6 Years On: Grief, Life, Love

Oh my, time flies. It’s amazing how things change and some remain the same.

6 years ago, I didn’t know if I would ever be okay and not think about my dad every living moment. It sounds extreme, but I was heart broken. But time, and God,  they have a way of healing your heart. Over the years, the grief has changed. It has felt different and been different. During my last trip to the beach, I sat next to Ksena at the shore and the we played with the water. She enjoyed the little waves tickling her toes. When the waves got stronger she squealed with joy that the water was splashing on her back. Then out of nowhere, an innocent looking wave came, and it was bigger than we thought, but I yanked her up in time and we stared at the wave as it crashed.

Grief is like the ocean, sometimes your heart is calm, and then other times, when you least expect it, sorrow rocks up and is literally a wet blanket, and you have to leave. For some reason, the last couple of weeks, Ksena has been asking me about my dad. Both her grandpas went to be with the Lord, so she doesn’t quite understand the concept of grandpa. So we’ve had to talk about what happens when we die. I’m yet to find a simple way to explain the complexity that is death. Somewhere after one of our conversations, a wave, a mighty big wave hit me, and I felt a sadness and longing, and soon after a peace.

Life. Goes. On.

That’s what I wish I could tell myself 6 years ago. That the eyes that were filled with tears of sadness would one day be filled with tears of joy. My emotions have been confused. On one hand I’m remembering my dad 6 years on, and 8 days later, I am celebrating the milestone of Ky being 6 months old. They are both big things in my life that elicit a myriad of emotions.

But I read something a few days ago that really captured what my heart had been trying to articulate to my brain over and over.

no amount

Ain’t that the truth!

I use the term here achievement here loosely, because, I know that motherhood is not an achievement, it is stewardship, and I will be held accountable. My point is, being a mum fills my heart with joy but it doesn’t erase the pain, sadness of losing a parent. Each is a big deal, they both carry weight.

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The reality is that each day that passes we are closer to the grave. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. I don’t know much about the complexities of life, but I know this, that I don’t want to die with dreams and plans that I never executed. So I’m taking steps each day to ensure that I die empty, having done what the Lord placed me on earth to do.

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I am not alone! This is truth that I’ve had to remind myself over and over when in the depths of grief. Over the years I have realized that love is a doing word. It’s more than just an emotion or a phrase that is tossed around. It is an action. Love is present and not passive. God has been there.

I can attest to the fact that God’s love has carried me. My daily prayer is that I will understand His love, continually experience it and be made complete with the fullness of life and power that comes from Him.

Ephesians 3:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

I”m currently listening to this song on replay. It’s my declaration.

6 years later, I say  Thank you Jesus for your love. Siyabonga. You know the depths of my heart, where it aches and longs, and I know that You are there. Right there in the stillness; and your peace and joy will replace the sadness that ebbs and flows.

He is the Father to the fatherless! My God. He is faithful. Forever.

Today I celebrate life! #DKM

Blessings,

Bibi2be

 

Morning Reflections: Remain Fluid, Always

The ocean is my happy place. When I moved to Mombasa, I used to wonder how and why the people who lived here didn’t frequent the ocean. Then I got comfortable, became one of ‘them’, my ‘let’s go to the ocean’ plans became sparse. I guess after a few months, it became the norm, sort of like Uhuru park 🙂

Yesterday morning, I went for a walk on the beach and I was just so blown away. It was so nostalgic! Reminded me of the love that I had for God when I moved to Mombasa. Please don’t get me wrong, I still love Jesus. Though life was different then. But I was reminded to remain fluid regardless of the season in life. To always be available for the Spirit of the Lord to blow me in the direction that he pleases. Having the waves crash at my feet was an example of what He can do with a fluid heart.

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I left so recharged and in awe of God. I kept singing this song.

Oh that I will search for Him and find Him, everyday, in the big things and the little things.

We serve a big God!! He deserves all of our praise. May our life songs sing to Him.  Standing by the ocean humbled me. My response was YES! Yes, I will go where you send me, even across the fence, the nations and oceans. Obedience begins where I’m at, it’s not a destination but a state of being.

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Here’s to many more walks by the ocean, many refreshing reflections and an irresistible love for Jesus that oozes into every part of my life.

Remain Fluid, Always!

Blessings,

Bibi2be

Amani Ya Juu: Live, Love, Laugh

This morning, I am dancing to this song.

One of the things that I enjoy about being in Nairobi is that there are lots of places to go with young children, that you both enjoy. When I visited in 2016, a friend told me about a place that Ksena and I would enjoy, but we didn’t get a chance to visit it then.

A few weeks ago, we finally got a chance to go to to Amani Ya Juu. It was worth the wait. The serene atmosphere was exactly what our Monday needed. It has a nice playground for children under 10, a beautiful garden and a lovely gift shop. The gift shop is something to write home about. It has beautiful handmade goods with a card attached that includes the name of the person who made it and a bible verse.

“Amani ya Juu (Higher Peace) is a training project in sewing and marketing for African women who have been affected by wars and ethnic conflicts. The purpose of this project is twofold; one is to give African women an opportunity to improve their sewing and marketing skills to provide for the needs of their families and the other is to sow seeds of peace in the hearts of these women. Wonderful hand-made and hand dyed toys and home decorations, very African with a modern twist.” ~ Kenya Buzz

Above all, the peace of God, a higher peace is there. Amani ya juu! This is a place I would definitely go to read a lovely book, spend time with God and just be. And shop:).

These wall hangings from the gift shop are serving as a special reminder to live, love and laugh this year and for the years to come.

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Acts 17:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

If I am not connected to God I will not live, move and be as He designed me. John 15:5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” To live the life that God desires me to live, I must remain connected to Him.

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1 John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Love is more than the warm fuzzy feelings. Love is laying down my life for others. I had an interesting conversation with a mum a few days ago, she said parenting is all about sacrifice and I responded that you are the sacrifice. A living sacrifice, whose mind is constantly being renewed by Christ.

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Psalm 126:2-3 New International Version (NIV)

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

God has done great things for me. When I take my eyes off Him I start to mumble and grumble, I lose the light in my eye and forget to laugh. Yet He has filled my mouth with laughter. Ksena has been reminding me to laugh from the bottom of my heart. This year, I will laugh.

I am really enjoying this ‘Sounds of Revival film’ by William McDowell.

http://www.williammcdowellmusic.com/watch-sounds-of-revival-film//

Blessings,

Bibi2be

5 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in my three years of being a mother. This journey that has stretched me, has also, blessed me. In the moments that I thought I would break I realized something new about myself, my God; a greater level of grace.

Life is a miracle

Conception, gestation and delivery are all a miracle, hands down, God’s hand can be seen through it all. Getting pregnant is not as easy as we sometimes think, carrying a pregnancy and giving birth through whichever method, are nothing short of a miracle. I constantly marvel at how great God is, to think that the sperm and egg fused, and he knit a being, with body parts, a soul, a mind, is truly mind blowing. Watching the girls grow has humbled me, made me see God as the creator. His handprint is all over our lives as a whole. Laminin continually blows me away. Indeed it is He who holds us together.

Good health should never be taken for granted

Being sick sucks. I’m currently recovering from a flu. It was bad. What’s worse though, is seeing my girls unwell. That is so difficult. I feel so helpless, I want to carry the sickness on their behalf, but more than anything, I want them to be well. Back to their good ol’ bubbly selves. Good health should never be taken for granted. Never, ever! Health is wealth.

Sleep, oh sweet sleep, is to be savored

When my bed time reaches, I bolt to bed. No one needs to tell me it’s time to sleep. Gone are the days of falling asleep watching a movie. Sleep is a priority. Sleep is a break. Sleep is a slice of heaven on earth. Perhaps the only thing I didn’t do enough of before I had tots, is sleep. I have no idea why I was waking up so early just before I delivered Ky; if only you could sleep in advance 🙂 Sleeping in feels like Christmas, y’know, it happens once a year.  Sleep when you can!

You give what you have

You can’t pour out of an empty cup. Motherhood is servant leadership. It’s sweet and dirty, because we all know that diaper won’t change itself; it’s hard work.  It’s stretching and rewarding. Being present, emotionally, physically and spiritually, can take a toll on you. I’ve learned and I continue to learn the importance of filling my cup, spending time with God and letting Him refresh me. When I am irritable, anxious and angry, I look within. The circumstances squeeze out what is within. Quiet time with God is not optional, it is crucial. His grace is sufficient for me. His mercies are new every morning, it’s up to me to let Him fill me up.

Be present now

‘They’ll be all grown up before you know it!’ Boy, is this phrase true. You don’t get these years back, so it’s best to enjoy the different seasons of life. Change is not always a bad thing. My girls are growing, aren’t we all. I keep reminding myself to enjoy these years, because I’ll never get them back. So we will draw together, play with rattles, sing and dance and have a great time.

We have to decide to live our best lives now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. The biggest lie is that we have time, time to make up for the things we haven’t done; time to start living later. Today is a gift, let’s live it and be all that God created us to be.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

Love and Hair Chronicles

Let’s talk about love.

Love is many things, but the one thing that has a special place in my heart is, love is acts of service.

When I was a little girl, I loathed my hair being done. This led to my hair being shaved a number of times, not in a nice faded hair cut kind of way. Nah! Nobody had time for professional cut. It was a quickly done hair cut with scissors amidst tears. Not the pretty kind. But hair grows. And for that, we thank God!

My mum’s friend used to come and do my hair, it was her love language to my mum and I, though I was too sensitive to see it as that. By sensitive, I mean my scalp was sensitive and I didn’t like my hair being done (read: disturbed). My scalp is still sensitive so I avoid having my hair done in salons. And so far, so good. There are about 5 people who I let touch my head. Though once in a while, I miss being pampered, until I remember how my hairdressers live 500 kilometers away.

little-things

Miss K, has a beautiful mane; she was born with a full head of hair. Miss Ky on the other hand, was born with a hair cut 🙂 so I had to trim her hair a few weeks ago. One of the things I had not fully thought about was how I would do their hair as they grew. When Ksena was old enough to have hair done, I realized she hated her head being touched, and I totally understood the feeling because she probably got it from me. I learned to let the unsolicited advice fly over my head. Many people had a vision for her hair, and we were still on the afro tip.

afro

Late last year, she begun to show interest in hairstyles other than afro. At first I was confused because we had been #TeamSensitiveScalp for as long as I could remember, but I had to shelve my biases and let her have her hair done. Slowly we begun to tie it up and we liked the results. Then she begun to ask if we could have a lady do house calls for her hair to be done. At that moment, I looked at with the phrase, ‘Who are you??’ running through my mind. But again, my biases needed to take a back seat.

Early December she had her hair done and it looked nice. It was decided that we’d have it done for Christmas. The week leading up to Christmas, had me looking for the stylist. Long story short, on Christmas Eve, I realized she was over booked and wasn’t coming. Cue mini panic. Because doing hair was not my thing. But life has a way of showing us that we can be and do different things at different times.

I was a little bummed she wasn’t coming, but the hair had to get done before Miss Ky woke up. I said a prayer and asked God to help me. In moments like those it is only God who can help. Half an hour later, Ksena had a new hair do that we all liked.

This verse came alive for me.

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In retrospect, maybe it’s not so bad that she didn’t come. In the midst of the mini hair crisis, I saw a side of me that I didn’t quite think I had.

Here’s to doing more things that are out of our comfort zones and trusting God to give us the knowledge we need. I am trying new things on her hair, and I’m determined to get better at doing more versatile hairstyles. Indeed, there is always of a silver lining.

With God by your side, nothing is impossible.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

 

Sisterhood From A Two Year Old’s Perspective

When I was growing up, I always wanted a sister. I had our lives all planned out. How we’d have little tea parties, raid each others wardrobes, enjoy some hand-me-downs and crack the boy code together.

Well, truth be told, things didn’t turn out as I expected. When mama came from the hospital, she had a bouncing little boy ( I wonder why newborns are referred to as bouncing anyway, seeing as they lay pretty still). Back to my story, a precious little boy made his debut into our home. I was sad that I had officially been dethroned as the only child ( they didn’t prepare me enough). I now had to share everything including my parents attention. But I survived; though I still longed, ever so deeply for a sister.

I must say though, God did give me sisters from other mothers. Along the way, seasons have changed and time and distance have had their way. But, there is a bond I’ve made with a few, that has stood the test of time, proximity and shifting seasons.

Watching Ksena and Kyria together has struck chords in my heart. I’m learning so many lessons about sisterhood. The simple truths.

This is what sisterhood is according to a two year old:

Sisterhood is checking up on each other

Every morning, when Ksena wakes up, she comes into my room and says “Good morning mama, where is my sister? How was her night?”

During the day, she constantly asks, “Mum, what is Kyria/sister doing? How is she feeling?”

Sisterhood is protecting each other

When someone that Ksena doesn’t know picks up her sister, she stops what she is doing and asks us ( her parents) what is happening, to know if her sister is safe. She always points out little things that she thinks will hurt Kyria.

Sisterhood is helping each other

This morning, Ky refluxed as she was on her bouncy chair. Immediately Ksena said, “Mama, Kyria spat up. Let me help wipe her.” Then she took a muslin cloth and wiped the spit up. And Ky gave her a big toothless smile.

Sisterhood is standing in the gap

When Kyria starts crying, Ksena is the first person to jump off her seat and attend to her. If she sees I’m taking too long, she comes and says, “Mum! Kyria needs your help. Mum, come help Kyria!”

Sisterhood is loving each other

“Oh Kyria, you are my sister. You are my friend. I love you. Mama, I love Kyria very much.”  These words leave Ksena’s mouth daily. She tells her she loves her and showers her with kisses, hugs and prezzies that she’s made.

Sisterhood is enjoying each other’s company

Ksena likes to be in the same space with Kyria. She is constantly asking to lie next to her or seat next to her or carry her. The look on Ky’s face when Ksena is around is heart warming. She follows her around with her eyes and is all smiles.

Sisterhood is teaching each other

Ksena is currently teaching Kyria to make music (read: sing, dance and play an instrument). She shows her how to do it then asks her to have a turn. Ky smiles in return and bounces to the music in her chair.

Sisterhood is sharing

Haha this is a tricky one. It means sharing parents and toys. Some days there is good sharing of toys. All in all, it’s a work in progress.

Sisterhood is holding each others hands

Ksena likes to hold Kyria’s hands. I constantly discourage this, because Kyria eats her hands. So it’s a song, “Ksena, please don’t touch Kyria’s hands!” then she responds, “but I love her!! Mama, I love my sister very much!” Kyria also reaches out to touch Ksena. Indeed, sisterhood is holding each others’ hands.

Watching this relationship blossom is an answer to prayer and a subtle #sisterhoodgoal.

I’ve been longing to have a milkshake and adult conversation with a sister, but as I wait for that day, I’m going to enjoy watching these girls love on each other.

This weekend, reach out to your sister, let her know you love her. If you can, hang out with her, listen to her and BE with her. If your relationship with her is in a hard place, pray about it, then pick up the phone and extend an olive branch.

Here’s to sisterhood; a relationship made in heaven.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

I Don’t Want To Be An Ostrich Mama

As a child, I was fascinated by Ostriches. I thought they were intriguingly beautiful. There was something about the way they spread their wings that enthralled me.

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I hadn’t thought about an Ostrich for a long time, well, that was up until a couple of weeks ago when I read Job 39.

Job 39:13-18New Living Translation (NLT)

13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly,
    but they are no match for the feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth,
    letting them be warmed in the dust.
15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them
    or a wild animal might destroy them.
16 She is harsh toward her young,
    as if they were not her own.
    She doesn’t care if they die.
17 For God has deprived her of wisdom.
    He has given her no understanding.
18 But whenever she jumps up to run,
    she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.

 

As I read this scripture, my heart was convicted. Verse 16 and 17 tugged at my heart strings and caused me to ask the Lord to search my heart. To reveal to me the ways that I have been harsh, insensitive, deprived of wisdom and lacking understanding.

This passage refused to leave my mind. It replayed in my heart for days on end. Then I begun to see how Ostrich like I have been in my motherhood journey and my heart, oh, how it broke. It became crystal clear (again) that I cannot rely on my own wisdom (or lack thereof). 

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My prayer is that in my newborn hazing state I will not be impatient and harsh towards the K girls. That I will be sensitive to the status of their hearts and dreams. That I will be a woman and an understanding mother. Oh, how I pray for wisdom to raise these girls. That I will be loving towards them, that I will always speak lovingly and that my heart will be keen to notice if they are dying in any part of their lives. That my tongue will speak life and not death. That I will encourage them to pursue their dreams and create an environment where they can encounter the Lord.

Now when I think about an Ostrich, I remember that though she is swift and grande, she lacks understanding and has been deprived of wisdom.

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Dear Lord,

Please do not deprive us of wisdom. We ask that you will send your angel to give us instructions on how to raise these children like you did to Manoah and his wife in Judges 13.

In Jesus name we pray,

Amen

Blessings,

Bibi2be