Violence

I’m definitely not a violent person. In fact, I hate all forms of violence and don’t ever see causing pain as a useful solution to any problem. However, this week I have really wanted to hurt someone, like take someone and physically harm them, and shatter them to pieces with my words at the same time! I wanted to demonstrate my power over them because of my outrage for how they were dominating and hurting someone I love so deeply. I can see how people have gotten to a point where they think redemptive violence might just be ok.

I’m not proud of feeling like this, and while my violent urges have almost subsided, my anger has not. I don’t actually think it’s supposed to just yet, but the question I’m checking with myself is if this anger is breeding hopelessness or is this anger broken-heartedness? Anger that leads to hopelessness is a waste of time, ultimately, it leaves us in pain with no prospect of anything changing, but broken-heartedness, oh woman, that can be a dangerous force.

Over the last few weeks I have been confronted over and over again with stories of women who are being harmed by men, physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually.

My heart is exploding.

Girls as young as 13 beaten with a plank by their boyfriend because “she doesn’t want to listen”, men raping women in groups, women being told they’ll be beaten if they try and leave their partner. I see women shut down for speaking because of their anatomy, women believing that they need to give their bodies over in sex in order to feel desirable, or rather, to make the guy feel good; women’s needs being deemed as substandard and inferior by a society that continues to promote men (and just for the record, for those who might assume, I’m not talking only about life in Manenberg, I see this across society..).

A few months ago Lloyd and I found ourselves in the red light district in Thailand. By found ourselves, I mean we were in it, it was impossible to avoid, but to be honest, I’d always planned to go. I have heard so much about it, I felt it was important not just to know it happened, but to see what it looked liked, to look in some faces and to feel it [rather like coming to Cape Town on holiday, closing your eyes as you drive from the airport and then spending your time at the Waterfront, missing the uncomfortable reality of this city]. What I saw, I cannot even begin to describe. The depth of the sex trade in Thailand is like nothing I have ever seen, and it broke me. Seeing young, young women standing at poles on bartops with their toddlers at their feet, seeing men prowl (literally) for women as if they were a choice cut of meat to be chosen and men reaching inside women’s clothing before any sort of agreement of payment had been made. The business of buying sex is pretty repulsive to me, but equally, for a woman to have her boundaries overstepped even in that broken system felt like the grossest injustice. 

I cried a lot there. I have never felt such pain in my spirit as I did for those few days. And I experienced a conviction that to pray for one of these beautiful souls and then leave would be a cheap attempt to make myself feel better. It’s not that I don’t believe God could encounter them, it’s that I know that post-encounter, they need someone by their side. I have seen this over and over again in Manenberg. Genuine, holy encounters that give momentary peace, but in not being able to offer a practical love alongside that, the encounter becomes another religious experience that affirms that God is there but doesn’t really get involved in our lives.

I have found myself hating men this week. Even the good ones that I do life with, I have started watching for any inklings of misogyny, looking to see where the needs of men are being preferred over women’s needs.

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My hatred isn’t getting me anywhere, it’s not really the path I’ve chosen. I believe that this imbalance is as harmful for men as it is for women, as it holds them back from the reality of who they are but, on the whole, they are not the ones at the wrong end of the plank. What do we do with that reality? I sit with a fight in me to see something change. I sit with a pain in my spirit too great to shake off. And I sit with tears in my eyes as I think of the many women who are forced to believe that this is just their lot, they somehow asked for or deserve it.

In my broken-heartedness I can only look to Jesus or my flesh will begin to pull me to hatred and violence.

I see Jesus looking into the face of women marginalised and rejected, and speaking life over them.

I see God speaking shared purpose over Adam and Eve, words of partnership and equality.

I see imagery of God as mother all through the Old Testament, lest we think that God is a man (but that’s for another blog)!

…and I find hope that at least God is good, even if the rest of us don’t cut it. And so I look to Her for what happens next, where do I release this fire in my spirit, how do we see women valued in Manenberg, how do we redeem spaces used for exploitation, how do we point out the subtle nuances of misogyny in the most redeemed men in our society?

But what happens next, I’m not sure. It isn’t enough for me to only pray. Prayer motivates action, it moves us to speak and so I will wrestle with this discomfort until things change.

 


a more conventional update

For those of you who love reading my deep, incredibly profound and insightful ponderings (!), this is not the blog post for you. I wanted to give some of my readers a more traditional this-is-my-life update – for those not living in Cape Town.

June marked the start of a new season for me in Cape Town. I had the privilege of spending a three month sabbatical from my work/life in Cape Town and travelling to visit cool new places, family and old friends. It was an absolute treat to spend that time travelling with Lloyd, to have space to think, and to have a longer time with all my friends and family than I’ve had since I left in 2011. The 3 months were a bit of an emotional rollercoaster following the loss of our first baby but to be able to totally veg out in Thailand and then arrive home to be looked after by my parents was exactly the space I needed to grieve and process properly.

On arriving back in Cape Town, I have re-entered into a fairly significant transition for Tree of Life (our church family) and Fusion (the organisation I’ve been working with) and so the last couple of months have been filled with figuring out what that will look like, where I fit and what God is calling our family to in this next season. More on this another time! What that means for me though is a much more diverse role in leadership of Tree of Life with a bunch of awesome people, a more pastoral role rather than solely operations and the space to start thinking about what a home for girls could look like in Manenberg with my partner in dreaming, Leigh. Again, there will DEFINITELY be more on this later! Already, I am loving this new season and so thankful for my community who have given me the space to really push into where my heart comes alive. I have learnt so much in the last 3 years, and have grown more than I knew possible, honestly, not through lots of fun and easy-riding but through being stretched beyond what I thought my capacity was. I have grown in skills, in grace (I hope) and have learnt how to do things that I don’t love with excellence and letting go of the entitlement of always doing what I feel I want to do!

Lloyd is still rocking the solo architect/designer vibes, although he would love to be a little less solo at times…Spatial Studio is doing well, but as with any start-up, has its ebbs and flows. He has had a few exciting projects that get his creative juices buzzing, a stint of teaching at the university where his studies began, and then a good measure of the more mundane (but good for the bank account) house extensions. In the next couple of years, the dream is to see Spatial Studio grow to house a few more people, and potentially to have a space where designers/creatives/architects etc, can come and share ideas and resources. Lloyd has a real passion to see the design world open up in Cape Town to more than just those who can afford to study and print pretty things, but that’s his story, maybe he’ll write it for you one day.

In terms of our family life, Lloyd and I have felt held in a somewhat suspended state, wanting to grow our family but having the door for adoption temporarily closed, and then losing our first baby. We have also felt, for the last two years, an invitation to move into Manenberg and set down our roots there amongst our family, but again, financially and practically, no doors have opened up to us for this and so we have been [patiently-not-patiently] waiting for a shift. We gave up our flat, in faith, just before going on sabbatical and so have been living with Leigh in her flat. This has been super fun, and [I think] we are all enjoying the richness of community living, it’s certainly given me a lot to think about in terms of how we carve out our family life set-up in the future.

Good news: the suspension is lifting!…or dropping, or whatever suspension does when it’s not suspension anymore.

While on sabbatical we discovered that we were pregnant again and so are due to give birth in December! Happy Christmas to us! We are so excited with a healthy measure of what-have-we-done thrown in, but please pray with us as we prepare and look forward to meeting our little snowflake*. The other news is that doors seem to be opening for us to move into Manenberg and so we are currently looking at putting an offer on what might be our future home. I have no idea why the timing hasn’t been right for the last 2 years for either of these things, or why we seem to be looking at giving birth and moving house around the same time (just to keep things chilled, right?) but we are riding this wave with God, and trusting the faithfulness we have experienced throughout our waiting.

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So there you go. The Pretorii’s adventure continues!

* Straight up, falling pregnant so soon after miscarrying was hard on my heart and soul. I battled with anxiety and not being totally sure I was ready to be pregnant again. Lloyd was awesome (obviously) and was able to carry the joy of this wee life, and then we named our bump Snowflake to help build a bond between us, which really helped me connect with this little baba. I felt totally free, at the same time, to grieve and be where I was until I was ready to fully celebrate and I knew that this little one was so loved and celebrated by family at the same time. I woke up one day on sabbatical feeling totally peaceful about Snowflake and excited to be a mum…although we still think a lot about Acorn and are planning on how to keep her story alive in our family story.

 


the quiet place

So confession, on the way to worship last night, I was super not up for being there. I’d been sick this week, I was tired, I wanted to veg out in front of the TV…but I was on to lead tonight alongside a guitarist friend, and had already cried off a few responsibilities this week, so knew I had to stick uit (a useful Afrikaans phrase meaning to show up). Driving to Manenberg, I was immediately confronted with the most phenomenal pink and yellow sky. The sky is my favourite bit of creation (well, except people, mostly…) so I usually do notice it, but it made me take note, turn my radio off, and talk to God rather than mindlessly passing the next half hour in traffic. I told him I was ready to be present, I wanted to go deeper, and I would press in, despite my pooped-ness.

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Enter the most chilled worship vibes ever.

Now I know that some of us were struggling with the quiet, used to being surrounded by noise, voices, TV, music…someone creating our worship experience for us through pumping out the jams that make us feel good, or giving us the right words to say…don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of dancing in my worship, and a Bethel worship album like the next person…but as I was in that space last night, asking God whether I needed to step in to help people know how to press in, to create more energy, if I’m honest, God was like, no…Why are you afraid of being quiet with me?

And why are we so afraid of the silence? Well, I guess because in that moment it can go one of two ways:
Oh…this is so beautiful, your presence is so sweet, I can feel you, I feel known by you, I hear your voice!
or..
Jeesh, it’s quiet…I don’t really know what to say, this is kinda awkward, do I even know you?

The silence reveals the truth, we have no one putting words in our mouths, no one creating a vibe for us to feel something, just the vulnerability of us standing before God in a moment of intimacy, or perhaps, realising we are strangers. There are times when we definitely need the help of being led into God’s presence, encountering new parts of who She is, enjoying the good feeling of bopping around with others, but we have to be able to meet Her in the still, secret place of our hearts.

Once I got over the fact that everyone wasn’t necessarily having the most fun time ever (because obviously that’s my responsibility..haha), and stepped in to being still with my best friend, I went deeper with Her than I had in a long while. I was reflecting on what it means to have Christ living within us, at our centre. You see one of things I’m learning with having this little baby grow inside of me [most of you reading this will know this already, but for those who don’t, ummm surprise!] is that everything I do, everything I’m eating, how I’m spending my money, the way I use my body, the things I’m speaking, my emotions, are centred on wanting to honour this precious little one living in me. And yet, Christ lives in us. Like a little living person, she is our centre, and so all of our choices and words and thoughts and actions should be influenced by that, wanting to honour the life that is within.

Where is She not my centre? I sat with this question as I drove home and got angry at a driver, and at my husband and at myself for letting stupid things rob me of this revelation..so I guess My reactions might be a place Jesus doesn’t have centre place. Good to know, I’ll start there.

In the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness you are there…Jesus be my centre.

[Just on the She thing…for those who are wondering. Those of you who know me well know I’m fairly passionate about the voice and equality of women, including how we engage with the person of God. God’s not a dude right, we know that, not a women either, but there’s definitely a lot of male pronouns in my vocabulary towards God, and I’m trying to be a bit more intentional about changing that over (I know feminist friends, I am so late to that party but bear with…). Also, as I am becoming a mum, I’m understanding God waaaay more as mother and learning about the fiery, gentle, powerful, protective nature of God…which I totally resonate with]


on loss

But God, my sabbatical was supposed to be three months of deep reflection, looking forward to and dreaming about what you’re calling me into next in Manenberg. God, I have so many great ideas I wanted to discuss with you, so many things that we could do together. And yet here I find myself two months in with the pieces of my broken heart still broken, grieving the loss of a little life that was supposed to be part of our future, barely able to think about anything else. This wasn’t the plan.

No my child, but I am with you.

Are you enough, God? I kinda thought you could stop this from happening and you didn’t…so can I really trust you to bring me peace now? 

 

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Over the last wee while, I’ve been on a journey of discovering thankfulness, not only as a response to God but as a weapon to fight for joy and peace…it has been an interesting one, you can read about it here.

The day I learnt that Lloyd and I had lost our little acorn, a small seed of life within me, I got home from the hospital and as a sat, I felt God ask me, Clare, what are you thankful for?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? (I don’t think my language was quite so pretty) Not today, God.

But yet I knew in my heart that this battle I was in was going to need me to dress myself in my armour, and my armour is thankfulness…and so I asked God to remind me of stories of his goodness, and He did. He reminded me of some of the stories of healing coming out of my Tree of Life family in Manenberg, of his presence, of his with-ness, and I was able to say thank you.

I’ve been learning how to say thank you, how to celebrate even when everything else falls apart, this is so hard, but it is rich. My heart gets to enjoy the richness of excitement and joy and hope while knowing how to be in the places of brokenness and despair. This is not life in the middle of good and bad, this is life, lived at the extremes, squeezing the life out of all of it, this fullness of life that I know Jesus understood greater than I ever will. This child we had waited for came after a longer wait to be told we weren’t eligible to adopt yet because of my visa, so the news of this pregnancy was celebrated by our whole community, and equally, as acorn went to be with Jesus at a few weeks old, this life was mourned by our community, and I have found great comfort in being able to process and cry and be ok and be happy and be miserable with my community who stretches across continents.

Miscarriage isn’t a subject matter I ever imagined myself writing about, and to be honest, it’s really not fun to write about in any way, but it’s important. As I shared a bit of my story, I heard of more and more people who had gone through the same thing. And then there was this moment while I was still at the hospital when there was a whiff of a lie that crept in, that perhaps I wasn’t good enough as a woman, that I couldn’t even stay pregnant! No, like seriously, this flashed across my consciousness and I batted it out of there very quickly, but I started to wonder if you don’t hear much about miscarriage because there’s shame attached to it, and so I’m writing, letting the ugly and the sore hang out.

I’m still very much in the middle of my grief, of processing and wrestling with God and as I think about being pregnant again, I am totally terrified. But, I have known God with me. I read this bit in a Brennan Manning book where he suggested that if you were struggling to know how to approach God or are sitting with pain, to simply hold your hands out and say ‘Abba, I belong to you’ and allow the father to step in. So I did. There was nothing else for me to say anyway!

One day as I prayed that, I saw myself slumped across his chest completely surrendered and with nothing to bring…as I painted this image, I felt God nudge me to connect our hearts as his presence surrounded me. A few days later I went to visit a beautiful new addition to our Tree of Life family, and as she fell asleep on my chest, I had this moment of clarity where I realised she didn’t need to try, she wasn’t looking for answers, she trusted me completely to be her safe place, totally surrendered in that posture and I felt God tell me it was ok to stay there, in that slumped posture.

I’m a thinker, I like to figure things out, but that just doesn’t exist in this, all you have is being true in the moment to what you’re feeling, and keeping your face as close to Jesus as possible, and when you can’t, he brings his face to you.

Do I have some/any wisdom on how to cope with this? Hardly. I’m still in the taking-it-one-day-at-a-time stage, but it does help me to talk about it (though that won’t be true for everyone),  it does help to be in God’s presence (even if all I do is cry…or shout), and it does help me to know that people know my story and they’re with me in the good and the ugly. There is no answer, no easy-fix, it’s another season of waiting, waiting for healing and waiting to be able to trust fully again…but in this waiting, I wait with the one who knows.

Abba, I don’t know what the future holds, I hardly know what the present holds, but I’m thankful that I am surrounded with friends and family, I am thankful for new life, I am thankful that your goodness is always visible and that all you need is for me to be.

Abba, I belong to you.

 

 


on thankfulness, and 2015

New Year’s Eve forces you to look back, to reflect, to analyse, to celebrate, to commiserate, perhaps. We wonder what we’ve achieved and make plans of how next year will definitely be different.

If there’s any reflection that I can make from this year, it’s that you can make as many plans as you like, but what happens, happens. It’s not that I think planning and dreaming is a bad idea, quite the opposite, but this past two years I’ve had to learn how to roll with it when the plans and the dreams don’t unfold as my diary entries at the start of 2014 and 2015 expected. The skill of living in the moment, celebrating where you are at, being thankful, faithfully, day-by-day is a muscle I’m learning to strengthen.

I look back on what has been the fastest year in the history of mankind, it’s been one of deep learning for me, pretty much from the word go. From jumping into situations which were waaaay above my ability, to fighting for little people but not yet seeing the fruit, from delving into the deep-set issues of insignificance I have carried for too long, to finally saying NO to a lot of it! From seeing family at its all-time best, loving, living and serving together, to seeing family at its most broken and loving and living and serving together.

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This photo isn’t really significant to what I’m saying…I just like it.

I hold a lot of question marks in my mind for this year, of why we had to travel so far along certain paths before God showed us it wasn’t the right path for now, of why waiting seems to be an important piece for Lloyd and I, and honestly, for why things are so hard a lot of the time! I was having a bit of a pity party during the year, feeling a bit sorry for myself, when my super wise hubbie said something that was so simple, but so good! “Things are hard, because we choose hard things” Right?! I’m confident Lloyd and I could carve out a simpler path for ourselves, but it wouldn’t have so much richness, or redemption, or dependence on God. And while I find myself very ready to move on to what 2016 holds, I wouldn’t change what has gone before, because I am stronger for it.

I’m on day 70 in my 100 days of thank you and man, what a journey. This has probably been the most significant learning of the year. Very quickly I realised that there were days when thankfulness came easy, it flooooowed, but more often than not, thankfulness was a choice. On the days when things were boring, or there was conflict, where I was disappointed, am I still going to see God’s goodness?

Like the day I posted this…

Screenshot_2015-12-31-10-24-07…this was potentially one of the most disappointing days of the year for me, I hit a bit of a rock bottom, and I sat on my bed late at night, knowing I was supposed to be posting my thankfulness and I cried out to God, “I don’t FEEEEEEEL thankful” and he immediately replied “you don’t have to FEEEEEEEL thankful to BE thankful. It’s a choice”. And so I forced myself to see what I had, and as I did, some of my disappointment lifted, and peace started to settle in its place. The other challenge I’ve navigated is stopping myself from adding disclaimers to my thanks (let me be clear, I’m all for raw honesty, the ugly etc), but right at the beginning I felt the Father invite me to be thankful, without needing to also share the brokenness in my day, without worrying how my thankfulness might seem to other people, how it might be seen as bragging, or that I have some cosy little existence with no troubles. Lol. And so I stopped myself from the ..this has been the hardest day ever and I hate everyone and everything, but I did eat a doughnut..so thanks…and chose to be authentic in my thanks, to not say thanks for things that I’m not thankful for, which seems really obvious…and to use those moments where I close my day off in thanks, as sacred Jesus moments, where I receive new joy for the next day.

I listened to this short clip by Ann Voskamp around thankfulness and something she said stood out.

[Absolute paraphrase with my own additions…] We think we need to feel joyful before we can give thanks, but thankfulness produces joy. The fruit of choosing to be thankful is joy.

And this has been my experience. I find myself looking for ways to be thankful during the day, for moments to celebrate and while I don’t plan on keeping up with my photo record of thanks, I have felt a shift in my culture, of how I look at situations, and the discipline of having to post something has been a helpful one for me. As I step into 2016, I have absolutely no idea what it holds, hopefully a sabbatical, hopefully a home in Manenberg, hopefully a kid (?!?!?!), hopefully some butterflies released from cocoons and a whole lot of family fun, but I am choosing to enter this year as I am, holding dreams tightly, but lightly (I think that is actually how it works) and desperate to know more of God’s goodness as I journey.

There is always something to  be thankful for.


Trish on the blog: Getting Older

I’m very excited to debut a possible short series…ok, she hasn’t agreed to that yet…but for now, here’s “Trish on the blog!”. My very beautiful, deep-thinking, Jesus-chasing mum sharing some heart food…

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Getting Older

The last few months have seen some changes in me physically as I have stopped wearing make up and colouring my hair. Do I see myself any differently as a result? Sometimes I think I look okay and then I see a photo of myself and think – horror! Why does what I see in the mirror not be the same as a photo?. Am I blinded to my aging? My hair is now going to its natural colour which happens to be brown with lots of grey coming. The decision to do this was partly by changing my hairdresser who suggested it, partly monetary in not spending so much on a wasteful extravagance. I am on a learning curve with this as there are days when I appear to be fine, and there are other days when I look old and grey. I know this makes me sound so vain, and I don’t think that I am – but maybe!

In the middle of all this, I wonder how God sees me. He is not interested in my looks – if my hair is grey or I am wearing make up. It’s my heart and my mind He wants. He sees beyond what anyone else sees. Does He like it, or does He sometimes say, ” Oh dear, I don’t like that today.” I know that God delights in me, He loves me and loves my company, I am a daughter of the King, but I don’t always believe that in myself. The word insignificance has been coming through when I think of myself, my faith, my walk etc. I need to get rid of those lies which eat away at me and choose to start and carry on believing the truth.

Proverbs 16v31 says that Grey hair is a crown of splendour, it is attained by a righteous life. And maybe this is how I should view it. Any time I begin to look at myself or photos in a negative way, I am going to ask God to bring Psalm 139 to my mind, reminding me of how wonderfully made I am. God did not get anything wrong with the plans He had for designing me. Give me a grateful heart O God!

I was reading 1 Peter 3v4 where it says, “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God….”

Do I even see that I have a beauty within? A gentle and quiet spirit? Maybe these are things that I need to be praying for?

I know that in the past (and maybe not that long ago) I would have called myself a people pleaser and tried to fit in whatever setting or group of people I was with, and be the sort of person I thought people expected me to be in that situation. Even how I dressed would depend on whom I was with. Should I not aim to please God first above all else and be a God pleaser instead?

In truth – there will be times when I may choose to wear make up and I may even colour my hair at some point. What I am learning is that I don’t need to do these things to please others or be accepted into social groupings or feel better about myself.

Where does this leave me? I would love to say that I am going to love every photo of me and think that my grey hair looks cool. This probably won’t happen, but I will try and obsess less about it and glow with the knowledge of how much I am loved, even on bad hair days!


on marriage…

Having been married for only two years, we’re not exactly the experts, but having been married for two years, we understand what the first two years of being married can look like…those who have been married for decades may have forgotten the very [presumably] unique joys and challenges of the early days.


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I’ve had moments in the last two years where I’ve thought to myself “what have I done?!!” and asking if everyone finds it this hard, because all I see is the instagrammed bliss of newlyweds. Bliss? Where is our bliss? Did we skip that bit?  The thing is, we have had our share of bliss moments, we’ve had moments of going deeper in our friendship, in understanding our hearts better, of growing towards Jesus together, of full love tanks, of celebration but in all of these pieces, they have been fought for. Growing pains.

To go deeper in our friendship, we’ve had to have the I-don’t-like-it-when-you-do-that or I-don’t-understand-why-you-would-say-that conversation; to understand our hearts better, we’ve caused each other more pain and learned to heal from that place. Because I’ve given my entire heart to Lloyd, he holds it and has the potential to hurt me more than anyone else…the same is true the other way round. In growing towards Jesus together we’ve had to learn that we’re different, that our faith is different and that I’m not always right. Haha. In having full love tanks, we’ve had to experience what it is to have empty tanks from not loving each other well and in enjoying celebration, we have also learnt to mourn together and realise that celebration is important even amidst pain, empty bank balances and challenging life circumstances. We have NOT got any of this right first time!

I’m not saying we only grow through negative circumstances, but I think often we look at the finish line, the happy ending forgetting the uphill to get there.

I would not change the last two years.

I would not change the arguments, the tears and the big whoopsies.

I would choose to be kinder with my words.

I would choose to laugh it off more than fight it out.

But I wouldn’t change what we’re growing, because it’s beautiful, right?

Although on the surface Lloyd and I may look like this polished, got-it-all-together couple (really just on the surface, most of our people know the truth!), we have found two years of marriage really hard. Both of us were close to 30 when we got married and so had lived very independent lives up until that point: suddenly we’re accountable, we’re in each other’s’ faces, and we’re making decisions together. This is both the hardest thing and my favourite thing. I really believe in family, I believe family is what God gave us to figure out what it means to be alive, and have life in its fullness, I love that I’m not alone** and that I cannot do things by myself, because difficult as it can be to navigate this, I have someone to have my back, to fight for me and with me and that has been my greatest joy in the last few years. I am blessed with a warrior – life has been challenging on many levels, and Lloyd has been my backbone when I’ve felt like crumbling, he’s listened to my rants and helped me move past it through holding me when I cry, or helping me laugh when I’ve forgotten…THAT is my joy, not the shiny pictures on facebook, because, frankly, neither of us do very well when we’re trying to get the perfect selfie!

**[I’m not going to get into this now, as this is a blog about marriage, but I believe in a family across blood lines, into community and friendships that look like family…marriage is NOT the only way we can create family]

What I’ve learnt in my marriage is that it’s ok to ask the hard questions, it’s ok to ask “what have I done?” or “is this the right thing, can we really do this?” and I’ve found the same thing to be true in my walk with Jesus. I’ve had my moments of admitting that I feel crazy, “what am I giving my life to?” but in those moments of my darkest doubts, I’ve heard the voice of God (sometimes through other people, sometimes the Bible, sometimes circumstances…) say that it’s ok and then he steps in and blows my mind with his kindness, with his love, with his grace. I’m at a point in my faith where I have seen too much to doubt if this is real but I still have my questions, my fears and my insecurities to work through – Can’t we speed this thing up God? Can I get this patience thing down yet?

And I’m reminded my faith, and my marriage, is a journey, that if we’re so busy rushing to the finish line, we miss the joy of journeying uphill together, of pushing through, of looking at our rubbish in its face and with my family, yelling a resounding NO in the face of lies. When we get to the end of those small hills, and see the sunset, or get new perspective, we can look back together and say we did this, we made it.

IMG-20150813-WA0005My faith is richer because of the battle.

My marriage is stronger because of the battle.

So I honour my husband for walking with me, for the fun he brings and the real wisdom he carries in our marriage. My prayer is that day by day, we learn to walk better, that our relationship muscles only grow stronger and that we continue to choose each other when things are hard.

Let’s do this!


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