few million naira and pounds that will probably, at best, see my kids through tertiary education (maybe not in Harvard, and definitely not if I have more than three kids). I think these things too.

But I have also stayed up nights, restless, struggling against the nudging in my heart. I have lain awake arguing with the voice in my heart that insists on interrupting the perfect life I want to make for myself. I have looked where that whisper is pointing, I have seen the interruption. I have seen the storms, I have seen the pain, I have seen the misunderstanding, I have seen the hardness involved. But I have also seen the impact. I have seen the love. I have seen a better and deeper and more fruitful me. I have seen the change that little me can precipitate. I have seen the strength. I have seen the victory. I have seen the adventure. I have seen a difference. So I took the interruption.

It costs me. Oh, man, it costs me plenty. It costs me my precious time. It costs me my money. It costs me my convenience. It costs me my heart. It costs me my rights. It costs me me. And I realize that that may be the point. To shred every vestige of “me” and insert in its place a person who is no longer so fixated on herself and her life that she can love, share and be Jesus to others. And then it becomes less and less a path that costs me, and more and more the life I have chosen.

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to the whisper which is heard by him alone. And Lisa Bevere adds to that: Learn to listen to and for yourself. Don’t ask others to tell you what you alone can hear. Press into God’s whisper deep within your heart and live from that place.

Let me tell you, that whisper isn’t hard to come by. If you read your Bible daily or often, you will always hear that whisper. It will say things like, Hold your tongue. Or, give this or that away. Or, text so and so. Or, correct this sister now. Or, don’t say no. Or, (and this is really hard) don’t say yes. These whispers are barely audible, but they have the power to change us, to change our world, and to cause the kind of change that we may only ever dream about, in us and in others.

If we must grow, if we must live, really live, we have to learn to let the whispers interrupt us.

Courage for Honesty 

I really admire the way some people talk about honesty and vulnerability as though it is the easiest thing in the world. It is truly admirable. “Just say it”, they say, not realizing the mental and physical difficulties involved in “just saying”. And I think, Why don’t you just say it if it’s so easy? I, for one, have a bit of a difficulty being honest many times. Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean I go about lying to people or cowering in fear when I need to speak. It just means that important moments that require that painful (yet freeing) kind of honesty leave me wildly ruffled and frightened.

Now, for example, every time I have to write a blog post, I think about it so hard one would wonder if this was really a decision about world peace and not a blog post. I go over my sentences word by word, analysing and wondering if I shouldn’t change this expression or delete that joke. I wonder if I am funny enough or if I sound sophisticated enough. I mean, there are lots of other bloggers and writers who do this probably even better than I do and reach even more people than I do. What is the point?

My thoughts jam at this question: WHAT IS THE POINT?

The answer began to come together for me in bits and pieces. One word here. A memory there. A picture from Pinterest. A comment on an article of mine. And little by little, I began to see the point.

I began to see that my honesty could cost someone something precious. I don’t just need to be honest; I am needed for my honesty. My gift will thrive in honesty and openness; when I am able to bring out words as they should be because they will answer the questions in the heart of another. The world will be a better place by degrees when I am honest. I don’t mean just to say what I think people imagine is the truth they want, but to say those things that God would use me to say. True, I was worried that I had nothing new to say. After all, there have been so many writers before me, more eloquent and graceful; faithful and accurate communicators. Why me? And then I realized that it may have truly all been said, but never by me. And there are people waiting who will only ever respond to the words that come out of my mouth. How do I know this?

I was listening to an audio message and heard this pastor talk about a little research he did. Thinking about the phrase “one in a million”, he did a bit of Googling and realized that if each of us is truly one in a million, then at least 7,000 other people in this world get you – because there are approximately 7 billion people in this world…on this earth. Is that amazing or what? So I got thinking that if I am one in a million (and duh!), then there are 7,000 people scattered all over the world who will a) get me, b) get what I’m about, and/or c) be affected by something I do or say. This knowledge is infinitely comforting and encouraging because I can go about doing the things I know and love to do and not be choked by pressure to be someone I’m not or fear of failure because I know that there is someone (multiply that by 7,000) who is bound to be blessed, impacted, affected, made happy or changed by an ordinary act of mine.

I don’t know about you, but it even makes me feel a lot better about my otherwise ordinary existence. I now walk with the sense that I CAN DO THIS, and it gives me such hope and confidence! I am not afraid to be my regular self any longer because I am learning what is packed on my inside and I know that if I can just bring it out for the sun to shine upon it, the reflection will hit someone else in the eyes and bless their life as well. The thought that I can be used to cause someone’s “Road to Damascus” encounter in a most normal but deeply significant way just blows me away. And that’s one reason I desire honesty – to use my extraordinary gift in the most spectacularly ordinary way.

It would surprise you to know that I only recently acknowledged this gift in me. Many others have done so before now, and more will do so in time to come. However, the acknowledgment that counts most is that of the gifted about his gift (Philemon 1:6). With this acknowledgment has come the desire to brave the fright and be truly honest. To speak about the wildness of life and love when God is in it. To tell about the darkness that plagues a soul unable to see Him. To tell of the greatness that is divine love and its effect on the human heart. To pour out and share with you times that will change your mind, your perception, your vision and if I dare it, your future.

So now I’m not just praying for the courage to be honest; I am standing up in the boat to put my feet out there on the water, in the storm. It’s exhilarating. It’s me, Ele! I’m actually doing this! My heart is beating wildly. I know I will make a few honest mistakes, but at least I won’t do it hiding. I anticipate the journey, the pain, the joy, the satisfaction, the victory that is to be found in letting go.

Join me.

(Oh, and have you noticed how much I’m using the word “wild”? Gets me WILDLY excited. Haha!)

Courage to Change 

Everyday, or so, I pray for the courage to change. If it is a constant in life, then I must be some variable that submits to it. But it is so hard sometimes. Change. 

I used to be so sensitive as a child; too many words and events had rubbed me up wrong and I was always so scared to be open and vulnerable. That human hesitation. Anyway, I came up with a shield to help me survive: I made sure to attempt perfection in every endeavour, and if I couldn’t see it being perfect, I hated to attempt it. Failure was destruction to me. I couldn’t understand and handle failing at anything. Oh, I gave the outward appearance that it was no big deal, but inside, I turned it around over and over and over until the matter was shredded and I still had no answers. 

See, I grew up this way. Until I realized that I simply couldn’t live like this anymore. Life is full of “failing” because nobody is perfect and there is this tiny obstruction of about 6 billion other humans on the same planet as you. So, I had to change…from within… It is the hardest thing you can imagine. 

But it wasn’t just hard. It was necessary and important for me to change. If I really wanted progress in my life, I had to do this. I had to learn to start changing my perspectives, my actions and my reactions. That in itself is scary, because let’s be honest, everyone still likes the way they are. It’s comfortable and gets you nowhere. Having to deal with external responses to your change is also scary, but that’s why it requires courage. 

So I pray, and I ask the Lord to help me handle change. Not to run from it. Not to hide behind it. But to face it, give myself to it, and wait for the results of it. 

Maybe you need some courage for change today, too. Ask Him; He’s always happy to help! 

Tribute to People I Love

This 👆👆is my older sister, my mother’s first born child. She’s president of the Eagles Toastmaster’s Club in Lagos, Nigeria. She has an adorable son, and I love her too much. 

This is my long time friend… Sekyen Temang… 

Another adorable pumpkin in my life. Can’t help her loyalty… 💓❤❤

My brother, who calls me his girlfriend. Lol. Always in my corner. I couldn’t appreciate you enough, boo!!! 

Just because I don’t have a regular picture. Lol… She’s a special, special friend. ❤❤❤

Finishing Strong

Faithful, Fruitful and Effective

Hi, friends! I apologize for the gulley in transmission (because I know it’s worse than a break!). Please forgive me. 

I have something for you today that isn’t like my usual prosaic renditions, but it’s a desire of mine. An eternal desire, if you will. I pray it sparks up a longing for more within you.


At the end of time

One thing I hope to find

Is the satisfaction and joy

That comes from a life well lived
At the end of time

I desire to stand

In the sands of time

And be happy with what my feet have imprinted
At the end of time

I want to smile

In spite of my mistakes and errors

And be glad I stood up after each fall
At the end of time

I want men to sigh, shake heads,

And say,

We’re glad we met Ele
At the end of time

I want to be a tree

Deeply rooted, always blooming

And leaving fruit behind
At the end of time

I want to be that tiny change

That caused the mighty one

That makes the world better
At the end of time

I want evil to gnash its teeth

At the sound of my name

Because of how much I harmed it
At the end of time

If I have a tombstone

I want these words on it:

Faithful, Fruitful, and Effective