THE ‘BIG C’ AND ‘PRIDE’ DON’T RHYME

In 1974, when I was in Matric, I met a tall, dark and handsome man. The girls at the church went crazy about him. Besides being handsome, he drove a red Ford Capri!
At that time I didn’t need to wear glasses. If i did, i doubt he would have noticed me. His name is Pieter Smith and he was a property developer.

I had intended to study Journalism at Potchefstroom University, but my mother didn’t want me to be so far from home. Thus I ended up studying BA Social Work at the University of Stellenbosch. I was never really enthusiastic about the course and never finished it. Three years after I met Pieter, we got married and two beautiful children, Pieter and Arlene, were born.   On our wedding day, we moved into a brand new home and it became a regular visiting place for the young people in our congregation. Life treated us well.

 

Today I understand that people with an inferiority complex easily hide behind a mask of pride and that is what happened to me. The ugly duckling started taking pride in her lovely home and without realizing it, became full of pride. Trips overseas, new shiny cars, only the best furniture, but no time for those around her.

One day this clay pot got another disgusting looking crack. I was diagnosed with cancer in my womb. When my youngest was two and a half, I went for a hysterectomy. I was operated on a Tuesday and the Friday was Easter. Later I heard that they prayed for me at the Easter Conference. The Lord heard their prayers and I survived.

In the foreword of this book, my friend, Barbara van Dyk, writes about the day that I told her I had cancer. Back then, Barbara was pregnant and was due to deliver her baby. Without even considering my friends condition, i broke the news to her that i had been diagnosed with cancer. It was only two days before she was going to give birth. Thinking back on this, i realized in a time of personal crisis, you tend to think only about yourself and you don’t necessarily consider others. Today, i would think twice before sharing news like that with someone whom is also in a challenging situation.
The trauma was too much for Arlene. She started wearing diapers again. She overheard a telephonic conversation where my mother told someone that I’m not sure I’ll make it. Four years later, Arlene still followed me like a shadow everywhere I went and whenever she had the choice, she chose to stay with me. Until this day Arlene and I have an extraordinary bond. My husband, Pieter, bought her a doll – which she named Pietie – to hold on to when I wasn’t around.

Two days after being discharged from hospital, I had to return because of a bladder infection. To me, it felt as if the world had come to an end.
I had a lot of time to talk to the Lord. I had thought too highly of myself,  and i realized, life does not revolve around me only.

Three days after my operation, a man of small posture came to visit me in hospital. When I saw who it was, I started crying. It was Uncle Toerien. I remember him too well. He was an elder in the AFM Church in Parow. Every Sunday he stood at the church entrance, welcoming everyone. Many times we arrived at the church with two energetic toddlers only when the organ started playing. We were always aiming to get to the ‘parents with toddlers’ section in the church before the pastor walked up to the pulpit. Time and time again, uncle Toerien made it impossible for us to settle in time. I got so irritated with the man at the door that I slipped in by a side entrance to avoid him.

This dignified man didn’t think too highly of himself to come visit me in hospital. It humbled me. Five years later, I was one of many people who went to pay our last respects at his funeral. The building was too small to accommodate all the people. Uncle Toerien was small in stature, without status and perhaps also the ‘odd one out’, but the Lord used him to further His kingdom. That day I heard how he dedicated his life to visiting others in hospital. The Lord started altering the perception i had of myself.

God wants to give us the best life can offer; it doesn’t matter what we look like, who we are or where we come from. Esther was an orphan who was raised by her uncle Mordecai and she had no apparent destiny until she one day became the queen of Persia.

Why are we sometimes so hesitant to receive God’s favour in our lives the way Esther did? Satan will do his utmost best to convince us that we are worth very little especially when the Lord wants to use us in His kingdom.
Please do not allow your past to keep you from making a difference in the lives of others for the sake of God’s kingdom.

I’m the odd one out. Deaf ears, Apostolic pains, and glasses. What do these things have to do with each other?

img_2218.jpg  Years ago, in the nineties, there were a couple of guys who sang together, they called themselves “Prophet.” One of their songs was called “I was born in Germiston, and I will die in Germiston.” Well, I was born in Parow in the Western Cape, and I suppose that I will also die in Parow! 

For five years I was the only child, and I was considered to be the little girl in the family. My nieces and nephews were much older than me. These days I see myself in my two little granddaughters, Leri and Nina, always dressed up in the sweetest little dresses. Sunday’s was reciting of poetry day, and the whole family used to sit and listen to me.

My brother was born when I was five years old. When I was six, and he was only one, we both contracted measles. Because of this, both he and I suffered hearing loss. Friedel, my brother, lost 70 % of his hearing, and I lost 50 % of mine. 

When I was in 1st grade, the school principal called my parents in to inform them that I was deaf. They advised my parents to put me in a school for hearing impaired children.  My mom refused to accept this and took me to an ear surgeon who gave me hearing aids. My mom insisted that I sit in front in the class. In 3rd grade, I ended up being first in my class academically.

In high school, I never had a boyfriend like the other girls, and I could not understand why. Years later I bumped into an old friend from school at a music and arts festival, and she informed me that the reason boys never asked me out was that they were scared of me. I wore glasses with thick lenses, and they thought that I was too clever for them. I am so thankful for contact lenses, and today I can look the world straight in the eyes with a lot of confidence.

Thinking back, I wonder why I had a confidence problem in the first place. At the age of 20, I was the youngest woman ever who became Sunday School Secretary at the AFM Parow congregation, which today is known as AFM CORPUS CHRISTI Panorama. I served on our congregation’s women’s organization, and later became secretary of this organization as well.

I’ve always been aware of the fact that I had a severe hearing problem and had a very different way of pronouncing words. Today I see that because of my hearing problem, I have a very unique voice! People in the north of South Africa think I come from the countryside while people from Cape Town think I’m from overseas. When I go to Holland, I am able to use Afrikaans so that both they and I understand each other. My husband instead lets me do the talking when we’re there.

The fact is that the events from my childhood years gave me an inferiority complex and that it took me years to overcome it all. For this reason, I can identify with the scripture in Genesis 29 which has to do with 2 sisters, Leah, the eldest, and Rachel the youngest. Leah was the ugly daughter and Rachel was the pretty one. Jacob worked for 7 years to get Rachel as his bride, and on his honeymoon night, he discovered that the father of the two sisters cheated him by giving him Leah instead of Rachel as his bride. Jacob was known to be a manipulator and deceiver, and on his honeymoon night, he was deceived by Leah’s father, Laban. Leah became the victim of deception which was not of her own doing. All she wanted was to be loved by her husband.

According to the Bible, Leah could not see very well. Maybe she was short-sighted, shy and had a low self- esteem just like myself and she felt inferior, unattractive the ugly duckling – the’ ODD ONE OUT’ while her sister was the attractive one. Leah did everything to try and win her husband’s favor.

In Genesis 29 : 32 we read that she named her first son Reuben, which means the Lord has genuinely seen my grief. Further on, we learned that she called her last child Judah, which means Praise the Lord. Jesus Christ, our lord and savior,  was eventually born out of this tribe. This ugly duckling had a significant purpose in life, and that was to start the tribe of Judah.

I am sure that each one of us has a story to tell. Each one has different facts though, and each has met someone whom we have admired for what they achieved in their lives. Each one has met someone who is more attractive than he or she. I have seen the most beautiful women with the most perfect appearances. Hair, nails, skin and no skew teeth. Then I look at myself in the mirror and see all the faults i have. For years I’ve searched for a hairdresser who could make my hair look like something out of a magazine but to no avail. Then I met Daniella, she taught me to style my own hair with the help of rollers so that I can have the perfect hairstyle when I wanted it.

I have learned one valuable lesson in my life, and that is to try and be a better person. Not all women have to wear perfect clothes to look pretty. Sometimes it is good to be different. The Lord, the One that really matters, does not distinguish between people based on their appearances. Ephesians 6 v 9 reads: “Masters, treat your slaves with the same attitude, do not threaten them, as you have a master in heaven and the Lord does not treat anyone differently to anyone else.”

It makes me think of two pieces of pottery. The one looks perfect, and when I put a candle inside, I do not see any flaws. The other pot is full of cracks. Cracks of sexual abuse, abortion, and even an unsuccessful marriage, but when the Lord is placed in the situation, a lovely ray of light, a glimmer of hope shines through the very cracks that make that pot imperfect. Identify these cracks in your own life today. Allow the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ to shine through them. It is only through Christ that we are able to be truly made whole.

My favorite verse in the Bible is Philippians 4 v 13: “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” The moment I discovered it’s okay to be the odd one out, to be the one who talks differently from others and have skew teeth, the Lord could enable me and use me just as I am. That is when the lights went on in my life.

In many ways, I am different from other women. Even my own daughter says so. I think out of the box, make my own clothes and am not scared to get in behind the wheel of a truck, tow a trailer, a caravan or a boat quite easily. Yes, I am different, but the Lord knew that I would need guts and a positive attitude in the ministry that He has given me.

Satan uses the weaknesses in our lives to keep us from the beautiful plan that the Lord has in store for us. Early on in my life, I realized that God had a brilliant future for me, but that He couldn’t use me as I was at that stage.

 

Foreword​

 

 

He gives us words to speak when we are called to voice our faith.’  Francine Rivers

On 26 December 2013, we were on our way from Cape Town to Knysna.                 images

I decided to write the following words on my Facebook page.

When you’re all alone, and you drive that far, you have plenty of time to think.

Pieter, my husband, was driving in front of me with a mobile home which has a top speed of only 90 km/h. I drove behind him patiently.

We were planning on leaving his vehicle in Knysna, and continue our road trip to Pretoria together in the other car. Somewhere in Swellendam’s main road, we reached a parking lot just off the main road and decided to spend the night there.

At 04h45 we continued our journey and stopped in Heidelberg for a cup of coffee. Just outside of the town, a lady was standing trying to hitch a ride. She was wearing a security uniform with an R10 note in her hand. The Holy Spirit told me to give her a lift. It was 05h45 in the morning – where was she off to so early? I found out that she works as a security guard at Riversdale Hospital and travels 30km to work every day.

It was not long after we started talking when the tears started rolling from my eyes. I thought of Elvis Blue’s song: “Elke mens het n storie” (Every person has a story).

Half an hour later, after dropping her at the hospital, I knew what my goal would be for 2014: To write down all the stories that I come across on my journey through the world. By telling these stories, others will become whole, and you become whole also.

When I took the turn-off at Mossel Bay to George, I saw blue lights flashing as well as a body with feet showing from underneath a blanket. What was his story I thought to myself? But now it’s too late, he can never share his. Did he get to know the Lord Jesus Christ while still alive?

Friends seize every opportunity to share the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross.

That is how this book became a reality. Some of the comments received on my Facebook post that day were:

Myra Meyer (Teacher): Thank you Nerina for your story – ‘many tears.’

Judy Steenkamp:… Wow and yes very touching Nerina. That is how it should be – reaching out to others. Write, we’ll read.

Anton Brink (my son in law and radio presenter at Radio Tygerberg): I didn’t know that my mother in law could colour in a picture so beautifully with words….very well said.

Ansie Liebenberg: Thanks for sharing, have a safe journey.

Samantha Angela presenter at Radio Namaqualand: Lady, you have me in tears so early in the morning.

Liezl Theron de Bod (Lawyer): Well, you are welcome to share my story. You know it. BUT it is a story of Awesome Grace upon Grace. I wanted to write a book, so maybe this is the beginning…

All these positive comments and feedback that I received only motivated me more to write this book. I wanted to write this book quickly, but many different obstacles came my way which made that I could not finish the book before the end of 2014. It is precisely 2 years since I started writing this book. This past week I clearly experienced through a friend, Petro Turner, with whom my paths crossed again, and my thoughts that have been occupied, that this is the time to finish the book. Today is my 59th birthday. I have set myself some goals which I wanted to achieve before I turn 60. Finishing this book is one of them. About the rest, we will chat later.

 

I’m the odd-one-out – ​becoming successful despite disabilities.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

In 2016, I published my book “Reis na Oorwinning” – a story of becoming successful despite disabilities.   The overall reaction to the book was fantastic.  Unfortunately, as I wrote the book in Afrikaans, my home language, it was inaccessible for readers who are not literate in Afrikaans.

Most of the time, my book was ‘sowed’ into someone’s life after I met them, had a conversation with them and realized that this person needs to read it, hoping that it will make a difference in their life’s.  I had so many feedback from women who read the book and had a life-changing experience through this.

Keeping in mind that this will also be the case with the English book, I decided to start a blog instead with the English version.

 I want to thank my daughter Arlene and her husband, Anton, for helping me with the editing of the English version.  May you be blessed abundantly.  

I really hope that you will enjoy it.  Don’t hesitate to give comments on the different chapters.  Hopefully, we will be able to publish one episode per week.  

God bless.  

Nerina