In many African homes, sex is often talked about in hushed voices and the intricacies of it are hardly ever discussed. Many women[ grew up hearing the famous warnings, “If a man touches you, you will get pregnant,” “Don’t sit with your legs apart,” “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” If you think these warnings from many parents are bizarre, wait until you hear some Christians talk about sex. While many address issues of love, relationships, and sex from a point of condemnation and judgment, others come from a point of fear: “Don’t have sex before marriage else you will go to hell.”
It is not the same with Jacqueline Olumidu‘s Grace Junkie. Telling the story of her life, Jacqueline explores the concept of sex, relationships, and love. In her book, she acknowledges the eagerness of young people to find love, the temptations that ensue, the disappointment they experience, the mistakes they eventually make, and then their journey to finding themselves, retracing their steps, and discovering the path God has ordained them to take.
The book starts with Jacqueline telling us about her birth and childhood and how, in her teenage years, she falls in love with B-Boy. Toxic, abusive, manipulative, and, should I use the word ‘childish?’ the relationship soon leads her down a deeper rabbit hole, one she found very difficult to pull out from. By the time she clocks 16, Jacqueline had gotten pregnant, not once, but twice. Throughout this period, her (absentee) father’s voice keeps ringing in her head, “If you get pregnant, your life will be ruined and I’ll wash my hands off you.”
Was her life ruined? Absolutely not! Jacqueline is proof that as a Christain, no matter how much you fall or err, the grace of God will always be sufficient for you, and God’s arms are always willing to receive you any/every time you come back.
Grace Junkie also shows how young people can make the same mistake over and over again if they do not have proper guidance. From Mr. L to Seun and Brother Debo, Jacqueline’s relationships kept hitting the rocks. It was then it dawned on her that she needed to take drastic action.
There are many relationship/life lessons we can glean from Grace Junkie:
- Never put yourself in a box or think that the worst-case scenario is what is best for you. In life, you will always have choices. Don’t dull.
- If you are not yet a wife, don’t behave like one. As a girlfriend, resist the urge to start doing iyawo duties when you’re not one. This will make it more difficult to let go of the relationship, especially when it is not right for you. Never give more than a relationship requires.
- Singleness is a gift just like marriage is a gift. Don’t be in a relationship just because you are scared of being single. Chill and enjoy the journey.
- If, as a woman, you need to prove your cooking, housekeeping, or wifely skills to a man for him to marry you, you will need to prove many more things in the future.
- Marriage is not an emotional decision. Marriage is a spiritual, intentional, and purpose-driven decision.
- Live in each moment, maximise your experiences, be intentional about your friendships and relationships, and leave nothing to chance.
- Whatever you see while dating or courtship is just the tip of the iceberg, expect the 5G vision of all that and more.
- God loves you. Now and always.
Grace Junkie is a purely Christian book, Jacqueline does not shy away from disclosing her identity as a Christain, writing about her love for God and inserting bible verses at intervals. She also shares nuggets on how you can (re)build a relationship with God, and be redeemed in Christ Jesus.
Grace Junkie is one book totally free of vilification. Jacqueline understands what it means to make mistakes and tries to tell everyone who reads the book that their mistakes do not define who they are in Christ.
However, I found myself disagreeing with some words used by Jacqueline. While Jacqueline encourages women not to give a man sex until marriage (page 115), I strongly disagree that a woman gives a man sex. Sex is not something that should be given, it is something both partners should enjoy. Although I understand what Jacqueline is saying, using words like ‘give’ reinforces the notion that sex happens to women and not with women. Thankfully, for me, this was rectified on page 316 when Jacqueline told her husband that “it feels good to have sex without guilt.” It gives me joy that Jacqueline got to that point where she loved and enjoyed sex – something every woman should experience.
If you are struggling with the belief that God loves you, you should read this book. In this book, Jacqueline’s life was a rickety journey! Phew! But if she can be saved, so can you.