Ibukun akinnawo: joy


When I got an email from She Reads Truth I did not know what I was going to write, but my heart knew that it wanted to share something with the women I have been doing Bible study with for a few months now.

God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me and I’m grateful for it. My heart sings for that one, singular, uncomplicated reason.

Now as I sit and type out my testimony, I wonder what greater testimony there is to share than the testimony of salvation. I’m a nineteen-year-old (turning 20 in July) Nigerian girl living in Nigeria. I lost my mom the year I turned 12 and I got a stepmom three months after. The following year, I tried to run away with a boy and by the time I turned 16, I had started doing things I had no business with in the first place. My heart was bitter, resentful and hateful. God pursued me the year after my mother died and I gave myself to Him in a catholic chapel of a girls-only catholic high school but I didn’t stay given to Him. Like the seed that fell on soil but was choked up by thorns, God became less relevant to me when I got into University. I knew I needed Him but I had fallen from what I thought was His good graces so many times; I did not think He wanted anything to do with me.

I thought to myself: Hell really is just fire and sulphur…it can’t be that bad.

I was lying to myself. I knew I was lying to myself, but I felt powerless.

Five years after I initially gave myself to God, I gave myself to Him again. I thought that would be the last time I would be giving myself to God and I vowed to myself that it would be the last time. But I have come to find that in this business of a relationship with God, I have to give myself to Him every day.

One time, I let myself give into temptation…again. And that feeling of hopelessness washed over me, threatening to drown me.

I was numb when the Lover of my soul came to me and said to me:

“I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine and you will finally know me as the LORD.” – Hosea 2:19-20 (NLT)

But Lord, I said, I am weak and I am unfaithful to you.

My faith is weak.
The temptations are strong.
My knees are shaky.
My heart has no sentries around it so I’m falling for everything.
I am a mess.
I’m falling back on counting the gifts you have given me.
I’m falling back on scripture memory
I’m falling back

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him. Let your lives be built on Him then your faith will grow strong in the truth you have been taught and you will overflow with thankfulness” – Colossians 2:6-8 (NLT)

And now, just as I have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, I must continue to fall in love with Him…to follow Him.
To let my roots grow down into Him
To let my life be built on Him

Only then will my faith grow strong and only then will counting gifts become a joy and not a chore.

So as a new day begins and my faith feels so small in my heart, like a woman longing for water in the wilderness, I will hang on to the right hand of my God for dear life.  If I can’t testify about anything else, I can testify that my King loves me that He strengthens my heart and that He holds me securely in my moments of weakness. It is when I am weak that He shines through me.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart, he is mine forever” – Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

Ibukun // Ibukun’s Blog //

  • Thanks for your story and God bless you, sister, as you walk now with Him. Your verse quotes went straight into my prayer journal. Amen.

  • Ohhh!! I love that you shared your heart, so openly and honestly!! May God continue to give you strength and hope every moment. Each day I must die to self and sometimes struggle back to His arms, but the best thing about that is they are always open wide, waiting for my return!! Keep on sweet girl!!

  • Heather Disarro

    I love the image of your heart singing God's praise – so beautiful!

  • Amanda Williams

    Ibukun! What a beautiful, powerful, grace-filled voice you have. Oh to have had your wisdom when I was 19-going-on-20. What a blessing. I know how defeating mistakes and misjudgments can feel. I know how powerless the heart and flesh can be. Oh, but for grace! I feel a kinship to your story, and my heart leaps with joy to see you sharing it so openly and bravely here. Keep telling your story, dear sister. Keep letting the God of all goodness and grace speak through you – your successes and failures alike – and He will be glorified. And you, my friend, you will thrive. Peace to you. xoxo

  • Emily C.

    Wow! Beautifully written. I loved when you said, “God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me.” That is so true. Many times I think God has been good to me because of this and that, mostly worldly possessions, but that sentence puts it all into prospective. He has been God to me and I am forever blessed and grateful for that single reason!

    Thank you for the new prospective tonight :)

  • mindykim

    It is amazing how God uses all of our stories to impact and encourage others in many ways. Praise The Lord! Thanks for your story, sista! God's presence in us is eternally strong that when we are weak, at the weakest even, He is there to keep us strong IN HIM! I've been learning this since the season of Lent. God has been continually speaking to me about my blind spots, my gifts, my vision and all. Most of all, I believe God wants to be closer to us in our relationship with him! Lets keep falling in love with Him! Hallelujah!

  • Ellen MR

    Ibukun, what an inspiring and moving testimony! You have blessed us all today, sweet friend. You also remind me to commit to the Lord DAILY!! I soo needed to hear that. I often feel like uh oh, I have too much yuck, too many repeat offences to bring before Him…but He is FAITHFUL! I just KNOW I can be too! I’ve made the choice and if I fall, I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off and ask for His grace and forgiveness yet again!
    Thank you for your honesty.
    Blessings to you, and to all of our SRT Sisters!

  • Kinna Walker

    This, Ibukun, we share in common. 5th grade, I was first baptized. This was mostly under the pressure of my parents. It wasn't until I was leaving to go to college that I was re-baptized under my own emotional tugs that God was doing.

    Wonderful story.

  • “God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me and I’m grateful for it. My heart sings for that one, singular, uncomplicated reason.” Wow. This blew my socks off & made me want to clap my hands like a little girl! Ibukun, your testimony makes my heart soar with joy for you & for all of us lucky to have read it. Your story speaks so clearly to me, yet our lives couldn’t be more different. Thank you for sharing your story, reading it made my day! Two days in & I’m loving these testimonies!! Please, SRT, keep community testimonies as a regular part of our reading plans every now & then. It’s amazing!

  • Wow. I was blown away by this, and read it three times. I became born again at a young age and as such, think I took too much for granted and have long struggled with falling back. Even when I didn’t realize it at the time, or worse, when I did and felt powerless stop. Thank you for sharing your encouraging testimony, Ibuken. I am definitely “hang(ing) onto the right hand of my God for dear life” also!

  • This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

    When I was your age I went out of my way to NOT give myself to Christ. I looked for new reasons each day to take myself back from him. I was sure religion was ridiculous.

    I am not yet convinced that man-made religion is not ridiculous, but God is not religion. He is God.

    Every day, girl. Every day.


  • Been there and done that too many times to even begin to count. Continue to fight the good fight. And most importantly, my favorite part was not your testimony but your life ambition. We should all strive to thrive.

  • Aneta Nina

    thank you for sharing your story – this is God's story and you are touching so many with your faith, humility and honesty! Stay strong and continue to influence the people around you to experience Christ!!!!!

  • Ibukun, such beautiful and honest words! Your words”God has been more than good to me; He has been God to me” are something I will hold onto in my journal.

    I love that even though you live halfway around the world, you have still struggled with similar issues, and we can so relate to you. The world is so small, especially in the eyes of God, and yet he finds each of us and loves us. The breath of his love overwhelms and humbles me. We are so blessed.

    I will hold you up in prayer, my Nigerian sister, as well as all of you of SRT.

  • Simply beautiful. I love the "God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me." That in and of itself is something to be thankful for…

  • Johanna Price

    Yes. "Bind my wandering heart to thee." God knows I am prone to leave Him, so daily I ask Him to help me stay. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • jesusgirl71

    I loved this! I thougth I was alone in this, but I am not. I gave myself to God when I was 12. my parents didn't attend a church that taught salvation. they taught good works. I had no discipleship, but that is no excuse. when i was 19, I was so tired of the emotional abuse I dealt with from my parents that I rebelled big time. i moved in iwth a boyfriend who had already been married once and had 2 kids. I dropped out of college. I didn't give myself back to god until my current husband and I got married and a few years after that. We were both Christians, but when we met we weren't living for the Lord, either one of us. he brought us back to Him. I hate to admit it because I think I must be so horrible. how can someone who found jesus just wakl away from Him like that? but I did. thank you for this and for the reminder to give myself to Him daily. This is a very important reminder for me.

  • What a awesome testimony. I loved the part about giving yourself to Christ Daily. This is what I'm working on that way I stay committed and focused on him! Thanks for sharing.

  • This is so wonderful! Thank you for sharing! I am a newly reaffirmed believer and I can relate to living a life not worthy. I lived that way for so many years and had no idea I was doing anything wrong. It didn't even cross my mind. I had always believed in God and sometimes prayed but never attended church and didn't read my bible. Since I have gone back to church I am reading my bible every day, have purchased a study bible and attending church every week. My heart has been opened so much and even though sometimes I don't feel sure-footed I have faith and turn back to God when I feel temptations enter my life. You are very inspiring and I will remember your story! Thanks again for sharing!

  • Thank you for sharing! What a wonderful gift it is to be so wise at your young age! That really is something to be proud of! When I was 19, I was in college at the "#1 party school" and lost my way….God even put the most God-loving woman as my roommate for a year but I still kept turning away. I wish I was as wise as you at 19 and it didn't take so long to really "give in to Him everyday!" Thank you for sharing!!

  • I know how you feel being at the age (I'm 20) and wanting to feel reassured every time. But, you seem to have it down… 'God -really- has been more than good to me…'. I loved this.

  • Candacejo

    "God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me." I love that, Ibukun! Because the GOD of the universe takes time to be real to us and not only supply our needs but He shows us "righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion", over and over again….every single day. He loves us unconditionally!

    Beautiful! God bless you for sharing!

  • Great testimony, Ibukun! Thanks for sharing your heart. What a BEAUTIFUL reminder that His mercies are new every morning! Blessings to you! Blessings to all our sisters today!

  • This is so beautiful. Thank you for your honesty. It really hit home for me because I’ve been struggling with the very same thing. God has a way of answering questions in a timely way like that it seems. I have given myself to God, made mistakes and then wondered if he ever wanted anything to do with me again…I’d try again and yet again being very much human (honestly not wanting to hurt God) and ask the same question: does God still want me?. I love that I’m not alone. Thank you so much for your testimony!! God is faithful when we aren’t, he makes us strong in our weakness, and choosing God each day truly are amazing reminders. May God continue to bless you always!

  • Thank you so much for reminding me that although my flesh may fail [many times], his grace is sufficient for me. Thank you.

  • That’s one of the honest and genuine testimonies I have ever read in my life. The gift of salvation is more than any other miracle we can ever ask for. May his grace b upon u

  • Thank you so much for your courageous honesty! For reminding me how awesome our Father is in His grace and mercies! There have been so many times I have looked at my life and wondered at how God has made something so beautiful out of the messes I made! Some of the messes I still find myself paying the consequences for at times, but not without His grace, His strength and His love to see me through! I’m praying for You sister that as He continues His mighty work in You, that You will continue to seek His presence, His purpose, and always be mindful of the journey!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! I find it so encouraging to hear real stories about real women, especially those who stumble yet still cling to God.

  • Ibukun, thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony about our beautiful and merciful Father. I am 22 and in college as well, and it is very difficult situation to be around so many temptations and others who simply do not understand His incredible LOVE and plan for us! We DO need to be reminded everyday that we are His and He loves us unconditionally! I always find myself sitting in awe after reading scriptures because I am reminded how GOOD our Father is and feel so blessed by his constant gift of grace. Thank you again for your testimony… it has made my morning!

  • Good morning ladies! Ibukun thank you, thank you for your courage to share your testimony with myself and others. God never ceases to amaze me with how He works in the life of His people.

    Your posts first caught my eye when you revealed your location in Nigeria. This morning I am even more overcome that you hold much wisdom at such a tender and young age.

    I will continue to keep you in my prayers as God continues to mold and shape you for the great things He has planned for your life. Be encouraged and blessed and again thank you!

  • AmyKelly213

    Yay, Ibukun!!! It was so beautiful to see it was you testifying this morning after "meeting" you so many times in devotion!! Your story is so honest, so beautiful!! Yes! We do need to give ourselves to our King everyday! It is a reminder I needed… It is so easy to let the things of this world get you down, tear you from His embrace. Thank you for your words, the scriptures you shared… It all meant a lot to me this morning!!

  • I just loved this…exactly what I needed this morning. I praise God for you & your testimony! Thank you so much for sharing it. Just beautiful!

  • Autumn Dawn Leader

    Beautiful testimony. I love how our loving God loves us and pursues us because of His amazing love. It’s a blessing and encouragement to start my day reading this. It’s a reminder to REST in His love.

  • elbriedekock

    Ibukun, thank you for sharing so sincerely, I too was a child of God to gave myself to Him and walked away repeatedly. It is so encouraging to read your testimony of how God pursued you, He doesn't give up, He gives second chances, and always in love full of grace. My heart is overwhelmed by the wonder of God's mercies every day for us. Similar to you, at a young age of 20, I had a penultimate moment where I choose to turn back to God and I cling every day for dear life. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:23 NLT)! Praise God what He is doing through you!

  • Oh, my dear sweet girl, how fortunate you are that God has taught this to you at such a young age. He just reminded me tonight that He still loves me too and that I can never fall out of His graces. That when He is not there, it is because I have turned my back on Him. So give yourself to Him every day. And think of me and pray for me when you do, for I am 61 years old (62 in July!) and I still need to be reminded. God remains the strength of our hearts, He is ours forever.

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