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Muslim Mamas tribe - Page 2

post #21 of 1560
Quote:
Originally Posted by blissmonkey View Post
Okay, I may not be "good" enough to post here, and maybe you'll all dislike me, but after reading the previous posts I have to ask this question...am I the only one who dreads Ramadan ? I mean, I'm fasting my brains out and nothing is "happening". : (Is something _supposed_ to happen? )Are all of you feeling bathed in heavenly light while I'm just lightheaded : and watching the clock, trying to find ways to kill time ? I feel like a huge failure 'cause I "don't get it". I'm counting down the days til I can get back to normal, wake up at a HUMAN hour, go to the gym at a normal time (instead of trying to squeeze it in with a full belly before they close--and I'm always the only one in there when they close!), not obsess over accidentally swallowing a drop of water when I brush my teeth (speaking of which, having breath that doesn't smell like a monkey's backside!) I'm upset that my metabolism is crawling to a halt while I'm trying to shed the last of the baby weight. Am I alone in feeling this? I'm trying to fast "from the heart" but maybe I'm accidentally fasting from the spleen or kneecaps or hair follacles or something because it just isn't happening. What am I doing wrong???? Am I just ?

Oh, and I'm nursing, too. I skipped the first 4 days, cos I was under the impression (from all the internet research I did) that nursing mamas are exempt--but the imam at DH's mosque says nursing moms have to fast (!) AND pregnant women have to fast too (!!!) I would never fast pregnant, and everything I read said you don't have to, so what's up with this guy?

Ok, time to drink half a gallon of water (gotta' hydrate!) and go to bed for 3 hours (the water helps me get up at 5am!) Can anyone help me?
Asalamu Alaikum Sister -

I think we have all felt this way at certain times. I believe it is really important to really intentionally make the most of Ramadan. It is a very blessed month. I know it is hard but perhaps you should give up some of the extra stuff in your life during this month and focus on your Iman. This is what I try to do. For example, I usually work out for an hour a day but during Ramadan, I relief myself of that to concentrate on prayer. I give up some TV to read more Quran. I truly believe this is how we get the most out of Ramadan.

Trust me, I am not trying to be a prude. Of course, I have "bad" days. May Allah forgive me. May Allah help us all to get the maximum rewards in Ramadan.
post #22 of 1560
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
I'll start with a simple question: What's your favorite (or most often cooked) dish to make in Ramadan?
I think asking a question is a great idea!! I really opens up the discussion!!

My favorite dish to cook during Ramadan is homemade pizza and chicken wings. I haven't had this yet this Ramadan and it sounds delicious.

My favorite thing to eat during Ramadan are dates and milk when I break my fast. Could there be anything better than having fresh delicious dates with a glass of cold cold milk. MMMMMMmmmmm. I also love love love to eat hoummus at the Masjid. We eat a lot of dinners at the masjid during Ramadan and I love hoummous the most.

Great question. I look forward to hearing other responses!
post #23 of 1560
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamefati28 View Post
Salam Sisters-
I am all for a thread. I am probably the baby here, with much to learn having converted in 2004. Can't wait to connect.
Walaikum Salam Sister -

Don't worry sister, I reverted in 1998 and still have a lot to learn. May Allah help us as we try to learn the religion for His sake!
post #24 of 1560

How come I'm not invited to the party?

Thanks for the replies! It seems the longer I do this (*deep sigh*) the easier the physical part gets (more thirsty than tired. I'm a very "hot" person--I sweat when other people are turning the heat on!) It's gonna' be in the 90s today, which means another day of not leaving the house (no car) hiding in the air conditioning. I stay at home alone with the baby all day. I think if I were working again it would be easier 'cos I'd be busy in a food-free environment and have plenty of distractions to keep my mind off how much I hate this. I would be so grateful to get my period so I could take a break, but Aunt Flo hasn't visited since 2005!

The hardest part is ...I'm trying to do everything I should, fasting and trying to : on time (ya, I know about the baby pulling off the scarf, and climbing on me cos hey looks like a fun horsey ride!) I can't do the extra prayers cos it's hard enough to do the ones I have to do. I don't like the prayers, actually. I'm very sorry to say this, but it bores me. It feels like one more chore I have to do. I would quit in a second if I weren't so afraid of some divine retribution striking down my kids. I've tried reading Koran but (forgive me) I find it so dull and uninspiring. Whatever deep feeling other people are getting from it is completely lost on me. Listening to it in Arabic isn't any better...I'm sorry, it sounds like whining to me, and my mind wanders to other things. So, what the heck is wrong with me? I'm trying SOOOOO hard to be good, doing the same thing the other sisters are doing, but whereas you all are "excited" about Ramadan coming, and enjoying some kind of spiritual satisfaction, I'm left empty and resentful. Like a joke everyone is but I just don't get it. Like a party I wasn't invited to. Did anyone else start out like this, but maybe after years or a flash of light from above something just "clicked" or am I a hopeless case that should just give up and get myself a box of wine? (At least wine makes me FEEL something!)

Sorry to go on and on like this, but I have noone to talk to about this. Noone knows I'm even doing this. NOONE, not even my best friends or son. Only DH's family, and they don't live in the US or speak English. I can only talk to DH about this, and there's not much he can do or say to help. Besides, after 2 years of the same problem, I'm sure he's tired of hearing about it. I'd like to hear that I'm not alone in feeling this...am I? Going to take a nap with the baby now...what should I put in the crockpot? (I'm totally sick of harrira!)
post #25 of 1560
Bliss, can I ask how long you've been Muslim? I had a great first year, a very hard second year, and then things picked up again. Another huge boost to my iman was working in an Islamic school and seeing deen in action. Is there one in your area? Maybe you could volunteer?

I will write more later but you're on my mind. Think of things that attracted you to this deen in the first place. What changed? What happened?

ETA: I think a lot of us struggle with salaat sometimes but I truly believe that consistency will bring a closer relationship to Allah. I don't believe in some concept of satori for us regular folks. I think a close spiritual relationship comes with consistency and doing it even when it's dull and uninspired. The people I know who are most spiritually elevated were not always that way. But I don't believe a light went on. I believe it was a process.

Do you read any books about Islam and do they touch you? I love this book when I'm feeling spiritually tapped out.
post #26 of 1560
Ammarrah, thanks for your kind reply. To answer...
How long have I been a Muslim? Well, as far as I'm concerned, I'm still waiting to "become" one. I guess saying that Shahadda (spelling?)2 years ago did nothing. It's not a magic word like "hocus pocus!" In fact, the day after I did it (biggest mistake of my life???) I had a long international flight on which I had a couple beers...is that a Muslima? Here's what happened...
I did it a few days after my wedding. I thought it would help my marriage, make us closer, etc etc. Every book I read was full of women gushing about how converting changed their lives, they were so filled with God's love and blah blah blah (I guess those daughters' path was not the same one I'm walking on! haha) Well, of course, who wouldn't want all the wonderful things they had? I wanted that, too. When it didn't happen right away, I figured it would take time. "Step by step" DH said, so I took it slowly. It took me several months just to think about starting to pray. (The first time took 45 minutes!) I started, quit, started, quit, a couple times. After DS was born, he was in the NICU for a few days and that horrible experience pushed me to make a deal, "Ok, God, I'll pray. Just make my baby okay," etc. Turns out, there never was anything wrong with the baby, but a deal's a deal, and I've kept my end of the bargain (ok, I quit a couple times, but only for a few days or a week.) I still don't like it. In fact, I'm late for one right now *sigh* it just never ends. Like the laundry.

As far as working in an Islamic school, I could NEVER do that. (I'm sure they wouldn't want me polluting their school anyway.) I can't even set foot in a mosque...can't even imagine doing it. I pray alone (often with the shades drawn, always with the door locked.) I can't even imagine praying with DH. He says I'm crazy, but that's how I feel.

Was that book by "the" Rumi? I've read some things of his that I liked. I read some books initially (after meeting DH) that filled me with the inspiration to convert, and I really wanted to, but I wouldn't do it unless/until DH and I were married (since we were "living in sin" at the time) but he wouldn't get married 'cos I didn't want to have a baby, and those were his terms. And what happened to that feeling? It just went away. *POOF!* Very quickly, actually. I tried to reread the same books, to bring back the same feeling, but it never happened. Still hasn't.

So, to sum up, I feel "stuck" with a religion that doesn't suit me. (You'd never buy a car without test driving it first!)I'm trying to change some long-held beliefs that don't comply with Islam, but it's hard. I still believe them. I'm afraid to quit, and it depresses me. I don't see any way out of this endless problem.

Sorry to take up so much time, everybody. Gotta' go try to make some dinner. (No clue what.) Thanks for listening!
post #27 of 1560
p.S. Why was your second year so hard? what happened? And How did it "pick up" again? Thanks.
post #28 of 1560
Salaam

I'm muslim, technically speaking, though I've felt a bit uninvolved with religion in general for a while now. I don't fast because I'm hypoglycemic, and yes I do know that everyone gets a little hypoglycemic while fasting, but I am in bad shape if I don't eat after a few hours... let alone a whole day.

I love listening to lectures, but I dislike going to masjids because I really don't like being the center of attention (ever, let alone every single time)... I have been a muslim for nearly 8 years now. I get a little tired of the requests for my conversion story and for the offers to be taught how to pray. I also got REALLY tired really quickly of strange men looking at me like I'm some sort of novelty and asking stupid questions like... (me in hijab) "Are you muslim?" (yes) "Do you LIKE Quran." (um, yes) "Where are you from?" (here) "No, I mean originally." (um, here) "Is your husband muslim?" I know it's all well intentioned, but I really value my privacy.

I also really dislike being a spokesperson for other muslims... A lot of muslims do a LOT of really stupid and cruel and unislamic things, and I do not feel comfortable with my faith (which is highly personal) being put on trial every time I go out my front door. I enjoyed wearing hijab when I lived in Philadelphia, where there were a lot of muslims and the non muslims were used to seeing women in hijab. I haven't worn it in nearly two years now though, and I no longer believe that it is wajib. Modesty, yes. A specific style of dress, no. Not something I want to debate though, and I have nothing but love for hijabis.

bliss... I really feel for you. Really. I do NOT recommend that women jump into Islam without giving it some serious time. It really bugs me too how some muslims will sugarcoat things to sortof reel people in and then drop the difficult/controversial/not so pretty stuff on them after the emotional attachment and subsequent guilt are nicely established. Don't get me wrong... I think Islam is beautiful. But it is NOT an easy path to walk these days.
post #29 of 1560
BTW I always pray alone too. I am very very very easily distracted, and I don't like making a show of my faith... Like I said, it is a very personal thing for me.
post #30 of 1560
Quote:
Originally Posted by blissmonkey View Post

So, to sum up, I feel "stuck" with a religion that doesn't suit me. (You'd never buy a car without test driving it first!)I'm trying to change some long-held beliefs that don't comply with Islam, but it's hard. I still believe them. I'm afraid to quit, and it depresses me. I don't see any way out of this endless problem.

Sorry to take up so much time, everybody. Gotta' go try to make some dinner. (No clue what.) Thanks for listening!
I hope you figured out something good for dinner! I love hariri (sp?) but then again, I'm married to a South Asian so I don't eat it often.

I just wanted to say that even though I'm in a better place with my deen now I still can related to this part: I'm trying to change some long-held beliefs that don't comply with Islam, but it's hard. I still believe them. What I keep coming back to is that I do believe in the fundamental oneness of Allah and that Mohammed (pbuh) was a prophet of Allah. There are things that bother me about the way Islam is practiced. I dislike a lot of things Muslim people are focused on. However, there is a lot to love too. Part of it was getting over my shyness and inferiority complex and getting out in the community somewhat. Part of what has helped me is making friends with other converts and acknowledging it's a struggle and not necessarily a direct upward swing. Compounding it is the high rate of marital problems and divorce among converts (not saying that's your case but just throwing it out since about 90% of my convert friends have been divorced at least once.)

I very rarely go to the masjid myself and have no real desire to go. One of my favorite things about Islam is that my deen is between me and Allah. Yeah, outside people might try to influence me or tear me down sometimes but that is not their place. As a woman, my home is my masjid and my oasis and my relationship is between God and myself. I felt the same thing you did after converting - like my bubble had burst, like "the spirit" had left me.

Quote:
p.S. Why was your second year so hard? what happened? And How did it "pick up" again? Thanks.
By the second year, I felt burnt out, like why had I traded my easy non-religious life for a seemingly endless list of rules and etiquettes and prayer in a language I couldn't even understand. To add to that, we were dealing with infertility and it seemed like Muslims put the most pressure on us about it. Another aspect is that I am a person who deals with intermittent "mild" depression. (As far as I'm concerned, it's not that mild!) I got deeply depressed. But I loved my husband and didn't want to jeopardize our marriage, and even more importantly I knew I had been drawn to Islam for a reason. So I kept praying, I kept sitting with him each night for study. And bit by bit, things got better. And my faith began to feel like the lifeline I wanted it to be.

It's still not easy. Prayer may be better than sleep but it rarely feels that way. But it's like trying to fix an illness. The cure is rarely fun. But once it starts to kick in, you're glad you did it.

Please keep in touch sis. I have more to write later but it's almost iftar and I have to make garlic bread.
post #31 of 1560
Bliss, that book is by "the" Rumi. It's got lots of good stories and while it's written by a scholar, it doesn't have the preachy scholarly tone. I highly recommend it.
post #32 of 1560
Thank you so much Lisa and Ammaarah for your kind (and nonjudgemental !) words! It really made me feel better.

I totally know what you mean about feeling that prayer is a personal thing. I mean, I wouldn't want someone reading over my shoulder as I write a letter, or listening in on my phone calls, right? Sometimes I think maybe what's "missing" is a sence of community, ummah or sisterhood or whatever you want to call it, but I wouldn't want to deal with all the "Oh. you need to do this, and you can't wear that" etc etc. All the gossip and whatnot. I don't need that.

I think God really must be merciful because later that night (last night, that is) I got my period (for the first time in nearly 2 years!)which means I'm finally on a much-needed break! Oh, I slept in this morning 'til 11:30 (in my defense, the baby kept me up til after 2am!) I got to eat lunch, go to the gym, and even had a little coffee, all without ever looking at the clock! I watched "Knocked Up" and let the laughter relax me. Oh, it felt glorious! (Am I a bad person for saying that?) I feel "normal" again. Is that bad?

Ammaarah, I totally know what you're saying about feeling like you've traded the easy life for a bunch of rules, etc. I've even said this! Like, what was I thinking? Like people who give up normal, safe lives and volunteer to join the military--I don't get that either! Do you really study with your husband every night? Wow! My husband never even does that. (He's not very devout, so that works out well for me.) How long did it take to get "better" and feel the way you wanted? How long should I wait before admitting defeat and just quitting once and for all? Thanks again!
post #33 of 1560
Asalamu Alaikum Sisters -

I hope I am not going to sound judgemental when I say this but I have to say it and Allah knows best.

The situations discussed above is why NOone should change their religion for a man. This just can never work. Religion is such a personal thing between you and God and no man can change that relationship. Only Allah can guide us not a man that would like to marry us. When people ask me if I changed my religion to marry my husband, I tell them exactly what I said above. For me, changing my religion was a process. It didn't happen over night. Once I became Muslim, it was another process to get where I am today, and trust me, I still have a long way to go.

I know praying can be hard at times, don't get me wrong. However, this is between you and Allah. Remember, like I said before, only Allah can guide!

I truly believe that Allah gave us a gift of a period where we don't have to pray(perform salat) or fast. I don't feel bad about sleeping in on those days. It does feel nice. However, I don't believe we should leave our religion during this time. We still can say thikr and read books and other things, especially during Ramadan.

May the peace and blessings of Ramadan be with all of us!
post #34 of 1560
So now, on a lighter note, how about another question to get us going!

Do you have any Eid traditions?

Currently, we spend Eid with our friends after the Eid prayer. We all bring a dish and enjoy a nice feast. The men go to a house and the women usually stay at the masjid with the kids. It is really a lot of fun. We have been doing this for the past 4 years. It is so much better than just going home! In a couple of weeks, we will be moving out of state. : Since we don't know people there, we will have to start our own traditions. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas. Maybe I can adopt some of them.
post #35 of 1560
Our Eid tradition used to consist of DH and I fighting a lot and him being sulky because his family is so far away and I didn't "do anything special" for him, and I kept asking him "like WHAT?" but he never had an answer for this. He gets up, puts on nice clothes, goes to the mosque, then comes home and sulks all day. Last year, I tried to do something, so we put up Xmas lights all over the porch (neighbors thought we were nuts. One neighbor even asked another neighbor if I was "all there"!) and I made him a cake which I decorated. The lights are still up from last year (cos I love lights) so I guess this year I'm out of ideas. I guess it's back to sulking. Some fun holiday.

BTW, I _didn't_ do it "for a man", but the idea of Islam would've been the furthest thing from my mind had I not met DH. He actually told me many times it wasn't necessary to him, it was my choice, and he never pressured me. I thought I was doing it "for God" but I guess God doesn't want me in the club. Oh well.

And what does "thikr" mean? Thanks.
post #36 of 1560
Bliss, I hope you can come to some peace. It took a lot of teeth-gritting for me to get over that yucky sophomore slump. I was not on the verge of leaving Islam but I did want to just stop practicing. I am so glad I didn't. In trying my hardest to make an Islamic home, I ran back into many of the virtues of this deen that initially attracted me to it. I don't feel like WOW about my faith every day. But I do feel it as an important thread that connects DH and baby and me and also Muslims in general.

I am bummed that you're feeling a sort of inferiority thing. Like you're not good enough to be around Muslims, to go to the masjid (although you certainly don't have to) or like God doesn't want you. Don't take this the wrong way but part of it could even be exacerbated by postpartum hormones. I truly believe it's taken me until, well, now, to get even near where I was before having my daughter, and she's over two years old. I do want to say you ARE worthy, you are worthy of God's love, of having good friends, and of enjoying life!

Do you know any converts in your area that you click with? Look outside your usual friend profile, whatever that may be. While most of my Muslim friends are other converts, I've also found kindred spirits in a couple sisters from Bangladesh and Morocco. Finding other people who are on the path and realizing that even those who appear perfect are struggling is actually an iman booster, IMO! Even the sahabah (Prophet Mohammed's apostles) struggled with faith at times.

I hope you can hang in there. I don't feel it's time to throw in the towel. I think it's good to look at salaat almost as a bodily function. OK, that's not quite it but just like we take a few minutes to brush our teeth or pee or shower, we take a few minutes to recharge our spiritual batteries. Call it meditation or even exercise if it helps you get through it. If you can't concentrate on the words you are saying, feel the stability of your legs and body as you stand, the bend of your back as you prostrate. Imagine the veil that is between you and Allah being pulled away, slowly, slowly. And try not to get up right away when you have finished. Sit there for a minute and pray or say tasbih or just empty your mind of worldly thoughts. These things have helped me to feel positively about prayer. Also, just putting it in perspective. It takes about 2 minutes to do the fard (required) rakaats of Fajr, 4 for Dhuhr and Asr, 3 for Maghrib and 4 for Isha. So it's really not that much time at all! That also helped me when I felt like OMG, this takes forever. It really doesn't.

Thikr/Dhikr is remembrance of Allah. It can be when you say tasbih, like 33 SubhanAllahs, 33 Alhamdulillahs, and 33/34 Allahu Akbars after prayer, or when you say the longer tasbihs like 100x SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha ilallah, Allahu Akbar. Or it can just be La ilaha ilallah. The Sufis will even just say Allah Allah until they are kind of one with the word and hence the spirit.

I do suggest you read up on Tassawuf (Sufi tariqah) if you feel like all the zing has gone out of your deen. There are some kinda goofy Sufis (or as I call them, Gufi Sufis ) but there are many whose writings and teachings are incredibly inspirational. They seem so close to God in that way I believe most humans wish to be. One thing strikes me as I read, though, and that's the amount of spiritual work they did to get there. It's true, some people do seem to have been born on a higher plane than others. But most had to grit their teeth and get through it. You're in my prayers, sister! God bless you and your family!

Re Eid traditions:
We used to have pretty boring Eids but now that the baby is getting bigger, we like to decorate more. I make a ton of unhealthy food and last year we had a nice Eid party with tons of appetizers and desserts and just sat around with my friends laughing. In Bangladesh, where DH's from, we visited a gazillion houses and also had a lot of visitors. Over there, the little kids come by sort of like trick-or-treaters and leave with pockets full of candy or money. It's also tradition to give money to poor neighbors on Eid.
post #37 of 1560
Bliss-
You got to much weight on you. These feelings you are having are not condusive to a strong personal relationship with god, your god, your relationship, etc. You need to push aside all of the rules, books, prayers, etc. and sit with god only. I am not saying they are not important, but you need some inner dialogue and peace with yourself and god before you can even begin to put all of these in. Islam is not supposed to burden you or weigh you down. Islam is not supposed to make you feel guilty. Islam is not about following the rules and losing yourself in a negative way. How are you to bloom as a muslim/human under these thoughts?
My husband and I are sufi. Yes, we are a little goofy.
I do not let any of the earthly things get in the way of my relationship with god. It is a loving, supportive, respectful relationship.....and it takes time!
I am not fasting due to nursing. Have I worried about this and what god will "think"? No, of course not, he knows. He knows I am making the best decision for my baby.
Islam is all about the heart. When the mind gets in the way, it is when we have the problems. Live from your heart. Be patient. Love yourself.
post #38 of 1560
asalam alaikum sisters - nice to see you all. i don't really know a lot of muslim sisters, maybe it's because i don't cover my head and the hijabis tend to stick together. i feel really uncomfortable going to the masjid too. i'm just an overall introvert.

blissmonkey i feel the same way you do - and i feel like i've hit an all time low right now in terms of my imaan. how is this possible in the month of ramadan? am i shaitan or something? i wonder that seriously, lol.
post #39 of 1560
Thank you both for your kind words! I don't want to make this whole thread about me and my lack of spirit, but I would just like to say:

*mamefati: So you're nursing and not fasting? Do you have to make it up? Do you feel the decision (whether or not to fast) is yours to make? Does it make a difference how old the baby is, or how much solid food they eat? Your words were beautiful. I wish I knew how to "live from the heart."

*Ammaarah: What finally got you over the "sophmore slump"? At least you had one good year, first! So you knew you could get it back. What exactly were the "virtues" that initially attracted you to Islam?
The postpartum hormones is an interesting theory! I felt the same way before the pregnancy, though.
No, I don't know any converts here. The only Muslims I know are the ones who were my students when I was an ESL teacher. I got to be sort-of friends with a few of them, but I could never be "myself" around them--only on my best behavior, like visiting with your grandma's friends, you know?I don't know where I would meet converts(who seem to be the most "hardcore" Muslims!), or how we could have anything in common, as I gravitate toward a "counter-cultural" (for lack of a better word) lifestyle. That's why I came to this thread. (Before now, for 2 years I didn't even have the guts to talk to online strangers about my so-called conversion. I'm still terrified that someone I know will come acros these posts. Man, I'm paranoid! ) Are there any deadhead Muslims out there? It seems like they're all pagans or Buddhists or "Crunchy Jesus freaks" If I could find some treehuggin' granola Muslimas to hang with, that could work! (Anybody know any?)
Oh, speaking of prayer as exercise, I read somewhere that each rakah (is that the right word?) burns off 10 calories. It's not exactly cardio, but better than nothing! I'll try your advice (visualizing the veil lifting, etc.) and see if it helps. (Usually what I feel lifting is the baby lifting up my shirt, trying to get a snack! ) I have no idea what "tasbih" means, though. You sisters use a LOT of words I have to look up some time. (Like Tassawuf, tariqua, wajib,kushu,sehri,fitnah...*sigh* how come Muslims always use the Arabic and don't just say the word in English? It just makes things confusing :
So, this Thikr thing, do you have to sit and do it (no time) or can you do it while you're doing something mindless like washing the dishes? What if you don't get to 33 times or just lose count? (Why 33 anyway?) If I'm focusing on counting how can I try to feel whatever is supposed to happen? (Does anything happen? You know, like a meditative trance kind of thing? Is it like a mantra?)
Sorry if my questions are stupid! And thanks for keeping me in your prayers!
post #40 of 1560
Bliss-
Do dreaded sufi's who wear patchwork sound good?
Go to www.bayefall.com.
I feel the decision is 100% mine and so does my husband.
I will make up the days before next ramadan comes, inshallah.
It does not make a difference to me how old or how much solid food they eat. It is my choice and I will fast when my body is only mine. I will not fast pregnant or nursing.
When there are so many rules running around your head, how can one concentrate on God?
Stop thinking about all of that and let go, let god.
Every ones journey is different. Little steps.
Im here for ya, and I still got lots to learn to.
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