About Me

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 and Angelee 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. A year and a half later, our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel ... a ray of sunshine in all our lives! This blog has been a place where I have been able to journal my journey through loss, hope and choosing to live a life rich in love.

Blog Archive

28 October 2011

The Door of Hope

We are learning so much as a family right now. In the midst of our pain, the Lord is continually reaching out to us through so many loving people. It is a month today since Zac was born and tomorrow a month since he beat us to Heaven :0) During this last month the Lord has showed us what "love in action" looks like as people have ministered to us through meals, message, flowers, phone calls, prayers and visits. I have been so deeply touched by so many people who have walked the road of losing a child who have contacted us to encourage us. It once again shows me how God never ever wastes any of our pain. These precious people have come along side us and shared their stories with us. It has touched my heart so deeply that most of the people who have written to me have never met me, yet they are willing to share such a vulnerable part of their hearts with us in telling us their stories. What an encouragement to see how God is faithful to heal the broken hearted. I understand more fully now how we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Testimony has the ability to break down walls and crush the enemy. It declares how BIG God really is even in the midst of pain or suffering. 
When we were in Cape Town, very dear friends of ours who also said goodbye to their precious little boy at his birth this year reached out to us and gave us hope. They even came to cry and pray with us the night Zac passed away. We were so humbled by their willingness to be there with us, so soon after having been in our position. In the midst of their pain they demonstrated the hope and peace God gives to those who turn to Him.
Again yesterday, another couple who walked this path 5 years ago flew in to see us for one afternoon just to encourage us and share their story of how God brought them through. They flew all the way to share a verse that has so deeply encouraged us and I want to encourage you with this message of hope today. 
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her (Israel) and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart. There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (troubling) to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt."
Hosea 2:14-15
There is just so much that speaks to my heart in these two simple verses. The first thing that stands out to me is how God allures us at times, into the wilderness, to speak tenderly to our hearts. It is even in the place of the wilderness that he gives us our vineyards - a place of life and growth! Isn't it amazing how God works so differently to how we see life. The wilderness represents loneliness, heat, even barrenness to us, but to God it is the place where only He can produce a place of fruitfulness and life. He also speaks tenderly to our hearts in these desolate place. 
This verse also tells us that God is able to make the places of our trouble to be a door of hope and expectation for us. I see that through the many messages of encouragement that come through to me from those who have lost loved ones. They know the pain but also can testify to the life and hope that God brings even through our pain.
Whatever it is that you are facing today - God is able to meet you in your wilderness and speak tenderly to your heart ... words of hope and life. May you hear His gentle whispers and find strength and perspective in His love.
All my love,

26 October 2011

Settling back into "normal"

My hubby and I often look at each other and ask ourselves if everything we have just gone through really happened. There are moments where it all just feels so surreal because you never in a billion years thought you would ever go through something like what you are going through. Grief is weird like that. You just don't know how you are going to feel or what emotions you are going to face until you are having to face it all head on. There are moments where you feel perfectly fine and then within seconds your heart feels like it will take an eternity to feel whole again. There are also milestones that you have to face along the way - some that you are aware of and others that you only know are a milestone once you have faced certain moments. One of those milestones for me is settling back into a "normal" routine. Everything inside me screams out that life is not meant to ever be the same again and yet everything around me continues on as it always has. This is one of the things I am tackling this week. All my family has gone home and now the routines with the girls doing homework and sports etc is what it always used to be. Part of me finds comfort in the old routine and another part of me rages that I want everything to be different. I want to be immersed in having a newborn in our home taking up most of my time. I guess it's just part of the journey as I negotiate everyday life without my sweet baby boy.
I realise that everyday I have a choice. I can either be swallowed up in grief or I can choose to see how closely Jesus is standing with us in the midst of our pain. Knowing that He is close doesn't take the pain of loss away, but it allows me to grieve with hope. Hope that I will one day hold my son in my arms again. Hope that as a family we will continue to grow from strength to strength in our journey of life and love. Hope that we will all come through whole with God's healing hand over our hearts. Oh my goodness ... life truly is full of millions of emotions. I am so thankful that He is a God who understands and walks through each of these emotions with me and is somehow placing my heart back together one piece at a time.
Janine xoxox

20 October 2011

Zac's "Birthday Party"

Blogging on my side has been quiet as we have come home from Cape Town to a house full of family and friends who have been here for us to cry with, share with and just love us as we take in all that we have just walked through as a family.
On Sunday we got to throw a "birthday party" celebrating Zac's one day here on earth. I cannot explain the myriad of emotions that I have been through in advance to his thanksgiving service. No parent ever expects that they will ever have to plan a memorial service for any of their children. What I have experienced though through this whole journey is that God's peace and grace goes so way beyond our understanding to be able to carry and sustain us through the hardest of emotions that we will ever face. As Sunday dawned, His peace settled deeply within my heart and the Lord gave me His precious gift of grace to fully take in His presence with us in that hall filled with precious, loving people who were there to celebrate the gift of Zac's life. To bear witness to this little boy's testimony in impacting so many hearts for Jesus still astounds us as a family. God is actively using his story to heal broken hearts. The more we hear, the more Brett and I realise in our hearts that though our little boy is not present here on earth with us, he is very much alive and fulfilling his destiny in God in pointing people to the heart of Jesus. 
The service was so filled with the peace and presence of Jesus. Brett and I just wanted to throw a big bash for our precious love boy and allow it to be a time of "thanksgiving". That is something that Zac taught us as a family ... to be thankful for the gifts that Jesus gives us. It's not always about the time frames that we are given with each other that will touch and change our hearts forever. Zac was only given 1 day in our arms, but everything about his journey and life with us has impacted our hearts for eternity. So we wanted to give God thanks that He chose us to be Zac's family. We filled the entrance hall with 100 of the brightest balloons we could find.
We worshiped together, shared the most beautiful video & photos that a friend of ours put together of our sweet boy and then shared our hearts as a family of the impact Zac has had in our lives and what his testimony is to a very broken and hurting world.
We were so touched by the support of so many who came to be with us. My mommy's heart was so comforted to see how Jesus surrounded my girls with their cuzzies and friends who wrapped their arms around each of my girls during this service and just loved them through it. I think they are the bravest big sisters I have ever known! This pic shows the love as my big girl is surrounded by her protective cuzzie and friends.
We all went outside with a balloon in one hand and Lindt chocolate in the other (only the best for our boy!) to release a hundred colourful balloons in his honour while we ate our chocolates to celebrate the sweet gift that Zac David Robinson will always be to us ... our sweet little love boy who has forever shaped our hearts. To watch those balloons all group together and float towards the sun touched my heart so much. So like Zac ... always pointing us towards the Son of Righteousness.

Standing outside surrounded by my precious family and friends, feeling the sunshine kiss my body as we looked at those balloons floating so high until they disappeared I was able to smile knowing that my precious Jesus gave Zac a good gaze into all the love being sent his way. I can just picture the angels being sent to collect everyone of those balloons to show Zac :0) Only Jesus knows how to bring comfort and hope into the hardest moments of our lives. He is doing that in our lives ... showing us that we can grieve with hope and peace because we know that our precious boy lives in perfect heart peace and knows how loved he is.
Throughout this whole experience Jesus has wrapped arms around Brett, the girls and I. We have been saturated in His love through His precious body - the church. Constantly the love pours in from those we know, and even more that we have never had the privilege of meeting. Thank you so much to all of you who have comforted and encouraged us along on our.
After the service the entire family went off to a lunch venue where a precious lady had organized a "party" for Zac's little sisters and cousins in his honour. Oh my goodness ... it so touched Brett and my heart. She went out of her way to decorate everything with blue balloons and have party packs for each of the kids. This is how Jesus loves us!
It was the perfect finish to a perfect service honouring our boy. Again the Lord went all out in bringing all of Brett and my family together to be with us - from my mom in the US, to my sister and all her family from Johannesburg to all of Brett's family from out of town too as well as some of our dearest friends who flew in from different places in the country to be with us. What a joy to be surrounded by family who have learned to laugh and cry with us. (The picture below is just 1 of 4 tables full of family and friends who stood around us at this time).
 (My mom and sis. Don't you just love all the bright colours we had everyone wear! 
Colours to make Zac smile. I especially have fallen in love with blue ... forever now a "boy mommy" too.) 
As I finally come to the end of this post, Brett, the girls and I want to thank you all once again for every prayer that has been prayed along our journey ... for every message written to encourage and strengthen us ... for every meal and plant dropped off ... for being willing to bravely walk alongside of us and be the arms of Jesus hugging us as we heal. We are forever grateful for all your love and support. You all represent the heart and compassion of Jesus so well. Thank you precious family and friends.

All our love to each of you xoxox
Brett & Janine 

10 October 2011

Zac's Thanksgiving Service

We are extending an open invitation to a "Thanksgiving Service" for the gift of baby Zac, to all friends, family & those who have extended their love & support to us along our journey.
Time & date: 11:30 am, Sunday 16th October
Venue: Harvest Church
Address: Albert road, Walmer, PE
Dress: Colours that celebrate life

09 October 2011

The Hours that Changed our Hearts Forever

I am writing to you today, finally being home. What a surreal few weeks we have just lived through. It feels to us like time stood still as everything in our hearts and lives would be changed forever.
Brett and I are finally ready to begin sharing some of the deep things that have forever changed our hearts and shown us Jesus more clearly than we have ever seen Him. Let me start by showing you the precious son who Jesus hand picked to give to us to shape our hearts forever with Love ... our precious Zac David.
These are our most treasured memories as a family. A little boy who was only given to us to hold in our arms for 21 and a half hours taught us and filled our hearts more than a lifetime may have brought, on how to love more deeply than we have ever known. This little man pointed us to Jesus and showed us how to believe. The gifts our son gave us are eternal gifts that hold more value than any earthly treasure ever could. He showed us what true "heart peace" is, even in the midst of the deepest storm and pain of loss. While we prayed for a heart miracle for him ... it was he who gave to all who came to know his life and story, the gift of a heart miracle. He showed people what true heart peace really is ... seeing Jesus as the loving God that He is - a God who stands closest to the broken hearted. While we never got the full miracle of his heart being healed this side of Heaven, God gave to us and him so many miracles along the way. Eternal gifts of everlasting life. For a little boy who only had half a heart - only the right side of his heart ... in our eyes, he had the biggest heart we have ever known. As a family we called him our "lion heart. Jesus somehow gave physical peace and no pain to him in the hours that Zac graciously gave us as his family. We got to hold him and hear his precious baby cries. He even suckled at his mommy's breasts. He was rocked to sleep in his daddy's arms (who adores him more than words could ever say) ... hearing songs of love, worship, prayers and blessings.
He was sung countless songs by his two big sisters who in my eyes are the 2 proudest and bravest big sisters, handpicked from God. I'm so blessed by the love they lavished on their little brother throughout my pregnancy and all the hours they had with him. They each held him and kissed him countless times. 
I will forever be thankful for the kisses I got to lavish on my little boy. He just is the sweetest little love boy I ever held. 
Oh my goodness ... we were given so many amazing memories and moments with our love boy and ultimately the gift of seeing him entering Glory while being in the arms of his mommy as his daddy prayed blessings and lavished all our love over him. These are moments that define and change your life forever. Encountering the presence of God in your highest and lowest moments and being carried by the same arms that received our son into glory. These are just some of the moments that have shaped us as a family together.  
So many have reached out to us along this road that we have and are busy walking. To each of you we thank you for believing with us for the gift Jesus gave us in Zac. We thank you for the love, encouragement, prayers and gifts of love you have sent us. People ask us all the time how our faith is. We want you to know that we believe more fully now than we ever had. Zac's life showed us the heart of Jesus. We know that God has used this little boys life to bring healing to so many and the value is of Eternal value. 
In the midst of our greatest pain, God has given us the greatest love. May you today feel those Everlasting arms and see His eyes of love and continue to discover "heart peace" even as we continue to.
All our love and gratitude,
Janine & Brett 

02 October 2011

So much Love even When it's hard to Breath

On the Friday the 30th September at 16:47, our precious son entered this world with the most precious cries heralding his grand arrival. Hearing his voice made our hearts leap with joy unspeakable. He weighed in at 2.32 kgs, 46cm long and his head 31cm. We got to hold him immediately after being weighed ... moments we will treasure in our hearts for all eternity. Precious friends, the last 3 days have been filled with so many life changing emotions since then. As we process as a family, I will try to express as I am able just some of what we have lived through this weekend. We are still very much feeling like we are in the middle of something so much greater than just ourselves. It will take time to settle. I have the most beautiful photos to share with everyone of the amazing 21 hours we shared with our precious Zac David Robinson. This son of ours will forever have shaped and changed our hearts. When I am released from hospital and have my pc and the emotional strength, I will share bits of our journey. Today's post is simply to say that Brett and I have been deeply impacted by the love that lies with great strength within the body of Christ. You have all been a part of this miracle story. Jesus has already spoken so powerfully through Zac. I rest in Him knowing that it is faith only that pleases God. That doesn't mean that we will always understand all the details. It's enough to know that Love Himself leads us through all we will ever have to face. We will not move our eyes off of His! He has become our everything. He has already given us the most sweetest moments with our son. Praising Jesus from a broken heart today, but knowing that He stands so close and is at work even here and now. Janine and Brett