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

27 February 2012

Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord

I have always loved that worship song "Open the eyes of my heart Lord". I was just thinking today, what would change in our lives if our prayer each day became "Open my eyes to see from a Heavenly perspective." or "Cause my ears to hear Your whispers, God.". These last 5 months have taught me to pray more prayers like that. I have realised how dull my earthly sight and hearing can be. We see through such a limited, earth bound perspective most of the time and yet, He is so gracious to keep extending grace and wisdom to learn life from His Kingdom perspective. That perspective, I'm convinced, is an everyday "love in action" perspective. A walk that I am still learning every day.  
This week may we have eyes to see through love and ears that tune in to hear the precious messages of hope and encouragement that He would love us to pass on to those hurting all around us. I love that He chooses to be in partnership with us to demonstrate His heart and love. What a high calling!!! Some days I feel like my life is so mundane, but when I stop to realise that each day God is in partnership to love through me - my word, everything changes! Little acts of kindness prompted from the heart may just play a big part in revealing the Living God to somebody!  
Here's to having hearts seeking to see Him more clearly. Happy Monday and have a beautiful week. xxx
Love Janine

24 February 2012

Not so "lost" after all ;0)

Working through grief often brings up strange little triggers for me. One of the concepts that I wrestle a lot with when writing or telling my story is the phrase "I lost my child". It's a phrase that we say instead of having to say "my child died". Every time I write that phrase though, I feel a restlessness about it, because the truth is, Zac is not "lost" to me. I totally accept and understand where this phrase comes from and all my life I have used it ... but now that I have a little boy who is a Heavenly citizen, I just feel uncomfortable referring to him as lost
My journey with Zac has given me the opportunity to meet other parents who have encountered the same path of grief that we are walking. While everybody's story is different, there is a precious bond that links us when we share common ground. It continues to deeply impact my life to hear other people's stories who have also negotiated the grief walk. Earlier this week I got to meet a mommy who knows what it means to be carried by Jesus. Her loss is more recent than mine and her child was older than mine, but as we spent a little time together, I realised how much we have in common. Both of us know what it means to be met with the grace of Jesus and be forever changed. When I listened to her share her journey with her precious Chloe, I could see the presence of Jesus radiating from deep within her. She has been met with the King of Glory at the hardest place in her life ... the place of releasing her daughter into eternal life. It's not that she has seen Him with her earthly eyes as much as it is her heart response to His closeness which gives her the heart peace of assurance that Chloe, like Zac, finally know what it means to live in abundant life. Pain free, forever! His nearness radiated from every part of her. As she shared, I could see her eyes fixed firmly on the loveliness of who He is. I could see the grace carrying her. I just sat and listened to her tell her story. As she shared and I wept, she simply glowed with an inner joy. At times she would gently laugh and recount over and over again how good God has been to her in the face of her pain. As surreal as it sounds, because the pain is so intense and the missing is so hard ... but when you call on God to meet you in this place of pain, He shows you treasures that you would never have seen had you not walked through the fire. And that is when you realise the intensity of His goodness, because though the fire rages all around you, never once does He allow it to consume you. I came out of my brief time with Nicola so reminded that God is ALWAYS good and even at the most painful times in our lives when we simply do not understand all the reasons why tough things happen ... especially there, He stands right in the centre of our world reaching out with comforting arms and giving a heavenly perspective that amazingly allows us to accept the ache of letting go. As Nicola shared with me the peace that God has given her of where her Chloe is, I was very much reminded that my Zac is in no way "lost" to me. He is alive and thriving, being raised by the best parent ever! He will only ever know the purity of love, joy and peace and one day he will share his story with me about growing up in perfection. 
My heart has lifted once again as I fix them on the beautiful hope that I have in Jesus. My heart knows fully that my little love isn't lost, but is completely found in Christ
All my love xxx

22 February 2012

The Juggle between Laughter & Sadness

Lately I've had a lot of time to think. Hubby and I are repainting some walls in our lounge and dinning room. As I tackle the high walls I find myself caught up in so many of last years memories. Thoughts. Memories. They come through in waves and cause me to re-live those moments over and over again. I'll be driving and all of a sudden one of my conversations with God will re-play through my mind. I will remember the exact conversation with Him on that same road, whilst driving and feeling Zac move inside my womb. I will remember the prayers and the incredible hope that held my heart in perfect peace. I also remember desperately crying out to God and the strong assurance of His presence. Other times it will be a song. It will take me back to a moment on my knees before Him, pleading for a miracle. Sometimes the memories will bring a smile. Most times it fills my eyes with tears. I cannot believe that I even have any tears left, yet they continue to well. I've come to learn that tears represent so much. A sweet friend told me that each tear waters the seeds planted in my heart and ensures that the garden of my heart will bloom again. Such a beautiful thought. I guess allowing myself to cry and work through the pain allows my heart to remain soft and tender. Rather a tender heart being restored by the King than a hard heart full of bitterness. No ways! I'd rather let the tears pour and work it through with my Jesus. It just amazes me how many triggers there are to the sadness in my heart. One of my little girls will put her hand on mine and tell me that she loves me and I will feel the tears well up. It's the reminder that I wont know this side of Heaven what Zac's little hands will feel like holding mine or hear what his little voice will sound like. It feels like such a long wait till Heaven, yet I have a life to live here with 2 precious little girls in the mean time and every moment loving and being loved by them is a moment to savor and dwell in with joy. It's just a strange juggle to live with laughter and sadness all at one time.  
Grief is unchartered territory for me. It's a process of learning how to live with the changes that it has brought to my life. These are some of the lessons that I am learning. Loosing a child has changed me. This freaked me out so much initially - coming to turns that I am never going to be the same again. Initially I fought it. I don't necessarily want to be different. I liked the familiarity of how I felt about life. My world felt safer before. When unexplainable things happen that you have no power to control, it leaves your world different. All of a sudden, everything isn't as permanent as I initially thought. Eternity becomes reality (which is a good thing!) and there has come a deeper sense to the depth of life. Life matters. It's no longer a given how long I get to have the precious people in my life for. My new reality takes into account that every moment I have with those I love is a gift. 
Much of what I am learning is so painful, but, it has also left me changed for the better. Petty things that would get me wound up are all of a sudden placed into perspective. The old things that would trigger my frustrations are no longer as big a deal as they used to be, because now I see that every moment with my children and loved ones is such a treasure. No, it's not a walk in the park and no, I cannot overlook everything - but to live life knowing that time really is a gift from God helps me to make so much more of my life. I don't get it all right. I still feel overwhelmed having to learn how to negotiate grief for myself, my love and my children ... but I am constantly reassured with the closeness of a loving God who reminds me that forever is closer than I can imagine. 
All of this to say that while I am battling to juggle all the sadness that comes with grief, I am daily being reminded to look at the blessing in my life. As the memories crowded around me yesterday, suffocating me in sadness I had a powerful moment where the Lord started reminding me of all my blessings ...
I can see. I get to see two of my children live and love right before me everyday. I also got to see Zac looking straight into my heart and I get to look back on those beautiful pictures that captured our joy with him. There is also coming a day where I will see in full.
I can hear. Everyday I hear the outbursts of love from my Brett and my girls. I hear their laughter and their joy (and all the other outbursts that go along with family life too!).
I can feel. My heart is privileged to know such deep and profound love from a God who stands in the middle of my world every day. He has also blessed me to feel the love of precious family and friends.
Every day I get to taste and smell. I can't think of the last time I remembered what a beautiful gift that truly is. Tastes and smells take us back to such precious memories and give such simple joys.
Maybe you are negotiating your own sadness today. If so, I am praying for your heart right now that your eyes will open to your blessings ... that you might glimpse that just maybe like me, your blessings may just outweigh your pain. We will always have sadness to negotiate in our life journey - but we will also always have joy to give us strength!
All my love as always xxx

11 February 2012

35 Candles

This gal's just turned another year older! (Don't you DARE count any wrinkles ;0) hee hee. They are just my laughter lines.)
What a precious day it has been. I have been swamped in love!!! From family to friends, the love just keeps washing over me. 
I stand amazed at the many ways God continues to work at loving my heart back to wholeness. I so badly wanted to hide from my birthday this year. I kind of saw it as a big reminder to everything I walked through last year. This time last year I was glowing in the news of just finding out that I was pregnant. I wanted everyone to share our joy! It was such a happy time for me. Leading up to this birthday I simply felt barren. I didn't want to face the reminder of such deep loss. BUT THEN my faithful Jesus lovingly changed my perspective. He brought my birthday one day earlier. I never saw it coming. Let me explain :)
Yesterday I started getting phone calls from treasured friends singing happy birthday to me! I was then "kidnapped" by a friend for a wonderful pamper at a beauty spar as my birthday pressie. Then I got more birthday phone calls and messages! All of a sudden I was having a birthday before a birthday. This has NEVER happened to me, especially by so many people. These special impromptu wishes totally softened my heart to accept the love that God has for me in placing so many around me who love me. He knows me so well. I LOVE suprises! All of a sudden I could face today, because yesterday was such a beautiful warm up! :0)
Today I could weep at the many beautiful messages that have been sent to me from so many precious people. Thank you to every person who has made my day special. I can truly say that my arms are opened wide to the beautiful adventures, blessings and faith walking expeditions that my Jesus has prepared for me.
All my love and thanks xxx

09 February 2012

A call to Pray and Reach Out

I just popped over to my friend Adeye's blog. Oh my word!!! My heart is in a million pieces looking at these precious little faces totally in desperate need and with so little hope. PLEASE read her post and pray that God will move on people's hearts to give these desperate little ones a forever home. These are desperate children and God has called us to pray and reach out in whatever ways we can. If you blog or facebook, please link her post to try get as many people to see these little ones in desperate need of hope and love. It can only increase their chances of being seen. Jesus break our heart for the things that break Yours. 
Much love xxx

Her Day in Pictures

My little bear had such a wonderful day yesterday. From morning to night it was filled with so much love. Thank you so much to all who sent her birthday messages and for every special phone call. It meant so much to her! I read her all the facebook messages yesterday. Her smile was priceless! So here was her day in pictures:
 Waking up to balloons and singing. (How beautiful are those blue eyes!)
Birthday kiss from the only "boy" who is allowed to kiss her for a looooooong time ;0)
Surprise!!! Taking in all the stash waiting to be ripped into.
Reading Lala's special card from America. (Thank you precious mom for waiting up till midnight so you could phone her first thing in the morning our side. You are always "present" in our hearts for each occasion! How we love you!!!)
Taking in her sisters master piece card. So sweet!
A beautiful charm bracelet from her precious Aunty Niqui, Uncle Ian and couzies. You guys always show up with so much love for every occasion. 
Chocolate seemed to become a big part of this day!!! Chocolate spread on toast for breakfast! Yikes!!! When is it my birthday!!!
Testing out the bike before school.
Her cake for school.
Getting ready for a special birthday supper.
Thank you Aunty Julie for coming all the way for her birthday. You made her day. And big hugs to Granny and Poppy for always spoiling  our girl with your love.
All together at her favourite spot - "Boccadillo's". A trendy little coffee-shopper already!
"Happy birthday to you" - how's that chocolate mousse! She LOVED it!
Birthday cuddles from one proud mommy. I love you my girl!!

Wow. So I have an 11 year old now! Blessed, blessed, blessed! Thank you Jesus for blessing my big girl on her special day.
Love Jan xxx

08 February 2012

Watching you Grow

My precious "Little Bear" is beautifully growing up before our eyes. 11 years old today. I can scarcely believe at how quickly the time has flown. Just the other day we were buying our precious firstborn her first bicycle. 
Fast forward a few more years and now even I can ride her new bicycle!
Happy birthday my precious darling. You are just as beautiful inside as you are on the outside. You have such a compassionate heart that always looks out for others. Mommy and Daddy could not be prouder to have the privilege of raising you as our firstborn. You have shaped me in more ways than I ever imagined. My life is richer for all the lessons you have taught me. Watching you grow is a treasure from my King and I count it a great honor to be called "mommy" from your sweet little lips. We could never give you enough gifts to equal the precious gifts you have given to us as your parents and family. May you continue to blossom into the fullness of all the beauty that lies within you. What a beautiful destiny you are living out my girl.
All my love xxx

01 February 2012

Jesus and the Broken Heart

A precious friend sent me this message written by Max Lucado. It speaks so deeply to my heart. 

The Sufferings of His Broken Heart
by Max Lucado
"Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history. The scene is very simple; you'll recognize it quickly. A grove of twisted olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, dark night. Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What's he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead? That's Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Maybe you've seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair. Now, I'm no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn't use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. Look what Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to break with grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.” Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief. We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart. The writer of Hebrews would later pen, “During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV) My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity. The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees. The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you'll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one." 

Only You Jesus ... only You.

I am moody, sad, emotional, teary, mad and 101 different grief filled emotions and yet still I feel His arms enfold me. That is what you call a faithful Saviour. He takes me as He finds me and draws me near. His voice is tender and soothing. He loves away at the ache and He fills me with fresh hope. Only Jesus. Forever grateful Lord ... forever grateful. 
Janine xxx