New

“I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. _Don’t you perceive it?_ I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streams in the desert. Wild beasts, jackals, and owls will glorify me. For I supply streams of water in the desert and rivers in the wilderness to satisfy the thirst of my people, my chosen ones so that you, whom I have shaped and formed for myself, will proclaim my praise.” – Isaiah 43:19-21 (TPT)

I was recently reading a friend’s post about her father being the reason she is the incredible woman she is today. And I found myself thinking about my own father and the impact he has made on the person I am today. As most people know, he wasn’t the most present father, so I couldn’t exactly say that my dad had made the best impact on the woman I am today. So I just about laid that thought to rest as soon as it crossed my mind. But over the next few days, I sensed the Holy Spirit continue to nudge me in the direction of that thought again. I mean I wasn’t a good sport about it, so I just ignored it.

During one of the WorshipU Worship Retreat sessions, the song “It Is Well” was heavy on my heart. And closer to the end of the session, Kristene DiMarco actually mentioned it. So after the session, I sat in my room and played the song, definitely expecting God to give me all kinds of profound revelations about the session I had just watched. That didn’t happen. Instead He reminded me of the day I stood in Church next to my sister, singing that same song. The first time I had been in Church since my dad had passed away. It was also the first time I surrendered to God in worship and it wouldn’t be the last. Look, my dad didn’t get many things right. But his choice to get in front of a man with a loaded gun, trying to protect my little sister, has completely had an impact on the woman I am today. Sounds strange! I know! But it was in the middle of that valley that I got my first Bible, as an inheritance from my father and actually took my salvation seriously. It was out of that place of grief that I learned to worship Him in Spirit and truth. It was out of that place that I discovered that I would lead worship.
A way in the wilderness.
A flowing stream in the desert.

In January of 2017, I sensed the Holy Spirit say He was doing something new and I was all for it! Until He said I should leave Youth ministry and concentrate completely on worship. Now you have to understand how strange an ask this was. I had just auditioned. Had not been rostered for anything. Had gone to a handful of Team Nights because I auditioned just before our December holidays. (Which meant I would be going home for almost 3 months.) I still remember how awkward I felt having the conversation with our Youth pastor at the time because I didn’t even know what was happening. It made very little sense to me, let alone the people I was telling. It almost looked like I was just chasing the platform and making it seem like “God called me to it”. But it was that choice to trust Him, that helped me begin to discover the call of God on my life and positioned me on platform the day He said “Now you’re ready for Hillsong College”. A move that had never happened in our family before.
Something new.
Something unheard of.

The word ‘perceive’ means to ‘become aware or conscious of something, come to realise or understand’. This has been my word for the longest time. Because I love controlling and knowing what exactly I’m getting myself into. I need to understand what is always happening at all times. Which has been a difficult thing to grapple with when it comes to my faith, because God does things far beyond what we could ever imagine or think, and that’s sometimes unsettling when you want to know what that means for you and your current situation. But the more I’ve said “yes” to God, the more I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my relationship with God is more about perceiving a move of God rather than being in control of one. I have learnt to be okay with coming to realise or understand in retrospect rather than in the midst of it.

When I left Sydney I kept saying that I would have been better off if I stayed there. I had a job. Finances were a little touch and go but home is a different world in terms of finding a job and staying alive. So Sydney would have been safer. What I didn’t know was that where I worked would end the season early, so I wouldn’t have had that income. And with an entire pandemic shaking the world, finding a job would have been difficult. Many people have lost their jobs. But I still would have had to pay rent, semester fees, as well as all my psychology consultations. Only then would I have been able to cover my own monthly expenses. And to top it all off, I would have been in isolation, far from my family and friends.

Since my move to SA, I’ve had a friend (who I met while he was an exchange student in Stellenbosch) read my blog and feel compelled to send me money every single month. And with me being in South Africa, instead of Sydney, the exchange rate has allowed this to cover majority of my monthly expenses. I’ve stayed with my siblings, and now my best friend, with no real expectation or pressure to contribute to my stay until I can. A man who I have never met, and has never met me has agreed to pay for my psychotherapy. And I’ve had a tribe come alongside me like never before.
A way in the wilderness
A flowing stream in the desert

1. Produced, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time; not existing before.
2. Already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.

This is the Oxford dictionary definition of the adjective “new”.

We don’t know what ‘new’ looks like. We’ve never seen it. We’ve never experienced it. But God knows. God has seen the new.
In the form of a not-so-present father leaving a life-altering inheritance for his daughter.
In the form of my grief birthing my worship.
In the form of discovering the call of God on my life through my ‘yes’.
In the form of provision in an unexpected detour.
In the form of every good thing under the Son.

Only He knows and understands what is happening at all times.

“In the crushing,
In the pressing
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground”

Only when I started to focus on the word ‘new’ instead of the word ‘wine’, did the words that followed have a whole new meaning…

“So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand”

Psalm Forty-Six

GOD THE REFUGE OF HIS PEOPLE AND CONQUEROR OF THE NATIONS
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

I always read this scripture whenever I feel like the world is closing in. It always reminds me that God is ‘with me’ and moving even in the darkest and most difficult times. Because, let’s be honest, it’s in our darkest moments that we tend to doubt whether God is even present, let alone working. And it’s definitely in these moments that I try to prove myself to people. It’s in these times that I try to make things happen for myself, because I’m so convinced that God isn’t listening or even making an effort to see me through – to the future He promised, might I add. I sometimes can’t help but giggle at how we want to control the journey to the desired outcome that wasn’t our own idea in the first place. And that’s probably why we get so frustrated. Because we literally have this idea that we know better than God about His own plans. When the reality of it is that God’s ways are always higher than our ways. Even when they look a lot less desirable to what we would like.

The Hebrew origin of the words, ‘be still’ (Râphâh), means to slacken; to reduce in speed or intensity, and to weaken, or abate. The English dictionary defines ‘being’ as existing. Both these definitions made me consider the fact that maybe being still does not only mean to sit in silence or deep thought. Maybe it just means being real with where you are at. It means that being still doesn’t need the striving, world saving, problem solving you. It simply needs you. The weak you. The you that needs this ever-present help. Because it is this you that can acknowledge the He is God and not you. And it is in and through this you, that God can truly do a work without restraint. He truly can’t do much with the you you pretend to be.

I love how this scripture has 23 lines telling us all about who God is, what He can and will do and only two of the 25 lines tell us what we should do. To behold the works of the Lord and be still and know. Both these two lines speak nothing of the power and greatness we think we have on our own. This, I believe, almost solidifies that there is honestly not much we can do in comparison to God. The best we can do is behold him in all of His glory, give Him all the honour, praise and worship, and be still and know.

I know that being still is easier said than done, especially in the midst of disappointment. But it’s probably in these times that it is most necessary. Not only because it allows Him to perform miracles. But it allows Him to draw in close.

Pastor Steven Furtick preaches an incredible message on the story of Lazarus. And in it he highlights the fact that, in John 11:33, Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” when he saw Mary and the Jews who were with her weeping over the death of Lazarus. When Jesus saw her pain, He participated in it. And Pastor Steven proposes that the Lazarus factor is not only that God gives us miracles in desperation. The Lazarus factor says that He is with us in the pain of disappointment as well.

It’s been so difficult trying to understand why God would allow this year to happen. Why He would let me go through all of that preparation to get to College, just to find myself back home again, a mere 5 months later. And maybe I’ll really only know the relevance of it years from now, but it doesn’t take away the disappointment and sometimes embarrassment of what I’m currently facing. It doesn’t take away the reality of often getting caught up in thoughts of “If I had only finished my degree like all my other friends, or like my family had encouraged, maybe I wouldn’t be in this place right now”. That maybe all those resources, prayers, efforts that people put in throughout the years of my life, were wasted. All of that hard work, and nothing to show for it. It doesn’t take away the thought that if my dad was still alive, maybe things would have been different or the reality of often doubting whether I heard God correctly and whether anything will even come of this. Even though Lazarus did eventually wake up, the 4 days of grieving, prior to that, were very real.

Often times, God could just deliver us from our tribulations. Instead He chooses to come close and sit with us in it. Because tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

The word ”know” in Hebrew (Yâdă) is essentially described in the following 2 ways:
1. To know by observing and reflecting
2. To know by experience
It further parallel’s “knowing” God with fearing Him, serving Him and trusting Him. It means that whether I know from experience, from observing it in other people’s lives or by someone else testifying, I can actually be sure that God’s plan will prevail. That He is faithful and true to His word. And that He will be glorified and exalted. It means that even though I never imagined this would happen. Even though I don’t understand why God would even allow this to happen. Even though it often hurts beyond what I could ever put in words, He will still fulfill His promises.

So sit with Him in the sleep that, to us, looks like death. Weep. Be angry. Be frustrated. Grieve. Be hopeful. Be desperate for your miracle. Exist.

Be still and know.

For Generations To Come

I will sing Hosanna
To the One saves me
Hosanna
To the One who hears me
Hosanna
I will worship
Here
In the middle

I remember when I started coming to terms with the idea of being mentally unhealthy, I really struggled to worship. Specifically when it came to being part of a team leading worship on platform. I would often be fine every time I wanted to pray. Every time I wanted to sit in the presence of God or listen to worship music in my room. But my goodness, whenever I got rostered for choir (which was every Sunday morning. Bless practicums), I would wake up and sometimes just cry. For months it was a battle to just sit, lay, bow – or whatever I could muster – at the feet of Jesus. Not necessarily because I was angry at God or didn’t want to be involved in the things of God. In fact that was never a thought. I just felt like the biggest hypocrite.

I couldn’t reconcile the idea of worshiping God one day and making plans to take my life the next. I couldn’t understand how I could stand in front of God and tell him that I no longer wanted to live. Let alone sing songs of victory over a congregation that was so desperate for the Truth. I felt like I was living a lie and serving on a Sunday would shine light on this lie I was living in the shadows. This girl who kinda called upon God but was also battling unbelief. Most days I felt ashamed to even say that I love Jesus and believe Him. I felt like it would be okay to worship through cancer, through financial issues, through grief. I mean I had. But I just felt like a sinner who knew better but kept sinning in the unseen and then stepping on worship like I hadn’t. It sounds kind of crazy admitting it now! Haha!

“For though we walk in flesh, we do not war in flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty IN GOD for the pulling down of strongholds” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

I remember throughout my worship journey, my leaders would say I am graced and anointed for this and I would often shy away or make small of it. I think we sometimes make small of some of the things God calls us to because “we don’t want to seem prideful”, but I believe we can still be confident in some of the dreams and visions He places on our hearts without letting it get to our heads. Man! When we shy away, we leave room for the enemy to whisper lies about whether we are where we’re meant to be. And if we don’t walk confidently into what God calls us to, we’ll always doubt ourselves when the enemy offers his own version of the truth. Even while we’re living in the fulfillment of the vision. There’s no denying that I have seen chains break. I’ve seen people meet with Jesus. I’ve seen the Spirit move in ways we could never explain. And even through that, God has continued to grow and stretch me in my capacity as a worship leader. I mean, I even moved to another continent to learn more about worship… I’m pretty sure there’s something God wants to do in and through me. And I believe it has the capacity to see nations saved.

When I got back, I told my leaders that I was going to take a break from serving in Creative. But the truth was that I had no real intention of going back. One day while worshiping in my room, I sensed God just saying “This is your warfare. Worship is your weapon for warfare.” And so without thinking twice, I availed myself to serve that month and at Summerfest. My feelings towards serving defintely hadn’t changed, but my revelation and conviction had. During rehearsals, the worship leader asked if I could lead “Who You Say I Am”. Firstly, I wasn’t even meant to be leading a song. Secondly, to be asked to lead that song specifically was very sneaky of God. And thirdly, I’m pretty sure if I had known much earlier I definitely would have talked myself out of it and offered an excuse as to why I couldn’t. But I said “sure” and cried a little in the bathroom. Man! During the song, I was absolutely struggling. I barely believed the words I was singing but I kept reminding myself that the weapons of my warfare were mighty IN GOD. So there I was shaking, with my eyes closed, trying to surrender to God. Somewhere in the middle of the song, I opened my eyes and locked eyes with a girl who was in absolute tears. And God immediately said “You are waging war on behalf of so many other people. Not just yourself. You cannot give up. Take courage”

The Bible says the words from His mouth will not return void, but shall accomplish what He pleases and it shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). And if we sometimes strip some of the extravagance of worship that we get caught up in, all we are doing in worship is giving praise to God, (and maybe even asking of God) but also coming into agreement with what He, Himself has said. We are coming into agreement with His word and who He reveals Himself to be. Even in the fear, the sadness, the confusion, the unbelief and the rejoicing. In my 9 to 5 job, in my studies, in my serving at Church, whatever He’s entrusted me with, my posture is to always bring glory to God. To offer everything as worship to Him. And while I continue to be in agreement and call upon Jesus, I allow Him to move in the here and now. He shows up as my friend, comforter, provider, father, confidant, safe space. He shows up as God in all of His glory and might. And while He works in the here and now, His word goes ahead of me and wins the victory. Because it does not return ineffectually. It does not return emptily. It does not return undeservingly. It does not return void.

I don’t know if worship is ever easy. You are constantly waging war against the enemy because you’re choosing to give honour and praise to God. That’s the very last thing the enemy wants. So yes, worship is beautiful. There’s nothing like being in the presence of God. But it is also a weapon for warefare because it makes room for the Victor to come in and truly pull strongholds down.

I know, right now, that sometimes the idea of picking up my weapon is just as daunting as waging the war itself. And I’m aware that the enemy will continue to use what I’m going through as a way to justify disqualifying myself. But I believe I will experience the fullness of healing. I don’t know how or when. But until then, I will continue to worship. I will continue to wage war. For myself. For those around me. For my family. For my children. For generations to come.

For the glory of God and for the advancement of His Kingdom.

In a video on YouTube, Melissa Helser shares a little about her battle with a chronic illness that she’s still believing for healing in. Years later. And just before she starts singing “Catch The Wind”; she prays a pretty simple but mighty prayer.

“So God we’re here. We’re here Father. We don’t feel strong, but we want to. And we come into agreement fully with your heart, and your song and your voice…”

And she ends it off with the following,

“…Give us discernment to know when the enemy is speaking. And give us discernment to know when You are wooing us into in a moment. Even if it’s hard. Fill us with courage, God”

Fill us with courage, God.

I AM

“I think as a long term solution, we need to look at you going back home and getting the necessary help and treatment. You can always come back to College at a later date when you are doing better”

A few weeks into my semester at College, I voluntarily started seeing the College counselor. I will admit, I intended for it to be a one time crying session where I would tell her everything I had been bottling up and all would be well again. But what was meant to be a one time thing, became a biweekly thing, which eventually became a weekly thing. It literally went from talking superficially about College assignments, to opening up, for the very first time, about things that I had never shared with anyone before. Things I had almost moved on from as if they had never happened. I had never been so vulnerable in my life. It sometimes even felt like I was reliving it all again. It often still does. And I will admit, I was not coping at all with unpacking some of the things we did and having to admit that some of these things had happened in my life. I had separated myself from the person who had been so hurt for so long, that finally admitting that I was that person honestly turned my world upside down. I was finally feeling and experiencing the reality of it all for the very first time.

So alongside the anxiety I had already been diagnosed with, I started showing depressive symptoms. And shortly after that, everyday became a battle with thoughts of committing suicide.

The word ‘Hallelujah’ is made up of two words; ‘hillel’, which refers to praising and the word YHWH (Yahweh). Yahweh was such a sacred name for God, that the word would actually never leave the lips of a believer. And the only word that has been interchangeably used with Yahweh is ‘I AM’. Thus, in essence, Hallelujah means to ‘bring praise to the ‘I AM”. The most sacred. During Worship and Creative Conference, the word ‘Hallelujah’ kept jumping out at me and I kept remembering the lyric “Nothing can take my Hallelujah”. When I finally did my research into the word, I remember God saying “Worship the I AM. Not the God your pain has made me out to be. Not the God your fear and anxiety have made me out to be. Worship the God I reveal myself to be in your Bible, even if you haven’t experienced Me in that way just yet. Don’t let what you’re going through, rob you of the truth of the I AM God”

More days than not, my very inhale and exhale are the only praise I can offer. But I offer it to God, regardless, because of who He is. And I know that one day I will be able to praise and worship, like I did before. Because whether I find the fullness of healing in my lifetime or not, nothing will take away my Hallelujah. Even if all it is, right now, is choosing to take another breath.

The truth of the Word remains the same. The truth of who God is remains the same. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not battling through the mental illness and that my salvation will magically take away the reality of the battle. It just means I have something to give me a hope even when everything in me says it’s not worth the fight.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” – Exodus 14:14 (NKJV)

The word ‘hold’ here refers to the Hebrew word ‘chârash‘ which means to scratch or engrave. And when I read that, I couldn’t help but imagine God engraving the word ‘peace’ on my heart while He fights this battle I choose to leave at His feet every single day. And just like the process of engraving scratches away and removes bits to reveal the word, I believe that He will continue to remove any unnecessary bits to make room for His peace. Even while my thoughts wage war.

So I am back in South Africa. And I am INCREDIBLY afraid. I don’t know what healing is going to look like. I know it won’t be easy. I know I’ll be waging war against the enemy. But I will choose, everyday, to allow God to step into the fight. Even through the therapy. And the treatment. And the medication. Because I know that truth says that while the Lord fights for me, I shall hold my peace. Whether it feels like it or not.

I know College wasn’t a mistake.
I know God still wants to do a mighty work in and through me at Hillsong College.
I know that this isn’t a step backwards.
I know that I will return to College.
I know the promise still stands.

And I know that this too, is under the blood of Jesus.

So in the meantime, I will be still and know that ‘I AM’ God.

I’m Gonna Catch The Wind

“Like standing on the edge of a mountainside. I can feel the wind stirring, lifting me up high. I was born into freedom. I was made to fly” – Catch The Wind, Bethel

I am officially a month into my studies at Hillsong College and I am constantly in awe of the goodness of God. It has honestly been an indescribable few weeks. Granted, the adjustment has been difficult, but there’s no denying that this is holy ground! It is so surreal being in an environment that honestly and truly wants to see you thrive for the sake of His Kingdom. I remember crying on my knees in Chapel thinking how crazy it was that this formed part of my timetable. That 3 times a week, space was allowed for me to do this. That my tutorial lessons included praying for people to receive the gift of tongues. That my lectures made me so excited to go home and sit with my Bible.

When I came into College, I had the idea that I was coming here to get eqquiped to continue building Church back in South Africa. In my head, I was just in varsity again. It was all great, but I wasn’t going to allow myself to make a home of it, because it was just temporary. I had made a decision, unconsciously, that I wasn’t going to be fully present because South Africa is still the final destination.

During a rather normal conversation I kept refering to Hillsong Stellenbosch as my “actual” Campus. And God immediately said “That’s not true, Hillsong Hills is.” Which was rather confusing because it’s not like I was unaware of the fact that I was now serving at our Hills campus. But I was reminded of being challenged to go “all in” during Orientation; that if I saw serving and getting involved as just a Practicum, I would get “Practicum results” and not the fullness of what God intends for this season. Side note: your practicum is where you’re assigned to serve during the week and weekend, of which your involvement in one of the services/shifts is assessed.

I hate to admit it, but I have such a fear of having to start again. A fear of not knowing what has the potential for permanency, and what could potentially be temporary. It has been difficult to be “all in” because I already know that I have a desire to go back to South Africa when I finish at College. But I hadn’t realised how much I was limiting God. Man! There has been such a freedom and so much blessing in staying whether or not it’s forever. In remiding myself that I don’t know what will happen next, and even if this is temporary, today I choose to fully immerse myself in what is before me.

I’ve always known that there is so much blessing in finding yourself immersed in God and fully engaging in the season you’re in, but only now am I finally understanding it. The idea of just abiding in Him. The idea that sometimes abiding looks very practical, because not everything needs a ceremonious ‘I’ll pray about it’. Because even choosing to be physically present has the capacity to bear much fruit. – I have seen more miracles, victories and progressions in the past month than I have in the past year leading up to College. Not many of them were big, but they were all necessary. All of them a very clear fruit of abiding in The True Vine.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:1‭-‬4 NKJV

You can only produce fruit if you are connected to the Vine. He prunes only the branches that already bear fruit. But, you can only bear more fruit if you allow the pruning to take place.

Sometimes pruning looks like letting go of your fear of wanting to know it all. Sometimes it looks like trusting the people around you. Sometimes it looks like building character.

But, sometimes it simply looks like opening up, so that you can catch the wind.

On our very first day, our College Principal said the following “If He could do what He needed to while you were back home, He wouldn’t have brought you here”

So,
“I let out the sails of my heart.
Here I am.
Here You are.”

Come

“So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” – Matthew 14:29

A week before I left for Sydney, a potential sponsor turned out to be a scam. A day before I left, a potential sponsor communicated that they were unable to help. So on the day I was leaving, I did not have the finances to get some of the essentials I needed before my depature and had just enough to sustain me for about 2 weeks. Maybe 3.

I remember thinking “Okay what now, God? Do I actually pack my whole life up and get on that plane tomorrow? Or do I wait until everything is in order?” I was honestly still very hopeful, but it was the uncertainty of what was to come that made me very uneasy. I caught myself constantly wondering if I had heard God correctly. What if this was not what He had said, and I had been caught up in the excitement of everything coming together? What had I actually gotten myself into?

So on Saturday evening, I hopped on a plane to Sydney and even got upgraded to Business Class on one of my flights! – I will admit, I was a little tempted to say to God, “Thank you so much for the upgrade, but You can actually take me back to economy and put the upgrade difference in my account.” But I was reminded that God is in the business of the miraculous. The unexpected. And He can do anything and probably will.

I was reminded that He’ll still split seas for me.

This week, I got an email saying I was already behind on rent. But, I knew I only had enough money to cover my groceries and a few other necessities. So alongside all the prayer and petition, I went to speak to my core trainer to find out what my options were. After discussing some of the implications that could come with falling behind on payments, I absolutely wrestled to stay encouraged. – I may not be allowed to attend classes. At the College that wasn’t my idea to go to? I could lose my VISA. The same one that took all kinds of miracles to get? Did I travel all this way, only for me to go back home less than a month later?

Why would He tell me not to work these last 6 months if this is what it would ending up looking like? Why wasn’t that bursary real? Why would He bring me all the way here so that I could struggle in isolation? Why am I even here? – It’s one thing to have faith in the convenience of South Africa, with family and friends. It’s another thing when you’re all alone in an entirely new country. New College. New environment.

In the “Moments: Mighty Sound” version of “In Over my Head”, Jenn Johnson sings the following:

Further and further

My heart moves away from the shore

From convenience

Whatever it looks like

Whatever may come I am yours

Honestly speaking, it’s been relatively easy to step out in faith over the past few months. Because I was still in the boat. I was still home. And I still had the option for it not to work out.

“But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” – Matthew 14:30‭-‬31

Peter was always going to be able to walk on water, not because he could, but because Jesus would make it possible. Whether he would, was up to him.

He asked Jesus to command him to come and meet Him out in the water to prove that it really was Jesus walking on the water. Jesus replies by saying ‘Come’. Both Peter and Jesus use the word ‘come’, but the meaning of the word “come” that Jesus uses is significantly different. In Greek, one of the words used to describe the root of that word, is “grow”.

Peter simply asked God to call Him out into the sea. Jesus called Him out; to grow.

Stepping out of the boat isn’t glamorous. It’s inconvenient. It isn’t enjoyable. It’s stretching. It’ll probably not look the way you hope it will.

But even so, come.

The Dance

December 2015; almost 3 weeks after the passing of my dad. I remember sitting, with my older sister on her living room floor. It was the very first time I had allowed myself to cry since the day he died. The kind of cry that comes straight from the core of your belly. The kind of cry that is always accompanied by a physically aching heart. And somewhere between these cries, I remember her saying we were going to pray. That I was going to pray.

When I started my first year at Stellenbosch University, I can’t say l had really understood the importance of salvation. I was fresh out of a Bible-based Christian school, and could quote all the right verses so that you would probably believe that Jesus is my very best friend. Not because I was trying to manipulate anyone, but because I just hadn’t had a real revelation of my own. It’s what I thought “walking with Jesus” was meant to look like. So when my dad passed away, I was not very keen on staying in Church. I wasn’t really involved much in Church, I didn’t have many friends, and I definitely didn’t read my Bible – I don’t think I even owned one at that point. I had no real reason to stay. In fact, I only stayed because the then Youth Worship pastor had shown some interest in my life. She messaged me. She called. She checked up on me. She didn’t know me at all, but she went above and beyond to just walk it out with me. So I stayed. For her. And God stayed. For me.

I recently read a blog where a psychiatrist, Abigail Brenner, describes the dance of relationship in the following manner: “Dancing is comprised of a series of movements that are combined and often repeated where two people move in sync with each other’s steps. The result is a coordinated effort that often looks easy and effortless, but where you know that that look mostly comes about when people are familiar with each other, are in agreement to be in sync with each other, and have practiced the dance long enough together to where it becomes second nature.” She continues to say that “sometimes these steps are verbalized, openly stated so that the people involved understand what is expected of them in the relationship. Sometimes these steps are never discussed, so it’s the actions between people that define what is going on in the relationship.”

For as long as I can remember, God has used the imagery of dance as a way to teach me about us. About the outworking of my salvation. He has taught my feet to dance upon disappointment. He has reminded me of a song, the one He wrote for me, and we have danced. But most importantly, He has taught me to trust Him to take the lead. So much so, that even when the song changes, the transition will be flawless. Because I take my lead from Him.

That day, I prayed. I didn’t talk much about how great He was. I don’t think I even said the whole “In Jesus Name” part. I was very angry. I was very hurt. I was grieving. But I remember whispering to myself “I don’t know if I can lose anything else. You may just be all I have.” And that’s when I started to see God really move in my life. It was in the middle of what the enemy meant for my harm, that God exposed me to some of His good plans for me and His Kingdom. I hadn’t realised it at the time, but it was also then, that I stepped foward and took hold of the Hand that had been saving the last dance for me.

One of my dad’s favourite songs to play on our road trips, was the Ronan Keating version of ‘I Hope You Dance.’ And everytime it came on, without fail, he would turn up the volume and sing it like it was the very first time. A few days ago, while listening to the song, I was that little girl again. Watching her daddy come alive and singing to her with the utmost passion. I had never really taken the time to read the lyrics of the song. But even in the fun of singing every word, God was already preparing me for this dance.

God had been there. The day my dad died. The day I prayed. The day I decided to stay in Church. The day my dad’s first Bible was given to me. The day it became my first Bible. The day I moved to Stellenbosch. The day He told me about Hillsong College. The day I left Stellenbosch. But my most favourite part about Him being there, is that He always waited patiently for me to take hold of His hand. He allowed me to make the choice.

In 5 days, I leave for Sydney, Australia. And in 7, my journey at Hillsong College begins. I don’t know what the next few steps look like, but I trust Him. Because He has never led me where He doesn’t go.

“And when you get the choice,

to sit it out or dance… ”

I hope you dance.

With Jesus.