Kimberly Fray

Haggai, book of haggai, scripture

A WORD FROM THE BOOK OF HAGGAI

What is the main message of the Book of Haggai?

“Haggai encourages those who have just returned from exile to remain faithful, obedient, and hopeful for God’s promise of a new Jerusalem. Haggai challenges returned exiles to remain faithful and rebuild the temple.” – The Bible Project

The other night when I was ready to get into bed, I felt the Holy Spirit move me to open my Bible. I’ve been wanting to start reading the stories about all the women in the Bible and I was looking for the book of Ruth but instead I was led to the book of Haggai.

I have never read the book of Haggai, in fact I probably missed it before because its only one page in my Bible.

At the top of the page, it gives some context of the book of Haggai. I’ll summarise it but the very first sentence read as follows:

“Do you have trouble finishing the projects you start? “

Already, I felt convicted by that one sentence. If you have been following me and my blog, you know I want to become a published author. I just haven’t come as far as actually finishing any of the multiple stories I’ve started, over twenty stories to be exact.

Anyway, back to Haggai.

Book of Haggai, scripture, wordsinverse
The Book Of Haggai in my Bible.

Haggai lived in Jerusalem after many Jews returned from exile in Babylonia. Those who returned started rebuilding the temple but eventually they just stopped and the temple was left half finished.

Haggai, who is a prophet, begins a campaign with Zechariah to continue to work and finish the temple and this is where the story begins.

HAGGAI 1 VS 3-6

‘Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes’

The above verse to me speaks about society today. We are always wanting more; more money, more clothes, more possessions and even when we get what we want, we still want more. We look around us, comparing ourselves to everyone we come across. Feelings of jealousy, envy and sometimes even rage rear its ugly head and we end up losing sight of who we are and what we have.

Our focus is on us and what we want and what we can get. We end up forgetting that God placed us here for a reason, that we are part of God’s plan and purpose for this earth. As children of God, we are on a mission that is greater than anything we could ever want or think we need. Our mission is to save souls and serve and build the house of the Lord.

HAGGAI 1 VS 8

‘Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house’

A clear command given by God. He gives direction, he provides resources and gives clear instructions on what needs to be done. All we have to do is listen and obey.

HAGGAI 1 VS 9-11

‘You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord. While all of you are busy building your own fine houses. It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. I have called you for a drought on your fields and hills – a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get. ‘

Wow, that verse is so hard to read and, in many ways, very convicting. It forces you to take a very hard look at yourself and where your priorities lie.

The first part that really stands out for me, ‘I blew it away’. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1 vs 21) It is in the Lord’s authority and power to give and take away as He sees fit and we need to remember that we can do nothing without Him. It is both a blessing and also something to be respected.

The above scripture then goes on to say, the Lord’s house lies in ruins while we continue to build our own fine houses. You can take that literally or figuratively. This is how I interpreted it.

In the literal sense, it means looking out only for your own needs and wants, while we know God’s people are suffering and we see opportunities where we can help, but we don’t because we are too busy building our own homes. I understand it as chasing my own dreams, goals and visions and forgetting that there are people I can help in my backyard.

Then it goes on to say ‘It’s because of you that the rain withholds its dew and the earth produces no crops’. In simple English, we end up blocking our own blessings and plans God has for us because we are so busy being selfish and self-centred and we are worried about our own needs.

Then the last part says,

“I have called you for a drought…”

The Bible says, there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3 vs 1-8)

This portion of the verse spoke so vividly to me because all of us want the harvest but hardly any of us want to put in the work. Humans are impatient, myself included and we don’t always understand why we are going through difficult times of hardships. We question everything; why are others successful and I am not? Why are things progressing for others but not for me? I believe this scripture says simply;

It is not yet your time.

It is your time for a drought.

What we must remember is the following;

HAGGAI 1 vs 13

‘I am with you, says the Lord’

We are never alone in our time of drought, God is always with us.

HAGGAI 2 vs 4:

‘Be strong…

Be strong…

And now, get to work, for I am with you. My Spirit remains among you…do not be afraid’

How beautiful and encouraging is that promise from God. Even when we go through a drought, God is with us. He encourages to be strong, reminds us that Hs Spirit is among us always. He will never forsake us or forget about us. We must simply continue the work He has called us for and continue to work, even during the most trying times and circumstances. God’s promises are clear.

HAGGAI 2 VS 19

‘I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates and olive trees have not yet produced their crops but from this day onward, I will bless you’

Nothing to explain there, simply take it in and understand God will bless you.

I’ll leave you with this to end off.

HAGGAI 2 VS 21

‘I am about to shake the heavens and the earth’

HAGGAI 2 VS 23

‘I have chosen you’

You are not random. God has a plan for your life. He only asks that you give Him room to work in you so that you can also be a part in building his house and his Kingdom.
The Lord has chosen you for a time such as this.

adult, diary, journal-1850177.jpg

ON WRITING

Writing is a release for me. Almost like therapy but without the talking.

When I write down my feelings and thoughts that have kept me hostage or that have made me feel sad or heartbroken or angry and I stare at it on the page before me, I feel a sense of freedom. Almost as if I let go of something. I feel as if I can breath easier, as if I’ve made space in my heart and my spirit for better and more beautiful things.

It’s a healing process. I never want to stop experiencing this when I write. I never want to stop writing.

Even if I never become a best-selling author and no one ever reads anything I write, I’d like to know I’ve left a trail of breadcrumbs to feed someone’s soul.

book review, the school for good mothers. jessamine chan

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD MOTHERS – BOOK REVIEW

Author : Jessamine Chan

First published : 2022

Okay, this book was difficult to read. As a mother and as a woman, I found myself gasping, cringing, feeling sad and heartbroken, feeling angry and frustrated. I experienced disbelief and a whole lot of other emotions that caught me by surprise. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked up this book but what I found was definitely not it.

This book was also on Barack Obama’s favourite book list for 2022.

Without giving too much away, I’ll provide a short summary.

Frida Liu is a young mother accused of neglecting and abandoning her young child. She is then sent to a school which is meant to retrain ‘bad mothers’ into becoming the best and most attentive mothers in human existence. (I’m being a bit sarcastic here and once you read the book, especially if you are a mother, I’m sure you will understand why.)

The training and exercises these mothers at the school go through are something else; I found myself frowning and saying “huh?” on many occasions while reading.

‘I am a bad mother but I am learning to be good’

the school for good mothers, book review
An excerpt from the book.

There is so much I can say and want to say about how this book made me feel; when I got to the last chapter, I was in tears.

In a way this book highlights the unrealistic expectations society has when it comes to mothers. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood and children are a gift for women who want it, but it’s a very difficult journey to be on.

In the book, mothers are expected to always be aware of everything around them, never turn their eyes away from their children for a second, be able to soothe their babies by using the correct language and words and physical affection, be able to effectively comfort their children and provide quick, healthy meals and stimulate their minds all the while not losing their own heads.

In a nutshell; it’s a lot.

The thing is, mothers can do all the above but unlike the children in the book, we are not robots. We need a break and we are not always emotionally available for our children or spouses or partners. We won’t always cook healthy dinners and sometimes we want to shut down and be left alone and that is perfectly normal and should be acceptable.

Our own kids are 6 and 8 years old now; they have an abundance of energy which I don’t. There is always something that needs to be done. Laundry needs to be washed and folded and packed away, school lunches need to be made, shopping needs to be done, toys have to be picked up and put away, children need to be disciplined. All the while you are trying to think of the 20 things you need to remember, you are thinking about work, you are checking the time, you are trying to engage in conversations, you are trying to be a good wife and then you need to remember to take care of yourself; have a bath, drink your coffee, fall asleep.

You will fall short somewhere.

We were never made to be perfect.

adult, mother, daughter

The guilt and pressure mothers are put under is also a prominent theme in this book; not only by society but by family and surprisingly other mothers too. The pressure can become so crippling, that it becomes life-threatening.

As a mom myself, I’ve been judged, criticized, told what I’m doing wrong, what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. I’ve also compared myself to other moms and it made me feel like the worst person in the world. I’ve been told to plan ahead, prepare dinners, clothing, activities, grocery lists, an endless number of things that I am meant to remember and take care off. Being a parent is difficult but there’s a different kind of hardship that comes with motherhood. Sometimes it’s unrealistic and you have homes where there are two parents and both contribute equally but I think as women, we tend to put ourselves under pressure and that pressure is amplified when you become a mom. Especially when you have a full-time job, a side hustle, a marriage, children. When you do catch your breath long enough to tick something off your to-do list, it feels like a miracle, that’s if you remembered to write your to-do list!

Yes, I know. It sounds like I am venting and maybe I am a little. Reading this book might unlock feelings on the inside of you, that you never even thought you had. Some of those feelings you might not be ready to face.

Something else which stands out for me in this novel is how different the ‘bad fathers’ are treated at the school, which I will call, ‘parenting rehab facility’

The differences are like night and day, which again angered me a little because moms are not always extended the grace which they deserve.

I think the overwhelming message in this book is how one small mistake can change your entire life. The book is about a mother who needs to make decisions which are painful and difficult but she makes them and she doesn’t always make the right ones.

It’s also about regret and how it can hold you back but its also about forgiveness; forgiving others but also forgiving yourself for mistakes you made when you didn’t know better.

All in all, it was an amazing read. I could probably write pages and pages of analysis but I want you to experience this book and make sense of it on your own.

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PIECES OF ME

we are shaped by our experiences but we can choose how to live out those experiences. We choose how to live, we choose whether we give up or go on. We choose to forgive.

life demands of you to be intentional; intentional about your actions, your energy, your focus, your thoughts and emotions.

It hasn’t been easy but it has been fulfilling

love is one of the most if not the most powerful source of hope we have on this earth

Its not just okay to live as your authentic self, its absolutely necessary.

do not fear.
do not tremble.
do not question or second guess

These hard, tiring and busy days won’t last.

Your ability to nurture, love, care and encourage is God-given.

break out of the mould you created for yourself with all the things you thought you knew

I hope you relinquish all expectations
you had of yourself for this next season and simply enjoy being alive.

Even if it fails, at least you know that you tried.

We all have a place in our minds where we wish to go, things we want to do and places we want to see but if I’ve learned anything, these last few years, is that you won’t get there if you don’t get moving.

It’s a beautiful day. The dog dreams. I breathe

Better to have a moment of awkwardness than to have a lifetime of regret.

But I see how you carry on.

I see how you carry others.

I see how you love,

I see how you pray.

I see you and I love what I see.

It’s a road not travelled at all.
A sad and painful place where the rivers
are made out of tears.
Very lonely. Very heartbreaking.

Very beautiful indeed.

My faith saved me.
It saves me still.

regret always comes too late.

You are more valuable than you know and you have so much more power than you realise

One hurt does not fix another

I want to be that brave person again

I’m a weary wife.

bride, loneliness, melancholy-7611312.jpg

MARRIED TO DEPRESSION

He sits with me, hollow and heavy

I can’t breath

I hide in the shadows

Hoping he won’t find me

Forgetting that he commands the shadows

My own ball and chain

I found myself myself married to depression

I climbed into his embrace and

found a home in the darkness

Not better, just worse

In sickness and sadness
Till death, will we part?

I curl on the bed

Knees to my chest

Keeping myself together

As he watches me fall apart

A spouse of sorrow

I’m a weary wife

A marriage of inconvenience

Based on loneliness and lies.

agenda, ipad, to write-968603.jpg

WRITING ABOUT NOT WRITING

The 11th of October. That’s the last time I wrote a blog post and in all honesty, I didn’t write it from scratch, it was a recycled post from years ago but still, that was the last time you saw anything from Words In Verse. I’ve been battling to write; I’m not sure if the battle stems from laziness, tiredness, busyness or a lack of creativity and ideas but I haven’t written in a long time. The problem is I want to write. I need to write. There are many times I find myself seeing something or hearing something and I want to turn it into a story or I want to write about it and explore it from my own perspective but I don’t. I let it slip away from me and disappear. And if you’re a writer, you know that once you have an idea, you better write it down because once it disappears, you won’t get it back.

adult, diary, journal-1850177.jpg

So here I am, writing about not being able to write. Funny thing is, I love writing. I love reading as well but I haven’t done much of that either lately. Writing and reading go hand in hand; if you’re not reading, its almost impossible to write. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. I also want to reevaluate what I write about. I remember about two years ago when I had my very first WIV blog (which is now gone) the blog posts I wrote were raw and honest and relatable to many people. I felt fearless when I wrote and published my posts and I felt fulfilled when someone would tell me how they felt reading what I wrote. I knew I was fulfilling my purpose, my calling and my ministry.

My husband will tell you I have a ton of unfinished stories that I started writing (one or two are done) but which I either stopped working on and refuse to touch again. He has been my biggest supporter; always telling me to finish my books and get it published and telling me what a great writer I am and there are moments when I believe him; when I read some of the stuff I’ve written and I think ‘Woah, okay, I’m pretty good at this’ in a non- arrogant way of course, but then there are those moments, which come more often than the former, where imposter syndrome creeps in and destroys all the confidence and belief I had in myself. Once that is destroyed, it’s really difficult to get it back.

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Another reason I think I’ve been afraid to write is because of the content I want to publish. I want to be that brave person again that tells honest stories; I write from experience and we all know experiences are not always comfortable; for yourself or for others to share in or experience and I know when I write certain things, a lot of people might frown upon it and I think that has also been a huge block for me.

But I don’t want it to be anymore. I want to write. I need to write and I need to share. I always say to my husband or to people I interact with, you never know who needs hear your story and who will be inspired, encouraged or motivated by it. We all go through difficult experiences and I believe that if we choose to share our experiences, in whichever way we choose to do so, it will help someone else. I’m not suggesting we save the whole world but touching one person, might save another.

So here I am, putting my struggles out there ; of being a writer who has been unable to write and I’m hoping that by doing this and by sharing this, that it will help me be brave enough to start writing again and to start sharing again; despite the fear of being judged or criticized or not believing in myself.

The truth is, I need to see for myself where this journey will take me; this journey of writing and sharing and exposing myself to a world I have yet to discover. In the end, we will never know we are good at something and we will never know the impact we have, if we don’t at least give it our best shot.

Son, day of the girl child

TO MY SON ON THE DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD

Throughout your life you will probably hear phrases such as,

A woman brought you into this world and she can take out of it

You don’t lay your hands on a woman

Be respectful toward women

I can give you a whole list of things that you will hear but I will let you be surprised and experience it as you grow up.

All those things are correct, you never ever touch a woman in a way that makes her feel uncomfortable.

You never cross a line that has clearly been set out for you.

You do not hunger after a woman’s body as if she is something to eat.

You do not say things that will kill a woman’s confidence or shatter her character.

You never do.

Do not intentionally break hearts or lead a woman on.

There is no pride or glory in breaking a woman’s heart.

It only brings you shame.

If you do not love her, tell her.

Leave her with the truth rather than loving her with a lie.

Never assume that you are always right and never make a woman feel ashamed for what she is feeling or thinking.

Make her feel comfortable enough to express herself to you and make an effort to understand her instead of admonishing her.

You need integrity and compassion and the ability to love unconditionally and you need to have respect for everyone around you.

In order to respect anyone else, man or woman, you first need to have respect for yourself.

If you don’t have a certain standard to which you hold yourself then how you treat others will be a clear reflection of that and then that would mean that I have failed you as a mother,

And I, my dear boy, am not planning on failing.

I want you to be a man that loves woman but loves them in a pure manner.

Love how they are nurturing and caring.

Love how versatile they are.

Love and respect their intellect and be a man that provides a safe space for them to unearth their potential.

Love how they make you feel on the inside, how they make you fall in love.

Be a student of women and find out what makes them tick without ticking them off.

Pray for women and pray that you gain the knowledge and wisdom on how to treat them as a good man should.

Love your sister unconditionally and protect her with your life.
Son, sister, day of the girl child
Mason and his sister, Morgan.

Fight for the causes of women and always be available when one needs you but never let any woman take advantage of your heart or your kindness.

Your heart will most likely be broken by a few girls in your lifetime and that cannot be stopped but never use that as an excuse to hurt another woman in return.

One hurt does not fix another.

Love is all there is and love is all that matters.

A woman is not your possession, you do not own the person you love.

A woman is a free spirit that will come into your life to teach and to be taught.

She will make you fall in love with life and she will enhance your vision for your own life.

She will make you want to succeed and she will push you until you do.

You cannot be a man without having had a woman touch your life.

My son,

Please remember, women brought you up,

Me,

Your grandmothers,

Your great-grandmothers,

Your aunts,

Your school teachers,

Your sister.

You have been surrounded by beautiful women all your life and you will continue to be for the rest of it.

Be sure to treat every girl or woman you ever come across with the highest level of esteem and admiration because at the end of the day if it wasn’t for the fighting and equally loving spirit of all the women in your life, you would not be who you are today.

Be an example to the many men who will follow you throughout your life and be part of a generation of men that will never again take a woman by force, break her spirit or leave her blue-eyed and crying.

Son, father and son, day of the girl child
Mason and his dad.

I beg of you baby, be different.

Be strong.

Be secure in your faith.

Be humble.

Be dependable.

Be honest.

Be brave.

Be loving and compassionate.

But most importantly, be forgiving.

Do not let the hardships in life stop you from finding the beauty and romance that there surely is and sharing it with everyone you meet.

I hold you to these standards because I know and I believe you have it in you.

Female nurses healed you back to health when you were too weak to stand on your own two feet.

A female pastor dedicated you to the church.

Female doctors delivered you from my womb.

You are not above a woman.

She stands next to you, not under your feet.

I can only give you these guidelines but it is up to you to decide what kind of man you are going to be and maybe someday, what kind of man you are going to raise.

I know you are young now but someday you will understand this.

And if you don’t understand,

Ask a woman.

Son, mother and son, day of the girl child
Mason and I.
a person holding a book while having coffee

BUILDING KINGDOM WEALTH

WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

This past weekend, I attended a women’s conference at our church. Pastor Gugu Dlamini was the keynote speaker and delivered some great advice and in many ways opened my eyes to many things which I either forgot or were never aware off. As a child of God and in my role as a wife, mother and just a woman, I often find myself in a mental state where I feel so lost. I feel hopeless, I feel utterly exhausted and attending this conference reminded me where I should find my strength. Funny thing is, I told myself I wouldn’t be able to attend the conference because I would be working but God had other plans.

The most important or rather one of the most important take-aways for me was the fact that as a woman, married or not or whether you have kids or not you have a big responsibility in the kingdom of God. You are more valuable than you know and you have so much more power than you realise and its time that we not only tap into it but also use it to change the world.

Pastor Gugu started off by explaining how we can live a life of truth. The truth is the Word of God. She explained that the truth about you, your husband, your family and your future are all already laid out and if you want to find it, you need to spend time in the Word of God. She not only said it, but she proved it by referencing several scriptures. The thing is however, the Word of God can only be your truth, if you believe it.

She said that faith is the currency of a Christian.

PSALM 112 VS 2-3 :

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

To be honest, I wish I had recorded her the entire time but I felt that it was important to be in the moment and take in the teaching hence I’m only sharing key points.

JOHN 10 VS 10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When you operate in the currency of faith, you know and trust that God will fulfill his promises to you and to you it doesn’t matter how long it will take. You know when God says He will, it is already done.

JEREMIAH 1 VS 10:

See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.

Pastor Gugu unpacked the above scripture. She said that when she reads a scripture, she not only reads it, but she reads and tries to understand every word and I’d like to share with you here what she shared with us.

UPROOT:

Uproot all that is not of God and introduce a new standard.

TEAR DOWN / PULL DOWN:

Pull down and tear down any demonic force within your family and your household.

DESTROY:

Destroy everything that is not aligned with God.

OVERTHROW:

Overthrow the enemy.

BUILD AND PLANT:

Start building towards the kingdom of God. Direct your household and stay in the gospel.

green leafy plant starting to grow on beige racks
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

JOSHUA 1 VS 5:

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

On day two of the conference, we discussed kingdom wealth and how to implement strategies to gain wealth. Pastor Gugu shared some of the following points:

  1. Being a helper is not a subordinate position – she referenced the story of Adam and Eve and asked us why did God decide to make Adam a helper.
  2. A helper can only help when there’s a vision – your husband needs to have a vision for your family so that you can help him bring that vision to life.
  3. As a woman, you get your plan from the Word of God.
  4. Read the Word of God with a strategy in mind. Don’t just read for the sake of reading, but read so that you can understand what is the plan that God has for your life and that of your family.
  5. Recognise the gifting of your children -And pray that God will help you harness those gifts.
  6. We are not led by money, we are led by the Spirit.
  7. We get blessed because we are obedient.
  8. Be a blessing everywhere you go.
  9. We operate in the Supernatural.
  10. Pray the Word of God so that the Word can go work on the things you prayed over.

IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIES

Again, Pastor Gugu highlighted that as Christians, faith is our currency. This means that it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are or what’s happening around you, that you will find rest and peace in the presence of God. That was something that I especially needed to hear.

Ecclesiastes 2 vs 26:

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

  1. You please God by operating in faith.
  2. Wealth comes when you start believing the Word of God and start implementing what it says.
  3. Revelations 5 vs 12 confirms Ecclesiastes 2 vs 26
  4. God can’t act if you don’t exercise your faith.
close up shot of a woman praying
Photo by TEP RO on Pexels.com

REVELATIONS 5 VS 12:

 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

POWER: Meaning jurisdiction / rule over your circumstances.

WEALTH: Operate in three dimensions of wealth.

WISDOM: The knowledge of God.

STRENGTH: Inner strength – Spirit of God will rise in you.

HONOUR: Even if you are last, you will be first. God will qualify you as long as you apply in faith.

GLORY AND PRAISE: Arriving in in fullness – operating fully in your gifts.

FINAL NOTES

It’s obviously impossible for me to share the entirety of the wealth of knowledge that was shared during that conference but I think you get the idea of what we learned or at least, what I learned. The experience was different for every woman who attended. I hope by reading this, you also find some comfort and direction.

Here are some final points:

  1. Whatever God has called you to do, do it.
  2. God will open divine connections for y0ou once you start operating in the fullness of who He is.
  3. You need to have an unbelievable reliance on God.
  4. Understand where God is posting you.
  5. Change the conversations in your home.
  6. Always consult God.

I loved that the conference took place over two days; the last day of September and the first day of October. It sort of felt like the ending of something but also the beginning of a new season.

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HERITAGE DAY AS A COLOURED PERSON

I’ve written about this topic before on a previous blog platform under the same title but I feel like I need to revive it. In all honesty, I dislike Heritage Day. I remember when I was in school and this particular day came around, we would be told to wear our Heritage clothes and bring cultural foods and speak about our heritage. I never knew what to do. I don’t really know my heritage. All I know is my mother was born in Namibia and I think my father was born in the Eastern Cape (I’m really not sure about that )

Now I am in the position where my kids are going through the same thing. My daughter, who is now in Grade 2, celebrated Heritage Day at her school the other day and they were told to wear cultural or traditional clothing that is synonymous with her heritage. She went to school in pants and a t-shirt and a hoodie. She came home that day and told me how beautiful her friends looked in their African attire and how her friends are Zulu or Sepedi and the like. I felt defeated.

We are Coloured; we are considered a mixed race but the only problem is, I’m not sure, in fact, I have no idea which races fall into that mixed bag of culture and heritage. I know next to nothing of my father’s family or his heritage and sadly my mother is late so I can’t even ask her anything about hers.

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Maybe the reason I dislike this day so much is because I personally don’t know anything about my own history. I wish I had had more conversations with my mother about my maternal side but alas, regret always comes too late.

I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe its time we as a family start building our own heritage.

My son on the other hand was also asked to bring a picture to school to discuss his heritage. We drew him the South African flag, he also drew a sun and a bowl of fruit and the earth. When he was done, I realised culture is what we observe. My son sees the sun in the sky, he sees the earth and he sees food and he knows he belongs somewhere. All the other technicalities of where we come from doesn’t really matter, at least not right now. My son then asked my husband what his heritage is and my husband replied, ‘Your heritage is South African’

That was the same response his father gave him when he was a little boy and had to dress up or participate in Heritage Day.

I don’t want my children to feel as if they don’t belong anywhere. I want them to know they can fit in everywhere if that’s what they wanted. That’s how I felt when I was in school; I felt embarrassed because while everyone else wore traditional clothing and spoke of their traditions and food and culture, I wanted the earth to swallow me whole or at least be invisible for the day.

My husband has similar stories and so do a lot of other Coloured people I’ve spoken to about this topic.

One the other hand, there is beauty in being ‘mixed race’; you are a cacophony of colours and sounds; you are a kaleidoscope of memories and history and you are a part of everyone you come across and you leave a part of yourself wherever you are.

I completely understand that its important to know who you are, to know about the people who came before us and to know where our bloodline leads. I am not dismissing that at all but maybe, if like me, you don’t know much about your ancestry, we can just start building our own cultures and create our own traditions and heritage.

I’ve made the decision to tell my children that our heritage is simply being human. If we start there, we can see that we are all actually a part of the same culture.

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MENTAL ILLNESS- A DARK PLACE

I’ve been thinking about mental health or mental illness for some time now, and like most people, I’ve been there. I call it the dark place.
I remember when I was going through a dark time, I felt lost. It was as if I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt alone. Almost as if no one saw my struggle and my pain, or even if they did, they couldn’t understand it.
When I look back now, I see myself in that place, a dark hole, an endless dark pit, the darkness tangible, I could almost taste it.
It doesn’t leave you. There are times even in your healed state when you find yourself sliding back into the embrace of that familiar darkness.
When I say darkness, I don’t mean not being able to see in front of you which is also very much the case. The darkness I am talking about is a heaviness, a hollow heaviness. It tortures you day after day after day until it eventually chokes the life out of you.
I was alone, lost, and being slowly killed by an enemy I couldn’t see.
My faith saved me.
It saves me still.

Once you’ve been in that dark place and made it out, every single day after that is a battle not to go back there.
I’ve learned that this battle is no longer mine.
You wake up every day, knowing you’re fighting today to stay alive, to not fall back into that dark despair.
It is not something you get over. It’s something you have to work on every single day.
Can you imagine the emotional turmoil, the mental anguish, and the raw desperation someone must be feeling or experiencing to come to a place to want to take their own life and then the bottomless and overwhelming hopelessness to go through with it?
Just take a second and think about it.
Finding yourself at a place where you have absolutely no hope, no escape, and no place to turn except to death.

So just a bit of food for thought; next time you engage with someone just be kind. We don’t know what battles people are fighting within their minds. Your kindness could be what saves someone from taking their own life.