The Waterfall

I put my nose on her head and took a deep breath, my lips curled into a smile as I took in a scent. The memories of our first weeks together flooded my memory, I cradled her in my arms as I thought about how little she was when she was born. “Esther, you have a baby girl. 3.2kgs” Daktari said as the tears cleansed my cheeks, they washed away the anxiety that I had been carrying around. Being pregnant was one miracle, a safe delivery for both mummy and baby was the other miracle.

That tear jerking moment was the first of many in our journey of getting to know each other. Our first few weeks were filled with awe of the Most High and sheer frustration, getting Ky to burp felt like squeezing toothpaste out of an empty tube, I rubbed the top of her back and the tail of the spine, sometimes I got a tiny burp other times there was nothing.

God forbid she did a proper burp, a waterfall of her milk followed, it drenched her clothes, my PJs, the sheets but it gave her relief. She would smile, and it would sort of melt the frustration away, that was until she got frustrated by my not-so-full boob that was the source of her milk. Night feeds were long, feeding every three hours was hectic and the reflux was discouraging.

As I carried her and enjoyed carrying a still version of her I realized that blessings don’t exempt you from struggles. When they come it’s good to remember that they won’t last forever. Now all I have are memories, we’ve outgrown the reflux and we are onto other struggles.

John 16:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Suffering, distress, and tribulation come in different shapes and sizes but God’s peace and courage remain readily available.

 

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Choked

The lump in my throat felt like it had been chained to my molars, it didn’t budge no matter how hard I swallowed, the waves of water I drunk washed it but didn’t push it. It was stuck, and for once I was forced to confront it, see it for what it really was.

Earlier that day, I woke up to pray and I whispered a series of simple prayers, they weren’t seemingly ‘powerful’ command-the-morning, devil-you-are-defeated kind of prayers, though yes the devil is defeated. They were simple heartfelt whispered pleas said from a guarded but expectant heart.

“Babe, what happened to you?” hubs asked as we had our breakfast. “What do you mean?” I asked as I took a sip of my Moringa Hibiscus tea, “You used to pray a lot…you know you will stand and give an account for yourself as an individual,” immediately I heard these words the piece of sweet potato in my throat became harder, I felt like I was eating a sweet fibrous boulder.

“I am trying to get back there. I’ve been praying shorter prayers, but I am still at it.” I responded but the question lingered with me. As I went about my day, I sought the answer within, and I stopped when I realized what had really happened. I had been choked, to the point that I found myself gasping for air, sometimes my faith was even turning blue. It wasn’t because God or His word had changed, but I had shifted my focus. The worries of this world (that is soon passing away) had choked my desire, drive and resolve to pray passionately.

Motherhood has taught me that it is not only bad things that can choke you, even water and breast milk can choke a child, these are liquids that are meant to refresh. In the same way, the things that choke my faith are not necessarily bad things, in fact, some of them are the roles that I play as a mum and a wife, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. If anything it should be a reminder to always be sensitive enough to know when the balance shifts, to know when the water goes down the wrong pipe, to recognize the coughing spasms in my faith, the difficulty praying, and to ask for help.

Here’s to eating life with a big spoon, praying and not choking.

Blue Elephant

From the eyes of a child, the world is an exhilarating and sometimes scary place. Fear is sometimes triggered by the little things. During the last one week. Ky has been facing her fears and reservations towards the unknown. There is a little-stuffed cow that she’d not get close to, but one day she realized that it wasn’t so scary after all. The first day she went around it quickly and stopped one meter past it to see its reaction, it lay there helplessly. The second day she picked it up, tossed it to the side and zoomed past it, she knew that there was nothing that it could do, fear became a thing of the past.

This morning as we played on the floor she met a mummy and baby Elephant. Mama is pink and called Ellie while her litu one is blue and called Blue (I am taking suggestions for names for stuffed animals, some with a little flare.) Ky likes Ellie but she is terrified of little Blue, when I say terrified I mean, she will not let it get close to her and will shake if it tries. What I consider as a cute little blue Elephant seems scary to her.

That is the thing about fear, it’s deeply personal, it takes a different face as the seasons change. They may be little in the eyes of society but to you, they are huge and blue and they make your world come to a standstill. When you face them you shudder, you close your eyes so as to wish them away, and in that moment your grandeur means nothing because fear is raging within.

We often shy away from the pink Elephant in the room, but I think that we need to talk about the blue Ellie that’s in our minds, the one that makes us second guess ourselves and makes us shrink and retreat like a tortoise into its shell.

My prayer for Ky and myself is that our fears will not hold us, hostage, that we will be all that God created us to be. That we will take all the Blue Elephants into our hands, push them aside like she did to the cow, and zoom towards our destiny.

Here’s to fighting and winning the battles within because we know that greater is He who is in us than he who is against us.

Oh dear heart, take courage. Do not fear.

 

 

Play Dough

I made play dough on Saturday. I used strawberry-red food color and it turned out a shade closer to pink, but I am glad I made it anyway. As long as it is malleable, Ksena will be happy.

Ksena enjoys making tasty Chapatis when it is Chapo day, her rolling skills are improving with the practice she does on play dough. Maybe she will be the one who makes us tortillas when she is older; a mum can dream.

I’ve gotten really good at procrastinating. Overthinking has become a past time. Granted that it is good to think through what you are about to do, but what I’ve been doing is wearing my running shoes and then tying my laces together, little wonder that I fall down before I start to run. Then I quit.

Most of the play dough recipes require you to use Cream of Tartar (I know, it sounds like Tartar sauce). For the past year, I looked for Cream of Tartar in every supermarket in Mombasa, I even checked in Nairobi but it was nowhere to be found. So I opted not to try.

On Saturday, I decided to give it a try without the Cream of Tartar, it was evident that if I wait to find it I will never make it, also Ksena’s desire to mold isn’t going anywhere so I might as well get on with it. As I kneaded the play dough, the Holy Spirit prompted me to think of all the things that I have failed to do because I didn’t have perfect conditions, because I didn’t have the “Cream of Tartar”. I was humbled and embarrassed. The truth is I like having everything that I need and watching my ducks stand line quacking on key like a choir. But life doesn’t always work like that. Most times, I don’t have all my ducks in a row, in fact sometimes it looks like there is a chicken masquerading in the skein, clucking as the rest are quacking.

The truth is I like having everything that I need and watching my ducks stand line quacking on key like a choir. But life doesn’t always work like that. Most times, I don’t have all my ducks in a row, in fact sometimes it looks like there is a chicken masquerading in the skein, clucking as the rest are quacking.

Some of my obstacles seem silly, but I let them hold me back. I am reminded today to just do it, to chase the dream, to record those Vlogs, to write those books, to make the play dough without the Cream of Tartar and to always be malleable. Through it, God will be glorified.

You can follow my Vlog here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnmYUAAe-cc

Existence

If I got ten shillings for every question I answered in the last week I’d probably have more than one thousand shillings. A few months ago, Ksena started asking questions about everything and it was cute. Of late, she has been asking deep and heavy questions as she tries to make sense of the world around her. Sometimes the questions catch me by surprise.

Last week as I cleared the dinner dishes she asked me,” Mama, who made us?” my sleepy brain was not prepared for such a question. I knew that the answer was simple, but there would be questions to follow that I would have to answer.

“God,” I answered as I put away the sponge and wiped my hands and anticipated the next question.

“How did He make us?” she asked as she sat on a stool to listen to my answer. I silently prayed for the Holy Spirit to give me the wisdom to speak to her in a way that she would understand as I stooped down to her level.

“God knit us in our mummy’s tummies, remember when Ky was in Mama’s tummy? God was knitting her and helping her grow in there until she was ready to be born. She started like a small seed and God helped her grow.”

“Why did He make us?” she asked with furrowed brows.

“For His glory, so that we could reflect His image on earth and have fellowship with Him,” I said as I was grateful that we had taught her The Grace, so she understood what the word fellowship was.

“Okay Mama, let’s go to bed,” she replied as walked towards her room. I switched off the lights and followed her smiling, happy that she was questioning and seeking to understand.

I wondered where the questions had come from, then I remembered my prayer. Every day when I pray for Ksena and Kyria I ask God to give them a hunger for Himself, and to teach them and that they will know great peace. Here I was seeing how God was answering my prayer and I marveled at who He is.

The following morning I read this verse during my quiet time:

1 Corinthians 8:6 Amplified Bible (AMP)

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, [a]who is the source of all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [that have been created], and we [believers exist and have life and have been redeemed] through Him.

It tugged on my heart and I began to memorize it so that I will always remember FOR whom and THROUGH whom I exist. It summarizes purpose.

In 2015, I run a series called 30 Days of Depth, where I posted every day in the month of September. This year I am back at it and pretty excited to share here every day. All that I do and all that I am is for God, it is Jesus Christ who enables me to do it For His glory.

Happy new month! I pray that you will encounter God in a new way this month.

 

 

 

 

Training Wheels

“Mama, just let her play with it.” Ksena said to me as we watched Ky attempt to eat board book. She’s teething, these teeth have been coming out for three months. Today, one finally broke through (cue ululations). I’m excited, I can’t say the same about my nipples and Ky’s earlobes, they are both about to be conditioned. Our toothless smile is turning into a two-toothed smile.

Over the last nine months, our home and hearts have been transformed. Yesterday as I watched the girls played, I said to Peter, that I almost don’t remember life before Ky came. She has warmed our hearts, her joy has radiated everywhere she has gone. She greets us with smiles every morning and wakes Ksena up by shouting, ‘Dada Dada Dada’. If Ksena wakes up before Ky, she asks two questions: “Where is my sister? How was her night?” once you have answered these questions to her satisfaction, then she asks you to pray.

Sisterhood has made Ksena more empathetic. Granted that there are times that I have to remind her to be kind to Ky, or to use her kind voice, being a sister has brought out a softer, caring and protective side. The transition from being an only child to a big sister has been smooth. Initially, there were a few regressions but all in all, there has been a lot of progress.

train up your child

Training a child in the way that they should go is like playing a cd on loop, both the audio and video. It is setting an example in speech and deeds. I repeat myself severally. When I am tempted to get frustrated and irritated, I remember the love and grace that the Lord has extended to me. Sometimes the bible seems repetitive, but we are children, the more we hear and internalize, the more we are transformed.

A few months ago, Ksena wasn’t bothered to learn how to peddle her tricycle. She preferred to be pushed, sometimes she would attempt to peddle while the bike was already in motion. Other times, she would just sit pretty and enjoy the ride. She wasn’t bothered that other children knew how to ride, one day, she woke up and peddled. Now she is ready for a bicycle with training wheels. The training doesn’t stop until she learns to cycle and balance on her own.

From time to time (more like every other week), I am asked a question that compares the girls’ development. Ksena’s teeth popped when she was much younger, but Ky has started cruising earlier than Ksena did. I am learning to let them grow at their pace. Growth is not a competition, everyone is on their own journey. What is important is that we all make it to our destinations, so we walk if we can, and crawl if we must. As long as we don’t stop moving.

Our girls were dedicated to the Lord this past weekend, it was beautiful and powerful service. Aside from the emotions, we were reminded our mandate to train up these girls in the ways of the Lord. To speak truth into their lives. To teach them truth. It’s a huge task and responsibility, one that we cannot delegate.  Sometimes the task at hand seems daunting but we have to remember that we have an ever present help, a counselor, the Holy Spirit who leads us into truth. We continue to trust Him to reveal to us who they are as individuals that we may raise them with clarity just like Manoah and his wife did. I pray that they will walk in their God given purposes, that they will get to their destination with unwavering faith in God who formed them in my womb, for the glory of His name.

 

 

The Ark

After almost three months, of reading, discussing and acting out the crucifixion and resurrection story daily, we are now enjoying the action of the Old Testament. Once in a while, Miss K asks for ‘Jesus on the cross’ but we are now learning more bible stories and enjoying acting them out. A few days ago, Ksena and Peter read the story of David and Goliath and acted it out, it was YouTube worthy with 5 Stones as the soundtrack.

Illustrations bring the bible to life for little children. It amazes me how small details catch Ksena’s eye. The story of Noah and his ark is our new favorite. The questions have been hilarious.

“Mama, why are these men laughing at Noah?” Ksena asked as she pointed at Noah’s neighbors. “What’s so funny Mama?”

“They think that Noah has a wild imagination. They are surprised that he is building a big boat on dry land. He keeps talking about rain falling from the sky, yet these men have never seen rain. God waters the plants from the ground.” I responded. “Sometimes God asks us to do things that seem crazy, and not everyone will support us or celebrate with us.” I added as I unfolded the crease from the page.

“What happened next, Mama?” she asked as she turned the page. The next page had a picture of different types of animals entering the ark. The artiste used his palette well to show how detailed and colorful God’s plan is.

“Mama, look! There are the Giraffes, Monkeys, Lions, Birds, Cows, Dogs and Sheep.” she said excitedly as she pointed at each of the animals. “Mama, why is the tortoise walking so slowly? When will it reach the ark?” she asked inquisitively.

I chuckled, the look on her face told me that it was not a rhetorical question and the silence meant that it was not a monologue. Sometimes she asks a question and then has a back and forth with herself and ends up smiling, and I can’t help but smile back.

“The tortoise is not a fast animal. So it will walk slowly until they get to the ark. Noah will wait for them. When all the animals and Noah’s relatives are inside, God will shut them in.”

“But, Mama! I want him to go faster. I want him to run like a Cheetah!” she said as she mimicked how a Cheetah runs. My laughter filled the room.

“My sweet Ksena, God made us all differently. We may look a little different and walk at different paces, but we’ll all get there eventually. Can you imagine if we were all Cheetahs? The world would be so boring. There would be no cats to meow, lions to roar, dogs to bark and butterflies to show us some beautiful color.” I took a sip of water and then added, “We all need to accept who we are, that there are things we can and can’t do. And then we need to live our lives to the best of our ability. If God has decided, the ark won’t move until we get there. It is God who shuts us in.”

“Okay Mama!” Ksena said, “For today, I am a lion, ROAR and you can be a butterfly Hahahaha and I will chase you”. She got up and started chasing me around, and our hearts and home were filled with laughter.