Fallen or Failed? Here's How To Get Back On Your Feet
I will be sharing four lessons I learnt from farming my mother’s land.
My mother inherited a piece of land from her late father, my grandfather Paul. Seeing that the farm was far away from her matrimonial home and that she was already busy managing her business with my father, she asked my sisters and I to farm it as we deemed fit. My younger sister and I were thrilled at the prospects of being farmers – how hard could it be surely! So we put our investment together towards starting the journey to being super-farmers.
My mother explained to us how the sowing and harvesting seasons worked, it seemed very simple (we grew up in a business family not a farming family). She also explained to us what crop combinations did well in that region of the country. While we were still taking our time to deliberate, a few weeks had passed by and my mom called me again to prompt me to start tilling the land. I promised that I would look into it the week that followed but I got busy at work and at home attending to my family.
She called me again two weeks later to let me know that the rains had started falling and that we were now late to start sowing seeds on that farm. So I made haste and started that same week. The neighbouring farmers had already tilled their land and sowed seeds by this time. I was starting about five weeks late. The seeds had no chance of thriving and eventually, we lost everything in that season. Our farm was dark brown when the neighbouring farms were dashing green and looking healthy.
What did I learn from that experience? So many lessons which I am happy to share with you.
LET’S DIVE INTO IT!
1. There is a time for everything, a time to sow and a time to harvest
Just like my farming experience, our lives are characterized by different seasons. The successful people are the ones that understand the times and make the right investment for that season. This season of singleness is a time for you to discover yourself, to strengthen your walk with God, to sharpen your skill and to walk in righteousness as an investment for the next season.
During my single-parenthood season, I had time to pray for hours throughout the day. I would wake up at 3am and pray till 6am, then prepare my daughter to go to school. I would walk her to a school in the estate and be back home at about 8am for Bible reading and strategizing on how to make ends meet for the day. I would organize how to fulfill orders for the various business (survival) ventures I was running and then head to class in the afternoon where I was pursuing a diploma in Christian ministries. Because the class would not start until 6pm, I had another three hours to pray and read the Bible or a book. This continued for about one and a half years. It was a tough season financially but I grew in leaps and bounds spiritually and emotionally.
During this time, I read a critical book that was loaned to me by a friend, When Women Walk Alone by Cindi McMenamin. Since I could not afford to purchase the book, I wrote such detailed notes that I look at today and realize I almost transcribed the entire book. I needed to get every word in the book. The book changed my perspective on how I viewed myself, my situation and the season I was in. I purposed to make the best out of the season.
When I eventually got a salaried full-time job, I could no longer afford these floating hours to pray and read as the job was demanding. I would sometimes get home, serve food, sit on the sofa and just sleep the fatigue away without touching the food. However, because of the investment I had made towards my growth spiritually and emotionally, my life’s bank account was full to allow me to draw out strength. I was no longer as emotionally drained with my circumstance nor lagging behind in my walk with God. The little I could do to continue growing was sufficient because I was adding up to something.
2. Whatever you sow you shall reap
One of the worst seeds a single parent can sow during their singleness is irresponsible behaviour because their children are learning from them. Children learn by observation more than from what we tell them.
At this point in our life, we should show our child(ren) that sexual purity is possible; that emotional stability is attainable despite life’s challenges; that forgiveness of those who have wronged us is important; that one can learn to be content in little or in abundant finances; that good relationships should be cultivated to bring about accountability and growth etc. Sow the right seeds for you and for your child(ren) to be anchored on in the future.
3. If you fall, get up, dust yourself and try again
When I vowed to my mom how I will never farm again, she laughed her heart out and told me that what we lost was a very small investment. She insisted that I must not give up the idea just because I had failed on the first try. She made me promise that my sister and I would try again in the year that was following. Of course once bitten, twice shy but better yet, the lessons learned are invaluable.
Whatever mistakes we might have made or whatever tragedy might have befallen us must not define us. We have to dust ourselves and prepare to try again. Not all spouses are irresponsible; not all marriages end in divorce; not all spouses pass on and leave their family behind; and not all men are rapists. It is a rather harsh statement to say but it is the truth. My prayer is that at this point, you have made some considerable steps towards emotional freedom and stability to enable you to see things in their true form.
In my single parenthood, I remember writing the qualities I wanted in a spouse to help me to pray accurately through that season. I had been disappointed twice already and I had lost faith in the male species. On the other hand, I had also grown considerably to know that Tall, Dark and Handsome is a quality that means nothing in the light of a functional marriage. So I wrote down ‘mature’ attributes compared to what I had written in my younger years. The man needed to be spiritually sound and mature to be able to lead me into deeper levels with God, prayerful, patient and of course willing to accept my daughter as his he would his own child. Oh, and one more (immature) thing, he shouldn’t be a Luhya (a Kenyan tribe from Western Kenya that I despised because of a previous relationship gone wrong).
From my hurting self’s analysis, this particular tribe did not make good husbands because I stereotyped them to be unfaithful. I had been bitten once and I was not going to be bitten again. The emotional abuse I had gone through was enough for a lifetime and I was not going to add to that. I had sworn that not even God could make me marry from that tribe.
Lo and behold! When the season for marriage came, God did not bother to find me a non-Luhya husband. He went right to the same tribe, maybe to teach me a lesson that I would love to pass on to you – not every time things will turn out bad as your previous experiences. Today, one of the things that work well in my life is my marriage – it’s been over a decade of friendship and marital bliss. If you follow the promptings from God, He will lead you to green pastures and still waters. He knows what’s best for you so dust yourself and try again – a job, a business idea, marriage, whatever it is you desire. Try again!
4. Don’t run away from your problems instead run into your solution
One of the mantras we have in our home is that you cannot discontinue something bad and leave a vacuum in its place. Life does not work in a vacuum. If you do away with something bad, you must have a replacement immediately.
No matter what you are working on; a bad relationship or marriage, grieving your spouse or trauma therapy to forget a rape ordeal, you need something you are walking into. One of the ways to quickly find the answer is to ask yourself, how do you want to structure your life from this moment onwards? You can use the previous chapters to evaluate where you are struggling the most and how you can structure a solution.