Parenting

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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
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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
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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.

diversity, people, group-5541062.jpg

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.

lighted candles on a cake

A VERY SPECIAL DAY

So, birthdays. A time to celebrate and be grateful that God has blessed us
with more time on this earth. A time to discover who we are and who we want to
be. A time to love our life and not place any unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

We all want to feel that we matter. We all want to know that our existence
matters, so we look forward to that one and only day on the calendar. The day
that reminds us that we are still alive. The day that says, you’ve made it
through another year, here take another.

So, we wake up in the morning and check our phones, wondering on whose mind
we were first and secretly hoping that they weren’t reminded by Facebook.

We remind people indirectly, “Do you know what day it is today?”
only to receive that unenthusiastic, “Happy Birthday”. We smile and
say thank you, feeling special even if it’s just for that one day.

We mark the day by dressing up and setting up expectations for ourselves
that no one else knows about. We expect gifts, a party maybe and get excited
because today is the day that everyone has to be kind to us. After all, it’s
our birthday. We take pictures and post it all over social media, we like,
share and retweet copycat birthday messages and smile in pride as people ask
us, “how old are you today?” knowing that not everyone makes its to
their next birthday.

This year, I turned 30-years old. I had planned to do something that I
believed would help me overcome a fear; I wanted to go on a huge rollercoaster
and scream my lungs out and feel the sensation of freedom in my gut but I
couldn’t do it. I chickened out.

The experience was meant to mark my new decade, it was meant to signify the
trajectory that my life would have taken for the next ten years; facing my
fears, doing things outside of my comfort zone, climbing new heights, literally
and figuratively but instead I stood in front of the rollercoaster and I burst
into tears. I cried because I wasn’t brave enough to do what I had set out to do
and I cried because I was still in the same place I was the day before; birthday
or no birthday. I cried because I had set such high expectations for myself and
I couldn’t go through with it. I cried because I was embarrassed. I cried because
I was starting my new decade standing in front of inanimate object, intimidated and feeling
pathetic.

I still regret not going on the rollercoaster and I’m still scared to do it
but I hope someday I will gain the courage to face at least that one fear.

If it’s your birthday today and you’re reading this, I hope you find the
courage to face even your smallest fears and I hope you relinquish all expectations
you had of yourself for this next season and simply enjoy being alive.

Happy birthday.

christmas presents
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man in gray shirt looking at city buildings

CORRECTION IS HUMBLING

I wasn’t ready to lose my mother when she died in 2020. I was 28 years old; still figuring things out, finding my feet, unbeknownst to her; hiding and finding comfort in her bosom. Even at the age of 28-years old, I was very much a child. Today at 30, in many respects, I still am.

God knew I was not ready to lose my mother. He knew and still knows that I needed correction, discipline, and sometimes those things only come through tragedy. God had other plans. He thrust me into this place where I find myself today, being shaped and molded and, at times, scolded by other strong women.

I’ve realised I took advantage of the role my mother had in my life. I fought her a lot; especially as I grew older. I was hardly ever willing to learn from her because as we know, young children and young adults ‘know everything’. A wall was built between us which, until the day she died, could not be penetrated. I think I will always live with that regret.

So here I am now; finding myself in a place where I am being humbled through correction. Internally and externally. It’s a convicting feeling.

It’s painful to be honest. It forces you to break out of the mould you created for yourself with all the things you thought you knew. It brings you face-to-face with yourself and that is not necessarily a comfortable experience. In fact, it can be downright excruciating and frustrating. At times you find yourself biting your lip and digging in your nails, just so that you don’t scream out in agony.

No one wants to be told when they’re doing something wrong but we don’t always see that correction, if done right, is almost always done in love.

Help and correction won’t always come freely though. The hard part comes when you have to ask for it. When you have to admit that you need help, that’s when the walls really start to come down.

I have been battling with my season of correction; it’s been extremely frustrating at times. Other days, I take it on the chin, I humble myself and say thank you, I needed that. Other days, I roll my eyes and think to myself, ‘I already knew that’

Not only have I been receiving correction from people around me, God has also been working in me and with me. Reminding me when to hold my tongue, helping me to keep a lid on my complaints, opening my eyes to see people the way He sees them, teaching me to be patient, helping me understand that my journey is not that of my husband’s or my colleagues or anyone in my inner circle.

When I think about correction or being shown the error of your ways, I think of it in terms of when you know better, you do better. You change when you are corrected, you can decide to become better or refuse the change and stay the same. Its all about your attitude when you are in the process of receiving correction; you can stand back and roll your eyes and stay in your ‘I know this already’ mindset or you can pay attention, take notes and humble yourself to those who are trying to show you a better way or different way.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT CORRECTION

pink pencil on open bible page and pink
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Here are a few verses from the Bible that speak on correction. There are many more but these are the ones that stood out for me.

Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Proverbs 12: 1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Proverbs 15:32

Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.

Proverbs 8:33

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

Hebrews 12:10-11

For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

You might not see it now but when you look back in a couple of months or years; you’ll notice that you have better habits, you do things in a different way than before. You do better because you know better. It’s hard to see the finish line when you’re still in the early stages of the race but you need to know, the finish line is there.

That’s where I find myself now in life; being corrected, almost on a daily basis and its hard but I know sooner or later I will appreciate the correction. I will appreciate the molding and shaping because it has made me a better person.

I started this post of by speaking about my mother. Reason being that I wish I had been more open to my mother’s correction. I wish I had listened to her more, asked her more questions because now I realise I need her more than I ever thought I would. Now that I’m in this place of becoming, I need my mother and I need her to reassure me or guide me when I make a decision. I need her to make me laugh when I’m feeling frustrated or show me her feisty and fierce character when I feel uncertain. I needed her then and I need her now.

WHEN YOU’RE THE ONE DOING THE CORRECTING

two people sitting on pallet on beach and talking
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Sometimes you will find yourself doing the correcting and I’d like you to think about the following when you’re in that position:

  1. Correction come with patience just as learning comes with patience.
  2. Correcting someone can’t be done with aggression. Not everyone responds well to being spoken down to; in fact I don’t think anyone does.
  3. Correction can’t be done with arrogance; you as the person trying to teach another are also still learning in the process.

back view photo of a woman in black sleeveless top carrying a toddler

MAMA, YOU MATTER.

You have such an important role as a wife and a mother.

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

The role of a husband and father is just as important but it’s often the wife and mother that is either heavily criticised. She is expected to fulfill all these other roles; friend, sister, businesswoman. As a woman, you are often expected to break ceilings and still be able to take care of yourself, look good, provide for your family, and do a multitude of other things.

It can get tiring. It can make you feel empty and sometimes it makes you feel as if you are not enough even when you are doing all these things.

You are the person your family depends on; your advice, your patience, your presence. Everything you do for those you care about, matters.

Don’t ever think it doesn’t.

I know you get tired and frustrated. I know at times you want to throw in the towel but your role as a woman, wife, and mother is so important, so needed and so wanted.

Your family functions because of you. They thrive because you create an atmosphere and a space for them to do so.

They draw power from you. You are a pillar of strength placed in your family by God and no one can fulfill that role better than you.

composing, woman, fantasy

THE STRENGTH OF A WOMAN

MEETING THE MATRIARCH

This past December, my family and I took a road trip to East London in the Eastern Cape. I met my husband’s grandmother, and now my grandmother.

In the ten days I lived in her home, I saw and experienced raw strength.

She is the matriarch and a true one at that. Mama is my husband’s 81-year-old paternal grandmother. She is also as fierce and feisty as they come. For you to understand my admiration for Mama, you need to understand a bit of her life and her history.

Mama, as she is so affectionately known, lost both her husband and only daughter of five children, who was also the youngest sibling, within the space of 6 months more than 15 years ago. She ended up having to take care of her late daughter’s son, who was two years old at the time. He is now a well raised young man.

Through conversations I had with Mama during our stay at her home in Buffalo Flats, I was in awe of how she relayed stories of when her husband, Dada, died and then how she lost her daughter only six months later. When I listened to her speak, I could hear pain, sadness, loss but also acceptance. She made me realize that acceptance like that only comes from a very deep-rooted strength.

I also realized that she didn’t have a choice but to be strong. She took on the responsibility of raising her grandson like he was her own. I cannot fathom the sheer determination and willpower it had to take for her to get out of bed every morning and be there for her grandson, the rest of her children as well as other family members.

Mama, strength, children, great-grandchildren
The first day we arrived, Mama showed her new great-grandchildren some photos.

SHAPED BY EXPERIENCE

I watched her as she sat on her red lumpy but very comfortable sofa in her home, hunched over with all the experiences from her past trying to weigh her down but she gets up every day, determined to live her life and do her daily chores.

It was at one of these moments when it hit me; she wasn’t sitting on a couch but a throne.

Mama also very much reminded me of my mother who died in 2020. Both women have seen and have been through some of the worst pain you can imagine, both refusing to be dictated to by bad and negative circumstances and both set in their daily way of life.

During the time I spent with Mama, I learned that yes, 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.

Mama, strength
Mama, my husband and out two children.

ACCEPTANCE

There was a point where Mama said to me that she didn’t know if she could ever accept or get through what had happened to her but God had gotten her through it and she did manage to accept her fate.

She could have chosen to be angry and to turn away from God, which I’m sure there were many of those moments when those bad feelings overwhelmed her. She could have chosen to become a lifeless vessel of her former self but I can assure you, that woman still has a lot of life left in her.

Her relationship with God is so secure and I truly believe that that is her source of strength. Every morning she wakes up and reads devotionals and her Bible. I’ve decided to put that in practice as well.

LIVING WITH INTENTION

Every time Mama would tell a story and explain the difficult parts, she would say, “but it doesn’t really matter

For me, that didn’t mean she gave up or lost hope or didn’t accept things. For me it meant that in the bigger picture, the grand plan of God for her life, her focusing on the past was not the point. It was what she got out of all her pain and loss. The wisdom and understanding that her loss and pain was not for nothing. The way in which she imparted her wisdom and what she learned, to others around her. It was peace beyond all human understanding. It was knowing that love is sacrifice and that understanding comes from compassion.

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

I learned patience and I saw accepting the things one cannot change, in action.

I loved sitting in her company, I loved watching the movie of her life play out as she told me stories and showed me old polaroid photographs.

In ten days, I lived a life of 40+ years through the eyes of a woman who lost everything, was forced down on her knees and found herself in the perfect position to pray for the strength and will to live to tell the tale.

pray, church, kneeling

TO LOSE A CHILD

Today a mother buried a child.
Sitting in the rows behind her
In the church,
I watch her;
Straight back.
Head covered.
Blank face.
Dignified sadness that she carries.

As person after person
Speak words of comfort,
I wonder if it reaches her
Or
If the umbrella of grief is so
Overwhelmingly broad,
That nothing can penetrate it.

Today a mother said goodbye
To her child;
An unnatural and unreal occurrence.
The small precious box on display
Holding everything that she holds dear.
And as I sit behind her,
Head bowed,
Hair undone
And tear-stained face
I cry the tears that this mother
No longer can.

Candice Mama

FORGIVING MY FATHER’S KILLER

TRUTH UNCOVERED

When I was nine months old my father was brutally murdered by an Apartheid assassin by the name of Eugene De Kock, by the time I was nine, a book had been published titled Into the Heart of Darkness by Jacques Pauw. Every time a we would have guests my mom would ask me to go get this book.


I knew two things about this book; one was that the man who killed my father was on the cover and the other was that a picture of my dad was in the book. Out of pure curiosity on yet another day my mom had sent me to get a copy of the book and rushing me out of the room, I decided to eavesdrop on what page she told our guests to turn to. I quickly ran to scribble it down and awaited my opportunity to be home alone so I could take a look.

The cover of the book

My opportunity came a lot faster than I anticipated. As my mom reversed out of the yard, I quickly ran to the closet where the book stayed, grabbed it and sat at the edge of my mom’s bed, my feet dangling off the edge. Excitedly I turned to the page number and what I saw sent shivers down my spine and brought fearful tears to my eyes. On that dreadful page my young eyes were met with a picture of my dad’s charred body clutching a steering wheel with his eyes protruding.


I quickly shut the book, threw it at the back of the cupboard and ran to my bedroom to silently sob, knowing I would never be able to tell my mother what I had saw. In the years that followed with that image etched in my mind, I became increasingly serious and depressed. By the time I was sixteen, I had been admitted to hospital and the doctor said that my body was killing me and if I didn’t change what I was doing, I was going to die.


That moment was the first time I painfully came to learn that our emotions impact our physiology and whoever or whatever controls your emotions, controls your life. As I slowly undertook the healing journey and fighting back to reclaim my life, I encountered versions of myself that had long been hidden by my trauma.


By the time I was twenty-four, I felt content and as though I had outlived my diagnoses and therefore in the front seat of my life. Until I arrived home one day and my mom said she had received a call from the National Prosecuting Authorities about whether we would like to see Eugene.


My heart sank as the pictures I had gathered over the years flooded back, yet I immediately said yes. knowing that if I didn’t I would regret it for the rest of my life. As the days passed and the rest of my family went back and forth about who would come along with me, I reflected on how many years of my life I had given away to Eugene and he had no idea I even existed and how often we tend to do that. Thinking that the anger we carry inflicts harm on another when in reality, resentment corrodes the vessel that carries it.

Candice Mama, forgiveness

CONFRONTING MY PAIN


The day arrived and we headed to Kgosi Mampura Prison where Eugene had been imprisoned. After a short briefing and everyone being situated, Eugene joined us and by some design, I happened to be seated the closest to him, separated only by the priest who was to lead the dialogue. After we were individually introduced, my mom took the lead and asked “Eugene, I want to know what happened to my husband”


Surprisingly forthcoming, he told us in great detail that my father had been identified as a potential troublemaker and radical who was incredibly skilled and brave, along with three other gentleman. Eugene’s team set in an informant into my dad’s camp to create a “false mission” which was simple, since my dad was the most skilled driver, he would transport three men into Nelspruit and go back home.
However, as my dad approached the Nelspruit bridge, Eugene and his team started firing at the vehicle.

When Eugene realised from his watch post at the top of the bridge that the car wasn’t stopping, he ran down the bridge and emptied out his magazine cartridge on my dad. When he still saw signs of life, he doused them in fuel and set them alight. As the conversation continued with more questions being asked and answered by Eugene, we got to final remarks.


My family individually stated their forgiveness, until it got to me and I said “Eugene, I want to say I forgive you but before I do, I need to know one thing” He looked at me and said “Anything, what’s that?”
I said “Do you forgive yourself?” For the first time during our encounter, he became uneasy and looked around the room, avoiding eye
contact with me. When he looked back, he wiped the side of his eye and said “anytime a family walks in here that’s one thing I hope they never ask. When you have done the things I have done, how do you forgive yourself? ”

Top 10 Forgiveness Quotes - BrainyQuote


In that moment I broke down and started sobbing, what surprised me is I wasn’t crying for myself but rather for this human being sitting across from me. When the meeting was dismissed I got up first and walked to Eugene and asked “would you mind if I gave you a hug?”, he looked at me slightly confused, stood up and embraced me and said “I am so sorry for what I have done and your father would have been so proud of the woman you have become”


We went our separate ways and he later received parole.

LESSONS LEARNED

The lessons I learnt from my encounter was forgiveness does not condone or allow one to forget, it simply removes the emotional
attachment we hold towards and incident person or thing.
When we refuse to forgive, we go into a cycle of re-traumatisation, whereby the initial incident occurred however every time we relive it in our minds, it happens again and again and again, giving it power over our lives. However, when we forgive we allow ourselves to claim back our stories.

We can say this thing happened to me but it is not who I am. Each and everyone of us deserve to be
in control of our narrative, if you are still standing and breathing, it simply means that incident that
was supposed to break you only served to build you and you have the power to move on with
more strength than you had before.
Healing may not be easy but trust me when I say it is so worth it

ABOUT CANDICE

Candice Mama is the author of Forgiveness Redefined

You can follow her on all her social media profiles;

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

dandelion, flower, plant

12 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST YEAR

Earlier today: It’s Saturday afternoon, the house is quiet, the wind is howling outside, keeping the sun company. It seems like a good time to reflect on the last year.

I’m braiding my hair and thinking about this time of year. Last year (2020) we lost our mother. It was a Friday and she died in a car on her way to the clinic, my then boyfriend (now husband) right next to her. A shift happened then and a shift is happening now. My husband, sick with Covid-19 and myself, also sick but I haven’t tested for Covid-19 at the time of this post but we’re treating the situation as if I am sick with Covid too. Though I feel strong enough to clean the house and make sure we have something to eat, I still don’t really feel like myself.

REFLECTION

All these health issues have done a very good job of distracting me from what day it is. The day my mother died. I’m not feeling incredibly sad or melancholic when I think about it; I feel a sense of peace, maybe even gratitude, that we as a family have been able to make it through the last 12 months in one piece and then some. We had an addition to the family with my niece, we had a wedding and we had the birth of our company. Those are quite huge life milestones. It just goes to show that life really does go on after the death of a loved one, at least if you let it.

Still in the quiet of the house, I wonder to myself, why is it that these shifts or life-changing events seemed to have happened around the same time for the past 2 years and I can’t help but wonder will something else happen next year around this time? I also don’t really want to question why these things are happening and happening in the way they are and around the time they are. I understand that no one truly knows the inner workings of time so I simply want to breath and say, “Thank you Lord” .

sol, nature, gratitude
Have an attitude of gratitude

GRATEFUL

Something that has really stood out for me during this time of isolation over the past several days, is the kindness of people; everyone we care about checking in on us and bringing us food. That especially has reminded me of the week when my mother died; everyone brought us food and groceries so that we didn’t still have to worry about that. I’m really grateful to all the people who have come through for us during this time.

flowers. roses. love
Flowers from my friend Reesha.

With that said, I’d like to share 12 things I’ve learned in the last 12 months since my mother died.

  1. It’s okay not to feel in control.
  2. You can cry whenever and wherever you need to.
  3. Change will always come, don’t fight it.
  4. Nothing ever goes the way we expect or plan, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.
  5. It’s okay to feel the ‘bad’ feelings; fear, sadness, anger, frustration ect.
  6. You won’t always succeed at everything you take on and that’s okay.
  7. You are allowed to want to be alone.
  8. Grief throws you into an unending spiral of self-confrontation.
  9. Cooking or baking is therapeutic.
  10. Love is all there is. It will get you through your darkest nights and brightest days.
  11. Don’t waste the time you have. You won’t get a refund.
  12. Live well.

self-care self love

SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH

I was looking at myself in the mirror the other day and I didn’t like what I saw. I felt miserable because my clothes didn’t fit right and I realised that I had gained weight. The truth of the matter is, I haven’t been taking care of myself lately; I haven’t been eating properly and I haven’t been giving myself well-deserved self-care.

Growing up, I know we are told not to focus too much on our outer appearance. We are taught that “it’s what inside that counts” I teach my kids the same thing but I’m learning a very important lesson now as an adult that we sometimes forget that it’s what we put inside our bodies that affect our outer appearance. I don’t want to look in the mirror and not like what I see.

I’ve been going through the motions; work, home life, kids and school, working on being a good wife and mother ,and all my other responsibilities but in all of that I’ve neglected myself. I find myself eating more than usual, drinking ample amounts of coffee ,and reaching for chocolate or cake for no reason other than comfort. Feeling sick, nauseous ,and weak has become the norm and my headaches are relentless. The worst part is, I am always and I mean always, tired.

I think the last time I had a proper self-care day was three months ago for our wedding and that wasn’t something I did for myself. Other people did it for me.

Self-care should be something we prioritise often. It should be a part of our lifestyle.

Self care can come in many different ways:

  • Getting your hair and nails done
  • Going shopping and buying yourself something that you’ve wanted for some time
  • Taking a break from work
  • Going on a short holiday away from your usual surroundings
  • Taking a break from social media
  • Spending time by yourself
  • Spending time in prayer or meditation

SELF REFLECTION

All these things can help bring you back toward yourself. We can’t take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves. You can’t give from an empty cup.

You’re scraping from the bottom of the barrel and giving yourself and your loved ones, your work ,and your business less than what they deserve. Less than what you deserve.

It’s okay to step back and reflect on your life. You can say no to another project or event. It’s okay to put yourself first. Sometimes, it’s required.

When I was standing before the mirror the other day, I looked around me and the house was a mess. I felt completely overwhelmed by everything that I burst into tears. It was tears of exhaustion. I hardly have the energy to take care of myself let alone the house but somehow I still find myself cleaning and cooking but I’m doing it from an empty cup. I’m scraping from the bottom of the barrel.

Reflecting on all of this has felt like a very honest conversation I’ve had to have with myself about how I’m treating myself and my body, my mind ,and spirit. I want to experience holistic health and the truth is, the mind, body ,and spirit are all connected. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. My family and career and all my responsibilities keep my life full and exciting. I see the growth in all the areas of my life, the problem is, I can’t seem to keep up with it.

If I don’t take care of the one, all the others will be out of sync. My family, career ,and business cannot thrive if I am not at my best.

MAKING THE EFFORT

As I said before, self-care has to become a part of my life. It is a daily habit that has to be learned through repetition. I now have to learn to take care of my body and my overall health. I understand now that self-care is simply doing things that will improve my mental state, everything else will flow from there. Below is a great list of how to practice self-care.

Remember, self-care is self love!