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Thank you very much to all those who joined us at 3pm GMT. We were talking the challenges of parenting and Below is a short summary of some of the take-aways from the session.

✨Remember in our parenting journey, connection with our children is key. Be available mentally, emotionally and physically.

✨Prioritise your children. Let your diary and commitments reflect that. Remember with children love is spelt TIME.

✨It’s ok and totally acceptable as an african parent to apologise to your children when you get things wrong.

🌟Faith community leaders, please have a heart for families. Do not hide under political correctness. Remember ‘what would Jesus do?’ and do just that. Consider the single parent homes with the heart of our Lord Jesus.


We explored in depth the issue of supporting single parent homes and providing mentorship for vulnerable young men. There were issues around married men/pastors and leaders being fearful of supporting a single mother. I concluded that if were don’t, someone else will and many a times these are bad guys that we don’t want near our children/ community. If we look at the county lines model; the drug dealer simply befriends and entice our children with gifts and promise of a bright future. We can adopt the same model. If youth pastors/ leaders took the same interest in our children, understand what they like, their fears, vulnerability, I believe we will SOME of them over.

We encouraged faith communities to have properly, well structured programs with safeguarding processes in place to offer mentorship programs.

Jesus was very controversial in most of his relationships, driven by compassion and love for the marginalised as well as vulnerable. Remember the Samaritan woman at well? She had a thing with men yet Jesus risked all that.

For parents struggling with children, please seek help. Don’t stew at home. There is a lot of help available from local authorities to charities such as Migrant Family Support and Father 2 father

For more in-depth conversation, listen to link below:

Remember you are not alone 💕

Identity

This was the topic for our webinar this evening. How important is it for our children to speak the native language, cook native food etc?

It became imperative during the session that before we unpick our children’s identity, how do we as mother identify ourselves??. Examples were given of being a wife, mother, daughter, minister of the Gospel etc. How do we live out all these ‘titles’, does it matter what comes first? all these were questions we pondered.

With our children we agreed that nativism enriches their lives. It’s their heritage. We concluded that as far as identity is concerned it is more than food, drink, colour of your skin or even place of birth.

We acknowledged that our children are global citizens such that being a native of a particular nation would limit their experiences and world.

Having said that, as mothers of faith, our identity and that of our children is found in God. We are first and foremost children of God. He created us and knew us of before the foundation of the world. That is who we are.

Living out our faith and identity day to day, helps to define who we are in the eyes of our children. We are reminded that to as many as recieved Him, He has given them the right to become children of God.

Suggestions were made of reminding our children of their identity in God. Saying words such as ‘you are a mighty man of valour, a women of faith, a man of prayer, a princess etc’ helps to define them. As mothers of faith, we are prophets so we speak the promises of God concerning them.

References were drawn from the previous post on Black Panther and importance of speaking into the lives of our children.

As a mom, how do you identify yourself?

Grateful

I am alive and well and for that I’m grateful . I give thanks to the Lord for His many blessings towards me. For those who remember I started my gratitude jar on the 15th of February.

Since then, I have realised so many things and achieved so much personally, professionally and socially. Somehow, my jar has more sticky notes but I can honestly tell you, they do not reflect all the things I was meant to have noted. I have become lazy and somewhat forgetful to write them down. Typical, right? It doesn’t please the father, remember the parable of the ten lepers?

This week I am grateful for a Daddies Girl (DG) who is no longer with us but taught and showed us how to live valiantly and gallantly for the Lord. Yesterday, we had the privilege to attend sister Grace’s beautiful send off. What beautiful testimony of how she touched so many lives with her faith, leading many to Christ. Personally, in the few months that I got to really know her, I learnt so much about faith, being forthright and a woman of integrity. I am grateful to God, for that opportunity I had to watch, listen and learn from her.

The Bible says ‘how can they know if the gospel is not preached? It goes on to say .. how beautiful are the feet of those who carry the gospel. Our lives are letters that can be read, what messages are we preaching at work, home and our communities?

Thank you Lord for all that you are to us. Sovereign king, Redeemer and restorer of our lives. ♥️🙏🏽

Fortitude

The willingness or ability to go through challenging times with grace. Is it a gift, talent or inborn ability that is sharpened and honed through experience?

I was privileged to have met and worked with some young women who survived the genocide in Rwanda. Their stories of horror, escape, loss and terror can only be heard once. The impact of their experiences on their bio-psychosocial well being was immense. What was amazing about these women was their willingness and ability to share their story. Very compelling. 

I also worked with vulnerable families in parts of London. Stories of parents who were hooked on drugs, unable to parent their adorable children confronted me on most days. It was the case of a mother of 3, youngest was same age as my daughter, who had succumbed to the deadly addiction of heroin that broke my heart and I never went back. Their struggle, took the best out of them. Is it these kind of experiences from a distance that make us hold our own with dignity?

Not privileged to compare or contrast the challenges of life, I look myself in the mirror with admiration. I am a fortiduous woman. Am I comparing myself to the above mentioned women? Not at the least. I have been fortunate, life has been kind and God has been gracious. I have been in the ring and He fought my battles. I’m grateful that I didn’t stay down too long for the referee to whistle a defeat. I could have been that mother, but Mercy spoke into my life and stood on my behalf.

 In my first blog, ‘Transnational parenting’  I explored the issue of postnatal depression. These sort of experiences, you only realise the depth, once you are the other side. Gods grace and love carries us through in those seasons, when we are just a shell being battered to and fro by the sea waves. One becomes a pearl,  a product of admiration and worth through the struggles. What’s amazing is that I was not that aware of His presence and sustainance then. I knew about Him as a God, not friend, helper. That one person I can have a relationship with. He has been gracious on this wonderful journey and I am getting to know Him better.

Our experiences in life may want to define us at times.  It is up to us how we deal with that.  People around us or those who know us and our story may want to define us that way. Ultimately, the decision lies with you. The woman with the issue of blood in the Bible is one such character. She was associated/ identified with her problem. I guess when she was healed, people had to refer to her as the woman who was healed of the issue blood.


Fortitude takes many forms. I could never have anticipated or imagined the pain of losing a sibling or loved one. It’s crippling! I was confused and literally dying too. The shock, pain and reality of that loss was incomprehensible. Death is painful to everyone but I guess it gets so complicated when you are abroad. The long flight home, being in transit, jet lag, the mourners and the  funeral itself. How do you eat the reheated airline food when your heart is sorrowful and heavy? 

When you arrive you succumb to the heat, noises, decision making,  the crying and ofcourse the peering eyes. They will always be those who want to see what you are wearing and what you brought. I had not even taken a shower! Let alone travelled 15hours, passing through the equator in transit for that matter. Nearly missed the flight due to road works and traffic. How does one deal with all that in one go?

My sister was bright, colourful and vivacious. She loved and understood my family and they got her too. Being single, she could afford the time to be with them whenever we visited home. They loved that, and I did too. The laughter they shared. She cared. She was a dreamer and goal getter. At most, she was a mother to my children  that I am not; patient, laid back and a child at heart.

Then there is the other small but equally demanding stuff of fitting into a different society and culture. That, requires courage right there. I know a friend who couldn’t do ‘the London thing’ and had to go back home. She tells me she could not be happier; got a beautiful home in the westen suburbs, lovely job and her children are doing really well in a good private school. 
It takes fortitude and a whole lot more to settle in diaspora. It is a far cry  from the glitz and glamour most people imagine it to be. It’s grafting in gruelling long hours. I’m reminded of the days I worked on the farm. That was my first job. Boy did I not cry my eyes out on the onion line.

I recall making a long distance call after  first day at work to my mother and bowling on the phone booth. If you recall, these were public phones and there two other people waiting to use the phone.  I cried for the entire duration of my £5 worth of calling scratch card. Bless my poor mother, she kept saying to me:

‘Taura neni otherwise card rinopera”, meaning please talk to me before the phone credit finishes. 

Indeed, the phone credit finished and I went home, straight to bed. In the morning I woke up and went to work. What was equally painful was hearing my then 1year old son babbling in the background.

For me fortitude is an idea and a choice. I choose to be courageous for those who couldn’t. Whilst doing nursing degree I met some middle aged African nurses who had come under the adaption nurses program. These women were dynamic and highly skilled nurses who held positions of authority and high office in their home country. The cultural shift and expectation had left them as a mere pair of helping hands on the wards. Their despair and frustration was not hidden from their faces. It was ‘them’ who silently taught me to be fortidous. It is for them and many others that we stand and are courageous. 

Above all, it is for those coming after us. Those who have a privilege of watching us closely, that we demonstrate courage in the face of fear. It is for our sons and daughters. 

📌The issues of death, loss and bereavement can be crippling especially when you are abroad where you have to get on with it. The reality of expenses incurred to attend the funeral and the funeral itself can be soul destroying. It’s important to seek help, from family and friends if there are physically and emotionally there. In U.K. that’s quite rare, your GP can refer you on for counselling, talking therapies or to charities that deal with bearevement and loss.

📌The same can be said of issues at work. Talking to someone about the challenges you are facing is good. This may not solve all your problems but it gives you thinking space. Hearing your own thoughts through voice can be liberating and empowering. Many a times, for those who are Christians, we leave everything in prayer. Prayer is great but it needs to be followed by action which is faith. Finding an independent counselling service is better.  Your union is a great source for advice and guidance, you are paying them, make use of their services.
In U.K. migrant family support offer great services around the issues discussed. They can be contacted in their website signposted below:

Life is for living. Live it to the full in good health, mind, body and spirit.

Finally, be courageous and confident, for the Lord your God is with you always (Joshua 1, summarised).

Courageous hope ❤
 

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