Mama Margaret Benson-Idahosa is a massive game changer! 

She has made being a 74 year old look like a walk in the park! She has raised the bar for women all over the globe, teaching us by example how we can be strong yet graceful, professional yet approachable, spiritual yet down to earth and how a woman can break through one glass ceiling after another without any sign of trauma! 
She is renowned as the first Female Archbishop in the world, the first Female Chancellor of a Private University in Nigeria, On the home front, she is  the Mother of four biological children, four adopted children, grandmother of 8 amazing grandchildren (4 boys and 4 girls) and Spiritual mother to millions more. 

She is a highly respected woman who represents one of the shining lights of the fabric of our great county,Nigeria as she is the only wife of the late, Archbishop Benson Idahosa.

Her stature and grandiose appearance can be very threatening to someone who doesn't know the warmth of her heart. She stands tall, smiles big, carries herself like royalty and commands attention from everyone, whenever she enters a room.

As a member of her family, I have the rare privilege of knowing both her personal and her professional side, and I am inspired. 

Today is her 74th Birthday, I would like to share with you ten out of the one million qualities I admire about the great Rt. Rev. Dr. Mrs. Margaret Benson-Idahosa. (Permit me to refer to her as Mama from here on out.) 

  1. She says it like it is. When Mama doesn't approve of something or someone, she doesn't waste time analyzing why she disapproves or getting people's opinion on her opinion. She states her case and if you want to convince her otherwise, get ready for an uphill battle. 
  2.  She values family. She has 4 biological and 4 adopted children as well as 8 grandchildren. She has a personal relationship with each of her family members and even maintains a private phone number that is just for them, so that they can always reach her. She oftentimes visits our homes and spends nights and weeks with her children who don't live with her in Benin City, Nigeria.

  3. She is an avid learner. She can never be found without a book. She loves to read and improve herself. Recently, Mama and I had the opportunity to spend about 10 hours in a car together over the course of a few days. We bought an audio book and she devoured the contents like it was food. She sat in the passenger seat as I drove. As we listened to the author, Mama took copious notes. When we were between chapters, she would pause and want to discuss the concepts we were learning from the book. 
  4. She is committed to the cause of bringing hope to those who are hopeless. Her generous heart towards orphans, victims of sex trafficking and people suffering from some form of bad break in life is remarkable. She is always looking for ways to improve people's living standards and to give people the kind of love that was given to her.
  5. She is a giver! Whenever there is an offering in church, she makes sure she is the first to give. She gives generously to family, friends and even to strangers. Many years ago, I introduced her to a young man who would do manicures and pedicures for me. I asked him to make Mama his client by doing a great job on her nails. That day, he took his time and gave her the best mani-pedi that she has had in a very long time. In turn, instead of rewarding him with a generous tip, like most people would do, she turned to him and asked him what he wanted to become in life. When he told her his dream, she told him that he needs more education to accomplish it. Lo and behold, she gave him a 5 year scholarship to Benson Idahosa University! During the 5 years, he would come to the house regularly to do her nails. Every time he came, she would pay him generously and try to get more clients for him. This is just one of many remarkable stories of mama's generous nature. 
  6. She is a woman of prayer. Whenever you have a challenge, simply mention it to her and the next thing you will hear is a very loud, "Father in the name of Jesus..." She takes everything to the Lord in prayer and when she prays, she expects results. Once she has prayed for you, she doesn't come back to you and ask you how your condition is with sympathy and pity in her eyes. No way! Mama comes back to check on you and tells you that you are better because she has prayed. She always expects answers to her prayers. After watching her get remarkable results from her prayer life for the last 15 years, I must say, I also expect miracles whenever Mama prays!
  7. She loves worship and intimate times of fellowship with God. I have seen big tears roll down her face as she has experienced God's presence during a time of worship and fellowship. She keeps worship music around her all the time and is always found to have a song in her heart. She may not be the world's best singer, but, that never stops her from taking the microphone and belting out her favorite chorus of a song that the choir is ministering on a Sunday morning. Her worship game is on point. I'm certain that this is where her peace and strength comes from. 

  8. She loves her husband and has been loyal to him in death and has preserved his name and legacy. Many don't see Mama as a woman, they simply see her as an icon. If you look past the titles and the agbada-like gowns, you will see a woman who suddenly lost her husband when she was just in her mid-50's! She was young to become a widow. In the western culture, she would have been expected to eventually explore the option of re-marriage or even if romance. She still has a lot of love and life ahead of her. But, Mama is different than those of us in the west. She saw herself as married for life and even though it is Biblically allowed, in death, she has never considered herself to be a single woman. I have never known her to flirt with any man or show any kind of romantic notions for anyone other than her late husband. This kind of love and loyalty is rare. 
  9. She is conscientious about her diet and is committed to healthy eating and to taking the necessary supplements to support good health. Mama wants to understand everything there is to know about her dietary needs and about eating healthy. She has gone on many different diets since I have known her, not for weight loss, but for the health benefits. I'd say that probably half of her personal library has to do with eating responsibly and living a healthy lifestyle. In her room, you can't find a soda pop or candy anywhere in sight!
  10. She makes physical exercises a priority and has placed high value on her health and prolonging her years. She can be seen every morning either in her home gym or out taking a brisk walk  around her compound in her trainers and jogging trousers. She has studied the benefits of physical activity and can even be found to lift weights every now and then!
I am so grateful to God for giving me such a beautiful Mother-in-love.

Today, I wish Mama a very happy and healthy 74th year, full of grace and love. May God continue to answer her prayers and fill her with His presence as she worships Him unashamedly. Mama, the light from your life has illuminated my path and made my road easier to navigate. Thank you for showing me the way.