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Dreams For The Black African Father

Father with his daughter
Photo Cred: Instagram

 

Hi bAw family

 

In honour of Father’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would pen dreams and wishes that I believe some black African women (bAw) have for their fathers. The relationship between daughter and father in the African context has been a complex one, and I believe that if a young bAw could write a letter to her father it would read something like this:


 

Dear Dad,

I wish that you would freely express your love for me in words and in deeds. Although I know you love me because society says a father loves his child and because you pay my school fees or make sure I am fed, I need to hear this from you. Hearing and knowing that I am loved by you eases my anxiety to receive love from others.

 

I wish you would spend more on-one-on time with me where we just enjoy each other’s company and get to know one another better. Spending time together doesn’t necessarily mean that others must be there or that we must be running an errand. Being together literally means that. All we need is just the two of us. Being known by you will open me up to seeing myself more clearly because I know you will not lead me astray. And besides, I want to get to know all the different sides to you that others don’t get to see.

 

I wish that you could advise me on every aspect of life and not just school or career or finances. I want your words and counsel to be my directive when it comes to recognizing whether a potential suitor is the best for me. I want to be able to come and tell you what he did or what he’s saying so that you can warn me and protect me from the not-so-great guys that are out there these days. I don’t want to just speak to my friends or to Mum about it. I need a male perspective from the man I know would want my heart cherished.

 

I wish you could be strong enough to say sorry. To your wife. To your friends. To your family. To your colleagues. To yourself. To me. I know that you’ve been raised to believe that saying sorry is a sign of weakness but it is the best thing you could ever do for yourself and others. And making a mistake or hurting others is a part of life – we all do it. But very few people acknowledge it and own up. When you do that, it elevates people’s respect for you.

 

I wish you would seek out your emotional well-being a little more because when you are whole, it penetrates to your loved ones. I know that our African culture shuns any idea of talking your issues over, especially as a man, but even God states that we ought to carry each other’s burdens (Galations 6:2). No man is an island – as the saying goes. And it hurts me to know that there are some atrocious experiences and feelings that you carry alone that could be eased just by sharing.

 

I wish you believed that I harbour no ill-feelings towards you. Yes you may have hurt me and disappointed me before, but I have forgiven you. I recognize you are a sinner as much as anyone else is, and I entrust your life to God to be changed and moulded. So stop trying to deny it or cover it up like nothing happened. Seek to work through your struggles with your Saviour because I believe you are much more than your past or what think you are. Don’t do it for me or anyone else, but for yourself.

 

I wish that you could recognize how amazing a man you are. You are in the minority of men who stick around for their children regardless of how they may feel or what they have gone through. You work tirelessly from day to day to make sure there is always food on the table, three times a day, 7 days a week, all-year round. You carry the weight of that responsibility as though your life depended on it and I can see how you wish you could do so much more. That makes me love you all the more.

 

Finally, I wish you knew how much I respect and love you. Our culture doesn’t necessarily allow for the free expression of emotions with our fathers but I would freely tell you how much you mean to me. You are my King. You are my rock. You are my provider. You are my shield. You are my benchmark. I look up to you and always will so please don’t stop growing and becoming more of the man God created you to be.

Love always,

Your Daughter

 

What else would you add to this letter? What would you leave out?

My Daddy and I
My Daddy and I ❤

Wishing all the fathers out there, and especially my own Papa Dubez, a very Happy Father’s Day!! We see you, we appreciate you, we love you. Our lives are lost without you.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Secrets To Having The Natural Hair You Want

My baby sister and I rocking our natural hair at a wedding (Photo Cred: Rumbidzayi Dube)

So whenever my sister and I are roaming the Joburg streets with our natural hair out to play, we generally always get stopped to answer questions about our hair: How come it’s so soft? How come it’s so long? Why is our hair so healthy-looking? It’s almost as though we know something that other aspiring or new naturalista’s don’t.

This is something I have been reflecting on for a while now, and I would like for other black African women (bAw) to rock their own natural ‘fros with the same confidence and joy that I, and others, have come to enjoy. So here goes. Here are a few of the “secrets” I have come to understand that lead to you finally having the natural hair you’ve always wanted:

Decide To Focus On Your Own Fro: First things first – afro envy is real guys! Do not be fooled. You know that feeling of ‘fro “inadequacy” you get when you look at a sister with an afro that looks like Diana Ross’s while yours looks like the young Kunta Kinte’s teeny afro in Roots? Lol! Well, that’s normal! You’re not the only one who feels that way or has that experience. Just like braids or weaves come in all different lengths, shapes and sizes, so does natural hair.

Choose to let go of any preconceived notions you may have picked up that your ‘fro must turn out a certain way. Instead, begin to focus on and learn your own hair. How does it respond when you use certain products? What about when you’ve just washed it? And when you twist it out? Taking the time to learn your hair gives you insight into what brings the best out of it.

Remember too that your curl pattern will most probably not look like another bAw’s curl pattern. I had to accept this with my own sister. She has a looser curl pattern and her ‘fro stretches more easily whereas I have a tighter curl pattern that creates cute little curly styles that she can’t really get. It’s important to know that just because you have the same skin colour or even come from the same country or heck are even related does not mean your hair will look the same. Focus on understanding what your ‘fro does.

Take It Back To Basics: I am all about using 100% organic and natural products on my hair. The sad thing is that the world has bought into the “fake” life including the food we eat and the things we use on our bodies or hair. Shampoos and conditioners are filled with so many harmful chemicals that dry out the natural oils in your hair causing it to feel super dry and to look lifeless. No wonder why you feel like your ‘fro never looks lustrous and healthy. It may be what you’re putting into it.

Take the time to do your research. Read up on the natural oils and products that are best for natural hair. The first trick is to read the labels on shampoos – if they have a long ingredients list, you pretty much know that there is nothing good in there for your hair. More so if water does not form part of the ingredients. Better yet, go back to using products with no added ingredients such as bi-carb of soda as shampoo or apple cider vinegar as conditioner. Your hair will thank you later.

Trying a different look with my ‘fro

Be Patient: I can’t emphasize this enough!! We generally are a generation that has completely lost the meaning and value of patience because we get everything we need at the click of a button in most cases. So, you wake up and decide that you want to go natural and expect that by next month (you’re giving it a lot of time here!) you’ll have a soft, curly, lustrous afro just like Precious Kofi. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that probably won’t be the case. Your hair type may not even be like Precious’ plus you don’t know how long she’s grown it or how she styles it to look the way it does.

The natural hair journey can be compared to a running race. Each naturalista has their own lane (hair type). Has been training for different periods of time (time frame of having her afro). Has different training routines and methods that work best for them (products used on her afro). Has different inherent skills and developed talents when it comes to running (different hereditary curl patterns plus adjustments to her environment). What will lead to that racer coming first in their race is understanding these different elements and maximizing on them fully. This takes time and patience.

Remember that your hair has probably been put under much strain for majority of your life – relaxers, weaves, braids, wigs, heat, combing etc. It has not been out in its natural state and needs to adapt back to it. You can’t expect it to return from decades of manipulation in a few months. Allow it the freedom it needs to grow out all the unhealthy habits and chemicals that have hurt it over the years. Then one day, when you least expect it you will see your hair come out in a curl pattern or with a shine you have never seen on anyone else 🙂

Try Different Products For Long Periods Of Time: Following on from the above point, in your quest to have your best natural ‘fro, you will need to try different products to finally hone in on the ones that work best with your hair. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. There are a number of different oils that do different great things for natural hair. Make sure to read up on them. Some act as moisturizing oils while others are sealants. Some are essential oils and others are carrier oils. Sometimes they must be mixed together for best results. I personally subscribe to Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Castor Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I will write about this in future.

What tends to happen is that we hear about all these amazing oils we should use and so we get a bunch and just try them all almost at once. Maybe we use a few for a few days or weeks then switch because it doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything. But this doesn’t allow your hair to adjust to the components of that oil treatment so you can see if it’s working. At our last “My African Crown” Hair Event, hair guru Thandiwe told us that it is better to use the same products on your hair for 3 months to allow your hair to adapt to them and to let you see if they are working. I stuck to the three oils above for months despite it looking like nothing was happening and forgot about it until one day I noticed how rich and soft my ‘fro had become.

Natural Sisters 🙂

Be Gentle With Your ‘Fro: One of the greatest myths about natural hair is that it is tough and hard. Again, Thandiwe mentioned at our last Hair Event that black natural hair is probably the most sensitive hair type. That is why your reflex is to pull back when your hair is being combed or getting blow dried etc. God has blessed us with a ball of cotton wool on our heads but we’re treating it like steel wool instead. We yank at it with combs and try to straighten it with blow dryers or hot combs. Such force and unnatural heat only causes more damage and makes it tougher.

Instead of using a comb, detangle the knots in your hair with your fingers. It takes time but it is so good for your ‘fro. Refrain from putting any heat at all to your ‘fro as heat damages and dries your delicate hair. Instead, twist your hair straight after washing and moisturizing it and sleep with it like that. In the morning, you’ll wake up with soft, moisturized hair that you can style – again I will write about this in future.

Change Your Mindset About Natural Hair: This has got to be the most important secret for me. For all your life you have been fed the incorrect information about your hair and how to care for it. It is people who don’t even have the same hair as you who have sold you products and ideas about the best way to care of it. If you want the hair you were originally given, go back to the manufacturer of that hair – God. Pray for your hair and ask Him to show you how to best take care of it. It sounds silly but trust me – it opens you up to people, articles, and products etc that speak to what your hair really needs.

When you begin to see your hair correctly and why you were given it in the first place, you’ll begin to understand what you need to give it. You’ll begin to love it instead of wish it was another way. And your afro will love you right back.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. I hope it has enlightened you to the real secrets available to you so that you can rock that healthy and full head of hair you’ve always wanted. Maybe you already have the natural ‘fro you want. Please share some secrets you have learnt too. Maybe you just have some questions – please don’t hesitate to ask.

Let’s keep working to have the hair we have always had but forgot about!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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While You Wait: Insight from ‘A Time To Remember And Give’ Event by Larissa Subira

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The gorgeous sisters who formed part of the first ‘A Time To Remember And Give’ Event (All Photos Cred: Noxolo Chalale)

I recently had the pleasure of spending an amazing 3 hours with 8 beautiful women as we delved a bit deeper into the struggle of feeling left behind. I personally left that breakfast feeling as though I was exactly where God needed me to be. One of the ladies who attended the breakfast, Larissa Subira, chose to share what she got from the conversations and time we had together.

Enjoy 🙂


I had the pleasure of attending the recent bAw prayer breakfast, ‘A Time to Remember and Give’ , where an intimate group of women gathered to share and reflect on their experiences and pray for one another.  One thing we all had in common is that we definitely had an area or two in our lives that we felt we were lagging behind in.

One of the hardest battles we fight as women are the messages we feed ourselves about our lives, be it our family, friends, our studies or career choices and our body image.  Perception is powerful, but what is even more powerful is what drives these perceptions.

 

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The breakfast was at the beautiful Buitengeluk restaurant in Broadacres

Part of the discussion we had was what are these drivers?  How does one discern between this feeling perhaps just being an insecurity versus there being an area in your life that actually needs work?  It is perfectly normal to want to grow in all spheres of your life be it spiritually, career wise or family wise. Once you’ve separated the lies from the facts of your life, what do you do with the information? You now know that something in you is called to move to the next step but nothing is working. You don’t have the money or every time you come close to attaining that next step it all falls apart.

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Taffy Pfupajena graciously shared her own struggles with feeling left behind

We had the lovely Taffy Pfupajena share her own personal experience with feeling left behind, and what God taught her in that journey. In the end, everyone shared their own story and we were able to pick up on some key lessons with regards to waiting on God’s timing for our lives.

Here a few nuggets I took with me from the breakfast:

  • You’re where you’re meant to be: As hard as it is feeling like you’re left behind and nothing is going your way, there is a reason why you are at this point in your life (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Rushing to where you think you should be before God has readied you tends to have pretty catastrophic results.
  • There’s a lesson you’re meant to be learning at this stage of your life: So you’re at this point in your life, looking at what needs to be changed but you don’t know how. It could be there’s something you’re yet to learn.  Remember, God always keeps his promises. He says it over and over – Isaiah 41:10 “ Fear not;  for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.”
  • God needs to put you in a place spiritually, emotionally or physically where you can receive what is coming: Think about any blessing that has come into your life. Okay, now think about the time before it. Despite your frustration, there were some lessons you learnt that prepped you for what came into your life and you think back and thank God for His timing because had that thing happened when you wanted it to …again catastrophic results.
  • Leave room for God’s sprinkling: God will always work things out for your good. Don’t be so tied to how you want things that you miss out on God showing you another way. As you grow, you’re meant to reach a point where you’re completely at peace with your life, because you have the confidence of the promise that God has for your life. I am not talking new age stuff here but rather knowing that God ultimately wants the best for you.  “For I know the thoughts I have toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope” Jeremiah 29:11.

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The lesson here?  While waiting on the change in your life, enjoy the ride, learn what you’re meant to and arm yourself in preparation for what is coming and this can only be done through a constant walk with God. The challenge is what to do in the meant time. I am in the midst of reading ‘The Wait’ and one of the nuggets of wisdom I noted was that the time when nothing appears to be happening becomes your personal self-development laboratory. The trick is not allowing the ‘wish for more’ to turn into a self-hating exercise. The key is using this period of your life productively as you seek and work to reach the next point of your life. Ultimately, God is using this point in your life for you to draw closer to Him, and once that link is solidified ‘all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

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Larissa is an intuitive young woman with a passion for encouraging and uplifting others to have the life that God has purposed for them. She is also such an integral member of the bAw team who loves Jesus and is on the journey to fulfilling her purpose according to His will.

The bAw Team
The beautiful ladies that make up the bAw team

It truly was a time to remember and give 🙂

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10 Things I Appreciate About Black African Mothers

Mama Dubez
The woman I am so blessed to call Mama

In a couple of days, many different countries around the world will be honouring mothers in wonderful ways. The 14th of May is a day that I am so glad sits on the international calendar because to be a mother is no small feat. In fact, it is such a special task that even though Jesus Christ did not have an earthly biological father He certainly had an earthly biological mother in Mary (Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-7). She was instrumental in helping to shape Him into the one-of-a-kind Man that He is.

I myself was raised and cared for by a phenomenal woman who recently celebrated a birthday. In recent years, I’ve been able to see all that she has done for me, my siblings and many other young people around her. And so today, I would like to take a moment to specifically appreciate her and my black African mamas for who they are and all they have done for us. These are the reasons that make the black African mother a gift:

  1. More often than not, she has sacrificed her personal and career dreams for the benefit and growth of her husband’s career and their family. My own Mum was a successful Town Planner but she chose to say goodbye to her career at the age of 31 years so that our family could relocate to a different country because of my Dad’s new job and his career advancement. I have never once heard her complain about this sacrifice she had to make, and in fact she speaks with such joy about how she was happy to be there for us. Mothers make a sacrifice look like a gain.
  1. She always has a way of making it look like she never gets ill, and is always ready to help you out no matter how she is feeling. I don’t ever really remember my Mum complaining about feeling ill. But I remember many times when I wasn’t well and she’d nurse me back to full health like I was her only care in the world. Mothers are the most uncelebrated super heroes in this world.

 

  1. Regardless of the terrible circumstances she has faced in her past or present, she carries herself with such grace and dignity. Most of our mothers grew up in the times of apartheid and similar ideological movements, facing a lot of discrimination, abuse and rejection. They may even face discrimination in their workplaces today. Yet, looking at how they dress and present themselves, or how they address those around them, you could swear they never went through any of that. Black African mothers are the strongest people out there because they do not allow their negative experiences to define them.
  1. She has a way of celebrating every little achievement in your life from your first day at school; to making your first friend or; even getting the part of curtain-raiser at your school play! My sister likes to say this a lot, and I agree with her – my mother is our greatest cheerleader. She makes you feel like you have conquered Mount Kilimanjaro even if it’s just the fact that you went to the first day of work! Mothers have a way of making you feel like the winner you are but haven’t quite yet believed in.
  1. She is the only person who can reprimand you so badly about something you shouldn’t have done, yet make you feel like you’re deeply loved all at the same time. The black African mother has a way of sharing her disappointment in your behaviour while still allowing you to feel as though she still believes you are better than your mistake.

 

  1. She is the most forgiving human being on this planet. Our mothers have been hurt deeply by family, friends, strangers and everyone in-between. They are tested on a daily basis by their employers, their husbands and their children yet they pour out their love and concern for these individuals as though they had never slighted them. Black African mothers have the deepest hearts and the shortest memories I have come across to date.

 

  1. She throws it DOWN in the kitchen! I have not come across a mother from my parents’ generation (1960s/1970s and before) who does not have a minimum of like 5 special dishes that leave her guests licking their fingers. My own Mama has so many self-made recipes that I am still trying to get right. Cooking is second nature to her and her food always exudes the love she has for those she has prepared it for, even if she has just met them for the first time. Mothers are the best, yet most underpaid, chefs in the world.
  1. She is a mother to every young person she comes across regardless of whether she knows them or not. My mother knows (to an extent) what is going on in my friends’ lives and gives her advice/counsel to so many young people around her. She does it without even realizing it, and people always leave her feeling encouraged. Black African mothers recognize that being a mother is a full-time job and her child is anyone who needs guidance and support – whether or not she gave birth to them.

 

  1. She would die for you. I have seen how my mother carries my own burdens as though they were her own. She won’t sleep and she’ll try and see how she can best support or help you through your trial. If possible, she would take my place and go through the pain on my behalf. Thus, it is safe to say that a mother, given the choice, would give her own life that her child should live.
  1. Her hugs still bring such comfort no matter how old you get. I’m 31 years old now and when I’m feeling a little low I will still go put my head on my mother’s lap or ask her to give me a hug. When I’m in her arms my sorrows disappear, and I believe that all is well once again. Mothers have a way of enveloping you in their love by being nurturing.

 

These are just a few of the many reasons why I have deep respect and love for black African mothers. I would love to hear what you appreciate about your black African mother or one that you know. Let’s give back to them in whatever small way we can, the love they have selflessly poured into us over the years.

With love,

Sonia Dee

Mama and I
My beautiful Mama and me 🙂
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How We Hurt Each Other As Christians

Bringing Each Other Down in the Church 2
Photo Cred: imgfave

 

You know, on most days I am hesitant to be known as a Christian. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because of my Saviour. God Himself is phenomenal. He is the one and only Person on this Earth you desperately need to have in your life. If it wasn’t for the fact that He desires for us to fellowship with others at Church and form part of that body so we grow and learn together and pass through tests together, I would have been fine chilling at home with just me and Him. The main reason I struggle with Christians (myself included), is how we treat others. More specifically, how we treat each other as fellow Christians.

 

It was Mahatma Ghandi who famously quoted,

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

 

He hit the nail on the head with that statement. We Christians truly misrepresent our God and His character. We chase people away. And I’m learning that it’s not necessarily in terms of how we treat people outside of the Christian faith, but more so how we treat each other within the body of Christ. At church. I am beginning to understand why Christ emphasised that we ought to love one another because “by this all will know that you are My disciples” (John 13:34-35). I think it’s mostly because you can tell how someone is going to treat you based on how they treat those dearest and nearest to them – their family members. And so, if a non-Christian sees a Christian being downright “unchristian” to a fellow Christian they conclude that how they will be treated will be even worse.

 

The thing is, as Christians we like to talk the talk but barely do we walk the walk. I remember there was a time (not too long ago) when the main reason I loved being at Church was so that I could show off my latest outfit and get compliments. It was also so that I could see my friends and all those people I really wanted to chat with. It wasn’t because I wanted to evangelize and find out how people were really doing most of the time. I mean, I was already serving in the church. What more did they want from me? Oh, and of course I was going out with the youth to homes for the less fortunate and to feed the homeless once a year in winter. And of course, I read my Bible and all the other spiritual books that came with it. So hey, let me enjoy getting mine while I’m at church. And allow me to talk about so-and-so to see how we can “help them out”. It’s so easy to slip into that way of thinking about why you’re at Church. Trust me I know.

 

That’s the thing with us Christians. God has recently been removing the scales from my eyes and showing me how much we are unloving towards each other (again, I’m preaching to myself first here). We stand up in church and deliver earth-shattering, tear-jerking, mind-blowing and eschatologically correct sermons or prayer garden messages or offertory readings. Or we post up deep quotes and messages on FB or Insta. We dress better than the royal family themselves on our church days and take strategically poised pictures to post on Instagram and Facebook later so the world can see what good church-going folks we are (and of course we get our egos stroked in the process).

 

We organize bi-annual trips to homes for the poor where we play with the children for a few hours and feel good about giving our time and resources. We organize program after program after program with powerful speakers for ourselves so we hear messages that have been preached to us millions of times before but still haven’t changed us – we just want to hear how this Pastor/Evangelist will twist the message in a way we haven’t heard before. We don’t go to worldly concerts but best believe we are there at the church concerts where we’re pretty much behaving like we’re at a Rihanna or Kanye gig – screaming our lungs off and dying over the cute guys or girls singing!

 

So, on paper we’re great. But then, we loooove to do sinful things undercover. We have sex with each other in the church outside of marriage (and sometimes in marriage) and we’re not exposed. We fight for guys as girls and even end up taking a guy our “friend” was interested in because well, “he didn’t like you anyway”. We may not drink but some of our get-togethers would shun the presence of the Holy Spirit. We gossip – that’s our favourite one. We dissect people and their lives and intentions for breakfast, lunch and supper. We can also be so fake towards each other. We give insincere hugs and greetings at church – sometimes because the person stopped us as we walked by. We greet those we like or believe are worth our time or are important enough, and ignore people we don’t know or who “aren’t good enough” for our standards. We defame each other’s characters and paint one another in such negative light. The list is endless but I think you get the picture.

 

Now, I’m not writing this because I want to point fingers or to make anyone feel bad. If you feel bad or angry or guilty, it’s a good sign. Take it to God and ask Him where you fit into this equation and how He can help you change. Sometimes we don’t know our behaviour is hurtful until it is said. Truth is, I’m speaking to myself here first. I’m guilty of most of this stuff and over the last few months God has been rebuking me on it. I’m writing this because we are meant to be each other’s keepers. We are meant to share the truths God reveals to us so we grow better together. It’s like keeping the cure for cancer to yourself. It’s not right, we need to share it. I need to share the revelation I have received in my own life.

 

I am writing this because we’re failing God guys. As His children and as His disciples. We’re hurting each other. We’re putting each other down at “home” in front of guests. We’re telling the world that it’s impossible to be different. That it’s impossible to be like Christ – to be genuine; long-suffering (patient); kind; loving; encouraging; and to have each other’s backs. I literally see a scene in the wilderness where a pack of lions is ripping each other to pieces. That is what we are doing in our conduct with one another. And believe me, non-believing visitors may not be there every Sabbath at church to witness what goes on, but on the days they are around the devil is sure to expose our nastiness to them. Just on that one day, we may do or say something that is so opposite to what we would have just preached or shared and it causes a non-believer to never want to seek Christ again.

 

Our lives are not our own (Psalm 100:3). We don’t get away with sounding like Christ’s children but acting like Satan is our real father. Let’s not pretend to be peacemakers while murdering someone with our thoughts or words later on. Christ rebukes us in John 8:37-47. He expressly says that if we were God’s children we would hear His words and do (not speak) His will. We would fulfill the 2nd greatest commandment He ever gave to us – to love one another. Instead, our actions sell us out and show that we truly belong to the devil. These are not words we like to hear. Trust me I didn’t enjoy having that highlighted to me. But though the truth hurts, it does set us free (John 8:32). And I love God so much because He does not show us our wrongdoings so He can leave us in our mess. He reveals to heal.

 

And so, as a young black African woman (bAw) who is also a Christian, my desire is to see us truly love one another and represent our Father correctly in the Church. To also see us take pride in the wonderful family God has established for us and that He died for. Time is running out and Jesus will soon return for us. Let us work hard to allow Him to change our hearts and our sinful behaviour so we can work with Him to bring more souls to His kingdom – his life-changing, life-giving and amazing kingdom! We can’t do it if we’re being fake with ourselves; with Him; and with others.

 

If you’re reading this and feeling angry with what I’ve said or feel I’m unfairly accusing you, please take it to God. If I am wrong He’ll direct you in the right path – that’s why we need a personal relationship with Him. If you’re feeling really terrible and as though you’re a bad person because you’ve done or are doing some of this, don’t allow the enemy to imprison you in condemnation. God still loves you and desires to change you. Give it to Him. Ask for forgiveness and let Him walk you to a repentant life. If you’ve recently woken up to the fact that your behaviour needs to change, I am so happy for you. You’re in good company. Let’s keep praying and allowing God to change us.

 

The truth is that none of us deserve the very lives we live. It is by His grace and love alone that we are even blessed with the lives we have and with the opportunity to know Him. We can never repay Him for this goodness but one of the ways we can show our gratitude is how we treat each other as His children.

 

Heaven will be beautiful because our relationships will be based on love. It won’t happen automatically. We must work on getting there on a daily basis. So why not start now? Why not start in your small church community. As we genuinely learn to love one another with the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit, we’ll attract more brothers and sisters into our family. I wish you all the best in that endeavour and I ask that you please pray for me too.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Book Your Spot: A Time To Remember And Give

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Poster Design: Mpumi Simango

Hi ladies,

This is a gentle reminder to book your seat at our upcoming breakfast event! Limited spaces are available, so go ahead and secure your booking at http://qkt.io/1LBlw3 asap. Bookings close this Sunday, 30 April.

You can look forward to:

  • Getting to know your fellow sisters better;
  • Some soul-searching around our personal struggles of feeling left behind;
  • A personal testimony from a young woman who went through a humbling experience of struggling with getting her career going until she was 30-something, while her peers had elevated in their respective fields;
  • An opportunity to be encouraged and to encourage another sister in the journey of accepting where we are in our respective lives;
  • A delicious 2-course breakfast with tea/coffee;
  • And a chance to form a bond of sisterhood going forward as we seek to walk through our life’s struggles.

Can’t wait to connect with you all 🙂

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Guest Post: The Joys Of Being A Single Woman In The Church Community by Larissa Subira

Singled Out Flower
Photo Cred: Kobaken

Oh the journey of being a single woman in the church community, where does one begin?  Let’s just say I’m an old hand at this game, and the journey of a single woman of ‘marriageable age’ – what that even means is a story for another day – in the church community is a challenging experience. It’s a world that has to be navigated with thick skin and a strong sense of humour.

Firstly, let me say that this is not a church-bashing exercise. It’s more of an opportunity to think of ways we can improve our church environments for all those who come for spiritual fellowship. Having said that, there a few assumptions the church makes about single people that make it hard to treat the church community as a safe space for fellowship.

Here are just a few:

  1. It is assumed that there is something lacking in your life. That you are incomplete without a partner. You may at one point have heard this: “Your standards are too high, you need to put yourself out there”; “You’re too outspoken, maybe you should be more lady-like”; and my favourite one, “You don’t act like you need someone in your life”. Statements like these can really leave you frustrated and hurt, leave you wondering if you aren’t more than your marital status. When an elder in the church is asking you how you are, do they ask about your spiritual life, whether you are content? What your dreams are for ministry? One doesn’t get a sense that there is concern for your spiritual life, rather than the ticking of boxes as one goes through certain stages in their life.  This is of concern as the focus on the external leaves a false sense of security that if this certain aspect of your life is ‘sorted’, you’re okay and yet that is generally not the case. Nothing is ever really as it seems which brings me to the next assumption.
  1. That contentment will be found once you’ve reached this point in your life. There’s such an urgent push for you to change your marital status and noting the growing divorce rate within the church, this perhaps may not be a healthy approach.  I believe the church does not emphasize enough the importance of being whole within yourself outside of a relationship. Who is this young person in Christ? Has God completed the work in this young person before they get married? Have they learnt the lessons they should have?  Does this sanctifying process necessarily have a clock? Does it naturally strike at 25 or 30 for all young women?
  1. So apart from being discontent, it is also paradoxically assumed that you’re this happy go-lucky person whose life is easy with very few responsibilities or challenges. This is probably one of the most hurtful assumptions. So many young people especially in their late 20s and early 30s are either financially or emotionally responsible for their siblings and parents. The majority of their expenses are spent on others. A young person may also be ‘parenting’ their younger siblings and yet when the church is having family life programs, no thought is given to young people that may need some parenting advice too. For example, how one deals with a younger sibling who has turned away from God; is failing at school or; with a parent who may have a chronic illness so they need to find resources for their healthcare and maintain a job to cover all these expenses. Most young people are dealing with the combination of such challenges.  This leads me to my final point.
  1. The assumption that guidance or counselling is not wanted is a fallacy. So many young people are dealing with questions about how to handle life on a day-to-day basis. As an elder, can you show me how to budget for ‘black tax’ and yet maintain my month-to-month expenses? How can I maintain my spiritual life the day I feel so burdened by life’s pressures? How does one deal with life’s frustrations, when you feel stuck, like life is not moving forward? How do I take care of those around me who need help and also continue contributing to ministry?

I could go on and on, the list is endless. My point is, marriage is a beautiful gift that God granted the world with, and in time those who are meant to have that gift will receive it. In the mean time, let’s treat young single people as individuals outside of this status. Can they be seen as adults who also have responsibilities and would probably benefit more from your advice in other aspects of their lives. It’s interesting, the church community exists within society and with that comes common expectations of young people of a certain age.  However, the world doesn’t care about my soul and my salvation, shouldn’t the church? Just a thought…

 

Larissa

Larissa is a beautiful Rwandan girl by way of DRC, Swaziland and now South Africa with an ever curious mind about God and the world around her. A driven, loyal person who knows who she is, a bit stubborn but always up for a robust debate. Larissa is sweet and courageous all at the same time, and a pleasure to be around.

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A Time To Remember And Give Event

Poster Image 2
Image Cred: Mpumelelo Simango

Hi bAw Family,

As promised, this year will see a number of events on our calendar as we seek to cater to the needs of the bAw family. We really appreciated those who took the time to fill out the surveys as they helped us to prepare for the functions, programs and initiatives that we will run.

This is our 2nd event of the year! And one that is dearly close to my heart because God first deposited the idea for it in my heart about 8 years ago. It is the first of a series of similar events where we come together and remember the pain we have walked through and relate it to fellow sisters so as to uplift them. To also give each other our listening ear, our words of encouragement, our prayers and hearts. The aim is to walk towards a place of healing for the various struggles we may face as women, and to be each other’s keeper. This is based on Galations 6:2 which says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

This specific event on the 7th of May is an intimate breakfast conversation on the struggle of feeling left behind, inspired by a blog post I shared not long ago which a number of you resonated with. Whether you feel or have ever felt as though you’re behind in terms of your career, your relationship status, your financial standing, or any other area of your life, and it feels like you’re the only one – this is the event for you.

Please note that there are only 15 spaces available and the ticket price of R140 includes a two-course breakfast at Buitengeluk, tea/coffee, gratuity, and a chance to form a bond of sisterhood with other women facing similar challenges to you. So rally your girlfriends and go book your spot online until the 30th of April.
I am so looking forward to spending this quality time with you.

With love,
Sonia Dee

 

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Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea Event Pics!

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The gorgeous black African Queens that formed a part of the first “Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea” event!

This past Sunday, a group of twenty-something women decided to commune and have some tea while appreciating the crown of glory God has blessed them with. “What crown of glory?”, you may ask. The natural hair each of these ladies has been blessed with – free from harmful chemicals and manipulation.

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Zanele Luhabe sharing her experience with going natural.

We had our dear sister Zanele share her experience with finally going natural and embracing her natural hair as being a reflection of who she really is close to the age of 40. It really is never too late to choose to do what is best for your hair.

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Sonia Dube sharing the history of black hair

Then yours truly gave a brief outline on the history behind black hair and why we perceive it the way we do today. I also shared my reasons for going natural and how it is a part of our identity and is important in God’s eyes.

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Thandiwe of Afrolocology talking about the myths around natural hair

Thandiwe from Afrolocology (who co-hosted the event with me), then gave great insights into the myths around natural loose and loc’d hair, as well as practical tips on how to care for one’s natural hair.

We also had such yummy treats to indulge in, and the ladies got some cute little take-aways! We enjoyed talking about and sharing our journeys with natural hair, while encouraging each other to patiently care for our crowns. The ladies also had so many questions that opened our eyes up to natural hair and how it impacts one’s whole life and identity. In future, we will be discussing broad topics around natural hair including how to best style one’s hair or how to figure out your hair type, amongst other things.

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The amazing team of ladies who made this event possible! Thank you!

I would like to give a BIG thank you to my sisters who helped to plan and co-host this awesome high tea event! Sis’Nosi, Zanele, Rumbi and Thandiwe, your assistance and support was unmatched and I’m truly grateful to have you! To all the ladies who came to be a part of this very first Natural Hair event, thank you! Your presence made an impact and we so look forward to hosting you again soon.

Look out for more of these and other events at bAw!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea – SOLD OUT!

Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea - Sold Out

Hi again ladies

Just to let you know that our very first “Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea” is SOLD OUT!! If you were planning on making payment to attend the event, please do not. Unfortunately, our places have been filled.

We will, however, be having more of these and other events, and you can keep your eye out for them in future. We’ll be sharing feedback on our first event to give you an idea of what to expect when you choose to join us next time.

To those who have reserved their places, we’re so looking forward to hosting you this Sunday, 2 April! We’ll be discussing:

  • your hair and identity;
  • myths around natural loose and loc’d hair, as well as;
  • tips on how to care for your natural crown.

There will be awesome prizes to be won and yummy treats to enjoy too!

See you on Sunday!

With love,

The African Crown Team

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The Struggle of Feeling Left Behind

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Photo Cred: Bridget Gwanzura

For the longest time now I have struggled with feeling left behind by my peers. It seems like in my life, things happen way after everyone else who has begun a journey with me. Over the more recent years, God has led me to appreciate that everyone’s story is different and there is a purpose behind one’s journey including its length; the course it takes and; the pain that it comes with.

Yet. When you’re going through it, it can be so tough to hold on to such a profound truth.

I realized that God allowed me to remain behind in many aspects that are important to me for several reasons. The thing is, we often can’t understand why we’re going through something until we wade through the muddy terrain before us, and cross over to the other side so that we are looking down at where we once were. Sometimes He allows us to get glimpses of why but rarely does that happen.

To be honest, I have felt like I’m running behind my peers and friends when it comes to these things that are important in my life: my career and purpose; my relationship status and; my financial standing.

It has felt like people figured out what job they wanted to do within about a year or two of leaving varsity and now they’ve surpassed their goals. They have established themselves in their industries and are making inroads in their purposes. Then when it comes to relationships, most of my peers found their spouses in their early-to-mid-twenties and are settled down now – some even with children. It hasn’t been all roses for them but generally they have received their heart’s desires. And finally, with finances I have seen my peers grow their personal wealth and assets from cars to homes to investments on markets.

I think for the longest time I felt cursed. I felt as though there was some secret everyone else was in on that I was excluded from. I played the victim for yeeeeaaaaars. I wallowed in self-pity and quite honestly was not the happiest of people for others. It was horrible.

But. God.

I thank Him for keeping me “behind”, so to speak, for all this time. I shudder to think what kind of a person I would be now if I had gotten all the things I wanted in my immature state of mind. Today, I recognize that my perception of myself, others and life was fundamentally flawed. To begin with, I was too much of a victim and didn’t take responsibility for my life. To succeed in what God has for you, you cannot think as though you are helpless because that is all you will ever be.

I also struggled with believing that I truly was valuable and worthy of the good gifts and blessings God promises us. As I have mentioned in a previous article, I readily saw it for everyone else but couldn’t grasp that vision for my own life. And so I would end up whining and complaining about how everyone else is lucky and God doesn’t really care about me but truth is I was blocking the process for myself. The mind is extremely powerful. And mine was hell-bent on believing the worst for my life regardless of the showers of hope and goodness sent my way! I needed to change my mind-set because God honours what you believe.

It was imperative that if I was to attain fulfilment of all God called me to receive and attain in my life, I had to be in sync with Him. I had to receive His love in its entirety so as to cast out all fears about my inadequacies and victimhood and my feeling left out (1 John 4:18). Although I knew God loved me, I had not fully believed and received it in my spirit and my mind. To be able to operate in and receive what is meant for your life you cannot have fear rule you, and fear had been my master for twenty-something years.

I needed to realize that I could not be sloppy in my preparation and execution of tasks and responsibilities in these three areas of my life. I couldn’t just wait around and hope I would have brilliant ideas about my career and purpose or that God would wave His “magic Hand” and make things happen for me. I needed to spend time researching and educating myself and taking initiative. I had to overcome my fear of people and ask for help. I needed to work with diligence because I am representing an excellent God. He wouldn’t just lay it all on my lap.

I also couldn’t expect that God would just hand me one of His Princes when I was still a “pauper” so to speak. I needed to go through the diligence of being transformed into His Princess. Making tough decisions about my lifestyle and choices was imperative. Changing people, places and things so that my royalty would be cemented in my soul had to happen. I would attract the man that resonated with what I believed about myself and what I had invested in to be the woman I was. So I had to have high standards about myself so that I could receive the best in love too.

Finally, I had to get over this ignorance of finances. I’ve always prided myself in being more people-oriented and not really getting the numbers side of life. But God is excellent in all His ways. That means He doesn’t slack off in an area just cause He’s not inclined to it. Thus, I have to learn to make tough decisions. Fight for what I desire. Make sacrifices and change my mind-set about money because no one else can do that for me. God cannot bless me in this area when I’m making a shoddy mess of it with the little I have. Because were He to give me more, I would make a HUGE mess and tarnish His Name.

In a nutshell, if like me you have felt as though you’re running behind others in life, I hope this encourages you to know you’re not alone in this feeling. It’s normal. Actually, more people than you realize also feel this way. What’s more important though, is learning from the state you find yourself in. Ask God to show you what He’s trying to teach you in your feelings and circumstances of being “behind”.

You will find that it’s not necessarily that He wants you behind or is punishing you, but He actually has a great work for you to accomplish in your life and He needs you properly equipped to fulfil it. He needs you to learn some things and be transformed. He can’t take a chance of you being “half-ready” before He endows you with the wonderful things He has in store for you. I mean, David had to wait a good 15 years between being anointed King and actually becoming King! God needed to work some stuff in him and to test his commitment to, and his belief in the blessing.

God’s got your back so trust Him. You’re not behind. You’re just taking a more “scenic” route 🙂 And hey, you actually don’t know how long it took the person next to you to get to where they are now. Not necessarily in terms of time, but even in terms of the challenges they had to endure to receive and become all they have and are.

Be encouraged and keep hoping.

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea

Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea

Good morning Lady,

The Natural Hair Appreciation High Tea Event is nearly booked out! Don’t miss out on this important conversation around hair identity, self-care and loving your coils.

 

Confirm your RSVP by making payment before the 25th of March. You can contact Sonia Dube at sonia.dube3@gmail.com or 083 937 4969 for banking details.

 

Once you’ve made payment, be sure to send proof of payment to sonia.dube3@gmail.com or thandiwe@afrolocology.co.za

 

We look forward to a high tea in conversation.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Happy International Women’s Day

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Source: PlusQuotes Online 

Dear woman,

You are phenomenal and worthy to be celebrated! Wishing you a beautiful day filled with the love, kindness, tenderness and compassion that you so freely pour out into those around you!

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

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Guest Post: “Speak Your Mind… Except To Me” by Rumbidzayi Dube

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Source: Shutterstock Online

I am my father’s daughter.

Opinionated. Headstrong. Vocal. I speak my mind. A reflection of our patriarch. Qualities that my father himself has admired in me yet struggled to embrace since I was a child.

I’ve had numerous conversations with my father where I have voiced my views and opinions. After all, we were sent to school to understand the world and learn to develop cohesive arguments from what we saw. School taught me so much that goes beyond the classroom. It taught me to believe I had a voice and a valuable opinion. Joining debate teams, Toastmasters and public speaking competitions all helped me fine tune my natural disposition.

You will thus understand why it came to me as a great shock when, a few years ago, a young cousin fell pregnant out of wedlock and the advice from our fathers in this instance was “Boys, wear a condom. Girls, don’t have sex.” I have never forgotten that encounter. Nor have I forgotten an argument with my Pops where I was told “You should learn to keep quiet”. Our argument had been about principles that I felt strongly about. We were not seeing eye-to-eye and when I challenged his stance, my father was left with one form of ammunition that he knew I had no armour against as a young, black African daughter. He was my elder and what he says goes. Full stop.

Look, it’s not like I wanted to go on a sex rampage nor did I want to disrespect my elders. I just felt very strongly against the double standards that were staring me in the face. Was I destined to a life of stifling my opinions, my viewpoints, my feelings, myself? As long as I thought differently to my male superiors, was I to lead a life of self-censorship? That scared me.

That is the truth of the black African woman (bAw) in many instances. Of course there are leaders in any family and world. Those are usually the male figures in families and we can’t dispute the need for leaders. The problem, however, comes when you feel less of yourself as a result of censorship. Like you are being stifled and can’t be yourself. Looking to the generations before me, the pattern seems to be perpetuated. Women in the household have a very distinct role and it most certainly is not to challenge the men.

It saddens me because I believe there is a lot of benefit that comes from open dialogue. Yes, it’s not always going to be pretty or easy, but I think greater progress can be achieved in challenging, understanding and respecting one another.

This phenomenon isn’t only prevalent with older generations as far as I’ve experienced. Young men too can be threatened by opinionated women and shy away from that. If you call a man out, it is deemed unattractive. The expectation seems to be for women to tolerate all of men’s wiles and behaviours, even if disrespectful. It’s a catch 22 and has been a landmine to navigate in my short life.

All this has been cause for much deliberation and consternation in me as I seek to understand life. Surely God didn’t allow me to have these thoughts and views for them to be silenced? Granted, I am far from perfect and have been on a journey towards expressing myself in a way that others are more receptive to. All that being said, I know I cannot be an anomaly. I don’t believe I would be.

It is an ongoing struggle. Learning when I need to hush without stifling myself and speaking up when I need to whilst being respectful to others. One day, I hope it will be less taboo and more appreciated for opinionated and vocal women. For now though, a luta continua.

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Rumbidzayi Dube is a phenomenal young woman who is intelligent, brave and well-articulated when it comes to the daily struggles of a young black African woman. She is a beautiful child of God who is passionately seeking to fulfill His purpose on Earth and part of that includes running a thought-provoking blogsite at http://www.rumbidzayiishe.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

What are your thoughts and/or experiences around this topic? Do you think bAw are unnecessarily silenced? Have you struggled as an opinionated bAw? Do you believe bAw should know their place and not speak up unless asked to?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share below!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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bAw Survey 2017

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Hi bAw family!

This is just a reminder that our survey is still open and we’d love to hear how we can best cater to your needs in 2017!  Thank you to those who have already responded. If you would still like to respond, please go ahead and fill out the below form.

Thank you,

Sonia Dee

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My Natural Hair Care Regime – Washing

Me and my natural hair

So I’ve been on this natural hair journey for a good 4+ years, and it has been an interesting one. I’ve written about why I decided to go natural and how I transitioned into being a naturalista. That is a decision I absolutely do not regret in my life. Nothing beats walking in the fullness of who God placed you on this earth to be, including how you wear your hair.

That being said, it hasn’t always been easy doing this natural thing. Starting off, my sister and I had no clue how to keep natural hair. My experience with natural hair was limited to childhood when my mum would wash it then blow and comb it out. It was PAINFUL! And near to impossible to put a comb through that hair and I honestly hated it. I had to convince myself as an adult that this wouldn’t be the case this time around. So we did our research – reading up online about different natural hair types and how to care for them, as well as watching YouTube videos about how to care for and style your natural hair.

This, and years of experimenting alone has led me to a routine that works so beautifully for my hair and I wanted to share cause some of you have been asking how we manage to keep our hair looking so good. In today’s post I will be sharing the products I use on my hair to wash it. And the routine I follow in doing so. In a later post I will share how I moisturize and style my hair as well.

Hair Type

First things first, you need to know what your hair type is so you know how to care for it. Below are two charts of different hair types to help you out:

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Source: Blogspot.com
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Source: Blogspot.com

 

We black Africans are mostly Type 4 hair types. I personally am a 4b/4c. Hair Type 4 is what I’ll be referring to in sharing my hair care regime.

Wash Products and Process

I personally am one of those people who believes that the simpler a product is, the better. In fact, organic and natural is what I have found to work best for me. You may not believe that these two simple products are what I use for my weekly-to-bi-weekly wash but I promise you they bring out the best and most natural texture to my hair. I make sure to buy the organic and natural versions. The shampoos and conditioners that we buy in-store are filled with harmful chemicals that dry out your natural hair and take away from it coiling beautifully.

  1. Shampoo

My “shampoo” is bi-carbonate of soda or baking powder. Yep! I get it from any Woolworths or Pick N Pay.

bi-carb-of-soda

Process: So you take about half a teaspoon of bi-carb and put it in a 250ml cup. Then add water to dissolve it (or you can do 1 part bi-carb to 3 parts water). You can put it into one of those squeeze bottles and mix it up.

Apply this to your wet hair and rub it in comprehensively, leaving it in for about 3 minutes. You then rinse it out with warm water thoroughly to ensure it’s all out of your hair and has not remained on the scalp. You’ll find it weird at first that there is no foam with this method but it’s because there are no harmful chemicals that you find in regular shampoo that are actually added to result in the foaming effect.

Bi-carb is so good for your hair because it naturally strengthens your hair over time. You’ll notice that your hair is richer, stronger and more full of life than when using regular shampoo.

  1. Condition

My conditioner of choice is apple cider vinegar which I buy from Dischem or Pick N Pay from the Nature’s Choice brand. I generally buy the 500ml bottle for R75 which lasts forever or you can buy the 200ml bottle for R20 which lasts a long time as well depending on how often you wash your hair. Either way, it’s such an affordable conditioner – value for money. Again, I choose to use this product because it does not contain harmful chemicals and it brings my natural hair to life.

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I’ve clearly had this bottle for the longest time!

Process: You just need to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it in a 250ml cup. Again you can put this in a separate squeeze bottle to make it easier to apply to your hair. After shampooing with bi-carb, you rub this mixture completely through your hair. Thereafter, take a wide-tooth comb and comb out any knots in your hair – this is the only time that I really put a comb to my hair (and it’s optional). The hair is softer when it is wet and detangles much more easily in this state.

After about 3 – 5 minutes you can rinse out the conditioner thoroughly and your hair is squeaky clean!

I wash my hair every week or every other week and it works well for me, so see what works for your hair and your schedule.

  1. Deep Condition

It’s good to deep condition your hair at least once a month. I’ve been slacking on this but it’s really great for your natural coils. It gives your hair body and a great, healthy shine while repairing any damage from your hair being out or exposed to harmful chemicals. It also nourishes it with the protein needed by your hair and moisturizes it.

What I have used in the past to deep condition my hair is egg yolk combined with something else – usually olive oil. There are several amazing DIY, organic and natural deep condition mixtures that you can try if you just Google them.

Process: Take about 2 egg yolks and beat them. Add 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and mix it some more. You can add water to thin it out a bit, and you can add more eggs and olive oil if your hair is longer – or less if it is shorter.

Once you’ve got your mixture right (not too thick but not runny either), you massage this “conditioner” into your dry hair from the roots to the tips, making sure it’s evenly distributed. You then take a shower cap and cover your hair for at least an hour to as long as overnight. The longer you leave it in, the better it conditions your hair. I find that about an hour and a half works well.

After your appointed time, you then wash out the “deep conditioner” with warm water, and with your normal hair wash regiment thereafter. Make sure you get all that egg out and be prepared for a not-so-great egg smell while you deep condition.

 

This is what I have found to work for me in terms of washing my hair. You can give it a go and tweak it according to your resources, time and texture of your hair. The key to nurturing a great natural crown is to keep trying. You will fail and find that some things don’t work but eventually you’ll come across what does work. Don’t be afraid to try.

I also have an amazing sister-friend of mine called Thandiwe who has come to understand natural hair and locks well, and can give you a consultation and treatment for your hair if you would rather not do all this on your own. You can call her on the number in the image below to check for the consultation fee and she is in the Johannesburg area. She’s running a Feb special so get in touch asap!

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Hope this helps you! And watch out for future hair care posts. Please also share what you’ve tried and what’s worked very well for your hair.

With love,

Sonia Dee

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bAw Survey 2017

 

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Hi there bAw family 🙂

So, I need your help. I’m doing a quick survey to try and determine some of the key issues that young black African women are grappling with and desire healing and encouragement over.

The aim is to start sessions (under this bAw community) where we come together to eat, talk, laugh and pray with one another as we seek to become the women God has created us to be, and not who society, culture or our past experiences have tried to tell us we are.

I need your help so that we can support one another and other women in fulfilling this mandate. You can do this by assisting me with answering the following questions in the comments section below or directly to my email address under the “Contact” tab on the site:

  1. What topics/issues would you like to discuss that you don’t believe get enough airplay? e.g. Mentorship/People-Pleasing/Sisterhood/Abuse/Embracing Singleness etc.
  1. What kind of set-up do you believe would encourage you to feel comfortable to share and grow with other young bAw like yourself? eg size of group/facilitator or no facilitator/in a home or at a venue etc.
  1. How often would you be willing to attend these sessions?
  1. What contribution – financial/time – would you be willing to contribute towards the planning and running of these sessions?
  1. What other fun activities and programs would you like to engage in with your fellow bAw other than the sharing sessions?
  1. Do you have any other comments or questions?

Thank you so much for taking the time to complete this survey! We would like to get these sessions and other activities for the year started soonest so please do respond asap. Looking forward to walking with you on this journey!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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To The Man I Love, But Am Yet To Meet

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Me in beautiful Cape Town in July 2015

You see me. All of me. And not once have you shrunk back from my awkward talkative nature or loud laugh or my desperate need to analyse everything. Instead, you have a way of turning my flaws and failures into possibilities and opportunities for me to be even greater.

You pursue me. Relentlessly. Not once have I wondered whether you care or think about me. It’s obvious that you do. I see it in the way you look at me as though I am the very first woman you have ever laid eyes on. I recognize it in the way you notice the most random things about me. In the way you don’t get tired of looking for me even if we just spoke this morning or had a falling out. I have no doubt in my mind that I am desirable to you.

You celebrate me. In every way possible. You may not share my exact interests but you still want to know all about them. You see all that I can and shall be, and you remind me of that at every opportunity that you can. You remember what’s important to me and find ways to make a big deal out of that even if it never really mattered to you before we met.

You’re curious about me. Like a child is curious about the first drop of rain she feels on her hand or about how her mama seems to know everything about everything in the world. I am a deep and vast body of water that you’re not afraid to completely submerge yourself in and yet that still wouldn’t be enough for you. It feels like you’re reading a fresh page in my story each day that we are together – even if you’ve read my story countless times before.

You remind me. Remind me about Whose I am and who I am in Him. Remind me of the capable, loving, powerful and gorgeous soul I have always been but that life had ripped from my memory bank. Remind me that I am so uniquely beautiful, enchanting and lovely. Remind me that I’m not alone at any juncture of my life’s journey. Remind me that someone believes in me wholeheartedly and has my back. Remind me that there are still amazingly good men in this world. Remind me of the very first Man who ever loved me unconditionally – Jesus Christ.

You pray for and over me. From the moment you wake up and have a conversation about me with God until you lay your head down at night. You present me before the Creator and plead with Him about my salvation, my healing, my joy and whatever I may need at that time. Your prayers for and about me are what keep me pushing forward daily into the woman God knows me to be despite the odds.

Dear husband, these are just reflections of your deep love for me and a few of the things I am grateful for in you. Thank you for how you challenge and push me towards the mark God has set for me. Thank you for reinstating my hope in godly men, when, for majority of my life it has constantly been torn down. Thank you for loving me in a way that reminds me of my Saviour’s love for me. Thank God that every day He blesses me with the opportunity to try and return the beauty you have brought into my life. I pray that I may honour my God by loving and respecting you the way He has called me to.

I haven’t met you yet, but God has already taught me to love you.

Yours truly,

The Woman You Adore, But Are Yet To Know

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5 Reasons Every Young Woman Needs a Female Mentor

The amazing women who have poured into my life. Thank you!

Happy New Year family! I hope you had a lovely break and that your 2017 has got off to a good start so far. I’m pretty sure that some of you are making resolutions and goals for this New Year, or you may just be thinking about what you want to do differently in this new season.

One of the things that shifted my life positively was having older sister- and mother-friends who mentored and poured into me. I believe that every young woman needs her Elizabeths and Ruths to help her navigate the difficult terrains of life and to become all she was called to be. I’m hoping that this post encourages just one lady to resolve to pray for and seek out female mentors in 2017.

Let’s look at 5 reasons why I believe every young woman needs older women in her life:

  1. To Confirm What God has Told You About Your Life’s Purpose: When I look at the story of Elizabeth and Mary, when Mary enters Elizabeth’s house she must have been feeling overwhelmed (read Luke 1:39-45)! She may have even be doubting the purpose God placed on her life because it seemed ridiculous and impossible – I mean falling pregnant as a virgin?! And giving birth to her Saviour!! Yet, the moment she steps into the house, Elizabeth confirms the words that the Angel had just told Mary without Mary divulging anything (Luke 1:42-43). God used Elizabeth as an instrument to confirm His purpose over Mary’s life in case she doubted it at all or couldn’t quite envision it.

Even in my walk, the older women God has blessed me with have confirmed who God has called me to be. Through the revelation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they see the gifts and capabilities He has put on my life – just like Elizabeth saw Mary’s. They scare me sometimes with how much they believe in that calling yet it encourages me that I am on the right path as I go along and whenever I feel doubtful. God allows only a few people insight into your life and it is these people that He uses to remind you that you’re becoming who He called you to be. It is so vital to have a few of these in your life.

  1. To Watch Over You: In today’s modern society, we often live far away from home and from the protection and guidance of our parents. Granted we may speak to them regularly but they are not on the ground and cannot fully comprehend the struggles and battles you face. And at times, they may be too invested in you growing in a certain direction that they miss understanding your challenges – from friendships, to career decisions, to romantic attachments and just your spiritual journey. As a young woman you are vulnerable – to hanging around the wrong friends, entering the wrong romantic relationships or even conducting yourself inappropriately at work and you may not see it. In the book of Ruth (Chapter 2), Naomi counsels Ruth about her career decisions and how to glean from Boaz’s field, as well as giving her advice about a potential romantic relationship. She has experience and she imparts her wisdom to Ruth.

Likewise, my mentors have coached me on a whole lot in my own life. They can tell from a mile away whether a guy is just trying to waste my time or not, even if I’m so into him and I try to hide details around him. They teach me about tough but important work ethics. They warn me about the people I let into my space. They pray for and with and over me and my life. They are my watchmen (Isaiah 62:6-7) and they will not tire of bringing me before the throne of God until He establishes me! What comfort, hope and security there is in knowing there are women who have walked through what you are going through and have your back! Especially in the spiritual realm, it is so important to have mature women lifting you up in prayer. The devil is seriously out to wipe you out and you need all the support you can get in 2017!

  1. They Call You Out and Challenge You to Be Better: I remember shying away from interacting with older people because I had issues with figures of authority and I projected it on any older person. I felt like they just wanted to control me and tell me what to do without understanding me. So I missed out on years of growth and development because of my fears and ignorance. I have come to appreciate that God places mentors over us to call us out on our ugly stuff as lovingly as possible. Unfortunately, because we are human and don’t like hearing the negative stuff about ourselves, we don’t always receive this well. But when we take time to think about and reflect on the feedback of mentors, we realize that it’s for our own good. We realize that they are actually genuinely concerned about our well-being. I am thankful to my sister- and mother-friends who do this with me.

Further to this, they push me to be better. They see my potential and are not satisfied with me being mediocre. This means that they will challenge me and ask me some tough questions. The same way God prunes us and it’s no fun. They get me to face things about myself that I don’t like or that I would rather ignore. This is because they believe in me and know that I can do and be better. I appreciate it now in hindsight and I believe that this is necessary for every young woman.

  1. To Teach and Prepare You for Future Stages in Your Life: My mentors have gone through things and are in spaces in their lives that I hope to enter one day. Whether that is running their own business; marriage; being a mom; or engaging in personal ministry. They are making waves in their lives and I pray to grow into such a phenomenal woman one day. And you know that they say one of the ways to get insight into the kind of person you’ll be in 5 years’ time, is to look at the people who influence you the most currently. My dad used to say that I should seek to be around people who are smarter and more successful than me and now I realize why.

My mentors have walked the journey I am on, so they understand the snags I will hit and what qualities I need to develop now to be successful later. They teach me by sharing their personal life experiences and by allowing me into their personal space – babysitting their children; attending events they are running; working on projects with them. They teach me by allowing me to observe their interactions with other people and by devotionals and prayers that they share with me. They teach me by being honest about their own shortcomings and humanity. I now understand why the bible encourages us young people to submit ourselves to our elders (1 Peter 5:5a). They have a lot to impart to us. You’ll be entering brand new experiences and stages in your life in 2017, and what better way to prepare for them than to speak to those who have already been there.

  1. So That You Can Pay It Forward: It is a good principle to share what you have received. Too many young people are messing up bad in life today because they had no-one to guide them in the right direction. If you have been fortunate enough to have someone invest in you, it doesn’t stop there. It is your prerogative to pay it forward. You will bless another young person’s life just by doing and sharing what you saw and received. It will also continue to grow and challenge you as a person. So as you are mentored, take notes that you can hand over to someone else later. Because one day a younger you will need what you have gained. That is one of the ways to be your sister’s keeper.

In a nutshell, it is so important to have female mentors because no man is an island. We all need help and we all need good counsel and guidance. We certainly don’t know it all, and one of the best qualities to have is to recognize this truth and have a teachable spirit.

Do you have older women in your own life who bless you? What is that like? Or do you have a different opinion about mentors? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts around this topic!

Wishing you only God’s best in 2017 and beyond!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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What I Will Never Forget About 2016

Having some much-needed fun at our company year-end function!

Greetings bAw family 🙂 It’s been a while since I shared anything on the blog site and some of you have been asking me why I haven’t been sharing and when next I will write. To cut a long story short, 2016 was God’s beautiful way of getting me to sit at His feet so that He could break, comfort and heal me. It was a year of discovery and restoration, which sometimes means putting your tools down and focusing on your own well-being before stepping out to be there for others.

It’s been a phenomenal year. And apart from all the news headlines that I will never forget from this year, there are a number of lessons and experiences that I was blessed with in 2016 that I will always remember. Before we get into the craziness of the festive season, I thought to share these with you:

 

  1. Rejection Can Be Your Greatest Blessing

Ever since childhood I have faced my fair share of rejection (as I’m sure you have too). And this hasn’t stopped into my adulthood. However, what has changed is my perspective on rejection. This year alone I have experienced rejection in pretty much all the important areas of my life – relationships; church family; and career/work. Nobody beams with joy when they feel unwanted so it’s been tough to endure.

But, as I walked through this valley with God’s guiding and strong Hand, I came to realize that being rejected by people and circumstances propels you out of your comfort zone and eventually into a better space. What made me cry before has constantly led me to the feet of Jesus in worship and praise for allowing me to lose certain things and people. I have received the blessings of new relationships; new appreciation of myself and others; new experiences; and above all else a new, more intimate relationship with my Saviour. Had I not felt unwanted, I would not have wanted to draw closer to Him.

So. The next time you’re feeling rejected, ask God to reveal the blessing in it.

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Find the blessing in your rejection… (Photo Cred: Bridget Gwanzura)

  1. You’re Probably The Only One Limiting Yourself

For the longest time now, I have boxed myself in terms of my abilities. I remember telling myself as a teen that all I would ever be is average especially at school. And guess what? I did become average. I also convinced myself that I was no good with numbers and needed to stay away from them. That’s what influenced my choice in studies and career path. And literally, when someone would come to me with work involving any form of finances I would freeze and my mind would go blank. I also felt highly incapable of leading or succeeding greatly at anything really.

This year marked my final year of studying towards being a Life Coach. It involved tedious hours of practical coaching while completing two modules and working at my current job all at the same time. As I juggled these three areas in my life and especially towards the end of the year, I got such a shock when I passed my Coaching Fieldwork course with flying colours! Not only that, I was even more shocked when my employers vocalised their belief in my capabilities regarding work involving (eeek!) numbers and praising my skills! I remember crying at one point in disbelief, then it hit me – I was the only one standing in the way of my greatness.

God had always believed in my ability to succeed and to be and do great things regardless of what I was tackling (Philippians 4:13). My friends and family continually celebrated my talents, skills and abilities. But I just couldn’t see it, until I opened my mind to trust that God could do anything in and through me. It took years but it took me hitting rock bottom to finally see all I am and shall be in Christ.

So my dear friend, take a look in the mirror. You are most probably your greatest obstacle to greatness.

 

  1. Preparation Is The Key To Success

As I mentioned above, this year was jam-packed for me. On top of my studies and work, a close friend and I were leading out a group of young women on a personal and spiritual journey. My days were literally planned out months in advance. I found myself continually tired at some point because of all I had to do and I could not afford to drop the ball in any area of my life. I wanted to graduate. I wanted to excel in my career. I desired to lead these young women as best as possible because God had called me to. And of course, I also needed some downtime every so often.

I remember listening to a powerful sermon by Toure Roberts as he spoke about success in our spiritual life and other areas of our lives. What stood out most for me was preparation being the most important part of you succeeding at anything. I found that when I thought ahead and prepared myself, whether mentally or emotionally or physically, I was able to execute any task well regardless of how small or big. Whether it meant preparing my lunch and breakfast the night before work so that I was on time and not in a rush the next day; or spending the hours needed to read up on a subject and internalizing it before coaching a client; I was able to do things well because I was calm and assured.

Most of the time we struggle to live successful lives because we just go with the flow and react to what is thrown at us. What if we actually got ready for life the way athletes do for a competition? You may find that being proactive is that major difference to you becoming and achieving all you’ve dreamed of.

 

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Always remember how precious you are… (Photo Cred: Bridget Gwanzura)

  1. You Are Worth Pursuing

One of the areas that I have struggled with for most of my life is my worth and value. Because of past circumstances and beliefs (some of which I have written about here), I have believed the lie of the enemy and society that I am not a woman worthy of being pursued and wooed and loved. I have always distinctly seen other women as being pursuable. Yet, at the beginning of this year I realized that I had struggled to internalize that for myself.

This was a problem, not only regarding romantic relationships but more importantly regarding my relationship with my First Love – God. I realized that I did not believe He wanted to pursue me and love me and bless me with good things. I really did not see myself as His beloved or as precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4). This informed how I perceived my position in the lives of others. It is so important for a woman to know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves her desperately and daily pursues her because she is worth it.

I thank my Jesus that He pursued me HARD in 2016! He pursued me in the sunsets and sunrises; in the smile and hug of a child; in the support of friends and family; in His Word and and and. He literally poured out Song of Solomon 4:1-15 in my life this year and reminded me that I am worth pursuing. Today, I am alright not having a half-hearted relationship or one where I have to go the extra mile to feel desired. I am okay dying single because I have tasted the greatest love of all – the relentless, pure love of a Man who will stop at nothing to be with me.

My dear sister, if you ever remember anything in your life be reminded of the fact that you are most certainly worth pursuing.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share in my experiences of 2016. I would love to hear what it’s been like for you too. So please do share below and let’s encourage one another.

Wishing you only God’s as you prepare to enter 2017!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Guest Post: Busted! Caught Red-Handed by Sithabile Sibanda

Busted

Photo Cred: MTG Focus

 

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” – Proverbs 3:15

Do you know your value? Are you aware of what you are worth? How often have you found yourself in the same place over and over again? Doing the same thing and expecting different results…

That was my story for a while until I got caught! Yes, I got caught. The thing is, I wasn’t busted by anyone around me, not my family, friends or anyone. It was God.

Many times we walk around and seem “at peace” as though everything is okay when we know that we are on a battlefield. We don’t know our worth neither do we know Whose we are. It’s a fight between what others say and what God says, between who the world says we belong to and knowing Whose we are. The war is never ending.

Not until a while ago did my eyes open to see what I had turned into. I had lost myself because of the few things that run my life, one of them being forgiveness.  It was a struggle for me, as in a serious struggle. I had mountains of pain erected over a long period of time. I had reached a point where, if I was told something negative (you are not skinny enough, beautiful, intelligent, well dressed, etc.) I would remember every detail of it – how it was said; by whom and; when it was said and I would replay it in my head each day for hours on end.

Yeah I know! It was bad. The problem was I had a number of negative elements that were running my life caused by un-forgiveness that determined what I was worth.  Funny thing is that I would still want to be attached to the cause of the negative – I expected different results all the time but that never happened. I was stuck and no one could help me and I wasn’t going to tell anyone even if I was paid to 😛

Hate is a very strong word, and I hate to use the word “hate” about anything. And I certainly hate the thought that I might actually have hate for another person. But that is exactly what unforgiveness is – the root of hate. Unforgiving thoughts turn to hate inside us. For years I entertained unforgiving thoughts because they had a ripple effect and that was looking down on me. When we don’t forgive, we don’t see clearly and we stumble around in confusion.  We become weak, sick and bitter. We push away everything and anyone that can help us get past whatever it is that is hurting us.

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”- 1 John 3:15

We choose to forgive whether we feel like it or not. It’s a decision and not a feeling. If we wait for good feelings, we could end up waiting a lifetime.

I made a decision to forgive those who had hurt me. But not only that – I chose to forgive myself. I realised that I had allowed people to run my life while they slept peacefully at night just because I held on to the one thing they said or did last summer. I looked at myself based on the judgement of others even just passers-by. It was way too much to live with on a daily basis, but I got busted, and it wasn’t nice. I had to look at my dirty laundry chilling on the line.

Realising that I had created a cycle in my life hurt, but it had to be fixed.  God had brought me to my knees and opened my eyes to all the murders I had committed.

“Either what women having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, seek diligently till she find it. And when she hath found it, calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.” – Luke 15:8-9. For many years I tried to find my value like the woman who lost her coin but I am grateful that I got busted and God showed me where to look.

People who lose things have the responsibility to find them and thank God I got busted. I found the one piece I had been searching for and after I had sought for this coin everywhere, it then became easier to see that we all have a story. The same person who’s causing you pain may just need to numb their own pain. It doesn’t make it right, but the way you treat them may just make them a better person.

In my life there are healed wounds that have ugly scars but each day that goes by comes specially made and there is value added to me.

The journey continues…

With love,

Sithabile

 

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Sithabile is a young Seventh-Day Adventist Christian woman trying to live for God. She currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa and is vibrant, talented and loving. She is employed by Juta Publishing at the moment and is a business woman in her own right as well. Sithabile is passionate about helping others regardless of who they are. She’s a little crazy (:P) but is not above doing work required for the ministry of Christ. Most of all, she is saved by Grace.

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Guest Post: Becoming Proverbs 31 by Ehui Osei-Mensah

Proverbs 31

It is no secret to many that the Bible is an amazing source of strength, wisdom, and encouragement. As a Christian working mother and wife I constantly need God’s written word to power through my busy life. However, the Bible is also a sharp critic. Sometimes I find it akin to a mirror with bright unflattering lights, exposing the flaky skin and zits that no amount of make-up can cover. In fact, nothing exposes my failings and whips me back into shape faster than the Bible. In His holy word, God clearly presents the standard that Christians should aspire to and if we fail to keep it (His unwavering grace in mind), living up to God’s standard can be quite daunting.

As a Christian woman, Proverbs 31 is one of such passages that inspires me and terrifies me all at once because of the truly high standards it espouses. I would willingly blame Solomon for using the collective skills of all his 300 plus wives to define an impossible standard for all women in this book. But I digress….the Bible is, after all, the inspired word of God so we can assume God’s voice in its every passage. Proverbs 31 is therefore God’s standard for what a superwoman should be.

The passage tells me that the ideal wife and mother barely sleeps but is still able to wake up early to start her busy day (vs. 15). She is a great cook, dress maker, and yet still a successful entrepreneur – buying real estate with her own earnings (vs.16)! She is a philanthropist, opening her house to the poor (vs. 20), and is a kind and effective manager and master planner, rewarding her employees generously and managing her home with poise and grace. She does all this while slaying in all her outfits. Yes! This lady is supposedly physically fit and fashionable! She has strong and toned Michelle Obama arms (vs. 17) and slays in fine linen and purple – in other words – haut couture (vs. 22). She ensures that her household is well-clothed too and brings honor to her husband and family (vs. 23).  She is good natured and a wise teacher (vs. 25, 26). Naturally, her husband and children are full of praises for her, who wouldn’t? Who is this woman? She is certainly not me on most days.

How on earth do I match up? Most days I’m stuck at step one. I, like the Proverbs 31 woman, don’t sleep much but I am certainly not springing out of bed before the sun is up with a smile on my face, ready to cook and clean before work. It takes many a slam of the snooze button and kind coaxing from my dear husband to get me out of bed and coherent on most days. I certainly do not manage real estate businesses. I have only one job – one busy job – but nothing compared to the strides of this Proverbs 31 woman. Though I love to look good, I can’t make my own clothing and the ones I buy sport labels of designers whose names you don’t need French training to pronounce (aka not haut couture) and this woman is out there slaying in bespoke fine linen and purple. Could she seriously be real?

For us working wives and mothers who still want to rely on God’s word as the standard for all our endeavors, is the Bible somehow setting us up to fail with an impossible standard? Is there ever a way to happily balance a high powered professional career with wifehood and motherhood, especially as an African woman in the diaspora with external family support miles away? Well, according to Proverbs 31, there are no excuses for mediocrity and yes, it appears possible to be a real superwoman! The one thing the passage doesn’t quite mention is the fact that this woman must be spending some time on her knees communicating with God for the wisdom to excel in all her affairs. I certainly need that divine guidance to be a high performer both at home and at work.

Many times, I think as black African women (bAw), we spend a lot of time recognizing and articulating the odds that we are up against. We frequently discuss the odds against us in the pursuit of a solid education and a successful professional career, a Godly marriage, heathy high-achieving children, and a good standard of living in general. Many of us spend many years wishing for and praying hard for that school, that job, that man, those kids, that house, those clothes, but we spend very little time praying in advance for the grace and power to manage all those blessings effectively when God grants them. Proverbs 31 describes a woman who has been blessed immensely by God in all facets of her life but we see that she needs to work hard and exhibit many impressive skills to manage that success.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” This means that He has the power to grant all our hearts’ desires, including success at home and work, according to His will. It also means He is a ready source for strength and courage to help us manage, to our full potential, those blessings that He grants us. I’m always going to need to tap into His source of strength and to draw from His well that never runs dry because this Proverbs 31 woman that I speak of, she can, by His grace, be me.

 

What are your thoughts on the Proverbs 31 woman? Do you think she’s realistic or should we just take lessons from her? Would love to hear your thoughts!

With love,

Ehui

 

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Ehui Osei-Mensah is a gorgeous childhood friend of mine who hails from the beautiful country called Ghana in West Africa but currently lives in the Washington DC with her small family. Ehui is a wife and mother of a beautiful little girl. She is a Christian and currently works as the Content Director at Hanover Research. She is a smart young woman with a bubbly personality and a love for Jesus.

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Your Life

Sometimes we don’t take enough time to pause and reflect on our life and the meaning it possesses. Taking the time to do this allows us to be grateful and to appreciate what we have, and to encourage us to continue moving forward.

I think my answer would be: Miracle

What’s yours? Post your answer in the Comments section 🙂

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Photo Cred: Thought Questions Online

 

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5 Warning Signs of a Christian Guy Who is Going to Waste Your Time

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Photo Cred: Madame Noire Online

I’ve been witnessing and reflecting on a rather disturbing way of relating between guys and girls in our society today – and most especially in the church. Particularly how girls allow themselves to become entangled with a guy who is leading them nowhere slowly. I’d like to call this kind of man “The Illusionist”. No, I’m not talking about a magician. I’m not referring to a movie or a book. I’m talking about a young man who has no real plan for his life and wants to drag you along for the ride. The reason I am focusing on the Christian brother is because they have become skilled in leading church girls on. They use the fact that we’re all at church to their advantage because girls let their guard down (believing they can trust a Church guy over one outside the Church) and not to mention some of these brothers throw God into the mix of messing with girls. Don’t get me wrong – this is in no way an article bashing Christian brothers. I just believe that the truth needs to be said as it is and also so that the Christian sisters catch a wake up call cause they can’t just blame the brothers.

 

Anyway, let’s begin by painting a picture of what tends to happen: Guy meets girl. They hit it off. They realize they have so much in common and they enjoy chatting for hours; exchanging ideas and poetry or books; accompanying each other to different outings/gatherings with friends etc. Soon they begin to flirt and “connect” – catching each other’s eyes from across the room and giving a knowing look when something happens that they’ve spoken about before. They become comfortable around each other and sometimes find themselves standing/sitting very close to each other or occasionally brushing hands and/or other body parts.

 

Then one day someone (usually the guy) suggests that they go out to do something together (just the two of them) that they enjoy or have spoken about. It’s all so exciting! They “hang out” a couple of times in this manner. They begin to talk about their dreams and wishes for their life – the kind of person they want to marry; where they would want to live; the kind of holidays they will take with their family and and and. They can no longer go a day without talking and people around them begin to make jokes about how cute they are together and they giggle it off by saying indignantly “we’re just friends!”

 

But the truth is, they are now way past “just friends”.

 

At this point, feelings have been caught. Castles have been built in the air and intimacy has developed (usually at a rapid pace). It is here that one of these two begins to desire more out of this “friendship” and I’ve found that most times it is the girl. It becomes clear that the woman is interested but the guy starts to become hot and cold – calling and flirting and caring sometimes, then becoming aloof and a bit distant at other instances. And this is where the cookie crumbles. The girl starts to question whether or not this guy likes her, and cue confusion, anxiety, fear, insecurities and all their aunties and uncles. It’s a hot mess. It usually doesn’t end well and it usually goes on for much longer than it should.

Eventually, the guy (from experiencing pressure from the girl) decides to tell her that they are just friends and have always been so why the big fuss. It indirectly becomes her fault and they “break up” and things become super awkward.

It’s a terrible place to be in because you are lying to yourself, to each other and to everyone around you. Sooner or later, that lie catches up to you and knocks you way off your feet. You go through excruciating thoughts about your worth and you resent men again and have to get over that. Also, you lose what could have been a really great friend. I decided to write this post because I speak to so many different young women and this topic comes up a lot lately. It seems that this is a pattern amongst young people and I think we need to break it. At all costs ladies, we must try our best to avoid “The Illusionist” and wait for a more genuine and godly man. You need to be able to recognize the characteristics of this kind of guy so as to avoid him – after all, you are responsible for your own life and heart. We can’t only blame the guys. So, here are a few signs of an “Illusionist” as I have come to understand them:

 

  1. He’s Overly Familiar Pretty Quickly: This guy treats you like you’ve known each other forever! He’s really comfortable with placing his hand around your waist or giving you a cute nickname. The thing is, this makes us as women feel seen and wanted. It’s a fact – women want to be loved and part of being loved means to be given special attention. However, I think it is problematic when a guy has not known you long at all and he’s already acting like you’re married. It is an indication of his inability to pace himself. He will soon run out of steam, even if you were to enter into a committed relationship.

 

  1. He Marks You As His Own Without Telling You: Further to the above, “The Illusionist” is quick to make you his “person”. You know – he’ll be sure to sit with you in church or at social gatherings, and sit very close at that. He’ll say things like “Oh yeah Thando likes to do this and to say that” to highlight that he’s more familiar with you than others are. He will embrace you and linger with that eye contact during the people (in public) raising questions in people’s minds about who you are to him. Again, these are things that bring us such joy as women. But a man who treats you as his own when he has not even asked your permission, is a thief. He is not a gentleman. A true gentleman understands that you are a woman who belongs first to God and then to a set of parents or guardians. He will respect that about you, and will treat you that way until he has verbally requested to enter into a more exclusive relationship with you. Think about it, even God knocks at the door of your heart (Revelation 3:20). He doesn’t just make Himself welcome although you are already His. He wants you to agree first.

 

  1. He’s Got the Whole ‘Troubled Soul’ Thing Going On: So, “The Illusionist” has some serious issues. I mean, we all do. But his are intense and woeful and earth-shattering. He’s told you about his terrible circumstances growing up – how he grew up without a parent or grew up eating one meal a week or faced abuse and discrimination etc. He gives you all the details and it seems his life could fall apart at any moment. He’s such a victim. He tells you that you give him so much hope and encouragement. He doesn’t know how he would survive without you. As a woman, this makes you feel wanted. You feel special. I mean, this guy needs you! You soon become his second mama though, and you find yourself in a co-dependent situation. A genuine guy does not offload his issues on you with the expectation that you make it all better. Yes he shares his struggles and past hurts (at a certain level of relating – not from the get go) but he will not make you feel like you’re his only hope. Jesus is his hope. And he’s man enough to deal with his issues.

 

  1. He Gives “If You Were My Wife” Scenarios: As you become more familiar in your “friendship”, brother-man starts to tell you in passing what the deal would be if you were his wife. Maybe he’s making an example of what he wants in his relationship and uses you as the substitute for his wife. He’s basically building attachments in your heart without the actual commitment. He’s growing your affections with no real purpose to fulfil them. He is being a coward and he’s getting temporary pleasure without the pains of commitment. A good man will not mislead you. He will be clear about where you stand in his life. Whether you are his friend or someone he is developing feelings for, and he will not unnecessarily cultivate romantic thoughts in your mind that he is not ready to fulfil. Granted we sometimes get caught up in our feelings but a real man will take responsibility when he’s messed up and work at protecting you.

 

  1. His Life Seems Purposeless: The “Illusionist” may on the surface appear to be deep and have a greater insight into life. He can quote books and poems, and can debate politics and religion. He can even pray. He’s smart and engaging, and usually people look up to him and admire him in the Church. But. When you really pay attention and give it some time to get to know him, you realize that he’s all over the place. He’s not really sure if he wants to be a doctor or just go save kids in a remote country in Africa or hang out with friends at parties or become an Evangelist. He lives in the now while dreaming of a possible future, and he has no real understanding of his purpose or even a desire to discover it. He may be “working towards it”, but he’s been at it for the last 10 years. He may even be serving in the church and all, but there’s no real growth that you can see. Walk away from that brother before you get caught up in his mess. A genuine guy knows what God has called him to do, and if he doesn’t yet, he is seeking out his purpose in Christ. Often, he won’t want to include you in his confusion until he’s sure.

 

There is so much more to “The Illusionist” but I wanted to give you the basic warning signs to look out for as I’ve come to understand them. God has instructed us to guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23) sisters. Allowing someone access to your heart and personal space is no joke. So ladies, be very conscious of who deserves that airtime. We can’t be angry at these guys who lead us on when we naively and happily give them the room to do so. Leave that brother in the hands of Jesus to make whole. It’s not your job. My prayer is that God activates a discerning spirit within us and that we are vigilant ourselves by meditating on the good qualities of a godly man, so that we can avoid the wrong kind of men. Also for wisdom to know how to conduct ourselves in our relationships with the opposite sex.

 

Have you ever experienced an “Illusionist”? What other signs would you say are there to watch out for? Maybe you don’t believe there is such a person as an “Illusionist”. I want to hear about it all!

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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How I Transitioned To Natural Hair

Transitioning

Me and my natural locks 🙂

 

I recently did a post on why I decided to go natural a few years ago. It’s been about 3 or 4 years since I embarked on the natural hair journey and less than 3 years since the big chop. A number of you expressed your desire to go natural as well but said that you have either tried and found it difficult to maintain the natural hair or you believe your hair is super coarse and are afraid it won’t be manageable. Some of you just asked for guidance on dealing with natural hair. I understand cause I was just as nervous when I went natural. I’m going to do a number of posts discussing my transition journey; my hair care regime; products I use and where I get them (plus other products that are in South Africa); hairstyles and how I do them etc. So be on the lookout for these.

To get us started, I thought to start from the beginning. I wanted to share about my personal journey of transitioning to the natural hair state. For those who are new to the natural hair game, transitioning is when you decide to let your natural hair grow out with the relaxed hair until you’re ready to chop off the relaxed/chemically treated hair. This was a personal choice for my sister and I, but you could choose to just chop it all off instantly. The main reason I chose to transition and wait for the natural hair to grow a bit longer was the fact that I didn’t think I had the face for a bald or really short haircut. Lol. To each his own!

Anyway, these are some of the steps I engaged in for the duration of my transition to natural hair (which lasted about 1 year):

 

  • Using Heat and a Comb

As my natural hair grew out, I would use a comb to my hair as well as blowing it out with a blow dryer when needed at home or at the salon. I don’t use heat any longer on my natural hair now, but at the time it helped to get my desired results in terms of styling my transitioning hair. It was mostly painful but I made sure to use a wide-tooth comb to reduce the pain and better comb out the hair. I also avoided using heat on the regular and probably blew my hair out once a week when I was wearing it out. Heat is generally not good for your hair as it dries it out and leads to breaking. Try to avoid it as much as possible.

Wide Tooth Comb

Use a wide-tooth comb. Photo Cred: Shopify Online

 

  • Monthly Oil Treatments

During my period of transitioning, I still went to the hair salon for treatments. Since I chopped off my relaxed hair I have not been back to the hair salon to have it treated except for the one time I did a blowout. Instead, I wash and style and care for my natural hair myself at home because I find that at the salon they still don’t understand how to best treat natural hair. Anyway, during transition I would visit my hair salon of choice to get an oil treatment once a month. This was great to strengthen and nourish my hair as it grew and I felt that it helped with styling my hair better. Also, the salon stylists still knew how to deal with transitioning hair in this regard. I would sometimes do my own oil treatment at home using egg yolk – about 2 egg yolks for my hair. I would just beat the two egg yolks and rub them into already wet and shampoo’d hair that had been rinsed out, and sit with it under a shower cap for about 30 – 45 minutes before rinsing out and conditioning. So, make sure you give your hair the oil treatment it needs regularly as you transition.

 

  • Products Used on Hair

In terms of the shampoo and conditioner that we used on our transitioning hair, my sister and I chose the Organic Root Stimulator range which we found at Clicks or Dischem. We made use of their Creamy Aloe Shampoo and the Replenishing Conditioner when washing our hair. I would wash my hair once a week or once every other week depending on how lazy or busy I was. Every so often, I would co-wash which is when you wet your hair and wash it with conditioner only. This has benefits for your hair because the chemicals in conditioner work well with our natural curly hair. You just need to be careful about the conditioner you’re using. In fact, knowing what is in the products you use is so important when going natural and the less chemicals, the better.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Organic Root Stimulator Shampoo and Conditioner. Photo Cred: Amazon Online

In terms of a leave-in conditioner, we chose to use the one from Motions. Again, we would purchase it at Clicks or Dischem but I am not sure if it is still being sold there. Nevertheless, as I said above you just need to look for a leave-in conditioner that is as natural as possible i.e. when you look at the ingredients it has, it should first list water and should not have a long list of other chemicals. You can also always Google what kind of chemicals to avoid in the shampoos and conditioners you use on your natural hair.

Leave in Conditioner

Motions Leave-In Conditioner. Photo Cred: All Women’s Talk Online

  • Regular Protective Styling

When I was transitioning, I did not leave my hair out as much as I do now that it is completely natural. This is because it was harder for me to maintain the transitioning hair because of the two different textures. Also, combing it out and trying to style it wasn’t always easy. This meant that I regularly invested in protective styling which in my case came in the form of braiding hairstyles. I would do singles or cornrows. I would also go to the salon or to a friend to do thin and neat twist outs on my own hair that I would wear out and style. It allowed for my hair to grow, and it minimized breaking. I would advise you to do the same if you choose to transition to natural hair. It certainly makes the process easier and more bearable.

 

  • Hair Moisturizer/Hair Food

As I transitioned, I wasn’t very fussy about what moisturizer to use. I would make use of the Organic Root Stimulator Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. I would also make use of any other hair food or lotion that I felt I could trust at Clicks or Dischem. As mentioned above, the key is to look for hair food/moisturizer with less chemicals on its ingredients list. This is always the key when shopping for products for your natural hair.

Moisturizing Hair Lotion

Moisturizing Hair Lotion. Photo Cred: Hair Wig Harlem Online

 

  • Watching YouTube Videos

My sister and I became natural hair YouTube video junkies. Lol. That is where I got most of the information about how to best take care of my hair while transitioning. That and visiting blog sites for natural hair. If you just type in “Transitioning to Natural Hair” in Google you will come across hundreds of blog sites and you can just pick the few that resonate most with you. The point is that many people have gone ahead of you on this natural hair journey so that it can be a much easier process for you. It doesn’t have to be that daunting or overwhelming. The key is to research as much as you can and tailor what you find to your own hair until you’ve found your rhythm. Don’t visit too many different sites as this will confuse you, but find one or two that you’re comfortable with and can keep going back to for advice.

 

This is a general overview of my journey to natural hair. I wasn’t so obsessed with the whole “What’s your hair type” and working with that. It confused me and I could never actually tell what my hair type was – if I was 4C or whatever. Instead, as I tried out different products and methods of taking care of my hair, I began to notice what worked best for it. I paid attention to what brought out the nice curls in my hair in terms of what I was using to wash it or to moisturize it etc and I would repeat. Also what gave it a healthy and long-lasting shine and bounce. As you do this, you begin to recognize what works best for your hair type. What works for me will not be exactly what works for you but the key is to get ideas here and there and tailor them to your specific hair type.

Above all else, have patience and perseverance!! This is not an easy journey. More times than not, you will feel like giving up but don’t. The end results are so worth it. I would say that when you’re getting tired of your hair, just braid it. Hide it for a while until you feel revived to try again. And keep reading up about the benefits of keeping your hair natural and reading about other people’s experiences with natural hair. It will encourage you to feel like you’re not the only one and will keep you going.

 

I will be posting more about my experience with my actual natural hair now in terms of how to best take care of it and style it etc. You will find these posts under the new category “Natural Hair Care”. If you have any other experiences or thoughts around going natural, let me know! Would love to share your experiences with others.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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6 Truths That Helped Me to Discover My Purpose

purpose word in letterpress wood type
Photo Cred: The Jesus Flock Ministries online

 

Our generation is one that is quickly getting over working for the sake of working. Working to pay bills or to rise in the ranks of a company or to achieve some form of accolade. I believe that this generation is one that craves meaning behind almost everything it does. Whether it be the reason why we don’t indulge in certain foods any longer or choose to spend time in specific places, we base our decisions on what we believe will add value to our lives. Therefore, even one’s choice of a career must be purposeful. Actually – one’s life must be purposeful. Period.

 

This may not be true for everyone but it certainly is true for me and for a number of people I have had the priviledge of engaging with recently, and was the inspiration behind my first post on Purpose. For quite a chunk of my adult life (from when I first got to University), I was questioning my reason for being. I was pretty sure that God created me to provide a specific gift to this world, and that He deposited within me all the things necessary for me to share it. It took a bit of time but I believe He has finally placed me in my path of purpose, and I know He can do the same for you. As a black African woman (bAw), you may be wondering what it is you were placed on earth to do. You may be questioning how you can actually discover what that purpose is. I thought I’d share some of the thoughts and truths that led me to discover mine:

 

  1. Pray

This must be the most important step in this journey, and one that never gets old even as you discover and live out your purpose. God encourages us in His word to ask and we will receive, to seek and we will find, to knock and the door will be opened for us (Mathew 7:7). Some of us struggle with this because we believe that God is all-knowing and knows that we have this question in the first place – that’s how I felt anyway. But I got so tired of just ruminating on the issue internally so I eventually prayed a specific prayer asking God to reveal my purpose to me. Doing this leads you to acknowledge that only God can guide you into your purpose and reminds you that you will be fully dependent on Him in fulfilling said purpose for the rest of your life. It also acts as a way of opening your mind to receive the answer.

 

  1. Think About What Keeps You Up at Night

I remember an old mentor of mine once saying that you will know what your purpose is because it will be a niggling feeling in the back of your mind that will not rest. It will be something that wakes you up at night. It will be that issue or idea that you just can’t seem to give up on, and that seems to follow you wherever you go. It will be your passion. Passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Your purpose is something that in essence has a hold over you. It is strong and will not be ignored.

 

For me, that strong sense and need to do something had to do with women and over time, with black African women and black African people in general. I could not help but be drawn to the issues that these people face. I can spend hours thinking about how to best encourage and uplift these groups of people. I can wake up in the middle of the night with a burst of inspiration or questions on how to aid them. It is constantly on my mind and has become a part of my being. So ask yourself, what idea or dream or question keeps you tossing and turning?

 

  1. Make Sure it is Impossible to Achieve

This same former mentor of mine, Andrew Adar, also highlighted the fact that your purpose will be bigger than anything you could imagine achieving on your own. It will feel and appear impossible! This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes which says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I’m not sure who said that but it is spot on! Your purpose must be like a mountain with you standing by it as an ant. This is because God must be the Ultimate fulfiller of your purpose. And as Luke 18:27 says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” So be encouraged when your purpose seems foolish to achieve!

 

  1. Speak to People who Know You Well

Once you have spoken to God about the issue, it helps to take the asking a step further and speak to those who know you well. You may have an idea of what you are passionate about but it is also beneficial to hear from loved ones what they think you are good at or talented in. Sometimes we may miss what our gifting is because we have limited our understanding of ourselves. It may take the words of another person to ignite the fire and open our minds to what we are capable of. Ask God to show you who to ask and He will use them as vessels to confirm or reveal His purpose over your life.

 

I will never forget a young lady I met during my time at university who was insistent that she could see me doing my own thing and not working for someone else for the rest of my life. Then there was my ex-boyfriend who said with conviction that he could see that God had set me aside and was going to use me to do great things for His kingdom. From there it was people telling me or confirming my suspicions that I enjoy listening to others and encouraging them to desire and be better. Or the fact that I had a heart for women and most especially those who are looked down upon or look down on themselves. Looking at the purpose that God placed on my life, I can see now that these people were mouth pieces for God in guiding me into my purpose. What have some of your friends, family and even strangers said about you and what you’re good at?

 

  1. Notice Opportunities That Come Your Way

As you try to discover what your purpose is, you will notice opportunities that have come your way in the past or that are opening up before you. You will not need to have done anything for these to present themselves but without a shadow of a doubt, you will realize that God has and is orchestrating the right breaks that will propel you further into your purpose. For me, I realized that God allowed me to attend a high school where English Language and English Literature were offered and celebrated, which is what I was drawn to and chose to study. This has helped me in sharing stories in the form of writing. He also provided my school fees on more than one occasion so that I could complete my current Diploma which will aid in fulfilling my purpose. There are many other ways He has provided and without any influence from me. Look out for these in your own life.

 

  1. It’s Not About You

One of the best ways to tell what your purpose is, is when it reaches beyond you and your little life. It seems to have a life of its own. One’s purpose does not entail just making a comfortable living for yourself or doing things that benefit only you. Just as Christ’s purpose entailed saving humanity, your purpose plays a part in this great story of restoring sinful beings to their Creator and former glory. Your purpose will touch the hearts and lives of others – maybe even people you will never meet or know about. Your purpose comes with great responsibility because it is meant to change the world one small step at a time.

 

These are some of the things that helped to point me in the right direction as I searched for my reason for being. I hope they have helped you to do the same if you were seeking for yours. Maybe you have other things that have led you into your purpose. Please do share with the rest of us so we can learn and grow together.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Your Story

open book
Photo Cred: YIPA Online

I received this short devotional from my mother-friend, Aunt Gail. It really made me question whether I honestly understand my story as God has purposed it. Do I short-change His vision for me? Do I doubt who He says I am? Do I truly understand how He desires to heal and grow and love me? The answer is that I do not get it most of the time. The below devotional reminds me that my story begins where I end and He starts. I hope it provokes you to think about your own story. Enjoy 🙂

 

Where Your Story Begins by Uknown

Daughter, you hear Me say it true: I begin a new thing in you.

The past is behind you. I was there with you. I can show you where I was.

Looking back is not bad, but staying there is not My plan. Let Me place My hand on the places of pain, where you feel alone, where you cry out for rescue.

I have rescued you, daughter. I created your frame, the contours of your skin, the timing of the way your eyes close, just so. I know your makeup, all the details of you, your entire story.

I author you, daughter.

The drafting of your story, your hand in Mine . . . there is paper not more beautiful–curls of letters that make Me smile.

Daughter, the story of your name is written in My book, your beginning, the moment where you felt you ended and I begin. That is your beginning, child.

You begin where you end and I begin.

And the story keeps writing, child. After beginning there is adventure. After beginning there is trust and falling and catching and believing and choosing and waiting. There is much waiting and beginning again.

Your story running right off the page with Me.

 

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Guest Post: The Ladder of Success for the Black African Woman Seems to be Dismissed by Submission by Bulelwa Mpinda

Submission

Photo Cred: Cierra Cotton

There are dreams that have been parked all in the name of submission. We have heard it several times that as a woman, more so a black African woman (bAw), you are restricted to think or dream in a certain manner because we have to make space for our men to feast on our ideas whilst we align ourselves in the kitchen trying to cook the best meals and scrub the cleanest floors to get the somewhat esteemed opinions of how good of a wife we will make.

I realise how many of us women have been brainwashed by the illusion of tip toeing around society’s views of who we should be. I once spoke about the story of Mary and Martha and eluded to the point that had Mary stuck to society’s trend of being a woman based in the kitchen she would have never had her life transformed. She literally was out of place more so in a Jewish tradition. Had she not felt the moving of the Holy Spirit pleading with her to meet her Master for the divine appointment, she would have still found herself battling over the same sins because tradition said “park”.

Your purpose is your divine appointment with the Master. The more you pursue purpose the more transformation takes place. Submission goes hand in hand with God’s word – no one should give you illusions of what they think. It is written that Ruth was found in the field working and Dorcas ministering. Rahab also had an assignment with her Master – had she thought that she was just a prostitute she would have had society label her and dismiss her purpose of listening to the Holy Spirit.

I figure that a man who is intimidated by a woman who is on about her Father’s business is intimidated by his own insecurities. If submission equated to the fact that a woman had to be at home cooking and cleaning, I guess all house wives would have never seen divorces. We need to train up our children into respecting men from a biblical view and never the enforced fears of losing out on marriage.

We live in a society that does not want women to excel in God’s work yet excel in marriage. I started my NGO years back and I have been met with words of being opinionated; overpowering; independent and looking like I don’t need a man (giggles). I believe that excellence excludes you and elevates you. We have made it seem like submission does not go hand-in-hand with purpose. Your purpose should never disarm the hierarchy of Divinity. What we have done is to place opinions beyond the ode of “Thus says the Lord”.

I love this quote by Joyce Banda,

“It’s heavy, but I am able to carry it. Why? Because I’m an African woman. An African woman carries heavy loads anyway. That’s how we are trained; we are brought up that nothing is unbearable. I use that now, positively. I use that now to have the thick skin that I have, and not fear, and move forward, and push; and push forward.”
— President Joyce Banda of Malawi

 

Submission:

I know most of you are staring at your screen thinking is Bulelwa Mpinda even married yet? Certainly not. But I speak of the revelations of God imparted to me.

Submission is not an act of lack. It does not take away the power of what you can do, but it enhances the visual eyes into allowing a man who is led by God to see the things that you would not. Society has played an advanced role in redefining independence; a woman who is chasing after God knows how to submit.

The term has been diluted into thinking that submission does not go hand in hand with love. If you can respond to his “I love you’s” then you surely must learn to respond to his “no’s” – treat that man like the head. In as much as a woman can be running her business, and be career driven, that does not redefine who God said she is. Women are failing to catch their blessings from God because of the “I can do it all by myself fever”. You advance most when you learn to unite in love and when you learn that submission has nothing to do with power but with love.

Two is better than one; submission is having a mission for your future in the partnership and submitting all the requests to Heaven, allowing God to pour out direction in your man’s life. We learn to submit through all we go through.

A pastor once said (when I was visiting Zimbabwe) that submission is vouching for your man, and never leaving his direction even if he is doing it the wrong way. It is not proving whose right or trying to undermine his decision. He will be redirected back – don’t undermine his role into thinking you can make a better decision. A man’s self-esteem is built on his woman’s will to submit to him and men, a woman’s self-esteem is built in you loving her. Don’t exchange roles women and men – take your place.

As a black woman I have learnt the essence of diving deep in the word of God to know what my purpose is. The sad reality is that men are terrified of women who go and get what they’ve been assigned to get. But I believe what terrifies them the most is experiences of rude, so called independent women they’ve met in life who claim to be pursuing God’s purpose. A woman who is chasing after God’s will is obedient to the authority God has ordained – the so called ‘I don’t need a man’ yet mingling in private spaces gaining references as a woman about God’s purpose and who is fully OBEDIENT to the word of God. If not you are not marching in sync with the word of the Master, you are not independent – you are bitter.

Women need to come out of the syndrome of thinking independence is a place where they can hide. You can’t heal a covered up wound with your opinions. Submission does not place a full stop on the purpose God has called you to do. Honey, be about God’s business whilst maintaining DIVINE STANDARDS.

 

With love,

Bulelwa Mpinda

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

Miss Bulelwa Mpinda is a beautiful young soul that is submitted to her God and is the CEO and Founder of YSI (Young and Spiritually Inspired). She began walking down her road of purpose when she founded YSI which aims to be an influential organisation that will be a hub for young lives to come burdened and leave having pursued their dreams and utilising their leadership skills by mentoring them in the direction in which they yearn to grow. YSI aims not to groom followers but leaders that will breed leaders too.

Bulelwa, rejected at birth, lived in various orphanages till the age of three when she was adopted by the Mpinda’s into a family of love. This young lady with big and beautiful wisened eyes did not let the scars of rejection deter her as the Mpinda family groomed her in God’s word and works. Bulelwa can be found reading biographies as the lives of people and their stories inspire her and has a soft spot for orphans as this colourful young woman believes that hers is a story of hope to those trapped in the claws of depression, self-hate and suicide.

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Why I Decided To Go Natural

Natural Hair 1

Photo Cred: Pinterest

 

I’m someone who delights in beautifully kept and styled hair on women. There is something captivating about a woman who takes good care of her hair and nurtures it. When a hairstyle has grown old it tends to easily appear tacky and can affect the entire image of the woman regardless of how smartly she may be dressed. It’s all in the detail. And no wonder, cause the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her glory and is given to her as a covering (1 Corinthians 11:15).

 

Hair must be something that is important to God if He takes the time out to have it discussed in His word. There are some topics that don’t even feature in the Bible and so when they do appear it’s for a good reason. The Bible speaks of how God has numbered every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30). He knows exactly how many strands of hair sit on your head and is acutely aware of when even one strand falls out or grows. He pays close attention to that. He also gives counsel to women about how best to wear their hair (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Corinthians 11:6). Hair is also something very personal and precious, not to be touched or handled by just anyone. I mean, most women I know are very fussy about who gets to be their hairdresser. This is also seen in the story of Mary and Jesus when she chose to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair, her glory, her covering. That was very intimate and a sign of her love for her Master. Thus, we can briefly conclude that hair is truly important to a woman. Just look at the amount of money a woman spends on her hair and that’s enough evidence on its own.

 

Now, hair is a whole series of books in itself in the world of the black African woman (bAw). There are so many different thoughts and preferences when it comes to how a black woman can best keep her hair, especially on the African continent. These days a bAw has so many options for her hair from relaxing her natural hair, to putting in a weave, or braiding her hair in various styles, or my favourite – choosing to keep out and maintain her natural hair. I remember growing up my hair was kept natural until I was about 10 years old or so when my Mum allowed me to enter the world of relaxed hair. I was so fascinated by this because my hair was silkier, easier to comb out and resembled the hair of my white girlfriends. I no longer had to wear skirts on my head to pretend that my hair was soft, silky and could move. This was, is and I believe will always be big for the bAw. That’s one of the reasons why we put in fake hair that moves when we slightly move our head (that’s a whole topic for another day). Our own natural hair does not even try any of that (unless you’re patient with growing it out and nurturing it accordingly).

 

Anyway, back to my story. I continued relaxing my hair well into my adult life. Then I remember watching the movie Good Hair by Chris Rock which opened my mind up to the harmful effects of using relaxer on your hair. I’d never really been a fan of weaves (I can count the number of times I’ve had a weave on one hand) and so that didn’t really phase me. I mean, I learnt for the first time that some of the weaves we purchase in the Western world and here in Africa have been shaved off of the heads of women in other parts of the world like India who are sacrificing to their gods. That makes you think twice about putting that hair on your head – well at least in my world. But more disturbing to me was the strength of relaxers and the damage they actually do to our hair especially when we don’t do it right. I mean no wonder why almost every black woman who’s had her hair relaxed has burnt her scalp at one point or the other. And no wonder why your hair starts thinning out at some point in some instances. You’re subjecting it to something it was never meant to go through.

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Photo Cred: Pop Sugar online

This brought me to start really thinking about my hair and what was best for it. I mean, I was on this journey to just be wholly myself. To discover who Sonia was and live her out in all aspects of her life, and for some reason my hair was an important part of that. I eventually came to the conclusion that organic/original is always the best. Even in terms of diet. The world is finally catching up to what the Adventist community has known for years (thanks to a lady called Ellen G. White) in terms of health – that it’s best to adopt a diet of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and so on i.e. a plant-based diet. This was God’s original eating plan for man. In the same way, I don’t believe God foresaw us using harmful chemicals in our hair just to look pretty. There is always purpose behind what God desires for our lives regardless of how small or unimportant it may appear, and I believe that that includes the upkeep of hair. He’s always provided everything we need in the natural realm that not only is good for us but brings out our best beauty. I believe that this also applies to our hair. And besides, I am sure that what we put on or into our bodies ends up affecting our health. And boy was that relaxer strong! Who knows what it was doing to my health.

 

So I decided that I was going to transition to become natural. It was a big shift but it helped that my sister decided that she’d join me on the journey. This led to hours on the internet looking up natural hair blogs and YouTube videos; talking to other natural sisters that we knew; and just experimenting really. It was a bit tough to do because most of the products that are best for your hair are found in America and the few that are on the African continent are super expensive! But, with determination, you learn to make do with what you have and you learn to be so creative. And so, my hair is normally found in its natural, glorious state or in braids. There is something just so captivating about rocking your very own hair. There are no frills, no complications, no pretenses. You present yourself as you are and at your best. And the funny thing is, people are so drawn to you and your choice in hairstyle. You inspire people and bring some wholesomeness into life. You feel really great about yourself too, and you walk with your head held up a little higher.

 

I believe your natural hair, your crown of glory, allows your best self to come through. It allows the original design of God for the black woman to be wonderfully displayed before the entire world. It adds to your mystery and allure as the crown of creation. It allows you to stand apart and be your own individual, to be authentic. There are no questions brooding in your mind about whether it suits you or any such thing because it was created with YOU in mind! It was designed specifically for you by the Creator.  It will look good on you. Thus, I encourage any bAw I get the chance to discuss this topic with to give natural hair a shot. Yes, it’s a hang of a lot of work. Yes, it’s something we’ve grown so unaccustomed to, but are thankfully waking up to. Yes, it’s not as shiny and flowing as your weave or relaxed hair. But it’s your healthiest, authentic, most beautiful option for your hair. There really is no harm in trying it out. At the end of the day, the choice is yours to do what you want with your hair and I respect every woman’s choice in this area. Yet, you’ll never know if you’ve made the best choice if you never try something different with your crown of glory 🙂

 

In conclusion, I decided to go natural because I believe it’s the healthiest option for my hair. I also wanted to allow the beauty God originally intended for me to be what I walk in and embrace. With time, just this one decision has opened me up to so many other aspects about myself as a bAw and embracing me in my entirety and originality. It allows me to affirm that when my Creator created me it was certainly good 😉

 

Are you also a natural sister? If so, why did you decide to go natural? If not, would you ever consider it or is it something completely foreign to you? I wanna hear all about your hair experiences.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Keeping it natural with some of my sisters 🙂

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Guest Post: Kim’s Naked Selfie by Sikhonzile Ndlovu

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Photo Cred: Jeyjoo Online

 

This International Women’s Day (IWD) I am still reeling in shock following Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie. Not that I am totally surprised because it’s become a regular thing with her. But happening around the occasion of IWD, I  can’t help but wonder what ideals Kim is putting forward. For centuries, women have been marginalized, recognised more for their physical attributes than their intellectual capabilities. Yes Kim’s selfie has black tape over the ‘essentials’ but honestly the image leaves nothing to the imagination! She then says ‘When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL’. I know she is not alone in this and this is not an attack on her person.

 

Mass media often portrays women in ways that emphasise their sexuality.  Advertising, especially, has managed to commodify the female body. Then we have women who willingly display their naked bodies. Is this self-actualisation? Are they trying to prove a point? To who? Who is this for? I worry that such behaviour plays into the very stereotypes that we are trying to dismantle as women. Or I am the only one trying to reverse this negative portrayal?

 

I am also concerned about several young women out there who want to keep up with the Kardashians. As black African women (bAw) we need positive role models, who will drive home the point that as women we have much more to offer this world than our bodies.

 

Personally I am not against well-toned, curvy women, but I have everything against public display of one’s flesh most especially as a Christian. How will the world respect us when we present ourselves as nothing but sex objects? The bible says ‘know yea not that your body is the temple of God?’ Is this how we want to treat the temple of the living God?

 

Being a daughter, sister, mother and aunt, I want the girl-child to have positive role models. I want my daughter, especially, to know that she doesn’t have to be naked to feel beautiful. For those that don’t know, I have the prettiest daughter – made in the image of God. If we believe that we are made in His likeness, we will start appreciating ourselves more.

 

On this occasion of International Women’s Day, let us celebrate our beauty, but never forget the difference we can make in this world by giving of ourselves through serving others and uplifting the name of our Maker. Let us remember that the best we can offer the world is much more than our physical attributes.

 

With love,

Sikhonzile Ndlovu

 

Sis'Skhoe

Sis’Skhoe is a big sister of mine from Sandton Church, and a woman I respect and admire. She is a wife and a mother to a handsome young boy and a beautiful little girl. Skhoe is a Media & Communications Manager who conducts media research and advocacy on gender responsible portrayal. She is also in love with her Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Guest Post: Is Being Yourself The Enemy Of Growth? by Kegomoditswe Magobe

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Photo Cred: Stage 2 Planning

“Always be yourself, unless you suck” said Joss Whedon, an American screenwriter, film and television director, who co-wrote the Pixar film ‘Toy Story’. When I was doing some personal research on relationships in 2015, I realised that I did not know as much as I thought I did about interacting with the opposite sex. The idea was to equip myself with conversational and body language skills, thus in essence with the aim to improve myself, I was changing. What I was doing was against conventional dating advice to just be myself and be confident. Yes, but being myself was not working so well, because I was struggling to develop promising friendships with males and the advice that I was getting wasn’t really helping me. So could Whedon be correct, “Always be yourself, unless you suck.”?

What does it really mean to be yourself and to be authentic? If people really knew everything about you, and I mean everything – every good and nasty thought, habit and character trait – I would imagine that for instance the divorce rate would probably increase. Secondly, we cannot deny that we are influenced by our surroundings to a large extent. Our culture; religion; lifestyle; even our preferences in food, music and clothes are taught to us and acquired. In my personal opinion, I have even noticed that due to the increased popularity of stand-up comedy in the last 10 years, teenagers and young adults tend to have the same type of playful, insult-humour with a dash of sarcasm and innuendos. Therefore, (with strict interpretation) being authentic cannot completely be about being original, because there is usually nothing new under the sun – whatever you do has probably been done before or whoever you become has been.

In my view, being yourself is about freedom – having the freedom to choose who you want to be and living out that choice. For example, if there are ten people you know and you like a trait from all of them, if you copy each trait and incorporate it in your life, then you are being yourself. So remember, it’s not necessarily about being original but it’s about the liberty to choose. To a certain extent that is what my religion encourages: freely select to simulate the good characteristics of the Creator until they eventually become your own natural impulses.

So what is the point of this article? Well, I have a slight problem with the notion or belief that there is complete virtue in being yourself. For example, check out this quote by anonymous, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Think about it, this suggests that it does not matter what others think of who you are or what the consequences of your actions may be, as long as you are being yourself and think (or ‘feel’) it is right, then its fine. This is also known as Moral Subjectivism.

Now, do we really believe this? I doubt it – well not fully. So I’m going to borrow a view from Utilitarianism, where right and wrong is determined by the overall goodness (utility) of the consequences of the action. Thus for instance, if a person’s true self is being a serial killer and deriving pleasure from seeing the death of other people, then the “being myself” excuse will not cut it in court. Granted, I am using an extreme example, but I have to in order to bring across the following principle: if you think yourself to be perfect you will never improve, and that is kind of what a lot of these “be yourself’ advocates are trying to allude – that you are fine just the way you are.

No, you are probably not; and if you know yourself to not be perfect, and do not want to improve, then that is just sad. Fine, I am not a philosopher who can adequately expound on the different systems of morality to determine what is right or wrong, and even though I am clearly not a fan of moral subjectivism, I do believe that you should overall love yourself because you are human and every human being deserves love. However you are not expected to love or approve every single “bad” or “unproductive” character trait, and thus persisting with such on the basis that you are “being yourself” can definitely be the enemy of growth.

In view of the above, I am not saying that you should be a relentless people-pleaser, or a self-help junkie that reads all the books and goes to every seminar but never becomes better. What I am saying is that you should not be too proud to learn from others and apply it – these are the winners in life (and in dating as I hear… lol). Being yourself and the current version of you is not always worth it, and I am assuming that we all want to be “great”. So continue to be a free and honest person – be yourself, but let it be your better self (Karl G. Maeser). The better self that considers the consequences of their actions and always desires to improve. The better self that treats other people the way that they want to be treated; and if you believe in a Creator, the better self that adheres to its guidance for your good and the greater good of the people around you. Therefore I agree with Whedon and I will conclude with his words, “Always be yourself, unless you suck.”

With love,

Kego

Kego

Kego is a sister-friend of mine from Sandton SDA Church in Johannesburg. She is in her late twenties and grew up in Roodepoort, in the West Rand of Joburg. She has been a Christian all her life and is from a conservative Christian family – she grew up watching her mother preach.

An SDA singing group came to her church and that is how she was introduced to the Sabbath – by becoming friends with the members of this singing group. She joined the SDA Church in high school and got baptised, and has been an Adventist for just over 10 years now.

Kego is also a University of Johannesburg alumni and a semi-colporteur. She is an aspiring writer and preacher, and she is growing her personal ministry little by little. Kego is an introvert who is trying to be a people’s person.

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Knowing Yourself

More often than not, we don’t take the time to dig deeper into who we are as individuals. When asked some questions, we can’t really give an answer because we have not spent enough time knowing our own thoughts and desires. Our own weaknesses and strengths. Our own likes and dislikes. I love this question because it forces you to understand yourself a bit better:

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Photo Cred: Thought Questions

I would answer:

“A young woman who loves Jesus and is determined with each day to become who He says she is, and to influence others to be the same.”

So. How would you answer? I’m interested to know so go ahead and type it below.

With love,

Sonia Dee

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The bAw Turns 30

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Photo Cred: Behance Online

 

For a few months before my birthday this year, I had this dreaded feeling that I was getting older and what did I really have to show for the 29 years I’d walked this earth? I mean, living in this social-media-crazed-world, I’ve found myself comparing my life with others – not to mention having people remind me (consciously or subconsciously) about the “shortcomings” in my life: I’ve been at the same company for 7 years now. I am still unmarried and unattached. I have no kids. I still haven’t bought a home. I don’t have money growing in some fund.

 

You get the picture.

 

However, towards the last few weeks just before my birthday I began to seriously reflect on my coming age – 30. It felt so strange to me to think that I had gone through 3 decades – I certainly don’t feel like it (and apparently don’t look like it either). Usually women go on about how old they are as they approach 30 (and I’ve been one of these women), and begin to ask themselves what they have to show for their age. But it’s like I woke up to the absurdity of this thought the other day. Why must it be about what I haven’t acquired or done? Truth be told, I have done so much; gone through a lot; grown so much in these short years of life and I ought to be proud of that.

 

And so as I celebrate the 30 years God has blessed me with, instead of focusing on what I have not accomplished I want to reflect on that which He has helped me to achieve/execute in that time:

 

  1. Giving My Heart to the Man of My Dreams

I may not be someone’s “bae” (lol) and I may not be married yet but I am very much in a committed relationship with the only Man who will meet all my expectations and then some! To a Man who has changed my life radically since the day I said yes to his proposal. To a Man who sees me and all of my flaws but still calls me beautiful and lovely, and calls me His. To a Man whose sole purpose is to make me better. That man is Jesus Christ. This has got to be the greatest achievement of my life because everything else I have done has flowed from this. More than that, my freedom and joy has come from being saved and from being in relationship with Jesus.

 

  1. Moving to Foreign Cities Alone

I’ve been described as a pretty independent woman – since I was a child actually. Apparently I started walking at 9 months and refused to breastfeed from 6 months of age. I have seen my independence in how I have been able to just pack my bags up and go start afresh in 2 different cities in my 30 years of living (I know, not a lot but hey it was much to me!). The first time was when I moved to Cape Town for university and then in 2009 when I moved to Johannesburg for work. Like some of you, I had to figure life out alone and I had little help doing so. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I found places to stay. I made friends from scratch. I navigated the transport systems. I learnt how to protect myself and survive. I found a church family. I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty amazing!

 

  1. Becoming Debt-Free

I maintain that slavery has not ended especially for the black man. It just keeps changing faces over time. One of the ways in which we are enslaved today is through debt. There was a time when I was shackled but thank God I saw the light and have made inroads to become free. At 30 years of age, I can confidently say that I am 98% debt-free! Besides a phone contract that I intend on paying off before this year ends, I owe no-one anything. What I eat, what I drive, what I wear and what is in my home is paid for. I am grateful to God for that peace of mind.

 

  1. Overcoming Life

Each of us are born into situations that are not 100% perfect. There is something that we each need to work through and overcome whether it be family issues; inherited traits and behaviours that are not good for us; external circumstances that put us down; and not to mention sin. I’ve written a bit about my own story and journey here, and the things I’ve had to fight through. As has been the case for some of you, life has not always been fair and I’ve had moments where I didn’t think I’d make it. But God’s grace has been sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9). He’s helped me through. I’ve grown stronger, wiser, kinder, more patient, understanding, and confident with each day. It’s been a journey but at 30 I can stand taller and say that with Jesus on my side there is nothing I cannot overcome!

 

  1. Education

As a Zimbabwean, education is something that I’ve taken for granted because education has always been important amongst my people. Getting a degree is normal there. However, when I sit and reflect on it and when I realize how many people have not been blessed with this opportunity I can celebrate the fact that I have gone through this system. I am eternally grateful to my parents who ensured that my siblings and I received only the best education. I cannot thank them enough. But I have not stopped there. I have always pushed myself to learn more. I made sacrifices to further my studies once I started working so that I could fulfil God’s purpose for me. I make sure that I constantly read and educate myself in my free time about topics and issues of interest. This is something I can smile at as I enter a new decade of life.

 

  1. Enjoying Life!

As I’ve said before, life is far from perfect and it can really bring you down. I can testify to that after the year I just went through. For the majority of my life, I have tended to focus on the negative and I’ve missed out on really living. However, through my twenties and especially as I approached 30, I learnt that life is there to be enjoyed. Christ said that He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). And so, I have chosen to believe Him. I have travelled and explored different places and cultures. I have met and connected with so many people! I have tried out different restaurants and foods. I have engaged in different activities – both indoor and outdoor. I have volunteered my time, money and energies to be there for others in different ways. I have explored life and it has been good J

 

There are other achievements and milestones I’ve reached in my short life but I won’t bore you with the details. Some are small and some are big in my eyes but the point of the matter is that I have continued to grow in that time. And I must emphasize here that I have not done any of this in isolation. It has been through my God that I’ve managed to get to where I am and also through the people He has brought into my life and surrounded me with. From my family and friends, to mentors and even acquaintances and strangers. No man is an island and we all influence one another.

 

And so, I look forward to this year. This is just the beginning of my journey and considering what I’ve experienced thus far, I have no doubt there’s so much more greatness in store! My dear bAw, turning 30 is not a burden or a curse. Instead, it is testament to your resilience and strength!

 

What has been or what was your experience with turning 30? Maybe you haven’t reached 30 yet. What are your hopes for your life then?

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

This year, my lovely sister (www.rumbidzayiishe.com) and my amazing friends went above and beyond to celebrate my life! Thank you friends for taking the time to show your love for me 🙂

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Guest Post: Marooned by Rumbi Kanyangarara

Marooned

Photo Cred: 500px.com

We met at the port. Because we barely knew each other, he suggested we take an inexpensive wooden raft, while others boarded fancy boats and massive cruise ships. But hey, why complain? I was finally leaving the port after a very long wait!

We had no destination in mind. We were just going to go wherever the waves took us.

We had some good times together. But given the fact that our vessel wasn’t very secure, when the strong currents came, we were unable to hold on and our raft capsized many a time. It was during these times that I quickly learned that he wasn’t willing to help me out of the water and back onto the safety of the raft. Every man for himself…

The thought of going back to the port crossed my mind frequently, but I had no idea where we were and it seemed safer to stick with him rather than to be alone on the water. So I slowly let my guard down and became comfortable with the way things were and I ended up falling asleep.

Then one morning, I woke up alone on an island with a note written in the sand that said, “I only came here to get coconuts. No space left on raft. Thanks for keeping me company though. Good luck!”

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Rumbi Kanyangarara is my lovely cousin who enjoys writing, playing her cello, reading, sudoku and also enjoys her job (on most days).

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Seeking

Hi Fam!

Today’s thought-provoking question is one we don’t often pause to contemplate. Were we to do so though, the answer would reveal the burning desires in our hearts. Some of us would realize we are still seeking to understand ourselves better. Others would say they are still searching for that person who makes them happy. Others still are still searching for God.

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Photo Cred: Thought Questions

So. What’s your answer? I’d love to hear it below 🙂

Sonia Dee

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The Thing That Will Make Your 2016 Great

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Photo Cred: Healthy Black Woman

Happy New Year to those that I have not had the opportunity to wish as yet! I actually cannot believe that we have gone through the entirety of 2015 and now sit at the start of another year. It seems that it was only the other day that I was going through my hopes, dreams and goals for 2015 and yet it has now passed. It’s time to refocus and re-strategize for another year and another chapter in life.

This time, however, I’ve had a completely different experience of the New Year and my desires for it. I’m usually someone who comes to a theme for my life for the year along with what I believe are God’s goals or wishes for my life. By the 1st or at least the 3rd day of January, all of that would have been set. This time around though, that was not necessarily the case. It may have been because of the disappointments I faced in 2015 or it could have been my fatigue from the previous year, but I was a bit wearier of making declarations around what my 2016 would be. I mean, last year my slogan was “Only The Best” and let’s just say the year didn’t quite work out that way. Lol. Well in my eyes at least.

 

And so, as I sat at the end of 2015 journaling to God, I confessed to Him that I was afraid of even hoping for 2016. I was afraid of making declarations and proclamations over my life for the New Year. I was afraid of setting goals or writing down my desires. These were thoughts that plagued me from the last quarter of 2015 until the second week of January 2016. I felt as though maybe something was wrong with me. But I just let it be and didn’t force the funk by trying to make up goals or desires. Instead, I kept going to God with my questions and confusion. Over time, I do believe He has begun to answer me.

 

God has been showing me that none of us have control over the way a year will work out. Yes we may have hopes and desires that we pray He will fulfil for us in the year but the truth is that we don’t know if: a) He actually wants to fulfil these for us or; b) how He will fulfil them for us. We read all these “prophecies” about what our years will be – “This shall be your greatest year yet”; “This is your breakthrough year”; “Things will shift in your favour this year”. The list is endless. And the truth is that these are things we want to hear. I mean, who doesn’t want to be told and to believe that this year all their desires will be fulfilled?

 

But you see, in as much as most of these proclamations are said with good intentions and well-wishes, they cannot influence the course of our year per say. Yes I do believe that our tongues hold power and we ought to speak out the things we desire to see in our lives (Proverbs 18:21). Yes I believe that we need to live lives filled with hope and the belief that God will do great things for us (Jeremiah 29:11). However, I have come to understand that we must leave the fulfilment of these desires and wishes in God’s very capable Hands.

 

You see, this truly may be the greatest year of your life. It may be great in that God will have made it His aim this year to lead you to let go of that sinful behaviour that’s been holding you back. Or He may be strengthening you to let go of toxic relationships that you see no problem with. Or He may be setting you free from the bondage of your negative thoughts and emotions. This may, however, mean that you lose a loved one or that your partner/spouse decides to leave you. It could possibly mean that you endure a number of car crashes or that you’re laid off from work for no apparent reason. It may mean that your 2016 does not shape up the way you saw it in your mind’s eye but you will receive fulfilment of the prophecies you made over it at the beginning of the year.

 

This morning I read a powerful devotional by Pastor Ray Patrick, and he highlights that the Bible actually reveals that our year and the times to come will only get more difficult and darker. He quotes 2 Timothy 3:1, 13-14 which says:

“In the last days perilous times will come; . . . evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them”.

 

 So the truth is that God predicts some hectic and not-so-fun times for us in 2016. Yet, He also encourages us to remember the lessons He has taught us in the past and to remember Him as we go through it all. This truth is the thing that will make 2016 a great year for you. It’s not the fact that you’ll receive those things you’ve been praying for for 10 years but the fact that you work on cultivating and building your relationship with the One who will see you through the good and bad moments of 2016. The One who will hold your hand through the uncertainty and fuzziness of 2016. The One who will give you clear directions through the fog that life can become.

 

Therefore, my greatest wish for you as you finalize your goals and dreams for 2016 is that you lay them all at Jesus’ feet trusting that He will fulfil them in the way that’s best for you (Romans 8:28). I also pray that as you face the challenges of the year (which we’ve been told will come) you will be strengthened to deal with them joyfully. May this be your greatest year yet in the will of God!

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

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Me in 2016 – Happy New Year!

P.S. I’m now on Instagram!! 🙂 (I know – never thought I’d join The Gram). Look for me @thebawlife and get some daily inspiration, personal anecdotes/stories and a few laughs. Let’s connect and get to know each other 😉

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8 Take-Aways From 2015

Thats All Folks

Phot Cred: Tony Lucia’s Movie House

The year is finally winding down and we’re getting ready to be with family and/or friends and; to just relax and shut down from the busyness of the year. They say that this time of the year is usually the best time to reflect on the year gone by – what you went through and achieved. What you didn’t manage to do that you wanted to. What you were hoping for and how that turned out. What you desire for the coming year. And so, as my last post for 2015 I saw it fit to share some of the lessons I have learnt in this year.

 

  1. Life Is Hard – For Everyone

2015 was a tough tough year. I’m sitting here typing this post and wondering how I made it to this point. As the song by Marvin Sapp says, “Here I am, I’m still standing. Here I am, after all I’ve been through.” Truly, here I am. I learnt this year just how painfully difficult life is – not just for me or an isolated few, but for everyone. People are going through things we have no idea about. You’re not alone in the roughness of life. You’re in really good company 🙂 It’s something to remember when we interact with others – it teaches us to be more patient and compassionate with one another.

 

  1. Pamper Yourself Every So Often

No-one is ever going to love you more than you love yourself except for God. A fellow human being (Parent, sibling, friend, spouse/partner, colleague etc) will love you only as much as you seem to love and cherish yourself. So, take the time to spoil yourself. Do things that bring you joy and fulfilment. Things that say, “I love you”. Whether that is reading; going for a spa date; refusing to do what makes you uncomfortable; getting your nails or hair done; having lunch with friends; star-gazing on your balcony or in your backyard; watching that movie etc. Just treat yourself for no other reason than that you are worth it. This I learnt in 2015. I learnt to be generous with myself and the things I enjoy. This has also taught me to extend that same generosity to others.

 

  1. Not Everyone Sees Life The Way You Do

I’ve come to realize that I am a headstrong and sometimes stubborn woman. Lol. Once I have come to understand life a certain way, it is difficult to convince me otherwise or for me to see it from a different perspective. I’ve also come to learn that this is not always a good thing. How I view life, how I experience it will never be the same way that someone else does regardless of how similar we or our circumstances are. We are all uniquely different, all fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) and so our perceptions of life are all delightfully different. Lighten up a bit and enjoy looking through someone else’s glasses 🙂

 

  1. Life Is Hell When You Care What People Think

I’ve written a post about how I’m a recovering people-pleaser. That disease, that sin is work! As though we don’t have enough troubles in our lives, caring what people think about you, your decisions, and your life circumstances just adds an extra and unnecessary burden. It’s a work-in-progress but I’m learning to be free of others’ opinions. We’re all struggling with something in life and more than that, we are all sinners in need of God’s saving Grace (Romans 3:23). And so a fellow sinner does not have the final say over my life. I am learning to just let things go and live life the way God says I should.

 

  1. Follow Someone Who Inspires You

Those who know me, know that I’m totally inspired by a few people – Heather Lindsey, Myron Edmonds and Marshawn Evans. Identify people who are similar to you, who have a vision similar to yours, and are excelling in fulfilling their purpose. You will soon find that these are people who have also walked a similar path to the one you’re currently on, and reading up on them every so often and processing the messages they share will encourage you to keep moving forward to becoming who God created you to be. Life has become so challenging and you need to keep motivated and inspired.

 

  1. Pray For Your Enemies Like You’re Praying For Yourself

An enemy is anyone that does not like you or that you do not like. It can also be someone who has hurt you or someone you have hurt. Basically, an enemy is an adversary, an opponent, an antagonist. I’ve had my own enemies in 2015 and I’ve learnt this year to pray for them earnestly. To set aside my pride, my self-righteousness and pray for their well-being and their blessings as though I was praying for myself. That thing changes your heart towards them! It allows God to put you in their shoes and to help you realize that He died for them the same way He died for you. It can turn an enemy into a friend.

 

  1. Do What You’ve Been Scared To Do

I recently read a quote that says, “Fear does not stop death, it stops life.” Many of us do not reach our full potential because we’re scared. We’re scared we will fail. We’re scared there’s someone else who can do what we want to do much better. We’re scared we won’t be able to handle success. We’re scared we will change. We’re just scared. The truth is, what we probably fear will come to pass but it would have come to pass even if we had never tried. So what have you got to lose? Be bold! Be courageous! Start that business. Start that blog. Quit that job and go volunteer in a faraway country. Ask that lady out. Smile at that guy. Many people who have achieved greatness have done so especially when they were afraid.

 

  1. You Are A Miracle

This one I’ve witnessed throughout 2015. I think Kirk Franklin summarized it so beautifully in his song Miracles when he said, “…. But while you’re waiting on the miracle you want, don’t forget the miracle you are”! Too often we equate a miracle to things like money being deposited in your bank account from nowhere or healing from a deadly disease or even surviving a terrible car accident. Those are just the ways of God – nothing miraculous about that. The true miracle is YOU. Your life. The fact that you were conceived and survived labour. The fact that even though you have been rejected, ridiculed, abused, abandoned, and hurt you are still here. You’re still standing. The fact that the devil was out to kill you but Christ died to save you. You ARE a miracle! 🙂

 

There is so much more that I’ve taken from 2015. It’s been a year! I’ve been so blessed sharing a little bit of myself and a the experiences of the ladies who have so willingly shared on this blog site. I’ve enjoyed reading your encouragements and have been honoured to get a glimpse into your life and your journey. I look forward to us growing even more together next year.

Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and I pray 2016 is your best year yet!

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Life’s Journey

Today’s thought-provoking question comes at a time when we are winding down the year and reflecting on where we’ve come from, what we’ve achieved and hopefully where we’d like to go.

 

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Photo Cred: CA Club India online

Let me know your answers to this question in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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The Story Behind black African woman

black African Woman logo_FA-03 (002)

The new black African woman logo by Tique Design

 

In March of this year, I finally took a bold step to do something God had been prompting me to do for a while but that I’d been afraid to for over a year. I decided to start my blog and Facebook Ministry under the banner black African woman (bAw). I’d been writing some of these posts from as early as the beginning of 2014 and just storing them up, not really believing that they would impact anyone’s life. But God had a whole different plan for me and those writings. Don’t ever doubt the dreams God places on your heart.

 

Since I began posting on my blog, I’ve been asked a number of questions about my blog and the brand. More often than not, the question is “Why BLACK African woman? Why not just African woman?” With people asking that question, I have further realized why God placed this dream and this vision in my heart. The black woman is mostly irrelevant in society today. She is just seen as an African or an African-American or whatever else. People cannot understand why I emphasise the “black” part of her identity and this is why I do.

 

I have decided to write this post today to review why I am so invested in this brand and what it means to me. At the same time, I’ve chosen this time to reveal my new logo for bAw which will further aid me in sharing about this brand and what I believe to be God’s vision for it.

 

  1. Why black African woman?

So. You may be wondering why I decided to start writing under this name and about this specific woman?

Firstly, and quite simply, because I AM a black African woman and proud to be. For the majority of my life I have walked around without fully realizing and embracing my true identity. I have come to understand that I am a woman, yes. That I am from the continent of Africa. I am Zimbabwean. Yes I am black. But I recently realized that I have never identified myself as all these things – a black African woman. I’ve just identified with parts of me in different settings and at different times. But the truth is, I am always a bAw and will always be. Whether at home with my family, or in church, or on holiday, or at the mall. One thing that is undeniably true (apart from the fact that I am first a daughter of God), is that I am a black African woman. And I am finally proud of that fact.

Secondly, black African women are rarely celebrated, nurtured, groomed or given the priviledge and opportunity to be understood. Yes, there are blogs and movements that fight for the voice of the bAw to be heard but this is not what my brand is about. Because most of these are fighting for rights and the like. My brand encompasses that, but is more than that. My brand is more personal. It’s about identifying with, understanding and exploring the daily struggles, joys, pains, victories, defeats, hurts etc of individual black African women, which then form a collage of a whole lot of black African women. It’s about understanding the entirety of the bAw and sharing her truth with the world.

 

  1. What does bAw mean to me?

A look at the new logo for my brand sums up what this ministry means to me. The brightness of the white and the orange represents a new era for the bAw. The voice of the bAw is finally being projected, and she is discovering new amazing things about herself and sharing them with the world. The black outline is there to remind me that this brand is about the black African woman. I wanted to emphasize that the bAw also embodies hope, newness, love, joy, freedom and so much more greatness! Lastly, the bAw is dignified and full of grace. This is seen in the posture of the woman in the logo. Her head is held high because she believes in her value and worth, and she is preparing to step out into the world to defy the stereotypes that have always existed about her.

For me, bAw is how I fight for women’s rights – especially those of bAw. They are the most marginalized and prejudiced race and sex in the world. It’s a double-edged sword for my sisters. And as I explained in my very first post, other women of other races have their own platforms that deal with their issues and with elevating them. I shall not be ashamed of doing the same for my sisters. I believe that the true victory in attaining women’s rights begins by helping her to win the war in her mind. Once she believes that she is worth fighting for and valuable in the sight of God, there is no stopping her.

 

  1. What is this blog about?

In a nutshell, this blog provides a platform for bAw to share their stories – their experiences. And for other people to share their experiences of and understanding of bAw. My sisters are fighting a tough battle on this earth, and they need to be encouraged. It may be a story that a bAw reads on this blog that may save her life. It may be another bAw’s experience on this blog that gives another sister hope and perseverance. That is what this blog is about. To collect a journal of the stories of bAw and to lift it up unashamedly so as to say to the world that she matters too. She is still alive despite how the world, society and the devil himself have tried to kill her. That she is valuable in the sight of God too.

 

I hope this sheds some light on this blog and ministry. I would like to give a big thanks to Lia Nascimento of Tique Design for creating the logo for me and bringing to life my vision! For details on how to contact Lia, please see the image at the end of the post.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and understand my vision. I hope it makes things much clearer for you and I hope you can join in on this journey with me. Please don’t hesitate to ask any more questions. You can find me on Facebook (The black African woman), Twitter (@TheBAWLife) and soon to be on Instagram! Please do pray for this ministry and do engage – someone needs to hear your story 😉

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

Lia Nascimento Contact Details

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Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Happiness

Hi bAw family 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how we tend to go through life with questions or ideas that if we express them allow us to move forward with life so much better. Then I realized (also from my studies) that when we are asked questions, we find it easier to navigate the thoughts in our minds. We’re better able to make sense of our feelings and experiences. After all, Christ (when He lived amongst us) used to ask people questions all the time. It’s not that He just wanted to sound smart or philosophical but I realize now that it was because He was trying to get His people to look deeper within their hearts and recognize the condition of their souls. To better understand the powerful truth He had come to share with them – that He was their salvation, fulfillment and joy.

And so, going forward, I’ll be doing what I call Thought-Provoking Tuesdays starting today. I’ll post a question that really gets you thinking and I’d love it if you could share your answers with us so we can be encouraged knowing that others think and feel the same way we do. This is part of the process of healing and growing.

Today’s question is:

 

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I would have to say that for me, what has been draining my own happiness has been busyness. I’ve been all over the show lately with barely enough time to pause and just breath or do what I enjoy. I’ve been over-exerting myself and I find that it leaves me unable to function at my optimal level and to fully enjoy everything happening around me.

What about you? Can’t wait to read your responses!

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

 

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I Was Jealous of My Married Friends

Envy

Photo Cred: Psychology Today

I have been single for about 7 years now. In that time I have been fellowshipping at the same Church. This means that I have been part of the youth group at my church for about 6-and-a-half years and have made many acquaintances and friends, especially because I’m a very sociable person. It also means that some of these friends have moved away because life has taken them on different paths, and I’ve been privileged enough to make even more friends.

It also means that I have been a part of, planned, attended and witnessed a number of engagements, bridal showers, weddings and baby showers. I’ve been a bridesmaid at my fair share of weddings (think ‘27 Dresses’ vibes although thankfully not that many! Lol). Fun right? Not so much initially. Not that I don’t enjoy such occasions – don’t get me wrong. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love love and everything that comes with it, most especially the celebrations. But let me expand.

Truth be told, this was really difficult for me for the first 4 of the 7 years that I’ve been at my Church. I’ll never forget this one Sabbath when I and a group of my friends decided that we’d hang out that evening as we usually did after Church. I was so excited! As a single girl (and a sociable one at that) you enjoy whiling away time with others. So the time came for our great adventures to begin and one by one my friends started telling me that they could no longer hang out cause they were spending time with their person or as couples. It stung big time.

I was alone.

I honestly was angry with my friends, especially my girlfriends, for ditching me like this! Not only that – I was (I realized) very much jealous of their romantic relationships. I mean, why was I the only one without a special someone to love me? What was so wrong with me? It’s not like I wasn’t as desirable surely. Had God forgotten about me and the fact that I too really wanted to be in a relationship? After all, I’d been holding out on entering relationships with just any Tom, Dick or Harry like He’d asked me to. To make matters worse, I was always asked to help plan their bridal and baby showers when the time came and of course to attend their weddings (God WILL put you smack bang in the middle of situations that bring you your greatest pain so that He can birth your greatest purpose!). I was glad that they were finally settling down with the person they loved so dearly and living the life that they desired but I could not ignore the fact that I was envious.

For a long time I denied these feelings because as Christians we are told that jealousy is bad and we’re basically encouraged to bury any “negative” feelings. In doing so though, I was only hurting myself more. It just meant that it took longer for me to accept and be content in my singleness, and it stole away from me being completely happy for my friends and loved ones. I thank God though that in good time, He encouraged me to face my true feelings and acknowledge that I was not happy being single and that I was not happy for others who were receiving what I thought I deserved. And that that was okay.

Even God experiences feelings we have labelled “negative” such as jealousy and anger (Deuteronomy 6:15; Deuteronomy 4:24). I believe strongly that the majority of feelings we experience are not in and of themselves bad – it’s just our expression of them and how we allow them to control us that can be evil. I only started to come to full healing and acceptance of my single status when I acknowledged that I wished it was me with the ring on my finger instead. It allowed me to unblock the negativity building within my spirit and to let God restore peace and hope within my heart. Not this whole “focus on other things like your purpose and serving God then you’ll be content with your singleness” message we are fed as youth. That is true yes, but before I could accept that message I had to confess what was in my heart.

So am I completely satisfied with being single today? I’d say pretty much – obviously I have days where I recognise it would be nice to have someone there but it does not stop me from enjoying my here and now. Am I completely happy for those around me getting married, having babies and receiving that which I would like one day? I finally am.

I finally am because I finally believe and trust that my Redeemer, my Saviour, my Best Friend, my Father and my Provider truly has my best interests at heart and desires only the best for me. I finally see my season of singleness as the greatest opportunity I have to bloom in my purpose and to discover my make-up as an individual. I finally trust that my story is different from everyone else’s and it’s all about His perfect timing. I can never rush the process and quite frankly I probably shouldn’t want to. I finally realize that I have no idea the struggles my now-married friends have had to endure to be where they are or what they currently face. I finally understand that I am learning invaluable lessons from my friends and family who have gone ahead of me on this journey of marriage and parenthood – I am lucky enough to drink from their fountain of knowledge before I step into that stage of my life God-willing. I finally understand that I’m fulfilling my calling as a Christian by supporting and rejoicing with my loved ones who have what I would have liked to have too.

I finally realize that I am more than worth the wait – even to myself.

I honestly don’t think that I would have come to these realizations or to this state of contentment if I’d continued lying to myself and had not acknowledged my feelings of jealousy. I pray this encourages someone today to know that they are not alone in these feelings and to finally take the necessary steps to healing.

What has your journey of singleness been like? What issues are you grappling with? Let’s share and grow together!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Why Life Needs To Be Boring

Bored Black Woman 1

Photo Cred: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation QBank Review

I’ve recently been frustrated with my life and have felt like I’m not adding anything to this world or being as purposeful as I should be. I have felt highly inadequate and as though I’m missing something that everybody else has caught onto and I’m failing in the race of life. Actually, the other day I was remarking to my sister that I was feeling uninspired by life and feeling aimless. And it was eating me up because I’ve always been a person who believes in living a life of purpose and doing great things to make a difference in this world for Christ. I have had no doubt in my mind that we are chosen of God to do wonderful things in this life if we choose to let Him work in us.

Yet here I was stuck in nothingness.

Enter an enlightening article that my sister shared entitled “Why Generation Y is Unhappy”. I’ve been asking God to help me get out of my funk of feeling aimless and He answered through that article. In it, the author highlights the fact that my generation (Y) is unhappy because the reality of our lives is not as good as our expectations, and we have an attitude of entitlement believing that we should just become great and do great things because we’re so inherently awesome and special. We have forgotten that it takes hard work, tears, sweat and blood to achieve the great things in life.

This is certainly something that I have lost sight of. I’ve always been a believer in the need to work hard to achieve anything. I’ve understood that things do not just get handed to you on a silver platter, and often if they are they can just as easily be taken away from you. But I’d forgotten this important truth. Not only that, we live in a society that compares a lot. Just log onto any social media and you’re watching someone else’s amazing life. They’re always smiling. Always out and about doing some amazingly great things. Life never seems boring.

And then it hit me – life needs to be boring majority of the time!

Truth be told, there is nothing exciting about waking up in the morning and preparing for work. There is seldom much exciting about work itself even if you’re passionate about your career – you do hit some dry patches. There are moments that are lack lustre in even the most wonderful and passionate relationships! At some point you need to go buy groceries as a couple and you need to clean the house. That does not scream excitement or “greatness”. Yet, our focus tends to always be on the exciting, the new, the thrilling. We’ve come to believe (and I certainly have) that if our lives do not resemble an award-winning movie or book, there is something wrong with us and we’re not world shakers. What a lie.

 

Truth is, it takes 4 long and gruelling stages before an egg turns into a beautiful, awe-inspiring butterfly. That lava needs to go through periods of darkness and aloneness. It needs to struggle and experience pain as it breaks out to become one of the most gorgeous creatures on earth. I mean, Christ spent 30 years out of His 33 years preparing for His eventual ministry on this Earth. He didn’t just wake up as a baby and have it all figured out although He was actually God (another discussion for another day). He had to experience the mundane tasks of working as a carpenter; obeying His parents; reading and studying the Bible; eating and sleeping; fasting; praying etc before He did all His amazing and earth-shattering miracles and work. All we ever remember or focus on is how He gave sight to the blind or raised people from the dead. Or how He said such deep and profound things. We skip right over the “boring” long years He had to endure.

So what am I saying? I am saying that we need to embrace the mundane elements of our lives. In fact, we ought to celebrate them because these are the moments that actually prepare, groom and shape us to be who we are meant to be. It is through the day-to-day activities that you learn your strengths and weaknesses. That you exercise your muscles – physical, spiritual, mental, emotional. That you develop discipline and good work ethics for life. That you appreciate what you already have and actually become even more grateful for what comes along. Yes you have wonderful dreams and hopes for your life – great achievements, movements and ideas you’d like to bring into this world. Just make sure you don’t birth them prematurely and do your best to learn all you need to in the mundane parts of life so that you can apply these lessons when you are walking that exciting path. Besides, you are building the foundation that will hold up said dreams as you go through the boring moments of life.

By celebrating the boring in our lives, we are opening the door to future greatness. So I’m prepared to just buckle down and keep my head buried as I live out the boring parts of my life and as I seek to work as hard as I can. I believe that it will be worth it in the end and will prepare me for whatever tasks the Lord has placed on my life. I hope you’ll join me on this journey 🙂

Do you agree with this article or do you believe life can always find a way of being thrilling? I’d love to hear from you!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Guest Post: I Am a Christian and I Am a Womanist, Do You Mind? by Euphony Paballo Kgadima

Mother and daughter holding hands in cafe
Photo Cred: Huffington Post

In the 21st century, or rather the information age, we still find women especially black women being marginalized and ostracized – by virtue of being black and woman. I have gravitated more towards womanism than feminism – I just felt that as a black woman I face the double edged sword in both the world and the church. Feminism at times, does not treat the wounds that are experienced by Black women, this could be because it tends to have western ideals on how to deal with the subjugation of black women; however that is a piece for another day…

Many people find it hard to conceptualize the idea of a woman being a Christian and a womanist- to me that is like you simply saying that I can be a woman but I should never be concerned with the issues that plague black women. Secondly you are denying me the right to be feminine – should I be masculine? This article is really my official coming out piece – I am coming out to the world boldly to say that I believe in God, Jesus Christ (his second coming), The Holy Spirit and I choose to advocate gender justice and African women’s justice. I am aware that some feathers will be ruffled, but I am not here for that; I am here for the many young women in the church like me, who can no longer be silenced. I am here for the women who are told to keep their mouth shut when oppression is happening because it is in the church. I am also here for the young Christian women who have been side lined by elitist feminist organizations- because they choose to love and believe in God!

What is wrong with being a Christian and a womanist? According to the norms and values of society, the other side believes that Christianity is patriarchal – I don’t think it is as a system, I believe it is because of those who bring their worldly concepts into the church and yes there are those who use it as tool to oppress women. There are misogynists who hide behind quoting scripture out of context! This leaves us with the world shunning us Christians who believe in justice for women. On the other hand you have the church that sees feminism and womanism as a tool to perpetuate lesbianism, witchcraft and misandry. Misinformed- you need to understand the origins and hermeneutics of the movement it is dynamic! This is sad, because the aim of the movement is to fight for equality and to eliminate abuse and oppression. There will always be a problem when human beings start using systems of liberality to oppress, or even side line others – which happens in both Christianity and in Womanism movements alike.

Now, my question is where can we find a safe place, where can we be embraced if both sides feel that we need to divorce one or the other? How do I choose to discard my faith when I love my faith dearly, that has informed my behavior and transformed me, because I want to be a womanist? The other question could be; how do I choose not to speak against woman abuse and the ostracizing of black women in the corporate world? The answer, is no! I cannot and will not divorce one from the other, simply because the commandments of God are based on equality and justice- it was Christ who often stood up for women, and I think we need to get to a place where we stop making Christian Womanists feel out of place for being bold enough to be practical about their faith. There is no either or for me, and I have decided to say no to being bullied by both sides.

I am what God has called me to be, and being a Christian requires that I never turn a blind eye on any form of oppression because I may be stepping on someone’s toes. I have an obligation to God, and that is to love humankind and to speak up for the weak. Therefore I am a Christian and I am a Womanist, do you mind?

Euphony

Euphony Paballo Kgadima, is 28 years old and lives in Soweto. She currently works for L’Oreal as an Education Manager for one of their luxury brands- Kiehl’s. She is a YAWM (Young Adventist Women’s Ministries) leader in her church at Orlando West SDA, and because she is passionate about women she is the founder of Women in Dialogue Sessions. Women in Dialogue Sessions is a platform for women to safely engage on their issues, and it is used as a spring board to create a support network to fuel businesses, corporate careers, arts & culture and academics alike. Euphony is a womanist; hence she is vocal about women’s issues. In her spare time she enjoys reading and she is working on her brand because she believes that she has been called to be an entrepreneur more than anything. She used to run Skin Therapist SA which was an initiative on educating people on their skin- it will be re-launched soon as Skin Dialogues. Finally, she also has a blog called ‘A Woman in Dialogue’ launching end of October!

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4 Truths That Helped Me to Break Through Abuse

Photo Cred: Naturally Moi
Photo Cred: Naturally Moi

I recently stumbled upon an (allegedly) old song of Alicia Keys’ called ‘Brand New Me’. For about 2 weeks straight this was my daily anthem! This song speaks so truly to a journey that I believe many women walk. One that I am starting to see more and more black African women (bAw) begin to explore. A journey that I personally have walked for a considerable chunk of my young life. What am I talking about? I’m talking about breaking through abusive/hurtful behaviour enforced upon you usually by someone close to you who is meant to love you.

Abuse is very real in the African community. I’ve been studying towards a Diploma in Counselling and Communication, and in one of my modules I had to do research on abuse in South Africa. It is so sad to learn that many women and children in the black African community are abused either physically, emotionally, mentally, financially or in all these ways. And what breaks my heart even more is how these women expect and actually desire that ill-treatment. It is an apparent sign in some of their cultures that a man is a man if he hits his partner/wife and children. What a twisted way of thinking we’ve developed!

As you listen to the words in ‘Brand New Me’, you see a woman who has started to walk taller. She has woken up to the realization that something has to change. She understands that she is precious and is beginning to find out who she really is. She acknowledges that she has been oppressed for too long now and is choosing to be brave enough to stand up for herself. This was a difficult, excruciating but liberating journey that I had to take myself. In my late teens and early twenties I had gladly allowed myself to be a doormat. From the emotional abuse and cheating I endured from my very first boyfriend and random guys who played me, to hanging around people who called themselves my friends but laughed at and ridiculed me, I was allowing myself to be put down. I had no clue whatsoever about my value in Christ. In fact, I did not believe that God could love me and that reflected itself in how I allowed others to mistreat me.

In a society that is highly patriarchal, it is easy for the bAw to misunderstand her value and how she should be treated. They say that no-one forces things to happen to us, but we allow others to treat us a certain way. And for too long I believe that bAw have allowed themselves to be used and abused. I see it in how a young bAw will stay with a cheating boyfriend. Or how she will accept a wrongful accusation towards her. Another woman will hold on to a man that beats her up every night because “at least she got a man” and at least he boosts her popularity levels. Then there is the woman who will continue to hang around a group of “friends” that keep her down just so that she can fit in. The types of abusive situations are plentiful and the reasons for staying even more colourful but one needs to push past these.

These were the truths I had to internalize that encouraged me to shun abuse in my own life:

  1. It is not your fault that you are being abused. I would have to say that what made me eventually stand up and recognize that I had to walk away from abuse was the fact that it was not my fault that I was being subjected to it. This I believe tends to be the most difficult lesson for the recipient of abuse to grasp – especially women. It is NOT your fault that he decided to cheat. It is NOT your fault that she continually berates you in front of others. Yes we can rub others the wrong way, but we ultimately do not control other people’s behaviour. They choose how to treat you regardless of what you do to them. So never forget – the abuse you are receiving is not your fault and you have every right to walk away from it.
  1. You are so very precious and worthy of only the best treatment. Did you know that God moulded you with His very own Hands and that He DIED for you? That makes you extremely valuable. In fact, it makes you priceless! Would you mishandle a precious stone such as a ruby or a diamond? Would you just kick it around or toss it into the trash? No! You would care for that stone like your life depended on it. You would polish it daily; set aside a special place for it to sit where everyone would admire it; you would talk about it with such awe; and constantly admire it and be proud of it. Well guess what – you’re even more precious than these said precious stones (Matthew 10:31)! You deserve to be admired and spoken of with great respect and wonder! You deserve to be handled delicately and with great care. God certainly treats you with gentleness and complete caution, and so no-one else should treat you otherwise.
  1. You are equipped to overcome and walk away from abuse. One of my favourite verses in the Bible has to be 2 Timothy 1:7 which reminds us that we have been given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind, and not a spirit of fear. One of the greatest weapons of the devil and of abusers is fear. They know that if they keep you isolated and afraid, they can control you. Fear was a master controller in my life and was one of the reasons I remained in less than desirable situations – for example, I stayed with my manipulative boyfriend for 3 years because I was afraid that no other guy could love me or want to be with me. I thank my Saviour though for leading me to this and other scriptures that reiterated the fact that I have the spirit of power to stand up against bad treatment in my life. He has armed me with the wisdom, courage and LOVE to walk away from a situation that does not serve me well. He has given this to you too – just ask Him to show you and activate it in you.
  1. The shame and guilt WILL go away if you tell someone. As I mentioned above, abusers want to keep you isolated so that you do not tell anyone else about what you’re going through. They make sure you feel stupid, dirty and full of shame. I remember keeping things to myself because I could imagine how people would look at me and judge me for being stupid enough to let someone else degrade and ill-treat me like that. But I reached a point where God led me to the right people to share my experiences and that was one of the most freeing acts for me. Granted my guilt and shame did not immediately disappear, but the weight of my burdens lessened and with each day I grew stronger and learnt how to better love and appreciate myself. Once you speak out, the devil has no hold over you with whatever bad situation you find yourself in. Just ask God to lead you to the right person/people who will lovingly pray, talk and walk you through your broken circumstances. Hard as it may be to believe, EVERYONE has or is going through something disgraceful and less than desirable. You’re not the only one so speak to someone about it. James 5:16 encourages us to do this.

Abuse is very real and alive in our society, and it is something that needs to be addressed especially amongst Christians. This is my feeble attempt at doing just that. Maybe you have had your own experiences with it. Maybe you know someone who has. Maybe you’ve just read about it. The point is, we need to share and learn with and from one another and we need to speak up about it so that we can conquer it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Share with us below or feel free to email me (details in the Contact section) regarding your own journey with abuse, or if you are currently facing an abusive situation and need help. You don’t need to stay there any longer.

With love,

Sonia Dee

Today, I can stand tall and laugh at life – it’s goodness and mishaps – because my Saviour set me free from the bondage of abuse and pain! He can do the same for you.
Today, I can stand tall and laugh at life – it’s goodness and mishaps – because my Saviour set me free from the bondage of abuse and pain! He can do the same for you.
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8 Random Musings from my Time in Thailand

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Enjoying Phi Phi island with my girlfriend Brie earlier this month.

I recently had the opportunity of travelling to Thailand with 4 sister friends of mine. We spent a week in the beautiful Phuket and the vibrant Bangkok and while there, I observed and was reminded of a few powerful lessons. I must say that this was undoubtedly one of the best vacations I have had in a long time. I’ve always been a travel fanatic and this trip just confirmed why to me – being in a different country, different environment and interacting with people of a different culture opens you up to a whole new world and teaches you more about yourself.

During my brief time in this gorgeous land, I picked up on a few random lessons:

  1. Respecting Others Makes You a Happier Person

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Thai greeting and expression of gratitude. Photo Cred: Visa English Academy

Whenever you greet someone or say thank you in Thailand you attach the word “ka” at the end which we were told means “please”. Essentially, the Thai people say “Hello please” and “Thank you please” amongst other things. On top of that, most of them bow slightly in respect with hands together when saying thank you. The respect for fellow human beings in this country is so humbling and contagious. It is something that is found in the majority of the people of this land and forms a big part of their culture. It was refreshing to see a whole nation who upholds such profound values and it does make a difference in one’s mood and interactions with others. We never saw people beating each other up or belittling one another in public (as I often see on this side of the world). All were treated with dignity and being able to show and receive such great respect I believe makes the Thai people a happier nation.

  1. The Customer is Still King in Some Parts of the World

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Photo Cred: Smart Business Trends

Thai service is unparalleled. Whether it is someone assisting with taking your bags up to your hotel room, or a vendor packing away your newly purchased goods, you are guaranteed a sweet smile and a respectful word 98% of the time. These people go out of their way to assist you and make sure you are happy with the service they offer you, and in some cases would appear hurt if they felt that they had failed to satisfy your needs. Your satisfaction and happiness as a customer is important to the Thai people. Unlike in South Africa where you get used to rude and dismissive service providers, in Thailand we were shocked if someone was abrasive.

  1. Being Hard Working Has Nothing to do With Circumstances

little hard worker

Photo Cred: Case Blog System 

I was truly touched by the hardworking nature of the Thai people especially in Phuket. Poverty is rife in this country and the average man has to work extremely hard just to make ends meet. You would think that because of their poor circumstances they would feel grieved and be abrasive due to their difficult situation. This was not the case at all. The need for the Thai person to work extra hard to survive has not tainted their warm and loving nature which is something I truly admired. I have seen how many of us do not want to lift as much as a finger to receive good things but feel entitled to those same things in life. Thai people are just hard workers by nature despite their circumstances or what they feel they are owed.

  1. You are Beautiful and Fascinating to Someone

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Photo Cred: Au Naturale Blogspot

Being a black African woman (bAw) in Thailand was quite an experience! My girlfriends and I have never received so much attention and so many compliments on the daily. Here in South Africa, we blend in and are used to being the “average” woman out on the streets. Compliments can be few and far between. In Thailand, not a day went by without at least 3 people (mostly the locals) stopping to tell us that we were beautiful or to ask to take a picture with us. They wanted to touch our braided hair and they were genuinely intrigued by us. I think it’s because black people are rare in this part of the world but either way, it was so refreshing to be constantly reminded that someone finds you beautiful and captivating. Sometimes we need to step out of the norm to be reminded of what already is true about us – that we are indeed lovely.

  1. Attention to Detail Goes a Long Way

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Photo Cred: Chestermox

From their architecture, to the stitching in their clothing merchandise, Thai people are sticklers for detail. They make sure to perfect everything right down to the tiniest element. Because of this, they create some of the most beautiful things – clothing, artwork, buildings, sculptures etc. They know how to take basic material and stitch it in such a way that it looks luxurious (whether or not it is is another story). The fact is, they are not lazy to do their very best from start to finish and this is visibly seen in their end products. If we applied this to all we did, we would have such wonderful quality to all elements of our lives.

  1. Hygiene is not Second Nature to All

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Photo Cred: Hydro Care

One of the things I had an issue with in Thailand was hygiene. Thai people are not the cleanest and this put me and my girlfriends off especially in terms of food. The streets can be very dirty and you walk around taking in all sorts of unbecoming smells. Hotel cleanliness is not always great as they seem to do the bare minimum in cleaning up. That made me truly grateful for the cleanliness I generally experience on this side of the world. Something I have always taken for granted but will remember to be grateful for going forward.

  1. Clean Tap Water is a Luxury

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Photo Cred: BVISHA 

 While in Thailand we did not drink any tap water at all. In fact, we brushed our teeth using bottled water. The only time tap water touched us was in the shower. I’m not sure why, but it seems that their water is not properly cared for and it is a norm to live off of bottled water. This made me so very grateful for the clean water we receive in South Africa and the fact that I don’t have to think twice before putting it in my mouth to brush my teeth or to just rinse it. What we view as a basic right is a complete luxury to someone else. Remember that the next time you fill your glass with tap water.

  1. We All Deserve a Massage Often

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Photo Cred: Huffington Post

Thailand is the land of massages. Whether you’re just getting a facial or a simple foot massage or even the infamous Thai massage, there is usually a guaranteed bonus massage included there for free. Massage establishments are all over the place and one can get a massage any time of the day up to midnight. Massages are like water in Thailand – readily available and affordable. I have developed the theory that Thai people are a happy people because they can all get a massage often. It releases stress and tension, and makes you feel special and pampered. Anyone in Thailand has access to a good massage unlike here where it is so expensive that it has become exclusive. I believe we’d be happier and friendlier with regular massages. After all, who says we all don’t deserve to have the knots taken out of our bodies?

There is so much more that we picked up on during our short stay in this amazing country but these were the ones that stuck out most for me, and that I learnt much from.

I would love to hear about your experiences with travelling. What have you learnt to be grateful for from being in another country or even city? Do share with us.

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Me and my travel buddies on the streets of Phuket! 🙂

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How a Coat Taught Me Patience

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Photo Cred: Coneys Design Wear

For this week’s post I thought I would share with you some lessons that I penned down in June of this year.

Today God taught me the lesson of patience and waiting on Him to lead me to the best by using a coat. I know – sounds a bit crazy right? But it’s a true story. Those who know me have come to understand that I am rather spontaneous and I’m an action kind of person. Sometimes I act before I think and more often than not, I regret it after I’ve done it. I partly blame it on my Sanguine nature. We’re impulsive creatures and we’re moved by our current emotional state (which barely lasts long by the way). And so, when it comes to purchasing items I will recognize that I want to get something then I will just go out to the shops and get the first or second item I see. I’ll then walk past a better item a couple of days or weeks later (at a better price) and wish that I hadn’t purchased the original. Really sucks!

This process of decision-making sometimes flows into other areas of my life. For example, I rarely get angry with people but when I do, I blow it way out of proportion and can say or do things I later regret. Or at times I agree to do something because it feels good in the moment but I will be kicking myself later cause I would have realized that I don’t actually want to do it. I think you get my drift – I’m a go-with-the-wind kind of girl. However, about a year or so ago God started to plant this thought in my mind of the need to pause before acting or speaking. To be specific, it was a devotional that I read (can’t remember now who wrote it) and essentially it was a message from God which said,

“Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me.”

 

Such profound words! And true to my nature, the moment I read that I was like, “Yes Lord! I’m going to learn to pause immediately! This is so doable – I’ve got this!” How wrong I was. Lol. A year later, and I’m only truly starting to live this lesson.

Enter the story about the coat. So as I write this it is the start of the coolness of winter in these southern parts of Africa. I’ve wanted to buy a new winter coat now for a few months (since the beginning of the year to be honest). Usually, I’d have gone out the moment I got paid to buy the first or second coat I saw. This time around though, I have been doing my research on different coats at different stores for the past 2 months or so. At one point I had the money to buy the coat but I wasn’t satisfied with what I was seeing. I just had this gut instinct that it wasn’t the best. So I held out and purchased other necessary items instead. But I remained with a clear picture of what I wanted and how much I was willing to spend on it.

Then came the end of May and as usual we got paid on the 25th of the month. However, I didn’t even rush to go checkout coats as I would have done before. Instead I browsed online here and there, and if I happened to be at the shops. Still, nothing tickled my fancy so I did nothing about it. Then today, I just got the sense that today was the day to go buy my coat. It was out there waiting for me. I went with a good girlfriend of mine and when I set eyes on this coat I told her it was the one! I just knew it! We went in and I tried it on and it sat so beautifully on my body. Guess what too – it was below my budget! I mean wow! And there you have it, I got the BEST coat for me. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for and what I’d pictured for less.

As I reflect on this set of events, I am reminded again about that statement above about pausing. Granted that it’s a year after I determined to learn to pause but the fact of the matter is I’m making progress. Not only that, I’ve been blessed with a practical experience of why God would want me to wait and pause before I make decisions or act out.  In a seemingly small exercise, He came through for me in a big way when I chose to go against my nature and rather wait on Him. He rewarded my patience and faithfulness to the lesson He’s been trying to teach me. Wow! I have learnt that waiting is worth it. It may be painful especially when you’re initially trying to learn patience but the more you learn to wait and then receive better results than if you’d rushed, the easier and more pleasant it becomes for you to wait. You actually get excited in the waiting period because you know there’s a jackpot waiting on the other side of your patience.

This is what God does for each of us. He patiently waits upon us even though He has to endure watching us make wrong and painful decisions. Even though He has to endure rejection from us over and over again. He just sits it out because He knows that the joy of eventually being in communion with us far outweighs the pain of waiting on us for it. I pray that I learn to become more patient especially in the bigger things of my life. Waiting can be the difference between a life-changing career and a dead-end job. It can be the difference between a fulfilling marriage and a divorce or broken home. I have a really good friend who is suuuuper patient (a bit too patient if you ask me – there are limits. Lol) and he seems to not regret his decisions at all. Maybe less than some of us anyway. I hope God takes me there but for now I’m so happy with the little He’s helped me to achieve. And so every time I put on that coat, I will remember why waiting it out just a little while longer is so much more worth it.

What’s your experience with waiting? What have you learnt in your waiting period? What has God grown in you because of waiting? Let’s share!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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Guest Post: 27 Years Single by Rumbi Dube

Businesswoman resting chin on hand, looking out window, side view
Photo Cred: Majic 102

I recently turned 27. In those 27 years of being on this earth, I’ve never had a boyfriend.

Sure, I’ve kissed a couple of guys, been in undefined and defunct situations with a few boys which left me confused, frustrated, heartbroken and stressed out trying to figure out what it was or wasn’t or  would become. None of those situations ever materialised into anything. For the most part, I am grateful they didn’t.

A lot of people have expressed shock at the thought of me not having a boyfriend let alone, never having dated. How could someone so beautiful, stylish, current and cool (and I say this to show some of the questions I have been asked and share just how crazy it seemed that I was single) seriously not have a boyfriend? They’re not alone. For a long time – and I’m talking 26 out of them 27 years, I was left puzzled and confused. What was wrong with me? Why have I never been in a relationship? Would I ever find true love?

The fact that I had never obtained that one title of girlfriend had left me feeling like I had failed at life as a girl/woman. I have, for many years, felt less of a woman because I never had a man. The presumption that I am dating by many people is probably what has made it take so long for me to come to terms with the fact that it’s OK that I haven’t been in a relationship. Keeping up appearances is a real thing. I didn’t want to kill my street cred.

I have cried many nights and penned many entries into my diary as I allowed this seemingly lack of a title to torment me. I can honestly say that it has been the battle of my life.

Instead of cherishing that I am still whole and untainted by a man, I dismissed this on how seemingly worthless it made me. Something my sister always says to me is that I should be proud of that. She believes that when I do find the man who will endow me with the title of ‘girlfriend’, it’s going to be one for the books.

I don’t know about that, but what I do know is this. I haven’t got this all figured out, but I am starting to embrace myself and my story. I am learning to embrace my talents, my whit, my quirkiness, my fiercely loyal nature, my opinions, my interests and all the other things that are the make-up of me.

Most importantly, I am having a lot of frank talks with my Creator as we grapple with me and how He is working in me. I am coming to grips with His unconditional love for me and that He is calling me to a higher purpose. I am getting to know Him and me. I am getting to understand what love is about. I am realising the qualities I desire in my future partner and the areas I need to work on in order to be the best partner I can be.

Do I still get lonely, of course. It’s only natural to feel that way sometimes. But my sole purpose is not to find a man to preoccupy me. I have no clue as to what my journey going forward holds or when I will meet my mister man, but healing and growing are definitely at the top of my priorities.

With love,

Rumbi

Rumbi Dee

Rumbidzayi is a creative, independent and genuine soul and happens to be my baby sister as well. She is passionate about the creative process a la Mad Men and is in love with her personal Saviour Jesus Christ. She resides in Johannesburg and enjoys being uniquely herself in all she does. Rumbi also has a great blog that you can check out at http://www.rumbidzayiishe.com.

Do you have any experiences to share with us about your single journey? Can you relate to Rumbi’s experience or is your story different? We’d love to hear your story!

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WOMEN’S DAY POST: The Self-Sacrificing bAw

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Photo Cred: Pinterest

This post is written ahead of the Women’s Day that we will be celebrating this month. One of my greatest passions lies in women and their growth and empowerment.

Over the past few months, I have spoken to 4 different black African women (bAw) who have expressed how they support and take care of those around them. These people that they care for are siblings, parents, partners/boyfriends and/or even friends. These women help with school fees or life expenses, as well as being a shoulder to cry on as their loved one faces tough times. For years now these women have gone without certain things, including investments that they would have benefited from because of their desire/need to support others around them. These are young and middle-aged women.

I was also watching Sarafina for the 2nd time (since childhood) the other weekend and I noticed how she too seemed to be the carer of the children by her home and she led other young people at her school. She gave of her time, her energy and resources for the greater good of others. I’ve seen it in how my Mother willingly gave up her job so that our family could travel with my father’s job, or how she would not buy new clothes for herself for months so that we could have new things. I think it’s the nature of women in general but I notice it so distinctly amongst bAw. This is possibly because these are who I engage with the most. And anyway, we’re trying to understand the bAw more.

The reason I decided to write about this is because of something each of these 4 different and unrelated women expressed. They essentially highlighted the fact that they have helped out the people in their lives (especially the men in their lives) out of feelings of guilt or obligation. They may have even tried to reduce their assistance towards these people but felt obliged in the end to continue giving it. Not only that, but these sisters are waking up to the fact that they desire to be taken care of too and to enjoy life as well. To not carry such heavy responsibility but to experience (in some cases) the childhood they did not have the chance to experience because from a young age they were too busy caring for others.

When I read/hear the stories of bAw, I see how much of a burden they have carried for centuries. The bAw has in some instances died to herself so as to seemingly give life to others around her. She has supressed her own goals and desires to fulfil those of children or husbands or brothers or sisters or cousins or friends etc. first. I can relate to an extent to this myself. For a long time I believed that loving another meant that I gave them everything before thinking of myself. It’s as though that is the code of living that is injected in the bloodstream of the majority of bAw from childhood. At a gathering in my country and culture, the women serve food to others first before serving themselves. After having slaved away at preparing a meal for a large group of people, we women dish it out for the children and the men, then we dish for ourselves. We eat almost in a rush because we then have to clear up and make sure everyone else’s needs are still being met. I sometimes do not enjoy family gatherings/occasions because of this. This is just an example that comes to my mind.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe my culture carries some truly valuable lessons. Christ Himself has emphasised the fact that it is better to serve than to be served (Mark 10:43-45). We ought to love others and give to others. However, I believe that He desires us to be balanced about this too. Because this same God highlights in Leviticus 19:18 that we ought to love others as we love ourselves. This is something that I believe the bAw has overlooked for a long time. And this is something that I think has started to illuminate the minds of these 4 women I engaged with. They desire to be loved in as much as they love. To receive in as much as they give. To truly live in as much as they have made it possible for others to live too.

I think that the bAw for years has not taken the time to truly love herself. She has been so pre-occupied with loving others instead. But, my dear bAw, there is no better time than now to begin loving yourself. I have been fascinated by one of the instructions they give passengers on board an aircraft when they are relaying safety regulations. They inform you of where your oxygen mask will fall from should there be a need for it and how to use it. But, they do not stop there. They proceed to mention that you should put the mask on yourself first before you assist children or the elderly or those who cannot help themselves. The natural thought would be to help the others first, right? But then when you think about it you could pass out before you can properly aid others, which would leave you and them in a worse off position than before. This shows me that we are unable to properly and healthily help others if we have not nourished ourselves first.

I hope that the bAw finds no shame or guilt in choosing to love herself first. I believe that Christ had such a deep and healthy love for Himself which is why He was able to fully and perfectly love the entire world. Which is why He was able to die a terrible death for billions of people! That can only come from a truly assured person. Self-sacrifice should not be misunderstood. When it is misinterpreted, it injures not just you but those who you come in contact with. I am glad to see that the bAw is waking up to this truth slowly but surely. May we learn what it means to value and love ourselves the way God wants us to so that we can give even more to those we desire to love and support. As we go through this Women’s Month let us learn to truly cherish ourselves as women.

What are your wishes/desires for women this month? What are your desires for yourself this month?

Remember that I’m praying for you!

With love,

Sonia Dee

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3 Issues around Romantic Relationships in the Church

Closeup of sad young woman in living room with man after an argument
Photo Cred: African Sweetheart 

I’ve recently become aware of certain behaviour amongst the youth in my faith as a Christian. You know, when I decided to become serious again about my faith and about being an active member of my Church, I believed that the people I would interact with would all be seeking the same things that I was. What a wrong mentality that was. The truth is that the Church is a clinic. A hospital. We’re all congregating with different ailments, needs and wants and there is no way we will all require the same treatment or medication. Thus, I have come to quickly recognize a difference in thinking in terms of different issues including that of dating or romantic relationships amongst people at Church.

I have been fellowshipping at my Church for about 6-and-a-half years now and in that time, I have not entered a romantic relationship with any guy there. Yes I have naturally crushed some gents there but for various reasons, nothing has materialized into a full-blown relationship. That truly frustrated me for a good 4-and-a-half to 5 years! I’d watch those close to (and not-so-close) to me start dating, get engaged, have bridal showers, get married, and now we’re on baby showers. And it just felt like God had put some sort of cover over me so that no guy even SAW me. Over time though, and in the last year or so I’ve actually grown grateful for my situation. I’ve realized that God was protecting me – from entering hurtful relationships and most importantly, protecting me from myself. I had NO clue on how to recognize the right partner and listen to His counsel on it. And I was certainly not ready to love one of His Princes the way He requires me to. It has also given me time to observe and pick up on the things that we young people do right as well as do wrong in picking our life partners – myself included.

There are several patterns that I’ve picked up on in how we young people go about dating in the Church:

  1. Easy Come, Easy Go – I’ve watched people quickly fall for one another and in the space of a month or a couple of weeks of acknowledging these feelings, they are dating and in a full-blown relationship. They talk all the time; spend each opportunity together; and just move from point A to Z in record time! It’s natural to feel such great euphoria when you first meet someone and are getting to know them. They’re a sort of mystery and you tend to pick up on all their great qualities and breeze over the more unflattering ones. I think though, in rushing into love we miss out on actually getting to know the person without our rose-coloured glasses on. We don’t take the time to observe their character and how they respond when someone makes them angry; or when bad things happen to them; or when they fail at a task; or how they treat those closest to them (because that is a sign of how they will treat us). Then, as time passes and we start to see their true colours, we’re quick to say that they’ve changed when the truth is that we never actually knew them (James Michael Sama). I believe that we need to be careful about how quickly and blindly we enter into relationships because that which comes easy tends to go just as easily.
  1. God Spoke to Me – We’re all encouraged to have a personal and close walk with God. We’re told that God still speaks to us today as a collective and individually. We just need to take the time to get to know Him and listen. This is beautiful and it’s the absolute truth. We ought to always seek to hear from God so that we do what He purposes for our lives. However, I have issues when we misuse this blessing (whether knowingly or unknowingly) for our own personal gain. Most recently, I’ve heard this statement being used in getting romantic relationships going in the Church. More especially from the gents. A gentleman will approach a lady and tell her that he’s been praying to God either for a life partner or about that specific lady and he believes God is directing them into a relationship. What is a higher authority on relationships to a Christian than God Himself? And so, the lady willingly and happily obliges. Not many months down the line, things have gone sour.

This makes one wonder whether God really spoke or what He said. It’s a dangerous thing to use the name of God when you’re not even sure that it was Him speaking. I must say though, that it’s not just the gentlemen’s fault.  We are commanded in the Bible to test everything and all spirits to ensure that they are from God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). We can never take as gospel that which someone comes and tells us God told them. And so even if a gentleman approaches you and tells you God has spoken to him about you, it is your duty as a lady to take the time to return to this same God to hear whether it is in fact true. I think we just get so caught up in the beauty of it and our strong desire for love and relationships that we quickly hold on to what appears good and right. It seems like such a godly approach after all. But we need to learn to be cautious and speak to God about what someone else claims to have spoken to Him about.

  1. All Out of Fight – A great mentor of mine remarked how our generation no longer fights for things especially relationships. It’s as though we’ve come to believe that if something comes to us and happens without much of a struggle, then it’s meant to be. It should be natural and effortless. That is the lie of the devil. If we look at all the great Bible characters and their stories, their journeys were far from easy! They had to at some point put up a fight – either with others, themselves or the devil himself. Some had to exercise patience for years (Abraham). Others had to run and fight for their life until they became what God had promised them they would be (David). Still others had to work 14 years to marry the love of their life after being deceived (Jacob). The list is endless.

One of my favourite quotes says, “The couples that are ‘meant to be’ are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before.”  ­That is a powerful statement! Truly, anything worthwhile does not come easy. It is through the difficulties and fighting to be with the other person that your bond is strengthened. I think the issue is that we are a generation that is used to getting things at the click of our fingers. We’ve sadly translated this into every area of our lives including relationships. But this is false. It’s an illusion. For you to value your partner, you must have had to face and overcome some challenges together. A person more readily appreciates a fairly pricey bag that they’ve been eyeing and have worked hard to save up for and buy, than an even more expensive bag that someone just gives to them. It’s in the labour of your hands that you value what you get. So, let’s not give up too easily and let’s put up a fight to keep the relationships we believe we’ve been given.

There is so much more that could be said, but I just wanted to point out those 3 issues that stand out the most for me at this point in time. All relationships are complicated, but if we take the time to better understand them and each other we can have beautiful, God-ordained unions.

What are your thoughts around romantic relationships in the Church? What lessons can we learn in engaging in these? Let’s share and grow together!

Remember, I’m praying for you!

Love,

Sonia Dee