My name is Layla and I am a promising young lady, whose life has been defined by a few ups and downs. Fate and faith have played major roles in shaping my view of the world.
At age 7, I was abused by my uncle, and when I tried to explain to my mum, it was swept under the carpet; something about dragging my family name in the mud. At age 12, my family relocated to Lagos, far from my abusive uncle, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. However, school was a totally different ball game. From bullies to tribalists, I was constantly being harrased until I met Tinu, my guardian angel and defender – Tinu was not afraid of anyone and we fast became BFFs.
At age 20, I lost my mum to cancer and my dad to grief. Theirs was a love so strong, that my dad couldn’t go on without her. Being an only child didn’t help. I felt lost and alone, and despite Tinu’s best efforts, I found myself slipping into depression. My heart ached in ways I didn’t think was possible.
At age 24, I met Isaac, and he brought some love and light into my life; but he was also violent; often leaving me with a black eye. Tinu couldn’t understand why I put up with him. Before you judge me, I was afraid that if Isaac left, I would spiral back down into depression, because I found my meaning in Isaac’s “love”. I was tired of fighting, but didnt want to be alone. Tinu tried to convince me to come with her to church, but was never successful. I didn’t want to be judged by all those “well-meaning righteous people”.
The truth is, I felt worthless; like I did not deserve God’s love; that my life was full of tragedies because God didn’t care about me – and I didn’t want to come face-to-face with that rejection. By age 30, I had attempted suicide 3 times and had hit rock bottom. Overdosed on codeine, I was rushed to the hospital, Tinu sat by my bed constantly singing or playing praise and worship songs.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, I felt a warmth in my heart, like someone was giving my spirit a hug; I felt peace like never before. I didn’t want it to end. I asked Tinu to send the songs to me, and I went online to download more. I couldn’t get enough. It was like hot soup in the cold, just what my soul needed to be renewed.
Today, I am a praise junkie and a worship addict. When my lips can’t, my heart sings. I got rid of Isaac and have freed up space for healthy relationships to grow. I hit rock bottom, and just when I was ready to give up, I found God. Now, no matter what life throws at me – I know I can come out better, because I have learnt to praise Him in the storm.