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 Call to Keep on Going

A Call to Keep on Going

I have never been more proud of this country than I’ve been these past few weeks.

Correction – over two decades ago we transitioned into a free democracy in a manner that many across the world thought would be impossible. It was then that I knew – this is a country to be proud of…and also a country kept in the palm of God’s hands. So many people are praying for this country – have been for decades – and these times of crises prove that there’s a Power at work that is carrying us through.

So, let’s face it: it’s in our blood (ALL of our blood) to survive, to do the unimaginable…to live above the standard the rest of the world often sets.

And now we face COVID-19.

COVID-19: The Challenge

For so many of us it meant a change of lifestyle, income, family dynamics and so much more. It has called our frontline workers to go beyond the call of duty. I commend you all: each citizen, for doing your part. And if you didn’t #stayathome…I forgive you 😉 #flattenthecurve people!!!

The New Challenge

But now we face another battle: negativity.

For weeks we’ve seen positive Facebook posts, inspiring stories and online challenges, enough to bolster people’s spirits.

But over the past few days I’ve started seeing the ‘vibe’ change online. Messages have gone from support to criticism. Complaints and stories about ungrateful communities are starting to make their way up the Facebook feeds, instead of the reports about the ones giving their time and resources to help those who are in need.

I’m not going to give those stories any airtime here. I simply want to come and remind us, South Africans, what we’re made of so we can keep on acting the way we should.

What Type of South African Will You be?

Let’s Work WITH, not AGAINST

Am I asking you to stick your head in the ground and not acknowledge that there are problems? No.

But it’s all about the attitude we do it with. Writing snide remarks about harsh regulations won’t really help anyone will it? All it sparks is negativity. Will you look for ways to better situations in your local community or simply have a rant on Facebook because you think it will make you feel better. BTW: It won’t!

Political parties are there to challenge each other, but once again I don’t appreciate sarcastic comments and criticism of a government who has done an amazing job at keeping us safe. There’s no one perfect way of managing this. There’s no handbook. But I KNOW our leaders are doing the best they can and praying for them in this time is vital. Politicians – if you can’t be constructive, please find another job.

Where do You Get Your Mindset from?

Of course you’re watching news at the moment. Whether you’re watching out of curiosity or the need for knowledge about the global situation, voices from around the world enter your consciousness via your phone and TV.

Now, what are those voices doing to your mind?

Certain first world countries have been all over the news with leadership not being able to agree on the best way forward. Presidents face off against their own local leaders and use childish ploys like Twitter to instigate conflict between citizens and authorities.

I am deeply thankful that I’m a citizen of THIS country. But now we all have to guard against taking on those countries’ mindsets. What you SEE and HEAR affects how you feel. Many of us are likely to pick up that ‘vibe’ of discontent and frustration even if it’s happening thousands of kilometres away.

So, will you allow another country to determine how you feel here and break the trust & sense of community that have sustained South Africans for weeks?

In this time, trust is vital if we as a country want to finish this race in the best way possible.

Keep the Faith…Until the END

When the South African lockdown started I was overcome – literally in tears at times – to see how we as a country came together. We supported our president’s decision, we promised to help each other through this and we were all the voice of reason & positivity for one another.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

That in itself was a miracle as big as what our country saw happen in 1994 (but that’s a whole article for another day).

And now we’re almost four weeks down the line.

Here’s my challenge to you: are you going to help us finish the way we started? Are we going to keep the faith – in Him and each other – until the day we can all venture outside again?

The alternative is to allow frustration – normal after being cooped up for 4 weeks – and other countries’ bad attitudes to ruin this whole experience for us.

I know you’re tired. I know you worry about your business, your family and the future. But we will not get through this properly if we start grumbling now.

We are STILL the South Africans of a few weeks ago.

If you have an idea, let’s work on it.

If you see a story – decide whether sharing it will have good or bad consequences for the scenario at large.

If you have an opinion, dissect it – which parts of that opinion will help us as a country flourish and which parts will simply be spreading negativity with no good results at all?

If you know about something that’s simply not right – ask assistance about what way forward instead of telling everyone how horrible this country is.

It’s not all fun and games, but we’re better off than many others in the world at the moment.

AND FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE PEOPLE – DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED!

The Long Walk Ahead

It’s all about HOW we go about living these last few days in lockdown.

And then the big rebuild begins.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be in a positive mindset when that starts because we’re going to need all the physical AND emotional energy we can muster to work through the next few months.

But then there’s God.

2 Tim 1:7

We were not given a spirit of fear – we’ve faced the worst a country can face and survived

We were given a spirit of power – we will rebuild what was lost during the pandemic

We were given a spirit of love – let’s keep on showing this to each other

We were given a spirit of a SOUND MIND – let’s CHOOSE the mindset and attitude we will take on during the last days of lockdown and the months ahead, instead of following the chaos we see in other countries.

 

It’s Not Too Late – 3 Things You can Still Do for This Country

It’s Not Too Late – 3 Things You can Still Do for This Country

On Wednesday we vote.

For all my fellow South Africans, you know what I’m talking about. It’s election time and over the past few months I’ve often heard these words: “We’ll see what happens after the elections”.

That means people have put their career choices on hold or waited before buying a property. We’re all waiting. For what?

For many the crime rates, racial conflict and corruption in the country have become too much. Large numbers of people are heading out of the country. I’ll be honest and say: that’s us. We would love to emigrate if the right door opens.

But at the moment we’re here. And for many, it feels as if the pressure is rising.

For me, the question is: ‘What am I supposed to do as His ambassador?’ That should be my first thought before making any decision. I won’t proclaim that I always get it right, but I want to get it right this time.

So here are my thoughts.

Pray

It’s not too late to pray. I realise I haven’t spent enough hours praying for this country. Instead of becoming immobile because of guilt, (which so often happens, right?) I simply started.

But what would prayer consist of?

In God’s ever-perfect timing I recently discovered a book on prayer (The Happy Intercessor) while unpacking our guest room because my sister in law is coming to stay. What does Beni Johnson talk about in the first few pages? Praying for a city/region/situation.

There’s a hill behind our house and from the top I can see most of our city.  I simply started praying for our area. THINKING about the plight of our country and city can leave me seeing only darkness and hopelessness. But those moments of praying for life, praying for the leadership and proclaiming Him as the God of the city left me with a different picture. Without even thinking I started asking Him to show me MY path in the future of the city. .

Here’s what happens when we PRAY instead of THINK (or COMPLAIN while gathered around the braai with friends): you tap into His thoughts.

Before, thinking of how I’m supposed to change my city simply left me feeling drained and depressed. But in conversation with Him you start seeing the divine way out of the situation.

Hope

Following close on the heels of this prayer and revelation you’ll find something else: hope.

South Africa hope

Let’s be honest and say our country is in a pretty dire situation. There’s no saying when the power problems of Eskom will be sorted out. How will the country recover after so much corruption and money wasted? But that doesn’t mean that we’ll never thrive again. That doesn’t mean we can’t find a way of living together in peace (which is more important than being a rich country in my books anyway).

Yes it may take some time. But we’re already living the miracle of leaving apartheid behind. I will say it again: every time I start losing faith in the fact that God has a plan for South Africa, He encourages.

Note: Maybe His plan is different than what we imagine…so instead of hoping for riches, perhaps we should simply focus on getting along?

We came together in 1994 and we didn’t go down. We can do anything. No matter how long it takes. But we have to keep on hoping. Not hope based on our plans, but on His.

All for His glory. (That’s another new thought which I will write about sometime in future)

Fight

So, I’ve mentioned that my husband and I would love to emigrate. For me: I would love to simply travel the world and experience different parts of it. And yes, sometimes I think another country may offer my children a better future than what they’ll find here in SA.

These are thoughts many of us have.

But I’m aware that we may live right here at the southern part of Africa for the rest of our lives. And if that happens, it means He has a purpose for it.

I believe life is valuable because of His goals for our lives. If He places me in a country He wants me to play a role there.

South Africa

Simply because I’m a believer doesn’t mean that I’m guaranteed an easy life. My prayers and my discussions with Him could lead to going overseas where life seems safer and there’s a better chance of finding work and good education…or I could find He has a purpose for me right here, to fight for His cause in SA:

  • Fighting for justice in a country where many people & cultures are oppressed by their leaders or where they oppress each other
  • Fighting for love between different cultures by living without prejudice or hate
  • Fighting people’s negative talks by showing others how it can be done His way, not our way
  • Fighting depression and hate by teaching others about the miracle of His healing, His type of forgiveness and the joy of serving Him

If that is His purpose for me, it would be an honorable purpose to pursue. And yes, I know I may even suffer as part of that journey. But where He’s taken me in the past has always been good (often hard, but with amazing outcomes), so once again I will submit to His bidding.

Yes, I’ve learnt that I can also make my own decisions and that He blesses where I decide to go. But in the big decisions of life, His prompts are always the best to adhere to instead of thinking MY way is the best way.

So, join me. Fight with your vote by picking someone worthy. Also fight where you are: Climb your own hills and mountains. Talk to Him about our cities, people and leaders. Let’s find our purposes in the communities around us, because it’s obvious that we can’t leave it up to our leaders to fix this country.

But we can make it better than it is now.

Will you fight with me?