Posts Tagged With: relationship

What is this ‘happily ever after?’

073d651ce06a1ef8806ed75f1460084bEvery day of our lives, especially in mine, since I can remember, the world has painted this crazy picture of a ‘happily ever after.’ Every story ever seen or read since I was a little girl, has been about some ‘Prince Charming’ saving a princess, they fall in love, get married and end up living that ‘happily ever after.’

As a little girl I was always in two minds about this idea and my parents can vouch for the long time that I went through a perspective of, “I’m never getting married or even having kids…instead, I’m going to become a nun.” You can laugh and giggle but I truly felt that way. Later I fell into the other extreme of ‘serial dating.’ What I’m trying to say is not that there is something wrong with ‘happily ever after’ but that we must realise what pressures can also come with painting that kind of picture. I am not saying that that can’t be true and that we’re setting people up for some huge disappointment, because that isn’t true either. It is just that there is so much more to the whole dating picture and then marriage after that.

I was a serial dater until I realised how much I kept giving away, how much it was taking away from me and someone else’s possible future partner. I also just started seeing things differently as I got closer in my relationship with God and saw the way He loved and pursued me, and continues to do every day.

You might be thinking there is no way you have given into this idea in any possible way, but somewhere along the line, this idea of a ‘happily ever after’ does creep into your heart and thoughts, affecting them whether you choose to admit it or not.

I realised this before, during and after my serial dating and had to come to a decision. Because of it, I chose not to date again until I was absolutely sure about the guy and that we had been friends and so on. Even now, while dating,  I have to constantly keep myself in check, so that I don’t let this idea of a ‘happily ever after’ become damaging to me, the other person or our relationship as it can cause unnecessary pressures and expectations that aren’t entirely realistic and based on God’s grace and truth.

The day I said ‘yes’ to dating, was also because I believed that is whom I would marry. But for most people this isn’t always the case and dating isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. You cannot constantly date people and throw them away at the first signs of trouble or when you get bored. This creates a false expectation in marriage, and proposes the idea, that if a marriage isn’t working for you, you don’t have to worry, you can quickly get divorced and start your search for the ‘PERFECT ONE’ again.  Hey, I mean – ‘there’s plenty of fish in the sea’ right?!

Dating isn’t a Biblical principle, so I really think that when you do choose to date someone, you need to take that decision very seriously, just as you would with marriage.

Anyway, these big decisions and the idea of a ‘happily ever after’ can put a great deal of pressure on us and we can be made to feel a bit doubtful. Although you say ‘yes’ to dating and even though you may know deep down this is the person you’re going to marry, you too may have doubts or have moments of doubts as they are big steps and very serious times.

In the perspective of the world and what it tells us, the person we marry(or date) is the one who makes YOU happy. He/she is perfect for YOU. The proposal is perfect for YOU. The ring and the wedding is perfect for YOU. The honeymoon is perfect for YOU and the ‘happily ever after’ is perfect for YOU. It is all about YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU!

But honestly, that is what the world says and NOT what the Word says. In the Word it speaks of the covenant of marriage being about God. The journey of navigating through a lifetime of promise like this has everything to do with Jesus. It is about ‘US’ – an equation involving your partner, Jesus and you. And the only perfect thing in this equation for YOU is grace.

I was afraid of making the wrong choice, most of us are. But we make the choice, no one else and I need to believe I make the right one.

Marriage is the covenant, the promise, to God that you vow to love another person just as Christ had/has loved us first. The most intimate, challenging and all-inclusive way of loving is what this vow consists of and is what the vow of becoming one flesh with another person includes. To serve and selflessly love them in such a way, as Christ served us and selflessly loved us to and even on the cross. To carry their burdens, taking the lashings of their shortcomings and bearing the taunting of Satan and the struggles and challenges he may bring. To put them before yourself even to the point where you feel like you may be broken, but can ultimately rise, just as our Great King did and does, in love. Lifting your partner up to Jesus when they feel they cannot do it themselves. This, with a great understanding of the magnitude of the Gospel in which we come to realise a greater appreciation for the power and authority of what was done by Jesus on our behalf and because we are so loved by the Almighty King.

Marriage (and even dating) I have explained to a few people lately, is a tiny yet supernatural taste of God’s love for us. How He treasures and cherishes us. This is a promise not to be taken lightly, because it is ultimately, a promise to accept and love one another (including all versions and parts of one another), like God loves us, on a daily basis. Something we can’t even come close to doing on our own and can only come through natural relationship with God. That is the JOY of saying ‘yes’ in your heart to the covenant of marriage. Be it a choice you made when still dating or asked to date, a choice when proposed to or deciding to propose, it is a choice to be looked forward to and excited about, one to confess with joy in your heart, even on the day of marriage and every day after that. Although, a serious choice, it is one so profound and beautiful. It isn’t that you have found the ‘perfect one,’ but that we are a step closer to drawing back another layer and getting to see God’s perfect love played out in our lives in a rather magnificent way and that we get to share that with one another.

What is truly great about marriage is that, there is the sweetest of sweet joys in knowing that you don’t have to go at this whole thing alone and that God is with us, in this, every step of the way and through Him all the crazy, deep adventures and moments are MORE than possible. It is such an honour to be able to have the privilege of loving and caring for His child in this covenant the way He has loved and taken care of me. The great truth and grace is pure magic that comes with knowing that although we aren’t perfect for each other, we both are committed to making the choice every day to follow the King who showed us and IS the perfect example of how to love. It is a commitment to having our story become a ‘happily ever after’ but one, determined by the Word of God and not the world.

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

Listening to The Spirit

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Looking out over the pool area of Zimbali Hotel, Ballito.

A long weekend getaway is pretty much bliss… We were away for a couple of days and I was totally blessed by it. Amazing friends and time away with them means relaxing and fun moments filled with love and laughter… The weather turned out to be cold and rainy most of the time with small spurts of sunlight breaking through the clouds in only certain moments…it was also windy but it gave us more time to relax instead of only being busy doing stuff all the time…

We definitely enjoyed making food together and eating out, listening to music, watching movies and series, playing games indoors, making jokes and laughing but most of all getting to talk and catch up and just spending quality chill time together.

But apart from the bliss, Satan was definitely at work this past weekend..trying to steal the joy, trying to condemn, attacking constantly through thoughts, nightmares, keeping us awake and out of sleep, trying to make us sick, bringing us to tears, attacking our identity in Christ, bringing up my past and using it as cheap shots to scare me and make me feel unworthy, trying to cause accidents..

But even so, God somehow turns it all to our good and blessed us even more over this weekend making Satan’s attempts look poor and like epic fails… It really was a blessing as every  time the devil attacked, God would bring Jean and I even closer to one another and draw us close to Him…but it does take practise trying to listen to the Holy Spirit instead of what I am experiencing in the flesh, in the carnal due to the devil… It took a while to learn how to focus what God does in the Spirit rather than what I am seeing with my eyes and hearing with my ears and feeling with my emotions..over the weekend God really helped and came to my rescue over and over using His Holy Spirit to show me how to see and hear in the Spirit instead of the carnal…

You really need to listen to the Spirit and trust what He tells you and what He shows you and makes you feel and be obedient towards that as the weekend I saw how that can be the difference between life and death in a very real way.

Sunday we travelled back from Ballito and finally stopped at Eliné’s house. She offered that we sleepover at her place instead of driving home that time of the night..home being Pretoria. Jean said he felt he needed to be at work early and thought I wanted to be home so decided we’d drive home. Meanwhile I felt something terribly wrong and felt we should sleepover at Eliné’s. But I didn’t say anything as I had developed a headache and thought maybe I was just being weird or imagining it.. Jean and I then left her house heading back to Pretoria but the further we went the more unsettled I felt and the more the headache started going away…feeling this was Satan’s plan I started closing my eyes and trying to block my ears so that I would not get distracted by what I see and hear around me but would rather focus on trying to hear God’s heart again(something I’ll explain later). At the same time Jean suddenly started praying in tongues because he felt he wanted to. God slowly showed me how Satan was trying to take something Eliné had said earlier and prove it wrong by causing an accident and using her two friends(that being Jean and I) and how Satan now wanted us dead…as he hadn’t been very successful at his other attempts to break our spirits earlier this weekend… As God showed me that picture and Jean started to relax while praying and driving, I decided to open my eyes and as I did, this huge white rabbit came sprinting toward our car from absolutely no where…Jean got a fright and so did I but the rabbit just missed the wheel and car by less than a split second…If Jean hadn’t relaxed in God’s presence while praying and I hadn’t closed my eyes I would possibly have made a scene and Jean could easily have panicked and swerved out causing a huge and possible fatal accident…If he didn’t swerve, even then the rabbit would have caused a lot of damage…. I burst into tears closing my eyes as I realised just how close that was and that God had warned me through the Spirit earlier but I had said nothing. I then told Jean about that feeling and for a while we couldn’t decide what to do….We drove on towards Pretoria for a while and I felt even more uneasy…so I made a choice and asked Jean if we could rather turn back to Eliné’s house. As we did that, Jean and I both started getting headaches but I suddenly felt a lot calmer….Satan was going to try again as he had just failed with the rabbit, so now he made a poor attempt using a headache to try confuse us, so that maybe we’d just want to get home and he could have another go at trying to cause an accident…but we headed back to Eliné despite it all. Accident free and slept peacefully that night at Eliné’s. The next morning we both felt at peace and headed safely towards Pretoria. Arriving safely too.

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Us girls at the beach – windy day though.

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Cooking – time for fun in the kitchen

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Meintjies braaing the steak – yum!!

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Meintjies and Estee

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Cornu and Eliné

So after an amazing weekend, God has definitely blessed me, and taken what Satan intended to harm us and turned it into good and has helped me in trusting the Holy Spirit and shown me how to look beyond what we see and hear in the carnal, focusing only on Him.

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

Power in Prayer

Praying was never something I did, to be honest. I’ve always chosen to write little letters to God. Lots of times, they were just requests. But since December 2010, God has been working on my prayer life and it has changed immensely. I think, I pray more now than I ever did in my 21 years of being alive and I hope to do that even more. My prayers have also changed; they don’t consist of requests only anymore and when I ask for God’s will in my life, I don’t get angry if I don’t get my way or what I asked for. Sometimes I get frustrated but I get over it. Prayer is different for everybody, and I love it now more than I ever did.

So in my life, prayer and love have become my secret weapons. This year, I’ve really seen God use my prayer life for the better and I’m sure He uses a whole world of prayer lives. I have also learnt to be comfortable to pray anywhere at any time. To me, it has become like normal conversation and I guess that’s how it should be.

So anyway, I have been praying over the phone with friends at the weirdest times due to distance between us and them being far away. Some have been in Pretoria, others have stretched far beyond that boundary of distance and have been in other provinces.

All I can say, is that it has been an honour to see what God has done through prayer and it is amazing. His care and provision for me and my friends has been incredible and the changes I’ve been blessed to see and have heard have been far beyond what I ever imagined possible. People can really change when and if they want to and with God’s help nothing has been impossible.

But what has been totally rad to see, is the relationship built over the phone and through prayer. Even though we are far apart, there is just something so magical that happens somewhere in the spiritual realm when two or more people come together in prayer. God really seems to manifest there and you can feel the Holy Spirit move between us. You can feel it in your soul. It is like souls and prayers get woven together so intricately and with such detail that it does go far beyond what we can imagine although it is extremely tangible. When we come together in prayer, it just feels like whatever issues we may be praying for, become easier to handle. There’s a little more peace and support and the weight that was on your shoulders, feels a little lighter. God really opens up a lot of doors in the conversations over the phone and in the prayer that takes place, pieces are revealed and hearts can really open up to sharing. Deep issues and even lighter ones are strung out. People’s hearts and true feelings are revealed and also the changes people want to see.

I could go on…but what I want to say, is that you should value your prayer life as there is so much power in prayer..No matter how simple that prayer might seem. What happens when praying or even when two or more people come together in His name – cherish it. It is so magical.

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

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