Photo: Married At 43, Gave Birth At 60! Meet The Couple Who Says God Is Never Late

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They got married on September 3rd, 1998 and had their first
child on December 29th, 2014. Excited 60-year old Tunrayo Alagbe who christened
her first child on the 5th of January, 2015, says God is never too
late.
If you wish to read about their story find it after the cut.


Paul and Tunrayo Alagbe were married on September 3, 1998
and had their first child on December 29, 2014.

Rita Okonoboh chronicles the
couple’s journey through the years of trials to the unfolding of boundless
blessings.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard
my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my
feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my
mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put
their trust in him (Psalm 40: 1-3).
The above Psalm verses aptly describe Mrs Tunrayo Alagbe’s
testimony of the Lord’s goodness as she finally gave birth to a daughter at a
few months shy of 60 years of age.
It was a sunny afternoon on Monday, January 5, 2015, and the
atmosphere was radiantly purpled by the stylish outfits of many who had come to
witness the naming ceremony of the lovely daughter of the Alagbes. The crowd
was surprisingly large, even for the African setting, as many braced the
burning rays beating down on the premises of the Women Missionary Union (WMU)
headquarters of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), Total Garden area,
Ibadan, just to show their solidarity with the couple.
As the President of the NBC, Reverend Dr Supo Ayokunle,
affirmed during his address at the naming ceremony, “This child has, from the
beginning, started breaking records. I have never seen a naming ceremony that
attracted this kind of crowd. Also, no naming ceremony has been conducted on
the premises before now. This goes to show that God can do anything, anytime,
anywhere and anyhow, pleasantly, for his own people. For those who wait upon
God, it is never over until it is over. This is an occasion for us to
understand that God’s ways are not our ways.”
The Retired Executive Director, Women Missionary Union,
Nigeria, and a close friend of the family who anchored the naming of the baby,
Reverend Mrs Yemi Ladokun, took the audience through the time of waiting. She
showed to the crowd some flowers from the bouquet used during the wedding and
stated that she had kept the flowers thinking she would use them during the
year after the wedding during the naming ceremony of a child but she was wrong
as she had to wait for almost 17 years.
The child was given close to 40 names including, Halleluyah,
Testimony, Esther, Jesulayomi, Ileri-Ayo-Mi, OkikiJesu, Adepate, Oluwatoyin,
Omoronike, Ibiyemi, Oluremi, Motunrayo, Mo-F’Oluwa-ke, Aderonke, Odunola,
Eri-Ipe, Ewa-Iyin, Itan-iyanu-ife, IturaOluwa, Favour, Oluwadamilare,
Titilayomi-niwaju-Oluwa, among other significant names.
‘A childless woman has no honour, no respect, no place’
Speaking with Sunday Tribune on the experience during the
years of anxiety, Mrs Alagbe noted that the many years of worrying, coupled
with the delay before marriage, contributed to making the experience quite
worrying. According to her, “I wouldn’t say we were not worried, but God was
comforting and encouraging us. It was not a pleasant experience at all. We
experienced delay before marriage but this one was more excruciating. However,
God sustained us.”
On the most nagging worry during the times of trial, the
couple notes that the African tendency to look down on a childless couple was a
constant source of concern. According to the mother, “In Africa, having
children is very important. If you’re married and childless, it’s like you have
no honour, no respect, no place. You’re nobody, so to speak.”
The father, Paul Alagbe, further stated that “She would
sometimes say if she had known that it would be like this, she would not marry
me as it seems like she is a problem to me.” His wife affirmed this by stating
that “Medically, I was told he has no problem, but I was the one whose
fallopian tubes were blocked. I felt like I was a burden to him, like I
shouldn’t have come his way and instead allowed him to live his life.”
‘Childlessness does not mean you are married to the wrong
person’
The president of the NBC, Reverend Ayokunle, who spoke on
challenges and godly responses noted that nobility and godliness does not
immune an individual from trials. According to him, “Childlessness is not a
modern-day challenge. The fact that your family is childless does not mean you
are married to the wrong person. Some couples who do not have the problem of
childlessness have other problems. Would you rather exchange childlessness for
blindness, for instance? A problem is a problem but God is always there.”
On her general outlook during the period of not knowing how
things would turn out, Mrs Alagbe, whom many describe as cheerful, warm and
always ready with a smile,  narrated “I
kept hoping. I cherished my personal relationship with God because I know that
the day you die, this issue of having children no longer has meaning. So, I was
jealously guarding my personal relationship with God, especially in relation to
eternity. I tried to enjoy other things God has blessed me with. Although, I
was often disturbed by that one thing he had not done, I tried to enjoy what he
has done and in my own little way, I served him, hoping He will do it. I
thought that if He doesn’t do it, He knows why and knows how to sustain me.
That’s also why I didn’t visit all sort of places because I know that if I
eventually get a child from the wrong source and I end up in hell, what use
will it be? Besides, God encouraged me that He will do it and I trusted in His
promise.”
‘There was pressure on me as the only surviving male to have
a child’
Her husband, Mr Alagbe, was not also without his own
troubles. According to him, he was constantly reminded about the need to take
the alternative option by getting a second wife. This was further hinged on his
position as the only surviving male child of his family. As Mr Alagbe puts it,
“We were six in my family; four of them died and it was just me and my sister
left. All my siblings who died did not have any children and there was pressure
on me as the only surviving male to have a child. However, I was convinced by
my faith not to do anything negative.”
God never comes too late –Mother
Mrs Alagbe, who started treatment in early 2014, was
confirmed pregnant in April 2014 and the reaction of the couple when the news
first broke is too much to sufficiently capture in words.
“I didn’t believe it. It didn’t have much meaning to me. It
was like I was dreaming. However, as time went on, I saw it becoming a reality.
I just kept thanking God because He said He will do it according to his promise
in Psalm 40. I know that this miracle is for God’s name to be glorified and for
the hope of people to be reawakened so that they believe that God still works
miracles. God never comes too late,” Mrs Alagbe stated.
For Mr Alagbe, his reception of the good news was almost
unbelievable. In his words, “It was like a dream. I kept asking myself if it
was true.”
While echoing the joy of motherhood, Mrs Alagbe stated that
“I just praise God. I’m delighted that God kept his word. In January 2013,
there was a prophecy in our church that God will do it. Several people came to
me and told me to hold on to that prophecy because it was for me. In addition
to what others had been telling me, and the support I received, especially from
my church, El-Shaddai Baptist Church, Pastor Mrs Olateju and many people, I am
happy that God has been faithful to His word.”
‘You can still help people even in your own sorrow’
While acknowledging that going through childlessness is no
trivial task, Mrs Alagbe advises couples in this situation to guard their
relationship with God whatever the eventual outcome. As she points out, “Even
if at the end of the day, God doesn’t do it, it is to the advantage of the
couple. I reached that stage where I told God that if He doesn’t do it, I’m
okay with His decision because He knows what is best for me. My advice is that
they should hold on to God and ensure that their personal relationship with God
stands. They should also do other things to serve God because when you serve
God, you are not likely to be too sorrowful and you’ll be happy to meet the
needs of others and minister to people. Couples should not aimlessly trust God
but anchor on a verse on the Bible and trust the eventual manifestation of
God’s word. They should also help others. You can still help people even in
your own sorrow. When you minister to the needs of people, your burden is
lightened. The couple shouldn’t become so averse to others as if barrenness is
the only problem in the world. Afterall, God has done other things that they
can enjoy and appreciate. Let them hold on to God.”
Mr Alagbe, affirmed by friends and church members to be a
friend of children and who also teaches children in the church, advises couples
in the situation to ensure that they are not hostile to people, especially
children, no matter how hard it seems.
Taking more wives is causing more problems –Father
In his advice for men who are currently undergoing the
challenge of childlessness and who, like him, had been advised to take a second
wife, Mr Alagbe encourages them to fear God, stating that “If they go for more
wives, they are asking for more problems. The best thing is to hold on to God
and see beyond the immediate situation. Right from time, I knew there was a
problem but I also considered what the situation would be if I was the one who
had the problem.”
The couple attempted to relive the priceless memory of
viewing the child for the first time. For Mr Alagbe, “There was anxiety at the
time of delivery. I read Tribune newspapers a lot and I had read something
about a similar case in which the operation was not successful and I kept
thinking about it. But when I saw the baby, I almost cried. I was very happy.”

For Mrs Alagbe, “I was just happy. I don’t know the words to
use. I was excited. I was thrilled that the baby had come at last. I had her
through Caesarian section at Vine Branch Medical Centre and at the theatre,
when they told me ‘this is your baby; it’s a perfect baby,’ I wanted to scream
and say ‘Wow! So this is what was in my womb!’ I lack words to explain. Even
though I was in pains, I couldn’t sleep throughout that day. I was just looking
at her and I kept saying to myself, ‘So this is you I have been waiting for.
Where did you hide?’ I was really very happy.”

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