a Non-Profit Organization - 199-195

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The life of a distant parent

The life we I live in.

Sometimes life deals you a bad hand. Emotionally bad. Your heart aches - literally to the point that you feel you cannot breathe. The pain suffocates you, and leaves you depressed. Anxious. Many sleepless nights and restless thoughts.

I have heard too many times that bad things happens to good people. I think it to be true. But I often wonder if this is not part of the consequences of so many wrong choices I have made. And along with that the tragedy of our fallen government of our once beloved country, the senseless crime and our children, friends and family finding refuge in other countries so expensively far away.

My daughter is one of the statistics; like so many others,who gave up the life she grew up in and exchange it for a seemingly better one. At the tender age of 18 and after finishing school she visited her dad - my ex-husband who uprooted his new family and moved to greener pastures, fell in love with a handsome boy and decided to make the new country her home. To my detriment. Very soon thereafter they started a family and I became the granny of two beautiful babies. 

I never, not for one single second - ever in my whole life, thought that I would never see my grandchildren grow up in front of me. That they will never come over for our famous South African braai's, Sunday lunches of just hang out with us for pizza on a Friday evening or pop in after a busy day to for a quick hello. I don't get to experience that. I don't get to feel those chubby baby arms around me and I don't get to babysit. I miss out on all their baby milestones and sleepovers. I will never have the opportunity to surprise them with a coin in their shoe in exchange for a tooth. I loose out on wet kisses and sticky finger marks all over my clean furniture. 

Instead, I was handed a laptop. I learned how to use Skype and most of the time I spend every dime on data so I can at least see those baby faces on a 3 x 5 cm cellphone screen. And when we do get to connect, it's a constant juggle with the time difference and our different schedules, lost signals and bad connection.

I never thought I would be a skype-nana. How can one ordinary sentence, made up with random words describe the longing in my heart - the pain of not being able to hold them in my arms, playing silly games or reading them bed-time stories?

The loneliness. The missing-out. 

But this is my life - this is the hand I was dealt with and I need to put on a poker face to make this work. Even when it feels as if my life is falling apart because I miss them so much; even in the times, in the dead of the night when i struggle to hold down the tears, not wake my husband when it feels like I am drowning in my tears. They can never know how I count the hours until the next scheduled phone call, or how I juggle my bills to save money for a plane ticket...or the disappointment in my voice when they cut the conversation short for one or other reason or emergency. Or the tears in my eyes when my grandson masters a skill and I am not there to give him a high five.

I am one of many mothers who stood at the airport and waived their daughters - and sons goodbye. I am one of many grandmothers who misses out on being a hands-on granny. 
But this lonely fact doesn't make me feel any better.

I have taken this matter to the Courts of the Heavenly's, wept before the Lord and hold on tight for dear life on the promises that His mercies are new every singe morning. I hold on to the fact that "new baby nerve cells are birthed every single morning" to remove negative and depressed thoughts in exchange for new happier ones. I am in the process of "renewing my mind" so I can rebuild my thought life in order to live a happier and more fulfilled, or rather content life. ....

Our children are not us. They make their own decisions. They follow their husbands to the ends of the earth to make a life for themselves. To find a better future than the one they know for their children. There is nothing wrong with that. It's just that I wasn't ready for this. Nothing prepared me for this.

Instead of moping - which I am very good at and eager to practice all day long, I need to rather constantly focus on the fact that I have technology. At least we have technology! Imagine we hadn't!

Sometimes when I feel like the sorrows are going to overwhelm me, I do cry. Like a lot! But then I put on a brave smile, and like the posts on Facebook of so many of my friends who get to see their babies and brags about them and I am truly happy that they get to be part of their children's lives. What a blessing it is!

Do we still count our blessings? This experience has made me even more aware of that that I still have. I have a life. I am healthy. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have gas in my car and have plenty left-overs in the fridge. I am thankful. I choose to be...even though...

Its my choice. And I choose to thank God that my kids are happy and healthy and that they are making a very good living for themselves!

I will rebuild my new life.

One thought at a time..

PS:  I am going to be one heck of a skype-nana!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

your storms will pass

Decisions that defines us

“These are some of the decisions that define who we are as a community and how we choose to live our lives. These decisions are not destinations, but rather journeys…”
  • We have decided that teaching the gospel without demonstrating the gospel is not enough. Good preaching, good doctrine, and being good people are not enough.
  • We have decided that having a good church club is not enough, good fellowship is not enough, and just being a member of that club is not enough.
  • We have decided that having good Bible studies is good, but not good enough, that just making it to heaven is not our goal, and that knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing God is meaningless.
  • We have decided that having good programs is not enough, that change without transformation is intolerable, and that staying where we are is not an option.
  • We have decided that gifting without character is futile.
  • We have decided that singing songs without worshiping is empty, and having meetings without God showing up is pointless.
  • We have decided that having faith without works is not enough and having works without love is not acceptable–that our function comes out of our relationship first with the Father and second with each other.
  • We have decided that reading about the book of Acts without living the book of Acts is unthinkable.
  • We have decided that confident faith is good and bold faith is better.
  • We have decided that hearing about the Holy Spirit without experiencing Him is silly, that believing in His presence without seeing it manifested in signs and wonders is hypocrisy, that believing in healing without seeing people healed is absurd, and that believing in deliverance without people being delivered is absolutely ridiculous.
  • We have decided to be Holy Spirit filled, Holy Spirit led, and Holy Spirit empowered–anything less doesn’t work for us.
  • We have decided to be the ones telling the stories of God’s power–not the ones hearing about them.
  • We have decided that living saved but not supernatural is living below our privilege and short of what Christ died for.
  • We have decided that we are a battle ship not a cruise ship, an army not an audience, Special Forces not spectators, missionaries not club members.
  • We have decided to value both pioneers and settlers: pioneers to expand our territory and settlers to build on those territories. But we are not squatters, people who take up space others have fought for without improving it.
  • We have decided to be infectious instead of innocuous, contagious instead of quarantined, deadly instead of benign.
  • We have decided to be radical lovers and outrageous givers.
  • We have decided that we are a mission station and not a museum.
  • We have decided that it is better to fail while reaching for the impossible that God has planned for us than to succeed settling for less.
  • We have decided that nothing short of His Kingdom coming and His will being done in our world as it is in heaven will satisfy.
  • We have decided that we will not be satisfied until our world cries out, “Those who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6, NKJV).
by David Crone

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Breek deur negatiewe emosies

Here, ek dank U dat ek nie met negatiewe emosies hoef saam te leef wat niks goeds vir my verstand, siel en liggaam doen nie. Wys my waar ek met hartseer, angs, vrees, eensaamheid, bitterheid, onvergifnis of enige ander negatiewe gesindheid saamleef. Verbreek enige beheer wat hierdie emosies oor my het. Vevang hul met die volheid van U Gees van liefde, vrede en blydskap. Ek bid dat U alles binne my sal verdring wat nie van U af is nie. U ken die geheime van my hart (Ps 44.22). Wys hule vir my as ek hulle nie self kan raak sien nie en vernuwe 'n opregte gees in my. Dankie dat U Gees alle seer in my hart genees.
In Jesus Naam.

Die Here is naby die gebrokenes, Hy help die moedeloses. Ps 34.19

the cost of sin

Friday, 26 October 2018

Transforming pain

All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain, with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust and the undeserved—all of which eventually come into every lifetime. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become sacred wounds rather than scars to deny, disguise, or project onto others. I am sorry to admit that I first see my wounds as an obstacle more than a gift. Healing is a long journey.

If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become cynical, negative, or bitter. This is the storyline of many of the greatest novels, myths, and stories of every culture. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it—usually to those closest to us: our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and, invariably, the most vulnerable, our children.

Scapegoating, exporting our unresolved hurt, is the most common storyline of human history. The Jesus Story is about radically transforming history and individuals so that we don’t just keep handing on the pain to the next generation. Unless we can find a meaning for human suffering, that God is somehow in it and can also use it for good, humanity is in major trouble. Because we will suffer.

We shouldn’t try to get rid of our own pain until we’ve learned what it has to teach. When we can hold our pain consciously and trustfully (and not project it elsewhere), we find ourselves in a very special liminal space. Here we are open to learning and breaking through to a much deeper level of faith and consciousness. Please trust me on this. We must all carry the cross of our own reality until God transforms us through it. These are the wounded healers of the world, and healers who have fully faced their wounds are the only ones who heal anyone else.

As an example of holding the pain, picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross or, as in Michelangelo’s Pietà cradling Jesus’ body. One would expect her to take her role wailing or protesting, but she doesn’t! We must reflect on this deeply. Mary is in complete solidarity with the mystery of life and death. It’s as if she is saying, “There’s something deeper happening here. How can I absorb it just as Jesus is absorbing it, instead of returning it in kind?” Consider the analogy of energy circuits: Most of us are relay stations; only a minority are transformers—people who actually change the electrical charge that passes through us.

Jesus on the cross and Mary standing beneath the cross are classic images of transformative spirituality. They do not return the hostility, hatred, accusations, or malice directed at them. They hold the suffering until it becomes resurrection! That’s the core mystery of Christianity. It takes our whole life to begin to comprehend this. It tends to be the wisdom of elders, not youngers.

Unfortunately, our natural instinct is to try to fix pain, to control it, or even, foolishly, to try to understand it. The ego insists on understanding. That’s why Jesus praises a certain quality even more than love, and he calls it faith. It is the ability to stand in liminal space, to stand on the threshold, to hold the contraries, until we are moved by grace to a much deeper level and a much larger frame, where our private pain is not center stage but a mystery shared with every act of bloodshed and every tear wept since the beginning of time. Our pain is not just our own.

Adapted from Richard Rohr,
A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (CAC Publishing: 2016), 199, 120-121.

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