Chari had the bad habit of knocking while attempting to open Jala’s apartment door.
“Jala! You knew if you didn’t answer the phone I’d be coming over.” She knocked again impatiently and twisted the doorknob.
Eventually, Jala came to the door not saying a word. Chari came in with food in hand and proceeded to the kitchen counter to share it out.
“I stopped by benevolence after work, and they said you didn’t come by…Sunday you slipped out just before church ended. What’s going on, Jala?”
“I’m just trying to lay low and get these folks off my back. Ever since the gas station explosion and Ephraim helped me out of the building, I can’t get these people off my back! I wouldn’t be surprised if they were planning our wedding.”
“You take things too seriously, Jala. I would not care one iota if it were me. No! None of them would have anything to say to me. I would play with them and give them something to talk about when I turn my back.”
Chari laughed as she created scenarios to provoke the nosy church folks.
The two friends sat eating at Jala’s small round dining table. A flowery pendant light hung just above their heads. Chari knew her favourite Chinese dishes and sought to use food to get pass Jala’s walls. Canton Kitchen served the best kung pao chicken and noodles and they were near Jala’s apartment.
“On a serious note, though Jala, I think you are still reacting to the embarrassing situation you went through with Jonathan almost four years ago.”
“Oh no, you don’t! Chari, is that what you’ve come here for, to drag up my past and make me a counselling case?”
“Relax! We’ve been best friends longer than you and I can remember, so I think I should be able to point out a little trauma in my bestie’s life. Jonathon was a colossal mess! With his high tenor voice and pretentiousness, he had half the ladies in the church convinced he only had eyes for them. He sounds like one of the beasts in Revelation with eyes everywhere. He lured you into his web!”
“Ok, I was an idiot!
“No way! You’ve got to let that go and forgive yourself. The guy was like Solomon without the wisdom. Many women fell for him.”
“Why couldn’t I see that he was not interested in me? I was an idiot! A man who does not want to be seen in public with you, ignores you at church but calls you the moment you reach home to express his undying love, should raise many red flags. But, not to me he didn’t. I was smitten despite your caution. Well, no need to repeat that situation! I’ll make sure of that.”
“Girl, at the sound of things, you are not about to let any other man in.”
“Look at you! You’re a genius!” exclaimed Jala finally laughing. She felt empowered and in control.
“Oh, speaking of not letting another man in…guess who I saw when I stopped by the benevolence room? Ephraim. He was asking me for you.”
“Pastor Pruit must have let him in to work. I was so into my selfish slump I didn’t remember I was supposed to open up for him.
Jala suddenly stopped and looked at her friend. “You weren’t thinking that I had interest in Ephraim too?”
“Oh, no!” snapped Chari with both hands in the air. “I would never assume that you would even consider a handsome, mannerly carpenter of a man! No doubt he has no degree!”
Chari continued with great sarcasm. “After all, of what use is a man like that!”
“Firstly, I don’t know a thing about him.
“Secondly, even if did, I would not like to be in a relationship.
Thirdly, I could not take a carpenter home to meet my mom! So, let that set your mind at ease.”
“Jala, I knew all your numbers from one to three already. We’ve been here many times. I know…he’s a pleasant guy though.”
“Yea, I agree.”
“By the way, I gave him your number.”
“You said he was a nice guy! He wanted to check up on you and find out how your ankle was doing. He said from he dropped you off that night he never heard another word from you even though he gave you his number for you to call if you needed help.
“Precisely, I didn’t need help! I still don’t!”
“Ooooo, so edgy Jala!”
Jala sighs and admitted that poor Ephraim was not deserving of this harshness nor this situation in which he was involuntarily placed.
“To be honest, Jala, Ephraim is a wonderful human and we had a great time chatting. I can see us being good friends.”
“Wow, that’s big of you! We know he wouldn’t make it to the husband list because he’s a carpenter. Still, I’m impressed that he is worthy of friendship.”
There’s a knock on the door and Chari wastes no time parting Jala’s damask patterned curtains to see who’s outside.
“Speaking of forever friend zone,” she whispered loudly to Jala. “Hello Abe!”
Jala dramatically flung the door open freezing in a grinning pose.
“Oh, I forgot you live here. Hi Jala,” he said, passing Chari to hug Jala.
“Hey Abe. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming by?”
“Jala, you don’t answer your phone and besides, you may say no. What are friends for!”
“Indeed, what are some friends for?” chimed Chari looking at Abe. Their friendship has been much like this.
“So where is your new friend, Jala?” inquired Abe, who is known for his blunt and unfiltered communication.
“You know about Ephraim too?”
“Of course, not because I play the drums mean I don’t hear what’s going on. I hear that you and him have been an item for some time now. I’m just wondering how I didn’t hear about him as your dear friend who you love, by the way!”
“Here we go!” shouted Jala jumping from her chair.
Chari’s eyes opened wide. “Do tell Abe!”
“Do tell what! You already know the truth. I met the guy moments before the gas station explosion. That’s what you get when you go to a small church and everybody knows everybody and tries to marry you to anybody!”
“What does this remind you of? This was what happened when Jonathan was found out after leading all these young ladies on…including our dear Jala,” added Abe.”
“That is what it feels like! People nosing into my business and assuming a lot. That’s why I keep myself to myself. I hope God gives me a husband who is from a different church!
No one calls to find out the truth but continues to talk and build lies.”
As if on cue, Jala’s phone rings.
“It’s condescending Connie from core.
“Hi Connie, how are you?”
“Hi Jala, I didn’t see you at core yesterday so I just call to check on you.”
“Actually Connie, I’ve been missing core for almost a month, but thanks for calling I’m fine.
Yes, I did hurt my ankle, but the swelling went down.”
Yes…It was lovely of the gentleman to help.”
Both Chari and Abe were laughing uncontrollably at Jala, who was trying to maintain her cool.
No soon as Jala came off the phone with eyes rolling. It rang again.
“Let me answer her,” shouted Chari.
Jala looked down at her phone wondering who was calling.
“Let me answer!” Chari snatched the phone from Jala.
“You’ve reached the number of Jala McKnight, how can I help you?”
“Oh no! Just a minute.”
She motioned for Jala to get to the phone quickly while Abe whispered, “Who is it?”
The story began in Part 1 of the Church Girl Series. Look out for Part 3 soon. Find out how Jala confronts her deep rooted issues…including the meddling saints.
Meeting that someone, who is much more than all the other “someones” and feeling like this is home, is priceless!
There is a peace that tells you it’s safe to proceed.
You’re getting to know each other and learning the nuances of relating to each other. Some days you can see the future as plain as ever, while others you wonder if you can live with this imperfect human. How dare him not be made in the image and the likeness of the man that you constructed in your head!
After all, that man is perfect!
Still, this relationship is causing you to get over your more blatant “Meology theology.” You know the realization that the whole world does not move at your pace to accomplish your will. Yea…especially if you’re in your 20’S it takes some reckoning. Not to worry, change is at your door.
Marriage is in view and it’s scary exciting! Okay, at times it’s downright frightening when you consider how much you have to give up to become one with this unknown entity. At another glance, you wonder how you could be this blessed to have such a beautiful heart pant after yours. If you get your eyes off the image of perfection you have constructed in your mind, you can admit that his character is what you have prayed for and desired. After admitting that you love him and you’re in love with him, I have a question for you.
Can you follow his lead? A godly woman should seek to answer this question before her heart completely melts at his acts of kindness and his projection for the future. Before you consider marriage, you have to resolve that based on his core beliefs and persuasion, you can follow him. As Christians, we understand that the Marriage Maker has made the man the head of the household and the woman his suitable mate. This places the woman in a place of being very alert concerning who she allows her heart to be tangled with. If you cannot follow his lead, you will lead a rebellion against him.
“How can two walk together unless they agree?” Amos 3:3
You’d be surprised or not that you can easily attempt a coup against this man you love, for the marriage to go the way you see it. It is crucial to know that you are following the lead of someone who himself is under God’s leadership and agrees that he aims to love you as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for it.
I recall someone poking fun at a gentleman she considered suitable for me in the presence of my mentor, who snapped and wiped the smile off our faces. In a strict tone, she opined, “She will not marry anyone who she can lead, or she will!”
I had to admit that she was right. I had to marry someone I honor and respect. His persuasion and moral stance command honor before he says a word. I was confident that I could follow his lead, even when I wanted it my way. I trusted who leads him to lead our family and our lives.
So ask yourself that question having noticed his consistency of character and devotion to God. Save yourself the unnecessary trauma. Consider why you’d be challenged to follow his lead. Be honest with yourself before getting too attached.
If your answer is ‘yes,’ happy courting!
Here’s a little secret…If you’re not healed from the thorn-bush experiences that you’ve repeatedly tumbled through, you’re probably not in the best shape to know your type of guy. Will you not choose from those who do not threaten the unhealed areas of you? Well that would mean that your past pain is ruling your future.
If the right one comes along, will your scarred lenses detect him as you look through windows of pain? I would never dear to kick you while you’re down. No I am here to administer medicine you may likely think you don’t need.
It’s time now to purposefully return to the scene of the crime. Where they hurt you. Where they abandoned you. You know that place you erased from your memory in order to cope. Little did you know that you’re daily reacting to that trauma. Making decisions based on it… choosing friends based on it….viewing life based on it.
If only we could go there and remove the fears you found and carried from there. There were some decisions you made as a result of the heavy disappointments that your heart could hardly carry. They were vows intended to protect you against that terrible scenes but instead the vows built chains binding you to your unwanted past.
Again…I’m only here to administer medicine for a soul that can be healed. I need you to cooperate. Aaah…open your mouth and denounce those vows.
Open again…keep it open and repent of becoming so self sufficient, that you can hardly receive help from anyone – your defense mechanisms employed to protect the wound, but it shut you out of living.
Open up again and forgive the perpetrators of that penetrating pain. Please can I ask you once more to cooperate with me as you denounce hatred which sprung to existence taking advantage of your awful situation. Father’s arms are opened for you to collapse in it and surrender…
Did I say, “Father?” Now you don’t want to hear me since much of your pain came from him. This FATHER is not like that one. HE says He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. His love is forever…yes steady…like a credit card it’s maxed out on you…He wants you healed and whole…flourishing from a prosperous soul.
The healed you is amazing with strength and resilience. You’re telling your story as people wonder if it’s even possible to rise from such dark places to the light of the platform you stand on. Your soften heart embraces the many who are where you were. You only know to love them to life after Father poured his love all over your life. Look at you!
Now confident in GOD’s love, you have permission to fearlessly receive and give love. So who is your type? I’m holding his description against the one you once had and they are looking drastically different. With cleaned heart and cleared lenses, love finds this “good thing.” You know now that you had to be healed to even known and receive your type.