Watching the tribute service of Pastor Nomthi Odukoya, the late wife of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, from his second marriage after the demise of his first wife; Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, I couldn’t help but wonder at the similitude between Pastor Nomthi and the biblical Queen Esther.
Both of them became queen in a foreign land, howbeit that Pastor Nomthi was the wife of a pastor, a general in the kingdom of our God.
Both had big shoes to fill and found favour in the eyes of everyone because of one distinctive feature common to both of them; the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Like Esther, Nomthi shared a common love to obey God. Though the instruction to marry the man God had chosen for her seemed strange, though the culture was alien to her and the expectations great, she like Esther chose the path of obedience.
Trusting like Abraham that God would not only lead her to the new place of inheritance but like Isaac it would be a place of no contention but of expansion- her Rehoboth.
For Esther filling the shoes of the previous Queen Vashti was as daunting as winning the hearts of the people who weren’t quite sure of the new queen’s origin and how she would treat them. So also was Nomthi; faced with a role of mothering a congregation whose previous queen (Pastor Bimbo Odukoya) was loved by all and sundry. Whose fame and good works transcended the shores of her native land. Whose name and voice was as embeded in their hearts as though she never left, and her teachings as resonant as an echo too loud to dismiss.
How would she fit it in?
Many wondered? Would she toe the line of….?, would she preach like….?,
Does she carry the same grace…..?
But her instructor was her Maker, her creator who taught her to wear her own shoes because her shoes fit properly.
He told her to carry her own voice because he would speak through her
and bring beauty through her speech
He showed her her own garment was humility, love, joy, childlike faith and a desire to please YHWH which was as beautiful, as it was her own coat of many colours.
Her took hold of her mouth and gave her feet a bubble to spring forth a dance everytime in his presence.
Be that as it may, Esther and Nomthi’s obedience opened the door of hearts and out poured a love for a queen and a mother, a nurturer and a true worshipper of YHWH.
And like Esther, Nomthi’s love for her earthly king and the love of her life was unreservedly pure, her loyalty; staunch, and her support;unflinching.
Like Esther she wooed him always with a banquet of joy, and made him seat by her side wanting more of her presence, her touch and her laughter.
Her laughter; a kiss from heaven and her demeanor a burst of sunshine.
Her love for his people, his God, and his culture a foretaste of heaven’s many beauties yet untold.
With the tales of her Zulu heritage and colours of her people, she made a potpourri of sorts too appealing to resist, too endearing to refuse.
Her love for her Master and Saviour, Jesus, gave her a glimpse of heaven’s splendour and filled her mouth with a song angels sang “Hallelujah”
She couldn’t get enough of heaven’s language,
in awe and reverence she sang it, danced it, and it became a part of her
It consumed her, and she kept doing the master’s bidding enjoying her life
With her catch phrase “Hallelujah no go finish for your mouth”
For Nomthi and like Esther, a great challenge came that brought a resolve greater than the love for self. It was never a battle with the enemy, it was a war that the victory had been foretold and assured.
And like Paul her struggle to remain with her earthly king and a taste of heaven pulled at her heart strings.
But for her earthly treasures: the love of her life, her beloved children, her grandchildren and her spiritual children it was a pain.
Her love never failing she transitioned beholding her maker and making a never ending melodies of Hallelujah.
Embraced by the love of Jesus..
And wrapped with the duvet of his eternal presence
She, Nomthi; is still dancing, still singing, still smiling, still enjoying her life with her Jesus.