Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

December 30, 2017

My Helper......

Come to Me all who are heavy laden and burdened.....come to Me.

Someone asked me the other day how my prayer life is at the moment. I did take a moment to think about this question. Does "Please help me Lord" over and over count for having a prayer life?
Does "i cant take it anymore" or just my favoured, one worded prayer of "Help!" count at all?

This is the reality of living with this terrible disease that steals away everything - and it does it in slow motion.

It seems that i might be a strong woman. Look where i lived for 8 years! But really, i am not. It was hard for me out there. One visitor told me a few years back while "helping" me hang up the washing, that his wife would never make it out there...she is not so ....ahem... tough. Why thanks, Somehow it did not sound like a compliment to me, the old tough piece of meat. Anyhow, that is not the point. To me it seems that the Lord has placed me in severe tough and difficult positions and places not because of my toughness, but because He is Tough. I guess i am a slow learner.

I must admit, i do rebel at times. Wishing it would just be easy for a bit. Just a spot of plain sailing would be extremely pleasant. But, no. God delights to be my Help. My Stronghold. But, do i marvel at that? Nope. I cry. I complain. I cry some more. I pray help me, help me, help me, help me and then when i finally lay my head on the pillow - meaning that i actually did get through another terrible day - forget to thank my Knight in shining armour. Because He really does help. He hears my cries and He catches my tears in a little bottle. He is right beside me. He carries me who is trying to carry those around me. I need only to turn to Him.

Help me, help me, help me is all very fine but i need to end it with Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. I need to Remember the Lord my God. Because I really know it is defintely not my strength or power that got me here today, but so easily i forget and do think that. Let this verse remind me of just that......

“He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:16-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬


December 29, 2017


In tough times it is hard to be grateful. In anxious times even worse. But it says in Philippians that we should not be anxious for anything but by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving make our requests known to God and His Amazing All-encompassing Peace will follow. But Thankfulness in these times? Really? Yes, i need this peace, but grumbling and complaining would be much easier than Thanking....

So, the sceptic me looks at a "normal" day and i wonder where will my thankfulness come from? But then i use my fingers on the keyboard and i begin to see......Thank You that i can use my fingers. That i can open and close my hands. That i have feeling in my hands.

I take a sip of coffee and i say Thank You again because i can actually swallow. I can see, read, speak, make a face, roll my eyes. I can actually lift my arms above my head. I can touch my toes. I can put my own socks on, peel a potato, open the door, turn the key in the lock. And i breathe a Thank You.

I hang my head in shame...there is so much to be grateful for. So much i miss because i just want to complain and grumble and wallow in self pity. So much i take for granted - until you lose it you don't even think about these things. Sitting, standing, bending, eating, coughing, taking a deep, deep breath.

Thank You Lord. Please forgive me for acting like a spoiled brat. Stomping my foot when i lose perspective and see nothing good anymore. Nothing to say Thank You for. That is so far from the Truth. Help me see.

When i look for things to Thank God for i regain that peace. Thankfulness is like an anchor that stops the boat from being bashed against the rocks. Life wants to bash and break every bone in my body, Christ wants to keep me whole and by seeing Him in my day at work does just that. Thanking Him for His presence, mercy and grace brings that inner peace and healing that my soul needs. Thankfulness.

It can be big or small but find those things and say, Thank You, Lord.


December 13, 2017

And so, Lord....

Sometimes in the strangest places i hear God encouraging me. Yesterday was a tough day - not so much outwardly but inside my head. I forgot to take one day at a time....wait, what am I saying? I forgot to take one Moment at a time. And so i was skipping ahead with all kinds of things to worry about....what if's and what then's....a whole head full!

And this morning as i turned the pages of a Psalm colouring book these words jump out at me.

And so, Lord....

This is so profound because it represents just so many things. Every single worry that i have either named or dreamed up can be summarized by And so, Lord...

And so, Lord what about this? Or that? How am i going to manage this? Or if that happens? Kind of what are You going to do Lord?

And so, Lord, where do i put my hope? Very appropriate. Where do i put my hope? The medical world has failed us. No hope there. Myself? What a joke! I fail myself daily. No hope here either. Other people fail me. They just have no idea. No hope there. And so, Lord, where do i put my hope?

My only hope is in You.

That simple and that difficult all at the same time.

I will put my Hope in You. Not in people. Not in things. Not in myself. In You. Full stop.

So how does this look then in real life? David who wrote the Psalm was hunted down for many years by Saul, his own children made life extremely difficult for him - they even plotted to kill him! He was in constant war with Israel's enemies. But every time he comes back to God. Putting his trust in God - that God knows, hears and sees. Believing that He has a purpose. That He is in control and will use whatever to transform us more into His Son. That we can depend on Him to help us through even the Valley of shadow and death. That He gives us courage and strength to do His will. That He is dependable and above all will never leave us or forsake us. Never.

And so, Lord where do i put my hope? My only hope is in You.


December 12, 2017

But as for me....

My thoughts trouble me
I am distraught
My heart is in anguish
Terrors of death fall on me
Fear and
Trembling beset me
Horror overwhelmes me

Ps 55  - A song written by David many years ago rightly sums up my year.
2017 i am looking forward to the end of you!

Malaria, maggots, compassion fatigue, many miles on bad roads, operations, bad news from the doctor, moving, resettling (or trying too in any case) battling so many battles that this warrior has turned into a worrier.....troubled thoughts, anguish, distraught heart, fear, distress, etc, etc.

And what is the remedy for all this calamity? Well, a 5 letter word. Trust. Not blind trust in nothing. No. Trust in the Great I AM.

Listen to my prayer
Do not ignore my plea
Hear me
Answer me
As for me i call to God and the Lord saves me
I cry out in distress and He hears my voice
He rescues me
He sustains me
He will not let me be shaken

But as for me, i trust in You.

And in the night when worry assail me i hear a whisper....Do you trust Me? And when I cry alone i hear a gentle voice saying Trust me child. I've got this.

I am on My throne
I have not changed
I have heard
I have answered
I have saved
I have rescued
I sustain
I keep you safe.
Trust in Me.

And so i take the next step, do the next thing and ... Trust.

Bella, but as for me, i trust in You.
Psalm 55

December 02, 2017

Shalom needed!

Today was a day that started as a resolve. Sounds good, but really wasn't at all. My resolve was to try my best to pretend we were just a very normal family on a very normal Saturday. I cooked breakfast, we sat at the new porch table - complete with tablecloth and flowers - but conversation was limited, and so we ate our good food in mostly silence. I tried a few topics. Nothing. I laid out the Plan for The Day - We were going to invite a friend over, bake some Christmas cookies, watch a movie, work on our Christmas table cloth, etc, etc. All very good ideas. Nobody cheering. I lost it. Cried. Wanted to hit my head on a wall.

The friend didn't or couldn't come. I baked the cookies by myself. The movie was a small hit - Indiana Jones, but only I found it funny and laughed out loud. The tablecloth was a mini success.
So much for my resolve. Resolve unravelled right then and there.

How does one life with this? In a movie things always look so idyllic - magical moments with loved ones. No fuss. No tears really. In Real Life there are sullen faces that have lost their smiles, broken hearts in a million pieces scattered in the mud. Dull days filled with pain. Fear is a real thing.

How do we find a balance in living this? On the one hand we have so much terrible. On the other hand we have so much to be thankful for. Resolve, or more like stubbornness is not enough. A good dose of Realistic needs to be mixed in as well as Normal. Acceptance plays a huge role. Thankfulness.

The root for me lies in that i am so anxious about everyone. But then I read, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

Honestly, most days i look fine on the outside, meanwhile on the inside i am freaking out. I need that Shalom that transcends ALL understanding. That Shalom that guards my heart and mind as i freak out about my husband, my boys, myself. That Angst that is there every waking moment and even in my dreams....

Does this mean i won't have any more bright ideas and grandiose plans? Definitely not. But it does mean that if it does not pan out as i thought i should take a breath and ......
Give Thanks to God
Present my requests to Him
And await His all surpassing Shalom to guard my anxious heart and mind.

I so desperately want to fix this. This is who i am - a fixer - but I cannot. I need to accept that too. My role is to keep praying, keep on trying for everyone's sake. But in order to do that, and above all to BE that, i need God's Shalom for this fast beating anxious ❤️. I cannot think of anything better to ask for than this Shalom that transcends all understanding.

Bella, breathing in God's peace.

Shalom....complete, perfect, whole.

November 20, 2017

A spanner in the worx...Used to be's

Sometimes it is good to look at the Used To Be's with the intent of moving on. Many times, however i get stuck on them, mourn for them and dwell on them without making my peace and looking forward. For example....

We Used To Be a well-oiled family team. We could live out in the Bush for many years because of it. We worked well together. We made plans, carried it out and enjoyed our handiwork. Now, it is quite the opposite. There is a spanner in the worx. The wheels and cogs do not turn as they should. Some are so stuck that other parts have stopped working altogether. Being very independent was definitely a Used To Be. Now we need Help with everything. Going from independent to Help Needed is a very tough one.

I also Used To Be enough for my children. Pick them up, wrap them in a blanket, read a book, kiss the scraped i struggle for the right words, the right way of handling all the stress and frustrations, the deep pain and fears....This whole thing is too big for us to cope with on our own. Our Used To Be is no more.

Sadly, living in this fallen world of pain and suffering what we need is mostly not what we get. We get a lot of pity. Pity is most commonly confused with empathy. Not the same thing at all. I do not want to be pitied. I do not want to be seen as this pathetic person. (Probably a huge chunk of pride lies in that sentence!) But I have this need for people to see me for who i am and not for what has happened. I think what i am trying to say is that this disease has now defined us as a family and I think that is wrong. We are more than Motor Neuron disease. We are 5 very strong and capable people who are going through a very tough time. 5 individuals who all need help and support in our own ways. But if you don't get to know us apart from The Disease we are just 5 people who you pity. We Used To Be seen as a family with a mission, but that too is no more....

But Used To Be's are not good to dwell on. It hinders you of living in the now. In this moment.
Because really, this is all we have - this moment. Who are we now? How do we define ourselves? In this moment we are:
Still children of God - beloved sons and daugther. Nothing has changed there.
God is still our Rock, our Helper - even more so now in these tough times.
Our faith is being made stronger, God is still a faithful and loving Father.
Still Certain that God hears our cries in the darkest hours.

We Used To Be a family who served and loved God and that is still the same. We still strive to serve Him even if it Used To look very different.

Bella, nothing has changed but everything has.

November 03, 2017

The day i bought a papaya

The day i finally decided to buy a papaya in the store was also the day i brought home a wheelchair with neck support. Yes, this was my Friday. How are times defined? When do you know you have stepped over a seemingly invisible line and yet you undoubtedly know you are now in a next chapter? ( and there is no turning back to happier times)

The papaya was one of those. The line was crossed. No more papayas from my own trees. I live here now. A new set of rules, a new way of life.

It started with a bad headache, progressed to calling the hospice nurse followed up by the neurologist and new GP, now we have wheelchir complete with necksupport in our sitting room. I think this is what made me buy those papayas. It was my way of saying, "ok, i relent. I accept. This is the new normal."

It is also the day on which I read about being thankful. That thankfulness leads to gratefulness and then this leads to praising God. So, here i stand with my tropical bought fruit syaing Thank You that we have money to buy these things. And here i drive with wheelchair high in my Caddy and i say Thank You for loving people who borrow without wanting anything in return, for people who phone around for me, who carry a little bit of my load. Thank You, i sigh, as my boys carry and lift and write from afar to encourage...Thank You.

I can choose today to look at the pale papayas and feel disappointed. I can cast my eyes on the wheelchair and feel discouraged or ...... I can look upwards and be grateful. There is still so much to be grateful for. So, so much.

Thank You, Abba Father. May my thankfulness bring praise to You.


November 01, 2017

my suffering was good for me.....

With tear stained, red-rimmed eys, i read in Ps 119 this verse....."My suffering was good for me, because it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees."

My suffering was good for me. Wow. Being honest, i am not there...yet.

I go to bed crying, I wake up crying and in between i have to fight back tears all day long.

Nothing is as i pictured it. My whole life is falling, falling apart, falling away from me. With every fresh wave i this the last straw? Can i take another breath before i go under there time to breathe? No time to take a life sustaining breath before the wave - huge and foaming - crashes over my already soaked and drowning head. My suffering was good for me.....

The only word that encourages me in the smallest possible way is the word "was". The Psalmist clearly looks back and sees that all was good. Even his suffering.

Romans 8:28 echos this same idea. That in ALL things - the good, the bad and the ugly - God works it all out for our GOOD.

And i hold on to that as the waves come crashing in. And keep on Trusting And Hoping in my unshakable God and that One day i will look back and be able to say, "my suffering was good for me".


September 22, 2017

For even if....

“For even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, and no fruit is on the vines, even if the olive tree fails to produce, and the fields yield no food at all, even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen, and there are no cows in the stalls; still, I will rejoice in ADONAI, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. ELOHIM Adonai is my strength! He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places. For the leader. With my stringed instruments.”
‭‭Habakuk ‭3:17-19‬

Well, it is a good thing i don't have a fig tree or a vine or an olive tree. I don't have fields or sheep or cows for that it seems i will be ok....and anyway i have a million other things going wrong at the moment ... so how will Habakuk's words look to me then...right now? What is there that is making me look at fig trees or lack of cows and be mad at God or people ...can i say "even if motor neuron disease happens or the home loan is rejected or the reponibilities of life now weighs me down....even if ________ will i still be able to rejoice in God?
Am i rejoicing in God right now? Right now in this terrifying storm i call My Life?

The short answer is ... No. Sadly i am not. Instead I am fretting and fearing, worrying and tossing and turning....??will the disability claim come through or much will "they" decide to pay us? will all our supporting churches one by one slink away and leave us to fend for ourseleves? Worry, worry, worry. Will this or will that, what if this or what if that. And in all of this i hear God say, "Do not fear, I am with you, I will help you."

I sigh and relax. And i rejoice in God. I take joy in the God of my salvation. He makes my feet swift and sure-footed and I stride over high places. I like that, Striding over high places as aposed to clinging on for dear life in thise terrifying high places! It is a great way of putting it and it brings a deep comfort to me because let's face it - the high and difficult places will be before us sooner or later, better to stride with God rejoicing than trying in my own strength to hold on and become stuck in a hard place.

My song might be short and not very loud, my voice might crack but i will rejoice in God my Saviour!

Bella, slowly letting go, learning to rejoice in spite of.

September 03, 2017

With me...

Three men in ancient Babylon chose not to bow down to an idol made of gold....everywhere around them people fell to the ground as soon as they heard the musical was kind of obvious who were not bowing and the men had to face the consequences. And so, they were thrown into a fiery furnace as the king ordained. Of the many lessons that can be taken from their story of faith, one stands out - 3 were thrown into the fire, bounded, but when the king looked there were 4 .... Daniel 3:25 " Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

If there were ever a picture of God with us in trials, difficulties or let's just say it... terrible times in life, then this one brings me the most comfort. God was with them. Right there in the fire with them.

These last couple of weeks have been very sobering as we all settle in to our new "normal". We are now that family whom everyone is glad they are not. Yes, we face extreme times, but we have this amazing promise. A promise that we will never be forsaken or forgotten. A promise that God Himself is with us. I AM with you on this journey.

On this earth, we will have trouble. And lots of it. Notice that in Isaiah 43 it does not say...If you pass through the waters or If you walk through fire. It says WHEN. Meaning tough times are bound to come our way. Some easier than others, but whatever comes our way, we can be sure of one thing. God is with us. He does not leave us at all.

But what if we are just so used to these words that even if we know it is true, it does not help? So, God is with me. But it is my arms that need to do the carrying, my hands that need to hold on to the steering energy, my tears, my strength failing....
If this is the case, and i can say that at times i am there, then i need to stop and let it sink in.

God, the Creator is with me. God who created, not by doing things, but just by speaking, is right by my side. God who lived as a man on earth and knows how it feels to be rejected, betrayed, hungry, alone, He who knows exactly how all this feels that i am feeling, He is my Immanuel. My God with me. Jesus promised that He will be with us to the end of time. And His promises are always true.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.....
Do not be afraid, for I am with you..." Is 43

I choose to believe it. Way down in my heart know that God is truly with me on this journey. And i can say, it is well with my soul.

Bella, never alone.

August 29, 2017

Blows, fears and truth....

Just when you think things cannot get any worse another blow comes out of nowhere....

I think there should be a special kind of grace when a serious disease or accident or terminal illness with no cure comes your way. Believe me, there is just no grace when you walk out of the doctor's office after he told you that your husband has a terminal illness and there is nothing he can do....oh, except one thing, he bills you for R1800. Thanks.

Or you find out that if you do go on early retirement (using that money for a dwelling of some sort) you are no longer eligible for the medical aid to which you have been contributing over the years. Wow, did not see that one coming. I can hear all medical aids running away as we approach....

Did you realize Life insurance brokers actually fill out your forms when you sign up, but please do not live under the illusion that when you need the money they will kindly fill out the forms and just ask for your not-so-million-dollar signature. You are on your own, buddy.

But, no. This is exactly what the real enemy wants us to believe, see in people. And his purpose? To discourage, make us doubt the faithfulness of God. Make us feel forsaken, forgotten. Alone in a very cruel world.

So far, i must admit, this enemy really does not even have to paint me a picture of desolation. It is all too real. In a sense we have lost everything in a very short time. Work and Vision, House and Friends, Dogs and Cats. It feels like we were plucked out of Mozambique and left in outer space with our few belongings slowly orbiting earth with us. Falling, falling, drifting aimlessly. Who are we now? What are we? And Where are we going and How will we get there?

But then I crack open God's Word and there it is.... Isaiah 41 - Israel's Helper. And God speaks and He says: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand."

And my fears are stilled. My dismay is righted with Truth. My falling stops as His Hand, His Rigtheous Right Hand takes holds of me, of us. And i stand up again because the Lord said He is my God, my Helper and my Strength. My gravity returns and i am held firmly by the Hand and He says: "Do not fear, I will help you."

Even if my whole world has fallen apart, God is still the same. His love and care is still the same. I can trust Him because He said so.

Bella, safe in the Hands of the Father.

July 10, 2017


We are leaving our village soon for good. And I bet, to all those who were against us preaching and teaching God’s Word here, it looks pretty good. Maybe they even think all those curses over all the years have eventually kicked in. Maybe they think they have won. No more opposition. No more us, no more followers of Jesus.

Sometimes, from our small perspective things look bleak. It looks like the enemy is having the upper hand. I remember the tempest we had on the day Alfred taught on the death and crucifixion of Jesus. I remember when we had to fly our son out to South Africa as he nearly succumbed from malaria. I remember so many things where it seemed that God was not the stronger.

But this is not the truth. Through it all He showed us His love, His care and His plan. To us things looked dark, but God’s light was already shining through! The storm passed, the Truth was proclaimed and people believed!

When Jesus died on the cross I suspect his enemies had a feast and celebrated through the night! To them it looked pretty good. No more pesky Teacher, no more beloved Rabbi, no more miracles and wonders, no more Jesus. They thought they had won and it sure looked like it. But they were wrong. They were seriously wrong. That was God the Father’s finest move. Jesus died but rose again. Defeating death for ever! In what looked like total defeat it actually spelled out total Victory. The upside-down way of God surprises us so many times! He has overcome!

In that moment where it looked to the believers as the darkest hour, God’s light had already began to shine brilliantly. Little did His enemies know what was in store for them and the world!

Yes, to us this time does seem dark, but really who are we to question God’s perfect plan? We can only trust and know without a doubt that He will work everything for our good because we believe in Him and have been called according to His name. That is how we are leaving here. Not in defeat. Not cursed and made to leave. We are going because God said it is time. Besides we leave behind our fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus – God’s light here in Y-land is already shining bright through them! Hallelujah! God reigns.Never lose Hope. Never.

Isa 14:27  For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?

 Bella, safe in God.

May 18, 2017

Misty mountain

I truly love the sea and the mountains. Even better when they are together! My happy place. 😊 And to top it, i love it when the mists roll in over the sea or land...

Tonight as i stood on the porch watching the mist roll in over the sand dunes it was just beautiful. The green hills quickly disappeared beneath the thick mist. Night was falling too. It soon was too dark to see much of the green covered small hills but they were still there. I could just barely make them out and it got me thinking....

A mountain is a sturdy thing. Very stable. Definitely not wispy. Unmovable really. How many times does the Bible talk about God as our Rock, our Mountain....He is unmovable, strong, faithful. And yet at times the mist moves in and covers the mountain. You can actually get lost or hurt yourself badly if the mist on a mountian is thick as a wall....if you oanic and run off the path.

The mist may cover this huge mountian, but the mountian is still there. The mist will soon dissapear. Leaving nothing behind except maybe a trickle of wet on your face.

You could think that the mountian is gone and that the mist is the only tangible thing left....
There are definitly those times when all you can see is white nothing all around you - that moment when you feel utterly alone, or maybe in shock after visiitng the doctor, or the bank, or you can't seem to see how things will be working out, but keep courage - the mist might surround and cover but can do nothing to the Mountain! The Mountain is still the same. He is always there! And the mist Never stays forever, onlynthe Mountain.

God is there beneath the all obscuring white veil. Sit down, feel the earth beneath you, hold fast, stay in the path or wait for the mist to lift, but never doubt the Mountain.

Bella, not letting go of the Mountain.

May 08, 2017

Hope at the end of myself....

Casting Crowns sings...

At the end of myself
I am empty and dry
I have nothing to give

What can i give out of emptiness? When i am all dried up?

At the end of myself
I am empty and dry
I have nothing to give
But Surrender inside.

Surrender. Giving up to give. Giving up my own plans, ideals, dreams. Accepting i have nothing to bring. Surrender.

And then in the song Jesus answers:

Let down your nets
This is not the end
From now on you'll be
Fishers of men.

Only in Him and through Him.

This gives me immense Hope, because i know how frail i am, i know how empty and dry.

Fishers of men. My duaghter you're free! Just follow Me.

Bella, follower of Jesus

(Follow Me by Casting Crowns)

May 02, 2017

The cost of open letter on Compassion Fatigue..

Maybe there is someone who wonders why we are here for a couple of months. This is the reason, although a few reasons have since also been added...but this is my main reason....
A few definitions of the term "Compassion Fatigue" .....
Compassion fatigue has been described as the “cost of caring” for others in emotional pain (Figley, 1982).
 "Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper."  Dr. Charles Figley
 Compassion fatigue, also known as second-hand shock and secondary stress reaction, describes a type of stress that results from helping or wanting to help those who are traumatised or under significant emotional duress.
 "Compassion Fatigue (CF) refers to the profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerate..."

I felt like a failure. No, let me rephrase that. A. Total. Failure. I had nothing left to give. I could not see one more sick person, child or even animal. I was totally drained and empty. 8 Years of living in a small village with no health clinic, good friends or____,etc...

Compassion fatigue is a silent killer. You care, you give - all looks good. But you suffer silently and slowly empty out. One more heart breaking story, one more small child suffering bc of lack of health care or parental care or any type of care! Kind of like a slow bleeding wound when no pressure is applied...a certain slow death.

I was beyond helping anyone. Drained by the people i was really hard trying to love and take care of. This shocked even me. I mean, the Readers Digest First Aid book was about my 1st reader! I stuck plasters on my sisters with my still own pudgy small hands, washed their wounds, patched them up when they fell. Studied physiotherapy because i knew i would have more time with a patient so that i could really Care. When i am helping someone i forget to eat, to sleep or whatever i am doing. I am a Carer. I feel useless if not needed.....and now here i was ... spent. Nothing to give. Shocking.

What a failure of a missionary I was! The thing God gave me to do i cannot do anymore. Now what?
Well, i guess this started a long time ago already. Believe me, i knew the signs and tried to do things differently. More boundaries of when the sick can come, leave the village once a week to get out of the environment, try and send them to the village health worker first, etc, etc. i tried everything. It just got worse. And worse of all, i just pushed on. Who would understand? Who would care if i stopped? So a vicious cycle started. No way out.

What made matters a bit worse for me, was the fact that in our village the mothers are so young. 15-16 years old with a baby in the arms and another on the way. Sometimes they even looked relieved when the firstborn passed away from malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea or everything together! They would drop the near dying child in my arms and say something in the line of fix her...and then laugh either at my pathetic language mistakes or because they felt embarrassed or who knows why but it didn't do me any good!
I would lie awake at night wondering if they were giving the re-hydration fluid every 5 min or not. I would wonder and pray and hope for the best. I cared until it hurt and they couldn't care less. Or so it seemed to me at least.

In the end we decided to take a long holiday - 2 whole weeks away! Yes, this is us. Two weeks tops. It helped a bit but then I came down with malaria myself because we were so much more exposed! So much for that. All this to say I was in a bad place and feelings of disappointing God was at the order of the day.

So, we had to leave the country as it was at a point where I was falling apart - and with me, the rest of us too!

The irony was when we were in our lovely home country all 4 of my men either had operations or many doctors appointments, so i had to continue on...caring until it hurt and then some more. All of this while struggling with how to share this plus feeling like a failure. So i stopped talking about it. Just put one foot in front of the other. nobody asked me questions and i did not volunteer information. Vicious cycle feeded. Nobody cares about me the failure.

For weeks this went on until yesterday i realised suddenly, and i have to add - Divinely - that the reason I am am where i am is because I cared TOO much. I cared too much without caring for me. This was a turning point for me. I am not a failure. God loves me still. He is not disappointed with me. I gave 110%!!  I guess, if you have suffered from compassion fatigue you will understand what i mean. God CARES. He Cares for me. I am not alone in all of this.

Whereto now? For one, i need rest. I need to be away from the constant demands of village life. I need to spend time with God. I want to go back but not yet. I trust God has this. He knows me. It helps me to know Jesus also went away to be by Himself. I pray for balance. Hope. Compassion. To be and to know that i am enough without me proving it  or die trying, in my case.
God in His gentle way has encouraged me in many ways. Through His Word, through people, places.
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" Isaiah 30:15

"A bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out." Is 42:3

"He tends His flock like a Shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Is 40:11

I would like to go back with Joy in my heart. I would love to be that caring person again that God created me to be. But only with God's help and care will it be done. I cannot function on my own steam. I need God and His balance in my life. But first i need to get better. And that is ok.
Bella, a broken reed in God's loving Hands.