senior pastor at Omega Fire Ministries (OFM), Apostle Johnson Suleman, in this interview, speaks about the enduring values of womanhood, marriage and ways out of challenges for true sons and daughters of God.
What are the attributes you think should be seen in a woman of God?
Every woman of God is a minister of the gospel and as a minister of the gospel, there are basic and salient attributes required to lead well. When these are not there, the work is bound to hit the rock. Every woman of God is a leader who leads children at home, and if her husband is the head pastor of the congregation, she joins him to lead the entire congregation that is departmentalised into various gender groups or activities. This assignment becomes very complex if the woman leads alone in this condition.
Submissiveness at home is the first attribute a woman of God must possess in order to lead or do well. This leads to having love for everyone she is leading because when there is love other evils will not come up in a leader. Love covers multitudes of sin.
Would you like to share with us a little about yourself before you met your husband and got called by God?
Thank you. Life in every capacity is a journey and what one would be in life is a function of what one is doing now. And what one is doing now is a function of what one is. Now talking about myself before I met my husband has been a good useful youthful life, where God is number one and my all-in-all in everything. It was a time when the focus was fully on the fundamental basis of Christianity, this also brought the likeness of the man with a similar passion for God. All these above were preparations for the call into ministry as it has been destined by God.
How do you balance work and family?
Work and family are related, means of family livelihood depends on the work outcome but at the same time, they are not the same. As the preacher said in Ecclesiastes chapter three and verse one, I quote: “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. The simple way of illustrating this is, do not rob Peter to pay Paul. Time meant for work should be judiciously and religiously used for work, the same thing applicable for family time. This is the wisdom needed for time balancing between work and family.
As a woman leader, what do you think is both missing and commendable about women’s participation in government?
Governmental rules or activities are politically based and motivated. To actually define what is vividly missing and line of commendable efforts in our government, one needs and has to define the respected activities or duties individuals undertake. For me, a lot is missing from our women in government. Most of them plan to do big things for their constituencies, states or the nation at large but as soon as they enter office, the force of ‘bend low’ for the rule and ‘chopping life’ for yourself and family engulfs them.
We need women who can stand to defend their constituencies. As for commendable women in government, it is good to note and acknowledge people like Prof. Dora Akunyili of blessed memory who worked very hard as DG NAFDAC to sanitise the system. Mrs. Florence Ita Giwa, an elected senator for the Cross River south constituency who later became adviser to the then President on Bakassi matters. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a fiery and intelligent woman is not left out, a former minister of education, a major voice in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. She shows a strength of character, vision and decisive leadership. All these gladdens our hearts but Nigerian women still have a long way to go in making Nigeria better.
Even as a woman close to God, are there things that get you worried in your everyday life?
Nothing, and absolutely nothing. The scripture says in Philippians 4:6 -7 (NIV) that “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
You are blessed with an enduring marriage; what lessons do you feel can add value to single females?
Having an enduring marriage is the joint responsibility of both the husband and the wife. Both of them need to see that they have the right idea and the right understanding to make things work. To the dreaming sisters who believe in adding value to their lives, they will have to submit their mission to their husbands’ mission. To the dreaming sisters who want to enjoy their marriage, they must not be indolent or else they may suffer in marriage. For example, imagine a sister who doesn’t know how to cook or takes care of home, how can she succeed? Or a sister who depends on husband for everything, it will be a problem to a good marriage.
Apart from God and your husband, who and what else inspire you?
My mother in the Lord, pastor Foluke Adeboye, the wife of the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God is a major inspiration to me, she is mother-in-Israel indeed. Her humility and disciplined life are encouraging to us. Her love for the younger generation is worthy of emulation. By the grace of God, she is a mother we can look up to.
How do you spend time with your family?