He is a Father…

time

The biggest buzz at this moment in the South African Christian world is that the very controversial pastor from America, Steven Anderson, was banned from coming to South Africa.I followed the story, but quickly got bored with all bickering and went on with my day.

Today marked the day that my boy started to walk confidently. I posted about this event just two weeks ago, but a week after David took his first steps, he just stopped. I could not fathom why and google was at a loss with all my endless questions as to why he stopped walking. Finally, I just gave up and let him be, and what do you know, he starts walking confidently all by himself.

While I was outside with my boy walking away, I suddenly felt the presence of God. Peace came around me and mister waddle in front of me. Through all the giggles of my little who is discovering the world at an alarmingly fast pace, I was vaguely aware of His Presence. It was as if God was walking with me and both Him and I were astonished at the beauty of this boy and his innocence.

I took note of this and went of with my day.

I hurt my Achilles tendon through who knows what and was on my way to the physiotherapist this afternoon when I sensed God again. This time, just riding with me in my car, soaking up the glorious sunshine. My upcoming trip to Israel is two weeks away and the timing of this injury is just not ideal. I chatted to Him about it, but just received a calm reassurance that all will be ok.

As I pulled up at the practice, I heard Him say: “You are a beautiful woman.”  As He said it, I was right at the door of the practice that had a mirror in . I looked at my reflection and saw the bandage around my ankle and my very sweaty face, but I felt His adoration and lifted my head in confidence.

This evening we went to the beach and once again God came with. My dogs actually behaved themselves and allowed a little boy to pat them without jumping up against him. My husband was processing his day with me and again, I heard God’s voice: ” He is My beloved son.”

Only now, it dawned on me, I think Mr Steven Anderson has not tasted the love of this Father yet. He knows God but missed the heart of the Father. Only orphan thinking would wish doom on a country when he has been banned from it. Only orphans will point fingers filled with wrath at how lost our nation is .  A true son will take responsibility and step up to the plate. Like the One true Son did so many years ago. The One that was without sin, became sin for us to walk free. My prayer now for this man is that he will receive such a revelation of God’s Father heart.

He is a Father in our everyday lives and He is absolutely besotted with us. He is not ashamed to be seen with us. His Love is proud to be seen with me. He does not give His heart in pieces, He gave it wholly. His Love is a fire burning bright for me. His love is not passive and it is never disengaged. His love hangs on every word He says.

 

love

 

Selah.

 

Advertisements

Standing like those before me

Woorde

Yesterday, while driving back from a weekend away with family, I looked out of the window of the car and saw the signs of spring. It was a cold, windy day and although the temperatures indicated that spring is still a distant hope, the budding flowers on the trees were evidence that this is not the case.

I stared in wonder at the textures, the dark grey cloudy sky, the green fynbos, the beautiful pink flowers and yellow canola fields. Peace overcame my heart and I just realised, live goes on in the middle of it all. Seasons start and seasons pass, yet through it all He is faithful.

Last night we experienced a thunderstorm, something that is not common here in the Cape. It was loud and both my husband and I woke up to the thunder. We looked into our baby boy and saw him sound asleep. The wonder of his peace  in the middle of the storm, made me look at Jesus. All these things just bring me to my knees. He is a God far above my understanding and expression.

Last week I felt a prompting to read the crucifixion. I finally feel bold enough to type this: If Christianity seems  legalistic and full judgement to you, I can now honestly say, as someone that finally embraced His Grace in my life, you believe the wrong gospel. Just reading through Mathew made me realise this God is a consuming fire of love. I don’t read judgement, I read sacrifice all out of a pure heart of LOVE:

[Mat 27:45-54 NKJV] 45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard [that], said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled [it] with sour wine and put [it] on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Imagine just the absolute shock of the soldiers when they realised that they indeed did crucify the Son of God!

See, here is the thing, we all fall short of the glory of God. We are all enemies of God. Maybe that self-righteous Christian caused you to stop believing in Him. If this is true, I am so sorry that you experienced such judgement, but I can tell you it is not God.

See moments before Jesus died and all these miracles happened at His death, just proving that He is indeed the son of God, He prayed: “Father, forgive them as they do not know what they do. ”

In this prayer, one can see His heart. In His darkest hour, He forgave and still gave up His life to buy us free. Our fight is not against flesh and blood. It is not against the person who judges, persecutes or even maliciously hurts you. It is the devil who had a right to our lives. His right was to kill, steal and destroy. And here is the shocker. We gave him that right. At the sin Fall, we chose the lie of the enemy above the truth of our Maker and through this, we became enemies of Him.

Then God sends His son, while we were still enemies of God, and set us free from the curse we brought upon ourselves. He made a new covenant with us that doesn’t have to be sustained by us, but by His perfect grace in us. This is all Love.

Not one of us has a foot to stand on. We don’t have a wagging finger to show, we only have the grace that was freely given and I pray that you, hurting due to all the judgement, may see this.

You are not you, without Him.

When I think about all of this, I am truly humbled. Really, my life is glorious, but I do know it is really not because I was acting gloriously. I do too struggle, yet every time He comes and restores. I am completely baffled.

My prayer is that one day my boy may know this God and follow Him.

Like so many others before me, I now stand in absolute awe of Him.

“Saam met engele wil ek ook nou iets bring, my woorde is min, maar hier moet ek begin want U is Alles vir my.” -Retief Burger.

 

 

Fruit of an unsatisfied life

It is not often that you come to a place where you have to face facts: This life is just not turning out as you dreamed it to be. That hopeless feeling of just never catching a break, just never reaching that place in your business, just never being able to breathe and just be.

We have become a culture addicted to travel. Why? Because it helps us to escape. We have become wanderlusts.

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

All is good to go on holiday,but something seriously wrong if it is our means of escape from reality and responsibility.

I was THE wanderlust. Since a little child, I wanted to travel and explore. I am a number 7 on the Enneagram personality test. A 7 is scared that life will not be an adventure. So I chased adventure, whether it was to have a nice cup of coffee with my mac on my table, music in my ears and staring across the sea, or planning the next trip to somewhere.

I always say it is much easier to go and explore outside and than to sit still and look inside of yourself. When we minister we often ask people to talk to God about what we are ministering on, as soon as we ask them to be vulnerable and share, they start preaching. They tell us what they learned, not what they were feeling.

The first sign of living an unsatisfied life is not being able to be vulnerable.

What does it mean to be vulnerable? It means you open up the you that is the most difficult to defend. Scary right? Yet, we have become so accustomed to not share that one part of ourselves out of fear that we ourselves don’t even go there. Instead we wander and explore spiritually and physically, hoping that this experience will numb the numbness inside ourselves.

Second sign of an unsatisfied life and it goes hand in hand with being vulnerable is to be able to connect. Intimacy is starting to decline in this society due to us not being able to show ourselves. A great definition of intimacy is by Danny Silk: Into me you see. It is coming to that place where you show the true you to someone that you love and feel safe with and allowing that person to connect with you.

Third sign is anxiety. To me anxiety is a feeling of being out of control. It is that feeling of not being able to meet the standard. Yesterday I had to renew my license and part of the process is to do an eye test. I can see, I am a photographer,but still the word “test” made my hands sweat and I held my breath  as I did the test. Finally when the official said that I have past the test, I relaxed. You see, my brain registered that there is a standard that I need to fulfil and immediately I started to perform to reach that standard. {Look at me being vulnerable here}.

Being an anxious person means that you believe a lie that you are not enough. Or if you do show the true you, you are too much to handle. The key is here, you. You are not satisfied with yourself.

We have so many coping meganisms just to get through this life. Some smoke, drink lots of coffee or alcohol , do drugs, travel, exercise excessively, become spiritualists, even go to church often, all in the process to help us cope.

But here is the thing, we were not created to cope, we were created to thrive and rule and reign on this earth.

This is my story: I was very unsatisfied with myself. My father one day looked at me when I was just a teenager and said: Make peace with who you are. I tried. I took on so many persona’s just to be able to define myself. I became the traveller,the christian, the preacher, the prophet, the writer and the photographer.Later I became the wife and seven years later, the mother. With every journey I found a piece of me, but still there was a longing and a hardness in my heart that just did not settle.

I am married to one incredible man, who was on a similar journey earlier in his life and did find what he was looking for. One night, he asked me: What about this? And it hit me. I have been carrying a pain that happened so many years ago that I can’t even remember the details.. but when it happened, I started to believe that God doesn’t care about me. I looked into myself and saw the confusion and pain that this situation caused,and instead of hiding it again, I took it to the One who I believed have failed me.

And a wonderful thing happened. He cried. Pappa God cried over my pain. Not because He felt guilty that I had to experience it, no, because He never intended it to happen to me. He didn’t cause it to happen, yet it did and it defined my life. Finally, I came to Him for redemption. And I met an incredible,beautiful and loving Father.

I cannot describe what I have been going through since. I lost 12kg, I started running, I cook {miracle in itself}, I celebrate my two beautiful men and furballs, I started to have compassion on people. I stopped performing for work.Judgement stopped in my life and I started to thrive.

I found peace and became satisfied in this life!

When I dealt with that pain, my perspective changed. Previously I was focused on me and what I can get out of God, but now, I became a son of God. I see Him for who He is and fell in love all over again. My heart became that of a blessing and I want to celebrate and worship Him in all His glory. My trust was restored in Him and I can walk with my head held high, knowing that My Daddy got this.

Be blessed!

Living a life without regret

This past week, I was on this mission to find a nice pair of jeans. Poor David has to tag along as I power walk from one shop to the next. In Woolworths, I was just on my way out of the changing rooms, disappointed that I yet have to find the right fit, when I past a elderly gentleman. He stopped me with his crooked finger and pointed at my boy:

“May I look at him?” He asked.

Any mom with such a handsome baby will never pass the opportunity to receive praise with regards to her boy. “Sure!” I said , paused and waited for the praise songs to begin. {Have you seen him lately? Stunner!}

“I wish I was that young again.” He said and looked at me with a sparkle in his eye and off he went with his walking stick and left me puzzled.

That was a first. Normally, the elderly folk oooh and aah around my boy and his hair. I started walking again and thought about the old man’s comment.

That comment was loaded and could mean one of two things. Either he had a very bad life and was full of regret and wanted a second chance to this game of life, or he had a fantastic one and wanted it all over again.

My guess was number two. Just the sparkle in his eyes and his smile made me realise that this Oupa lived.

This made me ponder my own life. Am I ready to say I will do it all over again? No regrets?

How do we live a life without regret? Do we go after every adventure to make sure we never miss a thing? Travel the world, start countless businesses, become famous? How do we determine when we made a mistake and can put it in the bucket of regret?

My life danced before my eyes, and I tried to find regret in it. Yes, here and there is something that I wish didn’t happen. Like me being unkind to a friend or being so self absorbed that I missed my husband’s tired eyes. But even with those events, I take it as a learning curve  rather than a regretful event.

But I remember a young Linda, maybe 21, I remember how full of regret I was. At  a very young age, I made a lot mistakes that really made me wish I never made them. The pain that came with it was not worth it.

Today, I struggle to find mistakes and put them in the regret bin. I do make mistakes, yes, but I come to learn that it is more opportunities to grow.

This change of mind came when I really got to know Jesus. Not only believe in Him as my Saviour, but got to know Him as my friend.

Through His eyes, I started to see myself and my life. Even when I go through a difficult patch, I am reminded of his goodness.

The other day, Stoffel and I chatted about where we are at. We are so incredibly blessed. We have seen and experienced stuff that we would have never experienced if it wasn’t for Jesus and His guidance.

I come alive just by thinking of Him. He is the biggest adventure that I ever embarked on. Him, His heart for the nations and His Kingdom.

I am so thankful for His love that set my heart free to live as one that is unconditionally loved.

And to me that is living a life without regret: To know that you are loved and free.

 

Enjoy your day!

November 12, 2015Linda Fourie Photography

Voices that count

A couple of months ago, I started to get irritated with Facebook. {I blame the preggie hormones} About a week ago,I decided to leave Facebook for awhile, just until I am more my usual self. My life is about to change forever and I wanted to spend the last month before David arrives,with Stoffel. I love this man more than life itself. I have to say I am so thankful I did it, we are spending more time together and we talk about all that is on our mind. We also don’t have DSTV, so it is just the two of us in the evenings and our two furry kids. Obviously I am wise and did not close my business pages, so this might be where you found this link. Looking back now, I realised that my irritation with Facebook, might have been a God thing, because since I silenced this online voice, His voice became VERY clear.

Let me explain, and please don’t see this as an anti Facebook post. I still believe that it is a great SOCIAL tool, but for where I am at, I needed a break. I am always honest in my blogposts, people know so much about my life by reading about it. I do not mind, I chose to share. Since I can remember, people prophesied over my life that I will be a voice to the nations. This specific word gets me so excited, because I love words and love nations. I have seen how God has used me in nations already. I have seen how my presence was used by Him to change lives. It blesses my heart and I am standing in awe of Him.Then I got TB and my blog became my voice. I honestly shared my real experiences with you, the reader.

Recently I watched a video clip of Trevor Noah and Jerry Seinfeld. Two comedians having coffee. They made an interesting comment about how you can live your life in only your underwear. Everything is online now. Community, church and even buying food are online. Then Trevor Noah said something that stuck with me. He said that you can even protest online while being in your underwear, which sort of became a contradiction to what protesting is about. To protest, you need to stand actively against something and make your voice known. Today we protest by Facebook statuses or Twitter updates.

When I was just diagnosed with TB, I had to go to a TB hospital {which is a public hospital in South Africa. Medical aid does not cover TB treatment as it is to expensive.} TB is also a epidemic in our country and as a TB patient you are required by Law to register your disease. You then get a number and they track you. If you do not check in at your registered clinic for treatment EVERY week, they have people that will come and look for you. Very serious business as you can see.

Anyway, I was in this hospital to get registered, weighed and get my first week of treatment. As I was sitting in line waiting for my appointment, I sat next to a young mom and her 4 year old. You see, TB has a stigma and there are only a few certain people who further their studies in it. Unfortunately it is not always the people who speak the same language than their patients. In this case the nurse was Afrikaans and the patient’s mother was Xhosa. I then witnessed a very traumatic experience. Due to the language barrier another patient was asked to translate the afrikaans to xhosa.

This is how it works, you get three types of TB. DR which stands for Drug Resistant TB. You get treatment for it and survival rate is high. Then you get MDR TB that stands for Multiple drug resistant TB, treatment is available for it, but it is a minimum of 2 years of treatment that costs about R650 a day and it is excruciating. Survival rate is very low even after treatment.Then there is XDMR TB that stands for extreme drug resistant TB. They are in the process of discovering a treatment for it and survival rate is less than 2%. How it works is if you do not follow your treatment correctly for DR-TB the disease develops a resistance against treatment and becomes either MDR or XDMR. But both MDR and XDMR TB have now become diseases on its own. In other words, you can walk past someone that has MDR TB and you can then become affected by it, if they cough on you. You will then not start at the beginning with DR TB but will have MDR TB. It is a deadly disease that is airborne.

As the nurse was talking to the translator, my heart sank. The mother of the young patient cannot read and due to her not being able to read and understand how treatment works, her daughter’s treatment was at fault which caused MDR TB to become active. I basically watched how a young mother received a death sentence for her daughter.

Today I was reminded of this experience. Over the weekend someone mentioned how we live in a bubble. The truth is, we might think we make a difference by protesting on Facebook, and in a certain cases you do, but the real situations that need a voice of truth to bring a change, is not on Facebook. Again this weekend I watched a documentary about two teenagers who wanted to fight for freedom of speech in a closed of nation. They started a Facebook page to protest against it and soon there were a lot of followers. They mistakenly took this sudden fame as support for their cause and without thinking went to that country to make a difference, not prepared and not at all in the right light. Needless to say they soon got into a lot of trouble.

What is true in your environment, is not necessarily true in other areas. I hear people speak out against Doctors and it breaks my heart. In reality we as South Africans have the best medical trained people in the world. Just because we read a blog that is based on America’s reality does not mean it is the same in South Africa. People complain about the medical aid being to expensive. I have seen with my own eyes how desperate people are, who sit in those long lines at the public hospitals. They will give anything to have the same access to treatment than we do, yet we are not satisfied.The truth is we have become so bold on Facebook with our opinions and soon we have created a world that actually is in minority but we think our reality is the norm.

Back to me, I am called to be a voice to the nations. I do not know what it will look like and in the process I do not want to dish your walk. About 8 months ago I went on a different photography assignment. I went back to a TB centre and photographed their truth. My heart with this post is to encourage you. Yes, share it to bring awareness, but of you have a need to bring a voice to something like illiteracy, poor management of public funds,taking care of the poor or whatever stirs your heart, then I want to encourage you to get dressed and do something about it. Let us be the change that we have been called to be. R&L Troue LFP-2-2 tb1LFP_0020

Let’s take a step back

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matt. 5:3

I am writing this with the hugest smile on my face. I am trying my best to be all serious face, but the smile can’t keep away!

I have no reason why, I don’t have big news or had great weekend, in fact I was Mommy-vegetable the whole weekend. But the smile is there and I am happy.

Yesterday, while reading a book, with my feet on hubby’s lap as he was studying, I took a moment to get more comfortable , when this thought flashed through my head: ” You are loved.”

I looked at my pups, at my hubby and at my growing belly. These are all for me, from Him and I am grateful beyond words.

I listened to a Papa Bill sermon and one stage he said that it saddens him if someone has gone through a difficult time and not go deeper with their relationship with God. My hubby gets nervous excited when trails enter our world.

Please understand that not one of us want to experience difficult time. I remember how I wished every day past as I went through my treatment with TB. But my relationship with God went to a new level.

Did I grow in more wisdom or better understanding of this world? Did I get the answers of life? Nope, in fact, I was even more humbled by sickness, coming to a full conclusion that I actually do not have this thing called life under control. The old me would have hated to be “humbled”. We think it is a harsh thing to be humbled, but I found the opposite to be true.

During my absolute brokeness I discovered a depth of His Love that set me free. That is what being humbled means to me, freedom from your own efforts and into the Grace of His glory.

I learned to trust in Him and in the process discovered a Papa handing out comfort hugs and kisses.

The beauty of all of this, after the trail {which He did not send} these new revelations of Him are now part of my life.

I trust Him and I have come to realise not many know how. I can try and teach it, but that is the thing of moving in a relationship, it can not always be taught.

I once had a conversation with a fellow Bethel Student from England. She told me what it felt like to go home after being at a place in full revival. Everyone asked her to share what she learned. ” And you know what, Linda? They were all very disappointed with my answer. I told them that I learned that I am loved. ” I looked at her, knowing the depth of those words.

Being loved is amazing, knowing you are loved is powerful.

Let’s take a step back from this world and how it operates and lift our eyes to Him. Let us allow to be seen like He sees us and to see the world as He sees it.  Let us allow ourselves to be loved.

Have a lovely week!

Right and Wrong

This morning I thought of a story I once heard. A woman was busy making a thanksgiving supper with the turkey and all. She was busy cutting the turkey in half when her little girl came walking in. As all kids do, her little girl asked her why she was cutting the turkey in half. Her mom answered and said that her mom did it that way. The woman went on with the preparations and a little while later her mom arrived to enjoy the meal with the family. The little girl then asked her granny why she always cut the turkey in half. Granny replied and said that se learned it from her mom. Eventually the great-grandma arrives and the little girl asked the same question to her great-grandma. She replied and said because if she did not cut the turkey in half it would not have fit into her oven she had in the house where her daughter grew up.

We see how through generations certain things are done that was learned from the previous generation. Nobody asks “why”, just accept things as the way it is done. I once picked up a “yoga” book in a shop to look at the book behind the book. A friend of mine walked past and gave a big shreek and proceed by telling me how wrong Yoga was. I was so buffled by her reaction I did not have to the time to tell her that I was actually looking at the book on the shelf. No wonder us Christians are seen by the world as weirdos. We walk around with an judgemental face and convince the world what is “wrong”.

As Christians we sometimes have the believe that we have to pay God back His free gift of redemption by earning a lifestyle of living right and wrong. That is called living according to the law and according to Paul, the law kills. Let us look at things from a different perspective. Please note by this I am not saying that we can all go ahead and do whatever we want because we determine what is right and wrong.. like for instance for one person it is wrong to kill but for a other it is part of culture. I am not talking about morals. I am talking about that extras we add on.. Do not handle, do not touch.

So my perspective. There was a man in the bible named Saul who later became Paul. We meet him in the book of Acts where he watched Stephen being stoned and was actively persecuting the Christians. Yet, he was mostly known as the man who wrote two thirds of the New Testament. What happened to Saul to have become a Paul, a man loved and adored by the same Christians that he persecuted? We all know the story of him on his horse and lightning and he was blind. We know that Ananaias was sent to restore his natural and spiritual vision. And out came a converted Paul. Now, if I was persecuting the enemy and something like that happened to me I would just silently slip of the edge of the world. I would not convert out of sheer fear of this God that might just smack me again.I would try my best to become invisible. Yet, Saul becomes Paul, the most bold apostle of them all. One healing and filled with the Spirit later and there you have it.

This morning I was pondering on this conversion. You see, Paul had a change of heart. We don’t hear his confession at his conversion but as they say, what the heart is full will overflow. We read his “change of heart” in all the epistles he has written. At one stage in Corinthians he actually says his “conversion”: ” I only preach Christ and Him crucified.”

Back to all the generations of doing thing as we saw the previous one did and never asking. If you would ask a kid today in sunday school what Jesus did for us on the cross, he would answer that Jesus came and died for our sins. That is that. We call it childlike faith. I started asking why? Why did Jesus die for our sins? What does the cross mean? And why would Paul only preach Him and Him Crucified? What is the mystery of Christ Jesus?

The Gospel is one powerful message yet we have watered it down to just hear say. I read in the Bible that the disciples went into the world preaching the gospel and Jesus confirmed their preaching with signs and wonders. What am I trying to say? The message of the Cross and Jesus crucified has the power to change your whole world. It moves you beyond what is right and wrong into a world where living a life like Jesus is actually normal. We chase miracles as if it is the most obscure thing in this world.. some of us criticize it, yet according to the message of the Cross we have been restored to our original form and Jesus is the mirror showing us what we look like.

Jesus came to demonstrate us the life that was destined to us. It is more than just our sins been forgiven, that alone is very powerful. I have witnessed where I prayed for a young man who had a horrible past. He did a lot of things “wrong” . He was standing in front of me full of shame. I just repeated over and over, you are forgiven. I then saw the power of forgiveness happen in front of my eyes. That man walked away a free man.

Christianity is not about right and wrong. This morning I read of the visit Paul had to the city of Athens. As he walked around in the city he saw that the city was full of idols. It says in Acts that he was distressed. Now, a Christian not understanding the gospel will immediately look at the idols and judge the people, saying they are “wrong”.He would warn all other christians not to go to the Athens because of the “wrong” things they do. But why? Why are they “wrong”? Distressed is a deep word. I think Paul was actually heartbroken, because he knew the Gospel and the true God. He knew that the city of Athens was in a cold hold of the enemy that actually kills and steals. His heart broke because they were ignorant of the power of the Gospel.He immediately started sharing the Good news of that the people of Athens were also part of the redemptive plan of God.

Sin is “wrong” because of the impact sin has on God’s loved people. God dealt with sin for once and for all.Sin steals, kill and destroy. It is not “wrong” as much as it is unacceptable to touch the beloved of God. It steals from the beauty ( us ) of God.

Learn to ask why. Learn to hear what it really means when we say we believe in the Gospel.