IN OCEAN’S DEEP, MY FAITH WILL STAND

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters whenever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour” – Hillsong worship

3rd of November was my baptism day, I was extremely happy. I was saved at the age of 16 and I didn’t get baptised right after and I am glad. I didn’t understand the significance of this act when I was 16 but now, I do.

On the 23rd of November, exactly 20 days after I have been baptised; I woke up from a dream that took me back to that moment of my life. In this dream I was swimming in a still, quiet and deep ocean. I kept jumping in this water and getting out, I was repeating this until I saw two women wearing white ropes being baptised and it suddenly downed on me that Jesus is teaching me something, let me pay attention.

Let me give you a back story….. On the day of my baptism I was terrified to the core. The weather was very bad, it was windy and the waves were fighting. When I stepped inside the water, everything in me shattered, I was in pieces on the inside to a point I convinced myself that I don’t really need to do this. I wanted to run and never look back, I was so scared.

Now, I was inside the water and my pastor said “I got you” for like 10x until I actually listened. It felt like my heart was closing up my throat, I couldn’t breathe, like all that was left to do is to cough up and it would jump out. My pulse was racing like crazy and when I was done, I remember saying to myself “I never ever want to experience something like this in my life”

See if God was speaking to me in that moment I probably wouldn’t have heard him because my fears overshadowed my faith. So In my dream, immediately when I saw those women being baptised, I started to feel like I was drowning. Like I’m fighting, I’m swimming and I can’t get out, until I heard a voice saying “This is not happening to you, it’s happening in you…focus on me”

I kept on praying, asking God to keep my eyes above the waves. I prayed so hard, I forgot for a moment that I was drowning and when I opened my eyes, the water was still again and I remembered that “it was not happening to me, it is happening in me’. I woke up from this dream and God gave a Word, Matthew 14:22-36 and I could hear him saying “If you want to live above the waves, you need to learn to live above your fears”.

Prayerlessness is a sure-fire way to keep you in bondage of fear. Until you realise that prayer is your lifeline in times of trouble, you will never have liberation from fear or you will never see the power of God in your situation. I’m still trying to not allow my struggles to consume me, to take it one day at a time, to learn to breathe, to listen and action.

I think we underestimate the power our fears have in holding us back. We live our lives as though it’s normal because we have conformed to “it’s who I am” mindset when we are just afraid to step into the unknown. We are teaching our brains to think small and to shrink in order to accommodate our anxieties. Faith is trusting in what you can’t see, it’s to have the courage to enlarge yourself, expand your mind and challenge it out of the normal and comfortable. You will see wanders it does to a soul to live free!!!

Trusting is not a small thing, when you’re drowning in your situation, it’s not easy to surrender and step back. But you cannot see miracles in your life if you think you can control everything. There can only be one God and it is not you. It does a body good to let the healing waters flow. The pain inside is clipping your ability to love and suffocating you from breathing, from being and from living.

I don’t think the problem is that we do not believe enough, it’s that we are fearful more. We have conditioned our minds to think a certain way and subconsciously limiting our brains to think that it is not possible. As a result, we put God in a box and make him shrink to our own ideas. When he does something out of the ordinary, we freak out because it’s unknown and everyone is scared of the unknown.

“He make me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters” – Psalm 23:2

A BEAUTIFUL MESS

We often hear people say that pain have a way of blinding us of our blessings but never hear about how our dreams and expectations of others get in the way of what’s real. The context used is not for people to stop dreaming but to come to a revelation of understanding the power of choosing to be alive and being present right now. I know this sounds cliché but listen, it’s deeper than that.

They say “this moment is all that matters” and most of the time I knew exactly what they meant but I have never encountered an experience that made it real to me. Let me tell you something, it slaps hard when it’s no longer what we say to encourage each other but it becomes so real, it changes your whole life.

I had a baby at 19 years and obviously I had no idea what that meant. I was hurt a lot growing up, raised in an overbearing home where I wasn’t really allowed even a bit of freedom or compassion. I was raised to become a certain “saviour” that will carry the family to a better future but I wasn’t taught what love is, how to communicate, how to express myself, how to place up boundaries and most importantly how to be me.

A lot of times I would hear parents saying “I will give my child everything I never had”, “my child will have a father” or “my child will not suffer emotional abuse like I did”…I didn’t know I was raising my daughter off what I lacked. I didn’t understand that my daughter wasn’t me and I didn’t see her, not for who she is anyway but I saw what I could fix through my pain. I was obsessed with what happened to me, I missed a lot while she was growing up.

The trauma I experienced as a child is incredible, it took me a long time healing from that, in fact it took me 26 years. This year I began to let go and let God, that’s another thing people say without the depth understanding of what it really means.

In the eyes of somebody watching me raise my daughter, they probably thought I was killing it and I was but I was also a child screaming for help. A lot of my healing came this year when I was faced with the demon of anxiety as result of my trauma. I was angry for a long time; I had a lot of resentment issues and bitterness in my heart. I blamed society, I blamed God and I blamed my family because as an adult I had to teach myself everything they were supposed to give me.

There was a point in my life where my relationships were not working, I just didn’t know where I fit in, what my role was etc. and doing all this work as adult is painful but I had to go through it. I knew that I couldn’t deeply love the people who’ve done me wrong by my own strength, I couldn’t forgive by my own strength and I couldn’t move on by my own strength and power. I gave God a chance; I opened my heart to healing, to going through it and trusting Him to get me out.

I realised that I was trapped in this comfortable home called pain, I was a victim for a long time and I was sick of it, I wasn’t progressing, I wasn’t growing, I was just getting by. I was afraid of moving on because taking a step forward to a place unknown takes faith, it takes bravery and it takes strength. But I did, I released myself from those fears, from trying to be a perfect mother and I realised that my daughter came into this world with her own struggles that might be foreign to me and that’s okay.

Give yourself enough credit and forgive yourself more. Even if your child doesn’t go to best schools, or lives in a big home and even if you are a mess; know that you are a beautiful mess worth celebrating in this moment. You are enough.

My point is; children don’t know when they are rich or poor but they do know when they are loved and not loved. Children don’t need much to feel themselves, they are the simplest access to wholeness, do not rob them of this. Most love is conditioned, control-based and fear-based but choose more for both yourself and your child. Give your child the freedom to develop their own way and love them for who they are.  To truly love someone, it is to love them for who they are, without you in the picture.

Another thing is, you can’t fully love someone else when you haven’t loved yourself. This applies to your child too. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” –Mark 12:31, you can only give what you already have. Make sure you heal, do the work necessary for you so you don’t project your fears onto a child that’s trying to figure it out for themselves.

Give all of yourself to life and commit to staying alive and doing everything that gives you a sense of completeness. As T. D Jakes would say “seek a whole life”. The power lies in discovering who you are and the courage to live that truth. Do not shave pieces of yourself for anyone; your child deserves a happy mom!!!

MY HAIR IS A POWERFUL ART OF SELF-EXPRESSION

I started my natural journey in 2016 towards the end of the year.  This decision was inspired by my daughter and her growing beautiful Afro.

After I had a baby in 2011, I experienced a major hair loss. Like most newly moms go through this phase which can take months for some, but it can also become extreme. I suffered from Postpartum Alopecia that occurs after childbirth because of the sudden change of hormones in my body.

For me it became extreme for few years up until I decided to that I needed a fresh start. By this time, I had already lost up to 60% of my hair. Like most people, I thought braiding my hair would strengthen it so as an alternative to wearing it out; I braided a lot until I had to face the reality.

I had healthy and strong hair growing up; I was that girl you always go to for hair advice. I struggled coming to terms with the fact that every time I looked at myself in the mirror, my hair was not what it used to be. 

I started developing low self-esteem issues because not only am I losing a part of me but I’m also a teen mom whose body teared apart bringing a life into this world, my world was already filled with a lot of self-doubt and imperfections. I’ve had my hair since the age of three years so I didn’t really know who I was without it.

Transforming from relaxing to natural hair was a challenge for me and also because the society has taught us to conform, it taught us that straight hair was better and that’s what beauty is and I also had no one in my circle of friends or in my family with Afro; basically I had no one to look up to.

I decide to cut my hair short to leave the roots out to grow and remove the relaxed hair on top and that was the best decision I’ve made for my hair;even though for a month or so I walked around Campus wearing a doek every day because I wasn’t sure I made the right choice.

I finally went to the barber after a month to get a proper cut. I started reading on natural hair and I was inspired and motivated by women who are unapologetic about their skin, who rocked their crows with absolute confidence and bravery. It’s amazing how much you receive when you’re open to learning. As much as I didn’t see much of people with natural hair around me, it was never about them. It was always about me loving myself completely and embracing who I am.

Once I was grounded on that truth, I started seeing so much beauty and confidence around me; I started seeing beautiful black women embracing their crows in so many different ways. I was inspired!!! It encouraged me to start this journey with my daughter. I wanted her to understand the power of self-acceptance and push out the society standards that make us believe that our black hair is dry, dirty or nappy. 

“I like my baby hair with baby hair and Afros”

” Afro hair is more than just what grows out the top of some people’s heads. It’s the summation of a cultural experience, a point of black self-expression and empowerment that’s borne out of one of the most accessible pillars of black community” – the barbershop.

I now know that hair does not define me because I have the freedom to define what beauty is and what it looks like to me. My hair is more than just a trend, it is a powerful expression, a movement and a solid work of art, created to perfection.

What’s important for me is healthy hair more than the length. I make sure that I get my hair into a routine that would get me those results. I am a 4B & C hair type and my daughter is a straight 4B.

  • I wash my crown once a week using TRESemme’ Care & Protect Breakage Defence Shampoo.
  • Condition it using Black Pearl (Afrobotanics) and braid it to let it dry.
  • I then apply MPL oil (coconut) on my scalp to strengthen my hair.
  • Then throughout the week, I apply Afrobotanics Mukaya African Oil Blend, which is a combination of Avocado, Baobab, Coconut, Marula oil and Shea Butter.
  • To style my hair, I use Eco styling gel but before styling it I must apply the Dark’n Lovely Naturale Afro Moisturizing Butter which is perfect for softening and moisturizing your hair to get that perfect look.
  • Water – Drinking water has so much impact on the health and growing of your hair…do it.

This journey has been imperfect and beautiful at the same time. I am not an expert when it comes to natural hair but I’m always open to learning so much more.  And doing this with my baby girl has made it extra special for me.

“There needs to be a greater acceptance and understanding of black hair and its many permutations. Black hair can make for artful forms of self-expression, not possible anywhere else. It’s a crying shame that there is so much tension in black hair. It’s so much more than a visual punch line.”

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

The world hates anyone that dares to be different. They will come at you with everything, trying to shrink you and make you conform. They don’t how to react or be in relationships with people who do not follow the crowd, people who do not live by the standards of the society.

The world hates anyone that dares to be different. They will come at you with everything, trying to shrink you and make you conform. They don’t know how to react or be in relationships with people who do not follow the crowd, people who do not live by the standards of the society.

The world doesn’t know how to handle your magic and the power that lies with being comfortable with your skin. We were taught to not be too much of anything, we were taught to be small, as a result; people are not comfortable to be around those who are completely in love with themselves.

It gets lonely sometimes, but it is better than losing yourself. I have cried myself to sleep at some point in my life because I felt that I couldn’t relate to most people. I hated bullies so I used to confront them while other people submitted to them. That has left me with no friends because I don’t fit in. That is far way better than losing yourself or your sanity.

Do not surrender to the standards of this world. You were not born to be average and you didn’t come this far to be mediocre. Go on even if it means you are walking alone, you will find people you relate to, I know I have.

ENLIGHTENING THE EYES OF MY HEART

There is so much power in the process of discovery, the process of understanding and learning the truths about ourselves. It’s easy to focus our minds on our strengths and the things we are good at than to actually confront the demons of our bad behaviours. I had to come to a realization that admitting to playing a part in particular situation does not invalidate my pain.

There is so much power in the process of discovery, the process of understanding and learning the truths about ourselves. It’s easy to focus our minds on our strengths and the things we are good at than to actually confront the demons of our bad behaviours. I had to come to a realization that admitting to playing a part in particular situation does not invalidate my pain.

One of the most important things you have understand when you embark on this journey is to learn how to separate WHO YOU ARE and the things YOU HAVE DONE so that you don’t allow what you have done to define who you are. You are more than just your inability to communicate, your inability to show and express emotions.

You are deeper than your fears, your situation and your inability to articulate yourself. You must learn to push aside the ideals of the society that tell you that you must be a certain way in order to be accepted and start embracing WHO YOU ARE, there’s so much power in that.

The truth is you cannot grow if you don’t take accountability or responsibility for your part. We all like to think we are good people, most of us are but you need to get in the process of uprooting any seed that does not bear any fruits and start planting those that will.

This is probably one of the difficult assignments you will have to do this year because you will be very uncomfortable. You have been sitting in your pain and making excuses for your behaviour for far too long; it has made a home in you.

A lot of times people around you won’t call you out when you play victim because you being in that position is comfortable for them too. When you take accountability for yourself & your own healing, people start to lose control. It’s easy to control a victim than it is to control a healed, evolved person.

— Ask God to open the eyes of your heart.

— Decide that you will commit to learning and accepting of the revelations that come with that.

— This may take seeking peace with people you “beefing” with and have a conversation about their side of the story. This requires listening and understanding and definitely maturity.

— Embrace pain, don’t rush the process. Be in it, go through it and learn from it.

— This kind of enlightenment will teach you so much about yourself, about the relationships you are involved in and your role in the community.