2016 I already knew I was going to be a full-time photographer, though I didn't start with that ambition, I had always wanted to be chartered in banking but photography came in 2014 and by 2016 it changed my direction.
Fast forward to March 2019 when I finished serving my beloved country, I came back to Lagos from Sokcity as we usually call Sokoto state. My vision became foggy in April as I looked back at my life, photography and I couldn't see anything to hold on to as a great achievement. I clearly knew I was already on my own as my parents won't be involved in sponsoring me for anything again.
I was approaching 22 and I was nowhere close to anything I dreamt of becoming, nothing was just working, no booming business, no job, no relationship because I had always wanted to get married early and God was silent, I started getting disconnected from God, I became frustrated. I thought I was over anger as the norm of my day but I was back into it fully reloaded. I tried submitting my CV but deep down I knew I wasn't going to get a job, I volunteered to work with a photographer who is now my boss I just wanted to do something.
As my birthday approached, I would sit up every night, cry and ask God why was my life like this. I could see others ahead of me yet I have nothing. I fought with my family one day because they told me to be careful of where I was going as I was planning to step out of the house and all I could read into it was they wanted to stop me, they don't believe in me. I saw myself rise to an angry position I have never gotten to, I was crying, shivering, and shouting because I was angry, my sister told me I was proud because I don't listen to anyone and I started countering her words, that got me angrier. I wanted to leave the house but my dad told me I can't go anywhere because my face was swollen from crying, I went back in, locked myself in, sat on the floor, and continued crying. My dad came thereafter and said probably I might have to see a psychologist because he can't understand me again, that made me cry more because I felt I was already a disappointment, I was finished and everyone was giving up on me. I became depressed, I lost the glow in me, the ever bubbling Tinuola faded away quickly. I couldn't pray or study and sometimes I just mumble words to God and kept on living each day as I could.
I was sad deep down and confused but I could still put up a good girl image outside. I kept on volunteering to work with my boss because that was the only thing that makes sense to me. I started taking baby steps back to God, I wasn't forcing myself, I would read my Bible when I could, even though they weren't speaking to me and they were blank, sometimes my prayers were just words on my bed with a sigh whenever I wake up. I just wanted to hear God and tell me this is what I want you to do. I think I told God I needed a birthday gift, since I really don't celebrate my birthdays, a gift from God will be nice, I didn't know what to expect though. About a week to my birthday, someone I once volunteered to take pictures for sent me a flyer of a program that her sister was organizing "The pursuit of purpose" and asked if I wanted to come, I said yes and I asked if I could volunteer to take pictures for that day, she told her sister and she was so excited. Then she told me that can I come to take pictures for one of their family event that same weekend for the program through the amount they would pay me was small, I was so excited and said yes I would. I jumped up and I ran to tell my dad and everyone that God just gave me my birthday gift a week to my birthday. I danced like I just got millions but that was where the light started coming back into my life. It wasn't the money, it was because I could feel God again knowing that He hasn't abandoned me, because I felt He has, it was unexplainable how a once State Bible Study secretary could lose touch with God just months after that office.
All that didn't end my struggle, I still needed a job but that whole situation changed my life and set it in place. And I could see God carrying me bit by bit in relating with Him, I didn't mind if others were doing exploit and sharing revelation, I was happy at the slow pace I was walking and the encounter was just for me to know that sometimes God wants you to slow down with Him and let Him carry you at the pace He wants. That changed my relationship with God, it gave me a new perspective of God. I got the vision back, the frustration, depression was taken, the joy was restored, I wasn't feeling like nothing was working, God was working even if others weren't. I felt great to be 22 even though I couldn't get what I dreamed of but I was grateful that I found my way back. When I clocked 23 this year, I looked back and I was grateful to God I was not where I was a year ago and at the same time I was grateful I went through it.
The story didn't end here, more to be shared but for now, I just want you to know and learn to allow God to take you at the pace He wants. It's okay if you are struggling to pray for hours or study, as long as you can still speak to God in 1minute, God enjoys your sincerity than your activity.