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

30 October 2018

One of those "check your heart" moments

I had one of those moments today. You know those moments that give you an unexpected glimpse in the mirror and you see something that you don't quite like. I had been been standing in line to pay for my groceries. When it was eventually my turn, I greeted the cashier with a friendly smile and hello, genuinely wanting to acknowledge her and show her my appreciation. She in turn ignored me point blank and simply told me to swipe my reward card. Just like that my mood changed. She was so abrupt and uninterested in the friendliness that I had just shown her. In an instant my smile was gone and I stood there silently unpacking my groceries. She ignored me and I ignored her, all the while stewing in my head. I couldn't believe how "off" this woman was and how it had changed my attitude in an instant. Years ago I used to coach customer care training, so everything in me felt like imparting a lesson to this grumpy young woman. Thankfully, that quiet inner voice inside my heart won out and helped me to keep my peace (and my tongue) and remain true to who I am and thank her before I left. 

When I got into the car I actually had to stop, sit and prayerfully ask God why her aloof attitude had such a negative impact on me. I didn't like how I felt. I had to reason and remind myself that everyone has "off" days. Maybe she was just lost in thought when I greeted her, or simply going through a hard time. The more I thought about it, the less upset I felt and the more peace I regained. But the question in my heart remained ... why had I allowed someone else's mood to change mine in an instant? I was shocked at how I could swing from genuine friendliness to being aloof myself in a matter of seconds, all based on how she responded to me and made me feel. What exactly was it that she made me feel? When I finally checked my own heart, the truth was that I had felt unacknowledged. 

Too often a feeling of being unacknowledged can throw our confidence, rob us of our joy or make us draw back from being who we really are. When we are acknowledged, a big part of us feels accepted and even celebrated. I had to remind myself that yes we all carry within our hearts the basic human need to be acknowledged and accepted, but unless I am deeply rooted in Christ's acceptance of me, I will be easily thrown like I was earlier today, and I didn't like the reactive way I felt. 

In hindsight, that young lady actually gave me a gift. She gave me a moment to assess my own heart. That's the gracious part about being a follower of Christ ... He responds to us in kindness and wisdom whenever we turn to Him for perspective. Even when we've seen parts in our own heart attitudes that need some working on. He gives us clarity to see where we feel insecure and why we are reactive ... and then He reassures us with His love and acceptance. 

I'm glad I had the opportunity to check my heart today. It was just the reminder I needed to know that God wants me living fully and freely out of the place of a deep knowing that He not only acknowledges but celebrates each one of us ... even on our "off" days ;0)

Love Jan 

18 October 2018

Running the race with joy

This past weekend I had a real full circle moment in my life, and it is my joy to share it with you.

2 weeks ago marked our little boys 7 year anniversaries of the day he was born, and the following day ... when he got to choose Heaven. As his mommy, I realised very early on that I get to choose how I negotiate such an immense loss. As a wife and mother to my 3 other darlings, my choice has been to be real, honest and true to myself by fully acknowledging the many layers of grief, but in so doing ... to embrace healing so that I can honour my son's legacy by choosing to live, laugh and embrace life this side of Heaven until I finally get to hold him again. 

These last 7 years have continued to teach me how Jesus stands closest to the brokenhearted ... and that He is a Restorer to all who allow Him to hold them in His love through the healing process. A huge key to healing for me has been to not suppress the pain, but to work each moment of longing, sadness, anger, regret etc through with God and to give myself permission to live fully and embrace joy. I have learned that everyone heals and negotiates loss uniquely. Each one in my family has continued to heal and grieve at different times and in different ways. Just recently, my 5 year old little boy has shed many precious tears as he has begun to process the fact that he has a big brother that he didn't get to meet. I've learned that there isn't a time span allocated to sadness and joy. Some days its a dance between the two. Ive also come to realise that just because I have a sad moment of missing my sweet boy, doesn't mean that I am defined by grief. I've learned to acknowledge that longing and then keep living and loving. A short while into my journey, when it was still so hard to breath without unbearable pain, it set my heart free to realise that Zac would never want for me to allow a life a grieving to define my love for him. He lives in absolute fullness of peace and joy. He would want for us a a family to honour his life by choosing to live fully and embrace adventure. That has continued to be a main focus for me as his mommy, and in so choosing, it has allowed such depth and love in my relationship with his daddy and sisters and brother. 

With that in our hearts, 7 years ago my husband had a logo printed "Lion heart adventure club" (our little boy was born with half a heart). He had some caps made and the plan was to share adventurous memories in Zac's honour. As a family we have shared some amazing memories in his honour, but I have never pushed myself too far out of my comfort zone. So with that in mind, I decided at the beginning of the year that it was time to start having more adventures! I wanted to show my teenage daughters that we are never too old to do new things and push past our own self inflicted barriers. One such barrier for me ... to start running. I have NEVER been a cardio girl! Weights at the gym ... yes! Running or cycling ... heck no! For some reason, having turned 41 this year I decided that it was time to push through and run a 10km race. My beautiful 17 year old daughter decided to join me! So in March we started jogging. Man alive! I couldn't even run around half the block without walking!!! But come May ... together we ran our first 10km race! What a joy to share that moment with my girl! 

Then in August, one of my dearest friends somehow talked me into entering a half marathon in Cape Town. To this day I do not know HOW she managed to convince me, but before I knew it I had registered and paid! She flew home to Cape Town and all of a sudden the reality hit home! I would have to somehow train  myself to run 21km's ... and even harder, when I looked at the race route ... it was centred around Signal Hill where we scattered our sons ashes. I have never been up that hill since that day. As I began to train for the race, the Lord began to prepare my heart for how meaningful running this race would be for my heart. I began to gain peace and excitement by realising that my first ever half marathon was taking place in the city of my son's birth. What better way to honour his legacy before my children by letting go of fear and embracing yet another layer of God's amazing restoration. 

2 and a half weeks before the race, after a long run, I somehow managed to knock boiling water all over myself and landed up with second degree burns down the insides of both my legs. Yet even as it happened I had a peace that somehow I would heal enough to press through and run that race for my boy.

Last weekend that's exactly what I did! With two amazing friends ... we ran the Gun Run half marathon and all I could feel on my face was a huge big fat smile! Anyone who knows me well will know how crazy that is! The thought of running has NEVER made me smile :) But I felt like such a proud mamma bear. I was able to look to that hill and smile knowing with such heart peace that my boy is alive and thriving with his precious Jesus! I ran straight past the beautiful home in Clifton where we stayed after I came out of the hospital to heal from the birth. That place had always been such a painful memory for me of being the place where I came home with empty arms and a broken heart ... but as I ran down that hill, joy filled my heart as I realised how much healing has taken place. I had eyes and a heart to take in the immense beauty around me. What had once been my lowest place, became a watershed moment of healing! My heart felt free with peace. Heaven's perspective had outshone earths greatest pain. The world would say that God gave me a son for a day ... but Heaven has shown me that God has given me a son for all eternity! My heart just knew I had a little boy smiling down on his mamma as I tackled one of my mountains and gained just a little more of Heaven's perspective. 

And so 7 years and 2 days after Zac's memorial service, I was able to run on legs and a heart that was covered in scars, but made strong in God's perfect Love. He continues to be the One who sees, loves, heals and restores. 

So Zacie ... this was in honour of you and for your amazing sisters and brother! Your mommy loves you so very much and I'm determined to live my best life to bring you and your family joy and to live a life that will always endeavour to bring glory to God.

Big mamma smiles with Signal Hill in the background.

My brave adventurers!