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.