About Me

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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 (15) and Angelee (11) 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. 3 years ago our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel ... a ray of sunshine in all our lives! "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!

18 January 2016

Hello JOY

Hello 2016 ... and hello JOY.

Every year I seek a word that I can be mindful of growing and practicing in my life. This year I am being more mindful to CHOOSE JOY. I say "choose", because joy is so much more than just a feeling that randomly comes and goes. I believe it is a powerful choice that we can choose to embrace and welcome even in tough moments and situations. 

Just yesterday my husband taught in church around the verse from Hebrews 12:1-2 which shares "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat sown at the right hand of the throne of God." These 2 verses can be such an encouragement to us. Every day we are running the race of life. God in His grace and love has gifted us with the power to choose HOW we run that race. We don't always know or have control over what comes along our path, but we have full control of how we negotiate it. This verse encourages us that we are not alone on this journey. We have a loving God who is cheering us along ... willing to disentangle us from the things that weigh us down ... willing to mentor us in perfecting our faith when we struggle. He is after all the pioneer of life. Our part is to fix our gaze on Him ... seek Him out in our every day living. Jesus lived on earth and fully experienced joy and hardship. That is the very reason that He can mentor us through our journey through life. One of the powerful ways He does this is in the very example He set for us ... HE CHOSE JOY!!! At the hardest moment of the His life on earth, He chose joy! He was able to go through and endure the torture of the cross by choosing joy ... setting His heart on the end result of going through the cross motivated by love and the goal of restored relationship between us and God, joy is what strengthened Him to endure and overcome. This is the example that He is giving us in this verse. We get to choose to tap into the powerful source of joy no matter what we negotiate, to carry us through to a place of peace and victory. The bible says after all that "the joy of the Lord is our strength". It is soooooo much more than just a feeling! It fills us with strength to endure and thrive! 

If I allow myself to look over my shoulder during the last 4 and a half years after negotiating child loss, I know for a fact that allowing joy even into the grieving journey is what has mended our family. The power of joy is such a huge gift in our lives. It has the ability to mingle and mix even through our tears and resurrect hope and life.

I have a dear friend (shout out to you my dear friend Ingrid) whose greatest example to me is how she and her husband laugh through life. I watched her nurse both her parents through illness at the end of their lives and no matter how tough it got, whenever I went to visit, laughter was ringing through the halls of their home. Through the pain, they found reasons to include joy. When we talk and look back even at the final weeks she had with her parents before they passed away, the memories include joy and laughter. Watching her negotiate her immense loss, gave me wisdom as I negotiated my own pain. I learned how joy can carry us through sorrow. The fruit of their joy shines in their relationship. They have weathered some unbelievable storms together ... but the joy of the Lord has been a strength in their relationship that holds them together like super glue. What a legacy! That continues to inspire me. One day I want to be remembered as a woman who laughed and included joy no matter what! 

This year I am opening up my heart, my relationships, my life more than ever to JOY.  I'm choosing to embrace laughter even in the midst of tension or stress. I know that it's not always going to FEEL easy ... but I know that I am certainly going to FEEL much better embracing joy instead of worry or fear or stress or anger etc. Choosing joy is not a denial of our present pain, but an opportunity to be carried in peace through it.  My prayer is that you too will join me in the journey of embracing joy this year.


All my love xxx
Janine  





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29 August 2015

When the cup falls from your hands

There are times in our lives when it feels as if the cup falls from our hands and to our sorrow we see it crack or break. For some this could be dealing with disappointment, job loss, disability, injustice, betrayal and for others it could be loss or trauma. It was in a time like that in my own life where God taught me some really precious things that allowed me to see Jesus even more clearly than I had ever seen Him before … 
as the master potter, craftsman and mender of my own heart.

It was 4 years ago for me when I watched in slow motion as the beautiful cup that I treasured slowly fell and broke into what seemed to me like thousands of broken shards. My husband and I walked through what we thought was unthinkable … the loss of our precious little boy. Negotiating the pain of our own loss and the added hurt of seeing the loss and pain of our 2 little girls broke our hearts. But what I came to experience was a journey and a legacy that precious Jesus had entrusted to us … a journey of heart healing and renewed hope … so the cup that I speak to you of today is actually the cup of hope and the beauty that can shine even in the hearts of those who have needed to be lovingly repaired by the Heart-Mender … our beloved Potter … Jesus Christ. 

What we have personally come to realise and see in our journey of brokenness and heart-healing is the tender picture of Jesus being so completely committed to a journey of intimate care, kindness, tenderness and patience. He showed me so personally how He was willing to meet me in the broken heap that I lay   …   and no-matter-how-long-it-would-take, He would sit there with me in tenderness and comfort and show me His ability to find every missing piece and mend my heart and that of each of our children and my husband. It was in this time of loss for us that He showed each of us individually how committed He is to the journey of heart healing. Our little boy had died from a severe series of heart defects, and we had prayed fervently for heart healing … but what God showed us as we stopped fixating on the “WHY” was that He had gathered every prayer we had prayed for heart healing and He was moving in those very same prayers to heal our broken hearts and the precious hurting hearts that He would bring our way to share our story of hope. My little boy Zac has given me the most treasured gift that I will always be grateful for … He showed me how to truly see that Jesus stands closest to the broken-hearted - always there to love and restore. He gave to each of us in our family the gift of becoming eternity minded … and His life and story has given us the greatest privilege of being able to comfort others when their hearts have shattered through child-loss by introducing them to the God of all comfort.

Yes the cup looks different than it did before, and in the journey of loss and grief it is important to acknowledge and accept that, but when you allow Him to give you a glimpse of what He is recreating with those broken pieces … it can take your breath away. You see, where we see the gaps and cracks in what is being pieced back together, He sees how beautiful that vessel becomes in allowing His light and glory to shine through. Where we focus in on why it has to be different than before … He is still at work with a plan to fill those empty gaps with gold and splendour through His healing balm and anointing. As we yield to the process of heart healing of any kind, He brings out a gold that we never had before … the reflection of His tender heart of compassion. All that He needs to begin this beautiful work, is an invitation into your pain or disappointment. He will amaze you in revealing to you how He is able to redeem and restore as our Great Redeemer. 

The picture I want to leave you with is the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics. It’s called “kintsugi” which means “golden joinery”. The story of kintsugi began in the late 15th century when an artist was sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China to be fixed. What he accomplished inspired this art form so much so that some people were accused of breaking prized ceramics just to have them mended back together in gold. There are beautiful art collections of these pieced back together ceramics. In fact I read that some of these art pieces are deliberately  and carefully chosen for the deformity it has acquired in a badly heated kiln, then deliberately broken and repaired. A pot that would normally have been trashed is recognised as the perfect background for work in precious kintsugi with gold. 





If God could inspire this beautiful art form of golden restoration, how much more magnificent the masterpiece He is recreating in our hearts and lives after any form of disappointment or brokenness. For those of you with hurting hearts today, may you glimpse the beautiful cup of hope that God has in exchange for you. Where you may only see devastation, He sees a story of restoration! May we glimpse together that golden mended cup that emanates His glory and beauty.  

All my love xxx
Janine

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