Posts Tagged With: grace

Weekend of Celebrations

Freddie & Ashley

Freddie & Ashley

So this weekend a really good friend of Jean and I and my old roomie – Shikara – is celebrating his birthday. We’ll be going out for drinks to celebrate tomorrow night and then away next weekend to the Vaal dam to celebrate some more. Freddie is one awesome guy with very strong opinions but one great man of God. He has been such a good friend over the year and a half that I have known him and been great in speaking to about grace and so on. He also helped me during a time that I had found out about my ex dating a friend of mine, when I was the last to know after he’d had ample opportunity to tell me. The whole experience wasn’t so great. Shikara and Anneke, my roomies at the time had comforted me with a bottle of red wine between many tears and the next day I had a movie date with Shikara and Freddie. Needless to say, I had the worst hangover the next day and they treated me with so much care and laughter that I can’t even begin to say how much I appreciated that. It really had a big impact on me, and since then Freddie and I had a lot of conversations and our friendship grew really strong. Now he has a girlfriend, Ashley, whom I also get along with so well although we don’t see them often enough. But they really are such special people! So I’m looking forward to celebrating with these awesome people who have had such a great impact on my life and my relationship with God. It has truly been a blessing.

Then, this weekend also marks a year since Uncle Johann has passed. As September has come to a close and we get closer to October the 14th, I’m left in awe at how much has happened and the growth that has come. The way I see grace and God now, started to change in the time I met Uncle Johann and more of Bernhard’s family. A year later, and I would have done so many things differently. But I am still so happy about how close his family and I got and am so thankful for our conversations and for the experience and the precious month I got with him. They were conversations about God and the church and what grace really is. He too had started to see things the way I see them now, and felt that if he pulled through he’d be leaving the NG church and doing things differently, loving differently. A year later and I see the same things and more and too have left the NG church and am in ministry elsewhere. It also bought me closer to many friends and family. Although I have many regrets and things I wished I had done differently, I am really happy. God has radically changed my life in the past year and I am so thankful for the experience and Uncle Johann and his family. This weekend is going to be tough, the whole week has been and has felt very emotional, but my thoughts will also be with his wife and four children and I will find time to celebrate with them somehow as I can’t be with them in Wesselsbron. I think Sunday will be a good day to do something special and will work it into my busy weekend.

From Left: Uncle Johann, Bernhard, Heinrich, Karen, Ingrid, Aunty Valencia

From Left: Uncle Johann, Bernhard, Heinrich, Karen, Ingrid, Aunty Valencia

From Back left: Heinrich & Bernhard Front left: Karen, Aunty Valencia & Ingrid

From Back left: Heinrich & Bernhard
Front left: Karen, Aunty Valencia & Ingrid

This weekend, if you can, just take time to cherish those still around you and to reflect on your past year and what has come and gone for you too.

Have a lovely and blessed weekend.

xx M

Categories: Pursuing Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blessed Beyond Compare

Tonight I found myself feeling sorry for myself as I have been sitting at home alone while my sister was out…but now I’m feeling more blessed than I could have imagined and appreciating a lot more than usual…I guess sometimes we take our everyday things as well as relationships with people for granted. And it is in times of huge loss or disappointment that I find myself reminded just how blessed I am. Never have I been more thankful and appreciative of friends God has blessed me with than right at this very moment. And the fact that technology can help us keep in touch even in the moments that great distance stands between us.

Earlier in the week I had emailed my dear friend Kerry-Lee about doing the make-up of another friend(Bianca) of mine for her wedding. Kerry didn’t reply immediately, and I took it she was busy, as this week was pretty chaotic for myself, so I can just imagine for her as a mum, wife, friend, daughter and someone who works too. But tonight she replied, and in it she included her own sad news which was reason for her ‘late'(which I seem to think is more than ON TIME) reply.

A few words into her reply and she had me bawling my eyes out as I could just imagine a tiny bit of what she may be going through. After that, we communicated back and forth…she ended up having me between tears of immense sadness, and laughter and tears of extreme joy and love… It has been the weirdest feelings but it has been great as we both shared our current situations with one another, praying and just being there for each other… It truly has been such a blessing and I have been bursting into tears every few seconds since we started chatting as God has just filled me with an immense intensity of love for my dear friend!!! She has been such a role model, friend and mentor in my life for so long and I cherish her deeply. And being able to share with her and witness again in her life tonight, has been so special. It is just beautiful how God works and how He turns all things to our good no matter how awful our situations might seem.

Kerry-Lee is such a special person that the shortest of moments of communicating between us, are often just as full of impact as those that last hours…if not more… God really shines through her and does the most amazing things in our times of communication and sharing. God has blessed us with great friendship and it is a blessing not going through situations alone, knowing that there is someone else who is listening and praying with you…someone else navigating through situations by your side… Being able to support someone else in the Body of Christ and that person supporting you, is such a blessing and should never be taken for granted.

Kerry-Lee and her son, Reece

Kerry-Lee and her son, Reece

Thanks so much my dear friend! You always seem to inspire me. And your love and support, your grace and strength are incredible. Your character never fails to amaze me. I am truly blessed by your friendship. Loads of love xx

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Health, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunshine Mandy

Kim(left) & Mandy(right)

Kim(left) & Mandy(right)

A dear friend from South Africa, who had moved to Sheffield, England a while ago, passed away in a tragic car accident with her boyfriend a few weeks ago. Mandy Gold, sister of a close friend and mentor of mine (Kim Piercey) as well as friend was laid to rest on Monday. Both her and Stephan were amazing people with the greatest of hearts for God, serving & glorifying His name in all they do. It has been a difficult time for us as friends and the families involved but we rejoice as God’s grace and love and comfort have been more than sufficient.

With that, I want to share this beautiful poem written and dedicated to Mandy by her mother, Florence Gold. From mother to daughter to you…

My beautiful!
The first touch; a gentle stroke of your baby skin
The deep dimple that became your beautiful smile
You found your place in the hearts of your kin
You would linger with us for yet a while.

Your laughter and happiness, helpfulness too
Hockey captain, mentor and miss personality
So your amazing character grew
While you pondered the path of life to pursue.

A young woman you became
Beautiful; hair, eyes, smile that glowed
Won the hearts of all you met
But- your Saviour you needed to behold.

That day soon came when Jesus shone
Through your ways, through to everyone
Your life would change for his glory
God’s work in you had now begun.

Your sweetheart too you soon had found
Together you would conquer ground
Mission work God had for you
How happy, delighted were you two.

We saw your love and dedication
To one another and to the nation
Marriage plans began to unfold
But God’s work temporarily put this on hold.

It was the night of June twenty second
When Jesus took you both to heaven
Shocked beyond words, two vibrant lives
How can this be? but they had been beckoned.

We mourned, we wept, but rejoice the more
As we see God’s love and peace abound
Comforting our hearts with this amazing grace
We know with certainty that they behold your face.

My beauty, my lovely, how I shall yearn to hold you
To hear your laughter, see your joy, smell your hair
Feel your hand in mine; but I have no qualms
For soon my lovely one, you will welcome me and lead me to the Saviours arms.

By Florence Gold

 

Stephan Donnelly & Mandy Gold

Stephan Donnelly & Mandy Gold

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grace, Love, Faithfulness & my Unproductiveness

cupFriday.

After a very successful & productive week of studying, I had locked myself down to be even more productive this weekend in an effort to combat all my assignments. But Friday morning I woke up feeling sick & horrific. I’ve been feeling weak, insanely sore and nauseas, nowhere near the energetically happy person I’d been earlier in the week. When I woke up it was rainy miserable weather and to my shock: 10.30 am. I had overslept and felt no need to rush to any class seeing I had now tragically missed most of them. But I got into a shower, getting ready to hit those assignments.

As the day went by, I became less and less productive and I seemed to be feeling more and more sick. By 7pm, I had given up the battle against the giants named UNPRODUCTIVITY & SICKNESS. They’d won.

Feeling sorry for myself I ended up curled up on the couch with tons of blankets, the TV on & a cup of tea. One of my friends ended up on one of the musical game shows, I watched intently…trying to cheer him on, feeling a little adrenaline and excitement – a little distraction made feeling sorry for myself a little less. After that, my sister was craving chocolate and I had gotten a little excited about the idea of jelly tots after Tot had spoken to me earlier that day about their new packaging.

So, hoping I’d feel better in the morning, we headed out into the dark, cold night for sweet little pleasures…

Saturday.

(beep beep beep)

My alarm goes off, playing a tune I’d rather not hear this morning. I jump out of bed, flying across the room to switch it off and head back to bed for more sleep…what was supposed to be a few minutes of trying to wake up, turned into an hour of extra warm coziness making it even harder to get out of bed. After finally dragging myself out of bed & having taken a shower, I eat, have tea and try convince myself to do some studying. I’m supposed to be heading out to the library and for a second day in a row, I can’t convince myself to do anything. Instead I’m feeling even more sick than the previous day, I have no energy, have no appetite and clearly today is not gonna be what I hoped for. I feel horrible. I have to lie down to read or watch a movie, trying to keep warm under blankets and lie as still as I possibly can, so that I won’t end up gagging. I can’t seem to get anything done, even watching a movie seems painful. So most of the day I end up sleeping – anything not to want to vomit.

This evening, feeling sick and not able to stand this wallowing in self-pity any longer, I decide I’m gonna read my Bible and decided to have a little talk with the man upstairs. He’s gotta sort this out.  After reading Romans, chapters 6, 7 & 8, my attention is drawn to an A4 book I used last year. In it I wrote down verses from the Bible or anything significant in it like prayers, I even had stuff I liked, didn’t like, what I wanted in a man, dreams, things I have learnt as well as things I feared.

What was so amazing about all this was, as I was reading through it all, it had stuff in it from February to June 2012. It was so cool to read where I was back then and how God has taken me full circle. Most of the things I had feared most and worried about, ended up happening on some sort of level, not the way I expected it to but I had faced those things, with God by my side and came through it. There’s also many things that came my way that I never expected and never would have seen coming, experiences God took me through and which I enjoyed so much. He also healed my heart in many ways, beyond what I expected Him to do. God really has blessed me with many experiences and grown me in so many ways, and reading all these things, I feel like His love has never gone away, His faithfulness has been immense. His grace in times that I have fallen and been weak has been in abundance and has been strongest in those times. I have experienced so much love and can only be thankful for all He has done.

Not only has this brought tears to my eyes and overwhelmed my heart with love and His faithfulness, my cup feels like it is overflowing with joy and thanks. I look forward to all He has planned for me and I cannot wait to experience it all. This just confirms all the promises He has made and where my heart truly lies. This has bought so much clarity and He has spoken so much through this gesture of showing me His heart for me. It truly is beautiful. That even now, in my weakest moments, my most ungraceful (even unproductive) moments – He loves me and His strength and faithfulness shines through at its strongest and brightest, encouraging me, motivating me, comforting me. He is always there.

It really is wonderful that in the midst of my sad, dark situation, God sheds light on it in the most grand ways.

Hebrews 10v23 – Let us hold UNSWERVINGLY to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Health, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Out

The past few weeks, I have taken time out from my regular schedule and taken time out from church… I am a theology student and part of our course is to be getting involved practically at one set church. I’m totally okay with that and it has kept me extremely busy but it was time to take some time out and get some ‘me-time’ with God, until I could learn how to balance things and learn what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to. God really has been faithful in teaching me and helping me and protecting me, even though I still have a long way to go.

Not only have I had time to deal with loss but He has also helped in teaching me how to deal with loss and other disappointments. He’s taught me about what situations and things I can personalize and what I shouldn’t in protecting my heart. There have also been lessons on love, friendship, stepping into authority made possible by His grace, lessons on divorce, pressures to be perfect, vulnerability, condemnation and a whole lot more. So, if I haven’t shared thoughts on these things, I will still do so in time, as I feel God leads me to do.

I must admit, I’m on a little bit of a spiritual high – or so it feels. Feels like God’s grace and kindness and love has been of abundance this week. Been listening to sermons on grace while studying and learning more about God while studying has had me pretty pumped all week! It has even had me excited to study Greek and a few other things that I usually wouldn’t be keen on.

So anyway, have a blessed day and weekend coming up. May it be an amazing few days, especially if your week hasn’t lived up to your expectations. May God bless you and comfort you and exceed all your possible expectations! Amen!

Xx
M

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Health, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex & the Seal of Marriage…continued

flowersAfter my previous post on sex and the seal of marriage, there are a few things I’d like to say. I know how I felt when I was a virgin…I felt worthy and like I deserved a virgin for a husband… But after that, after being ‘deflowered’ by a guy whom I thought loved me and we’d end up together…when that all came crashing down and I was left alone… I felt dirty and ashamed and stupid and not worthy of anything. My worth had gone from worthy to worthless in about a few seconds. I felt like I wouldn’t ever be accepted or loved and would not ever deserve anything amazing, good or beautiful and that broke my heart and tore me apart…Guess that’s what Satan enjoys doing…

Anyway, as I said before, God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction.

So before – when I was still a virgin – I had remained pure for the sake of the covenant and in doing so I felt entitled to finding someone who had done the same. In my mind I came to expect and think that I deserved someone who had saved himself for me.  However, I now feel it was wrong of me to think in this way. I’m not saying it was wrong to desire that or for someone to desire that, I think that is something God desires for us too.  However, when we come to find ourselves not just desiring, but deserving and feeling entitled to such a thing that’s when a little flag should be raised. I mean it is only by the grace of God that you have not found yourself giving into sexual sin. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. Any good that we do and any obedience that we have done, is by God’s grace and mercy, therefore we deserve nothing and we are entitled to nothing. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute and I honestly don’t think that is what he desired most. But it was through their relationship that God showed His redemption and mercy. You (and I) are called to forgive and called to love. And most importantly you are called to humble ourselves with gratitude that God has protected you from falling into sexual immorality before marriage. It is by God’s grace alone.

After that, I unfortunately did fall into sexual sin and I wish I hadn’t. Since then, I have gone through many motions of self-pity and doubt and just feeling unworthy but I had to come to the realization that it wasn’t too late. So for those of you who have already given into sexual sin, it is NOT too late. You have not ruined your chances to marry a godly man who honours and lives for the Lord. You can repent and in all honesty your slate will be wiped clean. There will be no speck of it anywhere in your record.  And there is that beautiful thing about forgiveness, those who have been forgiven much, love much. There are amazing men out there who will look at you only as God looks at you – clean, without blemish, a bride to be won. Run to the feet of Jesus because He makes it all possible.raindance

I, myself have a friend who gave herself to a man before she was married. Through growing in her relationship with the Lord she found that what she had been doing was wrong. Through tears of remorse she fell down at the feet of Jesus and repented only to find that she was forgiven immensely and she was made new. A few years later she met the man she was going to marry. He was the worship leader at his church, God honouring, good looking, and an amazing man full of life. She felt like she didn’t deserve him. But when he had heard of her past and saw the woman she was now, he wept with her and forgave her and gladly with all his heart married her. Sex under the covenant was as if it was the first time. He loved her like Christ loved the church. And you can experience that as well. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, instead of wallowing in shame and despair – the way I did for quite a long time – look to God, see His forgiveness, and believe that He makes you new. A godly marriage is possible for you, and for each one of us because of the amazing love and grace of Him who loves us most.

So remember it’s all by grace…

Categories: Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex & the Seal of Marriage

seal1Sex….okay, so this is always a heated topic to talk about. Discussing it can be fun or funny or awkward or terrifying, all depending on whom you have the discussion with. I’m pretty used to having this discussion with ladies and very different groups but the other day though, I got to discuss it pretty openly with a guy…a Christian friend. We just discussed our feelings about it and what exactly our views are on the whole sex issue…It really was cool getting a guy’s opinion and together coming to some pretty cool conclusions. He seems to be a lot better at explaining than I am at times and the discussion ended up being very constructive.

*I’m gonna say a few things about sex further on in the post. But this was just a discussion we had and our opinions of it. In no way are we judging anyone who is or isn’t a virgin, as neither of us have any authority to judge anyone. And please do not use the following opinions to judge others and make people feel bad or as if they have failed, or in any sense what they deserve and do not deserve. I don’t agree with having sex before marriage, and I say that from a point of view of the mistakes and choices I have made in my past.

Firstly, God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction.

Obviously, my friend asked me what I thought about it….and my answer – God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction. But in spite of this fact I myself have made some mistakes. Although sex can be amazing and fun and a super beautiful thing – sex before marriage isn’t for me….something about it just doesn’t feel right in my soul. Like sadness fills me as well as a dirty feeling and even panic. So it doesn’t feel right in my spirit and soul and I don’t know how to explain that… I just know, a lot of guys just don’t seem to understand that or respect that about me at all… a lot of them will say they do, until they start using lines like –“if you really loved me though, you’d sleep with me…” So it doesn’t sit well in my soul and neither does it for my friend. For us, it’s just because it feels like it gets between us and God. That when you’re doing that kind of stuff, it just feels like the gap between us and God gets bigger, as if it interferes with our relationship with Him.

Anyway, he then proceeded to explain to me how he sees sex in the light of marriage and God, and it is the way I feel in my soul. So I’m gonna try explain this one.

God created sex and it is a beautiful and precious thing. When two people have sex, they become one, in their bodies and more importantly their spirit. God created it to be under His covenant, marriage, like a seal He puts on it. This protects it, if I can kinda explain it like that. So when it isn’t under marriage and you sleep with someone, it kinda leaves your spirits – that have become one, open for trouble and the enemy. It leaves the door open for ATTACK. The two spirits which have become one fall under attack by the enemy, also in a sense start attacking each other. Some, including us both, can say that, you begin to notice how you take on your partner’s characteristics or personality traits. For example, your partner may have been very insecure and you weren’t. Suddenly you who never felt insecure, is acting more insecure… and because the your partner doesn’t know that person to be so insecure and needy, fighting takes place and slowly the relationship seems to crumble…the same may happen with jealousy and any other traits. Traits that may not have been there before are suddenly coming up and becoming a terrible problem, turning something beautiful into something a lot less beautiful. So without the seal protecting it, the enemy has open access to pretty much anything he wants. And as we know the enemy, he’s gonna take just about everything he wants. He will destroy anything beautiful, every piece ‘til there is nothing left. And what’s even more horrific is that the more, different people are slept with the more crazy it can become, as you’re picking up pieces of other people and their possible past relationships…

Under God’s seal of marriage, however, when those two spirits become one, there may be attack, but there’s more of a refuge and safeguard making a relationship stronger and both more able to fight back as one than those millions of other pieces. Nothing that is broken can outlast a fight against the enemy, and if it seems to, it comes with a whole lot more pain than there needs to be. Whereas something strong, protected by armour, stands way more chance in the battlefield against the enemy than something hurt and broken…ring2

This is just how we see it, and it is amazing how God’s grace comes in here as well. Because even if one or both partners have shared other beds before marriage…if one or both, depending on the situation, go before God and repent and break off all those old ties, by grace, He can renew it and He can build a relationship up from there onward.

Categories: Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dust + Light = Beauty

Grace can change anybody or anything. Any circumstance or situation. But I have seen it change people – the people we think are the worst of the worst. Grace and love has that power.

For me it looks a little like this:
Like the bit of light that comes shining through the window in the gap in the closed curtains when not closed properly. There’s that small gap of light shining in. If you’re sitting in the right place, you can see small little pieces of dust – tiny dust particles – that are flying around, but they almost look like little pieces of glitter or sparkle dancing around in the air and light.

The same goes with God. He is that light and we are the small dust particles that almost seem to sparkle while we dance in His Presence. But it’s those small pieces of sparkle that you can only see if you look carefully. And so it is with every ‘bad guy,’ with every person… If you look carefully, you can see that little bit of beauty, that little bit of hope, that little bit of Jesus in them… And you have to shine the light on that and focus on that. The more you do that, the more you focus on that beauty the more beautiful it becomes, and if that is how you see that person and you interact with them in a beautiful way building them up when you interact and speak to them as result of that bit of sparkle then maybe they too will see it…
God just needs to see that little bit of sparkle and to focus on it because that is all He sees.

I believe, that’s how He knew He’d make people from dust. A piece of dust and a little sparkle from the Light… Resulted in beauty… Now that’s love. That’s grace. That He could see so much potential in a small bit of dust, such a small moment of sparkle and can decide to create us… That He would choose us…. And if we could see that bit of sparkle in others, and show it to them, focusing on it… Then maybe they too will see it… Maybe then, they will choose Him too.

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.