Sunday, 3 January 2021

FASTING PART TWO by Lorna Abwonji

 

FASTING PART 2

Hey there

Before you read this blog post I encourage you to read PART 1 which gives a great overview of fasting with special focus on spiritual fasting from the Christian perspective

This particular article will be more about my fasting journey and I thought it would be more fun if it was in Question/ Answer form because there was so much I covered about fasting in the previous post.

I will answer a few general questions that people usually ask but my main focus will be my experience with my 40 day water fast experience because it was very extreme for me especially the physical element.


WHY DO YOU FAST?

A lot of the reasons I gave in the previous article is the reason I fast [ I recommend reading that because I commented on each point]. My favorite reason lately has been that it is the time I know I am meeting with God and eliminating a lot of distraction. Yes, I still have my day to day activities but I ensure I have that time that is just me and Him and I know disruptions can happen so I always ask Him to protect that time and He does.

DO YOU PREPARE IN ADVANCE TO FAST?

Yes, I do plan ahead of time because I realized that it helps me adjust my thinking towards what it will entail especially in terms of my routine. I know I have keep time for prayer and reduce physical activities and plan in advance what I will eat so I do not keep thinking about it all day. I also ask God to protect my time with Him in prayer from disruptions including my own attitude.

Another thing to consider is diet, what to eliminate before you start your fast such as caffeine and sugar because they can give you hunger pangs. If you can eliminate them a week before your fast then it can be easier for your body to adjust [alcohol and drugs of any form should also be eliminated]

So basically, this is what I would suggest

  • ·         Disconnect from social media sites and anything that can disrupt your fast.
  • ·         Eliminate my sugar and caffeine intake
  • ·         Regulate your diet and food portions [don’t over eat, eat normal food portions]


WHEN DID YOU START FASTING?

The first time I fasted was in high school and I was just scared the whole time of doing it wrong. I had the privilege of observing my Muslim classmates so I saw how diligent they were with their fast and the beauty of it is that they were a group and held each other accountable. Also that they were fasting with their families at home.

I on the other hand was doing it alone and I did not want anyone to know. There were also all these taboos about telling people you were fasting. I also thought about food all day but at least I ensured that I made time to pray. The good thing about me is that I did not give up even if the day didn’t go as planned and I decided to eat. I always knew I could keep trying and not give up. Eventually, I’ve gotten better with time. No one does it perfectly every time even if they have fasted many times before.

DO YOU TELL PEOPLE YOU ARE FASTING?

I tend to tell people in advance especially those that I am around most of the time. Usually a month before and I choose a time when I least interact with people as well. I very rarely have to tell anyone that I am fasting because of this.

HAVE YOU EVER BROKEN YOUR FAST TO EAT?

Yes, I have. Especially when I first started fasting and my mind was thinking of when I will eat next. On occasion I have had to break my fast like when taking medicine or something coming up. The only time it wasn’t even an option was during my water fast because I knew breaking it based on craving would be dangerous to my health.

WHICH TYPE OF FASTING HAVE YOU DONE?

When I first started fasting, I started with skipping one meal a day for a week.

I tend to do the regular 24 hours fast where I eat one meal a day [this is the one I do on a regular basis]. I started with 21 days, then 30 days and now mostly do 40 days

Then I did the water fast in 2019 which lasted 28days. I was meant to do 40 days but my body shut down so I had to break the fast.


ARE YOU ACTIVE WHILE FASTING?

I try to pick a time when I know I will not have to move around a lot or meet with too many people. The first three days are usually the hardest for any fast because your body is adjusting to it, then after that is manageable.

DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY SPIRITUAL ATTACKS WHILE FASTING?

I doubt that I have and I am not sure if going through a wilderness season after completing a fast counts, but I usually know that if God led me to do something its with a good reason so I do not think too much about being attacked. I cannot recall any specific ones. However I did struggle a lot more with prayer while on my water fast because I was a lot more focused on my physical well being ,my body went through a lot, both during and after the fast

DO YOU LOOSE WEIGHT?

Yes, I do lose weight but it is never my top priority when I am on a fast. I loose and then gain it back most times. If you focus on weight loss then your fast may have a different reason that is not spiritual and you lose track on why you are fasting in the first place. But I can say after finishing the fast it could be a great re-set button to start with healthier eating habits especially because a lot of people react to some detoxing effects in a severe way.

CAN ANYONE FAST?

I believe anyone can fast but there are times someone cannot, like if on mediation or a variety of other reasons. It’s important that if one has health issues that they consult a physician before attempting to fast. In the case of children if you want to teach them about fasting it should be ultimately their decision because it is more about them understanding what and why they are doing it. There are creative ways people have taught kid about fasting, example that I like is eliminating sweet food and snacks or limiting drinks to water only etc. But this should only be done when the child fully understands what fasting is about and definitely consulting a pediatrician. Generally, its important for all people to understand why they are fasting.


HOW DO YOU PRAY WHEN YOU FAST?

There is a time of day when I have least disruptions and that is usually when I focus my prayer time on. Then in between the day I find times to pray shorter prayers but not in a very formal way. I am very big on just talking to God all the time so my prayer time is not confined to only when fasting.

HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PRAYER WHEN FASTING FOR LONG PERIODS?

I keep a prayer journal in general where I write my prayers because it helps me focus, I also voice out my prayers at times. Sometimes I even read a psalm as my prayer and when I don’t feel I can pray I listen to gospel music or sing the songs as my prayers. Every day is different and every fast is different. Having some sort of plan on what you want to pray about is also a good way to start. Some people are very good at sticking to the plan others are not. Doesn’t mean you should quit. You get better with time.

DO YOU FAST WITH SOMEONE OR A GROUP? HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY?

When I did the water fast, it was actually a communal fast so I did have an accountability group and a person I spoke to on a regular basis and we checked on each other. It helped a lot considering how difficult the fast was. It helped motivate me to push through. Most other times I fast on my own.

IS THE SPIRITUAL ELEMENT OF FASTING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PHYSICAL ONE?

I believe that they go hand in hand. You cannot focus on one and ignore the other. A lot of churches will often speak more about the spiritual part and not educate on the physical element. We cannot ignore the principles of nature, which God Himself created for our bodies to live in. We need to take care of how we do things and realize that our physical bodies are still here on earth under the natural worlds influence. I believe most people avoid fasting because they do not physically prepare for it or not sure what to expect.


MY 40 DAY WATER FAST EXPERIENCE

My focus for this part will be how my body reacted and what I did to keep going. I kept up with the prayers even after I stopped at day 28.

REASON

The fast was a 40 day fast that was being done by people in the church for specific issue we were seeking God for. This was completely by God’s leading. It was not compulsory. After going through it and thinking about it now, I cannot stress enough that this is not just a thing you do for the sake of doing it. It takes a real toll and you need to be certain God led you to do it because people have died after doing this fast. I can only say God led me through it because to this day I cannot fathom how I managed 28 days without food.

PREPARATION

There were various options to choose from in how to do the 40 day Water fast and some people actually opted for the regular for the 40 days.

I decided on the 40 water fast and I did a lot of research to prepare, mainly blogs and YouTube on people’s experiences when they fasted. Knowing what to expect physically was very helpful because so if there is a point that your body starts shutting down you know you need to stop.

I have fasted before so the preparation for me was good, I reduced my portions as the days came closer and eliminated caffeine and sugar from my diet.

There was a WhatsApp group for prayer and accountability and encouraging each other.

There was a weekly meeting for prayer.

I also notified my family that I was on a fast so they did not have to worry. They have seen me fasting before but not this type. I realize now that I should have explained more, but I figured this blog is a good way to do that.

 

THE EXPERIENCE

People do not experience the symptoms in the same order and some even go without experiencing anything. I know people in the group who had severe headaches and vomiting when they started and then those like me who had it as we approached the end. Others had insomnia and others feet got swollen because of water retention. 

Another things is if you ever do the fast again it doesn’t mean that the experience will be the same physically. So, it’s not set-in stone.

I kept a journal on my physical experiences and day to day activities as well as my prayer journal.

I started as I usually do and knew that I had to brace myself until day 3 because that is usually the hardest day.

The only issue I had at the beginning of my fast was dizziness which started at day 2. I thought I was not drinking enough water but that was not the case. I researched and realized that I needed to replace my electrolytes. The water we have now doesn’t seem to have minerals so I added some salt to my water and immediately the dizzy spells stopped.

A few days later I had very bad leg cramp that lasted a week and I couldn’t walk. It was so painful even when I slept. I realized after researching again that it was a mineral deficiency.  So, I bought water-soluble vitamin C and mineral tabs to add to my water. I also bought Epsom salt [magnesium sulphate] to soak my feet in which relieved the cramps and also got foot massages and that is when it finally stopped. I continued with the water-soluble tabs till the end of the fast.

By this point I realized the importance of nutrition when we eat, things I never thought about in my day-to-day life were being revealed to me in this process. i also understood why there are people to take sugarless green tea in addition to water, mostly for the nutrients.

By end of week 1, I had no hunger pangs and the smell of food did not affect me at all, I did not even have cravings. My mind also had adjusted to the fact that at this point trying to eat would be fatal because there is a whole process of how to break a water fast.

I was not moving a lot but I would get very fatigued if I did. I took a lot of naps and which helped revive my energy. I had classes on some days that I attended but I managed to push through. I managed to go to church as well most Sundays and my accountability partner was really good at ensuring I got help to get to church because there was no way I would have managed on my own.

I took a lot of water through and through and even though there were times it tasted bad because my body was detoxing, I had to keep at it. At times I would squeeze some lemon juice into the water.

My lips peeled as well during the whole fast, they were very dry no matter how much I tried to moisturize or how much water I took they remained that way till the end of the fast.

The days went on ok. I am nocturnal so I tend to have more energy later in the day. My bowl movement was non existence since there was no solid food, but my periods came at their usual time in their normal way, they were not affected at all.

 Things started to change as I approached day 26 and the taste of my saliva was unbearable. When I started to throw-up I got very concerned because what was coming out was bile. Even when I tried to drink water it did not take long before I threw it up.  So after two days it was just too much and I decided to stop. I was alone most days and I didn’t want to end up in hospital. Generally, this is not something you want to be lectured about at the hospital. I knew I had to stop because we actually had a doctor doing the fast with us and she advised that anyone struggling to hold down water should consider stopping because your body was shutting down. So, I stopped and had someone buy me grapes to break my fast.

Below is the refeeding plan I followed

Even after stopping I threw up everything I ate, and I had to start taking note of what was food and what was bile so i could adjust my meal. I still had to eat every 2 hours so it was very difficult. I was still hoping to recover enough to finish the fast, but ended up sick for a week, vomiting stomach bile daily. I was very frustrated and exhausted and wondered if my body would ever be the same. I was emotionally drained and felt like a failure and blamed myself for being in that situation. By the end of the week I finally took some bone broth, I braced myself for the usual but I was pleasantly surprised, that I did not throw up. My stomach finally settled. The day I could swallow my saliva again was such a rewarding day.

 

I continued with my re-feeding plan as usual and felt like my energies getting back to normal and even my bowl movement was renewed. Everything tasted incredibly nice and I even decided to follow a healthier diet because its like my body had a fresh start. I learnt to cook various healthier recipes at this time and eliminated a lot things such as sugar from my diet. I felt like a new human being with a new appreciation for how fragile we are and how much we truly survive by the grace of God daily.

After successfully re-feeding my body suddenly got swollen, I did not understand why so I researched and discovered it was water retention. This was because my body was trying to protect itself from going through starvation again. This really stressed me out and I had an emotional breakdown. I was so mad at God at this point feeling like I went through this process in vain and paid dearly for it.

 I discovered something else during this process. I have always had a water retention issue and my feet tend to swell when I travel seated for long distances and sometimes, they stay swollen until get home, especially in hot climates. I also understood why when people who pick a crash diet loose weight sometimes perceive themselves as still fat, its because for some of them their body retains water and they swell. This whole thing helped me realize that a lot more about my body and that I did not have the luxury of thinking a crash diet would ever work for me. That would completely mess up with how my body would function and you could get new health problems that I never had before.

I found a way to reduce the water retention through some exercises as well as drinking more water to help circulate the water in my body. Since then, I have not had this issue again. It took about a month or less because I stopped stressing over it so I didn’t notice.

 I could not have made it through all those days without God and this journey made me so much more aware of that. I take nutrition very seriously now than ever before and I appreciate that my body functions normally. Eliminating sugar from my diet reduced my hunger pangs and I have more energy than before when I used to feel sluggish all day.

I now believe that this fast main lesson for me [outside what we were praying for as a church] was to learn so much of how my physical well being including regular body functionality depends on God. I cannot take for granted the small stuff anymore, including the automatic things my body does. I realized what I put in my body is important and that indeed my body is a temple and I should care for it the best that I can.

I will confess I haven’t figured everything out and I will not say I am the healthiest person in the world but I definitely understand more.

Would I do another water fast? I doubt I would unless God leads me to it.  I am definitely more equipped but it is a huge commitment.

What would I change? I’d definitely do it in a retreat center if I had another go at it, seeing your loved ones worry about you as they see you going through the process is not  an ideal situation and the fact that they feel they cant ask you about it as well.

Hope this was helpful, be sure to contact me if you have questions. I am open to answering them.

 Inbox me on my Instagram @lorna_abwonji or email loab2002@yahoo.com



FASTING PART ONE: by Lorna Abwonji


FASTING: PART 1

I would like to start of this year sharing my fasting experience. Those who know me know that I tend to fast every beginning of the year. Why, you ask? Because it is an opportunity to connect with God and seek Him for what He has planned for me in the year. I will share more on my personal journey in the next article but for now let’s understand what fasting is.

WHAT IS FASTING?

Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.

Abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance or be deprived of all or some kinds of food, especially for medical or experimental reasons





TYPES OF FASTS [the ones I am aware of]

Most fasts are done certain time periods, could be 3, 7,21,30,40 days.

The point being as you skip meals you take the time aside to pray.

During Lent Catholics may choose to go without meat as their fast. This would be considered a partial fast

Others pick fasts  that last 12 hours and eat one meal a day for a certain period of time.

Water Fasting refers to abstinence from all food and drink except water

An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.

 

The Bible describes three major types of fasting:

  •  Regular Fast / Partial Fast - This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. People do this fast in various ways. Some do it 3 days,7 days, 21 days, 30 days, 40 days etc. It can consist of omitting a meal or going certain hours without eating can be 6 hours, 12 hours ,24 hours etc. It is advisable that during this fast to keep away from caffeine and sugar as they cause hunger pangs. Ensure that when you are breaking your fast take a fruit or soup to open up your stomach to receive food because as you fast it shrinks in size.

Daniel 10:2-3 says, "At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over." In Daniel 1:12, they restricted their diet to vegetables and water: "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink." 

  • Water Fast [Juice fast]- Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. This fast needs a lot of planning and preparation and preferably done at a place where you can focus. You can choose the length of time you want to do it. Some do it 3 days,7 days, 21 days, 30 days, 40 days etc. It is best to do this fast at a retreat center away from distractions especially if you choose to do it for a long period.

When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, "After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." [Matthew 4:2] This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty so He could have been drinking water. [Subject to debate] But note that He was in a place of solitude and He fasted before He began His public ministry. I believe it is a good way to start seeking God especially when you sense He is leading you to o specific things. Shutting out all voices and staying in solitude with Him in prayer and reading His Word.

Also for the physical aspect please note that you must research this fast and take every precaution. People have died because of not preparing well and especially ignoring the refeeding plan [I will share my 40 days water fast journey in the next article] 

  • A Full Fast - These fasts are complete - no food and no drink. Usually done for 3 days because your body cannot stay longer than 3 days without water. It should also be planned and  Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: "For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything." Esther also called for this type of fast in [Esther 4:15-16]: "Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 'Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.'"

 It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time. And do it preferably in a retreat center away from distractions.



 


VIEWS ABOUT FASTING? [TRUE OR FALSE AND WHY MY PERSONAL VIEW]

·         Fasting should only be done by those who are spiritually mature [been Christians for a long time] FALSE : there are basic instructions to follow but everyone’s journey is different and it gets better the more you do it.

·         For Christians fasting is only for religious reasons /obligations. TRUE and FALSE : depends on the individual. Some fast for health reason such as intermitted fasting and others fast for spiritual reasons

·         Fasting is not restricted to food. TRUE: I know people who believe fasting is strictly food others believe it can also be from other things that distract us such as TV or the internet. I tend to fast food because my body has learnt to relate it to prayer. Also, it is how the Bible teaches about spiritual fasting I believe the other types can be done for non-spiritual reasons.

·         Taking salty water when fasting helps with low blood sugar and dizzy spells. TRUE: Not a lot of salt but just enough to replace your electrolytes especially when doing the water fast. Our water isn’t rich in minerals so when I did my 40 day water fast I added salt in my water once a day.

·         Fasting and starving is the same thing FALSE: I believe the motive matters here.

·         When fasting your body uses your glycogen and fat as fuel to keep it going TRUE: I’m sure those doing intermitted fasting can attest to this even more

·         You can eat whatever you want when doing short terms partial fasts FALSE: If you eat sugar or take caffeine it will increase your hunger pangs [they tend to disappear after day 3 because your body adapts so adding sugar and caffeine prolongs it]. Also keep away from alcohol or any other form of drug.

·         You can eat whatever you want after completing a long or short term complete fast FALSE: How you break your fast is as important as how you prepare for it. You stomach shrinks when you are fasting so you must prepare to open it up slowly to receive food . If you did a water fast by starting with water-based fruit such as watermelon or grapes, for full fast water and broth and for regular fast fruit or plain yoghurt is ok. [My next article will explain more on how I broke my water fast].

·         Fasting and not praying is usually considered counterproductive TRUE and FALSE: it depends on your reason for fasting.

·         If people know you are fasting you have failed in your fast: FALSE: This is a popular opinion when fasting for spiritual purposes. I choose to inform those I will interact with in advance that I will do a fast so that there is no awkwardness when offered food during the fast. If you focus on your reason for the fast it shouldn’t be a problem, God gives you grace and knew all these things would come up even before you began your fast. So, remember to pray way before you start fasting, because the preparation is just as important as the fast.


WHY DO WE FAST? [Biblical examples with my comments on each one]

 Source :HERE

1. To prepare for ministry. Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness fasting and praying before He began God’s work on this earth. He needed time alone to prepare for what His Father had called Him to do (Matthew 4:1-17Mark 1:12-13Luke 4:1-14).

I learnt to fast and seek God for how and where to serve in church because sometimes you can encounter a challenge and automatically think that you are not meant to be in that ministry which is not always the case. Sometimes it is other times its not, but seeking God is the only way to know. The answer may not be immediate but it will come.

2. To seek God’s wisdom. Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for the elders of the churches before committing them to the Lord for His service (Acts 14:23).

This is the same concept as the first point but the issue may be not necessarily related to ministry or serving in church. It could be business or even interaction with people or a difficult situation. It could also just be a time to seeks God’s favor even if everything is ok.

3. To show grief. Nehemiah mourned, fasted, and prayed when he learned Jerusalem’s walls had been broken down, leaving the Israelites vulnerable and disgraced (Nehemiah 1:1-4).

Most of the time I would fast and stand in the gap for many injustices or painful situations I witness.

4. To seek deliverance or protection. Ezra declared a corporate fast and prayed for a safe journey for the Israelites as they made the journey to Jerusalem from Babylon (Ezra 8:21-23).

I have done this for my family,  friends and also our country

5. To repent. After Jonah pronounced judgment against the city of Nineveh, the king covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the dust and ordered the people to fast and pray. Jonah 3:10 says, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened.”

I always start my fasts with repentance even if I consider the issue a small sin I bring it before God. I focus mainly on myself for this because we are each responsible for our personal sin however if God leads me to stand in the gap for someone I do.

6. To gain victory. After losing forty thousand men in battle in two days, the Israelites cried out to God for help. Judges 20:26 says all the people went up to Bethel and “sat weeping before the Lord.”  “fasted that day until evening.” The next day the Lord gave them victory over the Benjamites.

I have learnt that how you perceive victory matters here. I have had situations where  God completely delivered me from something and others where He changed my attitude towards something. Sometimes its immediately after the fast other times it is not.

7. To worship God. Luke 2 tells the story of prophetess Anna. Verse 37 says, “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” Anna was devoted to God, and fasting was one expression of her love for Him.

My fasts are usually primarily to just connect with God. I used to be so worked up about planning every day of the fast that it ended up being more like a task. When I learnt to surrender it, the Lord revealed so much to me each day and without fail. There was no day I sat idle. Not to say that you cannot plan but that experience taught me to always expect God to speak to me [even when not fasting]




PURPOSE/ BENEFITS OF FASTING [from my research, various sources]

·         Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras.

·         Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

·         Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God.

·         Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.

·         Fasting will encourage the Holy Spirit to quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.

·         Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.

·         Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others.


NEXT ARTICLE WILL BE ABOUT MY FASTING JOURNEY 

Click here   PART 2

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ARE WELCOME.

 Inbox me on my Instagram @lorna_abwonji or email loab2002@yahoo.com


Thursday, 3 January 2019

PRAYING FOR YOUR CHILDREN

There is no better way to start a year than with prayer and I thought I would post this to begin the 2019 blog posts even after being M.I.A since 2016. 
I'm now back and hopefully post more and more posts and hoping you stay blessed





Wednesday, 8 June 2016

YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INTIATIVE [YALI]

YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INTIATIVE [YALI]




Today I would like to talk alittle about a program I am part of this year called the YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INTIATIVE otherwise known as YALI

Here is the link to the website YALI SITE

This program was started by the current US President Barak Obama to invest in the next generation of African leaders in areas of Business and Entrepreneurship, Public Management and Civic leadership.
Those selected into the program are known as Mandela Washington Fellows [MWF], named after one of the greatest African leaders Nelson Mandela.
The program consists of going to the US for 6 weeks in different institutions across America to be equipped in what they are already doing under the tracks they applied in.
The application process is very vigorous and highly competitive.
There are also regional courses that offer courses and also online courses one can still do.
I encourage people to check the website for more details.
I will personally write my experience from the perspective of culture in the next couple of weeks. It will depend on my schedule and availability of my time to work on the blog while there.
I hope you will learn from my experiences and see the US in an African perspective.
There will be more information as we go along
To be continued soon……………..

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

SIBLING ADVENTURES

SIBLING ADVENTURES
I come from a big family, and I LOVE IT! I actually have no idea how people without siblings even function.
As a first born you would think I hated having a sibling come after me but from my childhood I have always had a sibling around. My cousin was my sibling before my sister came along so I have always had someone else in my life to share life with.
Over the years I have seen how our relationship has siblings has grown and changed as well. I remember how we would fight and argue when we were younger over the silliest things. Now it makes no sense but at that time it was a huge deal. And there was no one who was allowed to ever bully one of my siblings or for sure you would get it. I recall my little brother always using my name in defense when other neighborhood kids were being mean to him, yes, I had quite the reputation
Then there is the aspect of your siblings copying everything you do. It was great when it was a good thing, but when it was bad, the oldest always got all the blame. Sometimes even all the punishment. It was a tricky balance but still great fun.
Most of the time when people talk about their siblings they refer to the past when they were kids, for me I want to dwell a little more on the present.
We are at the age where we are in transition season as siblings. When life looks like we are about to go off on our own and our interactions with one another will eventually become less and less.
 It has already began in some ways, over the years. Especially when all the careers started and one starts to get interest in other things.
You still share a lot in common but you also gain other new things. This also means friends. When you are kids it easy to keep the same friends. You tend to keep a united front and demand the whole family is included in gaming activities. When you grow up you become more individualistic. Things take a new turning. You may share a lot of what you did growing up but you also develop other interests.
What I love about having siblings is that they are never afraid to just tell me if I go too far from being who I am or never be afraid to tell me I am playing it too safe.
We have grown up challenging each other and also appreciating one another’s individual strengths. It’s true there are families that a sibling doing better than another is a problem but in my family that is not a problem. We know we are different. We were never raised to compete with one another rather to help one another. We lift each other up and encourage each other. We do not give up on each other. We are one another’s best friends.
It’s been amazing watching my siblings grow into such great independent adults. For a long time I was very concerned about their well being especially in my absence. Being the first born sometimes you feel it is your responsibility to be the best example your siblings will ever see. It is true for me because I was told that severally by my parents. It can be a huge burden but I am relieved that they are all doing well. It is hard to always be the responsible one that sometimes you can lose your relationship with your siblings because of being too authoritative. There are many moments that it happened and I had to really slow things down and remember I was just their sister not their mum. 
Either way my siblings are great go getters. They all have a lot to be proud off and still have a lot more to accomplish. You would be amazed how automatically we are there for one another in times of joy and of crisis as well. It isn’t even something you need to ask twice. I love that I know they always have my back and will look out for me even as I would them.

Over the years we have adopted honorary siblings which I guess is because of the closeness we already have with one another. We literally talk daily and update each other on major news in our lives and we also support one another’s careers.

I can’t wait for the next season of our lives. It will be amazing and I know we will remain just as close but in a different perspective all together.