When God breathes life into a hopeless situation

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

{Guest post by Sandra Ng’ambwa}
Listen to me, family of Jacob,
    everyone that’s left of the family of Israel.
I’ve been carrying you on my back
    from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
    I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and grey.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
    carrying you on my back, saving you
Isaiah 46:3-4 (MSG)

This is the prayer I prayed months on end for my grandfather.  I remember saying ‘Lord, thank you for babu (grand-father in Swahili); thank you that you are the One who keeps him and sustains him until his grey hairs.’ 

Time and time again when babu would get admitted into hospital for the past seven years, God remained faithful. He kept him. He preserved his life. 

Only God can do this. 

Only God has the power to breathe hope where the situation seems dire and hopeless. (tweet this)

Babu could not walk, and he could not remember much.  

But God gave him life. 

God kept him, according to his promise in Isaiah. Even when many of his friends gave up on him because he could not hold a proper conversation, God placed around him people that cared and loved him. 

That’s what God does - when everyone leaves you because you no longer fit their profile, He comes along and brings the right people with him. 

And for that I am grateful. 

Now, two months since babu’s passing, I stand here, not in mourning, but in gratitude for the many lives that he touched. For the legacy he left. Being extremely generous to those who were less fortunate is something he practised. Encouraging families to stick together and be united is what he did. Standing up to educate female children in the 60s is what he believed in, especially when many in Africa didn’t approve at the time. And now looking back, I see how babu left an example of what Jesus would do. 

And for that I am grateful. 

I am grateful that God answered my prayers and remained faithful. 

God will always remain faithful. 

Although it hurts that babu is no longer here with us, I know that every time I practise generosity and compassion, I am not only living out his legacy, but also the legacy of my Father in heaven. 

I would encourage you to keep holding on to God’s promises even when things seem to be going in the opposite direction. He is faithful and He hears every desperate word you speak to Him.

Ponder: Have you lost a loved one in the recent months? What legacy have they left that encourages you in your faith today? 

Prayer:
Lord Jesus I ask you to help me believe you Word. Help me to pray and have faith when things are going in the opposite direction. Help me to trust that you know what’s best and to be give thanks in all situations. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

{About the author of this guest devotional}
I’m Sandi - a 20-something year old determined to live out all the dreams God has placed in my heart. I love anything to do with Jesus, cities, travelling and chocolate. I also enjoy encouraging people and cultivating my relationships through coffee, lunch or dinner dates. You can find me on twitter, facebook or on my website

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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 Thursday.

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Where is God when bad things happen? (an update on Xylon’s health)

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

I’ve been crying bitter tears since Thursday.

On Wednesday the doctor told us that Xylon’s cancer has recurred. 

It took me 24 hours before I cried. And then it was sobs right onto my husband’s chest. 

God was meant to have healed Xylon this time. This is not the story he is meant to be living. Not the way I thought our story would be. 

Every morning since Wednesday we’ve woken up hoping that this recurrence was just a bad dream. But every morning we realise this is our life, again.

There are still treatment options (if we choose to pursue them).

Right now I’m just sad. And a little angry to be in this place again (for the fourth time).

I'm struggling to find hope, to find God, in all of this. 

I’ve always tried to share our story as honestly as I can. 
I’ve always tried to portray that faith in God is not an easy thing. That being a Christian isn’t about appearing perfect or like you have it all together. 
And that believing in Jesus doesn’t mean that you get rescued from bad stuff just that he is there with you in it

I still believe all of this. Even though right now it’s hard to live it out. 

So I’m just going to let my heart bleed here for today’s post. 

I have very few words. Xylon and I both do. Mostly we just hug. 

Most of the words, I can think of, are promises that I don’t know if we can fulfill, so I’d rather just let him know I’m there. Maybe that is how God feels right now too. 

I don’t know what to pray. Xylon says he can’t speak to God right now. I get that. 


I guess, the honest truth is there are some places I don’t want to go – even with God. They are places I can’t imagine going without him, but that doesn’t mean I’m jumping up and down like a kid saying, “pick me, pick me!” 

I’m still praying for a miracle. You can join us in that if you’d like. Let’s #prayforzero (zero cancer). (tweet this)

Because despite all of this, I still believe that God is a healer, that he is a God of the impossible, and that he can heal Xylon. 

I just don’t always understand why he hasn’t yet. 

Ponder: What helps you understand God in the midst of disappointment in your life?

Prayer: God, we don’t know what to do, but our are eyes on you. Amen.

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What to do when you no longer feel God’s presence

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Guest post by brett “Fish” anderson

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10a (NLT)

I have often jestfully said to God, “Just one ocean, God. You part one ocean before me and I will never doubt you again.”

Because you’d think that would be enough right? Or maybe one dead body raised to life.

Yet, the Israelites got to walk through the Red Sea [Exodus 14]. And on a number of occasions the disciples watched Jesus bring people back from the dead [Matthew 9 and more]. 

And both groups, despite seeing God work incredible 3D-movie-type surround sound miracles, end up doubting God and being confused about who Jesus is.

My conclusion is that one parted ocean might not be enough for me. (tweet this)

I grew up in the church and made a commitment at a very young age and my growing up experience was one where I really felt God’s presence. 

I always felt close to God, as if He was right near me. Until I didn’t. 

I went through a year and a half period where suddenly God seemed so far away. And when He has always felt close, a year and a half is a very long time. 

I got to the point of actually considering that maybe my “feeling God” was a childish thing that I needed when I was younger, but now that I was growing up I needed to just rely on faith. 

Then the feeling came back. 
God’s presence. 
And it seems so much easier to believe when the feeling is there. 

But later it disappeared again. 

This time though, my faith was strengthened by the fact that I had gone through all of that before. I survived 18 months without feeling God so surely this time would be easier? And it was. 

One of my favourite verses is Psalm 34:18, ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ You can’t get any lower than having your heart broken or your spirit crushed and yet EVEN THEN, even in those most horrible places, God promises to be there. 

I am also comforted by the simple words in Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God.” 

Not think or believe or hope, but KNOW. 

In the busyness of life we tend to always be rushing and I have found that stopping, unplugging, disconnecting, creating space and just being still is a great way to reconnect with God. And so I try to make regular times for that.

I am comforted by the familiar words of Psalm 23 which ensure me that ‘though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.’ 

I believe it is the desert times that help make the mountaintop times [when God feels really close] so much more refreshing and life-transforming. 

God is never away from us, but there will certainly be times when it feels like He is. (tweet this)

When those come, look back and be reminded of the times when you knew without a shadow of a doubt that He was there for you. 
And make some time to be still. 
And know again.

Ponder: What do you do when you no longer feel God’s presence? Leave your experience in the comments.

Prayer: God, I can’t feel your presence. Help me in my unbelief. Help me to know you are God again. Amen. 

About the author of this guest devotional
Brett "Fish" Anderson loves God, loves people and follows Jesus. He is married to the Beautiful Val. He also is the owner of the world’s most famous dolphin, No_bob. You can read his blogs at Irresistibly Fish. If you have R100 (about $10) you can get hold of his new book, 'i, church'. You can also follow him on twitter at @brettFishA.

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One thing you need to remember about your life

12:40 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (VOICE)

If you look at our couch now it looks like something we spent a lot of money on.

But that's not the full story of our couch. In fact, that's not even part of the story of our couch.

We were given our couch because it was being thrown out. 

The fabric was torn, it had stains from all kinds of bodily fluids and dirty hands and the cushions no longer held. Did I mention, it was also mustard yellow?

The previous owners had decided there was no salvaging it. 

Xylon and I weren’t married and he lived in a one bedroom flat with just a bed, a microwave, and bicycle. 

The thought of having something to sit on that you didn't need to pedal, even if it was past its best days was enticing. So he took the couch that was going to be thrown into the garbage.

We spent an afternoon with a rented steam cleaner sanitizing the couch and then covered it in a number of throws. 

A year later, once we were married, this old couch moved with him into our new flat and became "our couch". 

One of our wedding gifts was upholstery fabric for the couch. My sister-in-law, who works in the furniture industry, helped us source a good quality upholsterer at industry prices, and two weeks later our couch came home. 

After some tender loving care the couch looked better than it ever had. 

When we shared the picture with the previous owner they said, “Can we have it back?”

Sometimes it’s impossible to see the hard story when it’s covered up to look like new.  (tweet this

Most days I forget that if you look at our couch now you'd never guess its story.

Or that if you looked at Xylon and I walking hand-in-hand along the beach you wouldn’t know our story either. The one where half our total anniversaries have been in hospital wards while he had chemotherapy.

I felt God reminding me this weekend that I don’t know the full story of my life. 

I only see in part. God sees the whole. (tweet this

Your life is part of a bigger story. The hard parts aren't the whole story, they're just a chapter, and they're not how the story ends. 

One day, Jesus will arrive, and we'll see the whole story, but for now just remember that this - this hard stuff you're walking through now - is only part of the story. 

Ponder: What is happening in your life at the moment that you need to be reminded is only part of your story? 

Prayer: Jesus, I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. I can’t wait for the day when you arrive, and I will see clearly, face-to-face. Thank you that for now I can rest in the confidence that I am wholly known by God. Amen.


PS: I thought since I was writing about our couch it would be fun to include a pic of it. So I snapped all the pics in about our house for this blog today. Sadly I couldn't find a pic in it's "before" condition so you just get an "after". 

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{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 Thursday.

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How to pray when you can't change your circumstances

8:07 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galations 2:20b (MSG)

Xylon's scan is coming up again. It's always hard. 

It's the one thing no one told me about cancer that it never goes away. After 18 chemo sessions, a stem cell transplant, radiation, three relapses and now two clear scans I imagined it would be over. But it isn't.

Next Tuesday Xylon has his scan. A day or two after that the doctor will call with his results.

It is nerve wrecking.

I find myself praying constantly, "Lord, let it be clear." Part of me thinks I should be praying, “Lord, take me to the place of your greatest blessing” but I can’t find it in me to do that. So instead I’m just praying my heart out and trusting that will be enough. 

Yesterday I was thinking about the scan when I read a quote by a writer and missionary I greatly respect, Elisabeth Elliot, 
"The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”

‘Okay, Jesus, I’m hearing you,’ I thought.

Jesus didn't promise rescue from hard things but his company through hard things. (tweet this

As Tim Hughes wrote (and as I’ll now be singing till we hear the results) it has to be:
God in my hoping 
There in my dreaming 
God in my watching 
God in my waiting 

God in my laughing 
There in my weeping 
God in my hurting 
God in my healing 

Christ in me 
Christ in me 
Christ in me the hope of glory 
You are everything

I know when it comes to this scan that there is nothing I can do to change the results, to manipulate the circumstances all I can do is allow, 
Christ in me to be my hope in this set of circumstances, 
Christ in me to be my hope in the midst of cancer results,
Christ in me the hope of Glory be my everything. 

And when I can’t pray, Lord, let your will be done here, I’ll be using worship as act of war against the enemy of my soul, and singing 
“Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me the hope of glory, you are everything.”

Ponder: Have you been hoping for a different set of circumstances rather than hoping in Christ in you? 

Prayer: Christ in me the hope of Glory be my everything. 

Other places I've been writing: 
I'm sharing over at Brett "Fish" Anderson 's blog about my experience of being in an interracial relationship. Go have a read

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{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 Thursday.

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How to know if it is time to leave your past behind

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

A note from Wendy:
Today’s devotional is written by Fran Thring. I’m always partial to lending this space to another South African blogger. I hope you’ll enjoy her story (and feel challenged) about something as every day as a dining room table. I know it got me thinking.
Deuteronomy 26 verse 11
Guest post by Fran Thring:
You and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household. Deuteronomy 26:11 (NIV)

I live in the Dubai of Cape Town. People visit my apartment, walk through the double doors. And stop. “You live here?” I always feel slightly sheepish, “uh, yeah...” 

I should not be living in that apartment. 
I should not be living in that part of town. 

I moved there after a year as a full time volunteer at my church. I hadn’t seen a vitamin in weeks, I was homeless and my bank account - let's avoid that topic shall we? 

The apartment was a miracle.

From the moment I gazed through the double doors of my Dubai in Cape Town, life was fabulous. I lived in paradise. 

There one problem though, this 5 star living didn’t come with a dining room table. 
Flat screen TV, check. 
Walk around kitchen, check.
Balcony overlooking the pool, check. 
But no table. 

A girl needs a table; a house needs a table and gosh, life needs a table. 

Left with no option my housemates and I did what every self-respecting African does- speak to people who know people. There was bargaining, a trip to the wrong side of town, a man with missing teeth, and a week later we were the owners of a rustic 10-seater Oregon pine table. Perfection. It completed life like a salty cracker a good hard cheese. 

That table was loved. From Mexican dinner parties, 21sts and pancake breakfasts to late night popcorn fights the table became an axis in a whirlwind of friends. 

In 2014 I trudged through one of the hardest years in my life. I’m not sure what it was- a concoction of unmet expectations, exhaustion and loneliness, perhaps? My best friend moved back to the States and wrapped up tightly in her overhead luggage was my fabulous life of dinner parties and friends. Daily, I came home from work, curled up on my couch or sat at my table to face an onslaught of memories I had resolved I could never match. 

Looking back, I know now, seated at that table – I had a choice. 

I could open my heart, gently let go of the cold hard hurt growing clammy within its walls, or, I could sit there. Alone, stuck in my memories. Choices. 

The bible says “you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household.” Deuteronomy 26:11 I could look around me at my household, the soft brown couches, balcony and double bed and see good or see bad.

I had to allow my apartment to gently remind me: Jesus cared enough back then and he cares now. 
He is faithful
That apartment reminds me good too comes undeserved.

Ponder: How long have you sat in your past? 
Is it time to let things go and open your heart to the new people and opportunities God has waiting for you? 
Who can you invite to join your table?

Prayer: God, thank you that you don’t let us sit in the past but invite us to move forward. As I inch towards the future keep my eyes open to the people you would have me invite to share their lives around my table. Amen. 

About the author of this guest devotional:


I am kind, wildly ambitious, self-motivated, silly, fun-loving and energetic. I love the thought that when we are not stingy with the world, cool things happen. Writing and Jesus keep me sane(ish). Somedays I eat banana chips for dinner. I've started to blog here: franthring.com


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{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 Thursday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck