I often think of the days that I use to perch on your lap And grab you around your neck And kiss your aging cheeks.
I often wonder if I will ever be able to do that again. The chasm between us seems to have become so relentless That I often wonder if we’ll ever be able to cross it.
Mother, ma as I know you, I sometimes think back to when we use to be Best friends, I was the envy of my siblings As you always had my back. Now I look back and see the strays of memories We have left behind.
I see you, you’re getting older. You have a limp And the 60 years that our Father has granted you Is starting to show.
I remember watching you sit At the window in our small flat Writing down random numbers; Maybe it was the dates of the births of all your children, Even the ones you never saw growing up. Or maybe how many times your heart was broken. Or was it the number of times you cried?
Now you don’t count anymore, You just stare ahead, waiting for the End of each day. Maybe the dates and numbers and opportunities That you never had have all lost their meaning.
You turned into a sad and helpless creature Right before my eyes It made me feel sad and helpless for Not knowing how to reach out.
Dear mother, My arrogance and pride has prevented me From coming to you and telling you That I miss your bear-like embrace. It has put a wall up in the Middle of our home As we pass one another During the day Like strangers at night.
We hardly say a word to another And when we do, its Laced with irritations and criticism.
Mother, I am sorry For being too big for my shoes and Forgetting that you too Are leaving shoes that no one Will ever be able to fill.
As I’m writing this, my husband and myself have only been married for a month and a half. I know many people will probably read this post and think, what does she know but you’d be surprised what you can learn in a short space of time when you pay attention. The following post below is what God has put in my spirit during this month and a half that I’ve been married and has helped me understand what it means to have a kingdom marriage. I hope it speaks to you in some way too.
FIGHTING AND ARGUING IS INEVITABLE IN A MARRIAGE
Arguing, fighting and having disagreements don’t suddenly disappear when you get married. In fact, it might even increase. Something I’ve learned during this short time that I’ve been married is that prayer is powerful. You can pray through your problems, When your marriage is centered around Christ, He can help you through the difficult and uncomfortable times.
When you get married, the dynamics of your relationship changes. You feel it the moment you say your vows. There is a shift and you realise that the level of commitment has changed. You always need to remember the vows you took before God when you got married. I know I always do.
Marriage is from God and when you realise that, you know and understand how important it is.
Something else that is vitally important to the life of your marriage is communication. You cannot disregard your spouse’s feelings in your marriage. You need to talk about it and find out why they are feeling the way they do. Communication is everything. I don’t believe the silent treatment works in a marriage. In fact, it could build up a wall in your home that will eventually be impossible to get over.
Seek God’s wisdom and guidance in your marriage. Refer to scriptures and pray with your spouse.
The world and social media shows us that you can get married and divorced on a whim but imagine if God married and divorced you on a whim? How would you feel if God just left you because He no longer felt like being in this relationship with you? Because that is what we have with God once we accept Him into our lives. We enter into a marriage with Him. A covenant. A relationship.
PURSUING A KINGDOM MARRIAGE
Through discussions, Jared and I realised that we want a Kingdom marriage. A definition shared by Dr. Tony Evans describes a Kingdom marriage as follows:
“a covenantal union between a man and a woman who commit themselves to function in unison under divine authority in order to replicate God’s image and expand His rule in the world through both their individual and joint callings”
So basically, you come together as a couple and you vow to expand God’s kingdom through what He has called you to do. You work on replicating the image of God in and through the world.
You are setting an example and a precedent for your children and all your future generations when you decide to enter into a marriage. It doesn’t matter if you come from a background where marriages didn’t work out, what matters is what you do going forward.
YOUR ROLE AS A WIFE AND MOTHER
As a woman, mother and wife, you have a God-given power to pray your family to prosperity. You have a gift to carry your family through trying and troubling times. As women, we sometimes forget how dear we are to God’s heart.
God made Eve for Adam because He saw that Adam needed someone. God saw that Adam needed strength and help and encouragement that only a woman can provide. You might be asking yourself; but why should I do all the work? Why should I be the one to create a space for my husband and children to grow and succeed?
The reason for that is because God gave you that power. God gave you that responsibility. Your family draws strength from you. Your nurturing spirit and your unlimited love and your ability to comfort. They draw from your determination to always do more and be more and to succeed.
As you draw strength from God, your family draws from you and by doing that, your family draws closer to God because they see how you pray and how you carry yourself and because you make God the centre of all that you love and cherish.
You will grow into your role, whatever that may be. You will never be a perfect woman, mother or wife but you can be a good one.
Is it how we conduct ourselves in the presence of women and children, or how we go above and beyond to support and protect our family?
Is it determined by our physical strengths and toughness? Or how much respect we get from our peers?
What is toxic masculinity?
Over the years I started seeing the term“Toxic Masculinity”float around but I didn’t think much of it. I knew it was a negative connotation so maybe that’s why I distanced myself from it. I actually thought it was a derogatory term by feminists against men for no reason other than being born as a man. However, I couldn’t be further from the truth.
Toxic Masculinity is a defined set of attributes, behaviour and roles associated with boys and men. In essence, it’s a profile of males who judge anyone as weak if they don’t abide by their image. They have a culture, albeit a dying one, of living with a “men don’t cry” motto. If you show signs of weakness through emotion then you lose your identity of what it means to be a “real man”. I find the whole concept very damaging and divisive. I don’t need any factual evidence to prove this has a detrimental effect on men’s mental health.
Alpha male is another term I read quite often about nowadays. I place it as a sub-category under the toxic masculinity umbrella. It’s men who have power, money and influence which they gained through mostly intimidation. Alpha men tend to prowess a combination of characteristics that propels them up the social hierarchy. However, I don’t view their values to be any better than mine or men they perceive to be below them. I don’t need to be labelled as any specific type of man – I’m me and that’s enough. You’re not better than me just because of the size of your wallet or how you might have more success in attracting females than I do.
Dealing with insecurities
These types of men maintain a fake image due to their insecurities. The fear of being judged by so-called better men. A competitive internal battle that destroys a man’s soul without him ever admitting his struggles because he refuses to ask for help.
Insecurities can lead to aggressive behaviour such as domestic abuse. It’s dangerous how many men are bottling up their emotions and yet could explode at any moment. True masculinity is leadership, strength, courage and ambition. All vital attributes that can take any man as far as he wants in life if he chooses to use them wisely.
What does it mean to be a man?
Men who prowess these skills think about themselves and the people who matter the most to them such as family. He focuses on his dreams rather than pleasing others.
He doesn’t care about negativity and isn’t afraid to show signs of frailty.
He combines moments of doubt and sadness into positive outcomes through rational decisions and learns from experience.
Eradicating toxic masculinity probably won’t ever happen, however we can limit the damage it causes to vulnerable men and boys. It starts with the education system. Young boys need to learn that it’s okay to feel different to others. No question should be left unanswered and boys should be encouraged to express their emotions without being labelled as weak.
The second is to confront potential harmful behaviour. For example, some guys need to be spoken to regarding their misogynist bullying towards women. We can’t continue to remain silent and let insults slide under the carpet. Intervention is key to any progressive society.
The third, although not the final as there are many avenues, is being the best role model to yourself. All actions have consequences, but they can also be used for a greater cause. Be a man who is known in his local community as someone who respects, love and inspires everyone around him. Be an example for young boys to look up to.
We are all in different seasons of our lives. It might not be the season you want to be in but right now, it is your season.
It’s the one you need.
Winter doesn’t shy away after the warm months have gone when it’s her turn to wrap us in a cold cocoon.
Autumn doesn’t become sad when the leaves turn from green to yellow to brown.
Spring patiently waits her turn to release her cherry blossoms after months of being in hiding.
This is your time to grow, to plant seeds for the next season.
To sow and to harvest.
You cannot skip it or avoid it.
You can’t get to the next season without getting through your current season.
There is a time for everything.
You cannot watch others bloom when it is their time and be upset because the same thing is not happening to you at that very moment.
Nothing in nature works that way; no flower keeps watch over another flower.
It simply blooms.
When its time has come, its petals fall to the ground and it does so with grace and elegance.
Its petals do not force their way back onto the stem.
Bloom when it is your time.
A flower grows where it is planted, where it is born, between weeds or between concrete.
It makes its surroundings beautiful.
Make your surroundings beautiful.
You have a purpose now, right where you are. No matter the season.
Whether your current season is five days, ten weeks, or 15 years, you need to submit and commit yourself to it.
If you believe God placed you here, know that it was with a purpose in mind.
Everything happens for a reason.
The hard part is being patient.
Kimberly is a writer, blogger and poet. She is married to musician Jared Fray and they live in Johannesburg, South Africa with their two children. Kimberly has had several of her poems published in poetry journals and also works as a news producer.