I received the email below from Dolapo and it BLEW ME AWAY. I had written about forgiveness a couple of weeks ago but it seems God wanted to show us a practical example and that is what he did through Dolapo. I am so excited to share this and I pray as you read this, you find freedom and learn to forgive others, forgive yourself and forgive God. Thank you Dolapo for choosing this platform to share this testimony and for helping others find their healing. I thank God for giving you the Grace that he did. And thank you to Eddy’s fiancé and everyone else who has recommended this blog to others, it is a true privilege for me to do this. THANK YOU!
I feel like I already know you though I’ve only just gotten introduced to the Lighthouse J. My name is Dolapo and I currently live and work in Nairobi, Kenya.
Just this evening, I watched your interview with Pastor Wale and then went on to read a few posts. I am totally blessed and excited at what God is doing through you and this platform. God is only just getting started with you!!!
Over this past weekend I wrote a journal entry about something really life transforming that happened to me earlier this month while I was visiting my best friend who recently had a baby. I shared this journal entry with a few close friends and a small prayer group I belong to. After reading some of the posts on your blog, I feel led to share my testimony believing that it will also be a source of encouragement to someone out there. While, I’m no longer ashamed about what happened to me as a child, I’d prefer just to have my first name up- Oludolapo.
PS: I shared this entry with my friend’s (Eddy mentioned in the entry) fiancé whom I’d never met; She told me about the Lighthouse.
On Wednesday the 7th of October, 2015, I was at a store with my best friend, whom I’d come to visit as she had recently just had a baby. As we were at the till paying for our stuff, she spotted Eddy an old friend from our church in Lagos. I started doing the SOS wave and in a matter of seconds, he spotted us and walked over. Though we hadn’t seen him in about a year, we just got chatting like old times and he decided he would keep us company as we proceeded to the store next door, while his colleague shopped around for some stuff. He was telling us about his upcoming wedding and as girls we were all excited and we carried on gisting. When we were done, we called our cab and just as we were bout to hop in, Eddy asked for our numbers so we could meet up again before we left Maryland.
On Saturday night I sent Eddy, a text asking if he wanted to go to church the following day. This particular church used to be my home church back in 2006 when I lived in the area. Eddy had mentioned he had become a quasi-member of their choir playing ‘keys, as work had him spending weeks at a stretch in Maryland. I knew Eddy had a tight schedule as his job had him working round the clock and on weekends, but I figured, I’d just beg him. He was working overnight Saturday/Sunday but somehow agreed to pick me up for church on Sunday morning for the 8am service. He barely slept and was at my house by 7:20am—patiently waiting for me to finish getting ready. Bless his soul! Lol.
We headed out to church and the worship was amazing! We sat down and while a minister was making announcements, I happened to look back and that very second, I saw someone taking a seat ( if I didn’t look back that second, it was unlikely I would have seen this man as the church was packed). I leaned over and told Eddy someone I really didn’t want to see just came into church. He must have been thinking it was probably an ex-boyfriend and said if I was uncomfortable we could leave the service. I told him, I was fine and though I felt some discomfort, I wanted to stay for the sermon and till the end of the service.
During the course of the sermon, I knew without a doubt that I was to go ‘confront’ this person that I didn’t want to see. After the sermon, I asked my friend Eddy if he could step outside with me as I wanted to discuss something with him. We got outside in the cold and I told him that the person that had walked into church earlier was someone who had sexually molested me as a child and I felt it was time to finally deal with this situation ‘head-on’. I started crying as I told my friend the story of how my parents had brought the young man into our home to live with us in a bid to help him. Naturally, he was a “trusted” person; He was actually an extended family member.
I had no idea what I was going to say to him as this opportunity just sprung itself on me. I had no idea this man now attended my former church. Not only was he at church, he was with there with his wife and his mother-in-law visiting from Nigeria as I would later find out. I was extremely nervous and confused as to how I was going to even walk up to him and his wife, let alone have a conversation with this man who disgusted me down to my bowels whenever I thought about him. But my friend encouraged me to go ahead with how I felt in my spirit and prayed with me. Lord knows, I only heard like 10% of his prayer cos my mind was going in all sorts of directions, trying to figure out how things might play out. When Eddy finished praying, I felt some calmness but still didn’t even know how I was going to have the conversation. My friend said, he would stand around close enough for me to have this conversation in private but should I need anything he’d be a signal away.
So I walk over to see the man and at first he didn’t recognize me initially but once I introduced myself he knew exactly who I was. His wife greeted me with a lot of respect, almost a bit embarrassing (you know how Yoruba people can be), telling her mother whose child I was; My parents basically sent him to the U.S, helping him complete his education. I asked if I could see him in private and we walked over to a quieter place to have this conversation. I told him, I’m sure he knew exactly why I wanted to see him in private and that we both knew what happened when he came to live in our home. I told him I could never understand what would make him do such a sick thing to a child put under his care. That even though, I was only 6 or 7, I knew at that tender age that what he did was horrible, and I was ashamed and could not even tell my mother. I told him how angry, disgusted and nauseated I would get whenever I would think about it, even several years after. I told him how much pain and trauma he had caused me over the years. I told him that if I never opened my mouth to curse him, it was almost inevitable. He had violated an innocent and trusting child he was to look out for and betrayed the trust of my mom, who was very dear to him and went out of her way to help him.
I went on to tell him how God had worked on me over the years and that was why I was even standing in front of him addressing this matter. I said though he never asked for my forgiveness, I had chosen to forgive him and let him go. I was releasing him from that place in my heart that was just dark, bitter and full of un-forgiveness. It didn’t matter to me what his reaction was but I was permanently freeing myself from the shackles that had me bound for over 24 years. On the outside, I seemed to have it all together over the years, but on the inside I battled that particular demon every now and again.
Though I didn’t have much information about this man, as I obviously never cared to ever ask, I always had a strong impression that he was probably suffering from what he had done to me in one way, shape or form. I told him I am a recipient of God’s mercy and His mercy was still available to him if he wanted it and genuinely sought it.
The whole time, he had his head down and when I was done speaking and he had mustered enough courage to speak, he just began by asking for my forgiveness. He said he had carried with him the darkness and shame of his past and what he had done to me. A lot of times he wondered whether and how to approach me and also wondered if I remembered since I was so young. He said he hardly found joy in anything; even things that should ordinarily make him happy were all short-lived, as he would always slip back into that place where he would feel a burden over him. He said he even went to see the Pastor of my former church, his current church, so he could open up to him and have him pray for him, but he was too ashamed and was never able to tell him what he’d done. He said he just couldn’t explain why he did what he did, but I should please forgive him. He said he would pray a lot of times for God’s mercy but just never felt forgiven; He described the feeling as a wound that he just covered up. He went on to say that in his 24 years of being in the U.S he hadn’t made much of himself and didn’t have much to show for it.
He said, I would never know how much what I just did meant to him and he was just extremely grateful. I could see the remorse, shame and grief in him as he spoke. It was clear to me the devil had him exactly where he wanted all these years- down under. When he was done speaking, I asked him if I could pray for him. I thanked God for the opportunity because it was clear God had orchestrated this whole meeting. I released him before God, asked for the Father’s mercy and prayed that he would no longer be bound in darkness by his past but would proceed into the fullness of what God had in store for him. I felt a weight lift off of me and a great sense of liberation come over me as we said our byes and walked in different directions.
My friend Eddy had been walking around this whole time, he said we were talking for about 30 minutes and I couldn’t believe it. As we drove off, I couldn’t believe what had just happened cos’ it didn’t make ANY sense, it could ONLY be GOD!!! There was no anger, no hatred—God had clearly given me a level of grace that I never imagined possible, much less experienced. It’s not humanly possible to forgive someone who sexually violated you as a child. It was like HE came and scrubbed away the thick and hardened layer of soot from my heart.
I have come to find that God’s grace is indeed sufficient to bring you through any pain, hurt and sorrow- we make the choice to receive it or not, just like we choose to receive or reject the Father’s love for us. In this journey called life, God’s light will ALWAYS triumph over darkness.