God always provides – but sometimes He spoils His children as well. Like crazy. I’m one of those people who really struggles with the cold; often in winter I’ll be swaddled in four layers and still shivering. Last week the Lord sent me a wonderful present: a soft white onesie. To quote Agnes, “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!” It’s got some brown spots; and a “tail”; and a hood with a beautifully detailed puppy face. I looked so realistic in all my fluffy white-and-brown glory that my canine-crazy sister almost squeezed me to death (like she hugs our real dog). I didn’t need it. But I like to think God wanted to spoil me. He knew how much I’ll appreciate this, come winter, so He provided for me. Sometimes I’m almost embarrassed at all the blessings He chooses to shower me with. If we really try, we can survive without cappuccinos and Lindt chocolate. And Tolkien and Pratchett novels. And peasant blouses. And The

The courage to be nobody

In our society today, most people are busy most of the time. I’m cool with that. What grates my carrot, however, is when folk see busyness as a measure of your importance; when they determine their worth – and that of others – based on what they do. Or don’t. I’ve had more than one quiet season this year: times of transition where I felt myself to be at a crossroad. I was never bored, but I was certainly not sprinting from one thrillingly important thing to another. I went for walks with the older of my sisters. I hung up the washing for my mom and took it down. I went with my family to visit people in our congregation. I practised my music and talked trash (or surprisingly deep stuff) with my youngest sister. Sometimes the quiet times are the hardest. One’s inner critic, as my friend puts it, becomes very harsh. Am I doing enough? Does any of this matter? Do I really matter? For my birthday this year, a dear friend

A Letter From God

The beautiful Outeniqua Mountains (photo by my mom) My dearest children, May I suggest that you try to change your perspective? I’d love for you to take your eyes off yourselves and turn them to Me instead. I see your hearts; I know of your desire to seek Me and how hard you try. But you spend too much time analysing your efforts. Raise your gaze to Me. So many of your problems will shrink down to size if you do. My dear kids, you don’t have to keep such a meticulous record of how many hours you’ve logged in prayer or whether you’ve addressed each item on your list frequently enough. Please – chill. I love it when you just sit on My lap and chat to Me. I love hearing your voices – so tell Me everything, even if it doesn’t make sense; even if you think it’s excruciatingly boring or insignificant. Tell Me about your aching heart and deepest frustrations, and tell Me about your joy at the proteas in bloom and the loerie you saw this morning. Don’t stress about Bible stu

Chatting with God - "Sometimes, Lord . . ."

Hello, Lord. I wanted to . . . Well – if it doesn’t offend – I was thinking . . . uhm . . . Oh, blow this. You know everything, so who am I trying to kid? Here we go. Sometimes, Lord – with all respect – You feel far. I start praying, and it’s as if I’m talking to the wall. “Thank You so much for the blessing of today and everything You spoiled me with.” Blank silence. “I pray for Your Hand over this and that, and that You will intervene in Situation ABC.” Blank silence continues. “And please, Lord, heal H, and soften the heart of L.” Blank. “In Your precious Name I ask these things. Amen.” Blank, blank, blank. It’s like every word I say bounces off the ceiling and back into my tearstained face. So I get introspective, Father. What unconfessed sin is there in my heart? Who have I not forgiven? Which habits and desires do I need to get rid of? I do the necessary heart-cleaning, and try again. Uhm. Blank. I decide to chuck my to-pray-for-list and just glorify You

Chatting with God - "Give them to Me"

Lord, have You taken a good look lately at this world You made? I see My world daily, child - every bit of it. Have You taken a proper look at the people in it, then? I certainly have. So You've seen all the poor, Lord? Strings of them - so many with nothing. Wind and rain stream through the cracks in their homes. The cold stings through the holes in their clothes. Glass stabs the soles of their bare feet as an empty stomach screams to ears gone deaf from habit. Tummies swell; teeth fall out; scabies erupt because there is no immune system to fight back. Father, they break my heart. What shall we do with them? Give them to Me. Have You seen the broken and grieving, dear God? The abused children with big glassy eyes, bruised bodies and bruised hearts. The girls who've been raped: dignity in shreds, all hope and joy stolen along with their virginity. The victims of separation, illness, death . . . Too many to even try and name them all. Those broken hearts, God. And t