The story of your life

This is the story of your life.

We were so excited when we found out about you. I was hesitant to believe that it was real. It took a few days and three tests for me to finally believe that you were really there, just tiny potential.

From the moment we had even the thought that you could be, we prayed for you. And we started loving you. We told those closest to us, we couldn’t wait to share the news of you. It was the day before my birthday and you were the best gift I could ever ask for. A baby. Our own little person.

I woke up on my 29th birthday to the most intense pain I had ever felt. Something was wrong. We decided to go to the hospital immediately. I was afraid that I was overreacting, I can be a tad hypochondriacal.  After a long wait and a brief examination, the extremely kind doctor explained that you were gone. There was no cause, I hadn’t done anything to hurt you. I had only just known for sure that you were there. Less than 24 hours later you were just gone. I lost you.

The rest of that day turned out to be the worst of my life so far. We shared news again but this time, every time we repeated it, repeated the word, it wrenched at our hearts.

Miscarriage. I miss carried you. I didn’t carry you. I didn’t hold you. Not properly or well enough or long enough.

It’s natural. It happens a lot. It’s not anyone’s fault. There’s nothing that could have been done. It’s more common than most people think. It was so early. But I still feel the pain of losing you.

You were barely the size of a poppy seed. You didn’t have a name, or a funeral. Some may say you weren’t very much at all.

But for a brief while, you were a life. And you were ours. And now, you’re His again. You were created by love, and now you exist surrounded by the most perfect love.

I share your story because I now know that so many women go through this, and don’t need to go through it alone. This isn’t something that blows over. This affects families and marriages and mothers. This can breed fear and feelings of inadequacy or guilt. I have heard so many stories, nearly everyone I have spoken to about this has some experience of it.

So this is your story, and mine. I hope that at the very least, it helps someone else to feel the support and understanding I have encountered. You were a blessing, and your story may yet be a blessing of comfort to someone else. ❤

 

Family History

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A couple of weeks ago I had a fight with my brother. The worst we’ve every really had. I was sleep deprived because of exams, he wasn’t having a very good day either. We started off having a normal conversation but it quickly escalated into me in tears and him storming off.

You see, we have a complicated family history. More complicated than even I know. And that is exactly what lead to this fight. I had made a decision that I probably would not have made had I known about something in our family’s past. I know very little about my family’s past incidentally. I’m the youngest of three siblings and the age gap is quite large. So my brothers have always tried to protect me from some of the more difficult times or stories.

The trouble is, I’m not a child anymore, and they don’t need to bear the weight of the knowledge alone. We tend towards silence in my family. Oh, when we’re together we laugh and joke about the good times, and sometimes about the not so good times, but we barely talk about the really, really difficult times. We certainly hardly ever tell each other how we really feel about important things.

Why do we allow these silences, these repressions? Why is there silence surrounding abuse or silence around illness or silence when we are hurt. “Rather leave it” is a phrase I am all too familiar with when it comes to difficult topics. “It’s not worth the fight” is another. Well it is worth the fight. If it’s your family, fighting should be something we are willing to do to move forward.

I was ready to “rather leave it” with my brother that day. I had my keys in my hand and was ready to leave, except that I couldn’t really see through the tears. I was resolved to never share anything with anyone in my family again. But I refused to remain silent. I marched into my brother’s room and told him how I felt. We both got more upset. Then we both cried. And we both told each other things that had been burdening our hearts, things that we should have shared with each other so long ago. After that, I feel closer to him than ever. I feel unburdened. I have more knowledge and can make better decisions. I believe we both grew from the experience.

We’ve already lost a father, and he died leaving so many things unsaid. We should have said more to him too. We are always wiser in hindsight. We need to stop the silence, and keep fighting. If not for ourselves, then for our families, to stop history from repeating itself.

A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” Proverbs 15:1-2

Dear Daddy

Dear daddy on your 68th birthday.
You’ve been gone for 8 years now. I live in your house, surrounded by memories of you. Far too few memories as it turns out. I keep discovering more about you as time goes by. I know you’re happy that we’re in your house, I feel you there often. You seem content.
I always imagine you on your birthday, surrounded by your kids and grandkids, eating and laughing and probably watching Leon Schuster.

You would love Lincoln and Mika so much, your eyes would light up when you hear their laughter. You would be proud of the wonderful fathers and providers your sons are.

You would really like my husband. He cooks the most incredible food and loves having people around. He is the funniest person I know and is a talented musician. He reminds me of you sometimes, the good parts.

I miss you daddy. No matter how much time passes, my heart aches for you. Especially because I wasted so much time as a selfish teen, more concerned with her own issues and drama than with truly honouring my parents, no matter their faults. I feel like I missed out on getting to know you as a person and that I didn’t have nearly enough time with you, but I know that you were proud of me and knew that I loved you when you died.

I know that you’re with God in a place without pain or disability and where the biltong and sourfig jam is in abundance. But sometimes I wish we could just have one more dinner where I could drink in the colour of your eyes and the sound of your laugh.

I wish that we could share some curry and watch as you enjoyed your food voraciously. I wish that I could watch the tears of joy dance in your eyes as your sons tease me. I wish you could have been at my wedding. You, saying you’re a “cat hey”, telling my mom she’s “taatie”, telling me once again “you…look…bea-u-ti-ful” and walking me down the aisle. I wish we could have had the daddy-daughter dance I’ve always wanted. Uncle P stepped in, it was lovely, and I know that you were watching every moment.

Thank you for the love I never appreciated when you were here. Thank you that you had a part in shaping who I am, whether for good or bad.

Until I see you again, know that you are loved and missed.

From,

img-20160914-wa0000 your little Princess of Lansdowne.

 

Day 30:My Writing

So I am finally at the end of the Writer’s bootcamp topics and it only took me 11 months or so to complete a thirty day challenge. That probably says more about me than I want to know right now.

I decided to take up this challenge simply to write more than I had in previous years and I definitely succeeded. There were a few times that I just didn’t like the topics provided and a couple of times that I purposefully decided to interpret the topics to suit whatever was inspiring me at the time. Overall, I was inspired to write and to keep writing, even after taking extended breaks.

I don’t know if I’d do it again but I do know that it helped me to write more than I have before and to broaden my understanding of what I want my blog to be about. I always want to have the focus firmly on Christ and will be honest about what is on my heart, but I can also be playful and silly and perhaps talk about my hair and whatever else comes up.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me, my nameless readers. I hope that you’ll see even more of me in 2016.

 

Day 29: X-ray(ted)

Ok so once again, I’ve changed the topic slightly but whatever, it’s my blog.

I couldn’t think if anything to do with X-rays so I want to look at something that has been bothering me for quite some time, and that is the fact that we have become squeamish about talking about taboo topics. I have always attempted to talk to the teens we work with about any topic they want to discuss and to open dialogue on those things that their parents are not comfortable discussing with them. Since I’ve been teaching Life Orientation I have realised just how uninformed teens can be. This should not be the case.

If you have heard my testimony or have been following this blog, you would know that I focus on relationships quite a lot. I do this because I could have used some of this information when I was younger and I am hoping that this blog reaches those who ordinarily would not go to anyone for advice on these topics. I also have a pretty firm stand on sexual relationships.

I know what it is like to live struggling with lust. I know how it tears at your soul and makes you feel as if you are dirty and evil. I know how the world and your friends and your boyfriend will tell you that there is nothing wrong with it, you’re just experimenting. They are wrong. I cannot give you a list of steps detailing how to overcome lust, but I can help you get through it, I can give you some tips, I can talk about the topic no one else wants to. If you’re a male and reading this, my husband can do the same for you.

What I’m trying to say is that sex and lust are dangerous things to play with and that if you want to ask any questions, contact me here. If you know me personally, drop me a message. Don’t continue to hold on to the guilt and secrets. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’m here for you.

 

Day 28: Politics and Drama

Doesn’t this topic just describe our government lately? Drama.

I honestly would like to reserve my political comments as this is something that I choose not to write about. What I will say is that no matter what happens, I still believe in us. I believe that this country has the potential to be great. There was a time when we inspired the world and I believe that we will do so again. The only way that can happen is if we act out of love and stop being apathetic about the situation. If you want to leave the country for what seems to be greener pastures, then go. I want to stay and try to influence the next generation to be better and to love and forgive and to live in true equality.

Yes it may be a Utopian dream but I know that it’s a dream worth believing. And until society really is civilised, I will live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.

 

Day 27: Bucket List

I’ve never thought of writing one of these bucket lists because I thought that it was a little lame and had become cliché. I don’t want to focus on a list of things to do before I die, but rather want to focus on the person I want to become. I know that my experiences become part of who I am but somehow a bucket list feels like little boxes to check to feel accomplished. I took a look at a few sample ideas for bucket lists and they seem very close to “to do lists; “Do this before then to feel better about yourself”.

Writing this list on New Year’s eve reminds me of why I don’t do resolutions every year. I don’t want to lie to myself and increase the pressure of daily life because it’s January. So here is my version of a New Year’s resolution bucket list, written under slight protest:

1. Seek God in everything

2. Learn to love unconditionally

3. Live an excellent life

4. Be a better wife

5. Become a good mother

6. Be kinder

7. Be more patient

8. Stop being critical

9. Take better care of my body

10. Spend more time with my family

11. Laugh without reservation

12. Live generously

13. Be fearless

14. Learn constantly

15. Share my heart

16. Change the world one life at a time

 

 

Day 26: Friends

I’ve become a bit introspective over the last year or so, and have been more conscious regarding where and how I spend my time. Not that I’m anywhere near feeling like an adult, but as I’ve grown (up) I have begun to pay more attention to how I choose my friends. I am no longer forced into friendships as I was by circumstance during high school and at university. I now have more of a luxury to choose my friends based on similar interests.

At some point friendships have to be based on more than liking the same things though. I have had to take stock several times this year and learn the difference between friends and people who you hang out with. To me, friendship means going out of your way to show that you love and care for the other person. I am always slightly shocked when the other person does not feel the same way. Growing up in the way I did meant that I was disappointed quite a lot. It has taken me a long time to realise that I cannot expect the same from people as I a willing to give. That will always lead to disappointment. Instead, I have needed to guard my heart ever so slightly and still attempt to show love while being aware of people’s weaknesses, and my own faults. I’m still navigating this and I don’t want it to detract from my calling to love others, I just don’t know where the line lies between being hurt constantly and loving sacrificially.

That’s where God comes in. He has been increasingly showing me who needs me to reach out and when. As I listen to His voice, those fears of being hurt are silenced and I can trust that no matter what happens, it will all work out ❤

Day 25: Write about what you like

I love interpreting the writing topics to suit what I’m thinking about but these freebie topics are even better. With the school term ending this week, I’ve been reflecting on how I finally ended up teaching.

After ending my studies with a -shall we say- less than satisfactory result, I was left feeling rather lost. I had been a student for so long that I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. I was twenty seven years old and for the first time in my life, I had no plan, no goal, and didn’t know how to find one anymore. It didn’t help that my literature degree didn’t qualify me to do what I thought I wanted. Each prospective employer I heard from was either looking for experience or a more practical qualification. I eventually took a couple of office admin contracts in order to pay the bills.

I did well in my role and at times went beyond what was required of me. Unfortunately I seem to lack the ability to work for the sake of work and to just do something that I am able to do well. I need a reason to get out of bed to go to work and that reason can’t be that I’m broke. I kept applying to jobs I knew I would be happy doing- writing and editing work. Nothing went my way until I was going through job sites yet again and I saw an available teaching post at a nearby school. It made me realise that what I missed most was the years of tutoring first year classes. I missed teaching.

My prayers changed their tone from desperation to hope, I prayed for the right job at the right time. My contract was coming to an end and nothing was materializing but we kept praying and kept believing that the right job would come along. Eventually, two weeks before I would be jobless, I was contacted by a school I had never heard of and was offered a position for which I hadn’t applied. I couldn’t deny that it was God’s perfect timing. This school is a Muslim school, an institution which both challenges me every day and which affords me opportunities to impact the lives of teens who have never met anyone like me.

In the few months that I have been teaching, I’ve fallen in love with the profession. If you had known me when I was studying my undergraduate degree, you would know that I didn’t want to be a teacher because I believe that teaching isn’t merely a profession, it is a vocation. My kids (sorry, learners) have shown me that this is incredibly true. Sometimes I still don’t want to get out of bed but that has more to do with my Hubbly’s cuddliness than anything else. I love my job and my kids and sometimes even my colleagues. Most of all, I love that I have found my passion and my purpose with God’s guidance.

Day 24: What’s in my car

If you have ever been in my car, you will have heard me apologize for the state it’s in. It’s pretty dirty. Ok, it’s dirtier than Christina in 2002. There are always food packets and water bottles lying around because we are constantly on the go.

Hubbly and I spend most of our time in the car. Driving to work, church, band, soccer, friends, and family. Since we live on the coast it’s a twenty minute drive to anywhere fun or important. The cars we drive reflect that and the fact that we don’t have much time on our hands to clean out the cars, because we are always driving somewhere.

Even before we were married, we were always on the go. Or relationship was built in the car. When we started dating, I lived in Stellenbosch and he lived in Cape Town. He visited or fetched me every weekend until I had my own car. Long drives to our families meant that we could have lengthy and deep conversations. We sing together in the car. I love looking over at him while driving and knowing that I get to do this for the rest of our lives.

What’s in my car is memories. The ladybug on my dashboard reminds me of driving around for and to my friend’s bridal shower. The Spongebob hanging from my rear view mirror reminds me of returning to Stellenbosch after my father died and my Pastor trying to make me smile. The magnet on my door reminds me of my lift club to UWC and all the weird conversations we had. What’s in my car is love and independence and conversation and karaoke parties and early morning adventures and late night escapades and driving holiday club kids around and soccer boys and youth kids. So if my car is dirty, don’t mind it. It’s just life being lived.