During the gala event, held at Royal Elephant Hotel in Pretoria, I got the surprise of my life. One of my stories has won the second price in short stories and is published in the book, Inkspraak 2.
I feel honored to be featured in this book and want to thank Anzé Bezuidenhout, founder and owner of INK in Afrikaans, for the privilege. The gala was a wonderful affair with all the glitz and glam associated with it.
God breaks you to build you, is my interpretation of that statement.
While busy with a piece of translation on YouVersion over the weekend, these words spoke to me. To God, a broken vessel is beautiful.
At first, I thought, what a blasphemous statement. How can God deem me beautiful when I am broken? Then the Holy Spirit reveals to me through my story what He meant, and the revelation became a WOW factor.
All our roads are different, but it leads to the same place. For God to see His reflection in you. Jesus experienced the same when He became unrecognizable on the cross. The agony of his broken body caused Him to sweat in blood. Once that phase of His sacrifice was over, beauty covered Him so much that Jesus had to introduce Himself to Mary.
The other day I was looking through my photos, and one photo stood out. To myself, I looked like a grotesque violation of God’s creation. When that photo was taken, I was in sin. Since it is part of my past, I deleted it. That person isn’t alive anymore.
Sin deforms you so much that you look unrecognizable.
Hate and bitterness clouded my mind and my walk. Sin drove me to places far away from God. It hardened me in such a way that no one could reach me. I would have attacked them at that point if they uttered the word God in front of me.
But God is faithful. His mercies endure forever.
At the end of 2016, God drew a line in the sand. It was a significant moment and in my sinful state; I realized this was it. If I don’t listen, turn, and repent, then I am done. I will die.
The Holy Spirit impressed on my heart to visit a church in the area I was living at the stage and that Sunday I went.
The minister of the church didn’t know who I was, nor did I know him. At the church, it felt like everyone knew what I did and felt judged. I wanted to run away. But the Holy Spirit glued my feet to the floor, and I took a seat at the back.
The message that morning was: The Father is waiting with open arms for his lost son to come home. As I mentioned before, this minister did not know me, but that he had a message from God for me was certain. I walked away that day knowing in my spirit that God spoke.
That was the first cracks of a broken vessel. The events after that were all to get me back to the table where God prepared a feast.
In 2017, the Lord gave me a ring. The blue stone showed of God’s grace and mercy. A proclamation that I belonged to Him. That was the second sign that He is busy with me. I couldn’t deny it any longer. God was busy to use my brokenness to bring me closer to Him.
Since then, it was a slow process of forgiving myself, forgiving others and turn back to a loving Father that waits for me with open arms. Each time I discover another crack, God fills it and makes it beautiful.
In 2019, God again used another prophet to tell me I have received a clean slate. That my past was done. Small crumpets to build my hope and faith. Another teacher repeated that. Not one of them knew my path.
I visited a Women’s conference in the same area where it had all begun in 2016. When I passed that specific place where sin abounded, it dropped in my Spirit. ‘It is done. You will not come back here again.’ Before that, my mind refused to let go of the old things, no matter how much time I had spent in the Word or in prayer. But when the Spirit dropped that wisdom in my spirit, it lifted.
Three weeks ago, I completed an online Bible study and God showed me I am part of the adventure. That my dreams matter to Him. I’m not here to take up space. This was confirmed when I received my passport in ten days’ time. A miracle in itself.
Two weeks ago, I attended a prophetic workshop, and the prophet said, (again, he doesn’t know me from a bar of soap.) “God celebrates the day you were born. God is removing your pain today. It is done.” It was beautiful words I longed to hear. The sense of beauty and relief I experience I cannot put in words.
God is faithful. His mercies endure forever.
Then I read these words: To God, a broken vessel is beautiful.
Everything up today is an affirmation of what God has done in the last seven years. He has removed all pain, confusion and hurt. The bitterness and hate have been totally removed by the power of the Cross.
My story isn’t unique.
No amount of self-indulgence can heal your problems. All it will do is rob you of the person God loves. Humble yourself and leave the rest to God. Sin will not fix this, was the lesson I learned.
We do not know the lengths God will take to save you until you are through it.
After that first meeting with God, my car was stolen, and I couldn’t find work. I was totally dependent on God and people. Slowly He provided. $5 dollars here, or $10 there or someone would buy a book. Small jobs were offered to me I could do from home, even during the lockdown God provided. For the first time, my bank account wasn’t in the red. I have learned to be grateful for all things and that I need little either.
God provided a man who came with the ring and blessed me in ways that I never thought possible. God spoiled me.
By the time I volunteered at YouVersion, God supplied another contractual work for me I can do from home. Each time, God builds my confidence and tests my faithfulness. Small steps where He fills the cracks of my brokenness with His beauty.
Today I understand better, have more mercy for others and leave the judging to God. He knows the hearts of every man and woman. He knows how fragile we are.
Our brokenness is His mirror of His devotion and love. Like a father, He waits for us to come home.
Thank you, YouVersion, for being there with me through it all.
Terwyl ek met ‘n stuk vertaling op YouVersion besig was, het dié woorde met my gepraat. Vir God is ‘n gebreekte kruik mooi.
Aanvanklik het ek gedink – wat ‘n godslasterlike stelling om te maak. Hoe kan God my mooi ag wanneer ek gebroke is?
Toe openbaar die Heilige Gees aan my deur my storie wat Hy bedoel, en die openbaring het ‘n WOW-faktor geword.
Ons almal se paaie is anders, maar dit lei na dieselfde plek. God wil Sy beeld in jou sien.
Ek het nou die dag deur my foto’s gekyk, en een foto het uitgestaan. Vir myself het ek soos ‘n groteske skending van God se skepping gelyk. Toe daardie foto geneem is, was ek in sonde. Aangesien dit deel van my verlede is, het ek dit uitgevee. Daardie persoon leef nie meer nie.
Sonde misvorm jou so dat jy onherkenbaar lyk.
Haat en bitterheid het my verstand en my wandel vertroebel. Sonde het my gedryf na plekke ver van God af. Dit het my so verhard dat niemand my kon bereik nie. Ek sou hulle op daardie stadium aangeval het as hulle iets oor God met my sou gepraat het.
Maar God is getrou. Sy barmhartighede duur vir ewig.
Aan die einde van 2016 het God ‘n streep in die sand getrek. Dit was ‘n betekenisvolle oomblik en in my sondige toestand. Ek het besef dit is dit. As ek nie luister, draai en bekeer nie, dan is ek klaar. Ek sal sterf.
Die Heilige Gees het dit op my die hart gedruk om ‘n gemeente te besoek, in die area waar ek op die stadium gewoon het; en het daardie Sondag gegaan.
By die kerk het dit gevoel asof almal geweet het wat ek gedoen het en het veroordeel gevoel. Ek wou weghardloop, maar die Heilige Gees het my voete op die vloer vasgeplak, en ek het gaan sit.
Die boodskap daardie oggend was: Die Vader wag met ope arms vir sy verlore seun om huis toe te kom. Hierdie predikant het my nie geken nie, maar dat hy ‘n boodskap van God vir my gehad het, was seker. Ek het daardie dag weggestap met die wete in my gees dat God gepraat het.
Dit was die eerste krake van ‘n stukkende kruik. Die gebeure daarna het alles ten doel gehad om my terug te kry by die tafel waar God ‘n feesmaal vir my voorberei het.
In 2017 het die Here vir my ‘n ring gegee. Die blou steen het van God se genade en barmhartigheid gepraat – ’n proklamasie dat ek aan Hom behoort het. Dit was die tweede teken dat Hy met my besig is. Ek kon dit nie langer ontken nie. God was besig om my gebrokenheid te gebruik om my nader aan Hom te bring.
Sedertdien was dit ‘n stadige proses om myself te vergewe, ander te vergewe en terug te draai na ‘n liefdevolle Vader wat met ope arms vir my wag. Elke keer as ek ‘n ander kraak ontdek, maak God dit mooi.
In 2019 het God ‘n ander profeet gebruik om vir my te sê ek het ‘n skoon bladsy ontvang – dat my verlede verby is, krummels om my hoop en geloof te bou. ’n Ander persoon het dit herhaal. Nie een van hulle het my pad geken nie.
Ek het ‘n Vrouekonferensie bygewoon in dieselfde area waar dit alles begin het in 2016. Toe ek by daardie spesifieke plek verby is waar sonde oorvloedig was, het dit in my Gees geval. ‘Dit is afgehandel. Jy sal nie weer hierheen terugkom nie.’ Voor dit het my kop geweier om die ou goed te laat gaan, maak nie saak hoeveel tyd ek in die Woord of in gebed spandeer het nie. Maar toe die Gees daardie wysheid in my gees laat val het, het dit die gedagtes verwyder.
Drie weke gelede het ek ‘n aanlyn Bybelstudie voltooi en God het vir my gewys ek is deel van die avontuur, dat my drome vir Hom saak maak. Ek is nie hier om spasie op te neem nie. Dit is bevestig toe ek my paspoort in tien dae ontvang het. ‘n Wonderwerk op sigself.
Twee weke gelede het ek ‘n profetiese werkswinkel bygewoon, en die profeet het gesê: (hy ken my nie.) “God vier die dag wat jy gebore is. God verwyder vandag jou pyn. Dit is gedoen.” Dit was pragtige woorde wat ek verlang het om te hoor. Die verligting wat ek ervaar, kan ek nie in woorde omskryf nie.
God is getrou. Sy barmhartighede duur vir ewig.
Toe lees ek hierdie woorde: Vir God is ‘n stukkende houer pragtig.
Alles is ‘n bevestiging van wat God in die afgelope sewe jaar gedoen het. Hy het alle pyn, verwarring en seer verwyder. Die bitterheid en haat is totaal verwyder deur die krag van die Kruis.
My storie is nie uniek nie.
Geen mate van selfbevrediging kan jou probleme genees nie. Al wat dit sal doen is om jou te beroof van die persoon wat God liefhet. Verneder jouself en laat die res aan God oor. Sonde sal dit nie regmaak nie, was die les wat ek geleer het.
Ons weet nie die lengtes wat God sal neem om jou te red totdat jy daardeur is nie.
Ná daardie eerste ontmoeting met God, is my motor gesteel, en ek kon nie werk kry nie. Ek was totaal afhanklik van God en mense. Stadig het Hy voorsien. $5 dollar hier, of $10 daar of iemand sal ‘n boek koop. Klein werkies is vir my aangebied wat ek van die huis af kon doen, selfs tydens die inperking het God voorsien. Vir die eerste keer was my bankrekening nie in die rooi nie. Ek het geleer om dankbaar te wees vir alles en dat ek ook min nodig het.
God het ‘n man voorsien wat saam met die ring gekom het en my geseën het op maniere wat ek nooit gedink het moontlik was nie. God het my bederf.
Teen die tyd dat ek as vryillige vertaler by YouVersion aangemeld het, het God nog ‘n kontraktuele werk vir my verskaf wat ek van die huis af kan doen. Een wat my ‘n maandelikse inkomste gee. Elke keer bou God my vertroue op en toets my getrouheid. Klein treetjies waar Hy die krake van my gebrokenheid vul met Sy heerlikheid.
Vandag verstaan ek beter, ontferm my oor ander en laat die oordeel aan God oor. Hy ken die harte van elke man en vrou. Hy weet hoe broos ons is.
Ons gebrokenheid is Sy spieël van Sy toewyding en liefde. Soos ‘n pa wag Hy vir ons om huis toe te kom.
Writers write – it is a continual habit you have to do to succeed. So, here are a few tips for the authors and writers on my page.
1. Stop making excuses! It’s just too easy to say, ‘I’ll have more time next week when the kids are back at school’, or ‘I first need to organise my office space’.
2. Allocate a specific space that is just yours for writing. Create an environment that inspires you to write, with a comfortable chair and a desk, and space to pop up the post-it notes with storyline and character ideas.
3. Just as you add doctor’s appointments and school activities to your calendar, add in time slots for writing. And don’t miss them, just as you wouldn’t forget your dentist appointment or daughter’s recital.
4. As the day only has 24 hours – something has to give to make way for writing time. Prioritise what that will be. Learn how to say no to other things.
5. Remove any distractions. Close all browser tabs. Mute your social media notifications. Give the dog a bone if that will keep him quiet. Set your alarm for however long you’ve set aside to write, grab a coffee, and don’t stop until the alarm goes off. Or, set a word count and don’t stop until you’ve reached it for the day.
6. If you’re a morning person, get up an hour before the rest of the family. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done before the household awakes. If you’re a night owl, forget that late-night talk show on TV and rather get creative.
7. Be organised! Keep your research handy, saved in links or notes. Keep a notebook or use your phone’s recording app to save ideas when creative thoughts pop into your head at random moments, often in the middle of the night. And whatever you do, regularly back up your work to a cloud so that a crashed computer doesn’t mean starting from scratch.
8. Delegate. There’s no reason why you need to cook all the family meals. The more organised you are in general, the more time you’ll be able to slot in for writing.
9. Be spontaneous – grab any available opportunity that pops up. Rather than scrolling through Facebook, come up with a new character or plot twist.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. If you truly want to write, make the time for it.
Today I want to share a devotional that touched me early this morning.
To embrace your limitation means to me to put some elbow grease into my passion. My passion is writing. It is a dream that laid dormant for forty-five years and was only released when I had nothing to do but write. Writing became my outlet, my sounding board of life and how I experience it.
But writing is difficult as well. If you don’t understand the fundamentals of grammar no one will read it and it has cost me years of diligently practise it. I still make mistakes but when I read story, I have written years ago, I can see how much I have grown. That is only because I was willing to embrace my limitations and write. It has become a never-ending quest to do better, to write better, to understand the different words and apply them appropriately.
This is why this devotional speaks to me… Enjoy it with me.
“If we could only look upon a difficult crisis as an occasion of bringing out, on our behalf, the sufficiency of divine grace, it would enable us to preserve the balance of our souls and to glorify God, even in the deepest waters.”
—C. H. Mackintosh (1820-1896)
It is easy to look at the current events in our world today and make drastic assumptions. “Is this the end?” some may ask. “We are doomed! This world is lost!” some confess! “Let’s go to war and fight!” others shout.
It is important to realize that the climate of today is not much different from the past. The political struggle, the racial tensions, and patriotic fight is much like it was during the days of Jesus over 2000 years ago. He was born in the middle of a climate that was difficult to navigate. He survived the slaughter of innocent babies under Herod the Great. He grew up under the tyranny of Rome when political and religious riots would often leave towns and villages under destruction and sorrow.
Jesus was well acquainted with troubling times. He understood his people’s desire for salvation; however, the salvation He would bring would be different from what they expected. He would not amass an army of revolutionaries to overthrow the Roman empire. He would not gather secret militias to fight and kill.
In fact, he said things would get worse. This doesn’t seem like a very encouraging word from the savior of the world. Yet, Jesus did not shy away from struggle or pain, but confidently walked right through it. Jesus endured until the end. He endured until that end became new again. This type of enduring is what Jesus invites us into as followers.
Amidst a world where the love of many turned cold, Jesus encouraged his disciples to endure and share Good News with the world. This is our mission. This is our driving goal.
The Apostle James understood this when he wrote about patiently enduring testing and temptation. Those who endure will receive the crown of life that God has promised. This is what it means to be battle-tested. We are a people who have withstood the test and trials of life.
May we look upon these difficult times and see an opportunity to share with the world a divine grace sufficient enough for all to receive.
What area in your life do you feel like giving up? Will you give this to God?