Well, it has been a while since I updated the far and wide on how it’s going in Joburg, and for that I am truly sorry. It has been the most exciting journey and the biggest adventure. I have been in Joburg for just about 5 months and I can’t believe how quickly it has became “home”. I have been so incredibly blessed.
If you hadn’t remembered, the main reason I decided to move to from Cape Town to Joburg was to get out of my comfort zone and to live completely in God’s strength (Blog Post). Last year I realised that as a dedicated Christian, if I was praying the prayers that I was praying and singing the songs that I was singing, if I genuinely believed that God’s plan for my life was better than the one I was dreaming up for myself, I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to live completely in His strength and mercy, leaning on him instead of my own strength or understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Upon this realisation I began to pray about where I should move. The only place that seemed imprinted on my heart was Johannesburg. Thus, I resigned from my job of two years and left everyone I knew to follow God’s heart for my life.
It was a step in faith and since making that step, God has not stopped blessing me. I cannot think of a single thing, situation, person or time that has not been revealed to be a huge sign of God’s favour in my life here. He has blessed me with incredible testimonies of his love for me – situations and opportunities that could only have been orchestrated by a loving Father God. (Blog Post) I fell into a number of the most special communities – genuine family who choose to love me with an unconditional love that seemed to bubble over into my life straight away. And joy – often true joy seems a foreign concept and gets confused with happiness or gladness. I feel like I can say I know joy. It truly is the most liberating place to completely live surrendered to God’s plan. It is most comforting to be in living in the knowledge that the God who created the universe cares for the tiniest details in my life. The joy that comes from this, it warms my heart and overflows from it into every part of my life.
Sharing this joy is a great privilege and blessing. I love sharing the story of how I got to Joburg and what God has been doing in my life up here, the glimpses of an incredibly full life that was designed for me, and the lessons I am learning. These conversations are possibly my favourite part of the journey. I thought that by now my story would be old, that everyone would have heard it and I’d need a new one yet I keep finding myself with amazing opportunities to share this story. I believe that personal testimonies are a powerful tool that God uses to encourage others and I am humbled that he has chosen to use this one.
Perhaps now is the right place to mention that of course it is still hard, there are stages where I cry and feel confused. When decisions feel hard and living alone is yes, lonely. Moments where I wish I could ask my mom or dad for a bear hug; or have a cup of tea with a friend who has known me for 20 years. God is in these moments too and he has placed wonderful people in my life to comfort and bring wisdom to the situations. Even in these moments, joy brings hope.
“Faithful you have been and faithful you will be. You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing. Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips, your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips.” – Ever Be, Bethel Music
The hard lessons that have shaped the journey have been so worthwhile. Lessons like:
Learning to depend on new friends and almost-strangers. Strangers who have become great friends as a result of giving them the opportunity to so freely be there for me. A wise person told me at the time that although I like doing things myself and can do them, when I need help and refuse to accept help from those who are willing, I rob others of the joy of being there for someone.
Home. Realising that the concept of “home” is strange and has many levels – I can call Joburg and Cape Town my home.
Properly embracing everyone – I always felt that I was good at this but it’s not until you no longer have the luxury of not needing to, do you truly embrace any person who is willing to be a friend – regardless of age, life stage, gender, tax bracket or race.
And rather importantly, learning to love where I am right now. This was a choice too – at a point, you choose to love where you are. Instead of constantly pining for the friends I left behind, the comfort of Cape Town and when next I’d return home, I choose to love this place. To love the small things, the new friendships, the everyday adventures and absolutely spectacular sunsets I see from my hill. I choose to remember that this is exactly where I should be right now and in time, everything will make sense. For now, just learn to revel in the adventures.
Speaking of which, I have had such fun adventuring. I have made the best friends and done ridiculous things with them. We have cried together (well, I cried) and laughed plenty. I have gone on a mission trip to Mpumalanga, a girls weekend away to the Magaliesberg and done a roadtrip to Hartebeespoort Cableway. I have had countless cups of tea and conversations while getting to know new friends. I have been to braai’s, festivals and a Tim Hughes conference. I have been to Centurion to spend a week learning how to teach STEM principles to preschoolers through Lego; and spent a term as “Coach Robyn” with my U9 netball girls. I visited bible college and sang in the worship team. I bought Joburg shoes and ate lots of ice cream. I catered for a thing and fed new friends custard slices. I had debates about politics, religion and race and drank wine with wonderful people. I played 30 seconds and taught the grade 6’s the most amazing game ever. I learnt how to drill and chisel (#lifepoints). I started doing pilates again. I fell in love with Emmerentia Dam, Walter Sisulu and Alberts Farm and made these my thinking spots. Daily I am blown away by the sunrises and sunsets, I can’t get over them. And, right now, I am busy doing holiday club and then I am heading to the warm shores of Durban to just be for a week.
Goodness, just thinking about this now, these are only the last two months adventures – life is so full. I couldn’t conceive any of these moments or friendships when I moved. Yet, they are the biggest blessings. I dare you. When God asks you to do something in faith, fall into his great plan and go.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV