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

29 April 2012

Tenderness & Infinite Care

Hubby and I are back home to our precious little girls after quite an emotional Cape Town visit. It was very significant for us to be back there over the 7 month anniversary of Zac's birth. We cried many tears as we re-negotiated what we went through in Cape Town just 7 months ago. Those tears were good tears. Tears that allowed us to work through another layer of healing with our precious Jesus.
As I worked through a myriad of emotions this weekend, the Lord once again allowed me to see how gracious and patient He is with our hearts. He takes His time with us in working through grief. There is no rush or pushing from His side to "move on" quickly. He is more concerned about us working through our grief honestly with Him. He tackles our highs and lows with infinite love, steadfastness and tenderness. He places precious people around us to pray and love us through the journey. Such love our Saviors has for us.
This weekend I discovered once again that God draws near to the broken hearted. He stands close to us when we find the courage to take all our pain, disappointment, hurt, anger ... our everything ... and trust Him to work it through with us. He takes the raw honesty that we present before Him and meets us with Redeeming love. That is the amazing Saviour that I am learning to love and trust so much deeper with each day. His shoulders are broad and His embrace is constantly open and reassuring.
In the midst of the tears and emotions this weekend, the Lord gave us special times to be refreshed in His Word, to laugh with friends and to share hearts with the beautiful team at All Nations. The times in God's Word and Presence where such a healing balm. We also took in so much beauty as we stayed in beautiful Francshhoek. The mix between French and Cape style was so quaint and beautiful. Here is a peep at our lovely B&B.
 I loved the French blue shutters outside the bedroom windows.
 Our cozy little bedroom.
The beautiful rose garden with matching blue doors.
Once again I am so thankful for the precious man in my life that cries with me, but also in the midst of such loss has thrown his head back and laughed with me. We are healing and we are so excited about the hope and beauty that awaits us in each new day.
I am so thankful to be putting my head down to sleep with a heart that recognizes the rich blessings of love and the gift of His Presence loving me through yet another milestone in my life.
Janine xxx

26 April 2012

Today was a hard day

Today was a hard day for me. We drove back to Cape Town. The last time we made this beautiful drive I was pregnant and full of hope for a miracle. The closer we got here today, the more painful my heart began to feel. So many memories. Precious memories of so much love, but also memories that bare the scars of my deepest pain. This is the place where I last got to hold my son. It is also the place where we scattered his ashes. For me, although we are in a totally different area of Cape Town and for a different reason, wherever I look I am reminded of my joy and pain. Today I ache so deeply and grieve such a deep loss. Wherever I look there are precious babies. Their cries pierce such a tender place of longing in my heart for a certain little boy that i got the priviledge to birth. I miss my son and wrestle the hurt of dissapointment! It has been a while since the pain has been as intense as it is today, but i remind myself to be honest and take my pain, hurt and dissapointment to the One who bore my griefs and burdens on the cross. He is the One who continues to reach nail scarred hands of grace out to me and reminds me that He understands and is willing to carry this cross for me. He allows me to be honest with just how hard this journey can be and He soothes my heart with assurance of His unfailing love. He reminds me that it is ok to cry hard sometimes. He listens when I ask "why" and pour out the disappointment of a broken mothers heart. And then He sends arms to hold me when I cry. He whispers my name into people's hearts and they write to tell me that they have been praying for me and then I know. I know that tomorrow is going to be a better day and that somehow, joy will come in the morning. In fact, joy will come even in the mourning. I know that His grace will once again sustain me and draw me closer still to my precious Saviour. This trip is significant for me. We will be here until Sunday. Interestingly enough, this Sunday marks the 7th month of Zac's birth. There is purpose in these next 3 days here. For today though, I am going to close my eyes and rest in this beautiful Francshhoek bed & breakfast and allow my Jesus to restore my aching heart. Jesus, I look to You. Jannie xxx

19 April 2012

From a starry-eyed girl to the man she loves :)

There is a certain somebody in my life who has a way of capturing my heart like nobody else can. He wakes me up to whatever my flavour of the moment is: either normal tea, rooibos tea, decaf tea, earl grey tea, mixed tea, chamomile tea, milo, horlicks, hot chocolate, decaf coffee, "special" coffee or simply hot water. The fact that it HAS to be a surprise and I HAVE to love it makes it all the more amazing that he almost always chooses the right one for me almost every single day ;0) For a person who doesn't like surprises, he is willing to keep creating little ways of surprising his surprise-adoring wife. 10 points for the long stemmed roses in a bucket next to my bed this morning ;) (No I didn't find the surprise you hid from me yesterday even though I may just have hunted around a tiny bit investigating the possibilities :) hee hee)
I love that he was the first and only man to receive my kisses and that he had the long-suffering patience to wait until the day he proposed and put a sparkling diamond on my finger to receive his first kiss from me. 15 years later - the kisses are just as special my love, and you never have to wait for them ;0)
I love that you put up with all my words when you can say all that has taken me minutes to say instead in one sentence and it will be absolutely brilliant and spot on! I love even more on the odd occasion that you can find so many words to write me a long love letter because you know how much it means to me, even though you and I both know you don't really like writing :) 
I love that you are so anchored when I live life at roller coaster speeds.
I love that you have still found me beautiful through all my crazy hairstyles and sizes before, during and after each pregnancy. You always make me feel like your queen.
I love that we are still finding ways to tell and show each other how much we love and treasure each other. I love that our girls get the giggles every time we share a quick kiss or cuddle. I love that I can see so much of you in different ways in all 3 of our children. I love that we get to work out how to parent and love each of our kiddies and raise them to be the Kingdom Warriors they are called to be.  
Without over-exaggerating, I can truly say that the love has been steadfast, passionate and true. Where there have been storms, Jesus has always kept us anchored and we have always clung onto each other instead of pushing each other away. Any fights e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y ends up with a make-up kiss (which might just possibly be worth the disagreement in the first place - hee hee). I am so thankful that we've always been able to be honest and tell everything in our hearts to each other. I love that with all we have negotiated these last 15 years, you and I can say with joy in our hearts that the laughter, joy and love has far outweighed the tears and that even when the tears fell, we  have been in each others arms having the privilege of comforting each other. The fact that both our families love and cheer us on is a rare and appreciated gift. We have lived, learned and loved so much already - can you just imagine what next adventures could possibly lie ahead of us?! Whatever we face, we will face with love, heart peace and a whole bunch of laughter and faith. God truly has been the 3rd strand interwoven in making us one.   
15 years later my love, I am still your starry eyed girl who loves you more than words can say.  Happy anniversary the hottest, most handsome man alive ;0)
Love Janni

13 April 2012

A Song that Expresses my Heart Word for Word

Coming through our first Easter with Zac in Heaven and us on earth was such a tender time for my heart. I just miss him so much and have come to learn over these last 6 months that every special and ordinary day without our boy in our every day lives will always be a tender ache in my heart. I miss him so much and I love him so much. God's grace has tangibly carried us through and I cannot do without that grace for even a moment, because the pain for this mommy of not having her baby boy in her arms is too painful without the tender love and grace of my Jesus to hold me through the healing process. It's not so much the big things, but rather the little things that trigger the pain. It's the pain of not hearing his name spoken out. It's the fact that I can't brag about his new developmental stages, or have to excuse myself to feed him and put him down for his naps. It's really just the everyday ordinary things that I should be doing with him that I'm not. This was the first Easter Friday where I could really relate to the pain of the Father and know that He understands every ache I carry because, He felt it too as a parent. But it was also the first Easter Sunday where I also really "got" the hope of His resurrection! He is alive, as is my baby boy who is with Him even as I live and breathe, and a day will come where I will be able to lavish all my love on him again.   
Going back to the title of this post, music has always played a big part in my life. I grew up with a mother who plays the piano better than anyone I know! I've watched her lead worship in church from my earliest childhood memories. Her heart to sing to Jesus rubbed off on me and I love nothing more than to sit at my piano and worship my Jesus. Music speaks straight to my heart and allows me to express what goes on inside of there ;0) Every now and then I will come across a song that says everything that I feel. Recently I listened to a song that expresses everything in my heart when I think of my time with Zac. It is written by a daddy who also has a son with half a heart (hypoplastic left heart syndrome) like Zac had. Their precious Bowen is doing so well and has come through multiple surgeries like a shining star. You can follow their journey here (and be praying for Bowen who is due for another surgery soon).  Below is Matthew Hammit's song he wrote for Bowen. It could be my very own song, and that of every other parent who has either lost or lives with a child with a chd (chronic heart defect). One thing that I can say with all surety is that Zac continues to have ALL of our love. It was that resurrection hope and love that Jesus gave to Brett and I that allowed us to live and love fully in the hours we were given with our son. That unwavering faith, hope and love fiercely guarded our hearts from allowing any fear or sorrow from stealing even a second of our time of love and peace with Zac. May this song be a healing balm to any other parents who might have or is walking through a similar pain too. 
All my love xxx

12 April 2012

Thankful Thursday: Seeing a miracle in action!

No Greater Joy Mom: upping the ante:

Oh wow friends! Go and take a look at Adeye's latest link to see what the body of Christ has done within 30 hours! The finances to bring Faith home has been met in FULL!!! And now the fund raiser continues to raise grants for the other children in Faith's orphanage to help other forever families adopt these precious children. This is such a mighty ongoing miracle. I think that Pleven (the orphanage where Faith is) is about to see a whole bunch of ongoing miracles!!! This is just the best "thankful Thursday" post ever! Thank you Jesus for your love that is so alive in the Church today. It just goes to show that we can ALL do our part in sowing love to the millions of orphans who are desperately waiting to be found. Every prayer prayed, every cent or gift given and every family that is wiling to go is part of God's miracle to change these precious children's lives! 
Thankful, thankful, THANKFUL!!!
All my love xxx

10 April 2012

Be part of Faith's miracle!!!

No Greater Joy Mom: because this life matters!
Precious friends, this is SUCH AN URGENT message. The above post is from one of my dearest friends, who I have known for almost 15 years. Precious Adeye.
She and Anthony have been given the privilege of being called to adopt the bravest little girl I know, a little girl called Faith. The link above is Faith's story. PLEASE, please, please read it. The photo's you see were taken of Faith last month. This little girl is 14 years old and weighs only 6kgs! Yes, you read that right, even though nobody could possibly ever put those two figures together in their heads and understand it! It just is that crazy and that is why I am asking you to read her story and open your hearts to be part of the mighty miracle to bring her home to finally be loved and nurtured by a family who so deeply love her already. She has waited long enough!!!
I have watched Adeye journey into motherhood as she gave birth to her 3 precious sons and then the Lord opened their hearts to the plight of the orphan. As their hearts have enlarged, so has their family. I have had the privilege of meeting and cuddling all 4 of their beautiful adopted daughters, 2 from China and 2 from Russia.
Their sons are the best big brothers I have seen. They care so sweetly for each of their sisters.
Recently the Lord has led this precious family to a treasure so precious. A little girl hidden away in the system for 14 long years. I have prayed alongside every post I have ever read Adeye write as she and Anthony have advocated for orphans. I can honestly say that I am knocked speechless as I read her story about Faith and the miracle they need to bring her home as soon as possible. PLEASE read, spread the word, pray for and GIVE to be part of bringing her home. We need to bring Faith home to this family who love her and are desperate to rescue her away from the unbelievable squalor she has lived in. PLEASE pray and ask the Lord how you can be part of this miracle. Go on over to her blog today and join the amazing fundraiser that they have set up to raise all the funds to get her home. Let everyone you know, know too. I just KNOW that we are going to see such a mighty miracle unfold before our very eyes!!!
All my love xxx