Sometimes its tough motivating yourself to get up and go and feel positive when all around you seems to be crumbling, and your plans seem insurmountable, they don’t really work out as you’d hoped.
Praying and asking our Father to forgive our doubts and weaknesses can sometimes result in amazing turnarounds.
He reminded me of a time when my daughter took me to Venice a couple of years ago in non stop rain all the way from Heathrow. As we were nearing Venice, the captain announced that we were due to land soon, but unfortunately, they’ve asked him to divert as visibility is nil with all the rain. He also said, that we only had 20 minutes left of fuel and its not possible to divert!
Whooa that’s not good! I said to my daughter common lets pray. We asked our heavenly Father to save the Captain and all of us on the plane and make a way for us to land safely in Venice. We need your help right now and trust in your almighty power to save us.
The Captain suddenly announced to fasten seat belts we’re landing!
Taxiing to the airport buildings, he came over the speaker and apologised for the hasty change – but “there was a sudden 10 minute window of clouds parting and 4 planes landed – then closed up again”.
Matthew 8:25-26 And they came to Him and woke Him saying save us Lord we are perishing! He said to them, why are you afraid, you men of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.
O my Lord you are mighty. You are supreme and sovereign. Forgive me for allowing worldly things and unkind words and behaviours to knock my faith about, when all the while dear Jesus, You are near and in charge.
Praise You almighty God, my Saviour. Hallelujah! Who is there like you.
Many years ago I hung over the side of a beautiful balloon, feeling the wonder – the beauty -the warmth – the silence wrap around me and lift me up – what release.
I was on my lunch break from caring for someone, but my mind was full of anguish once again, going over the bossy, bullying attitude of others I had to work with. The constant lauding it over me and taking advantage of my silence.
The fabulous balloon I was on, was tethered unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to experience the dizzy heights I longed for, and instead felt bound.
I felt like the balloon, as I gazed across the beautiful scenery, tethered to guilt and shame, instead of focusing on the scriptures. 2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things passed away and new things have come.
Satan likes to remind us of our past mess ups. Satan means accuser – don’t believe his lies. Quote God’s word whenever the trials come.
Gosh how true it is to be away from hearing the word of God, and from Christian brothers and sisters who can admonish us, and fill us up when we’re running on empty.
We can be free and weightless and soar like an eagle, when we hold His truths in our heart. Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8
When Jesus went ashore, he saw a large crowd and he felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
I could relate. I’d been a Christian a dozen years or so and now living in UK. I was employed by a Care Agency back in Cape Town and journeying by train to the north to meet them for training.
London transport was terrifying. I had no idea there’d be so many stairs up and down all over the place. All my worldly goods were in the one suitcase I was lugging about in that rabbit warren.
People warned me to stand at the bus stop to board, otherwise they wouldn’t stop. There were so many buses shunting along I was confused. And busy London – they’re impatient. I waited obediently and waved to my bus pulling away – he hollered $%”£*?% vile language calling me a lazy something and pulled off. I was far sighted so wasn’t wearing my specs, I asked the time at the train ticket office, he yelled ‘avnt yer gotta watch?!
Wow the land of hope and glory – where were those from ‘Songs of Praise’ I’d seen on the telly – ‘twas more like ‘The Weakest Link’ – where ripping people apart with words flowed naturally.
No wonder my ex was – well like he was – if that’s all he learnt growing up. Poor kid.
The train ride though, was definitely England’s green and pleasant land. I loved it, and the fields with animals and ducks and swans on lakes – it was magical. I smiled when I saw horses with funny blankets on, and wondered if my horse Nevada, would have liked a blanket – nah – he would’ve yanked it right off and stomped all over it, such a naughty boy. I’m sure he thought he was a puppy – followed me everywhere. Right into our stable doored kitchen one day – stable doors are horsey doors after all. Funny how the mind travels. Another lifetime.
I loved my granny, she died when I was ten years old so I felt sure I’d be fine with caring for the elderly in their own homes. I had great respect for older folk and was looking forward to learning from them and finding out about my new adopted country.
We were told in training that all clients are different and some may enjoy companionship, whilst others, well, just do your job and stay out of sight. Most people were polite and courteous but definitely suspicious. It’s only natural I thought, having strangers in the house, besides, the silver and all that. Quite a scary undertaking especially when their health was failing. Heart-breaking actually.
The most important lesson I learned was understanding how black people felt in South Africa.
Living in – did mean being available – obviously. I didn’t mind. I wanted to make life easier and peaceful. But there was one who called for hot chocolate at 3am every night/morning. And most mornings it was still there – cold. I was often shouted at and treated like a slave, until one night I cried to the Lord for answers. I heard a clear voice in my mind – “How long are you going to put up with it?”
That was a good lesson for me. I had to stop being a doormat. I was in a new country and I was afraid. And my server nature led easily to abuse. When I told her the next morning to stop barking at me because I was there to help her, she treated me kindly thereafter.
Most of the Carer’s were from abroad, the agency said the Brits wouldn’t do it. But the one I handed over to, after me that morning, was British, and on my way home on the train, she phoned me begging me to come back as she refused to tolerate her. It helped me understand that it wasn’t me.
I scrubbed and cleaned to make sure my clients were hygienically safe as well. One very wealthy fussy lady was so impressed with my cleanliness she reduced the days her cleaner came! I had a lot to learn.
Quite a few arranged big meals and had guests round or afternoon teas and expected me to cook and wait on them. Even carry garden furniture around and lift wheel chairs into car boots. Some even begrudged my food which was part of the package.
I really did learn part of what it felt like to be treated like a slave like the blacks in South Africa.
I prayed for forgiveness all over again, and prayed often that all whites, in South Africa especially, would come to know Jesus as their Lord, so that they could understand the bible, no one can understand the bible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirt. It is Spiritually discerned. Then they would learn that all people are the same. The colour of one’s skin does not make a person any less or lower in life.
All people are born with sinful, blackened hearts, we desperately need Jesus to make us pure and white as snow in our hearts, by being born of His Spirit and to live righteously for Gods glory.
So, it’s not the colour of our skin but the colour or our hearts, that the world sees, in the way we treat others.
The Golden Rule – Jesus said in Matthew 7:12. In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.
Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
The staggering loss of lives is terrifying and tragic
Alone – contactless – no last goodbyes – no prayers – no funerals
The panic connected us again
And levelled the playing field
God in his mercy, gave us time to think. Some of us have been living like there’s no tomorrow, no thought or value for their lives (nor anyone else’s) at all – as seen in their behaviour around the world.
Thank God for the selfless ones who care.
God made us all equal you know – like it or not
God created Adam and Eve and their disobedience put the lot of us on the road to hell. But God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus who came down to earth to show us the way back to God through him. He died on the cross in our place for our sins to save us from death and rose again defeating satan forever.
He levelled the playing field – all who believe in Him can be reconciled back to God and be saved.
How did you do in lockdown?
In the beginning I thought I was okay. I was new to a church and didn’t have friends yet. At Easter the pastor and his wife kindly blessed me with flowers.
Gosh I missed my daughter terribly – we’ve always been so close, very lovey dovey – affectionately touchy feely…South Africans I think are, many people here told me that. I know its different here in UK – a sign of weakness to show your feelings some said. Stiff upper lip and all that. Traditions – tough nut to crack – it makes fellowship quite strained. That didn’t half make me depressed though. No real contact – no sense of sharing.
As the months dragged on, I thought I was going nuts.
Some days I felt as though I’d been through the wringer – flat – dead – bereft.
My doctors were wonderfully kind over the phone. I phoned them the first few weeks to see if they were okay, and to tell them I was praying for them. They stuck it out. God bless them. My digestive/health issues kicked off as well – eating disorders when I was younger. Nerves, sciatica, they all played up again.
I put myself on – The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast – by Kristen Feola – 21 days. I’ve a history of comfort eating so that was extremely tough, but lockdown came at a time when I was just beginning to pluck up courage to start blogging and needed help and support. Now I was thrown off kilter and lost at sea. But I trusted God to show me the way and help me sort out / lay down all that was hindering me. I also switched the telly off.
I know God loves me…so what if I’m different…that’s the way he made me and there’s no no need to explain my existence. I slowly came out of my shell…with a little time…
I love flowers and arranging them, when we could go back to the shops, I bought some for my flat, I don’t have a garden, so it’s a treat for me to sit and admire Gods beautiful creations. I try and extend their lifespan for as long as possible; trimming down and changing vases – until I just have to throw them out. I’m saddened too sometimes when I find one or two buds broken off from careless handling by the time I buy them.
But even the broken ones deserve a place, so I find a tiny container to pop them in.
Sometimes in life we too are cut short by some unfortunate happening or interruption, and we feel robbed of an opportunity to express ourselves, only to withdraw and slip back under our shell – like a tortoise.
Lord, thank you that you teach us to forgive everyone like you did. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” you said as you hung on the cross. And instead of rebuke, we pray for those who perhaps don’t yet understand. You remind us that we were once like that too, before you came into our hearts through belief and gave us understanding. You tend and care until we’re able to give you glory as you intended.
It was a warm, sunny Saturday, when my little girl and I were relaxing around the communal pool of our new accommodation. A young single parent strolled over to meet us with her little girl. She listened intently to my woes of recent events, and our ending up back in Joh’burg. Plus the three car accidents in Cape Town, and the one I had just suffered during that week. The sun and the pool were most welcome.
My mind was messy as I drove to collect my daughter from her first school. The blow of being made redundant again was bad enough, but transport being what it is in South Africa, I opted for a sales job with a company car. How was I going to fetch and carry now. I’d reached the middle of the crossing of the massive intersection, where her school grounds were on the corner. When out of the blue, a Paramedic car came screaming around the long bend, and ploughed straight into me. The impact left a huge hole, right through the metal of the passenger door. I spun round and smashed into a little car coming towards me. The young Paramedic driver was new on the job, and forgot to check the road was clear, they said. There were three of them, who all willingly admitted guilt straight away. They paid for all our medical check-ups and that was that. There were no injuries. The company collected the car they’d said I could use, until I was fixed with a new one.
When my new friend invited us to join them for church in the morning, I was delighted. I hadn’t been for years.
As we drove into the car park, I could see this was definitely a different kind of church. The car park sprawled all around the enormous grounds, and up towards the church on the hill. The whole site was enormous. As we walked up to the building, passing hundreds of people, who were all smiling and happy, they greeted us and welcomed us warmly into the church. The auditorium was huge…rows and rows of lovely seats in a half circle sloping all the way down to the front. We sat in a couple of the five thousand seats, a few rows from the back. We’d already taken the two girls to children’s church.
The band was lively and quite sensational, with words on the screens above so everyone joined in, until the place was full. The singing and music was electric, and had put me in another world by this time. When the pastor came to preach, silence fell and he prayed. He was very well dressed in a suit and tie with a kind face. I hadn’t seen that before. Just a man on a stage dressed normally and speaking from the bible. I liked that straight away, and relaxed. For the first time I heard words from the bible and understood. I didn’t feel judged, nor afraid, the jeering voices and fear, were gone. It was such a joy to understand. Being able to enjoy being taught something was foreign to me. The words seemed to make sense as he explained, I was taken in by it all. I liked the preacher too – he was a normal person, like us sitting in the seats. He showed he cared. No hint of being above us, that always put me clean off, and usually reluctant to believe or trust anything from insincere people. Whereas now, I was eager to know more.
He gave an alter call at the end and off I went. I forgot about being shy in crowds, and any kind of attention. I just floated all the way down to the front, in my long, ivory linen, summer coat, which stood out, but wasn’t bothered.
As the pastor prayed for us in the front, my head was hung low, my hair covering my face and tears. I was comatose as I stood there, with dozens of others. My whole body felt like a shattered windscreen, every inch of glass smashed, but still in place, held together by silken threads of grace.
The counsellors came alongside each of one us, and led us through the doors on the side, leading on into separate rooms. The two ladies with me were loving and kind, as one would expect, simply wonderful. I think I cried for an hour. I was broken and torn and very weak, everything gushed out. Who knows what I poured out onto those poor ladies, but Jesus took it all. He lifted me out of the skip, and made me whole again. I was no longer dirt and unacceptable. He loved me they said. Me…
I knew Jesus died on the cross and that was all. To know it was for my sin, my unbelief, my not knowing anything about what He really died for. He suffered in my place and took my sins – and there were many. I needed to repent and seek forgiveness, and turn away from them, and believe that He was punished in my place. He died for me, was buried and rose again and is now alive. He will take up residence in my heart and lead me into all truth through his Holy Spirit, when I believe. I certainly believed that day for the first time, because I hadn’t heard anyone explain that to me in any church before. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Who knew what ‘saved’ even meant. I was saved from death because of my sin through Adam, the wages of sin is death, but now became a child of God, re-born into the Spirit of Christ.
By the time I left I had no make up on and red bulging eyes. My friend was with the girls outside looking quite worried. No one took that long normally she said smiling.
My counsellor Yvette, made appointments for me to return to the church every week for a few weeks. A dear tiny little person, with an enormous heart. She gave me scriptures to learn and hang on to. These are some of them – John 3:16, Joshua 1:8-9, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 1: 7, Matt 6:33, Ephesians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 4:4-7, Romans 10:17.
I so enjoyed going in to the offices and meeting with her, she was so kind, everyone was actually. Pastor Ray was super, he made a point of always greeting my daughter and I. They arranged for a Home Group to include me in their weekly meetings, and even fetched me. Some times they’d bring a meal around or pick us up for church. I was one of them immediately, joined to the family of Christ. Being part of a family, was something I hadn’t experienced since granny died when I was ten. I never fitted in anywhere.
There were bible study lessons at night in the week too, and again was collected and dropped off home. During the very first lesson, I was sitting in the front, amazingly, with my bible my ex-husband had given me for our first wedding anniversary – I asked for a bible. Anyway, I had my bible on my lap like everyone else, listening to Pastor Ray. He asked us to turn to Habakkuk. Who?? I’d never heard of him, oh my, now what. Pastor Ray had glanced my way, my face must have revealed my terror, so casually added, it’s a few books back from Matthew. I flipped open my bible at exactly the right page. That was my first taste of knowing I was no longer alone. God was actually with me, and was teaching me to trust Him, even in the small things. A kind of father thing I imagined.
After my divorce, it took a while to realise what I was up against. This was still in my BC days. There’d be advertisements in the paper for jobs or accommodation, and they’d actually say no divorcees need apply or no women and children, no pets, and so on. That was the norm in South Africa at that time.
One of my jobs gave me a new company car. But after some months I heard various noises – I liked driving and noticed odd noises that didn’t belong – so along I went to the person who would need to know such things about company cars. He said he would look into it. I never heard. Then after some more weeks, the problem extended to the car veering to the side, plus, the brakes were making odd noises, which I told him. I also mentioned that some models like mine, had been recalled due to faulty brakes. I got the same condescending, rolled eyes look, as if I was bothering him, yeah, yeah, I’ll look into it.
One lunch hour I drove into town, to enrol my daughter in her first school the following year. On my way back to the car, I bought a few things for supper, my mom was staying with us for a bit, and macaroni cheese was on the menu. So, the shopping was eggs, milk, cheese etc. plus six dumpy bottles of beer. My Mom and I liked a beer. Travelling on the inside lane down the two-lane motorway, and noticing cars coming on up ahead, I moved across to the fast lane, to allow them to filter in. But the car immediately in front of me, coming on to the motorway, was an old beat up crock of a car, which crawled right across into the fast lane.
The road was still slightly wet from earlier drizzle, so I touched the brakes ever so gently, they locked immediately, and I had nowhere to go. I just managed to pull the car over on to the inner hard shoulder. Another coat of paint and I would’ve connected with the cars I was now skidding past at speed on my left. Thank God I didn’t hit any of them, and, that the middle of the motorway was still bushes, and not the metal barrier now in place. I continued skidding down the shoulder with locked brakes and holding the steering wheel as tight as I could, to stay on the shoulder, then the car flipped. Over we went, rolling along, then spinning on its roof, and down to the middle grassy bit, which dipped slightly, till it came to a halt, still on its roof.
I crawled out of the driver’s window and looked around and up, there were cars everywhere and people running up to me, plus two helicopters buzzing overhead and pickup trucks all over the place. I think I laughed. Wow this was a whole other experience! I couldn’t believe it. I called out my daughter’s name, then they all shouted OH NO THERE’S A CHILD IN THE CAR, and ran to check it out. It was surreal – like in the movies. No, no I shouted – she’s all I could think of, but she’s not with me, she’s at nursery school. Phew major relief on all their faces.
Bless them, everyone was so wonderful. They were very concerned and wanted to take me to hospital, but I was fine, not a scratch, I didn’t even ladder my stockings – look – I said jokingly. They helped me gather my things – the pick-up guys had turned the car upright, everything was strewn all over the car, but all intact. The eggs were still in the box unbroken, and the six beer bottles were scattered about – also unbroken! We all had a laugh. Then one of the pickup trucks kindly took me to collect my daughter and then took us to his garage, where we changed cars and then he took us home. The car stayed because it was a right off.
They let me use the phone first, to phone my boss. I knew they’d be peeved. I wasn’t popular with him or his secretary. I’m sorry to phone you so late, but I’ve just rolled the car and I’m in the garage. “Oh! So, you’re not attending the meeting then, he’ll be furious”! I felt like slamming the phone down, but just said no I won’t be attending the meeting, good bye.
Nothing was done about it, not that I knew of. Everything was insured so no loss to them. I was made redundant not long after that.
I wasn’t bothered in the slightest. In fact, relieved. All I knew, was that a miracle had happened, why me – a dumb nobody?
But I was in a very bad place back then, my divorce bore down on me long after the awful day back in Pretoria, and I wasn’t coping. I couldn’t do anything right. When you believe you are dirt, you just accept the dirt that’s dished out, because you’re guilty, everything was my fault. Besides, divorcees are damaged goods and a waste of space, rejected by society, they conceived and had babies all on their own. It was time I moved on. I was mentally, emotionally, physically spent. A right off – just like the car.
That was the third major car accident I’d had in the three years. And walked away from them all without a scratch. The first two were in my own car, and none of them were my fault.
Before I was married, I intentionally tried to roll my car late one night, racing round bends and carelessly doing insane things, but it never happened. Too good a driver someone said. I don’t think so.
During swimming lessons in Junior School, the coach sent me down to fetch something for her from the main building. And to hurry. This was at the convent. I raced off down to the main buildings, past the kitchen area. But one of their ridgeback dogs – who used to be tied up – ran out of the enclosure and charged after me, biting me in the leg behind the knee. I screamed blue murder – as you do – but Mother Superior rushed out calling me names – stupid, naughty, on she went, for disturbing the senior girls during their studies. She sent me to the sick room but warned me venomously, that I would be punished later.
After supper that night we all went to the hall, I had to stand on the stage and hit the back of my hands with a long wooden ruler, steel rimmed side down, until they bled. While she said harder, harder.
When I wrote home to tell mom, I was called in and told never to seal my letters again. (?!?) They forbade me telling anyone anything that happens at school.
They often treated me cruelly for no apparent reason. It was a long, long, time, before I could trust people again, and even longer to speak up. I was ashamed for being me, a bad person, and no way out. I was on my own.
Granny was out one day in the school holidays, and left the balding border in charge. He exposed himself and made me touch him, and to tell no one…
Abnormal use of anything is abuse. Authority must be up there as the number one abuse. Inevitably I was moulded to receive it all.
Even when I was back home from school at the end of term, which was only every three months, I still didn’t seem to have the chance to talk about things. I’d end up lying on granny’s bed with my big fluffy cat called Sue. He was so tiny when we got him, we couldn’t tell that he was a boy. But Sue he remained. I loved the name – even my doll was called Sue. I know many lovely ladies in UK called Sue now. But my kitty cat was my only friend then. He’d purr so loudly and lick my cheeks as I lay on the bed crying and silently saying ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild…’ mommy taught me…that’s all I knew.
It was so peaceful, sat there, elbows on knees, sitting in my bikini, digging my toes into the sand, the sun on my shoulders, washing over me…melting away the pain.
There’d be no one around at all, on my little beach over the road from our little yellow house. I was in another world staring over the lovely blue ocean dragging on my Gauloises cigarette, watching as the ocean changed colour and ebbed and flowed, gently swishing about –– just me and the shifting sand – mesmerized by flickering shades of blues and greens whilst millions of diamonds danced all over it in the sunlight.
The silence invited me in to that special place of acceptance into nature itself, I felt hugged and ceased pondering my existence. I love the sun, it changes things, the water never stayed the same.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry Sunshine on the water looks so lovely Sunshine almost always makes me high
If I had a day that I could give you I’d give to you a day just like today If I had a song that I could sing for you I’d sing a song to make you feel this way
I lived in the Seychelles once. My fiancé and his three business partners were opening up a French restaurant there. They were all Swiss. I was the only girl, this was way back, in my BC days.
I was thrilled to be starting a new life, but knew I’d find it difficult fending for myself. I was leaving all things familiar. When discrimination rose up against me, I found it particularly hard to bear but kept quiet.
We left Joh’burg singing John Denver’s ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ hit – us twenty somethings were delirious with excitement. We stopped overnight in Mombasa, Kenya to change flights. We rushed forward with everyone else in the queue; excited that we were half way there. Sadly, I was refused entry because of my South African passport. So, we all slept on the wooden airport benches in the building. My friends weren’t going to leave me. Thank God.
Landing in the Seychelles was even more exciting, gosh it was beautiful from the air. Desperate to get out there, and once again moving forward with loads of other passengers. But I was singled out as not wanted. They flatly refused my entry for the same reason. In the end, after much humiliation, they allowed me onto the islands as my Fiancé’s dependant, and had my name stamped into his passport. They kept mine.
I was numb with fear and everything inside me caved in. But I live to tell the tale, and quite a nice turnaround occurred some months later. I’ll explain on another page.
The restaurant was also out of bounds. I was told I couldn’t work, not even unpaid. So, hey-ho I got very tanned and started drinking a lot of Seybrew beer. Which came from South Africa.
We learned to play golf before the restaurant was ready for opening. The golf pro was a handsome, gentle guy, an American from the tracking station there at the time. Priorities, right? Anyway, he taught me a lot, and introduced me to a young, local, palsied boy with mahogany coloured skin. He was about sixteen. A very obliging and caring soul, who carried my clubs (a half set), guided me along, and handed me whatever club to use. I loved sports at school and had good hand eye co-ordination, but was never privileged to play golf. But this youngster spent his life on the course, he also collected lost balls to sell, at least he could earn a little extra. They said his family didn’t look after him.
But despite all that he was always cheerful. He’d laugh and jump up and down and hug me excitedly, when I had unbelievably good shots. His gangly gait didn’t seem to bother him at all. Except that he couldn’t play as he would have liked. But he egged me on and pushed me to just go for it. So, I did, despite what was going on in my life and the inferior feelings going on in my head, which he knew nothing about. Perhaps he saw that I was alone a lot. We had something in common. Being abandoned. A little angel he was.
Early one morning – it had to be early to avoid the unbearable heat later in the day – I was teed up and ready to whack the ball with all that was in me, only to have it hit one of the lazy palm trees lolling about all over the place, and land back behind the tee.
Sometimes life’s like that – whoops and your worlds turned upside down like an hour glass. And you have to start over.
Groaning as you watch your life slip through the pinched in bit, one pulverized grain at a time.
I’ve lost count of the times that has happened to me. I moaned and whinged, kicked off at everything, and never stopped long enough to be told how wrong I’d been again. A voice deep inside cried out like the old Beatles song – help me if you can I’m feeling down – silence can be so loud.