Running on E

WhoMy morning began with a choir of tears.

I knew we were off to a difficult start. Before I had children, I used to be a morning person. Now, I  wake up before my alarm bings because I am an often-tired person, who has a long list of things to do. To be honest, I doubt I was really a morning person, I think that the Endometriosis induced fatigue was less in the morning.

Motherhood is a lifetime job. It is multi-faceted so the brief keeps changing. Perhaps, change is one of the constants. Some tricks grow old, you grow old, and your children. well, they grow older too.

It is a cocktail of laughs from the depth of your belly, and tears from the bottom of your heart. Some days are good, some days are heart-wrenching.  From time to time you countdown to bedtime, not because you hate your children, but because they have been EXTRA the whole day and you want to catch a break. On the unfortunate days, your emotions, and internal conflicts get in the way, and you are harsher than you should have been. You are not as patient as you say Jesus wants us to be. Some days you fail, and as you watch your little one’s tummy rise and fall as they sleep, you beat yourself up. You wallow in regret and helplessness.

I have many days that I wake up feeling as if I’m running on a deficiency. As though my fuel is at E. Many days where I cry to Jesus for forgiveness, and almost beg for strength because I feel spent. Days where nothing feels like it is enough.

A few days ago, in the most unlikely place, and almost in passing, the Lord reminded me that unless I look to Him and rely on Him I will feel disadvantaged. I will feel that I am not enough. I will fall short even before I stand tall.

The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days. Deuteronomy 33:25

My strength shall equal my days. God, who pre-destined me, who knows all of the days that I have lived and those to come, has already apportioned me the adequate strength to face each day.

After this revelation, I started saying this prayer in the morning:

Dear Lord, I do not know what the day holds, but I know it is You who holds it. I know that you have given me the adequate strength to face this day, therefore I will go forth with boldness and peace.

For this mama, who is sometimes weary, my heart is encouraged when I know that my strength will equal my days.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

I’d Like A Double Portion Of Grace, Please.

Psalm 121:1 has become one of favourite verses since I became a mum. Sometimes, the farthest I look up to is the ceiling fan as I wonder where my instantaneous, sanity saving, tongue-holding help is coming from. Then I remember from the Lord who made heaven and earth. And proceed to call on heaven, FAST.

120630_Psalm121_1to2

That’s the life of this mother. So many times my natural allocations of tolerance and grace run very low.

But God!

I’ve seen Him recharge and refresh me day after day. I’m not super woman, in fact sometimes all I am is super stretched. BUT, by His grace and power, I have supernatural strength and grace to face today.

fd012d8f9d0ff6c5e5cb93c2a47365b6.jpg

My prayer for today and all subsequent days, is that heaven would grant me a double portion of grace to keep me going.

The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you.(Numbers 6:24-25 NKJV)

Have a grace filled day.

Bibi2be

This Heart Is Overwhelmed

It’s okay!

It is okay to be overwhelmed.

A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry. A strong person is one who cries or sheds tears for a moment then gets up and fights again. (~borrowed)

Sometimes you feel like it’s all too much and you want to press the pause button life so that you can recharge, refresh and restrategize.

gentle with self

I’ve struggled with guilt over being overwhelmed, as if feeling overwhelmed is not enough. Trying to rationalize why I should be okay (not just the ‘okay’ you say when you are trying to get someone off your back, but really okay, fine). I’ve realized that everyone has their own journey. As unique as our journeys are so are our experiences, limits and coping mechanisms. Everyone should have the chance to independently experience what rages within them, be it passion or pain, without being subjected/or subjecting themselves to an imaginary yard stick.

Inhale. Feel. Exhale

Both the old and young feel overwhelmed at one time or another.

Isaiah 40:30 New Living Translation (NLT)

30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.

It’s okay to admit that the current circumstances are a bit heavier and darker than what you expected. It’s okay to allow yourself to feel. To feel the pain, hurt, disappointment, anger, sadness, confusion, exhaustion and despair. It’s okay to feel the roller coaster of emotions.

What’s not okay is to be consumed by these feelings.

Thankfully, there is a way out.

The Rock that is higher than me

overwhelmed

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been singing this song on repeat. Ksena even knows that we sing it both in Swahili and English. Now, I see that it has been a declaration asking the Lord to hide me under the rock.

This heart is overwhelmed, but not for too long. My tears, liquid prayers, have been collected in jars and have been recorded in His book. (Psalm 56:8)

It gets better. It is better.

Keep the hope alive

16770-isaiah-40-31-eagle

My strength is being renewed for I have put my hope in the Lord. He will carry me to greater heights, give me grace, strength, peace for the rest of the journey.

If your heart is overwhelmed, allow yourself to feel the emotions as you go to the rock that is higher than you. Put your hope in Him and let Him strengthen you and propel you to greater heights.

Here’s to soaring on wings like eagles, running and not growing weary and walking and not being faint.

Have a lovely week.

Blessings,

Bibi2be

Thoughts on Motherhood: The One Where I Chose To Enjoy

One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is very hard. ~ Lisa-Jo Baker

surprised by motherhood

I have been reading ‘Surprised By Motherhood’ by Lisa-Jo Baker over the last couple of days and it has been a series of virtual hugs. I have nodded along, shed a few tears here and there, and had countless  ‘Wow! I am not alone’ moments. I will share more of my musings on that later. You can read more of Lisa’s encouraging posts here.

Last week, I got to interact with an inspirational lady, who radiates grace as she deals with children of all ages. Her name is Miranda. Her advice on motherhood was golden. ”I am a mother of an Eighteen and Twenty year old. When they were little, I purposed to enjoy every season with all it brings, from when they are infants to toddlers, preschoolers and when they eventually hit puberty. I chose not to complain about them and it turns out that the stages have not been so bad. We have enjoyed them.”

She told me this in the midst of a wonder week, nightS of interrupted sleep that resulted in crankiness. After we had this conversation, I resolved to not let the challenges steal my joy. They are all passing moments. Children grow, seasons change but love remains.

Last night when Ksena woke up and wanted her ball. I was much more gracious as I explained that it was time to sleep.

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13,22 NLT

12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.

Being a mother is my second full time job. After being a wife. I am going to enjoy every season of motherhood. Even the ones that leave me in awe of how my sanity remains intact, I will enjoy, I will be happy and enjoy the fruit of my labour. Sometimes, it’s hard, but it’s glorious. In the midst of the chaos, you hear the Lord speak peace over you and in your weakness, He is strong.

colossians323whatever25

Dear Mama, who is oh-so-overwhelmed, sleep deprived, drowning in laundry, dealing with diaper blowouts, tackling mountain-size tantrums, enjoy the season. Before you know it, it’ll be over. Every season has it’s challenges, but, our God remains the same.

Blessings,

Bibi2be 

Mumsanity

Motherhood is wonderful, but it is also hard work. It’s the logistics more than anything. You discover you have reserves of energy you didn’t know you had. – Deborah Mailman

Before I became a mother, I thought I knew myself, my strengths and weaknesses. That all changed last year, when I discovered reservoirs of strength that I knew nothing about. I was stretched beyond my previously known limits, but by God’s grace, I survived.

motherhood-quotes-4

I thought it gets easier as the babies  grow older, but I have quickly realized that each season has its challenges. The current season’s challenges may be different from the last’s but they are challenges in their own right.

Here are a few tips that help me maintain my sanity as I raise our daughter, Ksena.

  • Wake up before your baby

It helps to get a head start into the day. For a long time, I used to wake up when Miss K woke up, but, I realized I was a bit of a grump. I would boot as she was all cheery, and my mood, or lack thereof, would not match up to her energy. She is a morning person and I am a warm-up-into-the-day person.

A friend told me that I should try wake up before her and the results have been amazing. When she wakes up, I am ready for her, emotionally and physically. My energy levels match hers.

  • Dress up nicely

Being a stay at home mum is not an excuse to look drab.

How you look affects how you feel. When I feel bleugh, I know that a quick outfit change can spruce up my mood.

Being a stay at home mum is a job too. So dress up nicely; wear a little make up for yourself, if it makes you happy.  Your body may have changed, but it is still yours, so love it or at least learn to love it as you plan to change it.

  • Reflect in the silence

Reflect on the previous day, what did do you do? how did you feel? what didn’t you manage to do? Plan for the day and write down your plan to keep yourself accountable.

  • Feed your body

Have a good breakfast without interruptions. This is the equivalent of going on date by yourself (: .Taste the flavors and chew slowly; I learned the hard way that sometimes these are luxuries, especially when you are newborn hazing. Choose foods that will keep you full longer; make healthier food choices, swap the sugar for some honey, increase your water intake.

  • Get inspired

Read the Bible, let God speak to you and encourage your heart. Pray and listen to uplifting music. From there you will be able to speak into your family’s life and encourage other people. You can only give what you have.

  • Purpose to enjoy

Decide to enjoy the day. Do things that you love with your little one. Be present, persistent and intentional. Teach them something new.

Above all, remember to live, laugh and love.

Happy Parenting!

Blessings,

Bibi2be

Super Mama

motherhood-quotes

Motherhood is a calling. It is full time, all the time, all day, er’day. It never ends. Even when the little ones grow up and move out, they still remain your little ones in bigger bodies, ask your mama. My respect for my mummy has increased tremendously since I had a baby – she truly is super mama.

Sometimes being super mama, maintaining the life and work balance, can get overwhelming; especially when sleep deprivation is playing a role. We are currently in between a growth spurt and sleep regression. Exhausted does not begin to describe how I feel (teehee I thought today was Thursday). It’s been a long week.

Someone mentioned that the work really begins once you start weaning, but meal planning saves the day. A fews day ago, a friend asked me what time I have breakfast and I said about 10am. She asked if my mornings were ‘that busy’ and I chuckled to myself. They feel like rush hour in Nairobi minus the Kidero drums 🙂 (which have now been removed) ; the things to do are lined up, bumper to bumper, as we race against time.

Miss K keeps me busy when she is awake, sometimes I can’t wait for her to sleep, then when she does I miss her; human beings are special :). I miss having unlimited alone time, though I have made peace within myself that it will never be the same. There will be portions of alone time but I will not be able to be a ‘free little bird’ ,though ,this doesn’t rule out spontaneity . I often wonder what I used to do before Miss K came.

One day as I was asking God who helps the helper (Super Mama), I was led to this scripture:-

Psalm 121 (NIV)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

God helps the helper!

When I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that it is HE who helps me; it is HE who gives me the strength and grace for today and tomorrow; it is HE who preserves me and renews me. It is HE who satisfies me with His unfailing love and watches over my coming and going.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, I pray that God will refresh you, give you energy that comes from above and satisfy you with His unfailing love.

Something that I am trying to incorporate to my daily schedule is, setting aside 30 minutes every day for myself and doing something that makes me happy. This will help me to slow down, recharge and be refreshed and rejuvenated. It may sound like a short time but it can do wonders. Some activities that I am considering are:- reading a book, knitting, crafting, baking, taking a walk, retail therapy, working out, home body scrubs, and mani-pedis. I will feedback on how that goes in a few days.

If you find yourself always serving others and barely getting time to take care of yourself, it is time to re-do your schedule and feature yourself on the priority list. Better still, if you are in Nairobi and you would like a one stop break:- adult conversation (Lord knows how precious this is), networking with mums (who won’t mind if you go on and on about your litu one), a massage, manicure and photo shoot, Kenyan Mums have got you covered.

mama's break

Remember

mother final

Do your best and leave the rest to God. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Blessings,

Bibi2Be