"How many times exactly were we going to say Amen?"
Pastor's wife Lady Alice thought to herself in the first quarter of the service.
Underneath a new hat and an elegant wavy weave that a spiritual daughter had sent from Chicago, Lady Alice wore heavy makeup by Sister Rue. Now short for Rusaynia, Sister Rue had been Lady Alice's faithful and ever-improving makeup artist. If it were not for spiritual daughters like Rue who stood by their first lady, things would have truly appeared a miss- as they were. About 20 odd years ago she never needed all those layers, Lady Alice walked into their church as equal with the Man of God. Pastor Kolwa was holding on to her for dear life to preach the all-consuming word of God that had moved them from a storefront to the enormous cathedrals and glamourous mansion they called home. Lady Alice didn't call it home, rather, an embellished shell of somebody else's dreams. Rarely warm, except when their sons came back on vacation. The boys returned every so often from their immaculate lives that Lady Alice had given everything to create.
"I prophesy", and the congregation fell to the floor, Lady Alice heard the Man of God start the service, she dug in her brutally painful heels to respect the God who she loved.
"He must still be moving, God must still be moving- they are falling- moved- so I honor that not this man", Lady Alice muttered.
Lady Alice and her revered partner/husband, Pastor Kolwa met when they were young at the college scripture union fellowship. Alice was a medical student and Kolwa a type of fellowship leader. Alice loved God and Kolwa for his commitment to the same. Lady Alice finished medical school and against her mothers' wishes married Kolwa to begin a life of struggle, she would pursue this man as long as he pursued God.
Then one day the power came down and hearts and minds were healed. Alice had ensured his English was sharp and spent many nights empowering him to adopt the swag of the American forerunner TV preachers. Together with their boys, the couple sacrificed everything to build the church until a swanky fast-talking stronger man of God swept Kolwa off his feet and made them join his movement. This automatically gave them a larger space, property, and a good life. It was still the same God, just under a different flag. That was the day Lady Alice lost Kolwa, he became unrecognizable.
The church had grown, the Spirit was still moving, and all these rich desperate women had joined - Kolwa's new movement. During communal sharing, one would stand up, "I praise God for my Father the man of God", roll her eyes, shake whatever it is she had on, and proceed to show off and bring forth an assortment of dollars and gold watches and shirts from a Dubai or Turkey business trip. Lady Alice was disgusted.
"Can you imagine they bought boxers? the nerve!", Lady Alice told her twin sister in Germany over their weekly call. She shared her heartache every week, there was no one else to tell.
The woman she hated the most was the choir leader her fitted bum, pumped-up bosom, and sensuous wails during worship were laced with the devils' sauce.
When the boys came home for vacation Lady Alice moved back to the master bedroom, and the family had meals together. The mansion servants were not fooled and Lady Alice knew it.
This particular Sunday service there had been too many love offerings by those demi-god sisters, Lady Alice had lost all tolerance, today she was going to tell the entire congregation off. She was prepared. Yet when it was her turn, Pastor Kolwa seemed possessed by the God who first called them, he called her out and started singing her praises, the Pastor broke out in speech - something to the effect that "no matter what people gave, how they sang and gave no woman was like his wife- that Lady Alice was to be revered among all women, his lover and children's mother". Lady Alice nearly fell over, she knew it-- her sister had caved and told him - about her exit plan.
One more time Lady Alice was halted in her resolve to leave Kolwas religion and why? Had the angels orchestrated this moment to chain her to a man whose bed she hadn't warmed in years and yet it had been warm- by some other skunky helpers. A man who let other men's wives buy his wife clothes, shoes, and perfume while he smiled and stuffed his bank accounts. Lady Alice had an arson of the filthy messages he indulged in at night or whenever it is he pretended to be waiting to hear from his maker. She knew about the rehearsed youtube sermons.
Lady Alice stood up waved and cried not tears of joy- rather of regret, hollow dismay filled her up - she had lost the opportunity to ride on the wave of courage mastered over years to leave.
That's all she felt for the moment.
For Lady Alice.