When you want to quit believing

10:08 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74 (NIV)

Believing in God isn't easy.

There are so few moments in my life when I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and present in my life.

There are many more times that I've wondered if God cares for me, sees me and loves me. 

Sometimes it seems like the mark of a Christian is finding it easy to believe in God, in his existence, in his love.

If the mark of a Christian is belief without faltering, I fall short. (tweet this)

I doubt God all the time. I question God a lot. But I don't think that makes me less of a follower of Jesus. 

When I read the bible I find many examples of people just like me, people who doubted, argued and questioned. People who sometimes said out loud, "I don't know who Jesus is!" 

Peter, a man who followed Jesus for three years, said the last three times after fleeing the scene of Jesus' arrest. Peter who had spent three years witnessing Jesus heal people still doubted.

And Jesus still called him his own.

I guess what Peter’s story teaches me is that doubt doesn’t mean my relationship with Jesus is over. 
Love and doubt quotes
I don't think doubt scares Jesus.

And I really like that about him. 

Knowing that my doubt doesn’t scare Jesus, keeps me returning to him. (tweet this)

It takes a pretty secure God to love me even when I deny him, question him, yell at him, and doubt that he is always good. 

I think sometimes doubt causes me to underestimate love, to underestimate Jesus.

Love is not afraid of doubt. 
Love is stronger than questions. 
Many doubts cannot quench Love. 

Ponder: Does doubt make you feel like less of a Christian?

Prayer: God, thank you that my doubt doesn’t scare you. Help me in my unbelief. 


{Vote for me}
This site is a SA blog awards finalist for the best spiritual/religious blog but I need your votes in order to win so please head over to ilovedevotionals.com and click on the red "VOTE" button on the upper right hand corner. You will be directed to the SA Blog Awards website. Your vote for my blog will automatically be entered. You will be sent a confirmation email, which you have to respond to in order to confirm your vote. The process allows you to vote for only one blog per category. Thank you for your support!

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Love and Sunset - Pink Sherbet Photography. Flowers - jasohill. | Design: Wendy van Eyck

When heaven becomes real

2:29 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-4 (NIV)

A few months ago, I found myself following my husband through the African bush. We were trying to get as close we could to the Big 5 animals on foot. 

We had been walking for three hours already and our guides seemed unsure how to take us back to our vehicle. They stopped, shielded their eyes from the sun, and told us, “The path is going to get a little rough. We are going to make our own way and the bush is thick here.”

Wearily, I put one foot in front of the other. At that moment, all I wanted was to put my feet up, read a book, and stop walking. Or I would even have gone for just stopping walking.

Instead, I was pinching thorn branches between my fingers as I contorted my body through a hole trying not to tear my clothes. 

I thought about how good it be to reach camp. As I walked I started singing C.S. Lewis, 
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

As I sung the words, heaven began to make sense to me. 

I struggle to understand heaven. I struggle to comprehend another world.  

But as I trekked through bush, stumbling over rhino dung and sipping water, it made sense to me that heaven could be a destination to look forward to, a haven like the camp I longed to reach. 

I thought about how if I knew of such a great place that I would want to make sure all my friends and family went there with me. It made sense to me that Jesus would be excited to invite us to join him in his home. 

For the first time in a long time, I wanted to go to heaven. 

I wanted to know peace. 

I wanted to know that at the end of a long tiresome journey there would be an oasis. 

I felt like I could keep going through all the tough stuff if there was heaven at the end. 

I was thinking about heaven when I stooped under two branches and righted myself. The car stood in front of me. And I looked forward to going home. 

Ponder: What are your feelings about heaven? Are they positive, negative or undecided?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for inviting me to come and stay in your home. 

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : (Creative Commons) unsplash.com and Wendy van Eyck  Design: Wendy van Eyck

Depression is real (but so is God)

4:12 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

The Lord God is my bravery habakkuk 3:19
The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP)

I used to be a paramedic. 

For a year I pulled on a blue overall and spent two 12-hour shifts a week on an ambulance. 

Before I started working as a paramedic I loved the idea of riding in to save the day, of rescuing people, and making everything okay. 

But the reality of being a paramedic in South Africa was very far from my ideas. 

The first case I worked was with a newborn baby that passed away. A baby who I had been assisting to breathe for an hour before God it passed away. 

My heart grieved that little child. 

As the year progressed I grew more and more reluctant to pull on the uniform, and go out and work, more anxious about what the night would hold, about the domestic violence I’d face, the vehicle accidents and the homeless people I’d attend. 

About half way through the year depression and anxiety became my friend. Most shifts I didn’t know how I would make it through. I felt constantly nauseous. I wouldn’t sleep and then I’d sleep for days. I lost my appetite. 

The only thing that pulled me through each long dark day was God. 

Brave quotesGod was my strength when I had to hold my hand against the neck of a man who was pumping blood out his body with each heartbeat.

God was my bravery when I had to walk into a domestic violence situation and treat a wife quickly before the husband returned. 

Every time I felt like I would never make it through another shift I’d feel God helping me to walk – not stand still in terror as the amplified bible puts it – but make progress through trouble and suffering. 

Before I had depression that year I thought it was something I could shake off, something that just needed prayer. But depression is real, and it is hard and it requires God – and an entire army of people who love you unconditionally, and healthcare professionals, and often medication – to find your way through it. 

It took me over a year to shake that cloak of darkness off, to learn how to live when depression no longer lingered, but what I learnt in that time has remained with me. A decade later my depression taught me that even on the toughest days God is my strength and bravery. (tweet this)

It is God’s strength that bolsters my weakness.

It is God’s strength that makes me brave. (tweet this)

God’s love that will never leave me or forsake me but help me to make progress through suffering, through the darkness that is depression. 

Ponder: What experiences in your past have taught you that God is with you on your darkest days?

Pray: God, when I feel weak, give me your strength, when I feel afraid be my bravery, help me to walk through the dark places and remind me that I am never alone. Amen.


{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : unsplash.com and gratisography.com  Design: Wendy van Eyck

One thing to remember when you're about to unravel

4:12 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

You hem me in
You hem me in behind and before. Psalm 139:5 (NIV)

I feel so tired. 

Since 1 November Xylon and I have been gypsies. We've moved out of our old home but can't yet move into our new place. 

Everything we own is in storage except for a few bags of luggage that we'll rely on for the next 3 months. 

In less than 3 weeks we've slept in 8 different beds in 4 different towns. By the end of the month that count will be up to 10 beds in 6 towns.

And each time things get hard, each time I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself: 
God hems me in: behind and before.

The image of God hemming me in when I'm unraveling makes it easier to do the next small thing.

God is all around me. Behind me, before me. I'm not alone. I am held.

I am hemmed in by God. 

Ponder: What areas of your life do you need God to "hem" in?

Prayer: When I'm unravelling God help to remember that you hem me in.

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : Window: Wendy van Eyck, Thread: tanakawho, pegs: gratisography.com  Design: Wendy van Eyck

We are not as happy as we look

10:28 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Anne Lamott quote
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8 (MSG)

Browsing through Instagram the around Halloween I noticed a picture by Lesley Miller with the following caption:
Princess, dragon, and mama. I feel the need to confess that I may have threatened Anna [her daughter] in order to capture this photo. #wearenotashappyaswelook 

I loved the hashtag the moment I saw it. And it got me thinking about appearances and the masks I wear to the world. 

The number of times Xylon and I might have been arguing in the car and then walk in the door and put a smile and a laugh on our face as if everything is fine. 

We are not as happy as we look.

Then there was a post a friend wrote on Facebook this week about how hard being a new mother is. And how she thinks moms should stop just presenting pics of happy, smiling babies and rather tell the cold-hard truth of being up for 3 weeks in a row at 3am. And I thought about Lisa-Jo and her honesty about motherhood. And I thanked God for it.

This week I’ve chatted to a number of friends who smiled and laughed and joked with me. And then a few days later someone has asked if I’ve seen that friend recently and told me about some hard things the smiling, laughing friends have been going through. 

Jesus loves me at my darkestWe are not as happy as we look.

I’m guilty of it too. While Xylon was having cancer treatment there were many times the tears would stream down my face in the car and then I’d arrive at work, clean myself up and smile and laugh my way through the day, hiding the hurt inside. 

We are not as happy as we look.

Jesus never called me to portray a perfect life, he called me to follow him, to walk with him, to be real with him. 

I wonder if in my desire to be a light to the world I've forgotten that Jesus loves me at my darkest. (tweet this)
That Jesus loved the sinner. 
The broken.
The down and out.
The prostitute.
The thief.
The liar.
The fighting couple.
The mother who has not slept for day. 
The women yelling at her kids.
The dad who can’t figure out how to pay the bills. 
The daughter who feels like she failed her parents. 
The girl who looks in the mirror and hates herself. 
The man who feels like he’ll never measure up. 


Last week I read a tweet by author Anne Lamott that expresses this well: 
“I think God loves what is real, especially in us. Not the stuff we've tricked out with cute rugs from Ikea. What's really in our hearts & minds. Wow.”

The bible says in Romans 5:6-8 that “Jesus didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”

light and darkIf Christ did all of that for me when I didn’t have my act together why do I think it’s so important to make sure I look happier than I am?

And maybe I hide the tough stuff because I get that God could love my broken ragged edges but I think that others won’t understand. 

I’m realizing that everyone has a hard thing, everyone is fighting some kind of battle and most of the time the people I meet are not as happy as they look (me included).

I wonder if more of us revealed our darkness if there would be more light? (tweet this)

Maybe it’s time to stop sugar coating our lives, and step out into the grace that Jesus offers, and let him love us at our darkest, and allow others to see the cracks in our lives filled with his hope. 

Ponder: How do you think admitting that you’re not as happy as you look to others would deepen your relationships with them? What prevents you from doing this?   

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for loving me at my darkest. Help me to be more honest about the hard parts of my life so you can keep meeting me there and I can encourage people with the grace you give. 

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : Unsplash.com Design: Wendy van Eyck

One way to read the bible (and one thing I've learnt about God by doing this)

12:30 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

One way to read the bible (and one thing I've learnt about God by doing this)Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Timothy 3:16 (MSG)

Almost on a weekly basis I’ll receive an email from a reader asking me how to know if God is speaking to them. 

One reader admitted to me, 
“I don't know how to read God's word. 
I try and read bible chapters on my own, but I don't hear or see God speak from it. 
I always pick things I don't understand. 
How do you know what and where to read to get help from God?”

Another reader commented: “I struggle about whether God can use everyday things to speak to me/us.”

I connected with what she asked because I’ve had the same questions, I’ve sometimes wondered if Timothy and I were reading the same book.

So I’m going to share a bit, honestly, about how I experience God “speaking” to me. 

For starters, there is no right or wrong way to read the bible. This is how I read it but if you prefer another method then stick with that. 

I like to read the bible with a notebook so I can jot down any thoughts or impressions that come to mind. 

I begin by picking a book of the bible or I read from where I left off before. Sometimes I’ll read just one verse other times a couple of chapters. 

If you’re new to reading the bible to hear from God maybe start with Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians or Colossians. 

Then I read until I feel God say, "stop". Perhaps the verse resonates with me or it answers a question or prayer I brought to God.

How to read the bibleOnce I feel “stop” I don’t read any further. I pray and ask God what he is saying to me and I write down whatever thoughts come to mind about the verse. 

Often I look at devotionals and commentaries related to the verse. Other times I’ll grab a dictionary and look up each word in the verse or look for other bible verses that speak about the same theme. 

If you don’t hear God speak to you at first don’t grow despondent. Keep reading the bible. 

Some days I read the bible and nothing speaks to me. I think that’s okay. 

Some times I don’t read the bible for days but still see God’s fingerprints in other things. Maybe it will be through a song that I hear, or through a conversation with a friend, or something that I read in a novel. 

For me, sometimes God get’s my attention by sharing the same message with me multiple times then I stop and go, “God, what are you trying to tell me?”

Often I find that God will use scripture I’ve memorised to speak to me by bringing it to my memory at just the right time.

One thing I have learnt about God though is that God isn’t confined by technique or limited to how you read the bible. 

He is God of mystery and romance. 

God will get your attention in a way that is unique and meaningful to you. (tweet this)

God is much bigger than the limitations I put on him.

Ponder: I’d love for you to share techniques that you use to read the bible in the comments. If you try one of the techniques written about here I’d love you to share what God tells you.

Prayer: God, thank you that nothing will ever stop you from getting through to me: not the way I read my bible, the version I read, or how I often I pray. 


A Birthday Update
Thank you to everyone who donated to my birthday. Together we managed to fund 3 bicycles for kids who walk more than an hour to school in South Africa. Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever.

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking hereI’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : Unsplash.com Design: Wendy van Eyck

When you’re at the end of your rope

1:08 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Matthew 5:3
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. Matthew 5:3 (MSG)

Some days I feel like the ability to hang on by a fingernail should be a superpower.

I’ve had a week of those days. Maybe more. 

Days when I’ve been trying to do everything. Days when I’ve been battered from every side: moving house, relocating towns, renovating our new place, spending three months sleeping in beds wherever they’re vacant, extra work stress, health checkups for Xylon, tight finances, a new nephew, family visiting, friends wanting to say by before we go. 

Somehow I’ve kept it all together. 

Somehow I’ve clung on. 

Somehow grace has seen me through. 

There’s a bible verse I love in Matthew 5:3: 
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

This verse is so counterintuitive. I know I tend to try and grab on even tighter when I feel like I’m falling. I want to be in control. 

To be honest I’ve been struggling to live it out this week but God has been sneaking reminders of his grace in everywhere: 

A text from a friend telling me how her plans a year ago didn’t work out but how if they had she wouldn’t have a job today. 

A quote in the pages of a Frederick Buechner book: “Life itself is grace.” 

Just enough grace to crack open my soul and remind me that when I look around this life is pretty amazing. 

I’m realising even the view from the end of the rope can be breathtaking if I stop stressing so much about how to control it all. 

It’s not easy, and I cling on more than I let go, but God keeps giving grace, he keeps reminding me that he is at the end of the rope. 

I don’t have to tie a knot and hang on. 

Even when I can’t hold on by a fingernail there is still more of God and his rule. (tweet this)

Turns out I don’t a superpower; I just need to trust God. 

Ponder: How does your view of God change when you’re at the end of your rope?

Prayer: God, help me to cling on to you not the end of the rope. 

{Share this post}
You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.


Amazing stuff! Together we've almost funded two bicycles for my birthday. My campaign closes in two days so if you're still thinking of donating please do so now: 

If you live outside of South Africa and would like to donate please follow this link so you can donate in your own currency and just put “For Wendy’s birthday” in the note box. Or you can donate via paypal: donate@qhubeka.org and put “Wendy’s birthday” as a reference. 
If you’re up for it (and live in South Africa) you can donate here via EFT or credit card. 

If you'd like to know more about how Qhubeka changes lives with bicycles go to http://www.qhubeka.org/

Find out more about why I want to do this here

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits : Guitar in grass wakalani, Grass with blue sky Khánh Hmoong, Grass Vermin Inc. 
Design: Wendy van Eyck