Braving the Wilderness, Women in the Arena: Owning my story (Part 4)

December 2016, we were just a few days away from Christmas. The ‘Get Up and Go’, for the first time refuses to get up and go. Curtains drawn, lights off and covers over, he remains in bed. I open the door to the bedroom and the light from the lounge allows me to take in the pained expression of sadness etched across his face.

Concerned now, I ask “What’s wrong Love?”. His voice breaks as he pushes down the urge to cry with…”She doesn’t care and I don’t know if she ever loved me”. Confusion takes over. I first think it is health related but instead I figure out it is much worse. My husband is emotionally torn and I realize that he is referring to his mother. He then turns around , refusing to say anything else and I exit.

I then begin processing now. My mind racing through all the plans that have already been set into motion. We are moving to Austria. Leah is registered at the school. Naomi has a place at a kindergarten and I have sent my CV to Siemens Vienna. This is our last Christmas in Germany. Alex’s dad passed away at the beginning of this year. Alex’s health is declining. He then has this brilliant idea to get his mum to us for the holidays. For the past 8 years we have spent every holiday with his parents because his dad couldn’t travel. Now Alex is struggling to travel and desperately wants his mother to come to us this last time instead of carting the whole family to Austria yet again. Alex is sick, but he has always been mentally strong and so this change of events really upsets me.

The festering ugliness has erupted. She is fighting him and he is fighting her and these two stubborn people refuse to back down. Nasty words are being exchanged and his mother is now being plain mean. She is now placing more distance between an already strained relationship. Five minutes later, I walk into the bedroom again and start speaking. “Love remember that sermon by Pastor Furtick, the one where he speaks about his relationship with his dad?”. Now that gets Alex’s attention. He turns to face me now, all ears. He is a Furtick fan, the sermon podcasts boom loud from the iPad on an almost daily basis. “Yes!” he responds. So I continue, “Well his relationship with his dad was difficult, they were at loggerheads with Furtick trying to get medical assistance for his father but he was getting some backlash and firing every caregiver. Well he decided to do a list and write down all the positive stuff about his dad. It was a hard task but he did it. Why don’t you do the same with your mum?”

A couple of days pass and with that, Alex emerges from under the thick cloud of depression. He is still ailing physically but the life behind his eyes has been rekindled. He thanks me and runs me through some of the caring things his mum did for him when growing up.

I would love to say his relationship with his mum flourished after the list but the heated arguments continued. I even begged her to let him be, “Whatever Alex wants, Alex gets”…I told her. But this stubborn set in her ways lady refused to change her talk or attitude and with her one track mind still caused volcanic eruptions between her son and herself. I remember their last interaction before driving Alex back to Germany in May 2017. He drove into Austria but he just couldn’t manage the drive back so I took the train in to go fetch my husband. They argued yet again about something so frivolous before we headed to the car. That was the last time Julia saw her son alive.

In the last couple of days before Alex was released from his pain to Jesus, friends visited him and made an offer to drive over to pick up his mum. By then, Alex was unable to open his eyes or talk but his firm no was evident in his head shaking. I was in constant daily communication with his mum. She knew this was the critical final days yet she would not leave and make her way to us. The next time she faced her son again, he was ashes in an urn.

The last six months I have become more acquainted with this emotionally distant, bitter and stubborn lady who spews our hurtful words without much forethought. She lacks knowledge and makes ludicrous conclusions. “My son contracted cancer because he travelled to South Africa” she tells everyone or “He was too stressed and did everything by himself with no help whatsoever”. (Even after telling her I did it all). The last snide remark was two weeks ago. Leah and I sick with the fever and the flu yet we still made our way across for school registration. “You and the kids are sick because you are not giving them the proper nutrition”. With a blow to my parenting skills, I didn’t retaliate with words but my attitude toward her was pretty stinky and she got it loud and clear that I was not impressed from my one worded answers.

I am in a study called “I AM LOVED” by Wendy Blight. We went through the fruits of the Spirit this week which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I realize now that this current trial in the next chapter of my life is going to be living these fruits out with a difficult person. As believers we are called to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and the second to love your neighbor as yourself.

So here I am entering the arena again. It fills me with dread to have sealed the decision to move across to Austria. Plans have been set into motion. I confirmed my work contract in Austria as well as school and daycare for the girls. I know this difficult person is who I am going to spend my days with. However this is my journey, this is my responsibility…to love on her even when I think she is not deserving of it. This is me BRAVING it out. I picked up the phone two days ago and apologized for my attitude towards her.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

So with that I know I will be wearing my fruits of the Spirit bracelet on a daily basis to bring to remembrance how I need to react.

How does your current brave look like? I’ve been blessed through Proverbs 31 Ministries to cross paths and share stories with some of the bravest ladies. I get a ring side seat to their arenas and I get messy with them as they live WHOLEHEARTEDNESS in and through Christ. Some of the stories look like this…

-Courage to exercise and eat well

-Caring for the unlovable

-Dealing with a host of physical pains but facing each day

-Divorce and trying to live out a new normal

-Being in loveless marriage or trying to salvage a marriage

-The yearnings to be a mother

-Navigating through life as single mum

-Grief over loved ones

-Custody battles

There is brave all around, and in you too! Do you see it? If you don’t, then it’s about time…

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Braving the Wilderness, Woman in the Arena: Owning my story (Part 3)

I sit at the laptop for the longest time ever. I begin and stop every few minutes to compose myself. The process is excruciating. The emotions bubble up and then spill out in tears all over the keyboard.

I press through and continue typing out the email to my pastor.

Hi,

So this email will be in English.

I have already started sending my song choices and videos across as well as pictures to the technical email address as mp4s.

1. Chris Tomlin Home should be played as a video. It is beautiful and it is 4 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIb4NC5ikYo

2. Followed by you doing a Bible reading. I love 2 Cor 4. Present Weakness and Resurrection of Life (I read this to Alex when he was in the hospital and he loved it) It is a chapter with 16 verses long.

You can also speak a little about him so I will give you the basics. I would prefer to talk about my husband though from my point of view because I have been struggling to articulate it in words. So best, I just get up and say it myself but this is what you can say.

The things you should know.

Born and raised in Pertchtoldsdorf Austria. An only child with one parent remaining, Julia. He is now enjoying heaven with his father Hans (which he brought to the Lord before he passed on). His mum says that he was a good kid and easy to deal with, causing little trouble.  I remember him telling me stuff about his mother and how caring she was. During winter setting his clothes over the heater so that he put on something warm for school. Her topfen and apfel strudel, he loved eating and when christmas arrived he remembered baking biscuits with her which he claims was the best ever. He leaves behind his uncle and aunt Doris and Fritz as well as his cousins Jens and Jochen who will miss him deeply. He had close ties with them and he spoke often and fondly of them. He was always excited when the time permitted for a get together. The jokes and laughter ensued and there was always a wonderful atmosphere in there presence.

Alex was cut and dry, easy to manage and he was never pushed to achieve anything. He set a goal and achieved it. This is true for his schooling as well as his university achievements. He strove for excellence. His interests were geared towards railroad modelling and ballroom dancing. Achieving excellence in those areas with winning competitions and publishing articles in various railroad magazines. His work career boasts alot of accomplishments. The most of his work life was at Siemens and in the last couple of years he moved on to be the key component in getting the newly founded company Omnetric of the ground. He has been an integral part of many people’s lives and to mention them individually would take a lot of time.

We met in Feb 2005. He was on delegation working at the Siemens offices in Midrand in South Africa. He pursued and I finally gave in and said yes to him and his proposal of marriage. We married on the 27th April 2008.  He was very logical and practical in his entire approach to life with an engineering mindset that filtered down into every aspect of his life. His was agnostic. Sat on the fence and was never sure about the God thing as he put it. 5 years into our marriage and with much prayer…he got diagnosed with cancer and he accepted the Lord. He followed long and hard. watching online sermons from Pastor Furtick and completing bible studies. He loved attending JCN (Jesus Centrum Nuremberg) and even when he was unable to physically get here…he listened to the services online. He continuously said that he was able to push through so much due to his faith and the strength from the Lord.

Our girls put him out of his comfort zone but he was a proud father and excellent provider for the home. He didn’t do the emotional side of things well and I learnt to embrace and love him, the core of who he was. Which was generous and thoughtful. His girls Naomi 3 years old remembers her papa as Papa Eisenbahn chugga chugga toot toot. Leah remembers her dad fondly as she considers him building puzzles, going for walks and eating out. She has sat with him gluing and pasting as they worked on landscapes together for his train modelling. She is in a happy place because she knows he is with Jesus and with no more pain.

My family shook his world up given that the Indian culture is extremely different. There is no better words to describe us apart from saying that we are chaotic and crazy but we love each other deeply and Alex enjoyed spending time with us. He ended up calling himself an Indian and would say he did something indian today for instance if he got a bargain whilst shopping. He forged a close bond with Shirley his mother-in-law and made every effort to get her across to us often. She now sits with permanent residential status due to all the effort he invested in her. His sisters and brothers in law will also miss him. They are far and wide across the globe. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. They could not be present but they have enjoyed his company with get togethers in various places. He was extremely close with Diana and she has compiled a video euology on behalf of the family.

3. A song…I will rise again by Chris Tomlin. Doro can sing that!

4. I say something

5. Candle lighting. I have two songs that I want played videos during this event. (I have sent the videos across). Both are 8 minutes

6. Doro can sing blessed be the name of the Lord

7. Open mike after this. Also if you would let everyone know that there will be a book that can be written in. I would read and respond later. That they can come up to me but not linger long because I will have the girls and I don’t want them to be upset or crying. Also about the donation box and that it will be going to Klinik clowns for cancer kids. Refreshments and finger food will also be available.

All this done within the hour would work great for me.

Thanks again for all your support and doing this on such short notice. It is all appreciated.

Sabrina

And with that I remained BRAVE! Alex travelled to Jesus on Sunday the 9th of July. And on Wednesday 12th we did the memorial service. I got up and spoke! Nervous, emotionally and physically drained…with knots running up my back, Alex’s body being cremated at the same time…I ascended the stairs, honoring my God and my husband!

Below is a link to the memorial service!

Braving the Wilderness, Women in the Arena: Owning My Story (Part 2)

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”. — Nelson Mandela

It’s dark and like a thief in the night, I fire up the laptop and begin the task of transferring huge amounts of money to my account. It’s ominous and to me it’s criminal. Alex makes a noise and I jump. The adrenalin coursing through my body is at an all time high now.

Just a few hours ago, the doctor made her rounds. She placed her stethoscope on Alex’s chest and I saw the look on her face as she gazed in my direction. It made me want to get away, the sad piercing all knowing eyes. Just as she is about to exit she turns and waves her hand for me to follow along. I know what she is going to say. It is clearly evident based on how quickly Alex’s health is digressing.

I want to flee!

I don’t want to hear it.

But like a Zombie I follow her out in the hallway and let her talk.

Doctor: Frau Ebert, I’ve been a doctor for many years. <She pauses.> Many years to know that the sound of your husband’s breathing is an indicator that he doesn’t have much time left.

I shake my head in disbelief

Me: But I have already made plans for him to come home. He wants to come home. <Desperate now…I continue> If he is going to die, then it should be at home. How much time do we have left?

Doctor: I’m not God but I can tell you this, he is not going to survive the trip home. You are welcome to stay the nights now. I’m so sorry. Speak to the nurse, she will arrange everything. <She does the appropriate shoulder touching and she turns around and leaves).

Time, it’s running out and so I’m racing now. I inform the nurse on duty. She tells me that they will organize a place for me to sleep. I get back to Alex. I smile, my best composed excited smile and say. ‘Guess what Love? The doctor says I can stay with you now all the time, during the nights too’. Totally oblivious to the conversation in the hallway Alex smiles. He is happy. He is so childlike now; he never wants me to leave so to him this is the best news ever.

At the underground heading home to pack my overnight clothes, I put my head into my lap and cry. I finally allow my composed self to crumble. The sobbing is deep from within, audible and I don’t care . All I want to do is just cry away the hurt that keeps coming. I take no notice to the many concerned people who offer help. I never look up, my head is buried deep in my lap and my hands cover my head. For now, this is my crying place and CRY, I do. Nothing can be said and done at this moment. Nothing is going to make me stop! I’m still racing. I can’t do it at home and I certainly can’t do it by Alex. So I let the screeching cries come as I relive the conversation with the doctor over and over again.

At home I let my mum know what the doctor said. The kids follow me around, excited at my presence but I am disconnected. They ask questions about the bag I am filling. I spew out responses at the appropriate times.

‘Daddy is sick and needs me’.

‘I am going to stay at the hospital’.

‘I don’t know when I am coming back’.

‘I’m sorry’.

I push them away as they cling to me. They are now begging me not to go.  Their cries become more urgent and desperate as I shut the door behind me and I still hear them as I make my way down the stairs. I get that they need me but they can wait. Anything and everyone can wait. I need to get back to Alex as fast as possible because his dying. Oh my God…he is really dying!

Back at the hospital I compose myself again before I walk into the room. I’m a schizophrenic pro. With a smile and kiss on the forehead, I greet Alex like nothing has happened. Alex has made his wishes clear, he’s fighting and if he goes out, it will be fighting. I know this and so I will not be a mess in front of him. A wheelchair is now in the corner of the room and has been reclined as far back as possible. There are sheets and pillows piled on top of it. I attempt to sleep but sleep eludes me as I listen to my husband’s labored breath and his groans of discomfort.

To pass the time I log into Facebook and right there on my news feed pops a memory of what I shared 3 years ago. On 5th July 2014 I snapped the most beautiful picture of my baby girl who was born the day before. Just today I snapped a pic of Alex. That’s when perspective came and slapped me in the face. The lyrics to church song ‘Blessed be Your name’ I sang so many times came to mind and with that the full precious meaning.

Blessed Be Your Name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out, I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name

When the sun’s shining down on me

When the world’s ‘all as it should be’

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I…

So with a selected few tagged…I posted this post with these two pictures alongside each other.

July 5th 2014…Naomi beautiful…and I snapped a pic. July 5th 2017…Alex struggling…and I snapped a pic.

The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I will rejoice in the gifts and through the trials and grief that will come as I spend my nights hearing Alex’s labored breath, speaking peace and calmness to his weary soul as confusion reigns in his last days. As for me…remaining positive as he transitions to be with Jesus.

It was at this pivotal point that my BEING BRAVE kicked in. Setting aside my grief stricken self and with much fear and trepidation I started MAKING MOVES. I needed to take care of the girls. I knew nothing about our financial state or bill paying but I did know this: In Germany, Alex’s account would be frozen after he passed. So for the first time ever  I logged into his account and began the money transfers. I could lie there and cry or I could do something. I chose: doing something.

Mr Mandela was right…fear is here but we can choose to conquer it.

Braving the Wilderness, Woman in the Arena: Owning My Story (Part 1)

It’s the beginning of July.  The heat is unbearable. The leather sofa they have in the room is now sticky and clings to me due to the never ending stream of perspiration running down my back. My head is tilted to the side. My cheek nestled in the palm of my hand whilst my elbow rests awkwardly on the armrest in an attempt to hold me up. Alex stirs and I lift my head. I get to the bedside.

Alex: ‘What time is it?’

Me: Why don’t you look out the window? (I suggest)

His head turns.

Me: We are in the middle of the day. Look now at the clock?

His head turns towards the clock above the door in the hospital room that is now showing 13:45.

Alex nods as he orientates himself to the time and then continues.

Alex: Day of the week and date?

Me: Monday, the 3rd of July.

Alex: Have I taken my pain medication?

Me: Look, here are the empty cups. Do you need more?

Alex shakes his head from side to side. He is now so spent from the conversation that he falls back into his pain numbing drug induced sleep. I get back to the sofa and take in the scene once again.

Alex can no longer swallow. Sipping water is even painful. So a feeding tube has been attached intravenously. He has no control over his bowels and even if he did he is now all skin and bones with no energy to get out the bed so he is in diapers. This is fine! I have mentally prepared myself for those changes but not this…

About 30 minutes later Alex stirs again…and we start the same dialogue.

Alex: What time is it?

Me: Love, look out the window?

And so we continue…on repeat every 25-30 minutes. I am drained both physically and mentally now. I then make a suggestion. ‘Love, reserve your strength, when you awake I will tell you the Date, Day of the Week and the Time. How about that?’ Alex smiles, nods in agreement and doses off to sleep again.

I knew it wouldn’t matter if I was there or not. Alex is so heavily medicated due to the pain that he has now lost his ability of orientation and which day it is. I could just leave, I’m tired but I remain through it all because BEING BRAVE requires you to stay even when you want to run and hide. BEING BRAVE keeps you firm in place even though the underpinnings of fear constantly threaten to drag you down . So with my cheek back in the palm of my hand…I wait for the next 30 minutes to elapse.

I look back now and realize this was brave even though I was getting a whipping in the arena.

So I continue now revisiting my darkest moments and shedding some light through the cracks. Healing is indeed a beautiful thing.

Hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; MY SMALL GROUP EXPERIENCE!

The pillows are tucked around me in the appropriate places. Under my large protruding belly and between my swollen legs. Every movement is excruciatingly painful. My crutches are standing not so far away. Tears well up and fear fills my body each and every time I make the short trip, waddling slowly to the toilet, the baby pressing on my bladder. The pain radiates from my coccyx and makes it up my spinal chord and it feels like contractions each and every time I stand up. Too soon, too scary and so I am on bed rest till my baby girl arrives.

It is just only 3 weeks to go till I reach full term and can undergo my caesarean. As I get back to bed and try to find the most comfortable position I am not alone on the bed. The book Limitless life by Derwin Gray is with me as well as my iPad and a new adventure. My first small group experience via Online Bible Studies with P31. I happened upon one of their email communications as I had done a previous study with them. I followed the instructions, clicked on the link and there I was now, sitting at the start of June 2014, with 20 other ladies.

Rewind the tape 4 months ago and the scene is different. I received THE CALL from my husband. You know that one call that resets course of your life and takes all the perfectionist ideals you have conjured up of how life is going to be and flushes it down the toilet? Mine came with these words from my husband, “We know where my tummy pain is coming from, it is a huge tumor hanging off the liver and it is cancerous.” Before I could process what I had heard and to ask more questions the call ended. They were wheeling him off for a new test.

Fast forward through the 4 months. Alex accepts Christ as his Savior. He under goes major surgery. He makes a fast recovery and now we are at my pregnancy dilemma.

Here’s the thing, I’m not a Bible scholar. My concepts of Grace, Love and Mercy have been warped by a Seventh Day Adventist upbringing and a fear of God, is always there. The mentality of break the rules, and His wrath will follow with fire and brimstone. My perspective of that had changed with a shift in churches in my teen years. I accepted Jesus and underwent baptism but my attempts of rule following was hard to throw away. I drifted after the death of my dad and was so tired of breaking the rules so I unleashed an all out, full rebellion. Later I returned but my relationship with Him remained distant. I got to church on Sunday but old habits are hard to die so Rule Following encroachment happened little by little till I kept falling short time and time again.

When the cancer headlines featured on the front page of our lives, I was more determined and desperate to get it right. To correct what I was doing wrong so He could make everything right again. Prayer and study, that was what I needed to perfect at the moment. I was highly motivated so that I could learn the means to unlocking the mysteries. That God would honor my efforts and this whole thing will be over.

I knew I was a slacker. I was not daily in His Word and I often said my prayer at the end of my too exhausted day. Ninety percent of the time I fell asleep before the Amen got out. But now, He definitely got my attention alright so I had to learn fast. I wanted others to fight with me through my fears. Because I knew me and I was to chicken shit with a history like mine to go at it alone.

It was then that I fired up the Google search engine and filled in my requirements for women’s ministry and Bible Study. It was my last ditch attempt to make things right with God so that He could sort out my life. To make things right, including this cancer bombshell that landed on our lives. I was expecting to do the Bible Studies and say the right prayers to experience the Bible miracles in my life. I eagerly anticipated ‘Lazarus come out’ or ‘One touch and the lady was instantly healed’ miracles in my current situation. I was on an all out rally to recruit people alongside me for my cause so that the ‘perfect life’ would follow. Instead, God answered with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

So here we are back in my bedroom where I am totally feeling 2 Cor 4:8 but I am not alone. I have invited into my home and messy places 20 other ladies. They too, are sharing their stories of struggle. This place is like no place I have encountered before. In this secret hiding place on Facebook away from the critics and the vulnerability bashers we get to be bold enough to open up and share our stories of hurt and failure. We sign up for a study and we come in perplexed and pressed. Scarily enough we leave carrying those same feelings of being perplexed and pressed BUT what is crucial, is that we no longer fight feelings of despair.

These ladies together with me have finally unleashed the full potential of social media in the most powerful way of connection. They need not care in what state of brokenness I log into FB. Whilst still in pjs, no make up, messy hair and far too much emotional baggage, we courage up, we cry, we struggle and we pray for one another with no judgement and condemnation.

I believe so much in this intimate setting of the small group Ministry to heal and push ladies past the point of no return that I now volunteer as a leader to one of the many groups.

My group is full for the next study but I do encourage you to join our next study and the small group Ministry. Wendy Blight is the author to our next study book called ‘I am Loved’. What a perfect way to start 2018.

To sign up for the study: https://proverbs31.org/study/online-bible-studies

To sign up for small groups: https://proverbs31.org/study/online-bible-studies/small-group-registration

I ate the whole cake…and then some!

And I am glad it happened! You got to get to the end to figure out why I say this.

August 26, 2016, it’s the middle of summer, the heat is palpable in our small living / dining room. The living space is now further overcrowded with paramedics. There’s an ECG machine hooked up to my husband’s chest, monitoring his heart activity. The numbers are changing rapidly but it never dips below 200 bpm as he lays on the sofa.

The discussions pursue, questions are being fired my way as I hold Naomi, my two year old in my arms. The incessant screams of my five year old from under the table is evident above the beeping monitor and rapid talk. Leah had barricaded herself in under the table with the sofa cushions as soon as she heard the ambulance was on its way. She knows the drill. She has seen it before with her Opa as he was wheeled away and then died shortly thereafter. I know it is still fresh in her mind. It was only 7 months ago and so she is on repeat, “No, I don’t want my daddy to die”.

After the priority discussions were done and we await on the emergency doctor, I manage to convince Leah to come out of her fort and get to her room. She bullets out and climbs up into her bed but her screaming never subsides. She is so distraught that when getting a tissue to wipe her snot and tears, I notice the nose bleed as well which then makes her all the more hysterical. My rescuer, iPad lying on the bed. Cartoons on YouTube, perfect distraction so I get the kids watching.

Leah is thankfully no longer screaming out her fears but mine has not stopped and they are belligerently louder (in my head off course). It was similar to my daughters and is also on repeat “Alex you are not dying on me now, not in our home, not now, please Jesus, not now”. Pacing back and forth, the door slightly ajar so I can peek in to see the activity. Those few minutes before the doctor arrived seemed like an eternity, where all my fears morphed into nightmare of ‘what if’ scenarios.

The doctor finally arrived. The meds were administered. His heart rate was stabilized. My husband was now cracking jokes and falling in and out of consciousness as the pain meds kicked in and they wheeled him out the door.

Our apartment was once again quiet, the only evidence remaining was the empty packaging and needles that housed the medication. I cleared it up, looked in on the kids who were still very much in their cartoon world and headed for the refrigerator. Leah’s birthday cake was in there. Alex had driven in from Austria with it yesterday. He had picked it up in Linz on the way into Germany. Two tiny pieces where missing. The girls had eaten it after we sang and Leah blew out her candles. How can everything change so quickly from one day to the next?

I had promised my husband that I was done with my food addiction. I fessed up to my problems a couple of months ago and was ready for healing. Now that monster cake sat on the kitchen counter and I polished the whole thing. I then ate several other things, which completely allude me now as I write this.

I would love to end this post with a victory cry. Sabrina, conquered the problem. But it is not so. I’m sitting with an extra 25 kilos. The amazing thing, I proudly say, “I am glad it happened”. Had I got past it, I would have missed the revelation.

It is more than a year later. In this time Alex has gone on to be with Jesus and my food addiction continues. In this time I have struggled back and forth between victories and defeats. I am pretty beat up at the moment. I am knocked down, flat in the dirt and before deciding on this post, was very much ashamed.

However I say, “I am glad it happened”. A shocking statement but I hold true to it. Yesterday I got to sit down and tell my 6 year old about my struggles with food and why mummy is so fat and unhealthy. I got to talk, to shed some light on my fears and insecurities. I got to be REAL, to stop hiding and actively making decision to show her my imperfections. To let her journey with me through my imperfect progress.

This morning she got up whilst I was doing my workout. She knew now the motivation for what I was attempting. That I am making the change for her and her sister. She sat their under the covers watching the app on my phone spill out the exercises I was to do. I heard stuff like, “Well done mummy, you did it!”, “Keep going, the green bar is almost at the end!”. After the routine was done, with me panting and perspiration running down my face I got hugs and kisses. That’s my victory, mothering my girls and giving them real life lessons to face the hardships that they will no doubt have to face when they get older.

My goal this year is to keep showing up and be seen, imperfect and vulnerable. To stop living within the confines of an ever striving perfect world that is futile but to embrace my journey and finally find freedom in the sky, to SOAR!

Verse Mapping – Hebrews 10:35-36

New Study…What Happens When Women Walk In Faith.

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)

It seems that I blog only when I task myself with something but the benefits of verse mapping is truly amazing. Why? Because I get to personalize this verse and in doing so the Holy Spirit floods my soul and speaks to me.

I zoomed in on three words or rather these three words stood out…screaming at me. Confidence, Reward and Endurance.

During this exercise I got to reflect on my past were this verse was so applicable. My time of barrenness. Freshly married, eager to start a family but conceiving was hard, stressful and put me into a depressive state. The waiting was unbearable but after much time elapsed… 2 years… my miracle baby arrived. I gleaned so much wisdom, patience and especially long suffering.

I turned to the Biblical figure Hannah during my struggle…as I knew exactly how she felt. Just like she was depressed, so too was I ….her husbands plea was exactly how my husband felt as he watched me drag myself into a hole. It was only after much tears and crying to God that I was able to pull myself together again and accept His will even if that meant it not having children.

Extract from Hannah’s story…
Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably.
1 Samuel 1:8-11

So here is me expounding on this verse.
Sabrina, don’t throw away your confidence (assurance in Christ and what He is capable off). And that is…He will provide!!!

For it has a great reward. (Good and perfect gifts come to those who wait, trust and believe irrespective of famine phases)

The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it – John Ruskin

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For you have need of endurance (character building desert areas)
Definition : the ability to withstand hardship or adversity…especially the ability to sustain a prolonged period of stressfulness

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So when you have done the will of God (huge condition…this needs to be focus) only then….

You may received what is promised.

My children are not my rewards…no…they are fringe benefits as Lysa explains in the study. My walk in faith…handing over the reigns to God and letting Him have full control is most certainly my reward.

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My God Love Story

I always tell my husband that what made me fall in love with him was his persistence. He courted me with much patience and and never gave up even when I told him to take a hike (many times). The poor guy was a sucker for punishment and kept coming back for more. I was pretty mean, even I would have given up on me. In the end I fell head over in love with the guy who was able to take my nonsense. I know, not many people would have taken what I dished out…I was pretty messed up back then. His PERSISTENCE won me over.

Blog hop week 2 in my current Bible Study. Am I messing up my kids by Lysa TerKeurst. She speaks about getting back to our first love. Here is a short excerpt from her book after referring to the typical love stories from movies we watch. We see the mess ups and then the reunion of love at the end.

“Why are we so moved by these love stories? I believe it is because God designed our hearts for an eternal love story, our love story with Jesus.”

So here follows My God Story. I thought about my life and then the book of Hosea and God’s persistent love stuck out. Yet another reason why I love the Lord. His PERSISTENCE won me over as well.

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I was doing a bit of research on Hosea and stumbled across an awesome blog post that expounds on persistent love. Here is a link if you are interested in reading it.

http://quenchnot.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/love-is-persistent/

I have extracted some paragraphs from this post that eloquently summarizes my thoughts in Hosea.

Hosea’s wayward wife and unfaithful children (examined in the first three chapters) would, in turn, serve as a metaphor for God’s turbulent relationship with his bride.

Chapter two of Hosea really is the “meat” of this account, as God partakes in a long and emotional discourse regarding his companion. The Lord begins with rather harsh words, in which one can sense his feelings of rejection and scorn.

In Hosea 2:2a, God says, “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.”

Israel, through her adultery, had broken her marital bonds with Jehovah, and he was sure to let her know about it. God, however, only intends to chasten Israel and not divorce her. In fact, in spite of her habitual transgression, God’s sole desire is to love her and be in unbroken fellowship.

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I look back over my life thus far. A time of growing up in church under the Word and later in my teen years accepting the Lord as Savior. Thereafter back sliding and literally like Gomer, prostituting myself in the world even though I was the bride of Christ. It definitely hurt the Lord as I played the harlot but He waited… chastened me and as I fell apart I found myself returning to my first love. Details of my life of harlotry and how I returned to God can read here in my previous blog post.

https://sabrinaebert.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/damaged-goods-to-trophy-of-grace/

Ultimately, I love how Lysa tells us to get back to our first love. Stop getting so preoccupied with life…the kids, the work and the umpteen problems inbetween. God wants us in a relationship with Him… An intimate one. So don’t forget to sit under the Word and communicate with Him daily.

It’s tough being a mum

Current study and the reason for this post…Am I messing up my kids? By Lysa TerKeurst.

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As I write this…I’m tired. Physically worn out from a night with a newborn (Naomi, 1 week old) who had tummy problems. She came via a scheduled caesarean (first pregnancy was an emergency caesarean so wanted to avoid the complications I experienced the first time round) so you can imagine that I’m not a 100% well and still in recovery. Solely nursing without bottle feeds and rocking a little baby just after a op is draining. Our verse this week is for restoration from psalms 23:3 and boy do I need it.

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I love how Lysa describes how she oscillates between “Good mum”… “Bad mum”!!!

I find myself doing the very same thing. I have those times when everything is running smoothly and I feel as though I got a handle on things and then… BAM, it changes that quickly. I loose my temper, I shout…I go a little crazy, maybe too crazy and then when all the tears are shed and my almost 3 year old daughter who is all spent crying…I am immediately remorseful. I want to go back and change things. I know I could of handled it better. If I had only taken a moment to breathe, calm down a bit before reacting things could have turned out differently.

Now that Leah is talking her individuality is evident. Alex my husband and I have enforced rules and we stick to it. Like her toys need to be tidied away before getting something else. Most of the time she is compliant but then there are those times when Leah crosses her hands over her chest with a look of absolute indignation and responds “Nein, Ich will nicht” (German to English translation “No, I don’t want to”).

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What scares me most as a mother is that…yes it’s tough now. Caring for my babies who are incapable to prepare meals, bathe and feed themselves is okay. It’s tiring but I have control but a shift is taking place. I see it with Leah. She is particular with what she wants to eat and wear and the things she says just blows me away. I’m loosing control and it will get worse as they grow older. All I can do is pray. Pray that I get them grounded firmly in the Word. Pray that they make the right decisions. Pray that when they make mistakes, they are able to dust it off, pick themselves up and move forward. Pray that Alex and I are good role models that exhibit Christ in all our actions. Clearly, I’m making mistakes but I should be able to fess up when I am wrong and ask for forgiveness. I’m learning right now. Learning that my perfectionist ways needs to give way. That happy kids are better than laundry done or worrying about dishes piled in the kitchen sink and a spotless home! The laughing and running around and enjoying my children should be priority instead of getting all riled up that things are not on schedule.

I realize God is indeed teaching me patience, tolerance and long suffering through my girls. I’m blessed to have them and yeah I will mess up, no doubt but if I start the day with prayer and keep those lines of communication open throughout the day it will get better…it will be manageable!

Crafting my Life Vision

My search for online Bible studies brought me to OBS P31. I then read Proverbs 31 and I sooooo wanted to be that virtuous woman. I immediately signed up for the Bible Study with OBS P31 and it has been an amazing journey thus far. This is my third study and in ‘Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray’ we are tasked in chapter nine to create our Life Vision and I went back to read the Proverbs 31. This drove me to base my Life Vision on the virtuous woman represented in Proverbs 31. My heart desires to be like the woman described in these bible verses. She is clothed with such an amazing strength and dignity that I want to follow suit and live my life in the same manner. We have five questions that need answering to make this Life Vision come alive. So here I go…diving head first into these questions…:-)

Question 1 : How do you want to be seen in 10 years?

To be seen as a woman that loves the Lord completely, fully and without reserve!

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To be seen as a God fearing woman. One whose WORDS and ACTIONS display this.

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Question 2 : What do you want to be known for in 10 years?

To be loved and adored by both my husband and children. To be known as a woman of worth that strove tirelessly for the Lord in my household and for His Kingdom. To be known as a woman who did this with complete dedication and no complaints. To be a woman who put a wholesome meal on the table and had time for both my husband and children when they arrived home from their places of education and work. To be a woman that did not have idle hands but worked hard to bring in an income and then used that income to help maintain the running of our home and to help others.

She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
– Proverbs 31:13-18

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Question 3 : What do you want your family to be like?

A close knitted family, who loves the Lord and each other and have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. A family that attend church, bible studies and other areas of ministry which allow us to be enriched by the Word of God… and then leading lives that clearly depict these attributes. A family without secrets, having honest open conversations so that we can support each other through trials. A family that brings everything to God in prayer. And when our family enlarges due to the people we bring into our lives via partners chosen and friends, that they are godly ones.

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Question 4 : What makes your heart sing (from a sacred vocation perspective)?

To be a prayer warrior…I’ve seen the blessings and miracles flow from the hand of God so many times when you pray without ceasing and put complete faith in God to deliver. I love bringing others to the throne room of mercy and grace!

To be an encourager…to help build them up and bring a smile to their faces.

To lead a Women’s Ministry here in Nuremberg. I have already started one here…we are friends, a pretty dynamic group as we come from different countries. There is no formal running women’s ministry at our church and this is the reason for me wanting to embark on such a venture.

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Question 5 : Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself?

– My husband

– My sister

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