24 December 2012

Christmas for the Glory of God

It was December 2000. We were a family of 5, Daddy, Mommy, boy 6 years, girl 3 years and Baby boy, 4 months. 

It was the year we started our health shop, after our Men’s Toy Shop (selling telescopes, knives, etc) went under. We lost almost everything - our home, as well as our vehicles. They say it takes 1,000 days for a new business to prosper, and we had just started our Health Shop a 100 days ago. We experienced what is was to live in total trust, that God would provide for our every need.

That Christmas we didn’t want to put up the Christmas tree. We had to move to a smaller house the end of that December, so we were in the process of packing up our home, but the main reason was there was no money, for even the smallest present.  We didn’t even know where we would get the next month’s rental and there was the bare minimum in our food cupboards. We didn’t want to give the children an expectation, followed by disappointment and explain to our little son and daughter the situation. They were so brave and submitted to our decision without any complaining. 

Then about 2 weeks before Christmas, little CJ came to me. With tears running down his cheeks, he asked me if we could please put up the Christmas tree. They knew there would be no presents, and that is okay, but they were longing for the excitement and festive atmosphere created by the tree and sparkling lights. 

I couldn’t say no, and immediately put up our 2m Christmas tree. We decorated it with joy and the children sat in delight watching the lights.  

Since it was holidays, our small health shop, still very unknown to the public, was very quiet. We had to save up every sent we got to pay our rental deposit on the 1st of January and there was almost no food in our home. This was a time of great dependence and trust in the Lord. As a result, early on the Wednesday morning before Christmas, I sat down and made a groceries list. After I wrote down everything we need for the next two weeks, I put it before the Lord and ask Him to please provide. This was setting the scene for a miracle, there was absolutely no money.

By 12 O’ clock I got a phone call from our pastor’s wife. She just came back from her ladies’ Bible study group. It was laid on the hearts of the ladies in her group to put money in an envelope for the Lues family and she was asked to bring the envelope to our home., directly after Bible study ended.  I still remember how I slowly got on my knees after putting down the phone and praised our mighty Lord. That same afternoon I put my children in the little car we borrowed from Christo’s niece, went to the grocery store and witnessed a miracle. I could buy every single item on the grocery list I made earlier that morning, and the money was  the correct amount, to the cent!

With joy and gratefulness my little children and I unpacked our groceries, me explaining all the way how this was only possible because our God in heaven know us and care about us.

Then the next morning our pastor called. He was calling on account of a member of our church, who wished to stay anonymous, and till today he is still unknown to us. This Brother in Christ made out a check to be paid in our bank account. We could use the money for whatever our needs might be, BUT it is his wish that we first buy Christmas present for our children! As I sit here writing this, I’m crying again, remembering that moment in time. The amount he gave us was quite a lot of money. It was enough to pay our rental deposit, the rental for January and buy our children presents that exceeded our expectation! 

That Christmas was the most amazing Christmas. We experienced Immanuel, God with Us, and our children were in awe of what God had done.  They knew the evening we dropped them at their grandparents, that we were on our way to go buy them Christmas presents with money provided directly from our Heavenly Father and they had a first encounter with the grace of God. Undeserved grace.

The day after Christmas we earnestly started to pack up our home and move from our spacious rental house with a swimming pool and jungle gym, to a small 2 bedroom granny flat.  Our rent was paid, but still there was no extra money and we would have to move our home without a moving company and we didn’t anticipate any help since all our friends were enjoying their festive season. 

Again the Lord surprised us beyond our highest expectation. A few days before we had to move, another family in Christ called us, informing us that a group of families had put together money and hired a moving company to move our things on the 31st of December to our new home.  

God was demonstrating to us His blessings as we had never experienced before.  Up to then, Christmas was all about ourselves, but that Christmas we were at the receiving end and we were blown away with the way God used people to take care of our needs, the basics and beyond!

Since that very special Christmas we as a family came to understand it is more blessed to give than receive and started to walk in it.

Over the following Christmases we reminded our older children of that special Christmas and shared with our younger children the miracle of that Christmas. 

This Christmas we experienced a similar miracle.

As many of you know, Heidi-Mari finds great joy in her gifting of working with chocolate. 

Over the past 18 months we attended numerous Lindt chocolate courses and she loves to make chocolate truffles, moulded chocolate with fillings and chocolate candies.  Unfortunately it is not possible to work with chocolate in summer months without an air conditioner to cool down the room, to the low 20degrees. We tried to earn some extra money for buying an air conditioner, by selling her homemade cards, but that didn’t succeed. 

So we decided to just wait on the Lord till there was enough funds to buy an air conditioner for our kitchen.  And God provided, but from a total different source.  

Two weeks ago a friend’s husband, who saw and tasted her moulded chocolate, asked her how she was doing with her chocolate. In their conversation she mentioned that she is currently limited in what she can do, due to not having an air conditioner in the kitchen.  

Last week this friend’s husband gave Heidi-Mari an air conditioner! 

Years ago a Pastor with 7 children was asked how he provides for his family. He comment, “God is providing for my children, and my wife and I are joining in the blessing.”  We can testify for that. The Lord provided for Heidi-Mari to be able to work with chocolate in the hot summer months, and the rest of the family is enjoying the blessing of a cooler home!

Four weeks ago Danika (9) fell off the steps at our back door, and seriously broke her right arm.  It was quite a challenging 48 hours, being in a hospital the first time in 15 years, the scary experience of my little girl receiving anesthetics (not one of my children ever had anesthetics up to now) and being operated on. 

It was a heart breaking incident, seeing my little girl in so much pain, while waiting for hours for her turn on the emergency theatre list. In this all God was unmistakably present! I experienced Him going before us, not being cought by surprise at the series of events and gave thanks in every moment. But little Danika was tested big time in practicing a thankful heart, giving her every fear to the Lord, since she has a very sensitive personality, always taking care of every one else around her, but in herself can get stressed and worried very easily.

The Saturday after she broke her arm the Thursday, Brother CJ encouraged her to enter a Lindt Chocolate Colour-in competition with her left hand. With great excitement we drove to the Lindt Chocolate Studio the next Saturday, bought a 100 g Lindt Chocolate Bear which has to accompany the entry and submitted her entry.  We almost forgot about the entry, when we got a phone call on Friday morning. 

Danika was one of the 10 children who had won the colour-in competition. 

She, as well as this mother was overjoyed!  The Lord was taking care of my little girl in her distress and met her in her trial!  He blessed her with being praised for her effort of coloring with her left hand, while she was feeling worthless, not able to do anything for herself or any one else, due to an arm in a sling.  Again we experienced the Lord’s overflowing blessing. Danika’s prize was 100 mini Lindt Bears and the whole family is enjoying the blessing! It is giving her the biggest pleasure to surprisingly give away her Lindt Bears to whomever she wants to!

A week ago our family visit friends at the other side of the mountain, for the first time. The children had a ball. The older children went to play tennis with the dads and the little ones played on the jungle gym and in the swimming pool, under the moms supervision.  Now when we moved from our spacious rental home, December 2000, we sold the children’s jungle gym too. For years to come, I mourned the loss of my children’s jungle gym. 

As my friend and I watched the children climbing up and down the gym, I started telling her how we are currently saving up money to build the children a jungle gym, on which she said, “You know, this gym is on my ‘get-rid-off-list’ for the new year, you can have this jungle gym.  Our children has outgrown it now.”  You could push me over with a feather! I was looking at the gym and it had everything we wanted on our gym. We just had to dismantle it ourselves and arrange transport to our place. How blessed can one be? Was this really happening? My children soooo wanted a jungle gym, but we have not been able to afford it yet, and here the Lord was organizing one for them, for FREE!

This past Saturday the men went fetching the gym.

Since then the little ones are playing non-stop on their jungle gym! 

The time of Christmas is such an amazing time of showing good will and blessing people. It is a time that people are more vulnerable and open to giving, as well as receiving. I love this time and rejoice in the wonder of being able to bless friends, neighbours and strangers - showing them more of Jesus. 

But I’m also thankful for Immanuel, God with us; Mighty God, who rule not only the Universe, but in each of those who love Him; Jesus, the Saving One and my Savior, who show Himself to be a sure Presence in our lives.

May each of you have a blessed Christlike feast!

“5 One person esteems one day above another; 
another esteems every day alike. 
Let each be fully convinced in his own mind… 
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, 
but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
Rom. 14: 5-13

With much love


Mignon. said...

Verstommend, en tog is dit die karakter van ons God, Hy voorsien, altyd ver bo ons verwagtinge!

Anonymous said...

Ag Linnie, julle as gesin is so 'n seën vir ons. Julle onwrikbare geloof en al jou raad en ondersteuning hierdie jaar het ons baie beïnvloed, en ek dank Vader elke dag vir vriende soos jy (julle) wat (al is dit via internet) in ons lewe gekom het.
Mag Heidi-Marie die koue kombuis geniet, en die klein kindertjies hul klimraam nog vir jare deurklim en klouter.
'n Wonderlike Christus-dag en jaar wens ons julle toe.

Taryn said...

What blessing, Linnie! Thank you for sharing the heart-warming experience you've had of the community of Christ working together for His glory. I pray that your Christmas is a blessed one!

Wendy Meijer said...

Wow, Linnie, what a beautiful testimony of God's love and attention to every detail in our lives! Thank you for sharing, love Wendy

Linnie said...

Thank you dear Friends.

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