Need Help? 3 Phrases that Sound Cliche but Aren’t

Need Help? 3 Phrases that Sound Cliche but Aren’t

Fact: life is hard.

No matter what situation you’re in, there’s bound to be a challenge coming your way. And that’s not being pessimistic. That’s just life.

How often do you feel you need help? Please read on for in case here’s something you need to hear today.

The Possibility of Hope

I’m not professing to have the answer to all situations. However, what I share today are a few hopeful moments that came across my path in the past few weeks.

For me, the challenge at the moment is being in the midst of a pregnancy. That’s one amazing privilege and adventure! But as the due date crawls closer I find myself overcome by a range of emotions…fears…situations. I battle to keep balance and I soooo want to do this right for this girl-baby’s benefit.

So, it feels like I’m facing a different challenge every other day. Not as big as some challenges in life…but when your actions affect a little soul coming into the world – and me being a new mom who usually likes being in control -…the challenges feel overwhelming.

However, when I look back over the past few weeks, as much as I can identify the challenges, I recognise Him. The Godly advice that came across my path was always there. IF I’m wise enough to open my mind to it.

Because I’m a word person, I think His guidance sticks in my head in the form of words…phrases. So here goes…a few of His words to me. Hopefully, they can bring a little light to one of your challenging days.

3 Phrases

Calm Down

Perhaps you think this is one phrase no one should ever say to you. In movies they joke about husbands who dare to say ‘calm down’ when a woman reacts. But when it’s God that places these words in your mind…you kind of listen.

For me, a personal struggle has been to keep balance between working and being pregnant. I aim to please and hate to disappoint. But when you’re pregnant, things must change. I simply couldn’t go on as I used to. It was affecting me and there was the risk of my work worries affecting my baby.

It took one scare of early contractions at 33 weeks to make me realise that I needed to adjust my mindset. 4 days in hospital and I was different. I had to be. Mrs In Control even cried with the nurse about how I didn’t know how to do it all right. But the promise of a new life growing inside you forces you to change.

But change isn’t always permanent. Each week I have to remind myself what my priority is. And perhaps God also knew I needed regular reminders.

For example, one morning during my quiet time, all that came to mind was ‘calm down’. And I knew. Calm down about the people I’m worried about…calm down about work…calm down about keeping housework up to date. It doesn’t help to worry and it definitely doesn’t help little Lucy when I’m tense all the time.

And then, when my husband left for work that day and out of the blue he said ‘relax…take it easy…‘, you know it’s God confirming the message for the day.

Do those words make life less stressful? No.

But:

  • It changes how I respond to the stress that wants to enter my life.
  • It helps me focus on simply getting the next thing done, instead of trying to handle everything at once.
  • They help me enjoy a meeting with a colleague, instead of only worrying about clients.
  • The advice makes me take 5 minutes just for myself in the still-empty babyroom, because I will never have those 5 minutes again.
  • And it makes me enjoy an evening on the couch to rest, even if I couldn’t get everything done, knowing that rest will empower me to face the next day’s workload.

Calm down. It has more positive outcomes than you may think.

He Didn’t Give Us a Spirit of Fear

My other panic I had to deal with over the past few weeks was the idea of giving birth. Despite amazing prenatal classes – which helped resolve some fears – I became a little paranoid. What was going to happen with me and Baby-Lucy in just a few weeks?

Even the thought that it could happen at any time was overwhelming. How can I be prepared if I don’t know when it’s coming?

And what if something went wrong? What if everything went wrong?

Once again, taking those few minutes of quiet and searching for His view on the topic – rather than my own – was the ONLY thing that changed my mindset about this. Not people, not books, not knowledge…but His Spirit showing me the TRUTH of the situation. Then, I could look at THE TRUTH instead of the enemy’s LIE that I should fear what was coming.

So, what was the truth in this case?

Sitting in my chair, I was overcome with the image of Him WATCHING over her. Also, a few weeks ago I looked up at the babyroom roof and noticed that there were exactly three down lights installed. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 3 Sources of Light will be LOOKING over her daily. And a friend who was sharing with me what was on her heart gave me one simple word…WATCH. And I knew…God, the trinity was WATCHING over Lucy. THAT was the truth.

I didn’t have to worry…He was taking care of her. There in her room in future, but also while she was still in my womb. And instantly, that realisation removed the intense worry I carried with me during that week.

Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it hurt? Yes. Is there risk involved? Yes. But He is with her and I can simply do my part. He will do the rest.

Of course, the challenge is to live with that new-found realisation the next day and the next. This is where I do believe the Word is powerful, because the phrase that stuck in my head was ‘He did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of….a sound mind’. 2 Tim 1:7

SOUND MIND. As His child I did not have to buy into the chaos of stress. I can choose to take up His truth and promise and advice. But it IS a choice. And I try to choose that every day.

But fear can return…

A few days later my fear was that I wouldn’t cope when the moment arrived. How will I handle my water breaking or the pain of labour? What if I freaked out? Once again I had to return to the TRUTH of the matter, not the fear that comes so naturally. The truth that God designed me specifically for a situation like this. He made me woman. He created me for this purpose. And gave me a SOUND MIND to choose His peace and believe His promise if being there for us…but it’s my choice to take up that sound mind or surrender to panic.

The Price of Pride

Here, I simply wish I could thank all of the wonderful women God placed in my life over the past few years. There are new friends in the city we moved to, old friends who came back into my life, neighbours, family…the list is endless.

What I realised recently however is that I have robbed myself of so many blessings, because, like I said, I like being in control. Being pregnant at 39 was a huge new journey for me, but I didn’t want to admit to some of my younger friends the mental challenges I was facing.

Some of them have already had their children and were more than willing to give me the love and care and proper advice I needed. But it took me months to realise their value and discover the magic of sometimes being vulnerable.

And it’s pride that does that.

Pride, which I thought I’ve dealt with in my life.

When a young mom who simply loves helping other moms showed up on my doorstep with a gift (book on motherhood) and I saw all the book club friends’ names inside the card…I realised how dumb I’ve been. These women have been on my doorstep for over 2 years. And although I made friends with a few of them, I could have embraced them more and shared my worries, instead of trying to always save face.

They cared unconditionally. They understood the challenges I was going through. These women would have shared their stories without expecting anything in return, without laughing at my questions and without judging my opinions.

I know this is because I always want to be the one who helps. But wanting to ALWAYS be the rescuer is fuelled by unnecessary pride, not just love for others.

May I be wiser in future and stop missing out on the blessing of people.

Now What?

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t know what you’ll face in future.

I’m just holding on to these few words, because if He helped me learn lessons and find hope in the past few weeks…He’ll do it again in my tomorrows.

What’s your biggest challenge? What phrase helps you through the day? What advice do you have for me on my mom-journey?

Thank you for reading.

Senekal – My 5 Thoughts – 5 Things I Hope we can Remember

Senekal – My 5 Thoughts – 5 Things I Hope we can Remember

I want to start off by saying that I don’t think I know everything on this topic. I don’t say that because I doubt myself, but because I’ve seen this week how so many leaders and people have shared opinions and for many of us it’s difficult. It’s difficult to make statements or give direction when the waters are murky. It’s difficult to show vulnerabilities. It’s difficult when what’s happening goes against everything you believe. It’s difficult when you need to have – and use – faith when the deck seems stacked against you…and continues to deteriorate it seems.

Lord, I know You’re in this and with us God, but I don’t always know from the get-go how You want us to act. It’s a learning game.

So, here I am just sharing what has been in my thoughts.

Senekal

It’s horrid what happened to Brendin Horner. I think of him and I wish I can tell him that his life meant so much. That his death sparked something that can be truly profound in our country. But I wish it never happened.

What happened to Brendin pushed many of us into action and I think that’s a good thing. Within certain guidelines. So, I’m just sharing 5 things I hope we can all remember while this event in our country’s history plays out.

My 5 Thoughts

It Can Never be About Race

While we’re fighting for an end to the injustice of white farmers being killed, I do pray that this will not result in an overwhelming hate between different races. Not again. Our country has come too far.

It’s clear that there’s no need for interracial hate, since so many different races are standing up for this one cause. May we remember how we’ve learnt from eachother, built together and partnered over the past 20 years. While we fight for the lives of a specific group of people, may we not fall into the trap of becoming prejudiced against eachother ever again.

2. Fighting for Justice, not Taking Revenge

I know there are many who may say that those against the farm murders shouldn’t gather. But I can’t tell them they’re wrong for taking a stand for justice – against injustice.

Someone once told me that being a peacemaker – peace being one of the Fruits of the Spirit – doesn’t necesarilly mean to never ‘fight’. A peacemaker may have to stand up for what is right in order that everyone in the situation can experience peace going forward.

In this light, coming together and showing our president that we – not white, black or coloured, but EVERYONE – wants to put a stop to injustice, can be a good thing?

I do believe revenge is best left in His hands and so I pray that each gathering – so many happening across our country – will take place in an orderly, peaceful manner.

3. Pray – Always

I am guilty of not praying enough. I don’t pray enough for my family, my country or prayer requests sent by friends. But I have seen the power of prayer:

  • I have seen people heal – physically and emotionally.
  • I have seen answers come on difficult questions.
  • I have found direction in prayer.
  • I have seen people change.

I know that I’m supposed to pray for this situation and I hope many of us won’t think it’s for nothing. We do have a responsibility to take up authority on earth. God tells us to rule. For me that means praying His peace, love, guidance and so much more into as many situations as we can.

  • I pray for each leader sharing their thoughts on social media – that it will be words of wisdom.
  • I pray for protection for everyone concerned. I know it can seem disheartening after so many farmers have been hurt or killed. But that doesn’t mean this is a lost cause.
  • I pray that judges will be fair.
  • I pray for changed hearts of people causing chaos in this world.

4. Don’t Forget the Past

There is no question that over the past few years there has been a lot of healing in our country. Movements like #ImStaying and the way people rallied to help eachother during the pandemic have proven our TRUE South African characteristics:

  • we care
  • we share
  • we love
  • we appreciate eachother

That stays the same even if some people prefer to pick the alternative.

I pray that we won’t forget this, while we’re in this specific chapter of our country’s history.

5. Think About who You are Following

Someone said last week that we need proper leaders. We were talking about the country as a whole because face it, we’ve lost faith in most of them.

I do pray for excellent leaders to stand up. That’s not a responsibility I have the courage for, apart from occasionally sharing my thoughts online. But I do have the responsiblity to consider who I will follow, whose words I will take to heart and whose messages I will share.

So, which celebrities do you listen to? Which videos are you sharing?

Who you listen to determines whether you get the truth about a situation. The leaders you follow determine the impact you make on those around you, because their opinions WILL affect you. And since fake news is so real in our world, everything we read requires some extra research. For example, determine whether it’s fueled by hate and revenge, or the fight for justice.

So, just think twice what your Facebook share will do. Will it get us closer to a solution or instigate hate?

Once again, I believe we can stand up for what’s right. But may we never end up with hate trumping our country’s inherent love.

These are my thoughts.

Please take care out there everyone.

Ps 133:1

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

Way Maker – My Story & the Lesson I Learnt in Exactly 1 Month During COVID-19

Way Maker – My Story & the Lesson I Learnt in Exactly 1 Month During COVID-19

So, I simply want to share my COVID-19 story with you guys.

I do think that God reveals Himself in the simplest, most beautiful ways sometimes. The subtleness is often exactly what you need to be reminded how gentle, caring and PRESENT our God is.

This story has a lot to do about South Africa’s lockdown chapter during the Corona pandemic, but the principles stay the same no matter what’s going on around you: my God cares enough to make it known that He is ever-present.

So, here goes.

Setting the Stage

Exactly one month ago, on 27 March 2020, I was not at my best. It was the start of lockdown, but as an introvert myself this fact in itself did not upset me as much as it did many others. So what was bugging me?

There was this sense of foreboding which I admit I allowed to take hold of me. What would the future hold? As someone stated very aptly, there was a sense of grief for the fact that life as we knew it was changing. Was that what got to me? Perhaps.

Also, even though I’m blessed to work in an industry that could continue operating during the worldwide pandemic, we weren’t completely unaffected. Clients were a little harder to come by, rates had to be lowered to accommodate customers. So, of course, there was the question – the fear – of whether we would survive throughout the crisis.

All of this DID lead me down the path of feeling somewhat depressed. I did NOT have my usual reservoir of joy supporting my emotions or enabling me to help those around me. I really felt down in the dumps.

But God knew what I needed.

The Way Maker Journey

Introducing Way Maker

Now let me make this clear: I know the song, but it’s not that I’ve heard it countless times. I don’t sing it in church every Sunday, because I admit I don’t get to church every Sunday. I don’t listen to gospel radio stations all day, because I work from home where I listen to instrumentals to keep focus.

But into my brain that Friday morning popped the word ‘Way Maker’. I knew about the song, so I Googled it. (For those who don’t know the song: read the beautiful lyrics by Sinach here)

And I found Way Maker on YouTube.

And I put in my earphones.

And I pushed ‘Play’.

And every word soaked into my being. Every word sung about depression…about Him being the Light in my dark moments…about working miracles when our humanly ways will definitely not be enough.

So, in those 8 minutes, God gave me back my hope. The hope I’ve held onto ever since I was a teenager and I grabbed hold of a belief that He has a plan with me, our country and His people. And His plans are always ongoing, no matter what.

So, I breathed again, listened to those videos ALL day…and saw how He provided each day over the coming weeks. For example, work may have not been in abundance as I was used to, but He provided enough for EACH DAY! He NEVER let me down.

And I thought that was my lesson.

But God was not finished.

Way Maker Across the World

So, you all have seen posts and videos from across the globe about how humanity has decided to stand together during this very trying time. Many people say that humanity is corrupted at our core, but in one of the most trying times in human history:

  •  It’s GOODNESS that is coming to the fore.
  • People SACRIFICE so much to help one another.
  • Communities are driven to SUPPORT each other.

Tough times bring out our TRUE selves, right?…and the world has proven that that which God has made us to be – people who live His values – is STILL at the centre of our beings.

But, back to Way Maker.

Have you taken note of some of the details of the positive stories people are sharing? Did you notice how many of them mention people singing ‘Way Maker’ to each other and frontline workers? This was happening in:

Was God simply trying to show ME that He is in control, or is this His beautiful golden thread making a path across the globe?

And STILL my God wasn’t done with showing me His beautiful hand at work.

Way Maker in Port Elizabeth (my home town)

So, as a country, South Africa has gotten through most of the lockdown period, but of course there is still a long time of challenges ahead. We have to rebuild our economy, small businesses are suffering and many people lost their jobs.

I look around me and have to force myself not to be overcome with sadness and worry for some of my friends’ current predicaments.

And then God sends me this.

I see it in my Facebook feed. I live in PE, so of course I watch it. It’s good news: a COVID patient is released!!!

But listen closely.

What song is playing in the background at the beginning of the video (try to listen in between the voices)?

Yes. The song that has become my anthem…the world’s anthem?

Way Maker.

God Makes a Way – Always

I can’t but see His beautiful golden thread that has been traveling with me SINCE DAY 1. And it’s only a confirmation of what He has done for me my whole life.

He is ALWAYS present.

He is ALWAYS helping.

I know all of you may not feel, hear or see it at the moment; but I pray that one day you will look back and the picture will become clear for you.

For now, this is my COVID-19 miracle.

I pray for each one of you out there that needs your own type of miracle.

I know my Way Maker is ready and able to show you the way. And please share your own lockdown stories so we can encourage each other.

Blessings to all of you.

A Letter to my Friends. Please Read. It’s About You

A Letter to my Friends. Please Read. It’s About You

Moving is tough and I’m not talking about packing boxes.

I may never see all of you again. When I think of all your faces I think of all the value you added to my life.

There is this urgency in me not to go before you KNOW what you mean to me. That’s what I’m all about I guess: that people may know their worth. Maybe because some individuals have helped me find mine and now I can’t bear the thought of you not knowing the impact your life has made on me.

I’m moving far away and for a few years you have helped form me and guide me through the waves of life. And now that season is over, but what you’ve accomplished in me is not. Your marks made me stronger, wiser and happier. And you have to know that that is a legacy you leave in this world.

Yes, I know with the technology of today we’ll still communicate. But I’m going to miss the times around the kitchen tables and feeling your comforting hugs or seeing your smile. So here’s me trying to say thank you for all those moments.

Thank You for Making me Laugh

Is there anything better than making a serious, complicated person like me get out of her usual box of reference and laugh ecstatically? You made that happen. You made me see the lighter side of life. You made me ENJOY life when all I wanted was to ACCOMPLISH life.

Thank you.

Thank You for Being Wise when I Couldn’t be

I’m used to being the counselor and advisor. But there were times when I couldn’t be and I became the student. And wow, your authentic way of living and “practice what you preach”-ways and your experience made me trust your insight. Thank you that you had the guts to go through trials so I could learn at your feet for a change. I will never forget what you did for me.

Thank You for Listening

I prefer listening. I love hearing stories. But then occasionally I need an ear. And you were there. How can I say thank you enough that you heard my sorry stories without judging or even advising. Safe spaces are hard to come by in this world and you gave me one. Thank you.

Thank You for Drying up My Tears

I love crying. It cleanses me. It’s God’s way of getting all the junk out of my system. And you allowed me to vent. You made me okay again. Most of all you made me feel safe even though I was vulnerable. There is no greater gift a friend can give. Safety. Wow. I’m going to miss that.

But as God always sent you at exactly the right time when I needed you, I also know He will send me new safety nets in my new home. I pray that you will always find the right friends at the right time. You deserve the best.

Thank You for Making me Dream

You helped me realise dreams, dream new ones and encouraged me every step of the way. How do you say thank you to someone who saw potential in you even before you knew it was there yourself?

Thank you for bringing me one step closer to my God-given purpose. Thank you for the insight and inspiring me by chasing your own dreams. You’re amazing and I pray all your goals will one day be reached. I will be praying from afar. I will cheer you on always.

Will We Meet Again?

I don’t know who of you I will see again. I must make peace that seasons change. I don’t want unrealistic expectations because it hurts too much when expectations aren’t met.

But whether this is farewell or only ‘until we meet again’, know that the memory of you makes my life richer. It gives me the strength to move onto the next chapter of my life. You have been good to this person and may God bless you immensely for that. You have been His hand in my life and I have been so privileged to know you.

Today words aren’t enough to express my gratitude.

I hope we meet again. In my heart our friendship lives on. Thank you for the footsteps you left in this heart so far.