After the crushing effects of divorce, all the wheels fell off. I moved around in a blurry atmosphere most of the time. I couldn’t go for an interview without having a panic attack. I took on various temping jobs, eventually I found myself working behind cosmetic counters. Anyway, here I was in a beautiful department store in Cape Town, working behind an equally beautiful counter, watching a shopper browsing languidly through many items of clothes hanging on the walls, whilst baby in the pram was crying non stop.
It tore my heart up till I couldn’t stand it anymore. The store was dead quiet being early morning still. I left my equally quiet counter and walked up to the pram, asking mum if I could hold the baby. “Oh yes she said – its been fed so its not hungry”. I picked up the tiny bundle and placed her comfortably on my chest / shoulder area and held her tight, rubbing her back as I rocked her. Pretty soon out popped a huge burp. Mom turned around and sheepishly came toward us and apologised.
Oh, don’t worry I said, I know exactly how you feel. No one to help you, you’re at the end of your rope and feel like a floor rag, no doubt you’ve been up half the night, right? She nodded tearfully. No wonder you want a nice dress to perk you up. Lack of sleep makes the best of us ratty and impatient. Our nerves don’t connect and the whole body is out of whack.
Try find someone to help you sometimes I suggested, you need some – me time – to recharge the battery. Don’t be afraid to ask, sometimes people think you’ve got it all under control, and don’t like to ‘interfere’. Forget pride, baby’s life is at stake. You are all she knows and wants, she can’t talk, so how else is she going to let you know she’s in pain, they don’t usually cry for nothing.
I know it’s hard losing your independence, but having babies is when we come second – to everything. Our needs don’t count anymore, especially if you’re on your own. And, the shock horror truth of it all, is, that, that’s the deal for the next 18 years at least. It’s important to just love her and keep the lines open between you, that way she’ll know you’ll always be there for her. She was most grateful and hugged her baby tight.
When you come to faith in Jesus, acknowledge and repent of your sins, know he died for you and rose again, he lives in you, you become a new person. You’re born of his Spirit who leads you to help others, wherever you are. No matter the situation, you’ll just have wisdom and strength to be there. Bearing fruit for Jesus glorifies God.
I used to think I had to know how to speak to people about the bible, I knew I couldn’t be like pastors who know what to say. And especially with fears of being stupid always plaguing my mind, but compassion always won. So I just did what came naturally.
Where does that word come from even? A magic charm or spell, power or influence. Probably Africa origin – witchcraft. Oxford English Dictionary.
No way! God created me in his image before the world began. He didn’t leave me to roam around in darkness unaided. Even if I didn’t know it, he was always in charge. When I believed his word, his Holy Spirit guides me. Because he loves me, and protects me from evil forces that do not love at all, but destroy and deceive for their purposes.
John 15:4 ..abide in me and I in you. Apart from me you can do nothing..
Whatever was going on in my life – the circumstances, the upsetting issues, the hardships, the loneliness, the aches and many pains, were all conforming me to his image. I’m to therefore submit and grow with and through it all.
Isaiah 48:17 I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
When lockdown first happened in February/March 2020 – a back tooth in the upper jaw – broke off and part of the filing with it. Whatever remained felt like blades. Just then all 70+s was deemed vulnerable and had to stay put.
No dental help was forthcoming. As the months dragged on, it chipped away. I probably swallowed most of it!
God blessed me with a new flat within 6 months of my requesting a transfer due to neighbour noise.
So, February 2021 I moved into a tiny little flat with the view of green trees out of all my windows from the first floor. At first, I resisted as didn’t know the area and was afraid that I knew no one.
But what a change from the blaring radios from parked cars outside my window, loud horrible voices on mobile phones, blokes punching each other and falling through the fence, and of course noisy traffic. I had no friends in the building and also no church friends nearby.
God knows I love trees and birds and little creatures, so that’s what I gaze at every day now. Foxes playing together, lots of birds, a family of magpies growing up, blue tits dashing about, parakeets with their beautiful green feathers, lots of crows, a blue crane appeared once, a woodpecker tapping away at a tree stump, tiny robins I love. Plenty of squirrels and fat pigeons nibbling at everything on the trees. And wonderful neighbours who gave me greeting cards when I first moved in. Even the manager of the building gave me a ‘New Home’ card. Little ladies popped by my door to say hello – masks and all. A Christian lady loaned me her ladder to reach the high cupboards in the kitchen. So many lovely changes – I was in awe. God knows best.
It all helped me settle, despite the lack of cupboards in the bedroom and bathroom. And my having to part with a few pieces of furniture because there was no space, and many huge bags of clothes and bric-a-brac. All went to charity who were delighted with everything.
My tooth, after a whole year had finally parted company with the filling that was left and the pain kicked in. I stuck half a pain killer in the hole often. The soonest date I could get to see a dentist was the end of April. Bearing in mind I was a new patient in the area so no rush there. I wasn’t a priority.
A week after I moved in, I had a colonoscopy at St Georges hospital in Tooting. A massive hospital with plenty of restrictions. I was tested of course and had had my first jab. Prep for the op was done at home – thankfully – 24 hours in the loo. My daughter fetched and carried and brought me home. All was well, wonderful medical staff all round. Of course, I had to sign on with new doctors in the area.
Before my dental appointment I let him know how painful it was and suspected infection. He prescribed antibiotics which helped a bit but I needed a second batch to do the job.
The tooth came out with great difficulty – ouch – lovely dentist, so I trusted him. Two injections helped. I was numb right to the throat. It had a long root which entailed a lot of tugging. He asked the nurse for a blade. What? The tooth had merged with the jaw bone. He sent me home with a script for painkillers advising me to keep on top of the pain, also giving me cotton plugs for the bleeding.
At home the injection wore off and the bleeding started – blimey – he also said no rinsing at all – nothing in the mouth for 24 hours.
My new Christian friend offered to buy me some smoothies – I couldn’t put a teaspoon of yogurt in my mouth even, my jaw was so tight. Thankfully I had straws – what a life saver! Isn’t God good.
I lay on my bed after handling the bleeding, worrying whether I’d get blood on my lovely new single bed and linen my ex paid for and my daughter bought on his behalf.
Funny what one thinks of.
I lay on my bed crying – regretting not opting for hospitalization.
I was saying sorry to Jesus – I can’t do this. You hung on the cross bleeding for hours, every bone in your body in agony and your skin and muscles stripped away with cruel whips embedded with bits of bone and metal to rip it open. Holes in your hands and feet – not forgetting the spitting in your beautiful face, and the depraved cries of wicked, jealous, vile people, whom you came to save… and I can’t even handle a toothache!
Please help me I don’t know what to do Lord it’s so sore.
Then I felt my jaw move and I heard the sound of bones creaking, like knitting together – and sudden pain for a second, I was scared at first – then nothing – no pain – then peace surrounded me as I lay there quietly.
Jesus still loved me and was with me …I didn’t mind who didn’t love me or want me, as long as Jesus loved me.
It took a while to return to normal but I could handle it as I waited. This pic, weeks after the extraction, looks weird but not at all painful. You should have seen me with half my face, double in size with various colours of bruising! It looked like I’d been in a punch up. At least my face returned to normal size! I was grateful for masks if anyone came to my door!
Shadowlands – where the sun doesn’t shine – C S Lewis
It all produced a blank canvas for God to write on…Hallelujah!
Times when I was useful came to mind…
Remember how the whole world could not produce face masks, suitable to protect medical staff in quick time!
I was grinding my teeth in annoyance…
I felt like they needed someone like me who could buy products for the giant cosmetic house I worked for in South Africa. A leading, prestigious, fussy, particular about everything, American company. If Quality Control did not approve a product – it was rejected. Marketing people went nuts for lost sales – but QC was priority.
They loved me because when I ordered something, I chased, hounded, took no excuse, until the product landed on our floor.
I learned to scrutinize everything before seeking approval, proof read every word twice before submitting to marketing, who together with the CEO and directors, came to trust me.
I monitored right down to the time they would deliver.
Marketing had less loss of sales due to the ‘out of stock’ report I monitored daily.
Why couldn’t governments obtain life saving masks on time?
At least it got my writing juices flowing – on paper though, not up for blogging
The gloominess of lockdown actually helped me.
God cleared out my mind and showed me things which lifted me out of my despair. But I was slow in recovery.
I needn’t be scared to be me anymore – I’m okay…
A walk in the park – had a whole new meaning. That’s all I could do sometimes.
I needn’t climb the walls or talk to the wall like Shirley Valentine anymore.
God was always with me, guiding, teaching, cleansing, whatever it took, and bringing things to mind to encourage again…
Long ago in South Africa – Cape Town actually. I got off the bus and turned to walk away, when I saw a ‘homeless looking’ dark man – not young – grab the rail to climb the ridiculously high steps, the single decker busses have. But the bus driver pulled off!
I stood horrified – for a moment – then ran after the speeding bus, that carried the man hanging on the outside for his life.
Wearing a cream coloured Trench coat, which flared out behind me, as I ran along the road screaming to the bus driver; was quite the apparition to behold.
The man dropped to the ground – cars and people stopped and stared.
I ran up to him and lifted his bleeding head and face – rummaged for a tissue to wipe him – naturally he was stunned and hurt. I tried to lift him but failed – then a young white girl came up to help me – but the two of us could not lift this big man who was a ‘dead weight’ really …
“Oh Jesus please help us Lord”! I cried – then in a flash the man was standing on his feet – even before I stood up.
The dark skinned driver stopped the bus by this time and walked back to the scene.
I’m sorry he said – we’re not allowed to let them on the bus.
Don’t worry about that now I said and gave him money to take the gentleman as near as possible to his destination. And off they went.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Praise Jesus my Saviour.
If you know Jesus – call on Him to help you help others, and be his hands and feet.