On The Clock

I read a 350 paged book in a week, two weeks ago. It was so exciting. I got to enjoy the time travel that books hold. My imagination was tantalized. I was inspired to write and dream. I remembered my love relationship with books when I was younger, how I was never not reading something.

Then motherhood came knocking. Between sleep deprivation and mummy brain, I was down to reading the essentials: my bible, devotional, a few articles and my timeline. Looking back, it’s a little sad that my timeline seemed like an essential, but there’s an escapism that social media offers a new mum, especially in the dead of the night when baby won’t let go of the nipple. This was before I knew about training the baby not to fall asleep on the boob, or rather, before I learned the hard way.

Over the last three years, I have read extremely slowly. Started many books and failed to finish them. Re-started books over and over again, and settled on reading small, light books. I’ve judged many books by their covers and fonts. I’ve opened hundreds of articles on my browser, finished some and bookmarked others to finish some day.

Given the last three years, reading a novel recently was extremely exciting. I felt like I am back. I used to wonder how I would survive being a mum of two and still have time to do the things that make me happy, like reading. I remember hoping that a child came with more hours in the day, but I realized that motherhood is a lesson on time management. You learn on the job how much you can really do in twenty four hours.

Last week, I watched three episodes of a series, back to back. It was entertaining, but half way through I questioned whether it was the best use of my time. Before I became a mummy, I watched my fair share of movies and series. Then came motherhood, and a new schedule. Sleep, that I used to take for granted became a very precious commodity. My free time was used to sleep,  I was newborn hazing as my hormones turned my internal climate upside down. Well, that’s a good way to explain the blues.

The past three years have taught me a lot on love and the value of time. I think now is when I am getting the hang of the intricate balance of time management. Just because I stop, doesn’t mean that time does. I looked at pictures of Ksena and Kyria yesterday, and I was just in awe of how fast they are growing. Growth doesn’t happen in one day, growth doesn’t have a birthday. It happens each and every moment, in the background of the great and the mundane. It is present even when we are passive. It never stops moving, just like time.

My prayer over the past couple of weeks has been that I will live as one who comprehends the fickleness of life. That I will understand that my days on earth are numbered and live my best life now.

psalm 90-4

When we realize just how fleeting our days are, then we release ourselves to glean from and grow in wisdom.

 

 

Tangled

What is the deep conditioning treatment for the soul? What do you apply when your soul is like a big balled fairy knot? Which product has amazing slip but is strong enough to prevent you from sliding in to the pit?

I’ve been a naturalista for almost ten years. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve tried everything from dreadlocks to an afro to a tapered cut. ‘It is just hair, it grows’ is the mantra that I live by. When I moved to Mombasa, I cut my hair. It was so freeing. I could swim everyday without worrying about how my hair would look. ‘Wash and go’ was the order of the day. Coco Chanel said a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. In my case, I found it too stressful to find a good hairstylist who understood why I didn’t want my hair blow dried before it was plaited. I opted to find a barber, hubby’s barber was an answer to prayer.

As a young girl, I loathed my hair being done. I was the classic example of the child who caused drama at the salon. My poor mama. She had to put up with my tears and tantrums. In my defense, there was nothing fun about the hot blow dryer being about one centimeter away from burning my ear. While rejoicing that my ear was still intact I had to put up with a hairstyle being done twice. ‘Pussy cat’ was the the most redundant hairstyle in my opinion. I hated having to be plaited the same thing twice. Undoing it was even more tedious.

Then God gave me daughters, two little girls. He truly has a sense of humour. I’m figuring out how to handle mine and now I have two more under my care. One who has the softest hair, so protective styles barely last a week. She loves to swim, so the chlorine has tinted her ends. And another little girl, whose hair is still on the way. It still fascinates me how two babies can be so different. God is amazing.  From His reserves of grace, He knows that I will somehow be able to do their heads of hair. I pray that none of them will be like me. (Mum, if you are reading this, again I say, I am sorry.)

Wash day humbles me. I’ve been protective styling for the last couple of months. It’s my new thing. Every time I take down my braids and detangle my hair, I am amazed by how the knots fall off. What blows my mind away is that God still knows how many strands of hair are on my head. He keeps up with the progress as I finger detangle my mane and sometimes I lose tens of strands.

Tender loving care is what my hair needs, I can’t rush the process. I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t comb my hair when dry. Somewhere in the discipline and routine lies the secret. If I neglect the process I end up with a matted mane. Fairy knots fused together, that cause lots of pain.

My soul care practices are not very different from hair practices. Sometimes I’m great at detangling my emotions, others, I walk around with my emotions in knots. Not knowing where to begin. Which product to use. Wanting to take short cuts, to avoid the hours spent pre-pooing, deep conditioning and moisturizing ( journal-ling, reading my bible, praying, reflecting and loving on myself) . “There are no short cuts.” I’m preaching to myself as a member of the microwave generation.

When I neglect my emotional well-being, I wake up shocked when everything is matted together. When the emotions that I’ve bottled up are tearing me apart, eating me on the inside. Corrosive and explosive. I’m a ticking time bomb feeling as though I could implode , yet I don’t know what the trigger is.

When I marinate in my thoughts and the darkness and confusion of my emotions, that is exactly what I spew. It’s ugly. There is nothing pretty about being tangled. Unraveling the knots is first for me, and then for those around me. Unless I allow light to penetrate the dark room, darkness will be all that I know.

Last week, at my lowest, I went out and had time by myself. I prayed “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24). Then and I sat and wrote. In those hours, I got a peek into my soul, and it hit me, that unless the lamp shines in to that darkness, I’ll never fully know the contents of the room.

Detangling of the soul is done in the stillness, away from the chaos of life. In the quiet, when His light shines you are able to see what lurks in the dark, and easily entangles you.

 

 

 

The Himalayas Of Insecurities

Before I had my babies, I thought I was a morning person, because I definitely wasn’t a night person. When the clock struck 9:00 pm, my eyelids would receive their daily load of sleep. By 10:00 pm, the weight of the exhaustion would break the imaginary toothpicks holding my eyes open.

Now that I have my girls, I have concluded that I am just a person who is able to adjust to different seasons. Sleep interruptions and deprivation is by far one of the greatest challenges that motherhood came with. I now understand how sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

I’ve had to adjust to late nights, waking up frequently, and somewhat early mornings. Our morning ride to playschool with Miss K is a time of singing, learning and laughter. We count, pray, go over our alphabet and sing (sometimes off key) at the top of our voices. I stick to the left and drive at 20 Kph.

Once in a while, there is a driver who is in a hurry to get to their destination, so their bonnet almost touches my boot. Initially, when she started school, I used to feel the pressure (that I put on myself) to drive faster. The times, I’d focus on driving faster, keeping up with a person whose journey and destination I knew not, I would lose the rhythm of the song that we were singing. I’d hit potholes and deeply regret.

In my journey as a stay-at-home mum, I have felt like a slug, covered in goo from all my crying sessions, inching along an Olympic track, as the rest of humanity, who I refer to as the ‘Usains’, bolt past me. And I am left behind, changing dirty diapers, dealing with tantrums, wiping running noses, still donning those nursing bras, covered in food stains while teaching shapes, colors, numbers and letters, pouring out myself in to my family while struggling to find me-time.

When I start to compare my journey I lose the rhythm of the music. I stop dancing. I lose my balance, and most times I fall into – the seemingly never ending -hole of self pity. Muddle in the pit of doubt and slide into the pool of questions. I struggle to stay afloat as I grapple with these questions:

“Am I where I should be?”

“Does what I do matter? Am I making a difference?”

“Will I ever catch up in my career?”

“What am I good at?”

Sometimes it feels like the fight of my life. It’s easy to descend into the pit. It only takes a few minutes to spiral down. Climbing up is no easy feat. My insecurities seem like the Himalayas, and I have to work through them as I sort the heap and layers of laundry.

It is hard and it hurts. The beautiful thing about rock bottom is, you can only go up. In the brokenness, there is beauty.

I am learning to stick to my lane and to embrace my pace. The reality is that there will always be people zooming past me. That is just the way life is. But they are on their own journey. It’s easy to covet their lives, but they too have their own struggles. And what matters most is that they are where they need to be. What matters most is that I am where I’m supposed to be. That I am watering and tending my lawn.

To avoid spiraling down to the pit, I have to keep reminding myself the truth, my truth in this season; why I do it. Why I strive to serve my husband and girls with joy, in this season. This role comes with no or low monetary pay, long hours and limited hours of leave. I believe that it is a calling. Some days are good. Some are gruesome. But I know that one day, I will look back and miss these days. One day Miss K and Ky will be all grown and I will be on to the next seasons. I’m listening to this song and reminding myself why I do it all.

To my fellow stay-at-home mum who has doubts her call from time to time. You are not alone. In the chaos and the monotony of routine, remember that you matter! You are making a difference. Your worth in this life is not equivalent to how much you earn.

 

 

How Not To Be A Cranky Mama

Over the last couple of months, I’ve learnt to be a little selfish. To take care of myself a little more. When I was a new mum, I sacrificed a lot of things including my well being. I neglected nourishing myself because I thought that pouring out was more important. Boy, was I mistaken.

Motherhood is sacrifice. A mother is a living sacrifice. Motherhood has a way of revealing your doubts, truths and values. It forces you to walk down memory lane and examine what happened and how it made you feel. It’s like a dose of strong coffee that has your mind multitasking and analyzing. You suddenly become aware of things that could have missed your attention and you have to answer the difficult questions.

Over the years, I’ve cracked how to be a cranky and angry mama by 11am. It’s really simple, skip breakfast, postpone doing your quiet time and fail to get some rest. Try this for a couple of days and you will acquaint yourself with your mean side. And, there are not many nice things about your mean side. At least nothing you’d like to write home about.

My mean side is horrible. I’ve realized that pouring out of an empty cup is dangerous for everyone. First, for me the giver and second for the recipients around me. I replay some of the things that I’ve said when empty, the attitudes that I’ve had towards myself and the situations at hand, and I can’t help but shudder in disbelief. Hang my head in embarrassment. It was bad. I was bad, really bad. I was a mum turned monster. Which was never my end goal. The thing is I couldn’t tell when it is happening, it was like a slow fade that transformed me into a bad version of myself.

It matters to my family that I am nourished- physically and spiritually. I can only pour out of what I have. The verse ‘Man cannot live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. – Matthew 4:4’ reveals that I cannot survive on bread alone. To live well, we need to feed ourselves both physically and spiritually.

It is crucial that I have my breakfast (before lunch time) and spend time with God everyday. Sometimes I deceive myself that I am too busy or convince myself that the babies need me to hover around them. But the truth is that Miss K and Ky need me to be full.

They need me to be rested. I am a kinder and more patient mummy when I have had some rest. When I am sleep deprived, my fuse is short. It’s tempting to take out my frustrations on the people closest to me. I have learned that taking a nap makes me a better person.

Quiet time helps me to see my circumstances from God’s perspective. When I pray I invite the power of God in to every situation. Then I am able to walk with a spring in my step because I know that God’s got me. I am able to speak words of life,  to speak kindly, because I don’t carry any grudges and bitterness. I am able to be physically, spiritually and mentally present.

That’s the type of mama I want to be daily.

On that note, I’m off to hide and have my breakfast and quiet time because it is crucial for my sanity, blood sugar, faith, demeanor and the atmosphere in my home.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

 

 

 

Don’t Dull Your Shine

I have had my laptop for well over five years. It has served me well. I enjoyed it’s performance in it’s infantile years. One of the perks that have come with age, is the speakers are not working. That sucks. Ksena thinks so too. Yesterday, she told me, ” Mama, your computer needs to become younger so that it can play sound.” I laughed about it. My two year old’s thought process tickles and fascinates me at the same time.

As I reflected, I realized that unlike my computer, I won’t be able to buy a younger version of myself. There are things that I won’t be able to do when I get older. The question is what am I doing with what I have now?

The truth is that is so easy to have an excuse, even two, not to do what you need to be doing. For a long time, I used this same computer as an excuse not to write. It was foolish. My thinking and perspective in life has since changed. It’s about the end picture. It’s easy to do nothing, but nothing can’t make a difference.

I still struggle in certain aspects but I want the Lord to reveal to me the mighty things that He can do with the staff in my hand. It all boils down to stewardship and a willingness to do what I was created to do.

My prayer is that my life will model to my girls to live their best lives now. To obey promptly and not to make excuses. There will always be a reason not to do it, in fact it may be like a raging fire in your heart compared to the candle flame of your conviction.

I’m currently listening to Todd Dulaney live from Trinidad.

He who called you is faithful. He called you to be the light of the world so don’t let the excuses dull your shine.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

We Are Just Like Grasshoppers

One of the lessons that I have learned from toddlers is that we all have the tendancy to think that we are bigger and greater than we really are. Walk in to a playgroup class and you will see these little, budding, grown ups in small bodies, who sometimes think that they are grown ups.

Occasionally, I sit and stare at Ksena in absolute awe. My baby girl has grown up ( I know I say this all the time, but it’s true). Sometimes, she blows me away with all that she has learned in her few years on earth. I cherish the little conversations that we have, and I am slowly getting used to answering ‘why?’ over and over, every single day. It’s fascinating to see her thought process become more complex. She asks because she wants to understand.

Some days (seems like all the time nowadays) , she does things that test the boundaries (and my sanity). I refuse to call it ‘terrible twos’, because there is power in the tongue, I am sure that I don’t want to claim the terrible. It’s more of ‘testing twos’, in my opinion. We have to keep repeating and reinforcing the boundaries. And reminding her that she is still a child, she may be growing but she is still under our authority. In this year, I have understood this verse:

PROV 22-15

In my walk with God, there are times that as I have grown I have become more comfortable. The boundary lines could have blurred, or for a moment there I could have there I could have thought that I was bigger than I actually am.

As I read Isaiah yesterday, the Lord reminded me that as He looks down on us as humanity we look like grasshoppers. Grasshoppers!

For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[a] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring._

You struggle to worship and stand in awe of a god who you view as your equal. But, the living God is very, very, far from our equal. In fact, He keeps asking, ‘ to whom shall you compare me to?’. Whom have you been comparing Him with? Does your worship reflect your understanding of His magnitude?

Just like a grasshopper, is what we are in His sight. Beloved ‘grasshoppers’. When we see Him as He is, we can attempt to worship Him as He desires for us to. He longs for our eyes, minds and hearts to remain stayed on Him. Yes, we are in the world, but not of this world.

I’m currently listening to Todd Dulaney live in Ghana. We serve a GREAT God, and He deserves our praise.

I pray that He will release His favor, power and glory, that they, may rain on us.

Have a blessed week,

Bibi2be

Safe In His Arms

It’s not by chance that mama bear’s porridge was too cold when Goldilocks tasted it. One thing that I’ve had to learn since I became a mum is the art of eating cool (read: cold) food. It really is an art. For a long time, I preferred my food hot, now I focus on the end goal which is to be full. Hot or cold, I’ma eat it.

The truth is, I wouldn’t trade my lukewarm, mostly cold food for anything. The territory has come with many more blessings and I’m just in awe of the Lord’s sustenance. He has been faithful. I look back at the last couple of months and I can’t help but say ‘ Praise the Lord!’.

psalm 68-19

This verse is a perfect summary of the song in my heart. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I am still standing but the truth is that I have been carried. Like a child in her mother’s arms, I have been embraced, encouraged, cherished, cuddled, protected and nourished. Praise the Lord!

I’d like to share something my husband shared, that has been replaying in my heart.

K SQUAD CHRONICLES (HIS FAITHFULNESS) This week was my thirty something birthday, 5th marriage anniversary, and a few months short of our 5th year in Mombasa. Its a busy season of life (wife, kids, ministry, work and new projects etc) so I didn’t get to reflect about it until Friday evening. As I reflected on the journey, through the ups and downs,the stretching seasons (they seem many:-) ). I realized one thing is constant: GOD’S FAITHFULNESS. In our home we have a saying “keep the main thing, the MAIN THING!” Basically don’t lose focus on your main goal/goals or be distracted by the nuisances of life. My prayer is that I will heed the call and “Keep the main thing, the main thing! “For I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.”(Jeremiah 10:23)

P.S Whatever you have been procrastinating about, waiting on the right conditions to start or do, heed the call, jump in, for we are but a breath, here today gone tomorrow. (Psalm 144:4)


Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

The truth is that I have so many dreams that I have been putting on hold, but tomorrow is not assured.

My prayer is that the Lord will teach me how to number my days. That I will walk in (prompt) obedience and let the Lord glorify Himself in my life.

If you would like me to stand with you in prayer, please send me an email via bibi2bee@gmail.com.

Blessings,

Bibi2be