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South Africa
My husband, Brett and I live in beautiful South Africa and have been blessed with the most precious family. We have 2 very beautiful and brave daughters, Tianna (13) and Angelee (10) and a very precious little boy called Zac who touched our hearts forever in his 1 day here on earth. We never would have imagined that we would have to live this side of Heaven without our sweet boy who was born with half a heart, but every day Jesus carries us through and is teaching us more than ever how to live, laugh and love fully. Last year our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel. We are all so in love with him! "Love in Action" is our journey as a family to love the way Jesus is teaching us to love and live.

About the Journey

Life is certainly a remarkable adventure! You just never quite know what's around that next corner! I am a 36 year old wife and mommy to 4 amazing children. When I started this blog a few years ago I had no idea just how much I would learn about the depths of God's love in the years ahead! Back then I was a mommy of two little girls. In September 2011 we were given the greatest privilege to become proud parents to a very special little boy called Zac, our "lion heart". We were entrusted to carry him in pregnancy in an amazing walk of faith, because he would only be ours this side of Heaven for 21 and a half hours after birth. Our precious heart baby has taught us more about the reality of Heaven and the truly important matters of the heart in his short journey in our lives than a lifespan of living could have taught us. He continues to be our pointer to Jesus in remarkable ways. "Love in Action" has become our incredible journey through grief to live lives filled with grace, strength, increasing joy and purpose as we continue to heal and grow in God's amazing love as a family. Just a few weeks ago we welcomed our second son, Gabriel into this amazing big-wide-world-of-wonder! We are overcome with joy as the Great Restorer is faithfully at work in our lives! Please come and join me on my adventure. I'm one of those people who wears my heart on my sleeve. I'm a firm believer of living my life out in the open as I continue to pursue a life lived in truth and freedom. I am exploring the depths of God's personal love for us, and I have to say that life is far more colourful lived in His love. I would like to live my life having experienced rich friendships - both new and old and most certainly having loved and laughed my way through most of it. I welcome you to share your thoughts and comments with me. At the end of each blog entry, click on "comments" to add your thoughts. I can't wait to hear from you! Here's to life God's way ... RICH and FULL in Jesus Christ's overflowing love for us!

10 August 2014

Walking the Journey

Oh goodness ... this year has been a little bit of a write off when it comes to my creativity and time dedicated to my blog. Unapologetically, this has been a season for me to focus on my family. In the last 18 months our sweet Gabriel has taken centre stage as my hubby, daughters and I savour this sweet little boys baby phase. In just a blink of an eye he has become a busy toddler, my eldest is exploring the very first phases of having become a teenager and I am holding onto each day of my precious second-born savouring her last few years as a little girl in the tween stage. I am a blessed mommy. 
While it always gives me such joy to snap pictures of my precious family, when they are all gathered in one snapshot, I still get that heart-pang that notices that one precious little face missing. Next month will mark 3 years since we last held our precious Zac. I often wonder what my sweet boy must look like now in his Heavenly home. I wonder which of his siblings he may look like? I wonder what his little personality must be like? Which of our traits does he carry? As I ponder these things, I am so thankful for how our gracious Heavenly Father has carried and tended to our hearts with such grace and infinite care these past 3 years. He has led us on a journey of Redeeming Hope, a name that has now become the name of our precious church family that meets in our home on Sundays. Over this season of our lives He has been teaching us how nothing is beyond His redemption and that He CAN and DOES mend back the brokeness and offer hope that is anchored in love, so when I have those moments of deep longing for my dear little boy, instead of a desperate loss, I can choose to see life and hope. In the low moments, when I see my daughters question and miss their brother, I can gently remind them that because our Redeemer lives, so does their sweet brother and the day will come where we will all hold one another again, but  until then we have the Great Comforter to carry us through each phase of our journey of heart healing. Those are no longer just words to us. They are our reality. I am thankful for the way God has led through this journey. He has taught us to be vulnerable, real and honest with our hearts. My children know that they can speak about their brother with us at any time. We can talk through the questions and the stages of loss. We can have a little cry when we need to, but we also have full permission to live life to the full and laugh and make memories that hallmark joy in our lives as a family. It certainly is an every-day learning curve, but thankfully each day is saturated in His grace. 
Today was just one of those days where I wanted to write about our journey and remember my precious boy. His life has given me the privilege to meet with other hurting mommies and be able to offer a story of Redeeming Hope. It also continues to remind me to live fully in the moment with those I love. To live honestly and love deeply. (I'm still a great work in progress in the Potters hands, but I can truly say I love that He is so faithful to the process of shaping me and He has given me a family that is so patient and forgiving as they put up with me in my growth journey ;0). The picture that comes to my mind as I write all of this is of a heart that has been pieced back together and while one can still see the cracks here and there from the journey of loss, their purpose now serves to be a window that allows the glory of God and the story of His hope to shine and seep through. I will forever be thankful for the family that God has given me. His picture and my picture of time may be so very different and I may not understand all the reasons or know how to answer all the "why's", but I do know that I will always be so grateful that He entrusted us with this precious child who is ours for all eternity, and the time will come when time finally will no longer hold us apart. While I never would have imagined that this would be our story, I will continue to tell it heartfully and continue to declare the goodness of God because He has exchanged and brought immense beauty from our ashes. 
Love always xxx
Janine
     

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11 May 2014

"Beloved" ... a simple little word with a whole lot of love

It's late, but I can't sleep. I've been tossing and turning for ages. Finally, I've crawled out of bed and found a cozy little corner in my lounge, wrapped up in my warmest gown. (Shew but it's quiet when everyone is asleep!) There is a word stuck in my heart that I need to explore with you tonight. "Beloved". Short and sweet. Simple, yet deeply profound in turning our lives around. Here's what's rolling around in my heart ...
It all started with a greeting I read in the book of 3 John 1:2. "Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." That simple little verse has arrested my heart on and off for weeks now. Lately, God has been dealing with me graciously (and p-a-t-i-e-n-t-l-y) about "decluttering" my heart and everyday life from things that are stealing my time and drawing away my focus from where it needs to be in order for me to thrive and prosper (like this verse talks about). 
I always know that I have some heart issues to deal with, when I am not prospering in my health or soul. (Our soul speaks of our mind, will and emotions). This came as a big revelation to me a few weeks ago. I had been feeling quite irritable, discontent and missioning with stress symptoms in my body when I first read this verse and realised that my body was trying to get my attention to show me that I had some heart matters to take care of. Here was my big light-bulb revelation ... if my health and soul aren't prospering, somewhere along the way I have a love-lack in my revelation or acceptance of how much God loves me. In other words, somewhere, I am carrying a heart wound. I say this because this very verse starts with the word "BELOVED". Unless we are living in an active revelation of being the beloved of God ... (actively BEING loved by Love Himself) ... we cannot prosper in all the fullness and freedom that Christ has created us to live and thrive in. We either start striving in our own ability or seek out love or acceptance in other places that never fully satisfy and lead us into stress and anxiety. Stress, we know, is one of the biggest causes of sickness in our bodies. The fact is that our body and soul cannot prosper, if our hearts aren't prospering in love. It is only God's full and accepting love that releases us to truly thrive in joy, peace and freedom. I see it so clearly in my own life. I have always known that my precious Jesus loves me, but when I get distracted and caught up with the cares and stresses of life and shift my focus from drawing my love and acceptance from Him on a regular, fresh & living basis, before I realise it I find myself back in old patterns of striving or hiding. (How easy it is for us to stuff our pain away and try to ignore it. Sadly though, it will always keep resurfacing until we finally deal with it). It has been so powerful for me to see the incredible connection between my heart, soul and body and that my heart issues manifest in my body and soul. 
When I read that word "beloved", God broke it down to me this way ... "Be.Loved." The whisper through my soul was "Janni ... be loved my girl. You don't have to strive, earn, work for, deserve or any other laboursome-effort. Simply BE loved by Me. On the merit of what my heart is towards you ... BE loved. Not on any merit of what you think you've worked for or deserved." 
I have been a Christian for 32 years, yet God continues to bowl me over with how vast His amazing love is and how small my revelation is in accepting that bigness into my heart and life. Why we wrestle against it, I do not know. We can be so very hard on ourselves and stubborn beyond belief, yet He gets us and He just continually draws us back to the basics in order to lead us into freedom. That freedom will always be rooted in His love and truth. No matter how stubborn or far away from that love we push, He NEVER stops reaching out to us in love .... calling each of our names and carrying on from where we left off with Him. He has the amazing capacity to take hold of any moment we give Him and reveal Himself to us through His Word when we simply come and see Him standing in the midst of our every day lives. 
This one little verse ... a simple greeting, has been my precious Jesus speaking so deeply into my heart, showing me places of avoidance and pain in my own heart and leading me into heart healing and freedom yet again. He understands our complicated hearts.
What is He speaking into your heart today? Whatever He navigates and helps you to see in your own heart right now, know with an unshakeable peace that He is drawing you into a broader place of freedom and joy unspeakable. Heart healing always leads our soul and body into prosperity. That after all, has always been His heart for us ... the promise of "ABUNDANT life" in Him, because we are His precious "beloved". Today, my prayer for you is that you will take this moment to stop and "BE loved" by Love Himself.
All my love xxx
Janine
ps - Yay! I think that I am finally ready to go to sleep with a settled heart! Happy dance!!!

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