Friday, 2 June 2017

An Invisible Enemy


In the streets of Nairobi, he could easily pass off as just any other man, one working hard to fend for his family; a typical bourgeois, chasing the Kenyan dream. Ian, a prime-time news anchor in a popular TV station never thought of himself as famous, rather, a lucky guy with a dream job. Ladies loved him and men wanted to be him.
On a bright Wednesday morning, he dropped his seven-year-old daughter to school, navigated through the infamous Nairobi snarl-up and managed to get to the office just in time for the weekly think-tank meeting. Nothing about the day stood out; everything was routine. Today, for some reason, he noticed how the morning sun shone brighter and how the cool breeze blew gently in a bid to cancel out the potentially scorching effects of the sun. Ian went about his day as usual, though a tad nervous about that night’s debate. He had hosted countless debates before so he was sure that this would be like any other.
In the evening after successfully hosting the debate, or so he thought, he left the office in a hurry hoping to find his kids still awake. He always cherished the moments that he got to tuck them in. By the time he was getting home, his phone was buzzing constantly. Due to the nature of his job, he didn’t think of it as strange. He instead put it on silent because at this point, his family was his priority. He was one who understood the value of family and did his best to show them that. He cherished how animated his kids would be at the sight of his car. This always made his evenings more colourful and his exhaustion more bearable.
Before he slept, he went through his phone to see why earlier on it had been ringing off the hook. It hit him why everyone had tried to call him. What he saw was too much for him to take in. There he stood accused in the court of the furious netizens baying for his blood. Being one accustomed to frequent backlash from the debates, he decided to sleep it off, knowing as usual, that the netizens would cool down and forget his alleged atrocities. He had grown thick skin and such incidences didn’t bother him much for he took it as part of the package of him working his dream job. Days went by and things started getting more personal, he received emails reeking of hate and angry words spewed all over his social media timelines. The fire was not abating, in fact, it was being kindled by the fact that he was silent in the face of his accusers. It angered them even more. They targeted his Achilles heel: his family. Personal photos were leaked and people wrote nasty things about his beloved wife. He didn’t understand what he had said in that debate to warrant all this hate.
It started to get to him. First, he got rid of his smartphone, then his laptop. The wi-fi and pay TV were next in a bid to sever any connections between him and the infuriated netizens. Then fits of rage followed by episodes of heavy imbibition ensued.  He became withdrawn and the once lively evenings at home became quieter. He lashed out at his wife more often. Everyone in the house walked on eggshells lest they poke the bear. His life was spinning out of control. He felt helpless and lost.
After that bright sunny Wednesday morning, his life was never the same again. He could not concentrate at work and his performance was at its lowest ebb. He dreaded each morning and the burgeoning desire to quit his job became more evident. He could not stand the thought of being in the very same place that was the cradle of his misery. He tried to put up an act that he was okay but people could see right through his futile attempts to cover up the fact that he was drowning in the sea of desperation. Eventually, he decided to see a shrink as depression came knocking.
He left the shrink’s room dejected. Each step seemed to drain the last morsel of energy from his already battered soul. Maybe he should accept this new life that fate hand mercilessly dealt him. He got into his car and looked at himself in the mirror attached to the sun visor. He couldn’t recognize who he saw, an empty shell devoid of a once vibrant life. His eyes blank as if to reflect the nothingness in his mind. All he saw was sorrow deeply embedded in the very same heart from which joy once emanated. He saw shards of his shattered life, a boulevard of broken dreams and a dark shroud of despair. He hated how his heart was hardening in a bid to stop feeling the hurt. He hated the intruding feeling of intense anger and hatred towards the invisible enemy. His face became hot as he let a cocktail of emotions to come gushing out. Only tears could paint the picture of the turmoil within. He let it all out without caring about the curious stares of onlookers in the hospital parking lot. Thing is, pain has a way of inhibiting self-preservation. It reaches a point where one no longer cares about what others think. He switched on the radio and drove home. Worn by Tenth Avenue North played on the stereo as if to acknowledge the adversities yoked on this poor man’s neck.
Let me see redemption win,
Let me know that the struggle ends,
That you can mend a heart that is frail and torn,
I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life,
And all that is dead inside will be reborn…
His mind wandered away as the singer’s voice trailed off. He resolved to end his pain once and for all. To triumph over his invisible foes. To shut down the tormenting voices in his head. To stop the demons within from coming out to play in the darkness cloaking his soul. He looked at a photo of his beloved family in his wallet and felt a stinging twinge of regret as he thought of how he was about to leave them alone in this cruel unforgiving world. He held the photo close to his heart as he swerved his car into oncoming traffic. The sound of screeching tires ensued by that of metal against metal disrupted the seemingly quiet evening. Screams rent the air as he slowly lost consciousness. Memories, happy memories slowly played in his mind as everything faded away. He died smiling.
He was buried on a cold rainy Wednesday afternoon. It rained heavily as if the hosts of the heavens mourned and acknowledged of unfair life can be. The skies remained ominously gray and in perfect symphony with the mood, somber.  A daughter had been robbed of her first love, a son of the one to hold him through the daunting phases of becoming a man, a wife of the love of her life, a sister of the one who had genuinely cared for her, a brother of a role model and confidant, a father of his source of pride and a mother of her heartbeat!
Cyberbullying may seem funny, almost harmless in the eyes of the perpetrator but it eats up the victim like a vicious cancer. It breaks one’s spirit. Having had a brief encounter last year, I totally know how deeply a ‘harmless’ joke can cut into the deepest cords of one’s heart. The most painful part is that one develops anger and hatred that has nowhere to be directed as the enemy remains invisible. It is easy to begrudge a person that you know and can relate to but hard when you don’t have a specific person to pin the blame on.

What happened to genuinely loving others and caring for a stranger? When did we get to a point of finding happiness at the expense of causing others heartache? A joke may sound funny but that could be the beginning of shattering someone else’s self-esteem. It could be the hammer that drives the last nail into someone’s coffin or the gavel that sentences someone into lifelong depression. Someone may have done something wrong but that will never justify trolling. Two wrongs will never make a right. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there is no room for pointing out each other’s wrongs, but is it being done in love? Human relations are governed by two laws: loving God and loving your neighbour. The two cannot be separated, they are like the two sides of the same coin. The Bible is very clear that one cannot claim to love God and not love fellow men (1 John 4:20) Love covers a multitude of wrongs so how about we overlook the mistakes of fellow netizens? How about extending kindness and grace to each other?
This is a public apology to the victims of Cyberbullying who are hurting in silence. The ones who curse out the invisible enemy hiding behind a screen. You may never hear it from them so here it is: Sorry! Sorry for the times that you have cried yourself to sleep. Sorry for the times that words have made you question if there is any good left in humanity. Sorry for the times you have questioned yourself and felt inadequate. Sorry for driving a knife into your heart and twisting it. Sorry for making you doubt whether you matter because you do! Sorry for putting you in a position where you have toyed with the idea of ending it all like Ian, don’t do it! This is not the end.

Look past it all and try to move on with your life. Those trolls and memes say nothing about you but everything about the invisible enemy. Gather the shards of your broken heart and create a mosaic masterpiece out of it. Let them tell your story. The scars may show but guess what, broken crayons still colour! The sun still shines beyond the dark clouds; all you need to do is look up and find hope in the arms of our comforter Jesus Christ. Lay your hurt before Him and brighter days will surely be nigh!



Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Project X: The confessions of a born again believer


A bleeding nose, parched throat, searing pain that becomes more excruciating with every heartbeat, a sharp jab to the side, laboured breathing that proves more tasking with every inhalation, a swollen eye that won’t allow any more light, a torn muscle, a broken heart. All this overshadowed by a strong will driven by unending love. These are the things that flood my mind every time I think about purity. An infallible love, selfless giving, open arms of grace and an ever flowing fountain of forgiveness that allow a sinner like you and I to walk where angels fear to tread. This is the picture that motivates me to turn my back when the seductive lure of lust comes beckoning. But you know what? It has not always been this way.
Let’s talk. Masks off, my heart on the sleeve, I come bearing myself bare for the sake of that one soul reading this that is stuck in a rut. A rut characterised by chasing pavements and an insatiable desire to engage in temporary thrills and yet each feat leaves you emptier than before. A rut that leaves you numb and nursing a calloused heart. A calloused heart as mine once was! For the longest time I have played games. Games that were too thrilling to walk away from. The thrill was enticing yet enslaving. With every thrill of ‘mischief’, the snares of sin clasped around me tighter. As a result me heart became so calloused that I failed to hear God’s voice calling to save me from myself and worse, sin.
The fascinating thing about campus is that you meet people from all walks of life; different family values, upbringing, moral standards, religions…… you get the drift. The first time that I heard my peers discuss sex openly was in my first year in campus. Not the kind that you find in Principles of Biology Vol 2. (Do they still use that book?)  The kind of ‘girl talk’ that would make a puritan blush. ‘Awwws’ were traded, giggles, whispers squeals of excitement and high-fives punctuated such conversations. These conversations entailed their weekend sexscapades. It is a known fact that people in campus sleep around. I was surprised when the whole country acted shocked after posters of the hedonistic party dubbed ‘Project x’ surfaced and made rounds on social media. What they missed out is that Project X is the order of the weekend in our campuses and the most appalling thing is that even born again believers are caught up in all this.
The culture shock that I experienced in my first year in campus left me dazed for the better part of that year. I moved through the motions trying to find my place, trying to fit in. As a result, my ideals on so many issues were subdued and I did not really take my stand when it came to many things including sexual purity. I was brought up in a Christian family, got saved at a young age and was taught the word of God, so I clearly knew right from wrong. Despite this, the worldly notions began to take root. My music playlist gradually changed and before I knew it, I totally accepted worldly views. I became okay with watching movies and series that I had no business watching, listening to music that I knew too well would erode my moral compass, laughing at raunchy jokes and occasionally participating in conversations that tainted the image of the very same gospel that I claimed to represent. This was not the most dangerous part of the rut. The most dangerous part is that I was okay with it, justifying that after all, it was not physical; that I was still saving myself for my husband.  My dressing changed and there was a cuss word here and there. I became a cool kid, popular and part of the it-crowd.  I enjoyed the attention that I got. All this time I was a perfect two-timer. I sat on the fence when it came to my stand, careful not to offend the rest of the cool kids.  I knew when to flaunt a tad of worldly sass and when to play church.
Let me shock you: you and I have one way or another been ardent attendants of the illicit Project X Party and it is time that we tear our tickets and cancel our RSPVs. Are you a Christian yet you and your boyfriend/girlfriend are involved in illicit sexual activities? Are you in a relationship and you are okay ‘doing everything else’ except ‘going all the way’? Are you a guy involved in frivolous pursuit games just for the adrenaline rush and not with the intention of committing? Are you a girl who enjoys playing emotional games just to keep guys guessing?  Are you a young adult serving in ministry and struggling with porn and masturbation? Are you a Christian who has no reservations when it comes to the kind of music that you listen to? Are you okay with watching ruttish music videos and hip hop that is punctuated with cuss words and profanity? Are you okay with watching popular movies and series that are R-Rated? Are you okay with dressing in a way that ruins your testimony as a believer? Are you okay with having a fetish for a certain celebrity that you ogle every time they are on screen that you keep justifying it to be an ‘innocent’ celebrity crush? Are you always pushing buttons to see how far you can go before you cross the purity boundary? Do you entertain lustful fantasies in your mind? Guys, do you and your friends lecherously discuss girls or share lewd jokes? Do you find yourself clearing your browser history because you are uncomfortable with whichever websites that you are visiting? Do you forward dirty photos and memes on Whatsapp? Some of the questions that I asked may seem trivial,almost innocent. Guess what, God holds us to a higher standard of holiness than the one I tried to capture in the questions above. We daily fall short of God’s standards of holiness.
Satan’s lies have infiltrated our culture and if we are not careful, we will all continue buying into them. Our culture tells us that purity is outdated. It lies to us that purity is only about keeping our virginity. That two consenting adults in a stable relationship that are aspiring to get married can have sex, after all they are going to get married. That watching movies and series with a strong sexual theme or subtle sexual innuendos is okay, after all, we are not hurting anyone. That God is no longer concerned with our purity in this post-modern age. Due to these lies, many are the times that we find ourselves pushing buttons to see how far we can go before we cross the purity boundary and that is why we always ask ‘How far is too far?’  I believe the bible answers that quite sufficiently.
Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must NOT BE EVEN A HINT of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
If you find yourself debating whether something is sinful or not, probably it is a hint of the very same sin we are told to flee from.
We are called to be holy. 
1Peter 1:16 Be holy, because I am holy.
Holiness in this regard means to be set apart, to be distinct, to be different. Holiness comes through the process of sanctification. It is a two-fold process that involves shedding off and taking on.
2nd Timothy 2:22 Flee (SHED OFF) the evil desires of youth and pursue (TAKE ON) righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Shedding off involves intolerance to anything that obliterates God’s standards of holiness in our lives. For purity to work, one has to be willing to shed off influences that they hold on dearly. Holiness requires us to shed off things in our lives that are sinful. It further requires us to shed off things that may not be sinful in and of themselves, but could fuel unholy thoughts or behaviour that may lead us to sin. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend leading you to sin? Shed off. Is your choice of music stirring lust in you? Shed off. Fam, Rihanna has to go! That hip hop artist who cusses like a sailor has to go! Is your choice of entertainment in terms of movies and series desensitizing you from what sin is? Shed off. R-Rated movies and series have to go! Time to leave that Whatsapp group that is always sharing dirty pics and forwarded messages. Sounds like something that borders on legalism? Read on. Jesus in Matthew 5 talks of the great lengths that we need to go to shed off sin. He told the crowd to cut off their limbs and to gouge their eyes out if they were the ones which were making them sin. Of course this is not literal but what He meant was to shed off those things that are too painful to let go of.  When will you gouge out your eye if not now? Taking on means adopting habits that fuel the desire for God and His things.  Reading God’s word on your own and meditating is a great way of discovering God’s heart. I believe knowing God helps keep us from sinning because we know what breaks His heart. Psalm 119 clearly elucidates this:
Vs 9: How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
Vs: 11: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Time to switch off that TV, put your phone away and spend time with the Lord. Time to delete that long list of torrented movies, series and music albums. Time to tune off from those radio channels that discuss topics that spite God’s idea of good relationships and marriage.
Modesty is a big part of maintaining purity as believers. This includes modesty in the way we dress, talk and carry ourselves. Heated debates about dressing are not a new thing under the sun. I believe that modesty is a heart issue and when we find ourselves being too defensive against what God’s word says, then our hearts could be plagued with pride.I love the way John Piper summarizes the whole issue of modesty: Deep things need to happen in a woman’s and a man’s soul before they have any chance of thinking and feeling about modesty in a way that honours God. Until God has become your treasure, until your own sin has become the thing you hate most, until the Word of God is your supreme authority that you feel to be more precious than gold, sweeter than honey, until the gospel of Christ’s death in your place is the most precious news in the world to you, until you have learned to deny yourself short term pleasures for the sake of long term joy and holiness, until you have grown to love the Holy Spirit and long for his fruit more than man’s praise, until you count everything as loss compared to the supreme value of knowing Christ, your attitude towards your clothing and your appearance will be controlled by forces that don’t honour Chris
I know that the standards set in the bible may be too high for our depraved selves and many opt for the easier way out. The good news is that Jesus came and died and through Him we can live up to these standards of holiness. The cross makes us flawless. This blog post started with a gory picture. The picture of the cross; a perfect representation of what grace is. It ends with grace, it does not matter how far you think you have fallen, God still accepts you as you are. All you need is to come to a place of repentance. Do you feel like this purity thing is not for you, that it is too high a standard for you? You are not alone! Daily we fall short but the beauty of having a relationship with Christ is that you do not have to do this alone. He died on that cross so that you would be clothed with His righteousness. We celebrated Easter a fortnight ago; I do not know what it means to you, but to me, Easter is about new beginnings with the end being when Christ on that cross said ‘It is finished!’  You do not have to beat yourself up over what happened because when you come to the foot of the cross, you leave your sin there and pick up a new slate. The old is gone and the new has come!
Live, laugh and love.
Cheers:)
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Saturday, 30 May 2015

The 20 Somethings.......

With age comes wisdom. Wisdom that is informed by the experiences that we go through. Over the years, I have gone through things that have made me who I am. They have defined my disposition, cultured me and even played a role in defining how I make decisions. Here are 20-something nuggets of wisdom from a 20-something-year-old
      1.    On self-worth
Learn to love yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have quirks that we are insecure about. Be your greatest fan and cheer yourself up with every unexpected turn of events. Remember that you do not control fate, God does! Forgive yourself and learn to pick yourself up, dust and pat yourself on the back as you brace for the next challenge. Do not let failure, looks, financial or social status define your worth. Instead let your identity be deep-seated in Christ. 
2.    On reading.
Knowledge is power. There is nothing that is as attractive as an au courant persona. Their conversations flow as they can never miss something to talk about. Pick a book and kick ignorance out with his bags! Get to know what is going on in the world. It is unforgiveable not to know what is going on around you yet with technology every piece of information is a tap away.
 3.       On friendships.
No man is an island. Invest in deep meaningful friendships rather than the casual fleeting ones. You better have one ride-or-die kind of a friend rather than a million acquaintances who only know you by your name and nothing more. Treasure all the golden moments of beautiful friendships because one day all you will have will be memories to cherish!
 4.       On giving.
Everyday aspire to be a blessing to someone around you.  Make someone smile maybe by sorting that struggling friend’s lunch bill. Get your watchman a warm cup of tea this rainy season. This world has a lot of love to offer, get out there and be a blessing, you will be surprised!
 5.       On talents
Jesus told a story about the talents, a king and his subjects. (Matthew 25:14-30) Take risks and use what God has placed in your hands for His glory. We are endowed differently all we have to do is recognize our talents and put them into use. Remember that talent can one take far but only character can keep them there.
6.       On hardwork.
Be the best you can be in what you do. Life does not happen, it responds. If you give the best, life will definitely reciprocate the gesture and vice versa. As Dr.Kings once put it: If it falls your lot to be a janitor, mop those floors like Beethoven composed music, mop the floors like Michelangelo painted pictures, mop the floors like Leon Tyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Mop the floors like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Mop the floors so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: here lived a great floor mopper who did his job well!
7.      On Family.
Treasure family always. Call them up, visit them, get together and catch up. They were not wrong when they said that blood is thicker than water. Cummon’, if you ever need a kidney, family will be your most likely match. Time to pick that phone and call your grandma!
8.      On walking with God.
Having a relationship with God and worshiping Him is the primary reason for your existence, the rest is sub-text with laughter in between. He created you for His own glory and it’s up to you to live up to it. Let every step that you take, every move that you make and the trajectory of your life be centred in Christ alone. For this relationship to grow, spend more time in God’s word and prayer. Find a bible believing church and commune with like-minded brothers and sisters.
9.     On health.
Taking care of one’s body should start as early as possible. Exercise, drink water, have an apple daily, cut down on stress levels, get enough sleep and your body will thank you at 40.
            10.   Travel
There is nothing that is as sad as letting your ‘hometown mentality’ run your mindset. Time for a paradigm shift, travel more and experience a different people’s culture. Please don’t be like that ignorant American who thinks that Africa is a country with naked people chasing lions as a form of entertainment. There’s more to Rwanda than the genocide, there is more to Tanzania than speaking Swahili, there is more to Somalia than war, there is more to Sudan than tension from the secession, there is more to Congo than drug barons and gold syndicates, there is more to Russia than the mafia, there is more to China than the pandas and more to Australia than the Kangaroos! Get to experience the other side of the story.
            11.   Be different.
Be maverick in doing things. Don’t die a photocopy yet God made you a masterpiece in the beginning. Don’t work to be the sun, be a star and flaunt your unique streak.
            12.   Pretty hurts.
You are beautifully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139) Don’t ever doubt that! Today’s society is an ensemble dedicated towards making you want to be something that you are not!. Masks become costly and charades exhausting. Toss them, pick up God’s word and remind yourself of who you are in Him.
            13.    On love, sex and relationships.
As I always say, someone already know what they want from you the minute they express interest in you: a relationship, casual sex or friendship. Run back to God’s word and let every relationship whether platonic or romantic be defined in God’s standards or holiness. Don’t blur the lines by buying into the picture that Hollywood is selling. Forget about asking, ‘how far is too far’ instead ask ‘how far can I run away from sin towards God’. (Ephesians 5:3)
            14.   On saving.
Make hay when the sun shines. Live within your means and not with the aim of impressing people who do not care. Don’t wait for your first salary to be the primary source of income, start a side-hustle and build an empire from it.
            15.   Dreams and ambitions.
Dream big, dream till your dreams begin to scare you; that you are too small for them. Don’t stop at dreaming. Work towards your dreams. Only bluebloods are born with a silver platter in their mouths. You’ve got to work for yours.
            16.   On leaving a legacy.
What will you be remembered for? Jomo Kenyatta once said, ‘Our children may learn about the heroes of the past, our task is to make ourselves the architects of their future’. Let people remember you for having a meaningful impact on the world. Be a legend in your own right!
            17.   On loving and forgiving.
Forgive quickly(Matthew 18:22), love till it bleeds. Human relationships have never been easy since time immemorial because we are innately self-centred, always looking out for ourselves no matter the cost. We have no control over what people do to us but we always have control over our reaction.
            18.   Loosen up.
Learn to laugh at your mistakes. Don’t take life too seriously, after all, no one gets out alive! Try out something new, don’t die with regrets of should have, could have or would have.    
19.   Network.
Invest in relationships that will help your career grow. Keep a good rapport with your workmates and even your former bosses. Get a mentor in your line of career and hang out with people who have the same goals as you, you will be surprised.
            20.   Time.
Time is one of the most misused gifts. We waste a lot of time thing that we are young and we have it all. There are things that you can only do in your 20s, when you have less commitments. Don’t procrastinate or either let the ‘what if’ bug bite. Get off the couch, switch off the TV and do something meaningful with your life! Time is like a flowing river, once the water flows, it is gone forever and you can’t touch the same water twice.
            21.   Life does not need to be perfect or turn out all the way you planned it for it to be good, savor         the experiences they will teach you a lot. 
            22.   It is okay not to be okay. Learn to share your struggles with a trusted friend. Being vulnerable       is not a weakness. A problem shared is a problem half-solved. You will realize that you are not           alone in your struggles and how human everyone around you is. 
            23.    Have fun. Make memories. Engage in your hobbies and make every moment count.                       Remember that someday you will stand in front of your creator and make an account of every             single action you took. 
            24.    Laugh more. Humour can turn a mountain into a molehill. With every laugh, a burden                   becomes bearable.
            25.   Spend time with the elderly, you will have a lot to learn from them. Spend more time with             kids, they will brighten your soul. 
            26.   Nurture a quiet spirit. A quarrelsome woman is like a septic wound. A man who cusses like a       sailor is not attractive!


          27.     27 precedes 28 

                28.     28 is two steps shy of 29

          29.   29 is the real deal before 30, 

          30.    Please don’t go on guessing my age, because I am waaay ahead of you in this game. Hehe!

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                                                    Live, Laugh Love.

                                                             Cheers!






Sunday, 10 May 2015

BRAVE


She is her father’s only daughter; the source of his pride, the apple of his eye. She is the lastborn and has three older brothers who cherish her more than anything else in the world. Her mum is her bestfriend, they gossip and shop together.
She was a worship leader in her daddy’s church. An esteemed lass who was the envy of all the ladies her age; sweet 16, a few months shy of 17. Girls her age sought out sound advice from her. A straight ‘A’ student who had a happy childhood and a smooth teen-hood. The only hurdle that she ever faced in her life was the tragic and unfortunate death of her baby sister; her only sister! The perpetrator of the heinous crime was behind bars. Forever! Where she belonged! Their family was past that and had emerged stronger. After all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! The parents of her peers always advised their daughters to be like her; a young woman from whose demeanour emanated humility and grace. If she walked into a room, her aura spoke volumes, she always stood out yet remained grounded, humble. Her boyfriend, Jake was a 19 year old lad who was the crush of every lass in that church. It was no surprise when his heart got fixated on Ivanna. For she was such a beauty on the inside out. She was soft-spoken and ever smiling though a tad bit of a miss-goodie-two-shoes. But who wouldn’t be if they had it all figured out?
It’s 3 O’clock in the morning and Ivanna cannot sleep. How did she end up in such a place? A place where her demons could dare torment her? A place where she could not close her eyes and pray because guilt and shame suffocated her? A place where she didn’t know what to do? She was always the fixer. She always send out the ‘Olivia Pope kind of vibe.’ Her inner child petrified despite the fighter fa├žade that she bore on the outside. She felt like she had hit the cold hard surface below rock bottom. No one could help her out of this for she was cornered. Her demons became more real as she replayed the previous day’s events. Surreal they seemed. The prayer she silently whispered as she and her BFF Kourtney held their hands as they wanted for the moment that would define the trajectory that her life would take from then on!   She jumped out of bed and ran the shower. Maybe a cold one would calm her nerves down.
In the morning she calls the only person would be her tower of refuge. Jake. She told him to meet her at their favorite spot: the pier by the private dock. Her trepidation increased as she lay her eyes on him. How would he take in the news? What options did they have at hand? A million questions raced through her mind. He reached out to hug her but she retracted. Strange! She was always the warm one! Funny how he hadn’t read into the tension and murkiness that had enveloped the air. He coerced her and she finally gave in. She broke the news amidst sobs. Jake stood there transfixed, he didn’t know what to say. He then started muttering incoherently. He told her of a good doctor all the way in downtown who would help them get rid of it.

Wait a minute! Was He actually suggesting an abortion? For a second she actually considered it. The option too enticing; the easy way out! They sat there in silence pondering upon the next step. Jake slowly turns to Ivanna.
‘What if it is not mine?’
Ivanna stood up in utter disbelief.
‘Jake we both know that you are my only one! How could you even say that?’
She walked away sobbing. That was the last she heard from Jake.
Ivanna got home and locked herself in her room trying to put one and two together but the puzzle didn’t fit. Fear, apprehension, guilt and confusion all came bombarding her at once. She tries to picture how her parents would react to the news. Her father would obviously be heartbroken. Her mom, always emotional, would weep. Hell! Who wants to see their mother weep? Mothers are supposed to be strong and stoic. Nothing takes them down easy and if a mother weeps, you know that it got real! It might have as well hit the fan!
Time to wait for the second shoe to drop. It was raining outside. The silent sound of raindrops pelting against her bedroom window no longer had a soothing effect on her. She looked outside. The weather and her emotions were in perfect symphony. Grey.
She walked into her dad’s study. He was busy preparing that Thursday’s Bible Study Guide. She pulled a seat next to him and sombrely called him out. It hurt so bad that in that moment she would break her daddy’s heart.
‘Dad!’
He turned with a smile which quickly melted into a worried look. He knew that something was amiss because his only daughter was in tears
‘Talk to me princess.’
He still fondly called her princess for she was. She then requested him to call her mum and in a jiffy her mum joined them. She broke the news to them. It broke her to see how broken they were.

Today Ian turns 3. Yes she kept the baby and it was one of the most terrifying yet terrific decision that she has ever made. Her parents have been her soft landing all the while. She trod the difficult road. Till date she has to endure the judgmental stares that she gets in church and even the supermarket. A child nurturing another child. Slanderers tarnishing her name and even her so-called friends turning their backs on her. She lost so much and yet in that BRAVE decision that she made gained unimaginably more than she could comprehend. She had to endure gossip even from her closest kith and kin just because she was BRAVE. BRAVE enough to let the world see who she really was, a perfectly imperfect human tainted with iniquity. BRAVE enough to choose to tread a path that promised mockery and tears. BRAVE enough to choose to give up all that she held on so dearly for the sake of another human. BRAVE enough to own up and take responsibility for her actions. BRAVE enough to choose love over reputation. BRAVE enough honour life. BRAVE enough to honour God!
Motherhood came with joy that only she could comprehend. To have and hold a human being who is solely dependent on her. Looking into Ian’s eyes fills Ivanna’s heart with warmth. She cherishes every minute she spends with him. He is her source of joy and pride. To watch the miracle of life from budding within her to a bundle of cuteness that has quickly grown up to be an individual with a personality leaves her in awe of life’s mysteries and God’s was that are high above ours.
To be honest, I do not know how I would cope if life hauled Ivanna’s predicament at me. I do not know if within me I withhold the much needed courage to walk the high road and trust me you can never answer this question with utmost honesty unless this predicament presents itself.

This Mothers’ Day, I would like to honour all the BRAVE mothers out there. The BRAVE mothers who despite having their backs up against the wall, still chose love over reputation. They are the quintessence of a selfless sacrifice that keeps on giving. Your bravery is the touchstone of unwavering stoicism, love and honour. May God’s grace sustain you and may you never regret the honourable road you chose to tread. Tread because it was not easy. Being a young mother is not about what you have given up to have the child but what you have gained from having one!
Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers out there, especially to my dear mum who selflessly gives over and over again for the sake of love! Because mothers love!
Here at The Mental Tango, we would love to appreciate one BRAVE mother. If you know one BRAVE mother who deserves such appreciation, go ahead and like our Facebook Page and inbox up their full Facebook Name. Make sure that clicking on the name that you submit will directly lead to their profile. A BRAVE mother will be randomly selected and surprised!
Cheers,
Live, Laugh and Love.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

TAKING STOCK.


Someone is really mad at me. They are so mad that they have refused to talk to me for days. What is more frustrating is that their aura speaks volumes and their presence is haunting yet their silence is deafening. As a result, I am experiencing a really bad bout of writers’ block. Yeah, by now you have already figured out that I am talking about: my imaginary friend; the voice in my head that whispers all the amazing ideas of what to write about.
 Today I am going to do things differently. I will be taking stock of where I am at in life, something very crucial in the growth of any blogger.
 Making: Use of every minute. As I grow older, it is beginning to hit me hard that time is too special a gift to waste.
Eating: Mr. Donut pastries. Gosh! Their donuts are heavenly! I am addicted; too bad my snuggly jeans are a clear sign of my guilty pleasures J 
Oh! I also looooooove Pin Pops!!!
Reading: Danielle Steel’s Amazing Grace. I can’t seem to put this baby down!
   Just like Jesus: A heart like His by Max Luxado.
Wanting: A tulle skirt, every princess deserves one! A thrill or adventure would be good; life is becoming mundane.
Enjoying: Modern Family Season 6 and Blackish. Don’t I just love comedies?
Listening to: Michael W. Smith’s 2014 album, Sovereign and Audio Adrenaline’s 2013 Kings and Queens
On that musical note, Don Moen is coming to Kenya on May 1st courtesy of ICC Mombasa. Thank me later!
Bookmarking: wordedveil.wordpress.com
Daily Mantra: Run wild, Love hard and live free! J
Lesson learnt in 2015: Negativity can either be a motivator or a dream killer, the choice lies with you!
Preparing: Fruit Smoothies and green Smoothies; a girl has got to take care of herself!
Drinking: With the cold season finally kicking in, I am enjoying lemon tea or milk and Oreos.
Desiring: To visit a place that I have never been to over Easter. Any suggestions?
Excited About: My new workout routine. My body aches but it is worth it!!!

Remember to Live, Laugh and Love!

Cheers!



Friday, 6 March 2015

Dear Jane Doe,


This is me writing to you a few nuggets of wisdom; bearing myself bare just for you cupcake! Yes, you will always be my little cupcake. These are the memoirs of my life that will help you navigate through your young adulthood; a crucial period; your formative years.
I remember how elated I was when I learnt that I was 7 months shy of holding you in my arms; how my heart skipped a beat as I watched your daddy’s big brown eyes light up upon hearing the news. I remember the day I went to buy your stroller and first blanket. I remember buying a camera to make sure that all your milestones are forever etched in our hearts and cherished daily even when our memory fails us in old age. It was only two days after receiving the news; I guess the excitement of being a first time mum overwhelmed me. I could not imagine that in just 7 months, I would meet a smaller version of myself. I remember the labour pains that took me by surprise and got me cussing so hard that a puritan would have blushed. Oh! The pain of childbirth! I remember holding you in my arms and despite being wrinkled with the effort of being born, you were still the most beautiful thing that I have ever laid my eyes upon. As you silently cooed and stretched, daddy and I sighed with marvel. I remember a tear welling up my left eye when you first called me mama. God! Your eyes were so adorable; full of innocence and oblivious of how cruel our world can be!
Today you are a young adult; in your final year in campus. You grow more beautiful by the day! Confident yet humble; selfless yet assertive; calm demeanor yet an aura that screams of your presence when you walk into a room. Godly charm is what emanates from deep within you. You are lucky to have taken after your grandma; such a beautiful smile she has! Even in her golden years, she is still very beautiful and can give Halle Berry a run for her money. Even Oprah Winfrey holds no candle to your grandma’s beauty! May you age gracefully like her!

You are beautiful. Period. Don’t ever doubt that! Do not let others validate your worth based on your looks. You were created for more. You are not a painting to just sit there and look pretty. I hope you never feel the pressure to physically conform to the perverse standards of our chaotic world. True beauty emanates from inside and not what changes. I hope you never succumb to the pressure of being something you are not. Today’s society is an ensemble dedicated to making you don masks; masks that rob you of your true joy. Whenever you doubt it, my dear cupcake, run to God’s word. Let it define you, for you are beautifully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139)  You are the spitting image of your heavenly father (Genesis 1:27)


I remember that your teen years brought a tad of conflicts between you and your daddy. Of the ‘unreasonable curfews’ and ‘old fashioned rules’ about having boys in the house. It’s not that daddy hated you or didn’t want the best for you; he was afraid that the world would lure you with its marred ideas on what is fun and what is not, plus your beauty put a bulls-eye on you. All the estate boys had their eye on you! As for now, we can’t wait to meet your boyfriend. We believe that you are wise enough to make informed decisions.
Relationships can be tricky but again, if guided and define by God’s word can be a timeless capsule full of happiness. God’s authority over your relationships will save you a whole lot of heartaches, disappointments and late night drowning of sorrow with icecream and cheesy movies. Not that daddy and I have it all figured out, but we’ve had our own fair share of magical times together. When a man asks you out, he knows exactly what he wants from you; a relationship, casual sex or just friendship. Don’t let a man waste your time ‘trying to figure out where things are going’. I find this selfish and cheap an excuse. Cupcake, please don’t be any man’s ‘new kind of a side chick!’ Please don’t succumb to the pressure of being in a relationship just for the sake of ‘standards’. Let God’s timing be your guide. Let purity be a daily strife. Uphold it; cherish it. Let your reasons for upholding purity be deep-seated in God’s word. If you uphold purity just because of fickle reasons such as ‘waiting for the right guy’ or ‘saving yourself for your husband’, you will fall. Miserably! You need bigger a reason than you. Let your reasons be deep-seated in Christ and His works on the cross.  Now that’s a battle worth fighting for! Lust is real! Raging hormones are oh so real! Being a virgin is not enough as one Chadia Mathurin once put it. Let God’s grace be the source of your strength. God’s grace is sufficient and in our weakness we are made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) Only God’s grace can help you stand against the desires of your flesh (Titus 2) Learn to die daily to your flesh; soak yourself in God’s word and spend time in prayer. Remember, he who kneels before God can stand against anything!
I thought that peer pressure is only for hormonal teenagers. How wrong I was! My dear cupcake, let every decision you make be influenced by your needs and above all God’s desire in  your life and not what the world wants of you. After all, this ain’t our home! Right now you are in your prime years. This is where you define the trajectory that you want your life to take. Every decision and step that you take will have a ripple effect on days or years to come. A wise beautiful woman once said, ‘life does not just happen; it responds to you.’ Please take your studies seriously, I would hate if you turn out to be just another pretty bimbo with a college degree. Be assertive. Be aggressive. There’s so much that the world has to offer. Aspire to respire before you expire! No one will put a silver spoon in your mouth. Go out and fight for it. Only blue-bloods are born with silver spoons in their mouths, the rest of us have to work for them, for nothing good comes easy! Dream big; dream so big that your dreams begin to scare you! Again there’s only much that that dreaming can do, work towards realizing them. Do not be afraid of our failure for that is what keeps us grounded when we succeed in our endeavors.
Lastly remember to always put God first. Let Him define your dreams, purpose in life, every tiny winy move you make , your virtues and standards. Let Him build your character because education and talent can only take you far but only character can keep you there.


Love always cupcake,
Mommy.

PS: Please remember to like my Facebook Page so as to get faster updates on new posts. The highlighted texts are links to posts that carry a lot of wisdom in them. Kindly read them, they will challenge the way you think!
Live laugh love!


Friday, 23 January 2015

Why I will marry the man in a Blue Subaru!







Circa 9:30 pm. It’s pitch dark outside, no stars, no moon. Blackout. Darkness seamlessly clouds the skyline of the suburbs.The sky is filled with really dark clouds that ominously threaten to release their content any minute now. I try to hold my coat close to my chest as the chilly wind pierces through my skin making me have a slight tremor. I cross a road absentmindedly as I hear the silent humming of a generator kilometres away. I stand at the stage waiting for a bus. It’s funny how the Nairobi nightlife comes to a standstill in the event of a blackout. I take out my phone to check the time again only to find that it died on me! I get so worked up, what if Uhunye tries calling and finds me unavailable? I’m not name dropping because random people receive calls from him; he’s that cool! It’s sad that it was the first thing to cross my mind instead of my poor mother worried sick that she cannot reach me at this unholy hour! The mind; it likes pulling unforgettable ones on us. I board a bus and I sneeze as I sit down. Oh! The sniffles! I must be coming down with something or it’s because of the pressure caused by the utter disdain I have for KPLC; there has been a blackout that lasted for two days! As I stare out of the window and more random thoughts continue whirling in my overactive mind and that is how this post was born.
I cannot wait to get married! Every girl dreams of her wedding day right from a tender age; of her prince charming and of that magical moment when everything comes to a standstill as they stare deep into each other’s eyes saying their vows; when two become one! Despite all this, I have my fears. I fear waking up one day staring into some eyes with contempt and regret because I didn't get married to the right person! That I chose a man depending on the petty things and did not land the real deal.
When I was 17, a group of friends and I wrote a list of what we wanted in a man and just like the clueless teenagers we were, we listed the most petty and superficial of them all. Yes! I wanted to marry a black American man from a rich background. Not the money that was made because daddy was a CEO in a top notch franchise; but old money. The Rockefeller kind of wealth! Royalty; blue blood running down generations. Such families are not excited over living in the leafy suburbs because they own an island.
But with age came wisdom. No! Scratch that! As I grew deeper in my walk with Christ, my eyes were opened and my priorities changed and I stopped gravitating toward the shiny lustrous surface and began digging for more! I stopped caring if a man drove a Ghost Rolls Royce or a Blue Subaru. A wise woman who has been happily married for close to a decade once told me that we end up with the people we least expect, at least judging by worldly standards. The metaphorical use of a man in a blue Subaru is to show the least likely marriage candidate according to worldly standards.
There is more to choosing the person you want to date and eventually settle down with, rather than the car they drive or their social stature or looks. My mum likes asking me what if they get burnt by porridge, will I still love them? (I don’t know why she always thinks of porridge burning people’s faces but she has a point!) It’s about choosing the Fruit of the Spirit over the Fruit of Life! The former precedes the latter in priority. We have been cultured to gravitate towards the ones who seem to win in life. We evaluate people before we know them. The bitter truth is that all that glitters is not gold and when you dig up the surface of these attractive things, you will find dark and gore written all over it. We must have a standard. If you do not stand for anything, you will fall for anything!
Personally, I have fallen prey to the lure of those who seem to be winning in life but slowly I have come to know the truth; truth based on God’s word and not our shaky foundations of culture with vanity smeared all over them. I will not lie, a list still exists but most of the qualities have changed. I know that God is faithful and He will honour the desires of our hearts if presented to Him.
What if they lose all that wealth or the ‘attractive’ physical attributes? What then will keep you together at that juncture? Looks will definitely fade at 50 onwards if they are lucky enough! Focus on something deeper. Look for someone who will draw you closer to Christ rather than to himself. Look for a person whose life is evidently manifesting the works of the Spirit.
Marriage is never about you! It’s about the other person and above all about God’s original plan for mankind. Marriage is not about finding someone who makes us feel good (although it’s definitely a bonus!), it’s about learning to lay down our desires and love another well. It’s about making the other person happy. It’s about your future children as the blogger Seth Adams once said. Who do you want to help you raise your children? Who do you want to be their pillar of influence? If we are not keen to these nuances, we end up pursuing our personal bliss and our search becomes inherently selfish!
We should focus on how the other person deals with their sinfulness. Does he realise the need for a saviour every second of his life and yet still pursue holiness? Is he selfless enough to love you like the way Christ did the church? Is he a good steward with his finances, however much? How compatible are you? In that I meant, do you have a common compass? Is it both your careers and climbing the corporate ladder? Is it amassing wealth? Is it family? Is it God?
I may be eons away from walking down the aisle but I thank God that He has begun teaching me these things this early. I am just an amateur and all I can do is leave you with the 13 guidelines of biblical manhood and what to seek in a man before you say I do written by one Albert Mohler:
  •  Spiritual Maturity sufficient to lead his wife and children.
  • Personal Maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father.
  •   Economic Maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.
  •  Physical Maturity sufficient to work and protect a family.
  •  Sexual Maturity sufficient to uphold purity before and after marriage.
  •   Moral Maturity sufficient to lead as example in righteousness.
  • Ethical Maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.
  • Worldview Maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.
  • Relational Maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.
  •  Social Maturity sufficient to make a contribution to the society.
  •   Verbal Maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.
  •  Character Maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage and integrity under fire,
  •  Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.
All these are just but guidelines. Let the Bible be your basic reference point! Read 1Timothy 3. Don’t settle for less, wait for the real deal.
Live, Laugh and Love.
Cheers!