Guest Post: Maybe Things Need To Fall Apart by Larissa Subira

Things Falling Apart - Niquita Deviant Art online
Photo Cred: Niquita Deviant Art

 

I have been wracking my brain on what to write – what else I could say that has not been already said about abuse.  Many discussions have been had: we’ve been told the signs to watch out for (see the article from two weeks ago); and we’ve been told about the maladies in us that create the abuser and abused. What kept striking me is that most cases of abuse happen at the hands of those closest to us, at the hands of our families.

And for some reason, the close proximity of abusers somehow translates to paralysis of action: A wife suffers in silence for years in fear of her family falling apart. Her children see this, the toxicity seeps into their lives and twenty years down the line the same parents wonder why their children can’t seem to get their lives together. Or the wife reaches out to her family for help and she’s sent back with a harsh lesson that many women have been through the same, so she must suck it up and keep it moving.

A daughter or son is molested, they tell an adult in the family. Most of the time one of two scenarios takes place:  The adult family member rubbishes the claim and vilifies the child, branding them a trouble-maker, or; the adult raises it in a family meeting, and the situation is quickly ‘dealt’ with – the perpetrator may get admonished and banished or the child is sent away for their ‘protection’.  Case closed. No counselling, no acknowledgement of the pain and trauma and definitely no discussion about the work that needs to be done to ensure this never happens again.

The need to maintain peace has somehow taken precedence over the healing of the one who has been hurt. Many steps are taken to make sure the story doesn’t get out. Families are ravaged by this secret, split into camps and the abused are left to navigate the minefield of their lives with very little support.

You can see the common thread here right? The goal is to not shake the boat, even if the boat has a couple of holes in its sail; the sailors manning the boat are blind; can only row with one arm; and the captain is missing in action.   The boat will eventually sink. How can it not? But that’s the irony – we fight tooth and nail to keep the boat afloat when it will sink anyway because it’s battered and bruised, rocked by storms. So why not let it sink and build a stronger one?

Let the ship sink. Let it fall apart so once its laid bare, it can be taken apart, the problem diagnosed, to help figure out how it was incorrectly built and begin the work of rebuilding a stronger boat that can weather any storm. Can we not try something new? Can we put those that have been hurt first? Put a hedge around them, love them, protect them and fight for them and their healing? What do we have to lose?  We’ve tried the whole maintaining peace at all costs for generations, how has that worked for us?

Above all, if family is meant to be a reflection of God’s love, can one truly say our need to portray false perfection shows that? I leave this with you to ponder upon: 1 Corinthians 13: 7: “*[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

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The gorgeous Miss Subira is an integral member of the bAw team. She is a passionate, smart, driven and opinionated young woman seeking to improve the lives of those who are unfairly oppressed. You can find some of her thoughts on FB, Twitter and Instagram.

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 🙂

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

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

 

Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Your Story

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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.

 

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 🙂

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