Life has been a great learning curve for me. From living with low-self esteem, feeling like I couldn’t achieve anything great in life, living with nothing, to NOW creating a new life for myself and understanding that life should be lived with love, purpose and giving.
Right now, I can sincerely say that I’ve found my place (and still seeking) in life and it feels great to be walking and living in God’s purpose for my life. While far from perfect, I’m definitely not where I used to be. The life I lived during my old path was full of thorns and thistles; it was an uneasy path. I was arrested by fear, cuffed and incarcerated by the chains of negativity. I know what is means to merely exist and not live, to just be a statistic, or probably not really different from the existence of the piece of furniture in your room.
Have you ever felt stuck or lost? Have you ever been at the centre of despair? A place where all your experiences are working against the grain of your dream, and your desire is getting tired; so tired that frustration is leading you to rest, on the bed of suicide. Can you relate to this?
Maybe you’ve never had to go through the eye of a needle, but no matter the level of challenges you face, or had to face, deep down within you know there is something more than your situation. There’s a feeling of bliss within that is yet too far for your faith to reach. You just want to touch it! Right in the middle of your struggle you still smell something good. Have you ever felt this way? I just heard you say, “hmmm”, so my guess was right. We are family, related by our experiences.
I had an undeniable knowing of greatness within, but many times it felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was still 1,000 miles ahead.
There was a phase in my life when I felt totally lost. You know those times when on the outside it looks like everything is going well? You actually feel like an excited bottle of champagne, enthusiastic about the future and ready to make things happen; more like a fast track life. You live all the way, turning deaf ears to that inner voice or whisper; being distracted by other people’s definitions of success and then you embrace the limitations of society while living behind the masks they threw at you. I mean, what kind of life is that?
That is the life I lived for a period of time. I must admit, I knew who I was and was gradually embracing my unique self, but it wasn’t at the level I am right now.
Something Changed! Something Happened…
On Friday, August 23rd 2013, I woke up really refreshed and happy that I was home, away from the hustle and bustle life of Lagos City. I decided to take a break from the craziness of Lagos, get some good peace before going back more energized and ready for something bigger.
Feeling like a super woman as always, ready to take on 100 tasks at the same time. I decided to clean up the house, cook and gist with my siblings and cousins who also came to visit. After doing my house chores, I decided to rest before starting my day fully. As I was walking, I felt a very sharp pain on my left ankle. The pain was so excruciating, I had to literally hop to my room on my right leg. I called my mom and she told me to just rest for some hours before getting back up. I was probably tired from travelling, cleaning and being hyper.
Few hours later, I woke up and stepped my leg on the floor, forgetting about what had happened and BOOM! Another level of deeper pain! After that moment, I couldn’t walk. I thought it was going to be an uber quick fix by popping some aspirin and maybe supporting my ankle with band-aid, but I couldn’t even place that foot on the floor; the pain grew worse by the day.
Days turned into weeks and weeks embraced months. I had visited several hospitals across Nigeria for three months, while doing series of scans, but the doctors still didn’t have an answer to the problem. Some of them made guesses and dumped heaps of pain killers for me to take. By then, I was using two crutches to aid my movement. I could no longer wear normal shoes. This left me sitting or lying down most of the time. I was exhausted from getting no results. I was tired of random people saying- Chai! Fine girl, O accident mere gi? (Is it accident?). I was tired of self pity too.
After 3 months, I travelled to Dubai for further treatment. After series of scans, the doctors told me I had torn ligaments. Since it was an extreme case, I had to do surgery. Some people might be like – no big deal. I mean, most sports players like Kobe Bryant have such injuries and they get back up in few weeks right? Mine was more extreme and it wasn’t a 3 months or 6 months or 1 year journey.
I fought the idea of doing surgery on my left leg again…I mean, not now, not again. That point, I prayed and still asked God- But why now though? Silence………
Picture about 20 years ago when I was about 6years, I had injection palsy on my left leg (My advice to you- let injections be your last resort, seriously!). Injection palsy normally affects the longest nerve on the human leg and creeps into the muscles by making it unable to function properly. This issue immediately leads to a foot drop or drop foot. It’s a terrible experience and makes one feel incomplete.
This issue was actually corrected to some extent but I later got to know that it wasn’t well managed. YIKES! So maybe that backfired somehow I guess. But I had gone through University, paid my dues to NYSC and started my career without any problems until that moment. Honestly, it was one of the worst things at that time and my mind still refused to accept it.
We finally decided that doing a surgery would be right in order for me to get back on my feet as soon as possible. The surgery was done 2days later and that was when the real journey began.
I was at the peak of my life and career, felt like a super woman and was ready to rise HIGH like an Eagle, then suddenly this? Hello Laiza, welcome to the real world. Little did I know that in order to rise to greater heights, I needed to be broken- like really broken.
The Process- Physiotherapy & Personal Growth
Months of pain, sitting down while wishing you could be achieving your goals already (the pain was so excruciating that sometimes I literally had to just stay in one particular position for hours), loitering around social media, wishing that your life was like that of Jake, Amanda or John (Even though some of those social media projections are mere “make believes”), sleepless nights, disappointments, anger, feeling of shame and discouragement.
The most overwhelming ‘not so cool’ part was when I saw people I knew while sitting on a wheel chair or using a walking stick at the airport or a gathering. It’s even worse when that person doesn’t connect with your situation, or sympathize with you and it makes you wonder what goes on in people’s minds. I mean, I thought you were my friend? Or you talk to people about it and their reply makes you wonder if they have a heart.
In 2013, I gave so many excuses because of the surgery I had on my leg. In addition to that, physiotherapy wasn’t really going well either because my leg wasn’t responsive to the physiotherapy process like we expected. I honestly think that physio is one of the toughest yet interesting things because it puts you in the spot where you have to relearn what you could do before.
Some days, you’ll get people around make it feel like it’s easy but if you’re lucky to have a good physiotherapist, thank your God. My first therapist was a loving and God fearing woman who understood the essence of getting into my mind first before my body. I believe that our minds are one of our deepest treasures that can either make us or break us. During the first few months of physiotherapy, I gained inner strength and believed that no matter how long it took, I would walk perfectly again. I attended different sessions where I had to strengthen my muscles, learn how to balance myself with my legs without falling and also learn to walk again.
What’s more? I stopped blogging (some people reading this know me from here www.laizafashionblog.wordpress.com content was formally on laizalounge.com).
I got accepted to one of my favorite schools for a Masters program in New York. I was sooo looking forward it. You know that hype right? Well, maybe it should be Harvard during the next try instead or maybe none. Who knows?
But at some point, I was tired of all that waiting and complaining (that isn’t life!) and decided to focus on God. I decided to surrender completely and just ask God to teach me all I needed to learn during that phase of my life. That was when my biggest process started, way deeper than the previous ones. You know the process that turns your mess into a message; the one that turns your pain into meaningful purpose. Yes, that one! Sometimes we think we know God, but He starts opening the eyes of our understanding to see deeper.
I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my life at that point. The moment I decided to open myself up to God and His Word, He began to “break” me. Most people just go through life without really going through their process because they probably don’t have time for it or maybe they simply miss the point. In order to be a great leader or achieve your purpose in life, you must first be broken on the inside; that is when your true light begins to manifest. I knew the life ahead of me was going towards something greater than the usual, but I needed to make patience, wisdom and understanding my best friends in order to prevail, conquer and overcome.
Through my process, I figured out the key to real joy and purpose. This can never be found in human beings, a job or material things. You’ll have to draw it out from within; it’s right there, deep in your belly. It is that undeniable inner beauty that brings out your light and makes you shine and become enviable when people see you (despite your physical challenges or any circumstances).
This is the stage where you find the “PEACE…that peace that passeth ALL understanding”, that, only God can give. It took me a while to get to this point…despite days of laziness or ‘I don’t feel like studying my bible’, I’ve been able to conquer all that and I am still growing and learning.
Besides spiritual growth, I dedicated many hours focused on personal development; from studying books (more self help books), leadership, entrepreneurship and also taking some online courses that will prepare me for what was ahead. I knew I couldn’t afford to waste my time just sitting and hoping. I gained a higher level of strength both spiritually, emotionally, personally and all round.
Support from Family, Friends, Acquaintances and more
We talk about independence so much that we forget the essence of interdependence and community. What will this world be like without amazing family, friends and acquaintances? Absolutely worthless!
The support I got from my family, especially from my parents, was beyond priceless! During my periods of complaining to my stay in the hospital, to my physiotherapy sessions to sending my younger brother on errands every second, phew! I really can’t thank God enough for giving me an amazing family. Did I forget my other siblings? My siblings gave me all the emotional, spiritual and general support that I needed. It’s one thing to have a family but it’s another thing to understand each other, grow, cry together and support each other through every single journey.
My other family members from my Aunties, uncles, cousins and more were beyond supportive. One of my aunties made it a duty to stay at home for while just to give me a hand in laundry, cooking and more, even though she had a demanding job. I mean, who does that?While some were supportive, others would rather look at you from head to toe and pretend they didn’t see you- (I laugh in spanish). Life is so interesting, I tell you.
Friends are priceless. If you have just 1 really good friend who is there for you through thick and thin, then you are truly blessed. I had amazing friends that supported me throughout my process. I can’t even begin to mention, because I will definitely get alot of this- Ah Laiza, you didn’t mention my name. Every single one of them (some of them did moreeeee) definitely supported me during this journey and honestly, God bless you – if you’re reading this.
I remember specifically when I started physiotherapy in Lagos, one of my friends Ebere would come almost every day during her break at work just to make sure I was fine and sometimes bring food for me. On some days, she would take permission from her husband, even when she was pregnant just to stay with me because I didn’t have any help that period. My mom would always just pray and reign blessings upon her during family prayers and was amazed at her commitment. I had few friends who travelled all the way to the east to visit me; my Slum2School crew showed me so much love and I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am.
Off course I had friends who I expected to show up but never did. Some I understand and the rest I’ve already forgiven. I’ve learnt that people will still forget you and we are all capable of doing the same to others. But what matters is the spirit and attitude of loving people no matter the circumstances!
Furthermore, I met several acquaintances, (some who turned into friends) who understood my condition and supported me throughout my journey through prayers and more. Some people say they need only friends, but sometimes it’s those ones that are not close friends who understand more and strengthen with words that change your life.
Hmmm! If you forget those that took it upon themselves to fast and pray for you, then….! From my pastors (Pastor Anny -HOTR Aba, Pastor Gbenga & Pastor Inky, Pastor Emmanuel, my RCCG Apapa crew, church members, and even the speakers that came to church (e.g Lanre Olusola, Steve Harris, Fela Durotoye and other amazing people I’ve met so far); they all changed my life on a deeper and higher level than ever. God is such an extraordinary strategist because He sure knows how to plan and position you in the right places for His purpose and blessings. Every single City I stayed from 2013 up until now, God knew and sent the right people to me. How amazing is that? God is super amazing!
Faith and Starting Over
My continuous growth and seeking has increased my faith in God to the extent that now I’m more confident in myself (thank God for God-confidence first), I’ve been able to achieve more than I ever dreamed of, and I’m still pushing towards greater heights . I understand what it means to embrace your scars and still be a miracle to someone else despite your situation. It takes more than brokenness, but a humble spirit to remain who you are during your process.
Indeed the greatest disability is not physical, but in our minds. When our minds are renewed, then we stop existing and start living. IT takes faith after failure, to try again. I decided to not even try again but LIVE again and live even better than before. Those lessons strengthen us from the inside and help us build momentum while also making us confident enough to tell our story.
One of the things I have learnt is this-
You must be willing to go through the process because it is those seemingly little things that you learn along the way that matters.
God is so faithful and doesn’t joke with His Word. 1Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”
This is what I live by, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for me and whatever we go through will only make us stronger and better to fulfill Gods purpose and calling for our lives. More of Him and less of the distractions!
While doctors still produced another report recently, my mind hasnt accepted it. I believe in miracles 🙂
Most importantly, I’ve found true purpose in life; first in God and in living and giving of my gifts and talents to this wonderful world. I can’t continue to suppress my LIGHT (and you shouldn’t, no one should). Every single person on this earth brightens up this world in their own unique way and this world will continue in blindness if we don’t SHINE our unique lights. (Repeat that to yourself and personalize it until you get it).
Fast forward to NOW. My life feels so much different. I discovered purpose at this phase (and I’m still uncovering more) when I embraced my uniqueness. I love myself even more and I’ve had time to even start up some businesses, learn more skills, remove toxic people from my life, and create amazing friendships and partnerships. And Oh, I’ve got to explore my love for photography, art, creativity and off course more and more entrepreneurship.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is investing in ourselves and I’m glad I spent most of my time doing that through personal development and more.
Talk about higher and greater vision and purpose. I feel FREE sharing my story and I believe that at least one person will be inspired by this. I can’t wait to share and hopefully help you by adding value to your life’s journey.
Through it all, I have had more time with God and my family which is definitely priceless.
One major lesson I learnt was that, what was wrong with me wasn’t my leg, it was the limits I put on myself and my limited vision of the unending possibilities for my life. Immediately I realized that ERROR, I decided to change it.
I thank God for the Spirit of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and the fullness of the Spirit of God in my life. It’s not what we go through, it’s how we go through it and how we come out. Some days I got caught up by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but I now understand something higher than this called RESTORATION and ACCELERATED PROMOTION. This is what God gives and I’ve decided to walk in the fullness of it.
The world defines peace and happiness by possessions, jobs, money and the craze we see on social media, they smear every letter of the word PEACE with materialism, but now I know that it can only be birthed through God and the knowledge, love and acceptance of myself and others.
Whilst I am on my way along the paths of my predestined purpose, I am confident and more excited about the amazing things happening to me and in me now, and the greater things that are yet to come out of me.This inner peace I have right now cannot be measured by the yardstick the world gives, and I hope everyone gets to experience it at some point. It’s simply priceless!
What’s testimony about if we don’t share it? What’s knowledge about if we don’t apply it and share it with the world through our gifts and talents? I’m on that path of sharing more and more of my experiences, lessons, and generally helping other people to live and live their purpose on earth. It’s high time we all stopped hiding our light!
For those going through, you must realize that your present trouble is not going to last forever, it’s only temporary and in some cases, it’s necessary for you to go through it. The ultimate focus should be on your role in the spiritual realm of God; that’s what lasts forever. See beyond the pain trying to impair your vision you. You are bigger than your present trials. God is BIGGER than every single circumstance we go through. You have already overcome and it’s not over until you win.
I’m not a perfect person, or some lady who has it all figured out and I never pretend to have all the answers. We all make mistakes right? But I’m dedicated to sharing what I’ve learnt (and still learning) to add a sparkle to the lives of many people.
One thing I know for sure is that God does not make mistakes (Mbanu!- Big NO), but He does make miracles. I am a miracle and so are you!
Thank you for reading and sharing my story with me. From the depth of my heart, I appreciate you.
Have you been through a situation that turned your pain into purpose or your mess into a message? Have you been broken but never allowed the situation to keep you down?
Why wait to share your story? You cannot wait for the controversy to stop for the movement to go forward. Please share your story. I’ll love to know!
***If you know that this story will help somebody, please don’t hesitate to share it with them.
Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page