My Story of Hope and Faith

I was born in April and soon after my parents moved to a small town where I later started school. The example that my parents lived was of a loving relationship, respecting each other, showing affection, dealing with differences in a calm, respectful way, discussing and resolving issues behind closed doors. Fighting was not an option, my dad would rather walk away from confrontation. Love and affection would always prevail. This was an easy example for us to follow. Both my parents had a living relationship with the Lord and lived their faith. All three of my brothers follow God and have living relationship with Him. My loving family is the foundation of my faith.
In a small Free State town God granted me the opportunity to live a full life – to His glory and honour. He blessed me with a very special talent – a singing voice, crystal clear and pitch perfect. I sang in the school choir and church choir, performing at almost every function in town. Participation in school concerts and piano lessons followed. I was chosen for the Youth choir of the province, a wonderful experience, something very few were privilege enough to experience. (32 years later my son also sang in the same choir). In grade 11 the headmaster asked me to get a small choral society together in the school. I could do all the auditions myself, choose the repertoire myself and we end up performing at every possible function in town – weddings, funerals, social gatherings, etc. – very successful! Because of our popularity we had a very busy schedule but I loved every moment. This society still exist today. At sport meets I lead our school’s supporters to victory for three consecutive years – best singing, best spirit and energy on the pavilion of inter school competitions.
These were happy times, I had a wonderful childhood with the support of my parents, never wanting to disappoint them in any way. I never missed any occasion at church, loving all the singing during these meetings. At one of these I gave my heart to Jesus and started experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in my life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22) I did well at school, ended up being chosen as head girl and dux learner – a happy child walking in the footsteps of Father God.
At university to study for a junior primary teacher, I immediately joined the choir and a lecturer tried to convince me to study music, but I stick to my teaching studies. I also joined the opera choir of the city and for seven years had the privilege to participate in numerous performances of La Boheme, Norma, La traviata. Student Prince and Oklahoma. I was chosen to serve on the student council of the residence, enjoying student life as I cruised along – loving all the dancing, meeting a lot of lovely friends.
God blessed me with 10 lovely years as a kindergarten teacher, responsible for the school choir, winning many competitions, bringing medals home to the school. Also coaching tennis I was having a ball, loving the life I lived.
With regards to relationships, I had a first big love in my second year at university but he was a farmer from the distant Northern Transvaal (now referred to as Limpopo Province) and his parents didn’t seem to regard me as ‘good enough’, we lost contact and I soon after leant that he got married to someone else…my heart was broken. Thereafter men came and went but I never felt ready to commit.
At last I got married at 23, fairly uncertain of my choice but trusting that God was leading me in the right direction. He was an attractive guy but I always felt uncomfortable in his presence. Our wedding night was a disaster! The first night we arrived at three in the morning in a terrible place with only two small single beds which he refused to share, saying it would be uncomfortable. After a short three hours of sleep we hit the long road, where I had no idea – a surprise he said. On the way I got hungry and ate some of the ‘left overs’ from the wedding that my mother packed for us. He got upset saying I’m making a mess in his car and will become fat. Eight hours later we reached our destination – a beautiful place. That night I was raped but had no idea – ripped apart, blood streaming down my legs, making it difficult to even sit down for the rest of the 10 days spent on honeymoon. I told no one, ashamed and humiliated, thinking that was how it should be! I cried out to the Lord, He carried me, consoling me. Only seven years later when my daughter was born and the gynecologist did a thorough check-up he told me that what I went through would be considered rape.
Getting home we became the parents of the school boardinghouse and I loved it, teaching in the morning and helping the kids with homework in the afternoon, after assisting with extra-mural activities.
Five difficult years of visits to gynecologists, fertility treatments, regular testing, thermometers, sleeping on my tummy and only having sex on certain days at last resulted in my pregnancy. Being intimate became a terrifying experience to me but God carried me and He knew my heart. The birth of my son was a long and difficult process, my husband getting irritated, telling me to stop acting up. I asked him to rather go and after 8 eight hours, holding my perfect son in my arms, all pain and suffering were forgotten – all honour and glory to God.
My husband changed jobs and we had to move. Seven months later my daughter was born, more blessing from God. Early on that morning my husband dropped me at the hospital, all alone, him only returning when everything was over and our daughter was born. Soon after we stopped being intimate and when I would dare to approach him, he would call me a whore. I felt all of this was my fault, searching help from gynecologists, ministers, counsellors and psychologists, every one of them suggested joined therapy. My husband refused, saying I was the crazy one and that there was nothing wrong with him. Thankfully I had my 2 beautiful children to keep me busy but I ended up feeling very lonely.
I joined various organisations, served on management committees, sang in different choirs and helped out at the schools however I could, the children always accompanying me everywhere. After 6 years of this high flyer lifestyle everything came crashing when our business burnt down. Sometimes when I needed money for groceries and had to ask my husband, he would through it at me that I had to grovel and humiliate myself in front of him.
It once happened that he just stayed out after playing tennis, knowing that we had an important function which I worked very hard at, to attend that night. Ignoring all my preparations and arrangements for the children to sleep over, he just came home at midnight, swore at me, as he often did and went to bed. The next day I had to face the embarrassment of explain to everyone phoning to ask where we were. The hurt was unbearable.
At the time we lost the business, we moved back to the farm, my husband never trying to build the business back up again, even though the insurance paid out? I never understood why and when I dared to ask, he would just end up putting me down, swearing and never explaining what really was going on. We have lost everything and had no relationship what so ever left.
Later we moved back to the city and he became very secretive, making phone calls about money owed to him from pay phones. Again, if I dared ask about these calls he would end up shouting, swearing and belittling me again.
One day someone came and took our vehicle, later I discovered that my husband owed him money and he just took the car as payment. He became jittery and secretive, me never knowing what he was up to or what kind of job he had. A collogue once said that he saw my husband everyday siting in his car, drinking beer. I never knew he drank but when we once moved I discovered a whole lot of empty bottles behind things in the garage.
Stuck without a vehicle I had to ask for lifts for the children to get to school. I started a half day job again which gave me back some of my dignity.
After three years of struggling like that, my father in law helped us to buy a house again, although my husband denied that it was his father’s money.
For the next 16 years I became part of a wonderful community, with the kids attending good schools and me having a school vehicle to my disposal. I sang in the church choir but after attending practice I was accused of having an affair. Singing was my life! One night coming home and again being accused of infidelity, I have had enough and resolved to NEVER SING ANOTHER NOTE, EVER AGAIN! At the time I did not know that we would divorce in 5 years’ time. My work and the children keep me going. Deep down in my heart I am crying out, I would love to sing again, even if just in a choir. Worst decision I ever made!
At the time I got a job at a big institution where I retired from after 30 wonderful years – surrounded by amazing, supportive friends, God as my anchor, I worked very hard just to make ends meet and keep us going. I managed to pay the basics for the household and the children. All along my husband was always busy too, who knows doing what?! At some stage he bought a liquor store but after 3 years lost everything again. Then he bought a car wash business which also did not end up making it.
When people asked about his business, I often heard rumors of fraud, he told a lot of lies and I never knew what he really was up to. All I could do was to work harder and hold on to God as my anchor in all of this turmoil.
About three years before the divorce he forced me into signing document that I had no idea what they were, apparently to put the house in my name. My dad was very upset about this as it was something that a person should never do. Early the next year we lost our house as money were taken from the paid up bond, there were rumors of fraud and I was advised to rather sell the house. My heart was broken but God looked out for us and we had a buyer within 2 weeks, who could only move in after three months. This gave us a place to stay and time to pack up our lives. With the money I could afford to buy a brand new, small car and still give my husband half of it. People really could not understand why I was still being nice to him, after all that he put us through.
By that time my son was living in Johannesburg and when he visited us in the small flat we moved into, he gave me an ultimatum – divorce dad, who was still around and a drunk, or never see me again! This was a really hard choice to make – my children meant everything but no one in my big family have ever divorced and I considered it sinful. Everything imploded – I had a total breakdown.
Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd” – God always carried me, He will not let me down this time!
Telling my parents of my ‘failure’/plan to divorce was one of the toughest days of my life, initially feeling as if they did not fully support me, never realizing that they knew all along and always saw my husband as a master at manipulation and that I was too light weight for him.
By the end of that year I was ready to get the divorce process going, got a new job, supplying accommodation that I could move into immediately. Again God was taking care of my every need. Because my husband had nowhere to go, he moved with us, but into the spare room which he did not appreciate at all. Again I have to listen to all the swearing and belittling. Although we divorce in February, my ex-husband stay with us for another 9 months, a very difficult time. He gave me a very hard time, even though I was providing for him and in the end he was forced to move out and my family had to still pay for his accommodation for a further 3 months.
On the day of my divorce, sitting all by myself in the court room, I was grateful to God because I did not have small kids to worry about and that God was with me all along, taking care of my every need. I was happy in my new job, very successful as well. Although I didn’t have a lot I tried to save as much as I can.
5 Years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and out of the blue, I did not know or remembered, I was notified that I had 2 trauma policies and I was paid out a large sum, which I could invest and save to use as a pension when I retired.
4 Years before retirement I got worried about where I will end up after retirement. Again God provides and a family member bought a place, gave me usufructuary (free use) for life and in that way I was taken care of!
I have retired, am living like a queen, involved in the praise and worship ministry at church, although I still do not sing at all. All honour and glory to God, for the life I am living. I firmly believe that one day I will be singing again, in a heavenly choir!
My firm belief is that if you put your hand in the hand of God, He will take care of you. My appeal is for you to make the choice to follow Him, believe, be baptized, and be His disciple. Everything in life and thereafter belongs to God and with His Spirit in me it is possible to live the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Everything is not perfect, I still have to deal with things that I feel I failed at but…
May my story of hope make you realise that God will never forsake His children.

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