Grief is complicated
The thing about grief and loss is it comes in it's seasons and in waves. Today is the anniversary of my dad's passing and it has been 13 years since he transitioned. I don't think one can ever get used to loosing a loved one and each year I realize more and more is grief is like waves in the ocean. At times the ocean is calm, and then at times the tide picks up and the waves crash against the ocean. This precisely how it has been for the past 13 years since I lost my father. The thing about losing a parent who you are so close with at a very young age is you miss them during pivotal milestones in your life. This morning when I woke up, I felt great. However a few days ago I was a total wreck I cried I didn't want to speak to anyone and just wanted to be in silence.
I have allowed myself to feel emotions over the years and for them to flow however they wish. What is always so interesting is how much everyone else around you moves on from your loss and sometimes offer words that don't necessarily do anything for your comfort. In their human capacity it is what they feel is best to say. Sometimes you feel as if you are in a time warped zone and sometimes you think you are moving along. This is grief and I have learnt to accept it in its waves. Over the years, one of the ways I comfort myself about the loss of my father is that the reason we experience deep pain and loss is to be able to be a blessing to others when they are also going through those seasons of loss. It is embedded in my faith as believer and a Christian. I didn't arrive at that decision during the first decade of losing my father however. It took a close friend of mine losing a father and me speaking words of encouragement to them that made me realize that sometimes our of your pain a ministry of healing and encouragement can be birthed. I have learnt over the years that though I may not know the exact words to say, I am able to connect with people who have suffered sudden loss and offer encouragement to them. The reality is no one can speak to your pain of loss unless they have been through it . Even then the way we deal with loss and grief is really contingent on the individual.
Healing through loss
I think the Fall season makes grief a bit easier for me, but as we get closer to the holidays it becomes more evident and I withdraw more from others. One of the things that has helped me go through this grieving process is having rituals. One of my rituals is prayer and thanking God that I was able to experience a father for 21 years. I also pray and talk to God about why my dad had to leave us at such an early age. Over the years I have received some peace and have accepted that my father has passed on. Another ritual that helped me in one season of my life to grieve was therapy. I remember my first semester of graduate school, I received my first A on my paper and I picked up the phone to call my father. My father was the parent who was very much into my academic achievements as it pertains to grades. Sadly I hadn't realized in that moment that it had been a year after my father's passing and no one was picking up that phone call. In shock and total dismay and tears I realized I hadn't grieved a year after my father passed and I needed therapy. I spent over 5 years in therapy dealing with my loss and it helped me significantly having a therapist who was a professional in trauma and grief counseling. These rituals have helped me over the years. Me writing this piece Is a ritual of my journaling extended as a gift online to help anyone who may be dealing with grief and pain in this season.
I also give myself the liberty to do whatever I want to do during my father's passing anniversary and I pick something to do. What I am also learning is we have to create rituals around how we grieve and how we mourn. Sometimes I write down all of the memories I can recall of my father and I and journal about them. This year I started getting flowers for myself closer to the date of his passing and it has been helping just to brighten my mood and also to mourn my loss. At first I didn't realize my body was preparing for the season of grief and mourning but that was exactly what was happening!
So this year I share that if you are dealing with any grief or loss of a loved one and you are reading this, know that you are truly doing the best that you can. Think about what works best for your healing journey and give yourself the compassion you need along the journey, because it really is a journey. Do what is best for you, gather community around you, form a positive healing ritual that works for you closer to the time of the passing, and develop healing techniques that work for you for those unexpected moments of deep grief and pain.
The thing about loss and grief is it has its seasons. Some years you wake up and you celebrate the person and other years you wake up in total shambles and in tears. Only when you experience losing a parent you understand the deep pain and void it leaves behind. 13 years gone still one never gets used to loss. Thank God for having you in my life for 21 years. Rest in peace daddy
I hope this piece blesses whoever reads it and helps you in your healing journey.
During these times, it can be difficult for us to stay in peace. The other day someone sent me a text message of news that shook me to the core. To be honest it brought some fear into my spirit. Immediately I begun to panic and fear took over me. The news at the moment surrounding Covid 19 is not the best. In fact, watching the news about the amount of persons who are infected has caused a considerable amount of anxiety. Well that morning, I became a victim to fear. The thing about God is that He allows us to go through our bouts of fear and then the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit draws us back in to calm down. After a 20 minute panic, I stopped in my tracks.
In Warrior Women's Ministry, the theme for this month has been about overcoming fear. How could I be speaking about this and yet be attacked by the same fear? I knew I needed to seek God in prayer and ask for His peace to cover me. In that moment God began to remind me of His promises over my life. In these moments, I find ways to be still in God's presence so I can clearly hear His directions and intentions for this season. One thing for sure is that the stand still we are in as a world, has yielded more time for me to experience the stillness that God requires of us in the midst of Chaos. This stillness is the only thing that brings, peace and assurance. Stillness in these moments is what enables us to hear the deep things that God wants to reveal to His children.
If I could offer up ways that I have been maintaining this stillness. I would sum it up in the points below:
1. Prayer Walks: Every morning I wake up, with a bible verse and I take a walk. During my walk, I talk to God. I listen to uplifting songs and I decree the verse over my life. For now the verse I have been speaking over my life is : 2 Timothy 1:7. I have ensured that the verse is written across my heart and I trust God for a sound mind in this season.
2. Writing: Writing is an outlet for me in this season. I do a lot of writing which has helped me journal my thoughts and document what is happening on a daily basis. I have also found writing to be therapeutic, because spending time in God's presence means a lot of words get released by the Father.
3.Watching news for 5 minutes: I have been intentional about not indulging in too much of the news as news reports of Covid-19 have been overwhelming . My strategy has been to read the highlights of news for the day.
4.Listening to Music : Worship music and old christian hymns have kept me through these times. I particularly play them throughout the day and also at night if I have trouble sleeping.
5. Switch off from non essential messages and emails: I ensure that I only respond to urgent emails, and take my time to respond to others.
6 Creative Projects: One of the things I have been doing is working on creative projects that God has been laying on my spirit. I find that though I am working remotely, fueling some of my energy into creative work is helping me cope with the times. So whether it's an article, a newsletter activation, a new business idea etc. these have been helping me.
7. Face Time Family members: I love my extended family especially my cousins. We don't get to see each other much but in this season we have been intentional about calling each other, scheduling face time dates and just catching up. I didn't realize how much I needed this until we started doing them.
8. Clean up digitally and offline: From little things that include clearing out my emails, fixing areas in our home, "spring cleaning" has been helping me clear my mind.
These tips have truly been my coping mechanisms. So when people ask me how I am fairing along the are some of the things I have been doing. For those who are home, enjoy time with your families. For those who are working as essential staff please know you are in my deep prayers and thoughts. Wherever you find yourself in this season, take time out of your day to just Be still.
I think it's very important to think of this question in the work that we do in the social impact and entrepreneurship space. I have been pondering on this question a lot, particularly as we just finished celebrating International Women's Day. It can be so easy to boast of what we are doing versus really thinking of the impact we are making. One of the reasons I have shied away from IWD for years is this. I feel there is so much noise on this day, and little impact. I think it is important to celebrate our achievements as women and girls but for me it has always gone beyond this. Perhaps because I feel my work is 365 days of the year and most importantly my work with women and girls is ministry.
So lately I have been thinking more about how am I stewarding the gifts that God has blessed me with to bless women and girls? There's a beautiful story in the bible about a woman with an Alabaster Jar that pours out her perfume on the feet of Jesus and Jesus uses it as an opportunity to teach his disciples about love, faith and forgiveness. This made me reflect on what is in my alabaster jar and how am I blessing others around me?
This month as we celebrated women's day and it was a different for me. I found myself wanting to spend more time with God in prayer and have intimate moments with God on what He has called me to do for women and girls and what truly is God's desire for us. It was important for me to take a step back in order to step forward on this IWD and I was so full in my spirit after doing this self reflecting. I want to serve women and girls at the fullest potential for why I am here on earth. This means staying very true to my God given purpose and call and heeding to the divine vision God has purposed for me life. These things I believe will ultimately help us as we pour into the populations we are called to serve.
So today my question to you is how are you using the gifts, talents, networks, platforms that God has given you to bless others? On my episode of Tea and Peppersoup Podcast this month I share my take on how we should be stewarding our gifts and why this is important. I hope you tune in and I hope you are blessed by it . To listen go here:
This time of the year, many of us are thinking of starting new things, launching new projects etc. One thing is for sure. God has already graced you to start. The book of genesis is a perfect example of what it means to create from the start. The world was formless and God brought things to life in divine order of creation. The same spirit that hovered over the waters lives in us so there is an expectation of God on His children to create.
So long as God released the vision to you and told you to get started do not fear, do not fret just keep pressing on. This month on my podcast Tea and Peppersoup, I share some insights on the beginners grace and anointing. When God releases you to do what He has asked you to create, build and bring to life, take that step of faith and be obedient. Understand one thing, that God will look for your obedience to take the first step before He reveals the next step. It is generally in our acts of obedience that God reveals the next set of plans as we build that business, that organization, etc.
As you decide to take that next step that God has laid on your heart remember to remain in His presence, commit your plans to Him and walk boldly towards accomplishing what has been destined for your life.
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