Monday 26 October 2015

God's Polaroid

I pulled the prayer shawl over my arms. It was not to keep warm, it was to pray, to plea, to hold on tightly. It was the place of comfort, the reminder that He shelters me with His own prayer shawl (PSalm 91). And then I walked outside beneath the dark charcoal sky and silver stars all watching me from above. I grabbed hold of the tzitzit on the ends of my shawl and I cried. 

Tears that ran deep and that drew me into Comfort Arms. Just as I closed my eyes something moved in the distance, as if the whole sky moved. I opened my eyes and cocked my head, waiting. I peered over to the right, to where our very own Mount Sinai lay. I waited and then suddenly the whole sky lit up and I caught a glmipse of lightnings tail that slapped the earth. A cool breeze picked up and whipped across my face. I closed my eyes and rested in God's embrace. And then my own words, the once I had used to comfort my cat in last months thunderstorm, they rolled into my heart.

"God is taking your photograph, look He is using His big flash, so that He can capture you right here, right now. His favourite one, so He can remember you when He holds your polaroid in His Hand. How He loves to photograph you."

And just like that His very promise rang true. The one He has given me, You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8) And His arms that throw lightning to the ground, the arms that spin the world on its axis and hold the galaxies upright, they wrapped around me firmly. And His promise to record my tears and justify this cause, it breathed like a spring rain on barren ground and I relaxed into His Love beneath the shining sky. Loved and comforted with a grateful heart. How I love You Father.

*Side note! Last week, I found this amazing story of a father who wrote an amazing anti-bullying song for his daughters. Please listen to the song, every woman should hear this, I sing the chorus often! Here is the link:
I'm Worth it!

Sharing with Laura Boggess

Thursday 22 October 2015

The Many Faces of Domestic Violence: Physical Abuse

For those who didnt know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and because this was an area I worked in for many years, I always feel that I want to make a difference in this space. I have written numerous articles on abuse and have decided to do that for my blog. The articles I have written share on my own research with 60 women who all have experienced abuse. I have permission to share these stories but with name changes etc. I pray these articles will truly bless someone out there and if you know someone who is being abused, please send them on with love and let them know we love them enough to raise this alarm!

The beatings grew more intense and they happened more frequently, even in front of the kids. I prayed and asked God for a sign, something.
Then one night the police locked him up for domestic violence, he spent the night behind bars, it was the sign I had prayed for. I took my kids and got out!
- Sara* (one of the respondents I interviewed, name changed to protect identity).

“What did you do to him, what did you say that made him angry?” her mother – in law chided as she slid the dark glasses from her face. Her swollen eye throbbed and her broken finger was bandaged, she had done nothing, but she had burnt the food by mistake. Nothing that deserved the beating he had given her, right before he left and yet there was no one, no one who would take her side. The piece of paper the police had handed to her right after she gave her statement, was flimsy in comparison with what he could do to her if he ever saw her again. This is the life that many women and many men live with every day and the outer wounds are testimony of the inner pain and death that they have grown accustomed to living with. While many studies focus solely on the abuse of women, the growing trend of abused men is becoming more and more apparent.

The growing number of men who are being abused and beaten by their
wives is growing.
I have often sat in my office and listened to the testimonies of men who are being abused,
they rarely lay a charge, they feel too ashamed, who would
believe them and what would others say if they knew?
- Warrant Officer at a Cape Town Police Station

According to the Middlesex-London health unit[1], physical abuse is any unnecessary or unwanted physical contact caused by another person resulting in bodily harm, discomfort and or injury this includes hitting, slapping, choking etc. The physical signs of abuse are broken bones, burns, stab wounds, concussions, perforated ear drums, loss of hair, chronic stomach or bowel pain or discomfort, chronic joint or muscle pain, palpitations, firearm wounds, bruises, cuts or abrasions, bites, sprains, chipped or lost teeth, internal injuries, chronic headache, high blood pressure or a detached retina, in some cases substance abuse problems may occur (in the life of the victim). Physical abuse is therefore defined as any type of behaviour that inflicts an injury or wound, in some cases a victim is beaten to death, in South Africa this occurs every 6 hours. In America, 3 women are killed daily at the hands of their intimate partners. The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488.[2] The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That's nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war. For survivors, physical abuse is both humiliating and debilitating spiritually, mentally, cognitively and emotionally. 

Post – traumatic stress, emotional and physical pain, anxiety and fear often plagues the lives of survivors or victims of physical abuse. 

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NLT) For survivors of trauma like abuse, trust is often fragmented deeply within the spirit and often, survivors of abuse are further victimised by their families, the criminal justice system and too often by the church. Nurture, care, concern and sincere Godly love from the spiritual body of Christ for the hurting is something we should make a priority in our churches. In our churches, from our pulpits we need to condemn acts of abuse and violence, holding perpetrators accountable and helping both the hurting and the broken find healing in Jesus Christ. 

Last year our ministry hosted a women abuse conference during the 16 days of activism and as I got up to speak, God spoke so clearly to me that I began to cry. He said, “my child, you know why I can understand abuse? Because I have been abused, you know why I can understand a disloyal spouse and what it means to be hurt when you have given everything? Because I have been the abused Lover, the Loving Husband wounded and broken.” To my fellow brother or sister who is caught in the confused and hurting cycle of abuse, I want to tell you today that God knows what abuse feels like. He feels that pain every time you are struck, every time you are broken and wounded and He has a greater life for you. You may not feel it now, but it is true. Jesus carried the cross for your healing, for your destiny and you deserve more than this, may you find the courage to get out and to live a life uniquely and solely designed for you.

Fellow brothers and sisters who are pastors or elders in your church, I was once asked by a fellow pastor what to do about the abuse in his church? It’s time that we arise to do more than sit in silence. Many churches are speaking out against abuse and many churches are starting programs to help rehabilitate perpetrators of violence and to end the violence hiding in their pews. Good support systems are key to helping survivors of abuse, the church should be part of that support system, educate your members on abuse and how to help others. 


Father God we lift up our hurting brothers and sisters to you today and we ask that You would shelter them Father, heal them and help them believe in the greater life of destiny that You have for them. Help us be people who love, help us stand for truth in our churches, help us help the hurting, nurture the broken and condemn injustice and unrighteousness. Father, we pray this evening to be change makers, to be peace makers in this world of chaos and confusion. Tonight we pray for those caught in the web of abuse the light of Jesus shine in their lives and set them free. Amen

[1]London-Middlesex Health Unit, Woman abuse, 9 August 2004. Date accessed 02 June 2011,

[2] Huffington Post, 30 shocking domestic violence statistics that remind us it’s an epidemic., 23 October 2014. Date accessed 3 October 2015,

Thursday 15 October 2015

Treasure in a Gluten - Free Aisle

The wandered around the aisle pickng up foreign packets of noodles. Tossing through the very many overwhelming options I could see they were out of their comfort zone in the midst of the gluten free department. But while it caught my attention, I gave it little thought. Most people do paleo or banting these days but most are not interested in a healthy lifestyle, well this has been my experience anyway. And since my change to real wholesome gluten free living,
I have become increasingly aware of the food decisions I need to make.

So as I steadied my hand on my trolley, I leaned over to them and politely informed them that gluten free food was cheaper across the road at the mall. They burst into conversation with questions about their daughters gluten and lactose allergies. And we stood together, this mom and her two daughters chatting about where, how, if and but! I saw their overwhelmed faces, I had been there and still sometimes wonder how to keep on keeping on, especially when trying to bake gluten free bread by hand! But gently and patiently I shared some useful tips things I had learned and am still learning. It was rewarding to see some of their anxiety alleviated and as I walked away from strangers who had suddenly morphed into friends through our common experiences, I felt refreshed. 

To give something that is uniquely me, to give something uniquely my own, to help someone completely unknown, it refreshed me. Drew me into the Love of God and made me feel content. It's amazing how something an unexpected as food can connect us in a moment and its amazing how the things we dont expect will helps others, really can. I am learning afresh how everything in my life, from writing for a magazine, to taking a dog for a walk or smiling at a stranger can change our lives. I say our, because it changes mine and it changes someone elses. Years ago when I first started university, I had this desire to change the world and when God opened up opportunities for me to do just that, I just stood back and watched Him weaving His Magic in to it all. I always wanted to touch people out there, the secular, the broken and along the way I got confined in my mind. Focussing perhaps on a more narrow vision and now as God opens up different doors where I am placed again in the midst of people who do not know Him, I am reminded how I can touch them through being myself. Sometimes our vision narrows but He is in the expanding business, my words on paper that He weaves through me, may not seem spiritual but they carry a fragrance of the Spiritual because I am one with Him. My smile may not seem divine, but it is a heavenly one because I am a fragrance among the dieing (2 Corinthians 2:15). Narrow vision go away, today is yet a very new expanding day!!

Monday 12 October 2015

An act of Bravery

It’s hard when people dig in to your words. It’s hard to have bled so many times and shared such depth from your heart and God’s heart, that once it’s birthed on paper its almost too sacred to share with others. I have felt that way so many times about writing. I write at times afraid to say things because people don’t quite understand. And I am realising that writing is an act of bravery.

The past week has been a hard one in terms of this great warfare called God inspired writing. My manuscript was suddenly returned to me with the editors notes and now I am required to stare into someone else’s opinion, devoid of my own. I think the hardest thing is the coldness of it all, an editor spiritually worlds apart from my own spiritual walk, pointing fingers, deleting and cutting into precious words on paper. As so many people have reminded me this week, writing is deeply personal, it’s your heart on open paper, true indeed. Deeper still, it’s the revealing of your hearts connection with your God.

I’m sure this is not the harshest editor on the block, but many editors tend to forget that there is a person on the other side of the script. Today God is reminding me of Joshua and the bravery he had to carry in leading the people into the promised land. “I will fight for you,” is Father’s promise to me and I am calmly reminded just how brave God ordained writers truly are. We communicate God’s Heart, His Hands, His words on paper and many will not like us for it, neither will they understand. 

Please spare this tender heart a thought today, even as you read my words and know that somewhere I am doing something brave. Even as the mountain looms signalling the border crossing in to the promised land, like Joshua I breathe in and know victory does not belong in me but it is complete as God fights for me. May I have this God strength in every muscle as I plough on into uncharted lands… with His Voice ever near whispering, Courage Dear Heart.

Sharing this week with Sunday Stillness and Spirit Kissed Soul

Thursday 8 October 2015

The Many Faces of Domestic Violence: Verbal Abuse

Hello everyone!
For those who didnt know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and because this was an area I worked in for many years, I always feel that I want to make a difference in this space. I have written numerous articles on abuse and have decided to do that for my blog. The articles I have written share on my own research with 60 women who all have experienced abuse. I have permission to share these stories but with name changes etc. I pray these articles will truly bless someone out there and if you know someone who is being abused, please send them on with love and let them know we love them enough to raise this alarm!

          The Many Faces of Domestic Violence
                          Verbal Abuse

Recently my husband and I were flicking through new movie trailers and we landed on one called Spy. It’ about a female CIA analyst named Susan who sits behind a desk yearning to do something brave, yearning to be out on the field. In one scene her laughable words are cleverly composed to leave the cinema roaring with amused laughter. “I just... I still, you know, hear my mom's voice... "well-behaved women often make history, just blend in, let somebody else win, I got that a lot in high school. And there was, "give up on your dreams, Susan." She used to write that in my lunchbox.”

I struggle to find these scenes amusing because I know someone somewhere in that crowd of movie – goers, has heard the same thing in their own lives, spoken by their own moms, dads, aunts, husbands or wives. I know because I spent five years researching the effects of verbal abuse in the lives of South African women. I know, because I lived with an authoritarian father who told me the same thing. I know because I interviewed 60 different women from across different backgrounds and divides and 92% of them had experienced or continue to experience verbal abuse.

“He made me feel worthless that I could do nothing for myself, that I knew nothing, (he) told me I was stupid, (that)I didn't know what I was talking about, (he) talked down to me and criticized everything I did.” – Emily* (name changed to protect identity)

Dr Grady (2010:33)[1] pointed out that verbal abuse is words that attack or injure an individual, that cause one to believe the false, or that speak falsely of one. Verbal abuse constitutes psychological violence. Verbal abuse is further defined by the London-Middlesex health unit[2] as the use of negative comments that are unwelcome, embarrassing, offensive, threatening and degrading to a woman; examples include name calling, false accusations, lying, saying one thing and meaning another. Verbal abuse is not limited to the spoken word but includes abusive language written in letters, facsimiles, electronic mail or via modern day cellular phones. Likened to emotional abuse, verbal abuse is not easily recognisable as it is non-physical and therefore not something readily seen. 

Pat Gaudette[3] stated that verbal abuse in itself will cause the victim to doubt his or herself, his or her abilities and personal judgement. Verbal abuse leaves the victim feeling insecure, vulnerable, powerless and depressed.

In the 90’s a man named Dr Emoto, hired a number of skilled photographers to photograph water crystals that had been exposed to different words or sentences. The water that was exposed to love, prayer and calming music, formed the most beautiful perfect shapes that are breath taking. The water exposed however to harmful, angry words, like I hate you or I will kill you, they did not form shapes at all rather they formed loose clusters that barely held together. Their clusters looked brown, polluted, dead.

Our lives are like that. Influenced by the words we hear around us, and with our bodies comprising of over 60% water can you imagine the effect on our emotions, our brains and our physiology when we are exposed to negative words only. The very places where we often go to for comfort, love and support are our interpersonal relationships and yet sometimes these places are battlefields instead of the loving support that God intended us to enjoy. Of the 60 women I interviewed, the following results came out of their answers; 53% had experienced verbal abuse in a marriage relationship, while 52% had experienced this kind of abuse among their immediate family (father, mother, sibling). Employers and Co-workers / colleagues made up 27 and 22 percent respectively, while the Extended family (aunt, uncle, grandparent) made up 17%. Sadly, many of the respondents had experienced verbal abuse in their Religious Institution, over 13% and a further 12% had experienced it at the hands of an unmarried partner (living together). 

While statistics are a grim reminder of what we face, there is incredible hope on the opposite side of the coin. Many of the women I interviewed had found hope and healing in the Love of Christ, just like I did and many more women are discovering that they have eternal worth and value. We are created to be Loved and to be cared for, not broken down and made to live in fear. Verbal abuse is not Father God’s design or desire for any one of His children. If you are experiencing verbal abuse in any relationship or environment, I urge you to find a Christian counsellor who is qualified, to deal with domestic violence and reach out. Some of the women I interviewed believed they were to be subservient and behave in a “Christ-like manner” and accept the blows of abuse. This is false theology, wrong doctrine rather Father God says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you,” (Jeremiah 1:5). Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:4) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) 

A Blessing

I bless you precious one in the Name of Yeshua our Messiah, the Lover of your soul. I bless you to know His Love, His peace and to know how much He values you and rejoices over you. You were not made for fear or abuse but you were made to shine, to be loved, to be cherished and to live on purpose. May the bondages of abuse be broken in your life and may you seek out the Wisdom from above to walk the journey of faith over the threshold of abuse into His perfect Love. Amen.  

[1] Grady, J, 2010, You are a door prize not a door mat, Therapeia Publishing, Houston.

[2] London-Middlesex Health Unit, Woman abuse, 9 August 2004, Date accessed 02 June 2011,

[3] Gaudette, P, Speak Out Against Verbal Abuse, Silver Reflections, Date accessed 30 May 2011,

Sharing with Looking Up

Saturday 3 October 2015

What Cinderella's Prince taught me about Male Vulnerability

I watched the new non-animated Cinderella movie with bated breath. I was quite familiar with the story, but I confess, I hardly expected to be impressed, either by the plot or the characters, or to see any nuance or complexity in the film's interpretation. I have since watched it over and over again and I am haunted, in a good way, by the character of Kit, Cinderella’s love interest. His character reflects many traits that our culture teaches us that “maleness” is not. He is vulnerable, kind, gentle, teachable—a man with deep feeling and sense, and he is open and fathered.

I wrote the following post over at the Christian for Biblical Equality Scroll, please click the link to read the rest of this heart felt post, I had so much fun writing it!

Friday 2 October 2015

Daddy's Big Tent

Five Minute Friday Time, Unedited writing for five miutes, whatever's on the heart! This week the word is family, GO!

This week I met a wonderful family who adopted two kids from China. A little boy and a little girl. My heart was warmed by their story of  adoption because China and the orphans of China, are so close to my heart. My heart particularly gets all riled up over the issue of Gendercide which has stolen millions of baby girls from our world. Beautiful children who were intentionally killed for no other reason but because they were girls, (you can read my post on Gendercide here - Gendercide )  So to see the pictures of these beautiful kids with their mama and papa and two biological kids, it really blessed me.

This week we are celebrating the biblical feast of Booths, or tabernacles. Tabernacles is known as the season of our Joy. Solomon's Temple was dedicated during the Feast of Tabernacles and its a feast we should continue to celebrate today! At the beginning of this week when the festival begun, in my spirit I saw a picture of Daddy God underneath a big Sukkah (booth or canopy) and His arms were open wide, gathering all these children in to His arms. He was laughing so widely and the children were so vastly different, from every nation, tribe and tongue. Father has a big tent where He longs to tabernacle with us, His children, He longs to swoop us up in to HIs arms and love us. He has adopted us made us His own and delighted to do that! We are part of His family and my hearts prayer is that these little girls and boys in China, will likewise be part of a loving family, a special home where a Loving Father and Mother will adore them in good pleasure and in joy!


Linking with Kate M