30 December 2010

The Year of Rebuilding Relationships!

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: 
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”
Prov. 14:1
I’m at a dead end in the relationship with one of my children.  We are sooooo the same, but also sooooo different.  
And as I’m mourning the loss of a close relationship, I’m crying out to my God!  My God who knows me better than I know myself.  My God who made me, and also made my child.  My God who loves me just as I am - unconditionally, and who also loves my child unconditionally.  My God who gave me weak points with a reason, who also gave my child weak points with a reason.  
My God who gave me a hope, a future, a purpose in life, also to my child a hope, future and purpose!
And as I pondered this, I realized I’m a foolish woman.  I’m breaking down my home with my own hands!  
Oh, Lord please forgive me, I want to be a wise woman, a woman who builds her home!  I’m daily sacrificing time to be a wise woman, I cannot allow the enemy of mine and my children's’ souls to tempt me into breaking down the relationships in my home!
And while we are at the dawn of 2011, I will give a name to this year.  
I will name this year Rebuilding!  
Rebuilding Relationships!
I’m so much a goal oriented person and often put goals before relationships.  This year I will make relationships my goal.

When I picture relationships, I’m seeing a blanket.  For me a strong relationship is like an oversized big, warm blanket.  With an oversized big, warm blanket around my shoulders, I’m able to survive the storms of life, but when there are holes in my blanket due to damaged relationships, I will not survive.  The wind will blow through the holes and I will not be able to keep the blanket in one piece. 
What kind of blanket am I for my children, for my husband?
Am I an oversized big, warm blanket who protect my love ones against the storms of life.  Do I repair the holes in my blanket formed by our sinful nature, unrealistic expectations and selfishness, immediately?  Or do I allow the storms of life to enlarge the holes until eventually it is beyond repair?
Over the past year I’ve allowed my blanket to be ripped to pieces...  but I will not be in despair.  

This year I will, by the grace of God repair my blanket and at the end God will make it new!

I will print out the name of 2011 and put it everywhere in my home, for me to see, to ponder on, to overcome!
I’m going to be a wise woman - who builds her home through rebuilding the relationships in her home!
Some days I will fail, but I will not be a failure, because I’m able to do anything, through God who give me strength!  Every new day I will start again, and by God’s grace I will rebuild my relationship with my child!
But I know for this to happen I need to firstly rebuild my relationship with God.  Oh, how I long to rebuild my relationship with God.  Just be with my God, like Mary. Stop trying to impress God, stop being Martha.  So I will start with rebuilding my relationship with God, and then the other relationships will follow.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matt 6:33
Dear God please guide me this year in rebuilding my relationships.  
Please, make me strong to stay away from the temptation to rush for the goal and missed out on the relationship, even damaging the relationship.
Please make me an overcomer in rebuilding relationships!

In Jesus Name

I wrote this posting after I’ve been challenged at A Holy Experience to name the year, the same day I thought I’ve lost all hope in repairing the relationship with my child.
You can read more about name the year here.
With love


24 December 2010

Thank you and a Merry Christmas

To all my blog friends, those I know and those I don’t, I want to wish you and your loved-ones a very special Merry Christmas! 
I want you all to know, if it wasn’t for you who read my postings and revelations, I would most probably have stopped by now and missed out on many blessings in my life! 
Thank you!

16 December 2010

They Are Here!

100 Days of Blessings

While constantly crying out to the Lord for wisdom and guidance in raising, training and teaching my children and loving my husband the way he wants to be loved, I’ve received a very special book two months ago, helping me to live more in God’s grace and truth, love and mercy - 100 Days of Blessings by Nancy Campbell.  This book is an absolute blessing to a wife and mother!   It is filled with encouraging messages for women who choose to do things differently to the world and get persecuted and ridiculed in the process.   Nancy’s messages fill you with hope and excitement, while reminding you of the great and awesome work you are doing not only in this life, but also for eternal life!
So, I’ve immediately ordered this book from Nancy to be able to make it easier for South African Readers to purchase it.  And I’m delighted to say, I’ve received the books, today!  They are now available from Above Rubies South Africa for R99 (included a donation of R20 for Above Rubies with every purchase).  If you still want to order for Christmas presents, please let me know immediately and we can post it with normal posting R35 or overnight shipping R55.
Wrist Bracelets

While Nancy’s sister Kate proof read her book 100 Days of blessing she stuck little Post-it Notes to her arm.  Nancy curiously asked her what she was doing, to which she replied: “There are so many statements in this book that are life-changing.  I don’t want to forget them, you should get bracelets with these slogans on them so mothers can look at them and be reminded of these truths throughout the day.”
Well, Nancy did exactly that and knowing it would be too expensive for mothers to purchase fancy embossed bracelets, she has printed eight different rubber wrist bands with positive affirmations for mothers and wives.
(did you know there is a difference between loving motherhood and loving your children?)
(In a world that feel nothing for and constantly attacking the sacred covenant between husband and wife)
(one of my favourites, how we need to be reminded of that while taking care of all the many needs of our family, often without recognition)
(with 4 very busy, demanding, self centered, little boys in the house, I need to be reminded about that too, seeing the bright side)
(while the world is looking down on committed stay-at-home-mothers)
And these bracelets I’ve got too!  They are available at R20 each or R99 for the eight bracelets! You save R60! Please order quickly if you still want them for Christmas.  I can also send them overnight for the same deal as the devotions - overnight shipping for only R20 extra, normal posting R35 and overnight shipping R55.

With Love

12 December 2010


"It is wisdom to behold the kindness and the severity of God.  
It is wisdom to love Him and to fear Him. 

You are in deception if you do otherwise.

God is both the Lion and the Lamb.

To the spiritual children He is the Lamb.
To the maturing He is the Lion!
To the fully mature He is both the Lion and the Lamb!

It is not by believing this in your mind, but in your heart, that results in righteousness."

*The Final Quest
by Rick Joyner

I'm currently reading The Final Quest, for the second time. What a revelation - again!

How wise are you?
Do you behold God as the Lamb, the One who will always understand? 
As the Lion, One to honor with the greatest fear and respect - in our choices and actions, too! 

"There are times to adore the Lord, 
there are times to honor Him with the greatest fear and respect.
It is wisdom to know the time for each."*

A Reminder for this Festive Season:
Jesus isn't the baby in the manger anymore, but the Mighty One who sits at the Right Hand of God, to whom is given all the Powers in Heaven and on Earth!
He will also empower you to do everything He asks of you in His Word!

With love

03 December 2010

Raising Godly Tomatoes (Follow-up on Ear Trainers)

After Yesterday’s posting on Nancy Campbell’s devotion - Ear Trainers, I got responses like:

“HOW do you teach a child to listen”; 
“But it seems like I got nowhere, my children only worsen”; 
“How do you handle tantrums?”

A few years ago I’ve read To Train Up a Child, by Michael Pearl.  This book gave me some insight, but since I’m a very strict, black or white-kind of a person, the principles in this book, made me harsh in my discipline.  Luckily the Lord gave me a husband with a special, soft side, who gave me some balance!

I figured out that Training takes time and absolute commitment, while staying on my knees before the Lord for wisdom.
About a year ago the Lord lead me to a Book:  To Raise Godly Tomatoes.  The whole book can be read on their website. In the very beginning of her book, Elizabeth identifies four main areas were parents often fail: their priorities, their beliefs with regard to authority, how willing they are to separate their children from the world, and their willingness to reject worldly parenting theories and adopt biblical principles and godly standards instead. 
Immediately I knew my biggest problem was and still is, my priorities. 
I quote:
“...if you work very diligently at it, putting the training and nurturing of your children first all day every day, then the things in this fantasy will become reality, with greater and greater frequency, as your children grow older and older. You cannot enjoy the pleasures of a close, loving relationship with godly, well-behaved children, if you are not willing to make parenting them your top priority. You must view it as your FULL TIME JOB. If you make it so, you will experience these rewards far sooner and in greater quantity that you could have ever dreamed. “
Every time my little ones are spinning out of control, I can trace it back to me getting distracted in my priorities, not putting their training and nurturing first all day every day.  Just this morning I’ve experienced it again.  Just after Christo left for work and while the kitchen had to be cleaned up, little ones had to get dressed, supplements needed to be given, laundry had to be done (you get the picture), I decided I just want to quickly check my e-mails.  It turned out I had to answer two e-mails and within 5 minutes there was havoc in my house.  The little ones started whining, the older children got distracted in their duties and the atmosphere in my home turned south, with me losing my patience and ready to blow it!  
It was only then that I realized it all started with me not taking care of first things first!  I immediately closed my computer (in the middle of answering an e-mail) and took care of the little ones and got the older children on track again.  Half an hour later there was peace in the house. The little ones was safe and secure with me training and nurturing them, knowing all my attention where with them and the older children knew I was watching them closely and I was expecting them to finish their duties and get ready for their education time. Life was back to normal again. Children thrive on routine.

Maybe your biggest problem is authority or separating your children from the world. No matter what, I’m convinced this book will give you insight and wisdom in how to train Godly children with obedient hearts.
Here is a quote from the book that touched me the most at first, when I started reading it.  It could just as well be my call for help:
A Call for Help
Dear Elizabeth,

Help. I'm completely overwhelmed. I feel as though I’ve been doing everything wrong. I have several young children and they are out of control and I'm totally frustrated. I want to change things, but don't know how or where to begin.

Just One Desperate Mom
Elizabeth’s Response If I could tell the mom who wrote me the letter above, just one very practical thing to help her get going, it would be this: Keep your children close to you one hundred percent of the time. I call this Tomato Staking, and I’ll talk about it more later in the book, but it’s really not much more than what in the olden days of the 50’s, used to be called “watching your children,” with a good dose of fellowship and mentoring added to it. If you do this, you’ll be able to see everything they are doing, and you’ll be able to encourage it or stop it, as desired. You will get to know your children and will learn to recognize and understand what is going on inside their heads and their hearts. You can not know and train a child who is not near enough to you to be known and trained. Keep your children with you. This will provide you with the opportunity to be the kind of parent you’d really like to be.

Your goal should be godly children. That means training their hearts to think like God thinks and their bodies to do what God would do. Keep them right with you (the younger and most untrained ones by your side, the older and better trained ones at least in the same room until they are absolutely trustworthy elsewhere). Love, nurture, encourage and educate them constantly. Teach them who God is and what His ways are like. When they disobey, or display a bad attitude, or do anything a godly child would not do, correct them promptly and require them to repeat what they did in godly manner. Once they have obeyed you with at pleasant attitude (never proceed until they do), go back to loving, nurturing, teaching, mentoring, apprenticing and enjoying your children as you were before. Watch your children.
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good."
- Proverbs 15:3

Focus on the Heart
Sadly, since starting my parenting website in 2002, I have received hundreds of internet appeals like the one above. These parents are sincere in wanting to raise their children for the Lord but don’t know how. The psychology based parenting methods so popular today, are not working for them. Most have floundered for a few years, trying different failing methods, and now find themselves with a small band of rowdy young ones who do not respect them, do not obey them, and are headed toward disaster rather than faith in the living God.

It is my hope that this book will reach and help many young parents in this situation. I have focused primarily on toddlers through grade school aged children, but have touched on older children in later chapters. I have used many of the questions I have received via email or my website message board to help explain the concepts I want to share. I’ve tried to give examples and suggest dialogs where I thought they would be helpful. Although teaching basic obedience is the starting point, the heart is always the real issue. Raising godly children is impossible without knowing how to reach and address their hearts, therefore I have tried to promote a focus on the heart throughout this book, over and above anything else. As you read my suggestions, do not take them as strict step-by-step rules. Instead, try to understand the principles underneath the rules, then be creative and wise as you apply them, so that they will best reach your own child’s heart, turning him toward the Lord and toward you.
"And it shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul…”
- Deuteronomy 11:13
I really encourage you to get this book (Christo has now ordered me the book) or read it on line.  There are dozens of golden nuggets in there, from how to take care of newborn babies’ cries, to handling toddler tantrums and sibling rivalry, to take care of Mother's emotions.
With love

02 December 2010

Please, Listen to my Voice!

I’m currently having a real challenge training my little ones.  Although I have eight children, it is the first time half of them are boys and five years and under!  They are loud, busy, strong willed, demanding and I am stressed out!  
A few days ago, Christo asked me what my biggest source of stress was.  I was pondering on his question the whole day and it hit me while we had supper that night!  The boys were all asking questions and talking simultaneously, making it impossible for any of the other members of the family to have a normal conversation.  
What is the biggest source of my stress?  My boys who are not properly trained to listen to my voice!  I immediately cried out to the Lord and as usual the Lord was faithful to come to my rescue.  

Last night I got this electronic devotion from Nancy Campbell:  Ear Trainers.

May you be blessed by this, as it blessed me and gave me hope - and this is only part 1!

Ear Trainers

Part 1

"The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise. 

He that refuses instruction despises his own soul:
but he that hears reproof gets understanding"

(Proverbs 15:31-32).

What is the first thing we should teach our children? When I ask women this question at seminars they give me lots of very good answers, but usually not the one I am looking for. What is my answer? I believe that the first thing we teach our children is how to listen.

If children do not learn how to hear, they will not learn to obey. If they do not learn to listen, they will not learn to hear the voice of God speaking to them. If they do not learn the art of listening, they will not learn to acquire knowledge.
If they do not learn how to hear, they will not come to faith, because "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). How you train your children to hear will determine their relationship with God!

It is possible to hear but not really hear. That's why Jesus constantly said, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." We have to learn to listen with our ears but this takes training.

All parents are ear trainers. By the way we parent; we train our children to have obedient ears-or, disobedient ears, lazy ears, dull ears, defiant ears, resistant ears, gullible ears or even forgetful ears. What kind of ears are you training your children to have? When you ask them to do something but they take no notice of you, you are training them to have defiant ears. When you ask them to do something but they delay doing it, they have dull ears. When you ask them to do something, but they don't bother doing it until you have asked for the sixth time and by now you are shouting, you are telling them that they do not have to obey until the sixth time! You are producing lazy ears. What will God have to do to get their attention?
What kind of ears does God want our children to have?
When God told Solomon that he could ask God for anything he liked, Solomon responded by asking for "an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3: 9). The margin in my Bible gives "hearing" for "understanding." The Hebrew word is shama and means, "to hear with attention and obedience, to give undivided listening attention." This is what Solomon wanted more than anything else, more than riches and fame-a hearing heart. May God give us wisdom to teach our children how to have hearing hearts.

The word shama is synonymous with obedience. Proverbs 25:12 says, "As an ear ring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient (shama) ear."

Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning." There is no way we can teach our children to be wise without teaching them to hear with undivided attention.
 When King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord, the prophet Samuel came to him and said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (qashav) than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

The word qashav describes acute hearing. It means "to prick up the ears, sharpening them like an alert animal." Children with qashav ears will be ready for God to use as soldiers in His army.
James 1:19 says, "Let every man be swift (tachus) to hear." This Greek word means, "prompt or ready." Most Bibles translate it as "quick to hear." It describes instant obedience. True hearing results in immediate action. I used to say to my children, "Delayed obedience is disobedience."

How do we teach our children this kind of hearing? As soon as they can understand a command, we teach them to obey that command. But before they can obey, we must make sure that they have heard us. Sometimes, you may have to get your little child to repeat your command to make sure they have heard you. Don't yell commands from another room. Always give commands eye to eye and face to face so that you know your children have heard what you ask them to do. When you know that they have heard, teach them how to obey straight away. Don't accept anything less. This takes time and effort, but remember, mother, you are an ear trainer! This is one of your most important tasks as a parent!

May God help us to be parents who train prompt and obedient hearers.
"Oh God, please forgive me for not diligently training the ears of my children. Please help me to train children who have obedient ears.  Amen."
I am a diligent ear trainer!

With love

22 November 2010

Speak Gently!

I recently read this article which is by far the most helpful article I've ever read on the subject of 'speak gently'!

"Not many of us possess the natural ability to command our own emotions and thereby bring peace to a factious situation. The issue that concerns many of us as mothers is our tendency to raise our voices and become angry with our children. It causes us concern, shame, even heart-felt sadness. 
I believe that the root of what causes us to blow up and resort to anger when attempting to get control of a situation or a child is rooted in insecurity
Sometimes, not wanting to be bothered by them, we choose to please ourselves when our children get in the way of our immediate interests--whether it be talking on the phone, going out with friends, crafting, computer time, or even getting some needed sleep (as mothers we know this is often a luxury, don't we?). 
After a season of neglecting to correct with confidence and finality, our children become the typical, out-of-control youngsters that cause us to lose control.
Common fear and worry are also some of the obvious sources of anger we extend to our children. Money, relationship, and health concerns can cause us to tense up and react to those around us. It is at these times that we not only raise our voices, but also use expletives to punctuate our points. Like Cain, we give in to a frustrated spirit which leads to devastating results.
Outside pressure can also cause us to errupt in many instances. 
I am reminded here of how in the animal kingdom--mothers react negatively to prying eyes. These creatures must have privacy in order to care for their little ones. It is sad that we have been deceived to believe that we need some sort of "village" in order to raise human babies. Every new expectant mother soon learns of the many "opinions" that exist in society regarding child rearing, as she receives unsolicited input from a myriad of "experts". It can be overwhelming. Then, after the baby is born, she hears the noise of all these voices rushing in to confuse her.
Comparing ourselves with others will also lead us to react.
Being thankful and content will go a long way towards helping us become the mothers of our dreams, and having well-behaved children. We need to appreciate our circumstances, our husbands, and even ourselves for who they (we) are, and allow God to feed, nurture and provide for our needs, even though all we have to work with are a few fish and loaves. 
This is why our relationship with God must be our anchor.
In summary, we simply need to get out of the habit of raising our voices."

Read Sherry’s whole article and how to break the habit of raising our voices, here. I’ve already read it three times in a row, I’ve put it into practice today and I’m going to bed tonight with a peaceful heart!
With love

21 November 2010

Above Rubies - From Me to You!

During the past 5 years sending out the Above Rubies magazine has become a highlight in our family's lives and we developed a production line to make it happen smooth and effective. Since it is our family ministry, everyone who can read, that is from Danika and older is part of the operation!

On Friday night we started packing Above Rubies #79 into envelopes.  Currently we send out about 4,000 magazines to 600 subscribers in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

The operation starts days before the packing, when I clean up the address list (new subscriptions and address chances) and print the labels.  Danika and Josua puts the labels on the envelopes, while Christo, CJ and Heidi-Mari put the magazines into the envelopes. We use pre-paid envelopes, which saves money, we get 5% discount on buying 500 envelopes and saves LOTS of time, no need to put stamps on the envelopes.  
As a rule we send out at least 2 magazines to every subscriber.  You never know when the Lord may lay it on your heart to give a specific issue to a friend or family member or even a stranger in the supermarket and we don’t want you to give away your one and only, precious copy.  Back issues of Above Rubies are seldom available and it has happened before that not one copy was left, even before a next issue was printed.  We therefore encourage our subscribers to take more than two copies - to hand out or to keep. I currently keep 10 copies of each issue, for my children and can’t wait to hand them a treasure of wisdom on being a Godly wife and mother, the day they get married.   
On each address label, the amount of issues required by the subscriber, is printed and Christo, CJ and Heidi-Mari put that amount of magazines into each envelope.  When Josua and Danika are finished putting address labels on envelopes, they too will put magazines in envelopes. 
As soon as the magazines are in the envelopes, I update each subscriber’s address card on my computer.  This way I make sure an Above Rubies subscriber’s magazine doesn’t get lost somewhere in the process of label printing and posting and I double check the amount of magazines to each subscriber.  When we packed the previous issue, #78, I couldn’t update the address cards, due to a lot that happened in our family during that time.  Unfortunately some Above Rubies subscriber’s didn’t receive their Above Rubies.  

If you are a regular subscriber, please check if you have received Above Rubies #78, if not, please contact me and I’ll send it out immediately.
After I’ve checked a subscribers’ amount of magazines in the envelope and added the new information to her address card, the envelopes are sealed and a returned address is stamped on the back of the envelope.  Josua and who ever are finished putting magazines in envelopes will seal the envelopes and Danika is in charge of the return address. 

Then we still have to do the neighbouring countries, who have different envelopes.  The most economical way to send these magazines are for the envelopes to not exceed 300g.  That means 5 magazines per envelope.  Ten magazines in two envelopes cost less than ten magazines in one envelope!

CJ is responsible for bulk orders.  I give him the bulk order address labels and he prepare the boxes.  We use the boxes in which we received the magazines from America for our bulk orders, but these boxes carry 350 magazines and our bulk orders most of the time are between 50 and 100 magazines.  Thus CJ has to cut and change the box to the right size - no easy job, taken in account we had 11 bulk orders this time!
The post office also requires an extra label for bulk orders and I try to fill them out as soon as I finish the address cards on my computer.

The last stretch, is taking the envelopes and boxes with bulk orders to the post office.  That is Christo’s job and again no easy one.  He will get a grocery trolley at the shopping mall and load all the local envelopes in the trolley to hand over to the post office personal.  The neighbouring country’s envelopes and bulk orders are a little more time consuming - it also requires a second trolley.  Every envelope and package has to be weighed at the counter, the amount of stamps calculated and needs to be stuck to the package (at the counter....)
Finally I put the bulk order tracking numbers in the computer as reference.  Only now I can say another Above Rubies magazine has successfully been posted!
And this is what kept us busy this weekend.  Hard work - Yes!  Satisfying job - Yes, Yes, Yes!
It is such a privilege to send out this encouraging magazine to families in South Africa and to know God is touching lives through this ministry!

To all our South African and neighbouring country’s Subscribers, may this Above Rubies bless you and encourage you in your high and noble calling as wife and mother!
With love
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