I am so out there proclaiming that I love the Lord and that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and that I try my best to live as close to what He expects of me as I can (eventhough I fail daily…) and yet you have never heard my testimony, you have not heard how the Lord saved my life, called me to honor Him and His word. Aren’t we supposed to use our testimony’s to introduce the lost souls to a God whose love is made perfect in our imperfections? Who’s love is greater than His anger? I feel that I have failed the Lord in that area of my life, but He knew that He still had and still does have a long way to go with me. I am so far from “I have arrived.” as it can come, but thanks to a God who is ever mercyful and who’s grace is new every morning like fresh bread I can know that He loves me, even when I stumble.
So here it is….
I was born into a God loving Christian family in Feb 1987. My first church service was when I was only 7days old. I grew up sleeping in church during pentecostal week, where we had evening services. We went to church EVERY Sunday, to the morning AND evening services, I had 100% for attendance every year at the sunday school prize giving at the end of each year. Then at the mere age of 11 I listened to one of my uncles’ , who is still the presidential pastor of then Full Gospel Church Parow now Living Word, sermons. It was about revelation and the end when the Lord will come and fetch all His children to reign alongside Him forever. It was an evening service. I felt something move in me when He gave the invitation out for sinners to come forth and to invite God into their lives. I had that feeling many times before, but could never get up the courage… And on that night I went out with a few others. I don’t know whether I did it out of fear of going to Hell and spending eternity without God or whether I did it because it was the right time. HAHAHA! But the fact is, on the night of 12 July 1998 I got up the courage and walked from right at the back of the church straight to the front! I still remember, I never even blinked an eye, it was like I was being carried to the front, looking down and not making eye contact with anyone. I knew on that night that God was calling me and I HAD to answer!!
After everyone who wanted to give their hearts to the Lord went to the front, some of the helpers in our church came out and led us into the prayer room. There a lady prayed with me the prayer of a sinner, tears streamed down my face as I instantly experienced the love of God and His acceptance. I still well up when I think of that moment. I can only describe it in words now, because at that specific moment I did not know what I was feeling. I remember I used to listen when my mother or grandparents or older people around me talk to new reborn Christians and telling them what a great party was going on in Heaven, because another lost son/daughter has come home. That night, on the 12th July 1998 when we went home it was POURING outside!!! I remember thinking as we walked through the rain to the car that that must be because of the huge party God and His angels are having because I gave my heart to Him! I felt so happy and peaceful! The next day at school I told a bunch of girls that I wanted to see them during recess, I have a story to tell them. Recess came and they pitched up and guess what I told them… My uncles’ whole sermon from the night before!!! I think I went through Revelation from start to finish in ONE recess!!! hahaha! I still remember the looks on their faces…. You can just imagine… But hey, I was so eager to win souls for the kingdom…!!!
After that wonderful night I knew I had to be baptised. You know, that one where you hold your breath for 10min until it’s your turn and they dunk you under water like you dunk your rusk in your coffee or tea? Yep! The RIGHT ONE!! I was baptised on the evening of 16 August 1998. I remember when my uncle announced at the end of the service that they had a baptism and this excitement filled me! He called me to the front, asked me if I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I answered yes and He asked me that I understand that when we follow Jesus through the water by baptism it is a symbol of dying to our old self and our old ways and that we are ressurected with Jesus, I answered yes. I went to the back to get ready and went into the water. I still remember how cold it was! LOL! And then the person who baptised me said, because you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and you are a new creation, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Atleast, I hope I remember that correctly. I wAs only 11… And then under the water I went, CLINGING onto the “baptisers'” arm, out I came and I felt GREAT!
At the end of 1999 my mother met my step dad. My parents got a divorce when I was 9. My mom remarried and we moved away from everything that gave me security, or should I say, everything that held my “ego” in place. We moved from the great big city of Cape Town to a small farm community in Mpumalanga called Standerton… The only people I knew here were my older cousins, whom I didn’t see that often, because they were already either in high school or out of school… I didn’t know anybody, except my step sister, in the new school and making friends really wasn’t my strongest point. They didn’t speak the same language as I did. No, they did speak the same physical language, Afrikaans, as I did, but we came from completely different backgrounds. I was so saddened by my circumstanses, blinded, that I did not see the blessing God gave me! My dad wasn’t really a part of my or my little brothers’ life at that stage and God gave me a new dad! I couldn’t see it….I had allot of fights with my new siblings, mostly because we came from different backgrounds and I felt rejected… Not really adding to my great self-esteem at that stage… (Sarcastic)…
I decided to join the youth group at our local church, Standerton Full Gospel church, now known as Standerton Kruisgenerasie (Crossgeneration). There I found friends who spoke the same Spiritual language as I did and somehow I felt at home. I went to Youth every Friday evening and church every Sunday. During my high school years we were taught how to pray effectively, spiritual warfare etc, etc. Then a friend of mine started a prayer group at school. Every recess or every second recess, I can’t remember correctly, we would get together with a few friends in either the english classroom or the music classroom and we would pray! We prayed for the school, for the students, against drugs, against anything that was not from God and then we prayed that in whichever class we got together that every student going to sit on a chair in those classes would experience the love and power of God.
When I finished high school I went to study beauty. In the town where I was born, Newcastle South Africa. There I joined a great youth church, Real Life Church. It was great and I was part of the band and had great friends. My year of studying ended and I moved back home. I went to church again, but I started to drift, going from a great town down to a small community wasn’t exactly cutting it for me. I had so many friends in Newcastle and none in Standerton… So I started going out…. yes, I started going out to the wrong places, places where I don’t ever want to go again, unless God tells me to fetch His children outa there. After a while I moved back to Newcastle, things were not the same and I went out to clubs there too. I made friends, the wrong friends and I completely forgot about that wonderful night in July 1998.
I moved again…
Back to Cape Town again, had a bit of a rough time there, praise God I don’t have to go into my past, for He has forgiven me AND forgotten about it all. After Cape Town I was at my lowest, I moved back home… I realised that I turned my back on the Lord, I repented and changed my ways. Ofcourse the church I went to didn’t have any elligable bachelors at that stage and I was not going to find my husband at a night club, well…. not the right one… So one night in April I was lonely, lying in my bed thinking about my life and what I wanted, TIRED of searching for THE ONE! That night I got a bit arrogant and I asked God to please send my husband to me, either that OR I am going for a sperm donation…. yes, THAT’S how badly I wanted a child…. hahahahaha! I really hope God was laughing at the arrogance of His daughter that night. exactly 2weeks later a man came to the hair salon that I worked at, at that stage, to have his hair cut there for the first time. He saw me, a few days later made a date and the rest is history!!! How great is God!!??
We got maried and God blessed us with a son! After we got married we joined Replika (Standerton Baptist Church). I joined the band again, but my heart wasn’t completely set on God…. This daughter of His drifted AGAIN!! No, I didn’t go back to my old ways, I just neglected my relationship with God… My husband had to go for yet another operation in 2013 and God allowed a situation to shake my whole world, and mostly our marriage. There was an incident that brought so much hurt and anger into my life that I became the bitterest of bitter you had ever seen. God wanted to teach me something about my character, a great flaw that was hidden so well in me that I didn’t even notice it. I am not saying God caused the situation, I am saying He ALLOWED it, because I needed to deal with it. I am nOt going to go into the incident and many other incidents following the first, but it SURE SHOOK ME AND OUR MARRIAGE. But God had a plan, He needed to teach me about forgiveness and seeing others as He sees them.
I am a stubborn person, I don’t listen immediately. Through different events in my life there came people on my way who hurt me, people who mocked me, mostly about my looks… so my self-esteem wasn’t too great either and without knowing it I held grudges. I could never find a way of forgiving these people!! Until this one last incident… After almost a year of crying, begging, pleading, and lastly…. praying…. I could forgive. After praying God showed me all the people I had held grudges againts for all those years and also the new ones. Was I willing to live in bondage due to unforgiveness??? How could I not forgive these people if God already forgave me??? How could God ever forgive me for failing Him if I was not willing to forgive these people???
I had a choice to make, forgive and forget OR live in bondage of unforgiveness and taking the risk of teaching my son the wrong ways???
Then our church had a special speaker…. The sermon?? Forgiveness…. O how ironic I thought… Yes God, I know, I know. I know exactly who was supposed to be in this service today…. HOW ARROGANT OF ME!!! By the end of the service I was in tears, I realised, the only person who was supposed to be in that service that day was…. ME!!! The speaker invited us to write the names of the people we had to forgive on a piece of paper and then we had the choice of putting it through a shredder or throwing it in a small fire. boy oh boy i had a looooong list!!!! But I wrote them all down, every one of them and I threw my paper WITH my spirit of unforgiveness right into that flame, watching it burn and sending it into eternity…. FREEDOM!!!!
A few Sundays after that one I sat in church, listening to the sermon and God spoke to my spirit. He dealt a step of His plan for my life that I NEVER saw coming, but you’ll have to wait for that one… Just know, that now… My heart is completely set on God. He is my beginning and my end. He is taking me on a journey that I never thought I was worthy for, but God said with His help His plan will succeed in my life no matter what! There was a reason we had to move to Standerton and now I know. My prayer is, that the Lord will keep me humble on this journey with a hunger for Him and His word that will never end.