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After The Roses
by Johnson O.J. Arumona
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‘Lord, I know that no one is the master
of his own destiny;
no person has control over his own life.’
-Jeremiah 10:23

* * *

“Sweet does that mean you aren’t coming home early?” The new house wife remorsefully demanded her young heart beating ferociously as she tried to console herself while she paced round the room holding her blue flip cover mobile phone close to her right ear.
“Honestly I really can’t tell. But if I am able to…”
“And how do you expect me to feed this evening?” She casually asked or rather snapped. She paused in the centre of their bedroom. There was silence at the other end. “No please listen to me! I intend to ask someone to lend me some money…”

She shoved her head and shrugged her shoulders. To her utmost delight her lips and tongue hissed. The young husband heard her and he flared up. She could hear him stammering through the speaker of the telephone in a bid to please her. Frustrated and annoyed she flipped the cover of the cell phone which aborted their conversation. “Heaven knows I am not going to sleep hungry this evening!” She shuffled impatiently as she angrily loosed the yellow scarf covering her hair.
Not too long the instrumental melody of her Sony mobile phone ranged imparting her state of mind. The caller’s ID ‘my mama’ digitally showed on the blue screen.
She positioned her body at the edge of their neatly dressed bed while she attempted to honor the call.

“H-e-l-l-o!” She answered sounding and smiling like a child. It was the same smile she exhibited during her traditional marriage ceremony.
“It’s our charismatic nature.” Her mother has boasted then. Although no one would notice it this time around, she was on her own!

The mother and her happily married daughter, as everyone else assumed, engaged in their family discussion. The daughter’s lively voice did not sound to her aged mother like a bride whose new home was passing through early matrimonial storm. They later parted having wished each other ‘a pleasant night rest.’

‘I must have been sick and out of my mind.’ She blamed herself for her earlier agreement with her spouse not to seek for financial support from her relations. ‘Now where would our help come from? When would our financial situation improve?’ She lamented. To make matters more complicated her husband’s new job had relocated them to a new environment and they were gradually trying to get acquitted with the brethren at the new church they were worshiping with. They had no intimate family friends to turn to for assistance and they needed help-badly.

She retired to the soft foam- their family size bed, crossed her arms, staring at her hair through the dressing mirror. She had not visited the saloon for weeks. She frowned as she placed her phone on the dressing table. She also noticed that her cosmetic containers were empty. The kitchen was empty, her purse was empty and their bank accounts were also empty! This was not the picture of the dream home she had nursed while growing up and while they were courting ‘the young man’ gave his word that ‘hunger’ would be the last storm to confront them. Ironically it was now the first.

The sad news that the ‘charming prince of her dream’ found it difficult to put bread on their table wasn’t a pleasant one to be spread. The man she exchanged marital vows with just thirty days back. The man who on the first night of her arrival to their home was critically ill, that she had to stay awake all night ministering to his poor health. No! No! Certainly something was wrong somewhere.

A crooked deep voice said within her troubled spirit. ‘Damsel, what’s your purpose to have left your single hood status where you had more than enough to settle down with this ‘dude’ in a remote country side…? She murmured her lips as she tried to grasp the implication of what looked like a costly mistake. She learned forward and closed her arms, she bit her lips. The deep voice went on.
‘Why should an ebony pretty lady accept to marry a beginner in the first place? ‘And what kind of ‘hell forsaken’ job should keep a man working till late nights at the detriment of his wife? Beside let us be honest with ourselves, you never really can trust most of these young men…’ There were too many questions without satisfactory answers.

‘Could this be love?’ She tightened her face as she rested her chin sadly on her hands. ‘And if it was, should falling heels in love over an ordinary man be a genuine reason to justify why a newly wedded bride be kept hungry and be living from ‘hand to mouth’ everyday? I beg your pardon; you better break your patience!’ She placed her two hands over her head as if it would reverse her situation. ‘Perhaps you shouldn’t have been married after all. You should have stayed a while longer. Poor you to have rushed into this empty house!’

She gradually rested back on the mattress and curdled two pillows while the ill voice continued to torment her soul. ‘Damsel I know some nice fellows in the city who can take you out of this bondage. It is just for you to wish you weren’t married and desire for a divorce. Imagine the other fellow you refused his hand in married. What was that name of his…Yes! I swear the story would have been absolutely different by now. I am sure you know what I mean.’ The new bride felt like regretting.
‘And that reminds me, remember the other day you went to the bank and the cashier explained that you couldn’t withdraw any more cash because you have exceeded the minimum balance. Do you know that the other customers laughed over it after you left? This marriage has nothing to offer to you other than more shows of shame and pain. She touched her wedding ring, she was tempted to pull it out but it proved difficult to remove. She closed her eyes seeking relief. ‘What have I gotten myself into? She wondered aloud.

‘Damsel, you’ve got our support for you’ve starved hard enough. Remove that ugly object called-ring. I heard it was not even made of Gold; follow my advice take a short walk through the next street and enjoy the fresh air tonight. Beside it is not a ‘sin’ to feel like a single lady once again. It is a free world after all. And didn’t your bible even state that a man who can not provide for his household is worse than an infidel?’

By that ill motive revelation the bride rediscovered her true identity. She found her weak will revolting against her flesh. “Listen to me whatever voice that has been speaking negatively to my spirit. I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ!” She cried out almost amidst of tears. The seeds of the words which she had received from the series of bible studies brought forth its harvest and she said to herself: “Man shall not live by bread alone…”

The evil voice had an answer to that. ‘I see, why then are you feeling hungry. Didn’t your bible also said; the righteous shall not go hungry neither shall their seed beg for bread?’
“I am physically hungry only because it’s the season. God’s word tells me that there is a time and season for everything under heaven.” She countered him.
‘Listen to the voice of truth you are hungry because you’re not righteous in the first place!’ The accuser of the brethren replied. She pondered over that thought and she declared with an authoritative voice. “I was made righteous by the blood which the Lord Jesus shared on the cross of Calvary.” The evil one had intended to take advantage of her predicament to lure her soul into his camp but it was dawning on him that she was spiritually loaded. He quickly changed his tactics. He giggled:
‘I laugh! What a fetish belief that you Christians share and who told you those lies?’

“It is not a lie! Heaven and earth will pass away but the word of God remainth the same. Satan! I rebuke you! The blood of Jesus is against you!” She was courageous enough to confront the ill voice. At that pronouncement the haunting voice that lurks in the shadows of her mind left for a while. Shortly afterwards another different voice said within the same spirit. ‘My child, you‘re passing through your trails of marriage but you have the enabling grace and the word of God to sustain you.’ That assurance and the peace that followed the tone of the new voice made her to exhibit her charisma. She smiled.

The calmed voice began to remind her about the many ways that the Lord had been meeting her family needs. She recalled the morning a brother visited them and confessed that the Lord had quickened him to pay his tithe to them. This occurred when there food item was running out…

‘Another time was, when her husband had malaria and some brethren visited their home and prayed for him afterwards which he regained his good health…

‘What about when her husband requested for IOU from his working place and before it was approved, the very amount he requested for was contributed to him by two of his colleagues…’

Surely their home was passing through another storm of life. She now understood what her pastor meant when he preached: “New Level, New Devil, More spirituality.”

‘The storms are meant to test the foundation of your home.’ The friendly voice confirmed her faith. ‘Therefore no matter how difficult the situation may seem, always do the opposite. Instead of lamenting, meditate on the words of God and confront the situation with it. Instead of weeping makes joyful shouts of joy. That paralyses our common enemy ‘Satan’ and gives you total victory!’

Those powerful comforting words reminded her of what her husband shared with her the night before from ‘T.D. Jakes’ book : ‘Maximizing your Moment.’ She quickly moved to his study table, picked the book and flipped through its pages till she found the section he had underlined with his pencil. She began to consume it slowly by heart:

‘…every marriage has its struggles, but marriage is sealed with an oath that promises to withstand good times and bad. Marriage is a sacred vow and a contract between hearts that have committed to weather the season of life together. Whether they face the cold bright of winter of the parched heat of summer, they are committed to stand together.’

She closed the book and turned to face the mirror. She noticed the gold necklace that went about her neck. Her husband had bought it for her. It was the same necklace she wore during her traditional engagement ceremony. The image she saw relaxed the tension. She pondered for a while before she whispered to her replica. “Since the good Lord cares about the lilies of the field, I know that he will take good care of my home.” She knelt before her bed to pray just as she heard a tap on the front door.

The End.

© All rights reserved. Johnson O.J. Arumona, 2005

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Jacque Sauter 16 Jan 2006
Hello from around the world! I enjoyed several of your writings this first part of my morning. I am intriged by the way you pose your sentences, the wisdom in your hand from God, and picturing in my mind the stories and home settings. I will continue reading your site! Many blessings wished to you from our Savior Jesus Christ. ~~


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