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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Kimberley - the earth weeps

An incredible tree in the garden on the farm outside Kimberley

In a previous blog, I've told you about my leaving home to stay on a farm in Kimberley, with a friend who had just lost her husband. Whenever someone passes away, there are a myriad little things, that seem completely inconsequential, that need tidying up. Think about your own life. There will be car payments, house payments, regular debit orders, cell phone accounts, and a whole range of things that either need to be transferred to new accounts, or need to be cancelled. All of these need to be addressed. These were the things my friend was confronted with, when I was visiting.

Long walks on the farm afforded interesting discoveries

Having to deal with all of these matters, meant that L had to go to Kimberley almost on a daily basis. Sometimes, I would tag along, but mostly, I gave her the space she needed to deal with the financial matters on her own. This inevitably meant that I spent long hours alone on the farm. I relished these quiet hours, as it gave me an opportunity to work on illustrations for a book I was writing, as well as to do a couple of art therapy and journal-ling blogs, for the other daily blog I write, titled A Pretty Talent.

On these long walks, I was reminded of how temporary our earthly dwellings could be

What I loved most, though, was the opportunity it afforded me to take long walks with the dog. Initially, I would stick to the farm roads, but as I became better acquainted with the layout of the farm, I would simply walk off into the veld without any plan or route to follow.  Whenever I take long lonely walks like these, which is quite often, I tend to fall into conversation with God. I will not call this praying, as the conversations tend to be very unstructured, and is really very much like talking to any other person walking alongside me. Most often, these conversations are very one-sided, but sometimes, my Father surprises me with joining in on the conversation. I often found it to be so on the farm.

A lovely farm to take long walks and game drives on

One day, as I sat down on a fallen tree stump to rest, God started talking to me about the gravesides of children. He started off with a question; did I know how many children were buried in the earth where I found myself? I was completely surprised by this question, that had no bearing at all on what I was thinking about. I answered that I didn't. He then went on to explain to me that these children had died at the hands of men, and that none of those deaths had been His will. He shared with me how He had stood next to each of those graves, weeping over the lost children. He told me about how each child was born with potential and how He had a vision for each life, but that man had robbed them of becoming everything that God had intended for them to be. I can tell you that at this stage, I was weeping myself.

Curious witnesses to the prayer meetings

I was overcome by the burden of guilt that man was responsible for, and asked God how He could stand by and watch this happen, knowing that He was as moved by it, as I was. I knew I would not have been able to do so. I also knew that it wasn't a lack of love or empathy that had stayed His hand. So, what was it then? This was when our Father reminded me that mankind did the same thing to His Son, Jesus Christ, when they nailed Him to a cross. So why did He not stop them then, I asked? Why did He not simply wipe them off the face of the earth? He told me how He would have, how He was ready to do just that. But then His Son looked up and pleaded with Him, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!"

Magersfontein - a battlefield of the South African war

The words stayed His hand. And it has been staying His hand ever since. Jesus pleaded with His Father to spare the lives of His brothers and sisters so they could be saved. He wished for everyone to have an opportunity to come to know the Father, knowing full well that such knowledge would inevitably lead to a changed life, reflecting the goodness of the Father. What we need in life, is not retribution, it is the kind of love that Jesus showed when He laid down His life so we could live. How many of us have brother or sisters who have done the unthinkable in hurting and betraying us? Could we have done for them what Jesus did for us? Can we even begin to comprehend such love and compassion?

In memory of lives lost too soon

It was only after I had finished this conversation with God, as I stood up to return home, that I was reminded of where I found myself. I was in the region of Kimberley. I was in the center of many a Boer War battle. I was in a place where there had been concentration camps and where men, women, and children had been killed in their hundreds and thousands. Kimberley, the earth weeps with the blood of your innocent victims!

Where man only sees destruction, God still sees an opportunity for restoration, even if He has to rebuild every brick of your life!

On another occasion, as I was walking in the veld, God asked me if I knew why He did not choose men to carry babies. Again, I was astonished by the direction the conversation suddenly took. I tried one of the familiar jokes with Him, about men not being able to bear pain, let alone babies, finishing on a more serious note that I would like to know why. God talked to me about men needing to play alpha roles, and being contentious to prove themselves in these alpha roles. He also talked to me about women being able to put their own needs aside to nurture a baby. Women also wish to fulfill alpha roles, but it is secondary to the needs of the child. Women find it possible to make the child a part of her alpha role. She is willing to sacrifice, give up, stand back, and push the child forward. A woman has the ability to revel in the successes of a child, as much as in her own. I realize that these are gender generalizations, and God knew it too. But God also knew that He made it possible for men and women to nurture children and that both sexes are failing miserably. He knew it better than I did!

I am reminded that in an arid world, Jesus tells us that He can give us water that will stay our thirst forever.

God then started talking to me about a topic I was familiar with; sourdough. I have been experimenting with sourdough for a couple of years now, baking all sorts of bread and other dough products with it. Sourdough is a raising agent that uses no yeast. You start it with flour, water and some kind of activator, be it grapes, grated apple, or potato, or even sugar. The mixture is left to ferment, and when it is 'growing', you add a little bit to your bread dough to make the bread rise. Some is kept aside, fed with more flour and water, and then starts 'growing' all over again, so it can be used for the next loaf. You can find out more about this by following this link.

The blockhouse in Jacobsdal, a short distance from the farm

God then told me to that He wished for me to speak life into the women of the world. He would send me, like a sourdough starter, to ferment and flavor a group of women, or even a single woman. They, or she, would then in turn go on to ferment more women. Pretty soon, a large number of women would be fermented with the flavors of the sourdough. I asked God why this was aimed specifically at women. He answered that it was because they were the incubators of life. They had the ability to influence and change their households. They could nurture a little seedling faith into a full-grown plant that had the ability to bear its own fruit. They were the ones who had the ability to give of themselves, knowing that they would be fed by their Father in turn.

Sunset over the farm in Kimberley

Today's blog may seem a strange one to include in a travel journal, especially when you consider that I have a daily Bible study blog going as well, called Bybel Legkaart. For a long time, I'd wondered if I shouldn't write this blog on that site, but it did not seem right. Traveling, is about more than places and experiences. It is also about the people we meet and the conversations we have. It is about having our way of thinking and reasoning transformed. It is about walking away from a journey, an enriched person. This is why these conversations belong here, in the travel blog. I came away from this journey a different person from how I entered it. What had changed me was the places I saw, the things I did, the people I met and the exchange of ideas in conversation. But none had the life-altering effect on me, that these conversations with God had. What is the soundest advice I can give anyone who sets out on a journey? Journey with God. You may be a sojourner in the world, but you will always have a home with your Father.

Another curious visitor peeking out from the treetops towering above

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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