ISSUE 1 - SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012
LIVING NOW, LOOKING UP
THE CHRISTIAN CASANOVA Women beware!
Why should Christians care for Creation?
Contentment 101 You mean I can learn to be happy ?
*Best1 spring picks* For your look, your home and your plate
Meet the model: Latoya Mihaylova Latoya is a 25-yearold model living and working in Cape Town. Her husband, Nasco Mihaylov is Bulgarian and together they own Grace Models (www. gracemodels.co.za), a modelling agency that operates on Christian principles – “which means our models get paid on time, which is rare in this industry!” says Latoya. The couple have recently become parents, with baby Adrianna having been born in March this year. We are grateful to have had such a radiant face, not to mention character, grace the cover of our first issue – Ed.
Reﬂect The Christian Casanova.....................................................p15 Moments from a mixed race marriage......................p22 9 Things not to say...to your friend battling to fall pregnant..................................................................................p25 A perfect count of chromosomes.................................p33
Refresh *Your look *Your home *Your plate Spring picks..............................................................................p5 Your beauty checklist for the season...........................p8 Completely re-nude..............................................................p11 Spring into vintage...............................................................p13 CONTRIBUTORS
Why should Christians care for creation?................P39
Great expectations of motherhood............................p29
Beauty Editor Fashion Contributor
Nicole Danielle Warr
Being the change at Trinity Children’s Centre.........p53
Lifestyle Contributors Jenni Courtney Carin Bevan
Kiddies craft: spring flower bunting..............................p51
Liza Ender Dalene Reyburn Carin Bevan Natalie Mayer Kate Motaung
Read, watch, play.................................................................p55
Robyn Van Niekerk
Photography Ferdinand van Huizen
Layout Lizanne Murison, Out of the Blue Creative Communication Solutions HannahMariya Epstein
Regulars Meet the model........................................................................p1 Ed’s letter....................................................................................p3 Win.....................................................................................p8, p56 Column.....................................................................................p57
EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to the launch issue of Radiant, a magazine written for and by women who are living now, but looking up and fixing their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, for every step of the way. I am so grateful to the Lord for how He has shaped and grown a small seed of an idea that He gave me years ago, into a fully-fledged magazine. I pray that you would be entertained, encouraged and edified by this issue, and I am so looking forward to your feedback – please send all your comments and ideas to email@example.com. The contents of this edition have been moulded by an awesome group of contributors that the Lord laid across Radiant’s path. I knew I’d found a Food Editor with a difference when Lara Demnitz approached me saying, “I love to cook, but I love Jesus more. For me, cooking is an act of love and service, be it in ministry or in everyday life.” See what tasty spring fare she serves up on page 43. And Beauty Editor Robyn van Niekerk’s words to readers have never been more true in an industry known for its changing fads: “I encourage you to be content with the one-of-a-kind masterpiece the Lord has made you to be. Have fun experimenting with the season’s colours and looks, but let’s not be slaves to them.” When it comes to features for reflection, you won’t be short of material. Gifted writer and blogger Dalene Reyburn delves into the turbulent topic of contentment on page 19, while Kate Motaung shares some Moments from a mixed race marriage on page 24. Liza Ender reflects on her great expectations of motherhood on page 29, while Carin Bevan talks honestly and beautifully about her little boy named Jamie in A perfect count of chromosomes on page 33. She also seeks out some gorgeous spring picks (page 5) – sure to put some spring in your step! Last but by no means least, sustainability writer Natalie Mayer challenges us to think differently about creation care on page 39. Thank you to everyone else who gave so generously of their time and skill in putting together this issue. Happy reading!
First Edition September 2012 © Radiant Magazine 2012
CONTACT DETAILS Tel: 08 301 6860 firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@radiantmagazine)
Living a vintage lifestyle Nicole Danielle Warr is the editor of South Africa’s first online vintage magazine, Vintage Lifestyle Magazine (www.vintagelifestylemag. co.za). She shared her vintage style tips with readers on page 13 and tells us more about how her mag came about below: When and how did the idea for Vintage Lifestyle Magazine start germinating? I’ve always had a passion for vintage and all things fashionable, so I decided to start a fashion blog, which grew into the idea for a magazine. At the time, there weren’t many online magazines around and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to put all of it together. All I knew is that it would happen, and I had all the faith in the world – I am so grateful that it did! A year and a half down the line, the mag is flourishing. What do you believe are the ingredients for success? I’ve always said that Vintage Lifestyle Magazine is like my very own cherry blossom tree. I planted it, now I’m watching it grow, and soon there’ll be bright pink blossoms on it! I think the key ingredients to success are courage, passion, hard work and, most importantly, faith.
Spring is more than just the passing of winter or the promise of summer. It’s sweet-smelling blossoms, birds and butterflies and new beginnings. Get yourself in the mood for the new season with our spring picks for you, your home and your garden – all for under R150.
SPRING IN YOUR GARDEN
1 » You won’t easily forget to water your new spring plants with this pretty little watering can: R39.99, Clicks.
2 » Why not invite birds to nest in your garden? DIY hanging bird house kit: R129.99, Builder’s Warehouse.
3 » Get your garden ready for spring by planting the season’s signature scent: Jasmine tree: R59.99, Builder’s Warehouse.
SPRING PLANTING TIPS Sowing the seed Now’s the time to plant that herb patch and veggie garden you’ve been vowing to! Don’t let a small garden hold you back, vegetables like spinach, lettuce, chillies, eggplant and leeks are all compact growing vegetables. Chillies and eggplant, not to mention baby tomatoes, work especially well in pots. Support your tomatoes with a trellis and contain the plant’s growth by pinching off the growing tips when it reaches its desired size, or you could end up with a monster. Like herbs, vegetables do best if grown in a sunny position. Prepare the beds by
digging them well over and mixing in compost. Growing from seed is much cheaper than buying seedlings. There’s a saying that “a good gardener always plants three seeds - one for the grubs, one for the weather and one for himself.” Keep the soil moist during germination and thin out the seedlings when they are big enough to handle. For a good crop fertilise with Margaret Roberts Supercharger two weeks after germination and at monthy intervals after that. To control insects spray with Ludwig’s Insect Spray or Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide. Both are ECOCERT approved for use by organic gardeners.
Attracting birds to your garden Creating a little sanctuary in your garden to attract birdlife is a relatively simple task. You just need to supply the birds with three basic requirements: Food: In addition to installing a bird feeder with seed (or fruit) make an effort to plant an assortment of species that provide food throughout the year, such as seeds, berries and nuts. Indigenous fruits and berries are nutritious, and they ripen on a schedule that co-incides with nesting and migration times of birds. Water: A shallow, rough-bottomed pool of still water with a depth between 2.5cm and 5cm is ideal. To accommodate smaller birds, add a few stones that stick out of the water for them to land on. Cover: To create an effective barrier from the elements, mix in smaller trees and shrubs along a protected side of your garden. For more information, read Lex Hes’s book “Attracting birds to your garden in Southern Africa (Struik).
SPRING IN YOUR STEP Don’t forget to spoil yourself this spring with this Fat Robin necklace (1) (R120, Genevieve Motley), these cheerful hair clips (2) (R29.99, Mr Price) and this pretty scalloped sling bag (3) (R69.99, Mr Price)
SPRING IN YOUR HOME This spring, birds don’t just have to stay in the garden. Bring them indoors with these lovely things for the home:
1 » Bird cage candle holder: R39.99, Checkers Hyper
2&3 » Brighten up your home with this cute and clever baking tin mirror (Jen-Jen, R100) and this mirror vase (R12.99 from PEPhome).
4 » Bird door hook: R16.99, PEPhome.
5 » Get your home in tip-top shape while protecting your family and the environment from the toxins in cleaning materials. This app has great environmentally friendly tips and tricks for common household cleaning tasks, from bleaching white clothes and removing chocolate from the sofa to keeping insects at bay and getting rid of mildew. Green Shine app for iphone, ipad and ipod touch: $2.99 (±R24), iTunes App Store.
Be sure to pack away your winter wardrobe properly! These boxes will keep your woollies safe and neat, while the cedar blocks will keep them fresh and fragrant and protect them from moths and moisture. 7 » Polyprop storage box: R49.95, Ackermans 8 » Large cardboard storage box: R85, Woolworths
STOCKISTS Ackermans: www.ackermans.co.za Builder’s Warehouse: www.builders.co.za Checkers Hyper: www.checkers.co.za Clicks: www.clicks.co.za Genevieve Motley: www.genevievemotley.com/ iTunes app store: itunes.apple.com/za/ Jen-Jen designs: jen-jendesigns.blogspot.com & www.jen-jenonline.blogspot.com/ Mr Price: www.mrprice.co.za Mr Price Home: www.mrpricehome.com PEPhome: www.pepstores.com Woolworths: www.woolworths.co.za
6 » Cedar multi pack (including 6 cedar blocks, 4 cedar hanger rings and 4 cedar sachets): R99.95, Woolworths.
SPRING INTO ACTION Your beauty checklist for the season
FOOT 911 Sandal season is around the corner and itâ€™s time to get those reptilian heels sorted out in 5 easy steps: 1. SOAK: Soak your feet for 15 minutes or take a well-deserved bath to soften hard and scaly skin. (Hint: Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to aid the softening process and treat the senses.) Dab your feet dry with a towel. 2. FILE: Using a foot file or pumice stone, gently file away hard, dry skin especially on the heels, balls of the feet and toes. 3. MOISTURISE: Apply a good moisturiser to your feet after filing and as often as required to soften the skin (Try moisturising your feet just before bed, put an old pair of socks on and let the cream sink in while you sleep)
1. CLIP: Gently push back excess cuticle skin; clip and file toenails. (Note of caution: To avoid ingrown toenails be sure to use sterile toenail clippers instead of scissors; clip straight across the nail without rounding the edges or cutting them too short!) 2. DECORATE: Sweep your toenails with a fresh coat of this seasonâ€™s favourite nail polishes and VOILA! You are now ready to slip into your spring sandals with confidence.
WIN! VITADERM is offering Radiant readers six free hampers, worth R400 each. There are three hampers containing their gentle exfoliator and sunscreen, and three with their enzyme gel exfoliator and sunscreen. To enter, email your name to email@example.com with VITADERM in the subject line. Competition closes 31 October 2012.
By Robyn van Niekerk
Repeat steps 1 to 3, three times a week until you reach your target of softer, smoother feet. Thereafter, repeat at least once weekly to maintain softness.
EXFOLIATE Is your skin feeling like sandpaper? Does it look dull or feel tight? Unless you have been diligently exfoliating during the winter months, chances are you have a few unwanted layers of dead skin cells needing to be sloughed away to expose the new, radiant skin underneath. Exfoliating your face and body will remove dead skin cells, help unclog blocked pores and stimulate blood flow which will do heaps towards a fresh, healthy-looking spring complexion. Your body can be exfoliated up to three times a week with a granular body wash and loofah. (Woolworths Invigorating and refreshing Ginger and Thyme Exfoliating shower gel for normal to oily skin types, R47,50 or Good Earth’s Almond Milk body scrub for normal to dry skin types, R33,99 at Clicks) How often you exfoliate your face will largely depend on the product you use and your skin type. Speak to a qualified beauty therapist or dermatologist to find out what’s best for your skin’s needs.
Vitaderm, a proudly S.A. skincare range which combines the latest advances in ingredient research with natural plant extracts and essential oils boasts a fantastic Gentle Cream Exfoliator for normal to dry skin types as well as their Enzymatic gel exfoliator suitable for all skin types especially sensitive or acne-prone skin where manual exfoliation is not recommended. Email info@vitaderm to locate your nearest Vitaderm stockist.
Your budget tight? TRY THIS DIY AU NATUREL EXFOLIATOR: Mix 2 – 3 tsp raw oatmeal with honey and 1/4 tsp of apple cider vinegar to make a smooth paste. Add 1 drop of basil oil to the mixture or tea tree oil for a problem skin. Apply the mixture onto a clean, dry face in gentle circular movements avoiding the eye area. Leave the mixture on for 15 minutes before washing off. For this and other natural DIY skin care treatments go to www.essentialoils.co.za/ scrub.htm
(N.B. Speak to a dermatologist or skin care specialist before exfoliating should you have very sensitive skin)
FRESH SCENT-SATIONS Say “au revoir” to heady winter perfumes and hello to fresh spring smellies! There’s an array of perfumes, both old and new, suitable for springtime. Follow this link for an informative insight into this season’s offerings and how to go about choosing the right one for you: www.beautysouthafrica.com/ news/302-Smell-like-summer.aspxs. We think Gucci Flora, Jo Malone’s Light Bloom Collection, Mark Jacob’s Spring Trio, Stella McCarthy’s L.I.L.Y, Calvin Klein’s Sheer Beauty , Chanel’s Coco Madamoiselle EDT, Chloe’s L’ eau de Chloe and Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue are definitely worth a sniff!
HERE COMES THE SUN
Liquid foundation is great for spring and summer as it is lighter on your skin and therefore less likely to clog your pores. If you tend toward an oily skin type or have blemishes, try MAC’s Studio Fix Liquid Foundation with SPF 15 for a soft matte, natural –looking coverage. For normal, blemish-free skin try MAC’s Select liquid foundation with SPF 15 or Estee Lauder’s Light Double Wear liquid foundation with SPF 10 for a dewy, healthy glow. Normal to dry skins love MAC’s mineralize Satinfinish liquid foundation SPF 15 with light to medium coverage and light reflective qualities giving wearers a hint of luminosity. Your face colour is going to change as it gets some sun to it. When this starts to happen take a trip down to a cosmetic consultant for a colour swap. In the meantime, while you finish off your winter shade, use some bronzer on the top of your forehead, cheekbones, bridge of nose and neck to blend into your changing body tone.
LIGHTEN UP In winter our skin needed moisture, moisture and more moisture! As things heat up, however, our skin will start to secrete more oils preferring a lighter form of moisturizer to avoid looking like a greaseball and causing breakouts! It’s also time to make sure that your daily moisturiser has an SPF factor of at least 15! We suggest trying out the Vitaderm or Environ skincare range. Go to www.environ.co.za/find-stockist or email info@vitaderm to find your nearest Environ/Vitaderm stockists.
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is recommended all year round, but all the more in the hotter months when our sun exposure is at its highest and UV rays the strongest. South Africa has the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world so as a nation we need to be better stewards of our skin and be sun smart! Your face, neck, chest, tips of ears, forearms, lips, feet and hands are most likely to be exposed daily and need protection. Environ, another proudly S.A. skincare range with vitamin enriched products have two great face and neck sun screens: RAD with SPF 15 for all skin types and the Alpha Day Lotion with SPF 15 for oilier or acne prone skin types. Vitaderm has a Reflective Sun Barrier cream SPF 25 for those who spend much of their day outdoors or driving. Apply these or any other suitable facial sunscreens under your daily moisturiser in the morning. For lips, try Lip Sano lip balm with a high SPF of 35 (available from most Clicks stores nationwide). Swap your ordinary hand cream for one with an SPF in it. Oh So Heavenly’s, In Safe Hands Anti-Ageing SPF 15 hand cream (R24,99 at Clicks) is perfect for keeping in your handbag! N.B.: Your hands and forearms are exposed to the sun whilst driving so be sure to habitually smear sunscreen onto these often overlooked areas.
COMPLETELY RE-NUDE Soft, glowing, clean, natural, romantic all the words associated with a spring makeup look and 2012 is no exception. Touches of coral on the lips, neon nostalgia, whisps of pearly metallics on the eyes and smokey, winged eyeliners are all in, but outstanding among all the trends is the unpretentious au naturel dewy-fresh spring face. On how to get this look, international make-up artist Fiona Stiles was quoted as saying: “Achieving this chic, minimalist effect requires a light hand, a few expert pointers, and the right neutral and blush shades”
Here’s your step-by-step guide to achieving this spring look What you need: 1. SMOOTH AND SHEER FOUNDATION APPLICATION •
Brows – bold & beautiful Face – clean and smooth Eyes – light beige all over; soft nude in crease; taupe powder eyeliner; light pearl on inner corners Cheeks – neutral blusher on cheeks Lips – soft nude pink lip liner and sheer gloss
Wait at least 5 minutes after moisturising your face, eyes and neck before applying foundation to avoid streaking. Sparingly apply foundation to well moisturised face with either a foundation brush or non-latex make-up wedge, blending slightly into your neck if necessary. Remember to dab foundation on your lips and upper eyelid creating a neutral base to make the pigment in your lipstick and eye shadow pop! For even better results use an eye lid primer such as MAC’s Prep + Prime Eye. Conceal any spots still evident with a cream concealer matching the colour of your foundation Using your ring finger gently and sparingly conceal under your eye making sure you get into the corners and work it right up to the start of your lower lash line while avoiding getting any make up in your eye. Set the foundation with a light dusting of loose powder
5. LIPS 2. BROWS
Keep your brows natural, even bold this season and in any season in my humble opinion. If you’ve over-plucked in the past my advice is to allow your brows to grow back. Brush & Fill: Comb your brows upward with an eyebrow brush or an old toothbrush. Trim any strays. Next, gently brush them diagonally along their length from the centre of your face in an “upward and out” motion. Finish off by softly filling in any gaps you may have with an angled eyeliner brush and an eye shadow powder that matches your natural brow colour. Top Tip: Use some eyecream to moisturise your brows as foundation or powder will cake on any dry skin patches.
3. BLUSHER ON APPLES OF CHEEKS •
Cream blusher is great for giving you that dewy glow we associate with spring. Try MAC’s “Lady Blush” cream rouge (R210,00). Put a little on your fingertips, apply on the apple of your cheeks and blend upward onto your cheek bones. (N.B. If you do decide to use cream blusher then apply it straight after your foundation before setting with loose powder.) Besides ageing slower than other skin types, oily skins have the added benefit of not having to worry about achieving an already apparent dewy appearance this spring! A powder blusher is better suited to a normal to oily skin type. Maybeline’s fit me blush in Medium Nude or The Body Shop’s Nude Cheek Colour in 09 are great colours for a natural tint to your cheeks! Sweep your powder brush through your blusher, swirl onto the apple of your cheek and blend upward onto your cheek bones.
4. BRIGHT EYES •
Sweep a light, matte or slightly shimmer cream colour all over your upper eyelid. Smudge a soft nude in the crease focusing on outer third of eye. Blend well. Highlight the area just under your brow with a light pearl colour. Use the same colour in the corner of your eyes. To define the eyes subtly, opt for a powder line instead of pencil or liquid liner. Focus on defining the outer third of your eyes. Starting from the outer corner of the eye draw a thin line of taupe eye shadow across the top of your upper eyelid with an angled eye liner brush. Fade out the colour as you go so that it is barely visible in the inner corners. Do the same underneath your eye starting from the outer corner, sweeping inward and fading it out. There’s no need to continue the line to the inner corners of your eye. Remember to keep as close to your lash line as possible. Finish off with your favourite mascara on your upper eyelashes to keep to the season’s minimalist style.
Line your lips with a nude lip liner. (NYX waterproof retractable lip liner in “Nude”available at Clicks). Glide on a matte, nude lipstick (Clarins Sheer lipstick in Simply Nude) and simply top with a coat of matte lip gloss. We love Bobby Brown’s lip gloss in Buff, MAC’s Prolongwear Lipglass “Ready or Not”and NYX’s sheer lip gloss in Shangri-la (availablle at Clicks). Did You Know? You can moisturise your lips with a smidgen of your eye cream – it’s delicate enough to use on the lips and will help give you a smooth and soft lipstick application!
AS N WE A C HOW CT ROTE P N E ST WOM AGAIN S E V EL OURS D TERE T A H S TIONS A T C E EXP OWS UY SH G A S WHEN UT HA B T S E INTER N TO ENTIO T N I H? NO ROUG H T W FOLLO
a v o n a s Ca N A I T S I R H c E TH
By Nicole Cameron
His reputation precedes him “Apparently, there is this one guy, in ministry (of course), who has the reputation of leading every single Christian girl in Cape Town on,” says Lisa*. “Oh I know exactly who that is,” nods Carrie* knowingly. “I stay far away from him; apparently everyone who meets him falls in love with him.” The curiosity of the rest of the group mounts. As Christians, we dance tentatively around
the edge of what could be intention of marrying her or called gossip. The flesh is even considering marrying dying to jump forth with her, ever. When he is in her juicy accusations; we subdue company (group setting of the desire, though with not course), he makes himself as nearly as much force as we repugnant as possible so that know we should. Lerato* she is repelled of her own adds the comment that she accord. The female, though knew a girl who moved into open to the the same street notion of where he finding a lived, just to suitor, is by be near him. no means OR ANCH Bingo! I’ve desperate. By YOUR heard that God’s grace, T story before; I she is fulfilled in HEAR know exactly who her relationship it is. But later some with Jesus and of the facts don’t add up does not complete a and I realise that there is an mental gene-fit test exact replica of this roving on every single male Romeo preying on innocent specimen that comes her hearts in another suburb. way. Our immediate reaction “The problem is that I is shock, disdain and a genuinely felt that there were pithy comment or two on enough signs from him to poor witness. On closer indicate a level of interest,” examination though, the says Grace*, speaking of a questions have to be asked: particular situation where Is it all the NCG’s fault? Is he she feels she was led on by a really the big bad wolf who Christian guy in her church. should know better than to “Invitations to black tie let himself loose, knowing the functions, a wedding at an damage he will do? If there overnight location, regular are two sides to every story, time alone; not to mention what role do single Christian being told that I was very women play in contributing to special; that if he’d met me this scenario? And, regardless earlier things would be very of who is at fault, how can different and so forth,” she we as women better equip says. “I honestly wasn’t sure ourselves against shattered how he felt. I was interested, expectations? and didn’t want to not allow myself to invest time and Romance by the Book emotion when it could grow In a perfect, unfallen world into something – you don’t the answers are quite simple. know if you don’t go there.” The single man understands Sally* admits that sadly the female psyche, and she has found herself in withdraws immediately that exact situation more upon sensing any attraction than once. Daily emails, towards him which is not single movie dates, intimate reciprocated. He makes it conversations on matters perfectly clear, through word of the heart and late and deed, that he has zero evening phone calls all
group of women, mid to late twenties, are sitting around a table; some are married, others single. The conversation turns, as it so often does, to the apparent issue of there being surplus single girls to single guys. According to my anecdotal statistical knowledge (ie, hearsay) this is a worldwide phenomenon, and never is it more prevalent than in Christian circles. An offshoot of this needle-in-a-haystack scenario is the creation of an enigmatic breed of elusive, eligible bachelors who seemingly have their “pick of the harem”, albeit a culturally inappropriate metaphor. And, far from staving off their swooning fans with a giantsized copy of “Every Man’s Battle”; there seem to be an awfully large number of NCG’s (Nice Christian Guys) who have developed an ongoing habit of indulging themselves with this attention. Moving rapidly from one intense friendship to another, they (unwittingly?) wreak emotional havoc throughout the female contingent of their church community and beyond.
pointed towards developing relationships; yet nothing ever materialised beyond this, leading to confusion on her part. “I think I knew deep down that if they really liked me they would ask me out directly – and they didn’t,” she says. But equally, they were being so intentional about getting to know her on a one-on-one basis that she thought it must be more. On one occasion she led bible study with a guy where it wasn’t very likely that they could be together…yet he was so flirtatious and “couply” that it was hard to tell if it was circumstance or false promises. “I have to say that all the guys were quick to ask out the girl they liked and are now either hooked up or married…so there is a lesson in there: if they like you, they’ll ask!” In both Grace and Sally’s case, it’s obvious that the man in question needed to take on the responsibility of being clear, of making intentions known from the start, and not spending emotional and physical time with someone they knew they weren’t able to follow through with. “This is complicated though, as hanging out with someone is how you determine whether you want to be in relationship with them or not – I wouldn’t want to pressurise a guy into saying “yes” or “no” right from the get-go,” comments Sally. Grace however feels that she probably should have pulled back earlier, and that she also had a responsibility to do that, and to expect more. “Doubting your self-worth and wanting something you can’t have has a lot to do with it. It’s easier to have a
surrogate someone than no so we want to celebrate it one…loneliness and desire for in the proper context, not excitement play a big part; immediately wish it away,” being a hopeless romantic and he says. These hopes and always thinking the best of emotions need to be someone is also a factor,” anchored to Christ she says. Sally says she could have better guarded The her heart with loads genu problem is inely more prayer. “Make felt t that I w e h re en sure that Jesus has at th er ou all of your heart; that from gh signs e hi he’s at the centre of indic m to ate a everything and that you l e v el o keep communicating with inter f Him about all these potential est heartbreaks,” she says. “Thank Him for all the amazing things He gives; keep seeking Him in however, His word; have your girlfriends so they won’t remind you how much God be tossed around loves you and how much they in all directions every love you too.” time a different wind Grace has resolved to not comes along, he says. “When give away her heart without our feelings are “anchored” commitment. To not be at – submitted to the Spirit and someone’s beck and call; in scripture – we can rejoice in to be wise and draw a line them without guilt or shame.” quickly. Of course, she says, This by no means makes this is very hard when you like believers immune to hurt and someone, and you want to heartache, as most of us can spend time with them because testify, but that which is a you like them. “I’ve made result of an unanchored heart my peace with the fact that will be significantly reduced Christian men are sinful too!” as Christ fills emptiness only says Grace. “And I’m walking He can satisfy. It is a lifetime the road of learning how to journey to allow our hearts to truly find my contentment become more captured and in Christ, and not look to captivated by the person of relationships to find that. I’m Christ; so that we will be less looking for the right guy, not prone to run after everything just any guy.” that seems fulfilling, whether
Anchor your heart John Thomas, a boundless. org author, adds that joy and excitement over a potentially budding relationship is perfectly normal. “The concept is God’s idea, and it’s good. God gave us all the potential for affection, both giving and receiving,
it is a relationship or anything else. The awesome thing is that we can ask God for wisdom when we are in these situations; to help sort the good from the bad, the wise from the foolish.
By Valerie Duffield Anderson
I think there are a lot of lies, misconceptions, and false teachings that have gone on about marriage and singleness. In the past, the church has tended to lift singleness up as more spiritual and something to be attained. And more recently, and particularly in Protestant circles, marriage has been glorified and spiritualised, and held up as the pinnacle of relational living. I want to speak directly to this latter view. Firstly, marriage is not your reward. It is not the thing you get once you have reached an acceptable spiritual level, once your relationship with God is right, once you have dealt with all your junk. Wellmeaning Christians promote the marriage-as-reward view with comments like this, “Just keep praying...”, “Focus on your relationship with God”, “God is jealous and He wants you all to himself”, “Only when God is your everything - your provider, comforter, and Husband - will he give you a spouse”, “Maybe you need to be getting into the Word more/doing more quiet time/praying more/working on your relationship with Him before getting into other relationships”. This is nonsense! Those are things that are not reserved for singles
- married people should be doing them just as much! Marriage is not the thing you get when you have attained spiritual well-being and right relationship with God. This view is dangerous because 1. It puts married folk on a pedestal as the “ones who have arrived” - which believe me we are not! and 2. It puts single folk under an incredible amount of condemnation, guilt and worthlessness for not being “good enough” for a relationship. It condemns their relationship with God because, if you’re not married, obviously you are doing something wrong and haven’t earned a relationship yet. Once again, this is nonsense, and I really do believe it is a huge lie taking down people in the church. Secondly, a lot of people - naively and sometimes intentionally - teach that God will purposefully keep you in a place of singleness so that He can work on your character, teach you things, etc. Rubbish. I do not believe that God puts you in or keeps you in a place of singleness so that He can mould you. I do believe that in whatever place you are, God will work in that place and use the strengths of that circumstance to work in
Marriage is not your reward! and through you. Yes, there are some things that would seem to be easier worked out while we are still single. But I can say this because if it were true that God keeps you single to work on you, then believe me I would still be single! If you desire marriage then by all means bring that continually before Him. But remember that marriage is not your reward and it is not something withheld until you tick all the boxes. Also, if you are in a place of singleness and you desire a relationship and to be married, do not live in the place of desire. Live in the place you are in. Live it to the full. Don’t miss out on the incredible adventure and the wonderful things that being single allows you to do because you are longing to be somewhere else.
The ticket to being content? The choice is up to youâ€Ś
By Dalene Reyburn 19
But this weekend I flew from Jo’burg to Harare, for a friend’s wedding, and I regretted my usual request, because it meant that I was wedged up against the side of the plane, trapped by two fellow passengers who were mad at the universe. I longed to escape to the relative tranquillity of the aisle, where I could turn my back on their caustic haranguing and pretend to sleep.
Baggage control These two passengers were way over the weight limit. They weren’t traveling light with two pieces of discreet hand luggage: the thrill of adventure and calm perspective. Oh no. They had lugged wheelie suitcases aboard full of fear, restlessness, aggression, turmoil, sadness, impatience, impulsiveness, depression and confusion. They were seriously not content. Our flight was just short of two hours, and in that time my co-travellers managed to unpack: objections to the heat, protests about the inflight menu choice and how slow the drinks trolley had been to arrive at our row, anxiety over a smooth landing, resentment towards various family members, sad resignation to being over fifty and feeling suddenly valueless in the working world, excuses about money and divorce and dodgy job choices, and complaints about the governments both north and south of the Limpopo River over which we flew. ‘Gosh,’ I thought, irritated and self-righteous, ‘these people need Jesus.’ Until I felt annoyed that I couldn’t have my choice of sandwich on brown bread instead of white, and deflated because I didn’t look like the bikini model on the Thai beach in the inflight magazine. I realised soberly that I hadn’t left all my junk on the ground either. There was no escaping what was in my head and heart, even though most of my reality was 30 000 feet below me.
God-has-my-back kind of way. Contentment is also God’s will for you. So if you’re churning with some of the emotions that were jammed into the overhead compartments on my recent flight, it’s worth being honest with God and yourself. 1 John 2:16 says, ‘For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.’ Pleasure, possessions, prestige. Don’t make them your idols. Blah blah. We know this. Surely, then, as Christians, we should be immune to the dark rumblings of discontent? Paul says that ‘if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content’ (1 Timothy 6:8) (even if the food comes on white bread instead of brown). So why aren’t we content? I think there are two reasons why Christian women – saved, sanctified, Spirit-filled Christian women who really should know better – still experience pangs of discontent: choice and belief.
Chicken or beef? Contentment is a choice. We choose what we think (2 Corinthians 10:5). We choose what we do and say. And sometimes we make stupid choices. We choose to compare ourselves to others – the
We are not expecting to experience any turbulence on this flight…
quickest way to lose joy and
Contentment can be defined as wanting no more than you
I could just go here see
have. It’s being satisfied in a deep, thoroughly un-turbulent,
that meet them marry
confidence. We choose to say, ‘If
I always ask for the window seat when I check in for a flight. I love everything about flying: the take-off, the altitude cruising, the plastic cutlery, the landing. And I never get tired of the small oval view of blurred runway, deceptively inviting fluff of quiet cumulonimbus clouds, and collages of tiny rivers, roads and dwellings.
I think there are two reasons why
Christian women – saved, sanctified, Spirit-filled Christian women who really should know better – still experience pangs of discontent: choice and belief.
him have that buy this
contentment, then, speaks
it’s generally a bonus perk).
work there or emigrate
of what we believe. Really
It’s about God’s glory. Our
– then I’ll be content!’ We
contentment magnifies his
choose how we spend our
If we really believe God
splendour because ‘those
time, and how much of
when he says that Christ is
who look to him for help
that time is spent in the
enough, that his plans for
will be radiant with joy; no
presence of Jesus, whose
us are perfect, that he won’t
shadow of shame will darken
grace is always, in every
allow anything to fall onto
their faces.’ (Psalm 34:5)
circumstance, sufficient (2
our lives that hasn’t first
When we are content –
Corinthians 12:9). We choose
passed through his fingers,
resting and hoping in Jesus
to feel sorry for ourselves,
that he withholds no good
regardless of turbulence or
instead of channelling
thing from those who walk
emergency landings – we
time and emotional energy
uprightly (Psalm 84:11),
are most beautiful. When
into others. We choose
that he is perfect in love,
we leave our longings with
to forget that the God
power and wisdom – then we
him and decide to enjoy his
who holds every molecule
wouldn’t be discontent.
limitless mercies, positioning
of the infinite universe
Again – where is your
in the palm of his hand
hope? What are you really
his magnificence, we draw
is our intimate, loving
trusting? I mean, seatbelts
people to his light.
provider and sustainer. We
are a nice idea and all, but if
choose to put our hope in
the plane bursts into flame
you with a gift – peace of
politics, postgrad degrees,
or plummets to the ocean
mind and heart. And the
husbands, careers, kids,
depths, they just aren’t all
peace I give is a gift the
properties, dress sizes,
they’re cracked up to be.
world cannot give. So don’t
ourselves to best reflect
Jesus said, ‘I am leaving
anti-wrinkle creams and
I know I often need to
eventual dreams, instead
pray like the father in Mark
14:27) I think if I really
of in the Lover of our
9:24 – ‘I do believe, but help
understood this I wouldn’t
souls who commands the
me overcome my unbelief!’
have an anxious day for the
storms and who leads us
Sometimes I need to pray it
rest of my life. Pray that God
to safe landings on smooth
every day. Sometimes I need
would help you to receive his
to pray it every ten minutes.
gift of peace as you choose
This is your Captain speaking…
It’s not about you. It’s not even about the frequent flyers in first class.
God has spoken to us through his Word, giving
be troubled or afraid.’ (John
to invest your hope in him. His grace is duty free.
A haiku prayer Let me be always
us all the reasons why we
Choosing contentment is not
should be content. Our
about our happiness (though
Help me travel light.
Moments from a mixed race marriage I hand my debit card to the cashier, and she recognises the African surname imprinted on the bottom of the card. With immediate suspicion, she lifts her eyes to meet my pale face. Slowly she raises the card
than to actually marry
toward my hand, using the
someone of a different race.
“Yes,” I answer.
final seconds before its return to conclude the silent
Once as I was waiting to be called into an office
She hesitates, unsatisfied,
battle that wars in her mind
and tries a different angle:
as to whether or not she
“Is your surname Motaung?”
should call her manager.
“Yes,” I respond again.
It may sound like an
walked straight past me,
exaggeration, but it happens
certain that I could not
all the time. Many people
possibly be Kate Motaung.
cannot reconcile a white
The fascination is rampant.
Another hesitation. Still unable to reconcile the mystery at hand, she enquires with tremendous curiosity, “...Why?”
woman with an African surname. Apparently, to some, it is more believable
“My husband is a
that I would’ve stolen
Motswana,” is my reply.
someone else’s debit card
for an appointment, the receptionist entered the empty waiting room and
Some people just blurt it out: “So what’s it like being married to a black man?” Others think they are being
By Kate Motaung
s this your card?” she
more subtle, yet their curiosity is obvious as they just about veer off the road while staring at us in their rear view mirror.
My husband and I have nearly caused countless accidents as drivers try to determine whether we are actually holding hands while walking side by side down the road. I can’t even remember how many times we’ve invited guests over for supper, only to have the conversation turn toward the inevitable: “But really – what is it like to be in a cross-cultural relationship?” And every time, our answer is the same.
We start off by saying that we actually count ourselves at an advantage rather than a disadvantage, since the differences
were obvious from the beginning. We knew that we were
than just good
the time that the starting gun was fired that we’d have to
coming from different starting blocks, so we were aware from
work hard to get on the same track.
the one overarching
Other couples who grow up in the same home town may
from the same culture, same school, same town, that their
makes it all tick. Without it, we’d be in for certain disaster. That component is Christ.
presume otherwise. They may assume that because they are beliefs, worldviews, customs and traditions are in sync. It is couples like that who are more likely to be in for a surprise. Needless to say, every home operates differently and no two sets of parents raise their children in the same way. As a result, even husbands and wives who graduated from the same high school may have completely different expectations as to how their newly formed nucleus should function. “But my mom doesn’t fold towels like that!” “Oh yeah, well my mom would never dream of rolling my socks into a ball the way you do!” “Didn’t your parents ever teach you not to squeeze the toothpaste from the middle?” “What do you mean you want to send our children to a Christian school?” Statements and questions like these are not uncommon. In our case, because my husband and I knew that we had been raised very differently, we worked hard from the beginning to be very specific about our expectations, our assumptions, our preferences, and our traditions.
The Secret Ingredient However, more important than just good communication is the one overarching component that makes it all tick. Without it, we’d be in for certain disaster. That component is Christ. Though our upbringings were as different as our skin colour, both my husband and I have personally committed our lives to serving the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is what makes our marriage work. Our love for the Lord and His Word dictates our decisions. It
dictates the way we communicate with one another. It dictates the way we function in our roles as man and wife, in our roles solve conflict and handle disagreement. It dictates how we raise our children. And the list goes on.
For my husband and I, our commitment to Christ is the one component that makes our cross-cultural
Sure, we have our differences. All couples do. And to be
relationship possible. This
honest, there are some things we may never get used to.
all-important foundation can
After eight years of marriage, my husband still doesn’t
be compared to the parable
understand why this white wife of his insists on washing her
of the wise and foolish
hair everyday. Nor will I likely ever grow to appreciate the
builders in Matthew 7:24-27,
aroma of boiled sheep intestines – a so-called delicacy he is
when Jesus says,
crazy about. I have, however, learned to cook (and enjoy) pap, samp and dombi, and he has learned to live with my love for crayfish and sushi. Ultimately, it’s how we approach these differences that determines the course of events to follow. Do we sigh and resign ourselves to the fact that we will never see certain things the same way because of our culturally-tinted lenses? Or do we do our best to take off those biased spectacles, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us see things the way God does? Do we insist that our way must be the right and only way? Or, with the help of God, are we willing to set aside our preferences and selfish desires to seek out the biblical way?
The recipe for a good marriage It may look simple enough on paper, but what does it look like in real life? Maybe I can put it this way – some of the best marriage advice I received before I got married came from an unexpected source. It was a short message tucked away on a corner of a handwritten recipe given to me at my kitchen tea. This particular friend who had written the recipe said this: “There are many good verses in the Bible about marriage, but some of the best advice is found in Ephesians and Colossians, in those passages that speak about how Christians are to treat one another.”
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” If both parties are committed Christians and have built their foundation on the rock of Jesus Christ and His Word, then even
Think about it. What would happen if all of us, regardless of
when the storms of life arise,
race or cultural background, were to treat each other like this:
their home will stand firm.
“... as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
This is true for all couples,
If we were consistently and selflessly compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and loving – who would ever have a single issue or conflict to work through? I say this not
whether mixed race or not. It is in homes where the Word of God is not upheld and put into practice that the real danger is found. As the well-known hymn puts it, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
as an indictment, but rather as an encouragement to say that
With this in mind, ask
in spite of our differences and in spite of our sinfulness, with
yourself: Upon what
the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to have a marriage
foundation is your home
that survives against all odds.
as servants of Christ and one another. It dictates the way we
Building on the rock
THINGS NOT TO SAY …to your friend battling to fall pregnant Offering comfort to friends who are struggling with a difficult issue isn’t easy. You know you have to say something because surely something is better than nothing… or is it?
By Nicole Cameron
egardless of how much you care, if you’re not in the person’s shoes, or never have been, misplaced advice and comments can be construed as flippant and even hurtful. While love covers over a multitude of sins, here are some no-go areas to stay clear of when it comes to encouraging your friends battling infertility, as shared by those who’ve been on the receiving end…
We all know of someone who knew someone who battled to fall pregnant and then, as soon as they stopped trying/adopted/ got a new job etc…BAM! Naturally we want the same thing to happen to our friends, and it’s therefore tempting to encourage them to take their focus off falling pregnant. The problem is, explains Samantha*, 31,
when someone says you should just relax, you hear: It’s your own fault this is happening, and completely under your control. “Plus, if there is a physiological reason why you are not conceiving – which there most often is – it makes you feel worlds apart from the person; they are giving you casual advice about something you spend so much time thinking about.” Samantha says that much research points to the fact
“The Bible makes it quite clear that children are a gift, not a guarantee, so no, it might not happen,” says Samantha of this commonly offered expression of support. A friend of hers, also struggling to conceive, recalls being told by friends making an annual visit back to South Africa that they were quite certain the following year they’d all be tiptoeing around their home, trying not to wake the baby. Clearly they did not possess clairvoyant talent – the cot is still empty, and her friend hurt and frustrated by those who continue to dangle the offer of false hope. Again, as infertility tends to evoke feelings of failure in women (and is generally attributed as being a female problem, regardless of the reality) these comments can create an unhelpful sense of performance pressure.
“It’s in God’s will, he has a plan.” 3
“I really battled with this one,” says Rosa, who walked a five-year-road of infertility with her husband, resulting in the adoption of Raquel (now four) and Samuel (three). “Yes, absolutely, God is
sovereign and I clung to Jeremiah 29:11 like crazy, to remind myself that He has plans for good, to prosper and not to harm. But I didn’t always find it encouraging when other people said it; particularly when it came from friends who had fallen pregnant easily. “I guess how a comment is received depends a lot on the context of how it is said and who it is from. And personally, I did wrestle with God on why He allowed the tikhead on the corner of our street to fall pregnant, when I was married, with three empty bedrooms waiting to be filled with children, and I couldn’t.” Rosa recalls how highly sensitive she became – she felt isolated by those in the church who “glamourised pregnancy” by associating it with God pouring out His blessing on godly couples. “Which is exactly what it’s meant to be. But in a fallen world, the reality is less idyllic – when you’ve been through IVF, making a baby quickly becomes a scientific equation of an egg and a sperm connecting to form an embryo. I guess it’s just a case of bearing in mind that not everyone experiences pregnancy in the same way.”
“Have you worked on your idolatry issues?” 4
Everyone’s walk with the Lord is personal, and certainly, God can use struggles like infertility to mould and shape us. “But
when Christian friends told me that God would not give me something I may have idolised above Him, I just felt like a failed Christian on top of everything else,” says Rosa. “And so, if I learn my spiritual lesson, will God give me a baby as my reward? The whole point of seeing you’re a sinner is the realisation that your heart naturally places other things ahead of God, and this is true for everyone, not just infertile women.” Of course this is not to say there is no room for spiritual encouragement - but be sure you’re acting on a conviction that has come from deep time with the Lord. And generally it’ll be to someone you’re in a close relationship with. “I didn’t enjoy it when people mirrored their life experiences and perceptions onto mine – when in fact my perspective was entirely different to theirs,” says Rosa.
“Have you tried…?”
Advice on practical solutions do have their place, but after a couple has been trying to fall pregnant for a few years chances are they’ve heard them all, in some shape or form. “You’ve also done thorough research, and when someone offers a tip on nutrition or holistic remedies or standing on your head (yes really) it makes you feel like they think you’re ignorant or not smart enough to have
that stress isn’t actually a factor causing fertility challenges. “If worry was a big obstruction, IVF would never work. Show me an unstressed IVF patient!”
thought of the obvious,” she says. “People would ask me if I’d considered we might have a problem…yes, I think after five years the thought did possibly creep into my mind.” Rosa says in the end she just started reacting brashly: ‘Is three times a day enough?’ she’d respond to queries as to whether they were having sex regularly. The reality is you are willing to try anything and everything. Rosa lost 20 kilograms of excess weight when her gynae suggested it might make her healthier for pregnancy. “But there comes a time when you need to accept that God might be saying no,” she says.
“Guess what…I’m pregnant!”
Save the baby-ultrasoundin-envelope method of communicating your good news to friends and family who haven’t struggled with infertility. Again, it’s all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes – how would you feel if you had to react positively to a surprise closely related to your own personal emotional battle? When Rosa’s best friend told her that she’d fallen pregnant unexpectedly, she called her privately and asked if she could come visit her at home. “We sat on my bed and she said she didn’t know how to tell me, and how sorry she was for my pain. We both cried and I genuinely felt happy for her,” she says. “Later on in her pregnancy there were times when I told her
how jealous I was feeling. By acknowledging the difficulty of the situation from the start, she allowed me to be open, which was healthy for our friendship.” Samantha agrees that it’s all about giving some space to be sad. “You are not sad that they are pregnant, but just sad that you are not and may never be. I think that’s an important thing for friends to understand. You are happy for them but sad for yourself.” Rosa also cautions trying to hide the fact that you’re pregnant. “We’re women. We know these things immediately!”
“I’m not coping well with this morning sickness.” 7
Your infertile friends are not the people to complain to about pregnancy discomforts. Just being around pregnant women is painful enough, and those desperate for children would probably say they’d throw up for nine months straight for the privilege of carrying a baby. “A friend of mine used to complain to me that she couldn’t eat citrus or acidic fruit while she was pregnant. I’d think in my head: ‘Well I can’t have babies so boo-hoo for you getting reflux for three months when you eat oranges!’” says Samantha.
“You want kids? Take mine!”
There is no logical connection between infertility and understanding the responsibilities of parenthood, but these
kind of comments imply a sort of naivety on the part of the woman longing to fall pregnant; as if those without children don’t take advantage of their opportunities to travel or lie in late or whatever other comforts are put on hold when one has a baby. The truth is that no one can fully appreciate how tough having kids is until they themselves are parents – and this is true whether one conceives after one month or after ten years. These off-thecuff, softly apologetic comments do not offer comfort, but instead make the person on the receiving end feel as if their pain is being minimised. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose dad has just passed away that they should be thankful that they don’t need to buy a Father’s Day card; losing one minor obligation doesn’t even begin to make up for the incredible loss. In the same way, being able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast does not console someone who desperately wants a child.
“Have you considered adoption?” 9
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile couples to become pregnant. But there are many issues to work through before this becomes an appealing or viable option – including a grieving process for the loss of a biological child - so bringing it up before the time is right can be less encouraging than presumed. “In South
Rosa also makes the point that it’s fairly easy to have a baby naturally; you don’t have to fill in a ton of paperwork only to wait and face rejection. There probably will come a time when your friend is ready to walk the long road to adoption; but wait for her to take that first step.
Africa our reality is that you will adopt a child that looks nothing like you– there is zero chance that people won’t know your child is adopted,” says Rosa. “And you desperately want a baby that has mommy’s eyes and daddy’s nose – with adoption there is none of that heritage.”
What can you say? “To be honest there is absolutely nothing anyone can say that will help,” says Rosa. “You are so hurt, so disappointed, so sensitive and so angry that nothing and no one can console you. Perhaps if people acknowledged this, and said it was okay to not be okay, then that offered comfort.” Rosa also found it helpful when people asked how they could pray specifically for her. At some stages she needed help with wisdom and guidance, and then help with acceptance. “And be kind to us. Make gentle excuses for us when we don’t want to attend your baby shower or your child’s birthday party.” She also advises friends to show interest in other areas of the person’s life – perhaps if they’re succeeding in their job, or if they have a new hobby. “Remember that we were friends and had lots to talk about before babies even came into the picture.” Rosa says it’s also important to not be too hard on yourself. “I didn’t go to Mother’s Day services for years; you don’t have to be strong all the time.” She also found it extremely beneficial to be honest and open about what she was going through, to selective people, rather than letting it fester inside. Samantha agrees that it really helped to speak to people, especially those who had been in the same situation. “I hope by talking about infertility, other people who are going through it will feel less abnormal, and like they can confide in me,” she says. “And remember that there’s nothing like a good series to drown out the world and make you feel better. Watch it all day long in your pj’s and eat lots of chocolate – whole slabs if you must!” Most often our advice and comments stem from a genuine desire to help our friends. We don’t want to walk on eggshells around them, being too afraid to speak lest we cause hurt. But perhaps we need to realise that the best way we can help them is by pointing them to Jesus, our friend and counsellor, and the only one who can offer true comfort.
Expectations A mother shares her journeyâ€Ś As I sit down to begin writing this article, my seven-month-old gives me reason to rejoice â€“ God has blessed her with two lungs in excellent working condition and has given her both strength and stamina to use them. Not my usual response to what sometimes seems like incessant crying and unending sleepless nights, but an appropriate response as I begin to share my expectations and journey of motherhood thus far, and my struggle and challenge to cultivate an attitude of joy and thankfulness. 2
By Liza Ender
and the reality for us is that we will continue to taste and experience that judgement until Jesus returns. Take a look at Genesis 3, especially v16; “To the woman he said; ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing...’” Need I say more? Not only will the very act of having babies be painful, but raising them will bring pain and will be tough. Our experience of motherhood in this world will be full of trouble, hardship, heartache, disappointment and grief. “But take heart” Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33) The good stuff in Genesis 3 is found in verse 15. Before God tells Eve the bad news, he tells her the good; “I will cause hostility between your offspring and hers. He will strike your head and you will strike his heal.” In other words, God promises that a baby will be born who will crush sin and Satan; one who will deal with the brokenness and misery in our world, will take God’s judgement in our place and conquer death; “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting... thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55 & 57).
Expect brokenness and pain
Expect abundant blessing; the King of the universe serving you beyond your wildest dreams
We are very broken people in a very broken world. It’s true of you, it’s true of your husband and yes, it’s true of your precious, cherub-faced children. Genesis 3 tells us how God’s very good world turns very bad when Adam and Eve reject God’s rule over them and try to rule things on their own. God responds with judgement on their rebellion
As we see God’s great plan unfold in His Word, we see
very journey begins with great expectations, not least of all this journey of becoming a parent. I will never forget seeing our “jelly bean” sized baby for the first time, reading Ina May’s ‘Guide to Child Birth’, writing out my ‘birth plan’ as all the books suggest and envisioning how my natural, pain medication-free labour would unfold in a dimly lit cosy room where my precious baby would latch on; we’d lock eyes, and so would begin a fine romance. As the big day drew closer, I came back to earth with a bump (excuse the pun) as I discovered that our baby was in a breach position from which she had no apparent plans to move, not even an inch, despite half hourly sessions of me lying upside down and doing everything else at my disposal to convince her otherwise! In God’s sovereign planning (obviously not mine) we had a Caesarean in a room that was all but dimly lit and cosy, with a medical student observing the proceedings from a bench nearby (naturally!) There was indeed pain medication, which I praise God for, however it was so strong I struggled to discern the real from the fantasy for nearly two weeks! As for the breastfeeding... there are no words. And so it was that I began to learn my expectations would be very different from the reality that had just bitten me. On reflection, I’m not sure how the idea even crept into my head that I would be able to plan my future and have control over any events that unfolded. Life has never worked that way before. In fact, if I’d have gone to the source of unchanging truth earlier, I would’ve been reminded that God’s Word tells me so: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21. The truth is that no matter how great our expectations are, it is only our great God who knows what is written on the pages of the future, because He is their author. And yet, as we look to the future, and live now in light of the future, our loving Father has told us what to expect in the here and now and where to have our greatest expectations... Two and a quarter years in on this journey, I’m slowly learning to ignore most of the “how to” books and learning to listen to one – the Bible. For us, as Christian women, the journey of motherhood forms part of an even greater adventure – the race marked out for us that leads to heaven. Here’s what God’s Word tells us to expect along the way...
that the baby in the Genesis promise is Jesus, the second Adam. In Philippians we read that Jesus who was “in very nature God”, in complete contrast to the first Adam “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped”... “but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness... humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Take a look at John’s description of Jesus with his disciples just before the Passover: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist...and began to wash his disciples’ feet.” (John 13:3-5) One would expect that sentence to end with Jesus perhaps demanding some respect or acknowledgement of how great He is, but Jesus recognises that His power and position free Him up entirely to serve and to know He’ll never be hard done by – after all, He owns the universe and everything in it! Jesus’ actions in washing his disciples feet were a picture to them, and to us, of how He, our God and King, would serve us in the most ultimate way by taking sin’s curse and judgement in our place and instead place upon us His righteousness and perfection. Ephesians tells us that in Christ, we have been chosen, loved, adopted, redeemed, forgiven and guaranteed an eternal inheritance. If that doesn’t leave us humbled and amazed, nothing will. Barbara Hughes in her book ‘Disciplines of a Godly Woman’ comments on the passage in John 13; “...Jesus Christ had no identity crisis. He knew exactly who He was. He knew that all power belonged to Him. He knew where He came from and where He was going, and He knew His purpose on earth. His humility on that day and throughout His life was born of this confidence.” She continues to say; “The Gospel gives us this same confidence. As children of God, we also know from where we have come and where we are going. Like Christ, we also know what we possess. It is the love of God that motivates us to follow Christ’s example and enables us to loosen our plans for our lives, placing ourselves squarely under God’s loving rule each day.” This brings me to our third expectation…
Expect selfless, sacrificial service for the eternal wellbeing of others Philippians tells us; “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus...” We live in a world that esteems money and power, influence and maximum comfort for minimal effort; but God’s kingdom values couldn’t be more different. In response to Jesus’ disciples request for positions of greatness and glory, he says to them; “...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and
whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45) Greatness in God’s kingdom is selfless, sacrificial servanthood for the eternal wellbeing of others. You are not ‘just a mom...’ - someone who needs to feel a bit embarrassed that she’s not doing something more impressive or stimulating. You are a MOM!!! What could be more important or valuable than selflessly serving your family, modelling Jesus and holding out the gospel not just with your lips but with your entire life? Think about this; when you were up all hours of the night, whether it be feeding a baby or nursing a sick child, did you realise that you were following in the footsteps of King Jesus? When it gets to the end of the day – the clock strikes thirty minutes past five and you feel like your head will explode if your husband doesn’t burst through the front door (immediately!) because you are well and truly ‘all served out’... remember that you are doing the best thing you ever could for your children, giving them Christ as you model Him in your service of them... and be encouraged! When you find yourself asking the question: “Who’s serving me?” take your eyes and fix them on Jesus, our servant King, and live at the foot of His cross. As you discipline,
Greatness in God’s kingdom is selfless, sacrificial servanthood for the eternal wellbeing of others
teach and pray with your wriggle pot children who struggle so much to sit still and listen, you are doing what is truly honourable and glorious in our God’s sight. When you’re never thanked until you ask your children to thank you, let it remind you of your need to overflow with thanksgiving to God. With that in mind, our final expectation is to...
Expect to rejoice and know joy inexpressible A friend of mine (a mother to twins who have, suffice it to say, had an eventful first three years of life) often says to me; ‘you can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you’ll respond in the face of them’. True and very wise words for us, but not to be confused with the old adage ‘hope for the best, expect the worst!’ God’s promise to us is that whatever the circumstance we find ourselves in, He is at work for our best – our gospel best, making us like Jesus. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We see in Ephesians that God has given us the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our eternal inheritance. In light of all this, we are free then to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Peter writes: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed... you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and
glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”(1 Pet 1:6-9) Dear mother, my experience and possibly yours too, is often that I feel more burnt by the refiner’s fire than sanctified by it; more emptied of every inch of life than filled with the abundant life Christ has brought me. But the truth is that God is powerfully at work in us, through His word and through our circumstances as mother, wife, teacher, friend, sister and daughter making us more like the greatest servant this world has ever seen and preparing us for greater glory than we can ever imagine. Expect great things from our great God as you seek greatness in His kingdom and look forward to glory for eternity.
REFLECT By Carin Bevan
A perfect count of chromosomes
“Congratulations”, the doctor said as he handed Jamie to us, “Your son’s perfect.” And we’ve been amazed to discover exactly how perfect. Now four months old, he’s turning into a little boy with a strong personality and some rather clear opinions: He loves baths, bells and shiny things, but hates the cold and isn’t too fond of tummy time. The dots and stripes on his blankets are the most hilarious things he’s ever seen. He has long and serious conversations with us and probably wonders why he’s only getting silly smiles and animal sounds in return. He tries to copy our expressions and we’re convinced he already says “hello”.
That’s our Jamie – beautiful, wonderful and absolutely perfect. So when, a few hours after his birth, the paediatrician raised some concerns about Down syndrome, I was far more upset that he kept on referring to my beautiful boy’s “soft features” than any possible disabilities. To me it sounded like he was saying my child had “weak” or “bland” features, obviously not something a mother wants to hear. Nevertheless, when he asked if we wanted to do the blood test, we said yes. He’s the expert, we figured, but without any real worries. Apart from his slightly slanted eyes
Two weeks later, the test results came. Jamie was diagnosed with Down syndrome. We were shattered. Our little boy was not perfect after all. We were in for a rough few weeks: on top of having to deal with little sleep, breastfeeding and hormonal ups and downs, we now had to deal with this new grief and anxiety.
mistakes. So then why was I so incredibly sad?
The death of a dream Before Jamie was born, I was convinced that my dream for him was a happy, healthy life and that he could be whatever, whomever he wanted to be. Which parent doesn’t want that for their child? I loved thinking that this is God’s child, that He’s merely lending him to us for a while. To be honest, it’s easy to say that when all the possibilities in the world are still open, when there are still no limits to what he can be or do. But when you’re faced with a chance that he may not
packing our groceries and thought, “What if this is all that Jamie could ever be?” Even if he did it with the same enthusiasm and pride as this young man, would I be proud of him? I was shocked to learn this about myself. That despite considering myself a kind and modest person, it turns out that I could be this arrogant.
and small, low-set ears, Jamie showed no other signs of Down’s. He didn’t have low muscle tone (in fact, everybody remarked on how strong he is), he didn’t struggle to latch and there was nothing wrong with his digestion.
After reading some articles and blogs written by parents of children with Down syndrome, I learnt that these and other horrible feelings were very normal, that it was not unheard of for parents to have thoughts, however briefly, of “what
TRISOMY 21 We have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each of our cells. Sometimes, around the time of conception, an extra copy of one of the chromosomes is made so that there are three chromosomes instead of two. This is called “trisomy”. Down Syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 and is therefore also known as Trisomy 21.
Why were we so devastated? After all, we had made the decision not to do the prenatal tests for Down syndrome, especially since there was no way we’d abort if the test came out positive. I knew this was God’s will and that He didn’t make
even be able to finish school, let alone do well at it and have a successful professional career afterwards, you may realise that your dreams have not been as generous and unselfish as you thought. I felt very ashamed one day as I looked at the guy
a waste” or “there goes my own life”. Or “what if I can’t have another child to make up for this imperfect one?” This is apparently all a natural part of dealing with it. But as Christians we know that what is “human” and “natural” can be very far removed from what
OTHER FORMS OF TRISOMY Other forms of trisomy include Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) and Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)
is godly and just. I wanted to look at my child – no, God’s child – in the same way I knew God saw him: as wonderful and worthwhile. I wanted to have a new dream for my baby: not the selfish, worldly dream I realised I’d had, but God’s dream, whatever that may be. I clearly needed to change the way I saw Down syndrome, disabilities and the idea of “perfection”. I realised that I knew next to nothing about Down’s and decided to get educated.
What I thought Down syndrome was:
I knew that Down’s is caused by an extra chromosome, though I didn’t really know what this meant. I thought that people “suffering” from it had serious mental disabilities, which made them speak funny. And because they clearly had the intellect of a young child, I thought they could never lead an independent life.
On the upside, I believed that people with Down syndrome were always cheerful and happy (probably because they didn’t know any better or worse).
also thought that everybody with the syndrome had the same physical features.
What Down syndrome really is: Down’s is not a disability or a disease. It’s a syndrome, which simply means it’s a collection of specific features and conditions with a mutual cause. In this case, the cause is an extra chromosome (see box).
Down syndrome most often leads to mild to moderate mental disabilities, not severe retardation.
People with Down syndrome can have speech difficulties, but this is usually caused by low muscle tone and can be treated very effectively.
According to many parents, their children with Down syndrome are not always joyful and content. They are not ignorant of their difficulties and some find their physical and intellectual limitations very frustrating. Many people with Down syndrome now lead semi-independent or even independent lives. While there are some characteristic facial features such as the almond-shaped eyes, flat nose bridge, epicanthal fold (a layer of skin that covers the inner corner of the eye) and short stature, not every person will have all of these, and in some people it can be very subtle. In fact,
somebody with Down’s is less likely to look like another person with the syndrome, than they are likely to have their mother’s smile, father’s forehead or grandmother’s cute little dimple. Jamie’s newborn features have all but disappeared, and the only clear sign of the syndrome now is his gorgeous almondshaped eyes and the epicanthal fold. He looks more like his dad every day (though with a hint of me, I like to think!).
Inspiration As my misconceptions and stereotypes started to break down, I found new hope for Jamie. A turning point came when I watched Shéri Brynard’s speech at the University of the Free State’s graduation ceremony. Here was a woman who overcame whatever challenges Down syndrome threw at her in order to finish school, get a tertiary qualification and
build a career. Shéri’s story was especially inspiring because she wasn’t yet another parent trying to tell me how normal her child is. No – here was somebody who lives with Down syndrome herself telling me how much hope there is. And Shéri’s not the only one. There are countless stories of people who have finished school, travelled the world, started their own businesses, shared their stories through writing and music, acted on screen, even landed modelling contracts. People who didn’t let Down’s get in their way of their dreams and more importantly, God’s dreams for them. Their stories humbled me and filled me with more hope and faith I could ever have imagined,
“ ...NOT THE SELFISH, WORLDLY DREAM I REALISED I’D HAD, BUT GOD’S DREAM, WHATEVER THAT MAY BE....”
with or without Down syndrome.
FIND OUT MORE
I know that the future may hold some big challenges for Jamie. Yes, he may have serious learning difficulties. He may develop leukemia, or dementia, or have problems with his thyroid. Then again, so may every other child. But just like any parents shouldn’t dwell on all the cancers and disabilities that their children may get during their lifetimes, we’ve decided to focus on the present and to deal with each challenge as it comes along. When we look at Jamie, we see a baby boy who’s terribly cute, strong, happy and hitting all his developmental milestones.
Perfection Sometimes I do still worry, and do still cry. Last time this happened, God led me to this beautiful and well-known psalm (139:13):
Watch Shéri Brynard’s speech at the University of the Free State’s graduation ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=sFvGqCYlbY
Read more about Shéri’s 2012 Woman of the Year award: http:// www.womenoftheyear. co.za/pages/756813/ News/2012/Womenof-the-Year-WinnersAnnounced-10725063. asp
Read about a Christian family’s awesome and for the most part very normal life with their beautiful baby boy who has Down syndrome: http://noahsdad.com/ Another inspiring story, about Ryan Pittman’s mission work in Peru: http://noahsdad.com/ ryan-pittman-testimony/
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.” That’s when it hit me: Jamie does not, as it turns out, have an extra chromosome. He may have one more than me or most other people, but each one of his 47 chromosomes was lovingly and perfectly handcrafted – and counted – by God.
OTHER RELATED SYNDROMES It can happen that only part of chromosome 21 gets copied and attaches itself to another pair of chromosomes. This is called Translocution. In most cases, this extra chromosome can be found in every single cell in the body, but sometimes the extra one is only found in some of the cells. This is called Mosaicism.
In today’s world, we don’t have to put children into institutions or special schools just because they have Down syndrome. My child now has the same opportunities as any other child, even if it will take more help and harder work. We have a better understanding of the disabilities and health problems associated with Down’s and how to treat and combat them. While the average life expectancy of somebody with the syndrome was around 25 years in the 1980s, it is now more like 60 years – and increasing. (The oldest person with Down Syndrome, Joyce Greenman, is 87 years old.)
Why should Christians care for Creation? Biblical reasons to go greenâ€Ś Natalie Mayer
You donâ€™t have to go too far to hear the earth groaning. Extreme weather associated with climate change, rapid biodiversity loss, rampant deforestation, depleting nonrenewable resources, waste and pollution, and the pressure of accelerating population growth are all urgent and important problems demanding a response. But should Christians care especially about ecological issues?
The short answer is “yes”! Here are four Biblical reasons why Christians should care for creation:
BECAUSE GOD CREATED AND SUSTAINS THE WORLD, AND IT BELONGS TO HIM
The Bible teaches that everything – from the sun and the stars to insects and atoms - was created by God through Jesus Christ.
‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1
‘Through [Christ] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’ John 1:3 It may be a surprise to some that God did not create the earth and everything in it for humans. Rather, he has made it for his Son, who was intimately involved in its creation. ‘For in [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.’ Colossians 1:16. Furthermore, the partnership between God and Jesus for the created world does not end there. Instead of passively abandoning the world after creating it, God actively continues to sustain it moment by moment, through Christ. ‘[Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.’ Colossians 1:16-17 ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.’ Hebrews 1:3 Our Creator God is also the owner of his creation. Every single thing he has made belongs to him. ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.’ Psalm 24:1 ‘for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.’ Psalm 50:10-11 Nowhere in scripture does God give up his ownership of creation, or assign it over to us, and therefore we have no right to treat creation however we please. Rather, as people who love the Lord and endeavour to follow his Son Jesus, it makes sense that we respect what is made by him, what is sustained by him, and what belongs to him.
BECAUSE GOD CARES FOR HIS CREATION
In Genesis 1 we learn about the creation of the earth and all living things. Sea creatures and birds are created on the fifth day (v20-23) and land animals on the sixth day (v24-25). Before God creates humankind, he calls what he had created ‘good’ (v21,25) and blesses his creatures (v22). Therefore creation has intrinsic value to the Lord - outside of its usefulness to humans.
Nowhere in scripture does God give up his ownership of creation, or assign it over to us, and therefore we have no right to treat creation however we please. In Genesis 7 we read about the flood that God brings as judgement on a corrupt and violent world (v11-12). God is merciful, and saves Noah and his family from destruction. Yet God’s mercy extends beyond humankind. He also saves part of his creation – two of every kind of living creature are sent to Noah and are housed safely in the ark in order to repopulate the earth. After the flood, God again shows that he cares for his creation by making a covenant with the earth and its creatures, promising never to destroy them by flood again (v13,16). These and other Biblical instances show that God cares deeply for his creation, e.g. Psalm 65:9-13, and the earth responds in joy to his care (v13). As Christians, we are called to care about what God cares about, and imitate him. Therefore, since God cares for the earth and all living creatures, we must care for them too.
BECAUSE #3 CREATION REFLECTS GOD’S GLORY AND IS A WITNESS TO HIM Creation is a living testimony to God and his glory (Romans 1:20) and just by being, praises the Lord (Psalm 148). If we do not care for creation as we should, we are preventing it from reflecting God’s glory fully.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
BECAUSE GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE STEWARDS OVER HIS CREATION
In Genesis, God establishes our role as human beings. He sets us up as rulers over his creation (Gen 1:28), but it still ultimately belongs to him (Lev 25:23). This is called stewardship, and we are God’s stewards. ‘God blessed [Adam and Eve] and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”’ Genesis 1:28 ‘... the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants’ Leviticus 25:23 But what does this stewardship look like? ‘Rule’ (‘dominion’ in older texts) should not be confused with domination or destruction. Indeed, as John Stott puts it, “it would be ludicrous to suppose that God first created the earth and then handed it over to us to destroy it.” Rather, we should rule as God rules, to allow the flourishing of all creation, with justice and righteousness (Psalm 72). ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ Genesis 2:15 Genesis 2:15 literally means “serve and protect” the Garden, which is representative of creation. So our rule over creation should be one of service and protection. We are to carry out this role of serving, protective stewards until Jesus returns (Luke 12:41-48).
WHAT CAN YOU DO? THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE In summary, Christians should care for creation because: • Creation was made by God, through and for Jesus – and we must respect what belongs to him. • God cares for creation – and we must imitate him, caring about what he cares about. • Creation is a witness to God and his glory – and we
must not hinder this. God has made us stewards of creation until Jesus returns – and we are to serve and protect the Garden until then.
Pray: Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for the neglect of his creation. Ask God to grow your conscience in this area, and show you where you need to change. Pray that Christians would take their responsibility towards creation seriously, and ask for leaders and workers in this mission ﬁeld. We should be championing the cause, not grumbling in the background. Give thanks for the amazing blessing and responsibility that is creation care. Get informed: Be aware of how you live and what impact this has on the environment and its creatures. Get involved: There are numerous easy ways to start caring for creation. Start at home. Teach your family and friends, and encourage them to get involved. Volunteer for an NGO like GreenPop or river clean-up groups and make a difference where you live. What a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with non-believers!
For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care by Steven Bouma-Prediger
Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living by Nick Spencer and Robert White
When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry
Issues Facing Christians Today (Chapter 5: Caring for Creation) 4th Edition by John Stott
The Radical Disciple (Chapter 4: Creation-care) by John Stott
Starter I used a really good Bergdale Ham in this soup, it might be more pricey, but you only need a small amount. Use petit pois (baby green peas) as they will not have hard skins like the cheaper frozen peas. Otherwise if you just use normal frozen peas, strain the soup before serving.
SPRING HARVEST TABLE MENU 1 Minted pea and Ham soup, lamb kebabs with chunky salad and toasted pita breads and layered yoghurt and chocolate trifle with fruit and nuts. STARTER (serves 4) 15g butter or oil 100g (1 small) white onion, chopped *optional* 1 large clove garlic 80g honey and herb ham 1L chicken or vegetable stock (I used 1L of boiling hot water and 1 knorr stock pot cube)
MAIN (serves 4) For the lamb: 500g lamb leg chunks 4 kebab sticks For the marinade: 3g fresh mint 2g fresh rosemary 2 cloves garlic 45ml (3T) olive oil
500g frozen (petit pois) fresh baby peas 1g fresh mint leaves
For the salad:
salt and pepper
100g salad leaves
half a large cucumber, cubed
*optional* cream, plain yoghurt or crème fraîche to serve
250g (about 20) baby tomatoes
Finely chop the white onion and the garlic (if using).
*optional* 1 small red onion
Heat a large pot on the stove. Add the oil or butter, and the onion (and garlic).
4T plain yoghurt
Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until the onion is transparent.
Add the ham.
Salt and pepper
Melt the stock cube in the 1l of hot water and add.
4 pita breads
Add the frozen peas and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the peas are heated through. Finely slice the fresh mint and add to the soup. Using a hand blender or blender, blend until smooth. Remove 50ml of soup and mix this with the flour, until well mixed. Return the soup to the stove and add the flour mixture.
You can prepare the lamb kebabs and the salad before hand. When guests arrive you just need to reheat the lamb and toast the pitas.
Bring to the boil. Serve hot with more shavings of sliced ham and fresh mint, or a dollop of cream, yoghurt or crème fraîche.
Lamb kebabs, chunky salad
toasted pitaS 45
Remove any excess sinew off the lamb and cut into 2cm chunks. Add the paste to the lamb and leave to marinade (anything from 10 minutes). Divide the lamb and skewer them (try not to pack to tightly). Salad: Cut the cucumber into cubes, halve the baby tomatoes and slice the red onion thinly. Toss with the salad leaves and season with salt and pepper. Toss with about 1T olive oil just before serving.
Pitas: Slice the pitas in half, and place in the toaster for a few seconds until they brown very slightly and are hot. Alternatively place in the oven for 5 minutes to warm.
Spoon the yoghurt into the pitas and place the skewer on the plate. You can either leave the lamb still on the skewers for people to take off themselves or remove them and stuff into the pitas – your choice, just make sure the lamb is piping hot for serving.
Alternatives: serve the lamb with mint jelly, or a tablespoon of hummus inside the pita bread. This would also be delicious with some tzaziki (yoghurt and cucumber salad).
DESSERT (serves 4) Layered yoghurt and chocolate trifle with fruit and nuts 8 Tennis biscuits or 80100g crunchy muesli 4 teaspoons honey 400g double cream or low fat plain yoghurt 4 tablespoons Nutella
400g (peeled) fresh fruit
Heat a griddle pan or pan on the stove.
80-100g dried fruit and/or nuts
Place the skewers in the pan, cook for 5 minutes for rare, 10 for medium rare, 15 for well done (time might vary depending on the size of the lamb chunks, check by looking between the chunks, if still red then it is still slightly rare).
Among 4 bowls or glasses, divide the muesli equally, or crush the tennis biscuit and divide.
Stuff the pitas with salad
Sprinkle the nuts/and or the dried fruit (I used cranberries, raisins and dried pomegranates) ontop of the plain yoghurt.
Crush the herbs and garlic together, add a pinch of salt, and the 3T olive oil to make a paste.
leaves, cubed cucumber, sliced onion and chopped baby tomatoes.
Place the 4 tablespoons of Nutella into a bowl, add the other half of the yoghurt (200g) and mix well. Spoon this equally among the 4 glasses. Top the chocolate yoghurt layer with the fresh fruit. Drizzle with more honey and leave to chill before serving.
This is a versatile and low fat option of the trifle pudding. You can use any mix of dried fruit or nuts, decorating with seeds and even grated chocolate, as well as fresh or canned fruit. This is enough to fill 4 x 250ml glasses. If using tinned fruit, drain it well and leave out the honey layer. I used mixed frozen berries, fresh guava, banana and strawberries.
Pour 1 teaspoon of clear honey ontop of the muesli/crushed biscuits in each glass. Using half of the plain yoghurt (200g), spoon 50g into each glass.
SPRING HARVEST TABLE MENU 2 STARTER
Slice the bread into 10 peices.
For the coleslaw:
Basil and Tomato Bruschetta with Red onion Relish
Brush each side of the bread with olive oil. Rub a garlic clove on each slice (optional).
400g red cabbage
makes 12 (serves 6)
For the bruschetta: 1 large Ciabatta Loaf or french stick Olive oil 1 clove of garlic 200g mini Italian tomatoes sprig of fresh basil or 4 Tablespoons basil pesto salt
Heat a grill pan or frying pan and toast each side of the bread slices. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Shred the basil (if using leaves) into the bowl and season. Spread the basil pesto (if using) onto the bruschetta, top with the tomatoes and a small teaspoon of red onion relish. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
For the red onion relish: 1 tablespoon olive oil 10g butter
150g (1 large) red onion, sliced
Honey and Almond Chicken with Red cabbage Coleslaw on Boiled baby Potatoes
4 teaspoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons vinegar 4 teaspoons water
For the chicken:
Start with the relish:
550 - 600g (5 or 6) skinless and boneless chicken breasts
Heat the olive oil and butter together in a small pot. Add the slices of onion and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn stove on to hottest heat and add the sugar to the onions. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and water, and season to taste. Cook for a few minutes until thick and syrupy.
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons sesame oil or 20g sesame seeds (optional)
300g carrots, peeled (about 6 medium sized) 60g raisins, chopped juice of 1 lemon 2T olive oil 2T mayonnaise (optional) salt
To serve: 18 (about 900g) boiled baby potatoes Prepare the coleslaw first, as it is best served slightly chilled. Slice the red cabbage so that it come out in little slivers. Peel and grate the carrots and mix it with the red cabbage, in a bowl. Roughly chop the raisins and add this to the bowl. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and add the olive oil.
4 tablespoons honey
(The mayonnaise makes it more juicier, but can be omitted to make a healthier coleslaw).
5 tablespoons soya sauce
Season and leave to chill.
10 tablespoons (150ml) water
While the coleslaw is in the fridge, put the potatoes on to the boil in cold water,
100g almonds, skinned or unskinned
this will take about 20
minutes until they are fork tender. Slice the chicken and set aside. Heat a large frying pan on the stove, add the olive oil and add the chicken. Cook the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink inside. While the chicken cooks, place the warmed sliced potatoes onto 6 plates. Add the honey, soya sauce and the roughly chopped
almonds to the chicken. Add the sesame oil or seeds (if using). Cook until the chicken is coated well and the honey has made the sauce sticky, a good 2 minutes. Add the water and mix well. Divide the coleslaw between the 6 plates, and place on top of the sliced potatoes. Top with the chicken and a few nuts on each plate, and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve immediately.
Strawberries and Cream Stack with Chocolate syrup. Serves 6: 1 packet puff pastry (600g) 250ml cream 2 Tablespoons icing sugar 500g fresh strawberries 200ml of chocolate or fruit syrup. Cut the pastry into 12 equal rectangles: Unfold the pastry so that the longest side is closest to you, and it lies horizontal. Slice the pastry in half, so you have two squares. Divide each square in 3 so you have 6 rectangular pieces altogether. Cut these rectangles horizontally in half, so that you have 12 rectangles (not 12 long strips). (they will be about 3cm wide, and about 10cm long).
Brush with milk or beaten egg or egg yolk. Cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until risen and golden.
Slice the strawberries or halve them. Whip the cream with the icing sugar.
Place a bottom slice of puff one each plate. Spoon 2T cream ontop and layer some of the strawberries ontop. Place the another slice of puff on top. Decorate with more fruit. Serve with chocolate or fresh fruit syrup and/or lashings of icing sugar.
Spring flower bunting The se7en + 1 team over at www.se7en.org.za demonstrate this kiddies’ craft on how to make paper flowers and turn them into pretty spring streamers... We started with a sheet of paper to work on and markers. And to keep the flowers small, you know slightly contain the exuberance; we used Postit-Notes. We drew some invisible flowers with crayons and then drew over them with markers. And then still with white wax crayons we moved on
to watercolours. And finally we did some potato prints. The trick with a good sharp edged print is: Cut your potato in half; Then score your potato about a centimetre from the top and about a centimetre into the potato; Then cut your shape carefully from the top and the leftovers should just fall away; And you are done.
Then we needed centres for our flowers…So each child took a heap of little tiny post-it-notes in very subdued colours, not insect attracting or anything and stuck a bunch on their work page. Then with puff paints and glitter we made a heap of circles – flower centres. And we left everything to dry overnight. Cut, cut, snip, snip… and we are left with fields and fields of little flowers. And don’t forget the tray of the centres for the flowers. Finally, we chose some
Easy No-sew adult bunting string – I had some left over pretty streamers… and we laid the flowers in stripes, alongside the string… Place a dab of clear glue on each flower and then place the string on top of the flowers. Lastly, put a blob of glue in the centre of each flower, on top of the string. Place a flower center on top (string sandwich!) and leave it to dry. And now we have se7en flowery spring streamers and we are ready and waiting for Spring to catch up with us.
What I love about this craft is that it is easy for all ages, requires very little help and can be adapted for any number of shapes and styles. Butterflies, Stars, Handprints, whatever.
1. Use pinking shears (zigzag scissors) to cut the fabric so you don’t need to hem it.
About the se7en+1 team: We are a Christian homeschooling family with se7en + 1 kids, living in Fish Hoek, Cape Town and love sharing our life and times… our day to day adventures, travels, crafts, school ideas, recipes and day to day fun on our blog.
3. Use ric-rac instead of bias binding to feed the triangles on to, to prevent them from sliding around.
2. Use eyelet pliers to punch holes in the top two corners of the triangles and insert metal eyelets.
(Source: www. homemade-gifts-madeeasy.com)
Alexa Van Wyk is a social worker who
spent the early part of her career working with victims of human trafficking. Seeing the devastating effects on the children of these vulnerable women, as well as how their own broken homes often led them to pursue a lifestyle of destruction, Alexa decided the change needed to start a lot earlier. Trinity Children’s Centre is an early childhood development centre based in Mitchell’s Plain, a massive township on the outskirts of Cape Town, which Alexa cofounded in January 2012. We visited her to find out more... It’s 12:30pm and TCC’s first
as other nutritious snacks;
intake, 15 vulnerable children
when they first joined some
aged 3-5, are sleeping soundly on their mats in the small church building that the centre operates from. Looking at their
of the children were gaining a kilogram a week!”
A vision to uplift a community
peaceful little faces, it’s hard
TCC’s aim is to provide
to imagine that these are
exceptional education and
children rendered vulnerable
care five days a week for
by many factors – from low
those who need it most.
income, to absence of their
The children can enjoy
parents, to substance abuse
a safe, clean classroom
and gangsterism in their
and playground, with age-
communities, to sexually
or physically abusive
and regular outings. They
adults in their households.
also receive medical
“On a Monday they’re
attention and the children’s
always exhausted after the
families are supported and
weekend – many are up till
monitored. “Our vision is
two in the morning, running
to grow by one class every
around the neighbourhood,
year until the centre can
while their parents are out
accommodate 200 children
partying,” Alexa says. A
from age 3 to 13 – preschool
delicious aroma fills the
to Grade 7,” explains Alexa.
room. “Today they had
Of course, this kind of work
chicken breyani for lunch.
does not come without its
We give them a hot meal in
challenges. There are the
the middle of the day as well
logistical demands – working
BEING THE CHANGE with the Council to secure additional land, going through the necessary red tape to meet educational regulations, and raising funds for growth. Alexa says their partnerships with supportive churches and other networks have been invaluable – a team from a suburban church came in and planted a lawn for them; an uncommon feature in the otherwise sandy terrain. “The grass has really drawn the crowds. Some of the children have asked in amazement, ‘Is this real grass?’!”
Light in the darkness For Alexa, working in the community and being so close to all the brokenness around her has been difficult. “As you get to know the kids, you can’t help but feel deeply sorry for them. And while the children change quickly, you can’t expect the same from their parents.”
To get involved with TCC or find out more, visit www. trinitychildrenscentre.co.za. There are opportunities to help sponsor a child, and also to give of your time or professional services (medical, IT etc).
But, in the same way, the hardest part of being involved at TCC is also the most exciting. “To be a part of starting something small, and to see the change happen, is incredible. It’s a privilege to share our lives with these children and have the opportunity to model for them a life that’s built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.”
Meet the Blogger
celebrating life and growing younger on the inside… In May 2008 Dalene Reyburn discovered that her six-week old baby had congenital cataracts and micropthalmia, which means he was blind and the prognosis wasn’t good. Love, prayer and concern poured into their lives from friends, family and strangers on pretty much every continent of the world. Her sister suggested she start a blog – the easiest way to keep people updated in terms of doctors’ decisions, surgery dates etc.
When do you ﬁnd time to blog? Do you aim to blog a certain number of posts a week?
It got quite a reaction. I realised that God was using my blog to encourage people and draw them to himself. I was amazed, excited and humbled to see how he was using the internet to spread our story and to minister to people I’d never met and probably never would meet, from all over the world. I realised he was also using my blog to minister to some of our closest friends and family. I felt more and more compelled to blog. I became a lot more intentional about it. I loved it.
In an ideal world I would blog every day. (In an ideal world I would also get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.) I try to post at least once a week if I can. Usually my writing happens late at night when the boys are asleep, the house is quiet and my husband Murray keeps the tea coming…
Just before our second son was born, I started a new blog, Celebrating Life, archiving the antics of our boys, and then in September 2011, when I realised there was more on my heart I started Growing Younger on the Inside. What has surprised you most about being part of the blogosphere? I’ve been surprised by how much people respond to honesty and vulnerability. How blogging creates magical accessibility between strangers and friends, places near and remote. How even “famous” bloggers (big names with lots of followers) have been willing to interact with me now and then in the blogosphere.
What advice do you have to women wanting to start/build up a blog readership? Be specific. Make sure you know what you’re passionate about and what you want to say. Be real. Practise. Your writing must be excellent and worth your readers’ time.
DALENE’S TOP 10 BLOGS: ·Jaci Mun Gavin · Brian Louw · Bruce Collins ·Jon Acuff ·Tamara Lunardo · Jeff Goins (did his online blogging course – brilliant) · Tom Hamilton ·Jamie Wright· Shae Bloem · Clint Archer
PASSION WORLD TOUR 2012 Join Louis Giglio, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Christy Nockels in the Passion World Tour worship gathering taking place in Pretoria on 26 September, Durban on 2 October and Cape Town on 6 October Tickets are R250 at the gate. WIN! Radiant has ten Passion Tour tickets up for grabs. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Passion” in the subject line.
CHRISTIAN BOOK DISCOUNTERS RECOMMENDS: Finding God’s path through your trials: His help for every difﬁculty you face By Elizabeth George, R130 This book acknowledges the hard times we all face and reveals how people can “count it all joy,” including understanding that trials are not punishment and realising that God’s grace is sufﬁcient in them. George encourages people to turn to Jesus, where they will ﬁnd hope, joy and meaning in the journey, no matter how bumpy it seems.
Writing has always been my catharsis – until I’ve written about something I know that I haven’t come to terms with it, and so blogging was an outlet that brought healing and perspective.
bout a year into our marriage my husband and I decided to take a step towards responsibility and get our ﬁrst pet. Actually, it had very little to do with responsibility; and was more of a joint whim, but motives aside we soon ended up with the stripiest little grey tabby kitten we’d ever set eyes on. Over the subsequent months, our new fur kid Milly was to worm her way into our hearts in a way we never thought possible. My husband spent endless hours careering around our ﬂat with Milly chasing a ribbon on the other end, and I encouraged her to sleep next to my pillow and indulged her in all kinds of bad habits; such as drinking from a water glass as opposed to a normal “cat bowl”. Our camera overﬂowed with Milly photos – Milly on the couch, Milly on her scratch post, Milly playing with a mini soccer ball -and our conversations were peppered with pet anecdotes for anyone who would give ear. As my friends shared their stories about their babies, so I shared Milly stories. I knew it was ludicrous, but sometimes I really did feel that a child would never be able to compete with the affection I held for this animated little fur ball. I often felt that if anything ever happened to her I didn’t know what I’d do.
WARNING: recommended reading for pet-lovers only!
By Nicole Cameron
great and small Fearing the loss of earthly things that we feel contribute towards our contentment is something I often repent of. I am always expecting the worst when I get an unexpected call. I often imagine the shock of losing loved ones. I prayed to God on the dusk of a beautiful Tuesday evening and my heart was ﬁlled with an overwhelming sense of joy that no matter what happened, He was enough. It came out of nowhere and I was moved to tears. A few hours into a Tuesday evening, an urgent knock took us to our front door. A grey cat had been run over. Was it ours? When I ﬁrst started writing this column, it had been six weeks since Milly left our lives. In that time, I came to be amazed afresh at the kindness of the God we serve. I truly believe that one of the reasons He gives us pets is so that we can experience death more gently. In the space of a few weeks I got a snapshot of human grief, passing through all the typical stages, from shock (I felt no emotion for the ﬁrst twelve hours) to anger (yes, I admit I held my ﬁst up at God for taking the life of this small animal) to hole-in-the-heart sadness and to what is now faded, soft sadness. I don’t for a minute think God let this happen because of what I see as my secret fear-of-loss sin (Thank God He isn’t like that!) but His ways are higher than ours and in it I did see how He
worked to the good, strengthening relationships with our neighbours and deepening my understanding of His faithfulness. And the silver lining is that CS Lewis himself entertained the notion that our pets might go to heaven! In The Problem of Pain he makes a guess that if God wills our perfect happiness, if we need Spot or Tiger (or Milly) to be perfectly happy in heaven, they will be provided. Scripture does not deny the possibility, so I live in the imaginative hope that my perfected little kitty with give the Lord glory with every stretch, leap and purr!