The Kingdom of God belongs to such !

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By CAROLINE BONGO

This weekend has been one hectic one for me.  Apart from having my daughter’s friends coming for a weekend sleep of over, I had two other friends from Kenya gracing our house for an overnight visit. That fact didn’t make my two babies less demanding, in fact they demanded for more- they could not see how on earth I was spending so much time with ‘other people’. In addition I had my brother who had been visiting shortly leaving for Nairobi and this was enough to make any mother of four(nd they are not many out there)  go crazy!

About half past midnight, everyone was nicely settled in bed apart from my two little people: Nadia and Damitta. It was now time to speak ‘nicely to them to see  if they could kindly to go to sleep. As usual these two had a very different idea with what to do with that time. Nadia was busy Jumping from her sister’s bedrooms, to mine; at some point she even decided to sleep with the guests! “With luck on my side I might just manage to sleep at 2.00am” I told myself as I played with 11 month old Damitta. I finally managed to get Damitta to close her eyes and her sister to sleep in her bed too, I almost fell over myself while praying before retiring to bed!

With guests in my house I couldn’t exactly oversleep Sunday morning, so I managed to convince my eyes to open just before 8.00am, 2 hours after the time I had set my alarm clockNow quit looking at me like that: I promise I really tried there. I Blame the alarm clock; I am sure  of  not hearing any sound all, leave alone an alarm alert: I guess the clock also overslept!

” I wanted an event of the highest possible standard and I was choosing a 5 star hotel to go with it (Was I asking for too much? “

It was with this feeling of exhaustion that I decided there was no way I could make it to church. I toyed with this  idea for a while- I am not one to miss Sunday services just like that. For me Sunday is equivalent to any working day and everyone in our house knows that. So my excuse to stay indoors this Sunday was not supported by anyone. My very efficient assistant Pauline had already prepared all the kids and they were all showered and set (It was like being a house keeper in a summer camp!) Almost changing my mind now to go to church I remembered I still had the babies and myself to prepare. I dillydallied for a while and finally decided church it was!

The taxi that takes us to church wasn’t going to fit all of us anyway; so I would take advantage of the time Jean Claude the Taxi driver would  be dropping the guests back to the hotel to prepare. He was back in about 50 minutes enough to get one big girl and two toddlers ready. We were in church just in time for the sermon and  I am glad I went: because Pastor Bernard of Christian Life Assembly (CLA) was speaking on a topic that has been central in my heart this season: Spiritual Disciplines, with emphasis on the discipline of fasting.

It was time to get back to the house. We had the usual Sunday chat with friends as we awaited Jean Claude to come back. In about 15 minutes he was there. Now this Jean Claude guy never has any patience with kids, and especially Nadia. I could almost bet he must think that My baby is the most indisciplined kid in the world. Nadia is now 2 years and 4 months: the exact period that every mother celebrates the terrible twos! She is also at that age when she speaks in foreign tongues meaning its very hard to understand exactly what she is saying leave alone what she wants; made worse when she decides to throw tantrums. For those who have never been parents or first time parents. Kids at that age know what they want, but you don’t! And they can’t understand why an adult can’t get such simple instruction! So to make you get the point they decide to show you they are capable of a baby temper!

At that age; everything is important, urgent and critical: and it must be done now! As I write I have to stop and address and emergency. Nadia is a very strong willed girl (we call her Miss President!) and things happen exactly how this little lady wants . The crisis I have to address faster than red cross is that she suddenly has decided she wants to ride on her sister’s baby walker! For starters she is too big, so getting into the walker is like getting an elephant into a Vox wagon! Determined (and screaming in the process when she doesn’t manage) she manages to squeeze herself in! But that’s not the end-and how I  wish it was. She now wants her favorite toy Shrek’ to get in there with her. Unfortunately the ogre has also fed a little bit too much and they both can’t fit in! Suddenly this has become my problem and it has to be solved. So after getting ‘Shrek’ a place into the wagon she jumps happily and she takes a ride around the house and finally settles to watch her favorite cartoon sponge bob square pants!

Nadia is also at the stage where she owns the civil and constitutional rights to everything in our house (and in your house too if we happen to visit!) If she wants to watch cartoon you all watch cartoon, if she wants to play games on your phone; means no phone calls for you; Sometimes she almost makes the older sisters cry because she wants their sits, and their beds, and their bags, and their toys even their food. This little angel can sit on 3 sits at the same time! She is the one girl that can make 5 adults in one house sweat from her hyper active nature.

Back to Jean Claude, apart from not standing kids, Nadia is a real test for him. I guess! Most adults if irritated by a child can pretend: not Jean Claude: he doesn’t know how to. NOT AT ALL! For example today after church Nadia just wants to hang around with all her friends and play just a little more: so to get her to the car we have to run after her and literally drag her into the car! Unfortunately that process can take a bit of time: Jean Claude cannot see why I shouldn’t thwoop my little brat! (He doesn’t say so but from his looks and few words I can see it). I do no like that look or his words.  Like most mothers I don’t like being judged for how I am raising my kids: I am doing my best so he has no right to think I am not handling my kids right! Even if I don’t tell him: I am not a very happy woman at such times I can tell you. Especially not after a very hectic and sleepless weekend.

 

” It doesnt matter how much we plan, but He is the only one that can perfect  “

Today more than most other Sundays though my baby girl is fairly wild, she is much better behaved. But there was a small problem: she was hungry, and we had woken her up before her morning sleep was over. She just wanted some mommies comfort so that she could take a nap, but I was sited in front of the car and she wanted to come and stay with me. Of course I refused and that made her cry, actually more like threw tantrums. Now that  irritated Jean Claude! Normally if I reprimand Nadia, she cries more so I let her cry until she realizes no amount of tantrum is going to change my mind. After a short while as expected she kept quite and playfully started playing with Jean Claude’s shirt:

“Who is that touching me!” I almost jumped out of my skip turning around to see what was happening. For a minute I thought Pauline or the older kids were getting cheeky. Then I realized what was happening, Jean Claude was irritated that Nadia was touching him! My patient with this man was running low. Was it pride or sheer rudeness! I couldn’t understand this man. Actually everyone at the back was a child apart from Pauline. He didn’t have to shout as if someone had wounded him! I quietly wondered if he was planning to have children of his own.

By the time we got home I was a very agitated member of the female community! I guess my being exhausted was also causing me to be a bit brittle and being that time of the month wasn’t helping either! Every negative comment he was throwing to my baby was getting me further on edge. By the time we got home I was decided; I was never, ever going to use his services again. I knew in a way it would be my loss because he is good in the way that when I do not have hard cash he does provide us taxi services and we can always pay later: but to be honest. I was done with him! He was so rude, and further so to a little baby! My little baby girl!

We finally got home and as we cleared our stuff out of the taxi, Nadia cheerfully picked a big shopping bag and started carrying to the house. I chuckled as she told me now breathlessly “Ni Nchito” meaning “Ni Nzito” Swahili for its very heavy! I had to smile as I picked the package to offer her little helpful hands aid.  Everyone else had left the car immediately for the house; I guess being in the same car with Jean Claude puts everyone in a bad mood!  But not my little angel.

She stopped and turned back and told Jean Claude “Byeee” I think he didn’t hear the first time, or he was ignoring her. Nadia wasn’t giving up, she waited and turned back to make sure she was now facing him. Now eye to eye she repeated “Byeee”  Jean Claude was probably was too busy or didn’t want this kiddy thing! She was adamant and for the third time she said “Uncle Byeeeeee” I was feeling for my little girl so I told Jean Claude over the gate: “Nadia is bidding you farewell”.  At that point he had no choice but to respond so he curtly said “Bye

Jean Claude’s response was still not cheerful enough for Nadia so three more times she repeated the “bye” and he had to respond cheerfully “Bye bebe’. Then my little daughter said words that changed my entire outlook in my current situation: she told him “I LOVE YOU” Wow! Jean Claude stopped on his tracks. She repeated  “I LOVE YOU” he looked at her and looking like he meant every word he said “I love you my Cherrie” and there it was. My little baby was happy and was on her way to the house tottering to the house.

 

As I relax this Sunday afternoon I had to think; and to think seriously for that matter. No wonder Jesus told his disciples and the Jews 2000 years ago that if someone did not conduct themselves like a little child, they would not see heaven. I had to look back at my life for the last 4 days. By the standards of Nadia there was very little chance I was going to see heaven! And this is why.

The last few weeks have been very rough for me.  Many things have been happening simultaneously and amongst them my main contract here was coming to an end. I was tensed due to the fear of the unknown: To be fair to myself let me say that not true.  I knew what was going to happen! The holy spirit had re assured me over and over that God was in charge, He knew that we had relocated, and we needed to live: He understood our daily expenses, that our kids had to got to school, that we had to eat, that we had to have a roof over our heads, amongst others. He had walked the earth for 33 years: He wasn’t guessing, He knows what we go through to live planet earth. If one contract was over, he was able to give another one: and not just one but many!

Financially it has been very stressing:  I am not complaining, for He has provided for us all that we have needed. Even after our car had gone up in flames two weeks ago: I was at peace: that everything works for my good: because I have trusted in the Lord.‘The joy of the Lord is my strength’  has rang very true above my existence for the last three months. But on other side, human nature sometimes does get over  I start thinking “what if?” ……..

Its with deep internal struggles I have had to complete the last bit of this current consultancy contract amidst colleagues that I felt made my life purely a living hell!  It was as if suddenly anybody and everybody decided to put me down.  The worst of my days happened last Friday when I went to the field to make sure a project that the company  was taking off nicely. I had to make sure that all the logistical facilitation needed was provided for a smooth take off. In the process I had to make a few management decisions. The CEO was not around and my last assignment was to step in for him to make sure everything happens as per plan. But as per the information the CEO was the one that had actually left the instructions. ‘Say what’ I couldn’t believe it. Seriously what had I done to be treated this badly?

For some reason because I was exiting the project I was of the feeling that no one felt obliged to follow my instructions and for a while I was composed until: I LOST IT. Suddenly I felt so angry, I could have thrown a tantrum. Why is it that these people were doing this to me?  Dont  they know who I really am? If only they could know where I was coming from and where God was taking me. That day I told a few people exactly what I thought and stomped out. I left office in a very bad mood “Just two more days and I will never ever talk to anyone of them again, I don’t ever want to meet any of them for the rest of my life” I almost even wished that God would do some Kungfu moves on them just to prove they were hurting ‘an apple of Gods eye’

Then I didn’t realize the devil was laying a platform for me so that I could lose my joy: and in losing joy, I would lose my strength: meaning I wasn’t anymore fit for the battle field: He was laying the stage for a siege! As I prayed that Friday night God started teaching me things. I couldn’t let the enemy achieve what he wanted. I could not afford to let what was happening around my life to control my emotions. I had to rejoice in the Lord every day, every hour, every minute and every second. It wasn’t optional, it was a command. If I was to get the full blessings that the Lord intended for me, I had not only to keep a straight face, I had to be happy and from within. I had to live a joyful life.

I obeyed and prayed for His grace to help me and from the on I was happy. But there was a part of me that was still revengeful: I was still strategical how I would behave at work on Monday.  And that is where my little girl can in to teach me a great lesson. We do not love because people love us. We love because Christ loves us. People can hate us, treat us badly. Thats human nature. They are probably also stressed, fighting their own battles and do not know what they are doing. From the mouth of a babe! I was learning forgiveness, without a condition. I could forgive; I could love again, and with no reservations. God has been very gracious to me, hating on his other children is no way to say “Thank you daddy”

I had to be a Philippians 2;14-15 Woman of God.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

And I do want to shine like stars in the Sky: amongst the people I live and work with…..

 

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