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 (11) 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.

About the Journey

Life is certainly a remarkable adventure! You just never quite know what's around that next corner! I am a 36 year old wife and mommy to 4 amazing children. When I started this blog a few years ago I had no idea just how much I would learn about the depths of God's love in the years ahead! Back then I was a mommy of two little girls. In September 2011 we were given the greatest privilege to become proud parents to a very special little boy called Zac, our "lion heart". We were entrusted to carry him in pregnancy in an amazing walk of faith, because he would only be ours this side of Heaven for 21 and a half hours after birth. Our precious heart baby has taught us more about the reality of Heaven and the truly important matters of the heart in his short journey in our lives than a lifespan of living could have taught us. He continues to be our pointer to Jesus in remarkable ways. "Love in Action" has become our incredible journey through grief to live lives filled with grace, strength, increasing joy and purpose as we continue to heal and grow in God's amazing love as a family. Just a few weeks ago we welcomed our second son, Gabriel into this amazing big-wide-world-of-wonder! We are overcome with joy as the Great Restorer is faithfully at work in our lives! Please come and join me on my adventure. I'm one of those people who wears my heart on my sleeve. I'm a firm believer of living my life out in the open as I continue to pursue a life lived in truth and freedom. I am exploring the depths of God's personal love for us, and I have to say that life is far more colourful lived in His love. I would like to live my life having experienced rich friendships - both new and old and most certainly having loved and laughed my way through most of it. I welcome you to share your thoughts and comments with me. At the end of each blog entry, click on "comments" to add your thoughts. I can't wait to hear from you! Here's to life God's way ... RICH and FULL in Jesus Christ's overflowing love for us!

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
Janine

    


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18 January 2016

Hello JOY

Hello 2016 ... and hello JOY.

Every year I seek a word that I can be mindful of growing and practicing in my life. This year I am being more mindful to CHOOSE JOY. I say "choose", because joy is so much more than just a feeling that randomly comes and goes. I believe it is a powerful choice that we can choose to embrace and welcome even in tough moments and situations. 

Just yesterday my husband taught in church around the verse from Hebrews 12:1-2 which shares "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat sown at the right hand of the throne of God." These 2 verses can be such an encouragement to us. Every day we are running the race of life. God in His grace and love has gifted us with the power to choose HOW we run that race. We don't always know or have control over what comes along our path, but we have full control of how we negotiate it. This verse encourages us that we are not alone on this journey. We have a loving God who is cheering us along ... willing to disentangle us from the things that weigh us down ... willing to mentor us in perfecting our faith when we struggle. He is after all the pioneer of life. Our part is to fix our gaze on Him ... seek Him out in our every day living. Jesus lived on earth and fully experienced joy and hardship. That is the very reason that He can mentor us through our journey through life. One of the powerful ways He does this is in the very example He set for us ... HE CHOSE JOY!!! At the hardest moment of the His life on earth, He chose joy! He was able to go through and endure the torture of the cross by choosing joy ... setting His heart on the end result of going through the cross motivated by love and the goal of restored relationship between us and God, joy is what strengthened Him to endure and overcome. This is the example that He is giving us in this verse. We get to choose to tap into the powerful source of joy no matter what we negotiate, to carry us through to a place of peace and victory. The bible says after all that "the joy of the Lord is our strength". It is soooooo much more than just a feeling! It fills us with strength to endure and thrive! 

If I allow myself to look over my shoulder during the last 4 and a half years after negotiating child loss, I know for a fact that allowing joy even into the grieving journey is what has mended our family. The power of joy is such a huge gift in our lives. It has the ability to mingle and mix even through our tears and resurrect hope and life.

I have a dear friend (shout out to you my dear friend Ingrid) whose greatest example to me is how she and her husband laugh through life. I watched her nurse both her parents through illness at the end of their lives and no matter how tough it got, whenever I went to visit, laughter was ringing through the halls of their home. Through the pain, they found reasons to include joy. When we talk and look back even at the final weeks she had with her parents before they passed away, the memories include joy and laughter. Watching her negotiate her immense loss, gave me wisdom as I negotiated my own pain. I learned how joy can carry us through sorrow. The fruit of their joy shines in their relationship. They have weathered some unbelievable storms together ... but the joy of the Lord has been a strength in their relationship that holds them together like super glue. What a legacy! That continues to inspire me. One day I want to be remembered as a woman who laughed and included joy no matter what! 

This year I am opening up my heart, my relationships, my life more than ever to JOY.  I'm choosing to embrace laughter even in the midst of tension or stress. I know that it's not always going to FEEL easy ... but I know that I am certainly going to FEEL much better embracing joy instead of worry or fear or stress or anger etc. Choosing joy is not a denial of our present pain, but an opportunity to be carried in peace through it.  My prayer is that you too will join me in the journey of embracing joy this year.


All my love xxx
Janine  





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