God’s Silence…

One of the most profound relationships I have ever had, lasted one year, and I only spoke to the person once.  I was 20 and he must have been about 25 years old. I had moved into a flat a few blocks away from my work offices which meant I could walk to work.

I ‘met’ him on that first morning walk.  As I rounded a corner I saw this man striding towards me.  We nodded our heads as we passed.  For a year, almost every day, during the week, we passed each other on the same stretch of pavement. We went from nodding our heads, to smiling, to eventually having our faces light up with joy when we saw each other. We never verbally greeted each other. Words were not necessary.

I came to love this man. The joy in his eyes when he caught sight of me, his spontaneous smile and the fact that I knew that he looked forward to these morning encounters just as much as I did. The sight of him filled my heart with joy.

This carried on for a year and then one day he stopped me, took both my hands in his and said “I have been transferred and I couldn’t leave you – not knowing what had happened to me”.

We stood on the pavement, our arms wrapped around each, sobbing – and then we walked away.

I recently told my daughter about my ‘pavement’ man and she responded:

“That reminds me of our relationship with God.  He is silent but we know that He is there”.

It is often in times of silence that our love for God grows deeper.

Even though there are so many unknown factors about Him and we have so many questions that are left unanswered, He looks at us with joy when we turn our faces to Him.

Just as I came to love my ‘pavement’ man without knowing anything about him – we can come to love God far more deeply. And even though my ‘pavement’ man never spoke I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he had come to love me too.  That he looked forward in anticipation to the moment when he would see me and joy would fill his heart.

I know that is how God feels about us  – He looks at us with joy, anticipation, love.

And even though my ‘pavement’ man left me, he did not leave me without any warning, without crying with me and without comforting me.

God will never allow anything to happen to us and then desert us with no comfort as we grieve.  Even in death we grieve with hope because we will see our loved ones again.

O God, grant us, in times of your silence the grace to hold onto your words and not to allow our feelings to cause us to doubt. Bring to our minds your words ‘never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’. And grant us we pray the sure knowledge that you look at us with joy and compassion.  Amen

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In almost every major city in South Africa you will find beggars and people selling goods, gathered at the main traffic lights of the city, ready to approach you as soon as the traffic lights turn red.
On a recent trip to Bloemfontein, we stopped at a red traffic light and immediately somebody tried to sell my husband Steve something.
Firstly, it was a car cell phone charger – Steve showed the man he already had one.
Secondly, it was a sunscreen for the windshield – Steve had one.
Thirdly, it was a peak cap and Steve had one of those too!

And then Steve did something that left our oldest daughter Sarah and I, for want of a better word, totally gobsmacked!

He put his arm out of the window, placed his hand on the man’s shoulder and said:

“I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING. I will pray for you and ask God to bless you. I will ask God that you will find favour with those you meet and that He will bless your business”.

The man immediately closed his eyes and Steve prayed. As Steve said ‘Amen’ the man was pushed out of the way and there stood a beggar. He grabbed Steve’s hand, placed it on his own shoulder and said “I want it. I also want the blessing. Pray for me, pray for me!”

And Steve prayed for him.

The traffic lights turned green and as Steve drove off Sarah said “Wow dad, that was amazing!”
I said “I can’t believe you did that! It was incredible”.
Sarah’s friend said “You mean, he doesn’t do that all the time? It looked like he always does that!”

Steve, Sarah and I assured her that this was the first time Steve had ever done something like that and the friend responded “I also want to be able to do that!”
Steve responded “That was not me, that was the work of the Holy Spirit!”

Steve and I pray for these two men on an almost daily basis. I believe that some time later those two men sought out a church that welcomed them in, and from those road side prayers, an incredible street ministry has begun! God says “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:14) and we are asking for a street ministry to begin in Bloemfontein!!

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…” (Acts 3:6)
I ask that God will bless you
I ask that God will heal you
I ask that God will provide for all your needs

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A timely reminder for me…


DSCN2371One of the most heartbreaking things, for me, about being a Christian is the fact that we don’t take God at His word.

God says “I tell you, do notworry” (Matthew 6:25) and what do we do?  We lie awake at night worrying about the state of our finances, our children’s well being, our jobs … the list is endless.

God says “Do not beanxiousabout anything” (Philippians 4:6) and what do we do?  We wake up in the morning filled with anxiety about what the day will bring.

God says “Do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9) and what do we do?  As soon as something goes wrong – health wise, financially, relationship wise – we promptly forget that God is with us and become discouraged and depressed.

“If you remain in me and my words remain…

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 Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly.  It’s your masterpiece after all.  
(Nathan W. Morris)

 A masterpiece is something incredibly good.  The best example of something.

That is what marriage should be – an incredible example of something good.

Marriage is like a book.  It has many different pages.  You start writing the book together as soon as the marriage vows are spoken. One bad chapter in the marriage doesn’t mean it’s the end.  There are still many blank pages that you can write on.

Even if pages are ripped out of the book, the book itself remains and can still be written in.

It is the same with marriage.  Even though there may be some painful and horrific times in your relationship with your spouse you can still change the end of the book for good.

We hopefully are only going to have one marriage in our lives.  Why not make that marriage  a masterpiece through frequent editing and revaluing?  Below is my personalised version of what the Oxford Dictionary defines EDIT as:


  1. to prepare your marriage for publication by checking and improving the accuracy and clarity of how you are living.
  2. to be in charge of your marriage
  3. to prepare your marriage by rearranging, selecting, or rejecting previous ways of living
  4. to modify your marriage by, for example, deleting, inserting or moving certain aspects of your marriage, or by copying the behaviour of people who are in marriages that you admire
  5. to remove incorrect or unwanted behaviour or matter from your marriage

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

 Edit your life marriage frequently!

 Mother Theresa once said:

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world”

 Imagine that you are a love letter from God to your spouse.

Every night before going to sleep take a journal and a pen and edit your marriage  in the light of God’s Word.  And every morning on waking take a few minutes to remind yourself that you are a love letter from God to your spouse.  Think about what you want to write and during the day, stop and do a few edits to what you have ‘written’ so far in the letter.

Always remember, you are a precious child of God and you can call on Him at any time – day or night – to ask for His help in editing your letter to your spouse.

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Often our fears are based on feelings of unworthiness which takes the form of that little voice in our heads that the majority of us hear quite often: “Who do you think you are? You aren’t capable of doing that. You are so conceited, there are people far more qualified who can do that”

Self-rejection is also a form of fear – fear of accepting ourselves for who we are. We often don’t attempt something because of fear of failure.

A vast majority of us are not living the lives that God ordained for us because of fear.  Fear of failure and fear that if we do take God at His word and trust Him to fulfill our heart’s desires, He will fail us.

In His word, God repeatedly tells us:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

God has given us the most amazing weapons to combat the fears we have – the Bible, prayer and each other!

One of my biggest fears is public speaking.  I have subsequently learnt that this fear is known as Glossophobia and that, according to the Wall Street Journal, public speaking is the number one fear in America.  Believe it or not, the fear of death is ranked as number two!

Many years ago, it was prophesied over my life that God would use me as a public speaker.   You have no idea what dread struck my heart when I received that prophesy! I actually checked behind me to see if the person wasn’t speaking to someone else.

I have subsequently come to realise that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I also trust that when I mess up He will be able to fix it.

God will never allow you to embarrass yourself or be humiliated when you are doing what He has called you to do.

I am living proof that if we submit ourselves to God, He is quite capable of equipping us and using us wherever He places us.

I overcame my fear of public speaking by spending time in prayer and meditating on His word. I researched my topic well and wrote down what I was going to speak on. I then spent hours in front of the mirror practicing my talk. My family had to repeatedly hear my talk as well, and if a member of the family wasn’t around, our poor dog had to listen to it!

In fact, before one of my talks, one of our daughters very dryly commented: “You don’t have to worry if you get run over on the way to the venue because any one of us will be able to give the talk for you!”  She had had to listen to it so many times she knew it off by heart!

I also send a SOS prayer request out to a group of prayer ‘warriors’ asking them to keep me in their prayers.

It is through God’s grace that I can stand before an audience and speak, and if He can use me to speak in public, He can use anyone to do so much more. He does not call the qualified, but He definitely qualifies and equips the called!

My prayer for each one of us is that we will recognize and face our fears, and start to live the lives God has created us to live.

When you find yourself overwhelmed by fear, repeat these words to yourself:

“Despite what I may feel, I have God’s anointing on my life.  His grace covers my inadequacies. I am God’s workmanship and He will equip me to do the work He has planned in advance for me to do”.

So, go out boldly and conquer your fears!

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There are people in this world who experience miraculous healing and other people who are instantaneously set free from an addiction or a bad habit BUT for the rest of us it is often a process, of taking two steps forward and one step back, over a long period of time before we are healed or no longer enslaved to an addiction/bad habit.

Two days before my father died, my sister, my husband and I were sitting around his bed, when he opened his eyes and said:

 “It’s time to say goodbye now. I am going to be with the Lord. The Lord is waiting for me”.

We called everyone into his room and as each grandchild hugged him, he told them that he loved them and gave them a blessing, he then hugged and blessed my sister and I and his sons-in-law.

Our oldest daughter commented to my brother-in-law that it would be quite an anti-climax if Grandpa Ray didn’t die that night and he replied that ‘dying, like most things in life, is a process.’

Living, dying, healing, freedom from addictions/habits, financial crises involves a series of actions or steps before we achieve a particular end.

For my dad, his process of dying started long before his death, and we had the privilege and joy of being able to spend uninterrupted time with him – holding his hands, reminiscing, praying during this time. He in turn, valued this time of family, of togetherness.

On the day that he died he was content and at peace and repeated a couple of times ‘I am going home’. He closed his eyes at 1pm and went to be with his Lord and Saviour.

What if, instead of gnashing our teeth, becoming impatient and angry, depressed and distraught because we are not receiving our healing or victory over certain areas, we instead – like my dad – just rest in peace, content that our God will undertake in His time? Spent that time listening to or reading His word and praying. Meditating and going for walks? Talking to people we trust about their insights on this process of waiting?

What if we spent this time process meditating on the following verse?

 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,  to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

What if we really took to heart the following verse and did not measure our time process in minutes, hours, days, months?

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends;  with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”.  (2 Peter 3:8)

“Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.”  Sharon Salzberg

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A friend and I were bemoaning the fact the other day that sometimes our children are not truly appreciative of all that they have, that they take so much for granted and often want more.

I said that it was our own fault. We are the ones who give them everything they want and follow a policy of instant gratification. We are afraid to discipline them as they should be disciplined and we often don’t hold them accountable for their actions for ‘fear’ of their reactions. His reply shocked me. He said:

“Yes, but we live in a world of fear. There are so many children who are bulimic, anorexic or who are cutting themselves that we are afraid that if we do not give our children what they want they will start doing the same. Others suffer from depression and are on medication. We are held in bondage to this fear.”

I don’t agree – I believe that some of our children will still suffer from all these things even if they are given everything they demand – in fact, maybe the more they are given, the more they will be inclined to suffer from these issues.

It has almost become quite common place, or in some instances, ‘fashionable’ to be bulimic or anorexic or a cutter and to be in therapy.

Our children have to contend with so much today – not the least of these things being social media. They never have time to relax, to be alone. Their lives are splashed on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and countless other forms of media.

Not just their lives, but their parents lives as well. A large majority of us parents also spend way too much time on whatsapp or twitter or email – I am certainly guilty of this. Our children watch programs on television that ‘normalise’ all these issues and they are being taught that there is nothing wrong with sex before marriage, having multiple partners, experimenting with drugs and alcohol because ‘everyone does it’ and it is perfectly normal.

Depression among school children is rife with many taking medication to get them through the day, and then, as a community we sometimes experience the devastation of loss as some teenagers feel the only way out is to take their own lives to end their pain.

The world our children are growing up in is foreign to us parents. Our four and five year old’s are taught not to brush their friends knees of grit and dirt when they have fallen and grazed themselves because the blood of their friend may contain the AIDS virus.  How heartbreaking is that? Having to teach our children to curtail the basic human response of bringing comfort to those they love because of a very real fear of being infected with a disease.

A law passed in my country, South Africa, in 2007 states that “children as young as twelve can get condoms and the Pill, get HIV treatment, and have an abortion – without their parents’ consent”, how achingly sad is that?

Our children have easy access to drugs, alcohol and porn. The divorce rate is on the increase, families are breaking up and there are many single parent households. A few years ago the Daily Mail reported “One in ten families never sits down to an evening meal together, a study revealed today. Hectic social schedules and hefty workloads means millions of families are unable to enjoy each other’s company at the dinner table.” It went on to report that in a study of 3 000 adults, two thirds of their children reportedly yearned for a return to the traditional family dinner time.

So, no wonder parenting a teenager feels like you are a tight rope walker or that you are constantly ‘walking on egg shells’ as we find ourselves challenged by them, and the ever changing world we live in.

What is really great, however, is the fact that even if we misstep and fall off the tightrope, or crush all the egg shells, our safety net is ginormous!

GOD IS OUR SAFETY NET and when we go to Him in prayer for wisdom and discernment FOR OURSELVES in raising our children and we request wisdom, self-control and safety FOR OUR CHILDREN we know that He hears us and responds in love.

My all time favorite Bible verse is found in 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”. Instead of sins I put ‘mistakes’ because as parents we make countless mistakes in raising our children but as long as they know they are loved and prayed for I believe that in the end they will develop into the people God created them to be.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13

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