It could be really hard after you’ve prayed hard and sought the face of God, and the resounding response you get is a big NO. I have been in that shoe, and if I must confess, it was hard amd painful! Let me tell you what happened.

I met Dayo in my final year in the university. He was studying Engineering, while I was studying Economics in the University of Lagos. He was a hunk. Though not so tall, he had a body build any lady could die for. It was not as a result of long hours at the gym. His was natural. Broad shouldered, six packs, taut muscles. His skin tone was ebony, and characteristic of most dark people, he had a set of white 32. Before you see me as carnal, that was not what attracted me to him.

Dayo had a spiritual depth I admired. Being the prayer coordinator of the joint campus fellowship, I fell in love with his style of leading prayers, and anytime he had to mount the pulpit to preach, the way he commanded scriptures left me in awe.

At times I wondered how God could bless someone with so much wisdom of the scriptures, while I was still managing to understand some hard sayings. Comparing ourselves, I was a babe in spiritual matters, but one thing I loved about him was his willingness to help me grow.

Our friendship was simply platonic. There were no strings attached. We were cool with helping each other grow in all areas, particularly with regard to spiritual matters. We were both in our final year, so our time together was barely a year.
We were done with school, and as usual, we were posted for our one year compulsory service.

While I was posted to Kano, he was posted to Enugu, and distance built bridges between us. We drifted apart and the only memories we had were the spiritual moments we shared together.

While in Kano, I met with Hussein. He was the opposite of Dayo. He was slender, tall and breathtakingly handsome. Despite his physical features, he had a timid demeanour which put me off. To add to my irritation, we were placed in the same Bible study group, and to crown it all, he was the Bible study coordinator. This was the only thing he was good at, and the only place his courageous side was evident.

Well, for the sake of my spiritual growth, I had to adapt to his style. He tried getting close to me, but I found every way to put him in his place. The relationship between us was strictly leader/member and nothing more.

The months cheated on themselves and my one year in Kano vaporized in my very eyes. I moved back to Ibadan where my parents resided. I settled in to my once familiar environment and graciously got a job.

Six months ticked off the calendar, guess who I stumbled on? I saw another version of Dayo. My boss had sent me to the bank to clear some outstanding issues our company was having with our financial statement. I’d had a strange feeling that something good was about to happen, but I couldn’t place my fingers on what it was. I moved on with my activities for the day like nothing would happen. Prior to this time, I’ve been praying for God’s guidance on whom to marry, and the verse I keep getting from my Father was “rest in the Lord, wait patiently on Him.” That was my anchor scripture that kept me in check anytime I was running ahead of God’s pace.

While approaching the desk of the customer care agents, I heard my name, though it sounded like the caller was confused. I cast glances to both sides, and moved on since I could not place a face to the voice. I barely took two steps, when the caller mentioned my name confidently, and before I could turn my back, a hand rested on my shoulder. Standing right in my front was Dayo Benson, my long lost friend. He had completed the transaction that brought him to the bank, so he waited for me.

We drove off in his car which afforded us the opportunity to reconnect but since we had a lot of catching up to do, we exchanged contact and fixed a date to meet. He dropped me at the office and he drove off. The alarm in my head rang off, and I remembered the antsy feeling I had earlier in the day. A fountain of joy burst open in my heart, and I knew this was my answer to prayers.

Getting home, I received a WhatsApp notification from Dayo. “Twas nice seeing you after a loooong time. Thank God you were able to recognise me.”

I chuckled as I read it, and sent an emoji that conveyed my expression. “Twas nice seeing you too,” I replied. “Thanks for the ride. I appreciate.”

We had our long talk for almost an hour before we said our goodnight.
That was the beginning of our unofficial relationship. After our first hangout, we had many more dates that opened us to many more things about ourselves. We had quite a lot of things in common. Though an indigene of Lagos, he was born and bred in Ibadan. We attended the same primary school, but he was a year ahead of me. His family house was two streets away from mine, though our parent’s house were far apart. While his house was at Akobo, mine was at Challenge.

Dayo ticked almost all the boxes I wanted in a man, and his spiritual fire was still intact, which was my priority. The ones he didn’t meet up to were standards I could easily gloss over. Our relationship blossomed and we were already two years gone. At this point, we both knew that there was a spark between us, but we were still taking things cool. While I was giving him signals to pop the question, he wasn’t receiving them. I let things slide while I enjoyed our time together.

About eight months later, Dayo asked the golden question. It was during one of our regular hangout. He hadn’t given me prior information, so I came in a casual knee length turquoise blue gown, with a clutch purse and a silver shoe. I’m blessed with hair, so I simply packed my hair in a doughnut style.

We were having our normal conversation when he held my hands, looked into my eyes and said, “Debby, I know we’ve been friends for a really long time now. I appreciate you as a friend, but I’ll want us to take it a bit further. Will you be my wife?”

I heard, but it seemed I wasn’t present there. My tongue clave to the roof of my mouth, and words could not escape. My only saving grace was my facial expression. The softness of his words, and the words alone poured colour in my cheek. Being fair in complexion, I was almost turning read.

“Da-yo. I’ve heard, but I’ll have to pray about it.” I said, as soon as I could get my voice. Though I delayed his answer, my demeanour that day already gave me away.

In my heart, all I wanted to do as soon as I got home was thanksgiving for answers to prayers. We wrapped up our date and we parted ways. I gave him two week to get back to him, and within that spell of time, we did not communicate as frequently as we used to so as to avoid any pressures. It wasn’t easy because we were already so used to each other.

Two days after the proposal, I chose to really pray about the proposal. I started with thanksgiving and praises, and when I wanted to pray about it, I felt troubled in my spirit. I sensed it was not ordinary, and I paused on praying about the proposal to get to the root of the matter. I hadn’t prayed for long when I heard clearly,

DAUGHTER! YOU’VE JOURNEYED TOO FAR AND SO FAST, YOU’RE IN A HASTE. YOU’VE GONE AHEAD OF ME, AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO TAMPER WITH THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU.

I trembled within me. Sweat covered me immediately. “Where have I gone wrong?” I asked.

YOU TALK TO ME ABOUT MANY THINGS, BUT YOU HAVE REFUSED TO TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS RELATIONSHIP. YOU BELIEVED YOU COULD HANDLE THINGS LOGICALLY, BUT YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THIS AREA IS NOT AN AREA WHERE LOGIC CAN HELP YOU. DAYO IS NOT THE PERSON I HAVE FOR YOU. HE IS FAR FROM MY PLANS FOR YOU.

“Lord, but Dayo is a Christian. He is your child and I love him. I’ve not loved any guy like I love him. Lord, please don’t do this to me.” I argued.

YOUR WAYS ARE NOT MY WAYS, NOR YOUR THOUGHTS MY THOUGHTS. I SEARCH THE HEART OF ALL MEN, AND I KNOW THE END FROM THE BEGINNING. DAYO IS A NO FROM ME.

I wrapped up my prayers with a broken heart. I loved Dayo a whole lot, and I did not even know how to tell him I wouldn’t marry him without hurting him. I also knew I had to obey God’s command because the last time I pursued my own yes when He said no, I had nothing to show for it. My effort and resources in that business venture went down the drain and it was a lesson for me. This was too much for me to bear, but I could not go ahead. Since I had exhausted all ways I thought I could tell him, I just left it to God’s hand.

Few days before the expiration of two weeks, I received a message from him. “I know we both agreed not to communicate, but I’m sorry to break this to you. I know I have led you on and even asked you to marry me, but I don’t think I’m interested again. It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with me. I’m very sorry.”

Seeing the message, I smiled, and all I could say was ‘thank you Lord.’ “Hey Dayo, it’s no problem.” I replied.

I connected my phone to the speaker I had, played some Yoruba praise and worship songs and began to dance to God’s faithfulness.

That was how I crossed that hurdle, but the next hurdle I had to cross was who the ‘one’ was. I didn’t put much pressure on myself, as I was just 25 years. I learnt my lesson with Dayo’s case and I was not in a hurry to jump into another relationship so as to avoid self-inflicted heart break. The scripture I held on to then was my anchor scripture again, and I had to learn how to wait patiently on God from a place of rest.

I met my Ayanfe (chosen one to love) at a Married and Singles Seminar I attended in Lagos a year after I broke up my engagement with David. I was on leave from work, so I decided to spend it with a good friend who lived in Lagos. It was a weekend, and since we had nothing in our agenda, we decided to attend the seminar for the sake of it.

Immediately the minister climbed the rostrum, his face struck a chord, but I couldn’t place where I met the face. Once he introduced himself as David, I waved off every from of familiarity and concluded that he was just someone that looked like someone I knew. As he was talking, there was a ‘fire’ burning inside of me, not as a result of the words, but something else I couldn’t place my fingers on. I managed to stay till the end of the seminar, but I had to find distractions that took my mind off how I felt.

I left the venue, and my mind kept going back to the minister. I couldn’t explain, but I started having a likeness for him. It was strange to me, but it was real. I tried praying it off and keeping my mind in check, but all my efforts were futile. I let things slide.

A week to the end of my stay in Lagos, my friend and I went to a mall close to her house to get some groceries. We were still at the car park when a deep baritone voice called, “sis Debby.”

My friend and I looked back, and it was the minister. Surprise was written on our faces. How did the minister know my name? I greeted politely, still shocked. When he read from our countenance that we were lost, he made a formal introduction.

“I’m David Hussein. Hussein from Kano. We were in the same Bible group during our service year.”

“Wow!” I screamed. “How come I couldn’t recognise you. When I saw you at the seminar, your face rang a bell, but when you introduced yourself as David, I discarded the thought of knowing you. Besides, you have completely transformed from whom you used to be.”

He chuckled. “I know, right.”

He was in a hurry, so he handed over his card to me and pleaded that I reached out to him. I obliged his request and we went our separate ways. I recounted my experience with him to my friend who was still lost by the little drama that played out in her presence. The nudge that had been there before was still there, just that the feelings intensified days later.

Three weeks had passed before I remembered he said I should reach out to him. I had forgotten I had his card with me, and while I was decluttering my purse, I saw the card and sent him a message via WhatsApp. We had few conversations and that was it. The growing love I had for him was becoming beyond me, and before I let go of my heart, I committed it to God’s hand, and I received a green light. I had peace in my heart and the love kind of doubled. I had to wait until he came ahead to propose.

My Ayanfe is the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. In fact, he is better than Dayo. When he came to propose and he had to seek my parent’s consent, we had no issues. They welcomed him with open arms despite out tribal differences. We got married a year after we met and I’ve had no reason to regret. Despite our imperfections, he completes me perfectly. I find peace in our imperfections.

I did not know the reason for God’s NO until 10 years after I got married. David and I had gone to the hospital for anti-natal. While waiting in line to be attended to, I saw a woman pacing from one corner of the hospital to another. I wasn’t bothered by her attitude. Minutes later, I heard her shouting at someone who had just walked in to the hospital.

“You’re a very wicked man.” She said with raised voice. You heard your wife had been in labour since morning, and I called you, but you chose to ignore what I told you. My sister was correct, you love your job more than you love her. She regrets marrying you. You are her greatest mistake in this life.” The lady said angrily.

The man seemed unbothered. “Ehen, where is she?” He asked with a non-challant attitude.

“Go and ask the nurse.” The lady fired back and hissed, walking away from him.

As he turned to walk towards the nurse station, the man faced my direction, and right before me was Dayo. He turned his face away when he saw me and feigned ignorance, walking away. I didn’t bulge, as I was the least bothered because of my condition.

My husband and I were having a Bible discussion on what the posture of our heart should be when it seems God punctures our logical balloons with the NO needle. As soon as he mentioned having to thank God for a NO, this incident popped up from my memory and I’m eternally grateful I followed God’s NO. It was difficult then but I’m enjoying the benefits now. Before I say my goodbye, let me share some lessons my love shared during our discussion.

When God gives you a NO, it’s not time for you to sulk or rebel against God, rather, take the NO in good faith and believe that God who knows all things has the best plan for you. He knows the end from the beginning, and He never fails His children. With all humility of hearst and all reverence, accept the NO and ask God for what next.