On Wednesday the 27th of February, I had the opportunity to serve at our Sisterhood service in Pollsmoor Prison. To be quite honest, I didn’t know where I was going to serve but I was pretty excited to be able to go. When we arrived, I started to feel a little unsettled. A part of me no longer wanted to be there, while another part of me was trying to convince myself that being able to come at such short notice was no coincidence. After quite the pep talk in the bathroom, I made my way to the hall and started helping wherever I could. While standing at the door welcoming the ladies, I was asked if I would be willing to share a little bit of my testimony, specifically around my journey with my dad.
Now, my dad and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up. Several months would go by without having spoken to eachother. In January of 2015, we finally started talking again and he committed to really building our relationship. We started going to Church together, and even had dinner dates. He was the first person I’d call at 02:00 in the morning crying about how I’m probably gonna fail my exam. We had become so close that just before my November exams, I flew back home to spend a week with him. Because I missed him and just wanted to be home. We stayed up late talking about God, and worship and how grateful he is that we are working at our relationship. It was my absolute favourite week. But it was also the very last time I’d see him. In December of that year, my dad was shot in an armed robbery at our home. He died on the scene.
So, you can imagine the emotional turmoil that came with finding myself in the room I was in, having to tell this part of my story and still let them know that God wants to be their father too. That God desires a relationship with them too. Initially, I was going to be superficial about it. Tell the truth, while completely leaving out the parts that actually have hurt me the most. But during worship, God asked me “Do you think they are not worthy of my love? What makes you any different to anyone else in this room, that you would feel more deserving of my love?” I replied, “Nothing”. And He asked “So why have you hardened your heart so much?” and I said “Because it hurts. Because my dad was murdered by a man that thought it was okay to shoot him for a TV and a laptop. We had just started getting to know each other again. And I don’t know how to be in a room full of people that may have done something similar and tell them that they are loved. Because I’m not sure I do.” And He ended our conversation with “Just let me in to that hurt that you try so hard to hide from me.” And so I spoke. And I cried. And I wrestled. And I allowed God to do a work.
I’m not entirely sure of what happened that Wednesday morning. It still feels quite surreal. But I am sure of this; Someone needed to know that He loves them, despite their reason for being in that specific building that day. Someone needed to know that He sees them. Someone needed to know that earthly fathers may sometimes fail you, but God never will.
And I needed to be reminded that saying yes to Jesus, includes Him opening wounds that haven’t healed because I’ve tried to quickly cover them up. Yes, I didn’t want to speak that day, and it took everything in me to say ‘yes’. I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around why God would use this most hurtful part of my story. But I’m so very glad I let Him. Because that day, resentment made room for healing. Mourning made room for joy. And a crown of beauty instead of ashes was bestowed on me.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”