The grace of Growth


image

Over December we had to store all our furniture at a friend’s place and look after another friend’s house while we tried to find another house over the holiday season in South Africa. My pots with some plants had to be left behind at our old house until we found a new place. In my mind I wrote them off.

About 6 weeks later I went to fetch them. To my surprise they were thriving. There were even a lovely watermelon plant that grew from seeds my children dropped in one pot. No one took care of them. The rain fed and nurtured them. Before I went to fetch them I was discouraged because of numerous battles we were facing at the time. Realizing that they grew without my care, simply by recieving rain and just being, encouraged me. All I had to do is give them soil and put them in the rain. Our creator and savior Yeshua is the one that provides the growth through pre-programmed genius creation of each creature, plant or human. All He requires of us is to receive His rain, that contains all the nurture we need to grow. We cannot force growth through performance. We can water and fertilize when the rain is little, but we are not in control of the growth. Sometimes the best growth happens just through receiving nurture through His grace-and-truth rain. Just by being and receiving what He gives.

With us however we can block the growth by refusing to recieve grace from Him and having grace with ourselves. We tend to perform to live up to whatever standard got stuck in our head. When we don’t live up to this standard we condemn ourselves and refuse grace. By doing that we create an environment around ourselves that numbs and dampen all initiative and creativity. Because we constantly condemn ourselves for not meeting the invisible, unrealistic standards in our head, we block His rain. In the process those around us constantly feel guilty and condemned as well.

Growth will happen both ways. When we choose to remain a slave to our high standards we create a parisitical, cancerous environment from which every one around us long to escape.

When we choose to release ourselves from the stranglehold of our unrealistic expectations, we can start to recieve his Grace-and-truth rain. This growth will be positive and create an environment in which those around us can grow as well.

You create a safe haven where everyone around you can feel safe and accepted because you recieved the truth that you are accepted in the Beloved.

Starting with our 12th year


Sometimes we pray for things for years and nothing seems to happen. Sometimes it seems that the Father is on mute when it comes to our personal lives, while still speaking to us about other people.

There are a few stories that flow together. My mother had a back operation 2 years ago. My brother’s oldest son, Reuben was reconciled with my parents after there was almost no relationship because of conflict between my brother and his wife, and my parents. Things were left unsorted for years. Hard-headedness from both sides robbed them from valuable relationships for about 15 years. This was the beginning of a reconciliation process that has been postponed for 3 generations between father and oldest son.

Since our first child was born and I stopped working we have been struggling financially, but we have never been without food. My husband got out of teaching to self-publish his book in 2010 and we started our own multi-faceted business. It had been an exhilarating, yet difficult walk. He had been trying to find a job for the last few months without being successful. Many times I would go to a friend and say that it feels that the Father had forgotten us.

On 11\11\2016 a friend of ours was killed in an accident. He was literally crushed between a concrete wall and a fully loaded traylor. Part of his function in the body was to protect the heart much like the rib cage does. His death exposed the heart and showed us that the love in the body got hurt critically. He was a father in Africa and the wound will take a long time to heal. His death just exposed the spiritual wound that was already there in the body. His life was about the secret chord of unity where we create a space of grace for each other even though we may not agree in areas. Much like the 2 sides of DNA that will never meet, but are connected with struts that bind them together in a unique pattern. With Stephan’s death a multiplication of who he was took place in the understanding of the body around him. 11/11 became 22:22.

In Isaiah 22:22 Isaiah 22:22 it says: (Voice in the Wilderness)  ‘And the key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.’ This references to. Rev 3:8 ‘Revelation 3:8 (VW)  I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My Word, and have not denied My name.’

My eldest brother called me a week before our 11th anniversary which is the start of our 12th year together. He wanted to organize a family get-together at my place on our anniversary without knowing that it was on the same day. My whole family was there. Even my brother and his oldest son came. They have not spoken to each other for over a year because of a deadlock in their relationship. Reconciliation has not taken place yet, but at least they saw each other. Even the code of the buns that I ordered was 22. On our anniversary we received a car as a gift. The car is 11 years old.

After the family gathering I realized that if you turn one 2 of the 22 to face the other one as a mirror image it makes a heart with a foundation, looking like the cherubs covering the mercy seat and like buffalo horns connected in the front. When we find ourselves in a ‘catch 22’ situation one of the 2’s must turn in our heads first so our place of grace and love can be restored, so we can rule, be joyful and thankful in our circumstances.

image

My husband accepted a post at a new school yesterday after months of searching and our business has picked up in great leaps in the past few weeks. I don’t quite understand why it took so long, but I know that the Father is busy weaving a tapestry of which we only see the back and sometimes a glimpse of the front. When the back seems like a mess we must just trust the one that sees the whole tapestry.

Choose Life


Written 19 November 2016

image

In the last few months we have been confronted with death in an ever increasing stream of bad news. For us personally a friend almost died when a buffalo trampled him. He lost his left leg from below the knee. Thankfully he is recovering well. Another friend’s daughter was found in a coma next to her husband and died on the way to hospital. She was only 22. This past week we were at the Thanksgiving service for a friend’s life that died in a tragic accident. He leaves his wife and 2 children. He was a father in Africa. He was a farmer in Africa. He had many other children in the spirit and worked tirelessly for community transformation in Africa. The recent floods killed at least 6 people of which one is a 3 year old girl who is probably still missing. Daily we are receiving reports of more and more brutal farm murders and attacks. Every farmer employ between 3 to 300, people if not more.  With the politicians inciting white and black people against each other and saying they are going to kill if farms are not handed over without compensation, it makes it difficult to see a future in a country whose leadership does not want a certain people group that have been part of them for 400 years to continue to live here.

When faced with physical evidence of death, how are we as believers supposed to react if we believe in Yeshua that is Life itself? On the day of the thanksgiving service for Stephan, our friend, my brother’s son asked me what I thought of the sketch of Albrecht Dürer called the Rider, or more commonly known as The Rider, Death and Satan. He did not know about Stephan.
The following was my response:
‘They (death and Satan) can’t however operate with Light even if they are always lurking just outside the circle of Light. Look at the difference in demeanor between the 2 horses in the picture. Our default is death….being distracted by negativity and fear is our sinful nature. The choice is Life. Even in the face of death and tragedy, we can choose life. The movie ‘The Book thief’ is a good example of this….
When someone close to you die however, the choice is not to surrender to the desire to join them in our thoughts. We cannot become the ‘living dead’ because of pain and loss. While we are here we need to choose Life in every action, word and thought even though it might be shrouded by pain, uncertainty and death. When we are in the cloud of witnesses we will see all without the shroud. Until then we have to have faith in the promise of Life (Yeshua) Himself. ‘

image

Today we have a choice to overcome the evil inside each of us that steers us automatically to negativity, fear and eventually death. The first thing we have to do is to put a guard in front of our mouths and speak life.  Pray and surrender to Life and ask for His agenda for the country.  Thousands are gathering today with Angus Buchan to bring this country to Yeshua and ask that His agenda will be the one that prevails.  The only way it can prevail however is if each and every one that profess to know Him starts to ask for His strategy in their unique situation and follow that in spite of fear and death all around us. Our country is in a huge crisis.  May the Father of Life grant us the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and perhaps, most of all the fear of YAHWEH which is where all Wisdom starts.

The Grace Tango


image

In the previous article I asked whether we want to remain a mad king nation.

The solution starts with all of us as individuals. When we look at each other from our own graceless protection mechanism, we look through fear, suspicion, generalisation, prejudice and doubt. From this point of view we look for the bad things in each other and expect to be decieved and hurt by other people on the one hand. On the other side we enter into a relationship or friendship with huge unspoken expectations of ourselves and the other person. These expectations are usually much higher than either of us can meet. We even place people on pedestals. When they are human, make mistakes and don’t fulfil the big unspoken dreams we have for the friendship, we more than often get offended and discard the friendship as if the other person has no value anymore.

In the Tango scene in the movie ‘The scent of a woman’  the main actor says: “The tango is not like life. No mistakes. When you get tangled up, you just tangle on.” When we can have grace with ourselves to tangle on after we made a mistake and even laugh at ourselves, because we know Who loves us and that Yeshua’s love is not based on our meeting of a list of rules and expectations, but simply on who we are in Him, we can have have grace with others. Our true eternal identity can either be a weapon for destruction or a tool for healing. When we work with truth without grace it becomes a destructive force of false expectations for ourselves and others that grows into an idol in our hearts against who no human or Yeshua can ever measure up. When we are in this place people cannot feel safe with us since they always have to perform. We cannot even feel at ease with ourselves because in our minds we constantly have to live up to the false image of the performance idol in our head.

These expectations become swords and different weapons of destruction that we use in various clever ways. We justify ourselves in many ways. Taking responsibility and letting ourselves and someone else bear the consequences for their actions becomes a weapon. Life does that all on its own. We need to learn to have grace with each other in the consequences while learning to take responsibility for our own choices. Too often we blame our actions on someone else.  No one can make us angry! If that were true we would have no authority over our own emotions and reactions. This would mean we are getting tossed around by everybody and everything around us. If we choose this we hand our eternal authority to choose how we respond to the people and circumstances around us. When we choose to respond with grace and wisdom, which is a prayer away, we start to take back our authority and use our eternal identity as a grace-tool, not as a destructive weapon.

image

Let’s lay down our spears of prejudice, false expectations and fear and take up the eternal identity with which each of us had been blessed to build and love each other from a place of grace. Let’s love each other as He has loved us.

Life puzzles and mosaic


image

In the past few weeks I have sorted out at least 30 puzzles and many more games that were scattered after an occupational therapist moved from one place to another.

Some puzzles were found, others were half and for others there were only a few random pieces left that did not fit anywhere. Everytime I found another piece of a puzzle and eventually finished some, I experienced joy.

image

Slowly I realized that our lives are a lot like that. At about 40 life has thrown a few curveballs that scattered the neatly sorted puzzles of ideals and dreams into a state of confusion. Life is not as neat as puzzles though. Sometimes we have to build a new puzzle with the pieces that is left because some of the pieces got lost forever. It’s almost like building a beautiful mosaic from the broken pieces of a beloved piece of porcelain. The end result looks totally different from the original one in our heads. That does not make it less beautiful, just different from our initial expectation.

When we have the courage to embark on the rebuilding process in our own lives, the Father sends people across our paths that need our help to start rebuilding the scattered puzzles in their own lives. The joy and peace, when the picture eventually starts to make sense again, is indescribable.

image

As we rebuild and organize the mosaic of our lives, it is helpful to take note of some signposts of how we had found hope in chaos. As the Father sends people across our paths that are in their own process of healing and sorting out, we find the signposts to be principles that can be used differently in each situation.

May we find the courage to build the mosaic of our lives into a picture that will pleasantly surprise us in the end.

Photo credits: Dinti de Beer

Harp’s clean teeth


image

Last week

we went to the oral and dental hospital for Harp’s oral hygiene appointment. As we came in we met a lady whose son turned nearly blind about a year ago. As we exchanged numbers we could encourage each other.

At his appointment the ladies were very understanding and gentle with him. I discovered that if I hold his jaw gently with one hand and massage him on one side it is easier for him to keep his mouth open. The one lady even helped with the assesment regarding his wisdom teeth at a total different department.

We thank you for your kindness, grace and patience with Harp as he comes in for every appointment. You are doing great work.

Moving from the valley of tears to ‘Brother’-stream


image

This rainbow greeted us as we left to sleep in our new house for the first time.

For three and a half years we learned to sing when breathing seemed too much. We learned to trust El Shadai is there through the thick, smothering darkness that tried to banish all faith and hope. At times it seemed that it has been accomplishing its purpose. At times I lost my hope and faith and wanted to curl up and die, because continuing to live in a state of lost and broken dreams seemed too much. Many days I thought my Creator Father could not worry about the details of my life and if He did it did not matter to Him.

When we ministered and prayed for others He answered with breakthrough. People started trusting us with their inward struggles and heart battles quicker than ever. He answered prayer regarding ministry but regarding our personal lives I experienced silence. I chose to sing and encourage others on my darkest days. He used that to teach me that the only way to bring hope back in the midst of the darkness is to encourage others with the essence of His character and dreams for Africa.

A week ago we moved to this place after looking for a house. When we came to look at this place I was excited immediately. When my husband and I stood in the kitchen last week to negotiate with the landlord, the kids quietly jumped up and down behind him with their thumbs up. When we asked about a school and he said that it is walking distance the deal was done for me.

From the kitchen to lots of other small details, our Father provided for us. When I walked back to school the other day I could breathe easily. The atmosphere was light and after our deposit was also sorted out I knew that we needed to be in this area for a while. For the first time in years I felt welcome in my own home.

I believe the Father brought us here to be instrumental to bring forth a prototype of root-reconciliation. Our first visitors was a family to whom we were reconciled just last weekend.

Here in this gateway between Gauteng and North West I believe we are going to be built up again in every aspect so we can continue to spread the message of hope and root-reconciliation.