Every Moment a Teaching Moment

Written on 7 July 2018

July is my “organizing life” season, just turns out that way … every year.  The weather encourages hibernation and the school holiday is quite long.  My instinct? Pack away, throw away and questioning myself: “Are you on track?”

I haven’t blogged for five months.  It is a VERY long time, to not write, for someone who makes sense out of life by writing.  Well, here I am now outing thoughts on paper, because I simply must.

Please bear with me trying to find sense in all my experiences in these past months.  My prayer?  That you can associate and experience some relief and hope through these words.

Let’s start…In these past months, one of our prominent focuses was my husband preparing for the Comrades Marathon, which took place on 10 June 2018.  He first took part in the marathon 18 years ago, when he was only 24 years of age.  I was not part of that process, only heard the stories.  This year I was part of the process, 18 years later.  And as a spectator slash intimate friend the process was a very significant experience.

It is quite safe to say that you cannot rely on your experience of running a marathon at 24 years of age, to help you through marathon at 42 years of age.  You are almost two decades physically “more mature “(I hate the word older) and wiser on your perspective on life.

A big part of my spiritual focus in these months also moved to my faith in God.  Not the general thought of me being a believer, no, the challenge to believe everything God says.  To me, that is a challenge.  I realised, I have read the bible selectively most of my spiritual life. With the grace of God, He is teaching me that He really means everything He says in the word. His promises are for me, and not just for others.  The catch is this: I must claim His promises, repeatedly.

This brings me to another part of life that challenged me. My knees. No, not prayer. My actual knees.

So, you know how peoples’ motivation works:  When there is Wimbledon on the television, suddenly more people appear on the tennis courts, when Master Chef is on suddenly we try more daring recipes in the kitchen. Naturally, when my husband started his focused running? … Yep, I wanted to run too.  I did a race or two with him, only the fun run, 5 km kind.  I enjoyed it, felt quite proud of myself, until my knees started complaining.  Call it midlife crisis, trying too hard to escape not settling for the couch, whatever … It hit me hard and left me very discouraged and sad.  I had to stop, hear what God was saying and see a doctor.

If I look at these things it is so clear that God starts a process and will not stop until He is finished.  Through these events, my everyday experiences, He has taught me and is teaching me valuable, life-altering lessons.  I must keep on asking tough:” Where are we going?”.  The answer almost always is: “We are on our way to a very specific destination, but maybe not as fast as you want us to go.”

In my previous blog: Freedom to Live, the great challenge of letting go helped me focus a lot on the now.  Even though we have plans and dreams, the only reality we have is NOW.  It is in your present normal life that God is teaching, healing and loving you and your loved ones.

This quote made so much sense to me after these few months:

“I believe God has called us to run a marathon, and not a sprint” (Joseph Prince from Live the Let-Go Life)

After my husband’s marathon I’ve learned how much intention there is in running a marathon.  You sacrifice, you train, you focus, you care for yourself and your body. In the words of Bruce Fordyce: “You have to hold back, but you can never stop”.

These words sound so familiar if we think about our lives and our spiritual journeys, doesn’t it? The thing about us is; our patience gets depleted, then we want to sprint and stop.  There is much more intention to run while holding back.  Living while smelling the roses.

Please know that God is busy with you today, just as much as He will be busy with you in three years ‘time.  Don’t miss the lessons now.  Run the marathon, don’t just sprint.

Hebrews 12:1b – 2a

…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

He sees our big picture where everything comes together, all our victories and our failures.  He turns it into a beautiful tapestry which will all make sense in the end.

Be blessed dear reader!

Written by: Johanni Meiring

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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Let’s Not Live Distracted

The title of this blog has been running through my mind for a week.  A statement, but also an urge.  Urgently pressing, and a blog desperately wanting to be written.

Mostly I have no idea what how my blogs will end up, but I just keep writing and it all comes together in the end, quite exciting … I must say. This is also true for this blog. I hope you’ll enjoy the discovery with me!

At our church I am currently attending a course on the book Revelation.  Revelation is a  controversial book in the bible, which stirs up emotions, opinions, maybe even fear in people.  While studying this book one thought kept on whispering through.  We live too distracted.

When God led the Israelites to Canaan, most of them missed it, because they became too concerned with life, and survival that they couldn’t hear His voice, they had to follow the 40 years longer route simply because circumstances kept on winning their attention.  When Jesus came to earth lots of the Jews missed it, didn’t believe, or check back to the Scriptures to realize that He was the Son of God.  The Lord is preparing us now for the end of time, whenever that is going to be, we must make sure that we don’t miss Him.

Listen, I know. It’s a battle.  We fight to fix our budgets, our schedules, our bosses, our family, our spouses etc.  It’s a struggle to survive physically and emotionally.  God knows that, and still He urges us to focus on Him. Not the things around us.  Our circumstances are not geared to keep us focused on Him, it’s geared to keep us distracted.  The more you try to focus on God, the more desperate our circumstances might become.  The enemy’s ultimate plan is distraction, disconnection from our God and Saviour. Yet, The Lord saves us out of all our troubles (Ps 34:6). While we are distracted we only focus on our own efforts and do not ask God to help.

Then there is technology.  Technology everywhere.  In our houses, at the workplace, in restaurants and at family gatherings. It challenges and distracts, it makes everything so much easier, except the ability to live free.  I am thankful to technology that I can connect with you through my blog, but I hate the fact that technology creates disconnect between people and fights between me and my children. I get so angry if I cannot put my phone down in those important mother-child moments.

We must realise that distractions are only going to become more engaging and more intense.  Everyday we will choose to keep our focus on our Saviour, OR our phone, work, people, worries …

The world does not stop turning when we pray and spend time with Him, but He promises:

Matt 6:33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

This promise is perfectly in context.  These things are our daily physical needs. God is faithful. We need to trust Him.

May our Father help you to fight bravely against distractions and create a deep connection between you and Him which no distraction can interrupt. Ask Him to help you choose wisely.

Written by: Johanni Meiring

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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Freedom to Live

I have mentioned in my previous posts that I love the idea of a clean canvas.  The symbol for starting new and fresh.  Not trying to fix a picture already drawn.  No, being able to start again.  A big element I realize God wants to instill in me in 2018 is: The FREEDOM To Live.  A breath of fresh air into my entangled life.

The Lord is giving us an element of freshness in regards of schooling for our two oldest kids for this year.  I am surprised at the amount of excitement and freedom this brings to my spirit and how my expectation for the new year has been altered.  This change releases me from a few very practical responsibilities and I am so thankful to Him for that.

I also know that this makes me tick: the spontaneous.  When we move a room, or change the garden or try a new recipe.  These things awaken an excitement in me I cannot describe. I am made this way, I guess, enjoying the fresh and new things.  Embracing change.

My holiday reading (actually… listening while I iron) ended up being the amazing book: Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle.  This book is truly an experience of compassion you will not easily find anywhere else.  God knows me, and my expectations for the new year, if I look back I can see how systematically He prepares me for the work He wants to do in me.

Gregory’s interesting take on success hit a nerve.  In the book he quotes Mother Theresa where she says: “We are not called to be successful, but faithful.”.

I could just feel with the amount of impact those word landed on me that God is trying to really get to something here.  He stopped me and looked me in the eye, and asked: “Did you hear that?  Successful and faithful are two different things.”  While driving home a few days ago He reminds me again:” No amount of effort you put into your life, or work will make Me love you more, I already love you completely.”  Isn’t it just amazing how hard it is for us to understand this?

Gregory goes on to profoundly say:

“If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God’s business.”

Wow! These words just plainly shut me up.  Because … YES! … God’s success I prefer.

I must admit that most of my life, I have tried to control outcomes and dreams in my life thinking: “If I just push a bit harder, try a bit longer” only to end up in utter disappointment and despair.  Not always, in every dream, does the expectation play out this way, but often.  This approach leaves me twisted up in a cycle of discouraged exhaustion.

Now, in this transition to the new, I am reasoning: “Maybe, if I rather choose (please note: it is a choice – every time) the freedom of living now, together with what is in my hand now, I might find what I have been missing out on in my life journey…”

But then, maybe it takes 41 years of exploring this planet to finally… let it go?

I do realize that self-actualization has a very strong element of self-discipline attached to it.  While everyone famous and rich will encourage this form of motivation, it seems to me that there is a fine line of still living under the law or “rules” that steals your joy, AND being faithful. You see, faithful do not focus on the five-year plan.  It says: “Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart.”

The difference between self-discipline and self-control lies in where the effort originates.

Self -discipline is an effort that originates from yourself with an underlying tone of punishment when you might miss the mark.  Positive encouragement is mostly not in the mix here, but a fear of failure is very present.

Self-control, on the other hand, which is a fruit of the Spirit solely relies on the work of the Holy Spirit. No amount of commitment from our side can create this fruit, but it is rather a result of the Lord’s Spirit working in us. Our part? Growing in our relationship with Him.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)

Freedom from sin and performance … how wonderful that would be.

If we can be aware of the way this world and the evil one constantly wants to entangle us into slavery, it might help to fight off the chains. Gal 5:1 encourages us to be diligent in fighting off the chains, to stand firm.  Deception is exactly what it was meant to be, that is, make believe.  We are not in control of our lives, God is.  Everything we have is but by grace, not our own effort. If we can exchange control for surrender, will freedom show up?

This year, I want to let go of the reigns a bit.  Surf the wave, and enjoy the splashes of water.

So then, with a clean canvas before me and a surfboard tucked under my arm, I am running towards the new year. May God give me the grace to not surrender to slavery again.

Would you like to join me?

See you on the other side!

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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It will be a privilege to spend time with you!

The Secret Struggles of an ADHD Parent

Dalene Reyburn wrote a blog a while ago.  The heading of the blog was: Dear Special Needs Parent: I see you … Those words hit me like a fist in the gut. Who knew? Someone sees me and acknowledges me.

Today I’d like to say: Dearest parent of your amazing ADHD child … I see you.  Why?  I am also like you.  I am tired and happy! Angry and frustrated.  Full of hope today and feel like I want crawl into a whole and die the next.  You are not alone!

My daughter has been diagnosed with Autism and my son with ADHD.  Even though Autism has a bundle of issues to handle daily.  Sometimes the ADHD part of our lives feel more challenging.  Challenging not because of all the differences our child has, but because of the similarities. A child with ADHD is not recognized quickly, he or she is only another boy or a girl in a group.  Our kids are therefore not seen as someone struggling with difficulties, but mostly seen for just being a very difficult, naughty, picky, over energetic, depressed, dreamy (And the list continues) …person.

Initially we try to educate people, family and friends to understand ADHD better.  We try to explain our children’s behavior, but then the energy and emotions start losing momentum.  You’ll explain if someone asks about it, but overall you start dealing with the judgment and stares in your own unique way.  You are built to survive.

Thank you for surviving!  You did not choose this challenge and journey.  It chose you.  Just keep on walking.  If you keep on walking somehow between tonight and tomorrow morning the impossible seems possible again, the pain not so painful. In the morning somehow your ability to fight for your child seems to reset.

Waking up without ADHD in your house is unfortunately not an option.  If initially you feel the very strong desire to ignore this thing until it disappears take heart, you are not a bad parent.  I think we all do denial at some level or at some stage in this journey.  Just try not to stay there.    It serves a purpose, I believe, but when left too long, denial can and will hurt your relationship with your child.

When we first received diagnoses, my knee jerk reaction was: “But why?”  The answers come packaged in neatly in gently rehearsed phrases like: “It has a strong genetic occurrence” or “There is no specific one cause”.  Then you have to deal with this reality: “Your child is struggling because of your genes”.  How do you deal with that? You either choose not to look at that reality, or you just feel lousy, guilty and failing terribly at parenting, just because of your genes…you didn’t even do anything yet.

To be totally honest, I have only been looking at the fact that: part of me contributed to the ADHD diagnoses…recently.  It is easier to deal with it when it is on the outside, almost easier to digest, because you can look at the “syndrome”.  You can examine it.  Only when you start to accept the reality that you might carry parts of ADHD, does it start to become a bit scary, but yet less intimidating. 

I am rambling on about your genes, because I believe that YOU were built to parent this child.  Nothing in them is so foreign that you cannot recognize him/her as your child.  Yes, at times it might seem like you received a wrong address child from another country, but if you look long and hard enough you’ll see it, and feel it. You will recognize her likes and dislikes, the way he butters his toast, the manner in which she sits at a table and remember you were made in the same factory.

You know how to help your child, look inside of you, and take advice from strangers.  There is many ways to kill a cat.  Keep on searching till you find that amazing spot of sun for your child.  He is fearfully and wonderfully made, God did not look away, His eyes were on her when she was formed.

The world would have been terribly boring if everyone fit the mold.  ADHD kids do not fit the mold.  They challenge, they excite and they scare the daylights out of any unsuspecting parent.  They are the colour in a black and white world.

Elsa Struwig (Owner, Elsa Struwig Centre for Trauma and Play Therapy) pointed out the following fantastic super powers of ADHD children.

If your child can understand it, encourage them with it.  Remind them, remind yourself.  The things that might get him in trouble today at school, might just be the exact same thing that opens a door to technological breakthrough tomorrow.

Here it is:

#1:  They have boundless energy!

People feed off energy.

#2:  Creativity comes easy

They make great artists, scientists and creative types.

Their brains are naturally interesting and inventive.

#3:  They think differently.

They might discover the creative solution that no one would ever think of.

#4: They have an amazing talent for detail.

They actually have the ability to focus, their focus looks different than it does in other people.

#5: They rock the things they are passionate about with hyper focus.

 #6: They have serious resilience.

Their talent for quickly shifting gears helps them stay resilient in life.

#7:  They are sensitive to others’ differences.

Since they are a little different and get what it’s like to feel this way, they understand when those around them could use a little empathy for their own unique characteristics.

#8:  They are spontaneous!

“Boring” is not a word that is usually applied to them. With a million ideas a minute, they are not willing to get mired down by routine.

#9. They are willing to take risks.

Taking risks is necessary for achieving big rewards – after all, one can only accomplish so much while staying in your comfort zone.

#10. They are enthusiastic!

Their boundless energy means they’re usually bursting with enthusiasm about the things that excite them. Is it better to go through life feeling super enthusiastic, or bored?

#11.   They have a world class imagination.

Many people with ADHD lead rich inner-lives, and are prone to long and deep daydreaming. They can use this imaginative talent to write incredible stories, dream up new inventions, or anything you want! The world is their oyster…

Can you see how positive this perspective is?  Congratulations! You are raising a super hero.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

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It will be a privilege to spend time with you!

An Ode To Our Husbands

Every in-between season, life starts dripping out of me.

I can’t tell you exactly what is happening to me then.  I just usually know that one extra step is going to be too much.  I need a break, I have to gather thoughts, do something just for myself and “smell the roses”…or have coffee with my book as a companion.

When this happens us mothers/wives need a wing man.  Someone who can see that you are battling and understand that you need a break.  It is hard for us to actually say it: “I’m tired, I need a break”. It’s almost as if we are admitting defeat.

That’s why this person can’t judge you, they need to be able to see the desperation in your eyes.

This person who knows my wake-up face and my good hair day, is my husband and best friend. The father of those interesting little beings in our house. Who knows when the best me is tired (and kind of quickly) losing the joy…

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Today I would like to thank our husbands:

Thank you guys, you help us take a breath. 

Sometimes we know it is needed, other times we can’t see it, and you can.

Thank you for sending us off to be kind to ourselves, even when you are also tired and can do with a break.

Thank you for being male and practical and NOT as emotional as us.

A little secret: Most of the times we feel capable of doing what we need to, but when we lose heart, give us a moment to re-collect.

Thank goodness it takes two to make a baby, your kids and your wife needs you.

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I must be honest, the fact that my man will always step in, especially through these difficult moments, keeps me going in many ways.

Many times when I drive far and wide, the thought crosses my mind “what if I get stranded?” (Please note: just the thought of feeling stranded between somewhere and nowhere, freaks me out!). The peace of mind I have is this:” I might be stranded for a little while, but I’m not alone, there is someone who can help me.  Soon I will be moving again to fill the spaces meant for me.”

Thank your husband ladies! Treat your wives guys.

Parenting is so much more effective as a team.

We need each other.

Written by Johanni Meiring

 

Thank you for sharing in my journey!

Do you want info about a life coaching session? 

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It will be a privilege to spend time with you!

When your Heavenly Father does not prevent your tragedy

It seems to me that all of us walk around with a specific burden.  This burden? It is the responsibility we think that we have to cause our lives to run in a way that would be perfect or as wonderful as we have always dreamed.

This burden becomes really heavy when our dreams end up unfulfilled. This life can take so many unexpected turns, turns which can break our hope for tomorrow. We so often fail at what we have worked so hard for.

These realities accompany us continuously.

When pain and tragedy happen in our lives, we often and frequently ask the question:  Where is God? We usually don’t ask this question when things are going well.   I guess that without tragedy and pain, we can imagine God being part of our lives. God is good, right?  We associate good things with Him.  When bad things happen we feel that He must have left us, or might be quietly watching while we suffer.

So many of us have experienced broken relationships with our parents so when God says that He is our Father … how can we relate?  When something bad happens to us, we immediately think that we cannot trust God.  We think of Him as an untrustworthy parent.  This causes more pain just by the mere thought of having a relationship with a Father you cannot count on, one who will make mistakes.  Humans make mistakes, and this is our reference.

Definition of a relationship: The way in which two people or things are connected.

(Cambridge English Dictionary) 

Parenting involves this undeterminable and inexplicable love between parent and child.  Something you can’t alter or change, a Godly force – I believe.  The way you act, or react towards this love is still up to you, but the force exists and we cannot change that.

This force, I believe, is what God wants us to refer to when He says that He is our Father.  God is not human and therefore does not act or react in our nature.  He is the Perfect Father.

 In our relationships with our earthly fathers we can, to a certain extent, understand and sometimes predict their parenting decisions.  Many times we do not agree with these decisions. The disagreement does not result in a change in the connection between the father and the child, but it can alter the relationship (the way of connection) between the two.

What is the way of connection between you and your Heavenly Father?  Are you connected in such a way that you have established trust in who He really is?  Are you connected to trust His decisions for your life? Are you connected to understand that in prayer conversation He really hears your heart? Are you connected to know He is intimately connected with you, even though He will not give you every heart’s desire immediately. He is a good father.  He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

In our spiritual lives we might have been expected to trust Someone whom we do not know.  When given the freedom to get to know this remarkable God we serve, something changes.  We grant ourselves permission to build the relationship, to see the process through. We make an honest effort to grow towards His being and heart. Showing our honest selves to Him is where freedom in the relationship begins.

Then I realize: God could have prevented my tragedy, but He didn’t.

Then I realize: He sees my whole life picture, and I do not.

Then I realize: He is a loving compassionate father, and not fazed by my tantrums.

Then I realize: Tomorrow something beautiful may happen, which I never could have dreamed up.

Then I realize: He REALLY will NEVER leave me, that He is the shade at my right hand

 

… then even the scared little girl in me says:

 

EVERYTHING WILL BE OK

 

Written by Johanni Meiring

Repentance: God’s way of helping us to be dependent on Him?

These weird and wonderful lives we have been born into often confuse us, ignite us, crush us and flow like waves over us.  We cannot escape it, we have to live it.  It is our gift and our cross.

Recently I’ve become so aware of the fact that the act of repentance hardly crosses my mind.  When do we think about repentance, in the midst of these lives we live?   It is almost a specific topic or theme left outside of our priorities. A subject for someone to preach over, present a course about or write a book on.

We most certainly do not regard saying : “I’m sorry” or asking for forgiveness as a way of life or a healthy habit to uphold. To be honest, the first thought that might resound with you is that: “Repentance would define me as being weak”.  We feel more comfortable with healthy habits categorized in the physical health section of our schedules and sometimes desperate short quiet times on our way to work, to school or home.

Thing is, above all, I catch myself  waking-up in the mornings with a very real need that somehow everything is; or will at some stage today, feel under (my) control.  Somewhere deep inside I – or most of us – do hear a little voice saying: “that’s not how it works”, but never the less; we will haul our beings into regaining control.  The safe, predictable side of life?

Repentance does not confirm the feeling of control or safety, what it does confirm is vulnerability, transparency and humility.  Ideas that make us feel uneasy.

I have been a child of God for a number of years, and the basics of believing in God, and accepting salvation according to Christianity Module 101 reads: “Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Yes, we did repent when we got saved, but our sins most definitely did not disappear into thin air.  We are saved day after day, after day.  When our dependence on God shifts to our human effort our help most definitely does not come from the Maker of heaven and earth.  Why would I then ask for forgiveness from someone whom I do not involve in my everyday life, struggles, joys, victories?  We hardly ask for forgiveness from each other, we defend, attack or look for excuses for our behavior.

God urges us to repent so that we will not hide from Him in shame and try to do everything by ourselves.  He teaches us to trust Him with our deepest darkest secrets so that He can help us out of the mess we made.  Repentance turns agony into freedom, control into surrender, us to be victorious in this life because we “ooze” out of the Vine.  Repentance turns into dependence on God. Repentance puts a hold on a judgmental attitude.

This is both good things.

We need to learn to depend, hope and trust in Him.  Not just read the verse and say the words.

If we do not repent, we hide from God.  We miss out on all He can do for us, the strength, the peace and the love He has for us.  We forget that nothing can separate us from His love, He knows our sins, but He cannot forgive if our hearts doesn’t repent.  That’s all we need to do, instead of all the other things we do to secure the hiding place away from God and the truth.

Right in the beginning on that woeful day when Adam and Eve believed the enemy’s lies, they hid away.  God understood their shamefulness and covered them up with animal skin.  He understood, He didn’t expose, He covered them.  His Son’s blood covers our sins now.

He is our safe place to talk.

Repentance is not about Him, it’s about us, that’s why Jesus had to die, so that we could be safe, with Him, under His wings.

His word is so clear on this. He aches to stand in the gap of sin for us.

I encourage you to take the risk, and be honest with Him.  Share your heart with Him.  Your relief will be much more than you can dare to imagine.

These verses spoke to my heart, I pray that they might speak to yours too.

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The Work Of Our Hands – The Burden – The Joy.

I, being the idealist I am, always look for significance.  If  I’m visiting friends or if I’m washing dishes.  The thought of “What am I doing this for?” follows me.  I have hoped so many times that ,at some stage, it will get easier to accept the tasks, ever present.  But to be honest, it’s difficult.  I struggle to accept the “just because” reason behind working and living.  I look for meaning constantly.

Recently, I spent some time in King Solomon’s way of seeing things.  Ecclesiastes, to be honest, can be depressing.  Here, he continually carries on about how nothing has meaning.  While reading this book I desperately started looking for the positive.  This is the Word of God, after all, there must be significance to these words… Then I found this verse: ”Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him – for this is his lot.” (Eccl 5:18, NIV)  Taking in consideration that this man was recognized for having received wisdom from God, these words mean a lot.  ”…to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor” and the fear of God is the only things he recognizes as being worth anything.

Are you intrigued yet?

While trying to sharpen my life coaching skills I started paging around in a business focused book called “Leadership – The Care and Growth Model” by Etsko Schuitema.  In short; the book focuses a lot on the bottom line laborer, the person who is doing the work, and the dignity they deserve.  In the book a story about a comb-maker is quoted, these words stood out to me: “My work might seem crude to you, but it harbors a subtle meaning that cannot be explained in words.” (Taken out of a book on the city of Fez in Morocco, Titus Burckhardt). Right there, I could hear the significance the comb-maker found in “his toilsome labour”.

Even though industrialization could have taken much of the art of work away.  I believe that God can give those, who seek His will, the satisfaction we need in our work or daily task. Because see … no one will ever answer a switchboard again, like you do.  Whether you data capture or change diapers.  Whether you top manage a company, or sweep the floor.  Whether you clean your house, or skill fully guide your children through school.  Your daily task adds significance.

You were there today! You did it, and that changed the world.

In the next verse in Ecclesiastes our wise king continues: “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.  He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Eccl 5:19).

The enjoyment and uniqueness of the daily task is a gift He wants to give us.  He knows we need it, He made us that way.

Let us ask Him for the gift of happy handiwork.  Maybe your job will change, maybe it won’t, but your heart will.

May the work of your hands be glorified today, and every day. May you experience the full satisfaction of life through the gift of the work of your hands.

May your perception of the work that flows out of your hands, never be the same again.

Written by Johanni Meiring

 

Time … tick tock …tick tock

Does the title of this blog triggers something in you?  A sense of urgency? A sense of helplessness, or even fear?

If you would ask anyone around you what they would consider as their ideal day? I am willing to bet that many will reply with a need for more time.  People need time for a million different reasons, of course, but to have more time feels like gold in your pocket these days.

For those diligent and determined ones there is also unlimited sources of time management courses and tips. In spite of these courses, if you look around, you will not easily find an entirely, rested, excited person who will respond to the: “How are you?” question with :”So well, I have so much time and am planning what to do with it…” Nope the answer is most probably” “I’m doing well, just busy…” We seem so busy, so unrested, and often so despondent about what we need to do in a day.

The time we have does not seem sufficient …

The wise Solomon does not agree when he writes in Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

The difference between him and us is: When he lived, they were still physically bound to seasons for the life sustenance, and therefore seasons made sense to them.  The necessities in life such as food, clothes and houses worked together with patience. Waiting for seasons to change.

We, on the other hand, WANT and in many circumstances CAN HAVE everything NOW. Very few types of food can’t be supplied in any season.  If it’s not naturally available in our country we import or culture it.  If we need cash, we get is from an ATM quickly.  If we want to speak to someone, we immediately phone and they immediately answer (in most cases) or they phone back quickly.  If we have a request we immediately WhatsApp and they immediately answer.  If we are hungry we take-away, microwave or cook fast.  If we want information, we type in two words on a search engine and “bam” we have answers.  If we want to buy a house there is so many options to choose from you have to get training just to understand all your options.

The result is that we have everything we want all the time, except the important golden string that holds our lives together.  The string called Time in which God created us in the beginning, and after the fall, which He altered to have an end.  We always have too little time because we do everything at once.  Can patience be the answer to our great need?

Time was meant to be a gift, a precious gift together with the gift of free will in order for us to choose how to spend it.  Do not be fooled with the lie that you have no choices, we always have choices it is part of our make-up.

Anyone who has tried to organize their lives, who is constantly trying to find time, or use it wisely knows that prioritizing plays an integral part of this mission.  At work, at home, in relationships.  We need to prioritize.  When we do that, we map out our beginnings and endings.  The beginning of our day, the end of a project.  The beginning of a year the end of a career.  The beginning of a new life in a new country, the end of another season before the move.

Jesus gave tips on prioritizing and he coupled it with stress.  He knew that the people then, like us now, would worry. He knew surviving, just living or over doing it would overwhelm us, steal our focus and our peace.  He gives good advice, sensible and solid.

In Matt 6:25-34 He speaks straight into the matter.  He says that He will supply.  If you need proof, look at nature.  The animals, He keeps them together.  He looks after them.

What must we do with our time, while surviving?  PRIORITIZE!

v33:  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Please note: We are not to conquer, have all the answers, and be perfect in this case of prioritizing.  No…just to seek His kingdom, to knock, to draw near.  The action is not to become holy instantaneously, but to reach out your hand towards God first, before choosing anxious living and to desperately please people instead of surrendering to God.

What would prioritizing God mean for you? Is it to get down on your knees for five minutes before storming towards the day?  Would it be to pen Him in properly in that busy calendar of yours?  Or, just honestly talking, praying, crying before Him in your car all the way to work?

I think our time is gone because the core of our time management – Prioritizing- got lost in the mix.  The less time we have, the more tired and overwhelmed we get, and the further and further away the thought of prioritizing move from us.

Can you trust Him for …”all these things” that you need? Did you know that without all the worry there is Peace?  True Peace.

In many ways, the Word is much more practical than we think.

Another banner towards prioritizing is of course the only rules Jesus gave us before He left this earth:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the FIRST and greatest commandment.  And the SECOND is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22: 37-39)

Love and relationship develops over TIME, spend time with your first love,

And See How Your Life Transforms.

 

Written by Johanni Meiring

The mommy exercised and could find herself a bit more …

Today I had the privilege to go to the gym. To try and breathe away all the thoughts in my head about kids, work, friends, my self discovery.

I know it can’t just be the endorphins that really help the positivity settle in me. I like myself more after I’ve worked out, as if I deserve a pat on the back. It’s weird…because seriously, who cares. If I’m at the gym or not, who is going to know? Then it dawned on me: it is a moment of getting the control back. Me taking the decision and acting upon it. And then me achieving the goal. Success!

Parenting hardly ever awards you with the successful sticker. Opinions of success is expressed and experiences are shared, but no one with one standard code of parenting can award or grade you. Therefore, I believe, we “keep calm and carry on”. We look for places to be successful to get the sticker. Our careers, our relationships, our faith.

This brings me to the journey of self discovery I am in. It sounds quite simple, but it is not. Getting to know, accept or even like yourself can be a very demanding project. The result being that you automatically start to question the motives of everything you do. Self dialogue and God dialogue is triggered constantly.

As a parent I need to know myself, and why I react in certain ways. If I understand myself more clearly I can parent my children and teach them understanding. I can check myself, relax more in certain areas and give more in others. If I acknowledge myself more, maybe I can see the achievement in my way of parenting and hand out the sticker myself.

All of these thoughts could be conceptualized in my gym session. Thank you that I could share it with you.

If you do not gym or like exercise I urge you to find your thing. Be it arts, gardening, maintenance work, sowing whatever.

Regard yourself.

Listen and enjoy!

Written by Johanni Meiring