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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 (13) and Angelee (10) 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. Last year our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel. We are all so in love with him! "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!

21 December 2011

Seeing the Glimmer of Joy

It's been a little quiet over at my blog these last few days ... just in a reflective head space I guess. We have also been hard at work getting our home ready for my precious sister, brother in law, nieces and extended family who are arriving for the Christmas holidays. Roll on Friday ;0) I love the thought of squeezing an extra 6 people into our humble home. It just makes me miss my precious Mommy Darling who usually comes home from the US for Christmas - but we were spoilt to have 2 visits with her during the year. My dad, Brett's folks and siblings are all away on well deserved holidays after a really full year.  
The girls slept out at their Granny and Poppi last night, so hubby and I took the gap to go out for dinner and a movie. We watched New Years Eve. I sobbed watching the shots of the newborn babies in the hospital nurseries, just being reminded again how much I miss Zac and how I so wish it could have been different. After the movie, I bumped into a friend who told me of another mommy who had just lost her 2 year old son that morning. A little boy we had all been praying for in church on Sunday. I wanted to crumple to the ground and just sob and scream at the injustice of such a fallen and broken world ... knowing the raw pain that this precious mother and father are enduring right now - a pain I wish nobody would ever have to face, yet far too many parents do. When I came home I couldn't help but feel down wondering if our lives will always be marked with a quiet, unspoken sadness. We have become one of those families who can relate to others who have also lost children. It brings tears to my eyes that this is a part of my daughters life stories. How different I wish it could have been for them. While we have definitely found the God given ability to laugh as a family, there are so often moments that bring me back to the fact that my little family will always have the story of having faced loss at it's rawest. I woke up this morning and allowed myself the time to really take stock of what we have just walked through. I went right back to the beginning ...
I will never forget the look of sheer rejoicing on Brett's face when I discovered on the 7th of February that I was pregnant with the child that we had prayed so long for. God's timing was just an added gift that we could announce it to our eldest daughter on her 10th birthday the very next day was so unforgettably special. She had prayed for a brother for years. Right from day 1 Brett knew that I was pregnant with his son. I bought a little babygrow to give him on the day we would find out the sex just in case it was in fact a little boy. This photo makes me want to cry at the memory of our joy. We had just walked out of our appointment with the girls after cheering so loud for the entire waiting room area to hear! We were all smiles. We were going to have a little boy! The girls had a baby brother!!! 
Brett's smile says it all. That smile sums up our entire experience with Zac ... pure joy. That is what I will always remember when I think back on my pregnancy with Zac. We only knew hope and love for this treasured son. When we found out at 30 weeks that he had some sort of radical heart defect that they could not fully label at the time, faith like I have never experienced before rose in our hearts. This was a gift from God to us, because instead of grieving over perceived worst case scenario's ... God gave us heart peace through faith to enjoy every moment with Zac in my womb. Looking back at those weeks of praying and trusting for a miracle, I see now that the miracle that God did was in our hearts. Even at Zac's birth, instead of tension and fear ... our hearts were garrisoned in hope and joy. This allowed us to make every moment with him precious and a memory that will last a lifetime for Brett and I. Even the Doctors present kept saying how joyous his birth was even though they were all preparing for the worst case. That sweet little boy only saw his mommy, daddy and sisters smiling and rejoicing over him and doting on him with love unspeakable. It was only in his last moments that he felt his mommy's tears mingled with deep love falling over him as we sang and prayed over him. Even then ... peace Himself stood in the room upholding Brett and I so that Zac's passing into glory was bathed in glory. This is what a God of love does. He makes Himself present in the highs and deepest lows of our journey through life. This is the only reason why I have hope and peace in my pain, because every day He is present. That is the gift of who Jesus is. He has never been a God to stand far off to those who will call on His name. It is purely because we called on His name that we can look back over this year and see His fingerprints all over our lives as He walked us through moment by moment. Even now He adds to my perspective when I take the time to look into His eyes and bare my heart to Him. He shows me glimmers of deep joy even in the pain.
I woke up this morning wondering if our story will always be one of sadness, but as I have been typing this, perspective like a ray of hope and beauty has come shining through to me that our story with Zac is not just one of sadness and loss. It is in fact one of celebration and life. This little boy took us as a family to the deepest place we have ever walked with Jesus. One of hope and trust. He showed us how to see Jesus and the eternal hope that we have because of His love. He showed us how passionately and deeply we can love each other when our hearts are centered on the Person of Love - Jesus. My sweet little boy is teaching me that time is so precious and not to waste it, but to treasure the relationships in our lives. To move beyond hurt, anger and resentments and to love purposefully with all our hearts. Our time with Zac here on earth was far too short, but his impact continues to inspire hope and truth in our lives. This baby boy continues to draw us to Jesus where we find love and hope. I may not like how painful this walk is at times (and it is really hard), but it is certainly not in vain. Zac has taught me what comfort and compassion looks like. He has shown me how many broken hearted people there are and to tell his story so that they can also meet the only Healer of the broken hearted. Nobody can take away the pain of losing a child except for Jesus. To come in our brokenness and sit at his feet is to behold the feet of the One who was well acquainted with suffering and pain and willingly walked that road to offer us hope and heart healing and the most important gift of eternal life with Him. Faith is not always getting everything you want or looking like you have it all together. Faith is living a life surrendered in trust and allowing Jesus to help us to live in wholeness, purposefully fulfilling our destiny with amazing adventures along the way. We don't always get what we want or expect in life, but when we place our faith in Jesus Christ ... we get more. We get Love Himself willing to lead us personally through our journey here on earth into an eternity that is more beautiful than anything we could hope or dream of. 
Today I am thanking God that even though I ache so deeply for what I dreamed of sharing here on earth with Zac, I continue to receive life changing gifts from a little boy who delights in seeing his family live for eternal significance ... lives that acknowledge abundant life and joy. He wants our lives to speak of hope and life ... not just sorrow and pain. Somehow, that gives me good reason to look for things to smile over and throw my head back and laugh. It's a process of healing, but today I see that glimmer of joy more clearly and I choose to smile.
All my love as always xxx
Janine 


4 comments:

Carol F,  Wednesday, December 21, 2011  

My heart is with you my Queen! I pray for God's strength over this Christmas Season as you spend quality time with your Sis and the family. Know that you're always in my heart and thoughts,
I Love you,
Mom x

Amy Durrant,  Thursday, December 22, 2011  

Thank you for your blogs Janine. Your love shines so strongly its reaching me thousands of miles away. I have received most of the books you suggested on one of your last blogs, will dive into 'heaven is for Real' tonight, will help me to feel happy. It is encouraging being a mummy 'beside' you. And a massive blessing. I feel like I have been 'swallowing' an awful lot these passed 4 months. And the process of digestion is beginning, and causing loads of cramping and indigestion! I feel like I'm having to swallow a world full of truths...but, God's glory shines ever stronger x

EJN Thursday, December 22, 2011  

Janine,
Beautiful perspective, your eyes are on Jesus - that is evident.
Love to you Dear Sister, and the COmforter continue His comfort as only He can.
Jojo

Preppy Pink Crocodile Thursday, December 22, 2011  

Oh my heart just breaks for your broken heart! I just know that havng your family in your home this Christmas is going to be so good for everyone. Don't just dole out hugs, make sure you let others love on you too. And eat lots of yummy treats. Because Christmas treats never fail to bring smiles.

Lots of love for a blessed holiday!
KK

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