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Santa and other forbidden words…

7 Dec


Christmas traditions.

If you are like many of my christian friends, the word makes you boil with enthusiasm and your crafts, paints, baking utensils, homemade jar cookies and your blog posts are all a ‘tick’ away! If you’re like me, the word makes you shudder.

The build-up to Christmas is really enjoyable. I love Christmas and all the celebrations around it. Some have a christian character attached to it, like  Carol concerts, Operation Christmas box but others do not, like family coming together, gifts and cockroach-killings.

For many christian families, Christmas is also celebrating with binding traditions. Some go to great lengths to make these traditions very christian. Whether they feel that these traditions make them more Christians than others, I cannot say. But one thing I am convinced of, is that none of these traditions bring them or their families closer to Jesus.

I generally have no desire to be ‘the same’ as everyone, which comes easily: I became a christian in my 20s and I’m french. My culture and my background are distinctly not the traditional brand of Christianity we tend to read on family blogs. But nobody wants to be different in the “weird” or “less christian” kind of way. It took me great many years to come to terms with the fact that we are not enthused by Christmas traditions. It’s a taming process to remind myself that my children’s fate, whether they will live for the Lord faithfully or not, does not depend on the way Christmas is celebrated (even if Santa is included – which he isn’t – but it’s worth mentioning really… Sorry, I had a relapse)

The essence of Christmas and simply and purely celebrating the birth of Jesus. Whether you buy into the commercialisation of Christmas fully, half-heartedly or not at all doesn’t define you as a more godly person as long as you remember that at the centre of Christmas is, and is only, the birth of Jesus.

Unfortunately, my readership is not nearly big enough to have an impact but if you, like me, feel that you don’t always fit the mould, do not fret!!! God is only concerned about your first love in your heart. And it isn’t your family traditions.


Black Heart

28 May

3.50am and I’m awake.

I don’t suffer from insomnia. Ne-ver. Just say the word “pillow” and I feel drowsy already!

5.50am and I am still awake. Two long hours in the middle of the night makes for a lot of thinking, some praying too. Friends, just know that you were prayed for. 

It’s also a long time to reflect about what has been on my mind lately. Wrestling with deep personal struggles, questions, disappointments and realisations – about myself.

A black heart.

Face to face with the voice of the Lord. Convicted to not fret, to not seek the world’s recognition, to face my sin, my weakness, my frailty, my own helplessness. As dark as the night, I see my black heart.

And yet, in the midst of seeing the mistakes I’ve made and the wrong thinking I’ve become entangled in, in the midst of looking at my black heart, I feel the absolute Grace of the Lord. He reminds me that He chooses to use whom He chooses to use. Even me, with my I-cant-do-it approach. Even at the point of feeling like giving up (exaggerat-ingly speaking), not feeling worthy to even pray to Him, let alone living for Him, there, at that point, He reminds me that He has work for me, people to encourage, guide and love,  witness to and love some more.

With thankfulness, I keep my eyes on His grace, for His Grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in weakness.


10 May

I read that family traditions instill into your children your family values, strengthen family identity, connect generations, build great memories and make us stop in the bustle of the busy day to remember the important things in life.

We are not a family with traditions.

If someone asks me what our traditional “insert celebration here” looks like, I would be at a loss for words. Of course we celebrate the christian festivals for their christian meaning, and like typical kids growing up in a christian family, our children know the meaning of Christmas and Easter, details and all. But mention the word ‘tradition’ and my hair stands up in this fashion:

The reason I look like  a cat being electrocuted when I think of christian family traditions is probably because, while we do not have them, I have felt the peer pressure of having a craft ready for every occasion and an appropriate way to display it (the possibilities are endless). I have felt the fear that my kids are missing out, the fear that their creativity is not explored, their knowledge not expanded, their spiritual horizons narrowed. I panicked, I accused, I banned, ridiculed and begged (#how christians react to their insecurities)

I go through such a range of emotions because I allowed other mums (through their window shopping display) to dictate the standard of what my family should look like. The danger in comparing yourself to others is that there will always be someone ‘being more’ or ‘being less’. The comparison trap either leads to pride or despair. Personally, if I’m going to compare our “christianness” according to the activities other families do (be it crafts, songs, meals, dances or treasure hunts), then I can not measure up. Not only do I not have the creative energy for it, but I also lack the inclination for it – I couldn’t be bothered to be bothered.

So why do I have sweaty palms just thinking about December and April? The truth is that, if I’m being led by my emotions (and particularly fear), then my motives are wrong. I do not want to do anything out of fear, but rather out of conviction. If I am convicted that my kids are going to be worse off without the baking of the resurrection cookies, then I must do it. If I am convicted that receiving gifts for Christmas will take them further away from knowing Jesus, I must take the presents away.

So I calmed down.

Under the regular and rightful reminder of my husband that we resist peer pressure and submit to God’s Word only, and with the reassurance from older friends with godly grown up kids, I slowly realize that we are the family that we are, not carefully planning out the craft for Christmas, but being intentional in loving the Lord just as faithfully. Isn’t that enough?

We don’t do crafts together for Easter and we don’t bake together for Christmas. But together, among other things and in different ways, we love Jesus, we serve Him, we talk to Him and about Him. Together we fail Him and apologize to Him. And if these are the only precious memories that my kids will treasure one day, I will consider it a priceless blessing.

We are un-traditional and I make peace with it.

St James, 43 years of grace…

2 Nov

43 years of grace. Happy Birthday St James!

On Sunday, St James church celebrated 43 years of grace.

St James is the church I was converted in, the church where for the first time in my life I heard about the true Jesus, the One that loves unconditionally, the One that saves, the One that gave up His life for me, the One that brought me out of darkness into the light, the One that is working in my heart every day.

Mervyn Eloff wrote a message in the bulletin of the church about these 43 years of faithfulness and grace from the Lord reminding us of these words in Psalm 107 “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever…”.

How true these words are and how appropriate they are as we celebrate St James’43rd birthday. God is indeed good to us and His loyal love has been shown to us day by day, month by month, in times of joy and in times of sorrow – and this despite our many weaknesses and failings. How grateful we are to God for all that He has done. How wise it is for us to “heed these things and to consider the great love of the LORD” (Psalm 107v43); how fitting for us to “give thanks to the LORD, to call on His name; to make known among the nations what He has done” (Psalm 105v1).

Mervyn goes on reminding us of how we are to respond to “this great and glorious God who has become our God in and through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

First we are to respond to God’s goodness in Praise. We praise Him always and in many ways; in songs and through our life devoted to His glory and defined by repentance, faith and obedience.

Second, we are to respond to His goodness with Prayer. Our attitude should be an attitude of prayer and dependance on the Lord, a trust in Him where we turn to Him in good times and bad times.

Third, we are to respond to His goodness with Proclamation. If Jesus is at the center of our lives, we will proclaim His name without shame, we will communicate the Gospel of Christ with others. We will be committed to spread the good news of Jesus and when we will see the Gospel grow in the world, we will give the glory to God alone.

These three things, concludes Mervyn, should characterise our lives as Christians.

I am incredibly grateful that the Lord saved me into a church as committed to the Lord Jesus and as faithful to His word alone as St James has been for 43 years.

I insert a video clip that was shown to us on Sunday of the late Pastor Samuel Lockridge. Can we ever describe who our king is?

It’s 4.30am and I’m ready to celebrate. I’m se7en.

31 Oct

I'm 2 and really cheeky!

Seven years ago, after 38weeks of growing process and a mere labour of 3 hours (don’t hate!), he was born. He screamed loud, already, and was an overall of 2,7kgs. One of the first things that our pediatrician said after examining him was that we should have an hearing test done to check if the unusual shape of his ears was not connected to a loss of hearing. We might consider plastic surgery for his ears when he’s older, he added.

I know, if you’ve met Killian, you might ask yourself what am I talking about? You probably didn’t notice much of his ears – it’s because there is nothing wrong with them. Seven years later, I don’t consider plastic surgery but I often wonder if he can hear me!

I'm about 4 and like to be different

My little boy is turning 7 this year and this is altogether overwhelming and absolutely frightening.

As I’m writing this post, I’m trying to think back on the year and capture key moments, key new abilities, key new growth. Things that will be meaningful to put down in a post. But growth is slow and unchanging to the naked eye. If I look back at October last year, what do I see that has changed? Quite honestly probably not so much.

He’s grown a few centimeters, he’s learnt to read, count and wear shoes from morning to lunch time.

He has passed the test of school: will my child cope? I was prepared to see him struggle, to see him not wanting to do the work but the Lord has been gracious; he hasn’t displayed any of this. But Killian does things differently. What takes Léa 10 minutes the traditional way, Killian prefers the unconventional approach: jump on the couch, balance on a head stand – why, you don’t do your homework like that? Also, why stick to  ‘boring books’ adapted to your reading level when you can go straight to the thick chapter books – only to leave them in the basket for 2 weeks realizing bitterly that you can’t read them yet – He still likes to pretend that he can though, oh proud one!

Killian is such a paradox to describe. He is loud, rough, overly energetic and overly physical. He’s aggressive and can be inappropriate. He struggles to control himself, hears but doesn’t listen and will defiantly fight. He has perfected ‘the look of death’. He’s impulsive and intensely emotional. He does not respond to normal punishment and often leaves me helpless and hopeless.

“I never!” is his most used words. He argues with me about what time it is and even when proven wrong, his pride will still stick to him like velcro. Apologising is not his strength. However, wound his heart and he is reduced to a pile of sorrowful tears. No pride, no shame, he will cry you a river. Not quick at apologizing but very quick to forgive.

He’s a bit like a tortoise: hard on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. I loved that mental picture of him today. At school, boys don’t like girls, they don’t play with them and won’t touch anything pink. But today, for his birthday, Léa drew a picture for him and asked her teacher if she could go and give it to him. When she arrived in his class, his eyes went big and they **hugged** …


Big smile!

He’s often too much to cope with. Killian is too much.

Too much clumsiness. He is Clumsy smurf.

Too much anger. “How can you say it’s half past seven when the long hand is on past 6 and the short one is on past 7, you’re talking ridiculous” from Killian to his mum!

Too much charm. Have you looked at his big chestnut eyes…

Too much speed. Thump! Tttttrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Blop! is the first sound we hear in the morning: Killian jumping from the top bunk bed, speeding through the passage and landing furiously into our bed!

Too much muscle. Not enough fat!

Too much care and compassion. He is devastated that M Jackson will not be in heaven and wants to give ALL his money to the poor – all his 50 rands.

I'm now 7 and I can hold my balance!

Too much prohibited behavior. Searching every cupboard to find his birthday gifts, lying about it, saying he only just glanced, only to later confess that he had a proper long look at it.

Too much energy. Gym, karate, running, swimming. What about sitting?

Too much courage and too many fears. Dogs and dark are still making him scream but give him a 12 year old boy and he will stand up to him to defend the cause of the weak.

Too much anxiety. Not enough nails to bite.

Too many demands. Matt, you must come with me to my room. Mama, you must stir my milkshake coz you know I don’t like the yaki stuff. Lea, you must play with me…

But overall, too much love. Sharing his own birthday chocolate with everyone.

Of such has been life with Killian for the past seven years. Seven years that would not have been possible without the Lord’s faithfulness at carrying us through those times where it felt like there was no hope.

But there is always hope in the Lord. Hope for everyone – Hope for the weak, the weary, the poor and the rich, the outcast and the popular, and hope for the wonderfully made 7 year old ADHD boy in my house.

I love you THIS big my boy!!!! Keep surprising me!!

What some of you were…

1 Sep

Despite what the secular media and the gay community say, there are many Christians who do not wish to embrace a gay identity. These are people who, because of their commitment to Jesus Christ and their belief in the Bible, choose not to act upon their same-sex attraction.

This is part of the review for this book. I had until now never read a book on that topic. A topic, I feel, that is quite taboo in christian communities and far too advertised in the secular world.

This book deals with the issue of homosexuality, not by condemning this sin as the unforgivable sin (no sin is too big or too little to be dealt with on the cross of Jesus) but by looking at it from insiders’ perspectives. What some of you were is made up of different stories from different angles. We read about someone struggling with homosexual feelings, or about the parent of someone having these feelings and even from the viewpoint of the spouse married to someone who had or still has these same feelings. It is utterly heart wrenching to read about their struggles to break away from that lifestyle.

Even more heartbreaking is what led them to develop a same-sex attraction. In these stories, a form of abuse (sexual, physical or emotional) from either a parent or an influential person in their lives seemed to have been the trigger for developing same-sex attraction.

What I found particularly encouraging was not just the realness with which these stories were written but also the outcome of their tales. This is not a book with a “Victorious Christianity” attitude. Attitude that doesn’t reflect the christian life at all!  There is no “name and claim”, no “turn or burn”. The people involved in the pages of this book describe their life with such honesty that it will make you cry and pray for them.

To live the way Christ want us to live is painstakingly, incredibly self-denying and sacrificial. How much more true for them when what is asked of them is to turn away from who they are, or learnt to be.

I recommend the read but be prepared to shed tears!

When fairies make way to horses

24 Aug

Every birthday of my children, I like to write something about them, about their years and what defined them in that particular one. In my head, I plan it and aspire to put something down in time that will reflect their little growing character. Without fail, I write it NOT on time and find myself chasing time to actually describe their 8th year before their 9th birthday.

I usually feel at loss for new material. Realistically, what can possibly be so different from the year before? It feels that I’ve said – written – scoped their personality. And to a large extent, it is possibly true. Although people don’t radically change from the one year to the next. children grow, mature, acquire and improve on their life-skills, be it physically or emotionally and this long process is what makes them so special and shape them into different little beings.

When I look at Léa from last year and Léa this year, I see huge differences and yet, she is still our little Léa.

At 8 years old, she reads more books that I can keep track of. She reads, reads and reads. Starting from fairies and Stardust spirits, giving way to Secret Seven, Narnia, and of course horses. Anything related to horses and poneys. She loses herself into these books and loves to come and tell me the latest happenings of Moonlight, Star, Angel and others.

Ah! Horses!! She loooooves horses. 🐴  A love initiated by her friend Kiera but then developed all on its own to reach mountain size. We eat horses, we breathe horses, we dream horses, we draw horses, we keep a stable at the back of the house and we plan horse-riding lessons (birthday gift unanimously offered by Ouma, Mamie and parents). And by we, I mean Léa.

With reading developing, writing has also skyrocketed . She enjoys writing little stories and her confidence grew as she wrote and read – in front of her class – her first poem. A vulnerable moment that, acknowledged by her teacher, meant the world to her. Coming out of her shell a little bit more is a process that takes time for a reserved girl like Léa. And I thoroughly enjoy watching her plucking her courage to go and give a spontaneous hug to one of those ‘grown-ups’ in our circle, be it Andie, Nicole,Nikki, Kirstin… so many young beautiful examples of godly ladies to hug.

Growing in confidence no doubt! This year was also the year when she planned her first escape with Kiera. 🎒  After a play date in the afternoon, Taryn phones me a bit anxious about an interesting plan that the girls had made up. When we asked Léa about it, with her biggest enthusiastic and mischievous smile, she showed us her packed 2 pjs and warm jersey – but no food. She explained that the plan was for Kiera to make her way to our house, throw pebbles on the bedroom window and escape for the night to be back in the morning, so that we wouldn’t notice their absence too much. Yes, the plan had some refining to do but what an adventurous plan it is for 2 little girls! Of course, she added, she would never do it because she would miss us too much. Well, that’s a relief.

A sensitive soul she is indeed. When her big eyes get filled with tears, I’m always scared she gets dehydrated! I get glimpses of the teenager she might become when she gets so emotional: ⚡ when Killian gets into serious trouble, she comes to me and explains how sad it makes her to see Killian crying so much (it makes me sad too for the record!) When she doesn’t get enough sleep, she cried out of tiredness for the littlest thing- such as me baking brownies and not chocolate rolls for her munchy market! When she gets to be a flower girl at Kirstin’s wedding 🌸  and when she feels full of love for her mum.💗  … many tears, happy and sad.

Sensitive but also stubborn. She has now decided that I am not allowed to tease her anymore. While she knows that a good sense of humour and teasing are an important side of our family as it helps the big personalities in the household to take life less seriously, she has now declared that she doesn’t want to be teased anymore. To which I replied that she’s going to have to find a new family; to which she remained speechless; to which we both decided to learn from each other. Me, to tease with measure; her, to accept teasing with measure.

The best part of her day is bedtime. Once everyone is tucked in, I slip into her bed for a few minutes and play with her hair. Something that started spontaneously has now become a strict routine. Routine for which I am severely rebuked if I don’t have time to stick to it. She is very strict with me 🙂 

This is but a glimpse of what life with Léa looks like. Easily pleased, easily hurt, easily comforted. A big heart, with big eyes and lots of love to give.

I love you my puppet!!! My prayer remains the same each year. That the Lord who gave you to us will be gracious on your life and will give you the eyes and ears of understanding and accepting the wonderful news about Jesus.

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