About Me

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South Africa
My husband, Brett and I live in beautiful South Africa and have been blessed with the most precious family. We have 2 very beautiful and brave daughters, Tianna (15) and Angelee (12) and a very precious little boy called Zac who touched our hearts forever in his 1 day here on earth. We never would have imagined that we would have to live this side of Heaven without our sweet boy who was born with half a heart, but every day Jesus carries us through and is teaching us more than ever how to live, laugh and love fully. 3 years ago our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel ... a ray of sunshine in all our lives! "Love in Action" is our journey as a family to love the way Jesus is teaching us to love and live.

Blog Archive

27 September 2016

Reflecting, remembering & dealing with grief 5 years later

It has once again been quite some time since I have visited this special place. I'm always amazed at how quickly time passes. Visiting back "home" to my blog reminds me so much of that. 

When I started this blog, my heart was for it to never just be about the number of followers ... but rather for it to be a place of vulnerability about my personal walk in embracing the love of Jesus and journeying to become more like him ... and trusting that that would be an encouragements to anyone needing hope. Originally it was an outlet for personal ponderings, encouragement and even a place to share my everyday life journey and milestones. I would never have imagined that so many posts would be around the journey of grief and healing and reaching out with hope to other parents who encounter child loss or grief. God has been very faithful to teach us as a family about hope after pain. These days, I choose only to write when He stirs my heart. I guess there are seasons in everything (and I am still working on practicing consistency in my life ;0) 

Lately I have been confronted by some of my old posts thanks to Facebook memories that keep popping up. To be honest, some of them have been very hard for me to read, because they take me back to deep places that I have walked with Him, especially 5 years ago. It's been the first time that I allowed myself to read back on my whole journey with Zac. While I am a very firm believer in being fully present in the present and not dwelling on the past, sometimes it is good to stand back and take stock so that we can walk ahead with renewed purpose. 

Taking the time to reflect, I can't believe how quickly my children have grown. Brett and I now have a 15 and 12 year old daughter, a busy 3 year old son, and our precious Zac will be celebrating his 5th birthday and heavenly anniversary over the weekend. Our lives are full and busy and our hearts continue the incredible journey of heart healing that God faithfully walks with us. Our picture of Heaven reminds us of why we can choose joy and embrace His goodness daily ... and when the pain surfaces (especially over these anniversaries) we lean into His heart and perspective. 

I've learned that there are times when I still need to cry as I deal with different layers and angles of this journey and also that my questioning is safe in His embrace. It doesn't alter His love and goodness ... in fact, it is the rock on which I can stand. He is a constant in our every day lives and His Presence is always steadfast. Being real, raw and honest with Him draws me back to a bigger perspective than just my pain or disappointment. He gently whispers to my heart in tough weeks like this that there is a beautiful big picture that includes my son's heavenly destiny, and that the day will come when I will understand in full. He also rocks my heart back to peace and comfort that it's ok that I don't 'like' the part of us being separated and the parts of the story that I don't understand this side of Heaven. 

With Zac's anniversaries coming up, I have been feeling so sad. I miss that sweet boy more than words could ever express. I long to know what he now looks like and what conversations he would have had with me and his dad. I miss the dynamic that he would have brought into our home in his relationships with his siblings. My loss is the loss of wondering how it would have or could have been. I hurt that my daughters hurt over this time. Do we have peace ... yes. But do we still long for him ... yes. It's hard to know how to celebrate a birthday for someone you love with sadness deep in your heart. It's hard on these milestone days to hold onto joy when the following day holds the milestone reminder of his passing. It's hard as a mother to face your own pain and still contain the    pain of your other children. BUT GOD KNOWS. And He doesn't stand watching from afar. He comes to the closest place in my heart and whispers words of heart peace. He reminds me to look up and glimpse with hope and love that there is purpose. And all of a sudden I can deal with it again. I can find rest again. 

I share these things not to seek sympathy, but to be vulnerable and honest with those who hurt. My heart aches over the growing families that God leads me to pray for and carry in my heart who walk this journey. I would do anything to carry their pain, and when my heart aches with such sorrow for their pain, Jesus tenderly reminds me that that is His privilege, calling and burden to lift. So I continue to write here to try and express His heart of extreme love and compassion and promise of hope and restoration. I write in honestly for those who are walking with loved ones who have lost children and don't know how to imagine their pain or don't know what to say. And as I write and bare my heart and hurts to Him, I continue to receive heart healing too, because somehow I can write the things of my heart much better than I can speak them out. 

So this Friday, I will choose to celebrate the gift of my beloved's son's 5th birthday and on Saturday I will acknowledge his greatest day of coming face to face with Love Himself and choose to honor and bear his testimony well, so that my life, as his, will not be defined by loss, but will continue to be defined by love and true heart peace.

I love you my boy. Thank you for constantly helping me to see Jesus.


24 February 2016

Treasures in Broken Vessels

A little while ago I wrote a post about when the unthinkable happens, and all we can see or feel is the brokenness in our lives. It's in those moments that we are faced with the daily choice of whether to stay focussed on the pain ... or to recognise that we also have the choice to find beauty even in the midst of our pain. My journey these last 5 years has consistently taught me that there is One who stands closest to the brokenhearted and that He is more than willing to infuse me with strength and joy no matter how volatile the storm feels within, and that searching into His eyes calms the fiercest of storms.  

At this point please allow me to give you a sneak peak into my humanity. Before you read the above and think even for a moment that I've mastered that art of choosing best all the time, let me assure you that I have by no means got it all together! Ask my family ... they will humour you with many stories of the work-in-process that I am. Take for instance this morning ...

Today started out rather flat for me. I woke up tired, with a 2 week-headache and just feeling worn out. One of my kids went off to school stressed out with tests and the pressure of school, the other  has been booked off with shingles of all things and my toddler who goes to a school a few blocks away from  home, today of all days,  BEGGED me to walk him to school. I REALLY didn't feel like the exercise! As I walked home from dropping him off (absolutely exhausted, throbbing head and boiling hot) I decided to 'practice what I've been preaching' to some sweet ladies in my bible study and open my heart to joy. I had 15 minutes to grab a smoothie and race off (still sweaty and stinky) to an 8:30am appointment. I wasn't feeling bright and chipper, but my heart kept gently reminding me that I could choose either to be swallowed up by all the low emotions that were quickly building up, or I could open up my heart to search for His face. As I drove, His peace and gentle assurance began to rise over the heaviness. (I want to quickly add in here that choosing to seek His face instead of focusing in on our pain is by no means a denial of what we are going through. It does however allow for God's perspective to break through which opens the door to healing).

I arrived at the appointment I had been invited to. A very special potter had asked me to meet with him as he had something to share with me. He began to share a special story with me of a beautiful small pot he had made at a women's conference almost 2 years ago. It sat unfinished in his studio until last August when he was invited once again to share at a conference where we both landed up speaking at.  He felt led to finish glazing the pots to use as part of the conference. As this little pot was in the kiln, another vessel burst under the pressure of the heat and broke the little pot. Assessing it, he realised he could not fix it and cast it away. That weekend the Lord truly spoke through him and the amazing pots he had finished to speak deeply to the hearts of the women. At one point, one of the most beautiful pots of all that had taken him so much time to make, unknown to anyone else, the Lord directed him to allow it to fall from his hands and shatter. I have never heard such a gasp and hush fall over a place! It was a profound moment. Little did he know that the message that I had prepared to share was titled "When the cup falls from your hands" (the above link I shared). When it was my turn to speak, the Lord clearly told me to share my story standing in-between the broken pieces of that vessel. Up until that moment I had felt very calm and strong ... but as I moved to stand in those broken pieces I almost felt like I was standing looking down on what had once been the most broken place my heart had ever been. It was one of the hardest moments for me to stand before those people and bare my heart and be completely vulnerable, but at the same time it was also the hugest privilege to have the opportunity to share that there is hope beyond shattered dreams. Healing can come. The one thing I said to the Lord that I did not have the ability to do that day (to physically break a beautiful vessel) is the very thing God led him to do, which enabled me to go on and share in vulnerability what God had placed on my heart to share. What I did not know that morning was that as I spoke about the beautiful Japanese art of fixing broken vessels, God was whispering something into this dear potters heart. He reminded him of the broken little pot that had been thrown away. He told him to go home and find all the broken pieces and to mend it. He told me how he went home only to find half of the pieces. God would not allow his heart to rest until he kept searching for the rest of the pieces. I don't even want to know what a pain staking task that must have been as there had been the other vessel that had burst in the kiln too ... but eventually he tracked down the rest of the pieces in the vacuum cleaner and began a long process of mending that sweet vessel. He had invited me over to show me something beautiful ...

As I opened the box my tears fell. In my hands I held the most beautiful little pot I have ever had the privilege of holding. Something that had once looked beyond repair had been lovingly restored to something of more beauty than before it broke. Not one piece was missing. It was mended back with a beautiful golden thread of hope, destiny and purpose. This little pot was made with God's intention to one day belong to me. This dear man and his beloved wife will never know how precious this gift has been to me, as I will never have enough words to describe the Father's tender kiss to my very soul and heart through this incredible gift of love. It came to me not on a day when I had it all together, but on a day that I needed to be reminded of God's passionate heart to see to EVERY small detail of our hearts and His patient devotion to heal, restore and redeem with hope. 

Each day we are given the opportunity to choose. For me there has never been a better choice than to seek the loving eyes of the Master Potter who sees, understands and loves with a love beyond words or reason. 1 Peter 1:2 declares that He has given us a "living hope through Jesus". That hope is alive and strong to carry us daily and heal even what we deem beyond hope. 

My sweet little golden vessel will always be a daily reminder to me of the One whose eyes never leave me, but watch over my heart daily. Those same eyes are watching over your heart in tender love and infinite care too.

All my love xxx