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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!

01 October 2014

3 years sweet Zac xxx

Dear Zac,
Today is another significant day for us as your family. Yesterday would have been your 3rd birthday and today your "Heavenly birthday". While we have come a long way from the excruciating pain of loss, our hearts still miss you dearly. It comforts my heart as your mom to write out the thoughts in my heart and take the time to sit and remember the precious moments entrusted to us through the time Father God gave us with you. I like to imagine our precious Jesus holding you in His lap reading you my letter ;0) I know where you are and have peace in that, but man how I long for even just a tiny little glimpse of the sweet little toddler that you have blossomed into in Heaven and just one more beloved snuggle. I continue to write out my heart, because over these last 3 years I have come to meet many other precious moms and dads who are hurting from walking similar journeys. My prayer is that the healing that Father God has so graciously been working out in our hearts would somehow be a healing balm of hope to others who may happen to read this. Writing for me has become a gift that enables me to process and see the hope that I have in God even through the path of pain, because its been in this journey that I have encountered just how personally Christ tends to the brokenhearted and redeems. 
Just yesterday ... I experienced this yet again. Grief is the weirdest thing ... just when I thought I had a handle on facing the ache with another birthday without you, I woke up to a new trigger. As the girls ran into the room declaring your birthday, a pang of pain hit my heart that you are the only child that the phone won't ring for early in the morning to hear family sing "happy birthday" to. I didn't want to get all down in front of the family, especially after your big sister declared that your birthday should become our "thanksgiving day". I love that idea! So I kept my pain hidden in a quiet corner of my heart. Here's where God once again showed Himself to me to be so personal and present where my heart is concerned ... because within minutes of me silently hurting, the telephone rang to your very precious aunty Niqui and cuzzies calling to say they had a special song to sing in honour of their little cuzzie that they miss on his birthday. Well I cannot tell you what that meant to me! The fact that Father God saw a silly, random, emotionally-irrational thought in my aching-mommy-heart and  cared so much as to nudge my brave sister's heart to follow through without knowing how I was feeling just bowls me over with renewed hope and healing that God cares so individually and continues to comfort and mend. Nobody knew what was in my heart but Him, and next year I probably won't need a birthday song to be sung, but this birthday I did, and He saw it and gave me a gift to remind me that He sees and understands. It allows me to smile even in my aching for you. Only Jesus. How he continues to move in compassion through people to send us precious messages,  practical love, surprise flowers, cake & gifts and even a lovely supper from a compassionate friend. How loved we feel. 
And so to honour your significance in our lives we decided to write some messages on balloons to send off to you, cut a very special cake made by your special aunty Julie and give thanks for the gift that you continue to be in our lives.
Even your baby brother got in on the action and drew you a picture :0)
There is no way that your sisters will allow your birthday to pass without acknowledging you and making sure we celebrate and I am thankful for that because in doing so, we have the opportunity to declare that God has indeed been so kind and good to us to have entrusted your life and story to us to share well. We will continue to do that sweet boy on the good days and the heartsore days.
Today we will go out and find a new rose to add to your beautiful living garden and imagine the vibrant life that you are living in Him. Full of joy, health, peace and love and we will choose to smile. I know that you know how much we all love you and that you delight to see us choosing life and joy in our everyday living and so we will continue to heal and share the love of God to people, because you are our everyday reminder of the grace of God and that Heaven is for real ;0) So have a slice of "angel pie" with all the little friends that I know you have made up there.
Daddy, sisters and brother send you so much love too. Hope you liked all our funny messages and happy green balloons. So glad your precious grandparents were all together to eat cake and celebrate with us yesterday. Special memories indeed.
All our love forever xxx
Mommy, 

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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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