A night of tributes had been arranged for sister Efua and the auditorium was filled to capacity and overflowing with grieving family members, friends and acquaintances. Sister Efua had touched lives. A lot had been said and it was now the turn of her only biological child – Yau (an oncologist) to give his tribute.
“I will start this tribute by saying that I owe all I am today to the courage and strength of my mother as exemplified by her strong faith in God who empowered her to be who she was. She was different things to different people but most importantly she was recognised by all as a praying woman. On her death bed, she slipped into my hands her testimony and requested that I read it to everyone at an appropriate time after her demise… I read:”
“I leapt out of bed as a result of the intensity of the sun’s rays. I must have overslept! I checked the clock on the mantlepiece – it was 9.30 in the morning and Kwesi (my husband) had already left for work. My teenage son, Yau was at home having been suspended from school for gross misconduct, he was still lazing in bed. I had been laid off from work in recent times because of the looming recession and the need to downsize at my office. My whole life was a mess. I fixed a quick meal for Yau and myself. After eating, I popped my anti-depressant pills all the time asking myself, where I got things wrong. A few years back, everything seemed to be going so well…a great job, Yau doing well in school, and Kwesi the perfect husband and doting father. What happened God, and why me? I decided to attend our church’s midweek service (after all I no longer had time constraints since I had no job). We had always been ceremonial Christians attending church service only on festive occasions, so this was novel.
That fateful Thursday, at the midweek service, I felt a certain release from the feeling of depression and waited behind to see the convener (a female member of the church’s praying band) after the service – Sister Dora. I poured out my heart, concerns, and challenges to her amid bouts of weeping, but sister Dora was patient, empathetic and consolatory. She then led me to pray and promised to partner with me in prayers and guide me through the process. She explained that I may not experience immediate miraculous changes but that if I developed my faith in God and focused on him, there would be subtle changes perfecting my situation.
As I returned home that night, under Sister Dora’s tutelage, I started praying constantly. The more time I spent in devotion, meditation on God’s word and prayer, the more I experienced a feeling of inner peace and calmness. I grew in faith and knew instinctively that the next step was to rebuild my relationship with Kwesi. In those days we lived like housemates – separate lives with monosyllable communication. My attempts at intimacy were rebuffed with a wave of the hand and he spent an increasing amount of time away from home. Yau on his part was largely locked up in his room left to his whims and caprices. The word of God taught me that a family that prays together stays together, and I yearned for that unity. It was not easy to whip up the interest of my husband and son, but I recalled that with God all things are possible and that propelled me to take my desires to God in prayer on my knees. I asked God for the right utterances and that he should teach me what to do and help me mend the broken fences of relationships. Gradually, things turned around and my husband was responsive, so we commenced praying together. The next project was Yau. As his parents, we prayed for and with him, showed interest in his well-being and activities, engaged him in conversation, came to terms with his concerns and confusion and gently steered him towards active participation in teenage church activities. This impacted his behavior and performance at school. His grades improved and he became a reference point to his peers by parents and teachers alike.
Just when things seemed to have taken a 360 degrees turnaround, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I underwent palliative treatment but now, things were different. I had an inner strength that comes from a firm conviction of knowing the God I serve. I knew he is able to deliver me because nothing is impossible for him to do. However, if he fails to do so, he has a reason, and it surely will glorify him. I can only encourage all mothers that there is power in being a praying woman, and it gives serenity and peace that passes all understanding. Even in the storm, you experience calm.”
Yau continued “my mother became an intercessor and encourager. She continued to pray and serve as a source of strength and encouragement for others who were going through some form of adversity or the other. Most never knew the pains she was going through as she was so effervescent and always smiling. Today, I stand as a living testimony to the efficacy of a praying woman. Her memory will always be blessed”.
His tribute received a standing ovation even as he descended the podium.