My story by Annalize Mouton
OTHERS MAY…..YOU CANNOT
If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other “Christians”, and in many ways He will see to let other people do things which He will not let you do.
Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful, might manipulate (use false guilt and shame), pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it, and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others may boast of themselves, of “their work”, of “their successes”, of “their writings”, of “their ministry and office”, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that he may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.
The Lord may let others to “be seen of men”, to be “honored” and “put forward”, but keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.
He may let others be great, but keep you small.
He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but he will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work more precious, he may let others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your future reward ten times greater.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never feel distressed over.
So make up your mind that God in His infinite sovereignty, has a right to do as He pleases with His own.
He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you absolutely will yourself to be His love slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit and not men and their traditions, and that He must have the right to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others.
Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven. (JB Watson)
I have found the above to be so true in my life! The eldest of five children, of whom only three of us are still alive on this side of the veil (the others are all part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on!), I was born in Rehoboth, Namibia, where my grandfather owned the hotel (in those days, only whites were allowed to own businesses in Namibia). My mother always said I was like a newborn kitten, as I had been born with severely droopy eyelids and opened my eyes to the world for the first time when I was ten days old! Although I was totally accepted and loved within my family, I had to endure severe mocking from other children, and sometimes rude remarks from grown-ups. All of this led to me living mostly an inward life, filling my days with reading, practicing music, studying, playing school all by myself with only my youngest sister as “pupil” and long walks in the veld. I became an observer – looking at life from a place somewhere deep within. And what I saw in most people’s faces were loneliness and a longing to be loved. And I find it interesting that the rejection I suffered from my peers at school, because of “looking different”, being a “teacher’s pet”, excelling at my studies and music, etc. made me realize how in need of REAL love all of us were. And a prayer was born in me, to only be a vessel unto Him to be filled and overflow with His love. I never wanted anyone else to ever feel the hurt and pain, the loneliness and rejection, that I felt. My greatest ambition was to be a wife and mother of many children, and have a “healing” home, where family and friends will be loved and nurtured to total wholeness in Him. Now, when I look back, I cannot help to marvel at how I had been challenged on everyone of those dreams. For someone not reckoning with what the Lord can do with a life yielded to Him, and His resurrection power, it may well look like a stroll down the “boulevard of broken dreams”. But, I have come to know that only He could fulfill those desires that He placed in our hearts, and my hope is in Him to raise every dead dream.
As I said earlier, my parents loved the Lord and we were brought up in the fear or rather the reverential awe of the Lord. Apart from church attendance, they also regularly attended the annual tent meetings held by the Africa Evangelistic Band. And they had a tremendous influence on my life. The AEB was formed in 1924 as the outcome of the evangelistic work of a certain Mrs Garrat and Miss Cameron in South Africa. Their evangelists used to spend much time in prayer and waiting on God, they preached the full gospel of Jesus Christ and also of full salvation – spirit, soul and body. And they believe in repentance, living holy lives, consecrated totally to Him alone. To this day I can still remember the light in and on their faces, the love that oozed from them, and their humbleness. That set my parents and eventually me too, on a road of devouring every book of Andrew Murray, Wesley, Finney, Booth, Hudson Taylor, Madame Guyon, Jessie Penn Lewis, and many, many others (see on my blog under Reading 1). When I was 12 years old I was asked to play the piano for church services and Sunday school, later the organ. An occupation which had me in church every Sunday for 2 to 3 services, every prayer meeting, week of prayer, for more than 35 years! This included being conductor of their respective church choirs.
My mom also taught us cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, crocheting and dad taught us to draw and paint, and appreciate art and poetry. He was also the one who gave me my first camera and lessons in photography. My father was also the one who taught us girls to work in the garden (both he and mom were keen gardeners) and maintain our cars. All these skills would later come in very handy and needed – as I had done baking and catering from home, had two restaurants and cooked for 2 others, had been a dressmaker and even designed clothes, I can cut hair, am a genealogical researcher, have even tried my hand at farm managing… We grew up with the motto that you can do anything because Christ is within! We moved around quite a bit – Otjiwarongo, Namibia; then to Upington in the Northern Cape where my parents first had a restaurant and later they farmed just outside of Upington. After a severe three drought and then extreme rains and flooding, my father started selling insurance with Rondalia and later we moved to Windhoek, Namibia where he became the manager of Rondalia. When I was 13 years old we moved to Cape Town, where I finished school.
Above: Me at sixteen!
After matric I studied music at the University of Stellenbosch with singing and piano as majors, and had a promising career ahead of me. I remember one of my professors saying: One day you’ll sing in the Royal Albert Hall in London! When my brother (16 years old) was left in a coma after being hit by a truck on his way home after school on his motorbike, I had to interrupt my studies and return home to care for my heartbroken parents and younger sisters. I could only return to varsity a couple of months after his death. After completion of my third year, I took up a teaching post as music teacher, without finishing the fourth year. (I eventually went back to university in my 30s and then completed what I started so many years ago.)
In 1972 I got married to Gawie Basson (photo underneath), then still a student of theology. After completion of his studies, we were called to the Dutch Reformed Church, Maitland, Cape Town, where we served for almost 5 years and then to the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, now called the Uniting Reformed Church, in Graaff–Reinet.
Gawie and I had 5 children of whom 3 died in infancy. In a span of nine years I lost my brother, our 3 children, and both my parents at very young ages. Words fail me to tell of what happened on the inside of me through that time. The absolute helplessness, powerlessness to keep any of them alive. First our little baby girl suffocating in hospital from milk that overflowed into her lungs after a sister left her unattended feeding from a bottle. For years those little fingers gnawing at her chest haunted my dreams. Then our two boys from lung problems. How does one describe the tearing into pieces of your heart, the silent scream that fills your whole body when your breasts are streaming with milk, you have drawers full of warm, soft baby-clothes, a warm bed all made-up and ready and then you have to bury the lifeless little body of your baby in a wooden casket in a grave partly filled with water? I remember one day as we were driving past the cemetery where our two little boys were buried, our eldest son, then almost six said, “Look Mommy, there I was also buried when I was a baby!” The pain was just too much. And my beautiful mother at 47 with her body emaciated from the mesothelioma (lung cancer) caused by exposure to asbestos in Prieska where she lived with her grandparents after her mother’s death when she was only 4 days old. Mom never complained, never. At her funeral, attended by busloads of people of all races some coming from far, one of our cousins said that she had never known any woman like my mother. She was indeed one of a kind, a woman filled through and through with the joy, love, mercy, strength and the grace of the Lord. And my precious, strong dad dying of a heart attack ten days after our youngest son’s birth. The one moment I spoke to him on the phone, ten minutes later his wife of six months phoned to say he’s dead!
Above: My mom and me with the baptism of our firstborn son, Thys.
I was too scared to question the Lord. Somehow I knew that should I utter the first why? it would have me spiraling down a very dark abyss. Both Gawie and I shut the pain away. Buried it very deep, smiled and “stayed strong”. We were both unable to verbalize what was going on on the inside of us, and the consequence of this mask-wearing and closing of our hearts to spare each other more pain, eventually led to more heartache for both of us and eventually, divorce. The one thing that neither of us ever really wanted! By God’s grace Gawie could stay on in ministry and we have remained very good friends through all the years. Father said to me to not go to court ever over any financial matters, and through the years Gawie has helped the children financially wherever he could. When our eldest son got married in 2009 we were all there: Gawie and his wife and her family, Maré and I and his family sitting at one long table. And we all had something to do: Gawie conducted the marriage, I was the photographer, Maré walked the bride down the isle, my stepmom made the wedding dress, etc. People afterwards remarked: ‘We have never felt and seen such love between families that have been divorced!” Only the Lord could do that!
Top: Thys and his wife, Johette, on their wedding day.
Middle: My beautiful daughter, Annelize
Bottom photo: My youngest son, Johannes, the musician.
After I got married again to a much older friend, John Parsons, a couple of months after he was severely mugged and almost killed by three men, we and my 3 children (Gawie and I had adopted a little girl) eventually moved to Namibia. What no one at that stage knew was that the brain damage John sustained from the incident would cause severe anger outbursts. After the second outburst, he decided to quit the marriage as he did not want to subject either me or my children to them. So there I was, newly married and newly arrived in Mariental, teaching at the local High School, when after a couple of months my husband left and went back to South Africa!
Ha, you can imagine the scorn of the community and my colleagues who could not understand how this ex-minister’s wife, “apparent” serious follower of Jesus Christ, came to be divorced for the second time. In their eyes something serious must have been wrong with me! I did not blame them. How could I when I felt almost the same about me?! I felt like a spectator to someone else’s life, like watching a drama gone very wrong. Even my new surname mocked me: Mrs Parsons! Later I couldn’t pray anymore, I didn’t go to church, couldn’t live with myself – how I had fallen from all those lofty dreams and aspirations of childhood! I was so glad that my parents did not have to witness the down-fall of their eldest daughter! Again I just bottled everything up. All this, plus the tremendous hardship of raising three children without additional emotional or financial support and paying off a study bond on a small teacher’s salary only supplemented by a small organist’s remuneration, eventually took its toll and one day, the wall just broke and I started crying and crying and crying and crying. I wept for almost a week. I could not contain myself any longer. My life was in such a mess. It seemed that every dream had died, as if the Lord Himself had forsaken me. I could not sleep at night. Fear and anxiety had me in an iron grip. I had heart palpitations and would wake up in the middle of night drenched with perspiration. I sought mercy in my own mind, but could not find any. Then I asked the Lord to please give me some respite. Just let me be for a while, forget about me. I remember saying to Him that I felt like hiding myself somewhere where He won’t be able to find me and “think of something hard to send into my life”. I felt like a real-life female Job. Where does one go to get away from the Lord?! And how greatful am I now that He did not take me up on that one! That night, as I was getting ready for bed, all of a sudden, my bedroom was flooded with this Incredible Bright Light! Words cannot describe the brightness of our God!!!! There He was, the Living Lord Himself, the Creator of the Universe! Oh, He is so REAL! He is so ALIVE! Human words cannot describe Him, He is totally awesome, and most amazing. Everything, the walls, the furniture, everything became translucent. Then He spoke, and oh, the sound of His Voice! “Annalize, I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” A great peace settled over and in me. I knew He would never leave or forsake me, and that He would see me through. And I also knew that He knew me through His righteousness and not according to my many mistakes and failures, and I can tell you honestly, they are many. I felt accepted. Beloved. Forgiven. That night I slept like a baby. And although there were still many, many challenges, He brought me through them all. In 1994 music as a subject was phased out of government schools in Namibia and I had to start teaching academic subjects (history, geography and English) to high school students from Grade 8 to 10. I had no formal teacher’s training in any of these subjects. To tell the truth, I had history and geography up till Standard 6/Grade 8 and English as a second language up till matric. I was really thrown into the deep end of the water. But, through once again working almost all the hours of the day, I managed by the grace of the Lord.
In 1995 my children and I moved to Windhoek. In that same year a pastor whose wife I knew, one day came to my house and said the Lord had sent him commanding him to pray and anoint me. I was so scared of any such thing, but I also did not want to miss any good thing the Lord had for me! I remember asking to be excused and going into my kitchen, praying and asking the Lord to protect me from anything that is not of Him. Then I went back and the guy took oil and anointed my temples and said a very simple prayer, something like: “Lord, I am anointing this woman in obedience to your command and in Your Mighty Name.” Then he left. That night as I lay down to sleep, all of a sudden, it sounded like sluices being opened in my temples and water gushing out. I could even hear the water, and then the Lord started talking to me. I did not see Him, only heard Him and felt His Presence. Throughout this visitation which lasted ten days, His presence was so tangible that my children and even some of my colleagues remarked about it. It felt like I was living in an electrically highly charged bubble. During that time Jesus took me through my life and showed me how He had been with me and in me, every step of the way. He also showed me many things to come, spoke to me about the gospel of Kingdom of God and the manifestation of the sons of God (of which until then I knew almost nothing), told me to write everything down and to wait for the vision to be fulfilled even should it take a long time. Again He confirmed His abiding Presence and working in and through me, first to my own family and friends, acquaintances, and then further afield. He said to me my house should be a place of refuge (interesting when you think back through the generations), to heal the sick, set the captives free, loose the bands of wickedness from His people, break every yoke, clothe those who are naked, give shelter to those without, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely I have received; freely give. I somehow understood that this clothing, feeding and shelter were more than just physical. That, too, but it was also a clothing with His Righteousness, to feed people with Him, the Living Bread and to bring them into the Father’s house. It was a ministry of intercession, of extending His forgiveness and life to every person. He also said to me to eat His Word, to really eat it, meditate on it, digest it, do it, and let it do it’s work in me…
In 1996 I left teaching, got married again to Dr AW Steenkamp, at that stage a lecturer in New Testament Theology at the University of Namibia, and we followed the call of the Lord into a walk of total abandonment and dependence on Him and His provision and healing for our lives, living in and by faith in radical obedience to His Voice and leading, ministering to Him first and foremost in prayer, praise and worship, but also to those around us. I was severely criticized by the pastor and elders of the Dutch Reformed Church in Stanford for my obedience in praying for the sick, getting baptized as a believer, etc. (not a “spirituality that they believed in”, according to the minister, who said that I gave people “false hope” by telling them the Lord wants to heal them and we should pray for them). Eventually I had to leave the “church” because they forbade me to pray or teach. Then Father called me into evangelism amongst the farm labourers in the area and we were in fellowship with other ministers and pastors who also came out of the DRC. The Lord was with us in a mighty way, and we experienced and saw Him do wondrous things – many healings and other miracles. Very often deliverance and healing would just happen spontaneously as we praised and worshipped Him, which we initially did in the local school hall, every morning at 6h00 and every afternoon from 18h00 onwards to sometimes late at night, but later we moved to our house on the farm where we then lived and at times also in some of the farmers’ houses or even sheds.
The years between 1996 and 2003 were really a time of getting to KNOW Him better, of learning and understanding His ways. Some things we had to learn over and over again… Once we were in a prayer meeting when someone requested prayer for a young woman (her firstborn baby son was only 3 months old) who had been diagnosed with cancer of the pituitary gland. She was dying and there was nothing the doctors could do for her. The whole atmosphere in the room was heavy and very solemn – with death, dying, cancer, fear and hopelessness. All of a sudden I started laughing, from deep within. Everyone looked on in total shock as I was laughing and praising the Lord. He said to me: This illness was not unto death, but so that His glory would be seen!
A group of us went to their house and anointed her with oil and prayed for her to be healed. She got worse after that! When she was in hospital, all hope given up, friends asked me if I would be willing to go with them to pray for her again. On our way to Cape Town, ± 150 km from Stanford, I asked the Lord about the situation. Nothing. So I kept praising Him in my heart. Once there, I asked if I could be alone with her for a minute or so. All of a sudden the Lord showed me a picture of her playing this thing with the wedding ring on a piece of string to determine the sex of the unborn baby. I asked her about it, and she confessed. We prayed and I left her. The next day I received a telephone call from her parents’ vicar, forbidding me to ever go near her in hospital again, because they do not believe in this kind of spirituality! What now, Lord? Praise me for that, He said. Okay. I will praise you, but I don’t understand. “You did what I commanded you to do, now get out of My way, I am the Healer.” Yes, Lord. Long story short – she is still alive today – the baby is now in high school. And the relationship between her family and me has been restored. And He received the glory. All of it! We are only the human vessels!
One day when we were down to the last bit of food and our rent, telephone, etc. had to be paid and there was also no gas/petrol in the car – we needed something like R10 000 just to get even again, I prayed and prayed and begged and questioned and cried! Eventually, I had nothing more to say, and not hearing anything from the Lord, I just sat there in His Presence in the small hours of the night/morning, totally spent! Then at about 03h30, I heard His voice. “Annalize, you were disobedient.” I was so shocked! “Lord! Disobedient? Come, now, Lord, it can’t be!” “Yes, does my Word not say that you should jump for joy when you are persecuted for My name’s sake?” “Lord, jump for joy? Okay, Lord, you want me to jump for joy, I’ll jump, but the joy would have to come from you!” I then searched for a place to jump where I would not be rousing the whole household from their sleep, as we then lived in a wooden house. The only place was the stoep. So, I went out and started jumping and with every jump, I thanked and praised the Lord FOR not having food, rent, money for the phone bill, petrol, etc. As I jumped, something incredible started to happen. With every jump I felt lighter and lighter. The whole weight of everything, also the weight of “proving the Lord faithful” to my family and others, just dropped off until there was nothing left. I then went to bed, knowing that He is fully in control as always and slept like a baby!
The next morning, one of the farmer’s ostriches had laid an egg in front of our garden gate and the farmer said, we could have it. That day we ate ostrich egg for breakfast, lunch and supper. At almost 20h30 that night we were called out to a farm ± 30 km from us, and as it was really a matter of extreme urgency where someone’s life was involved, I prayed and the Lord said go! I asked Him about the gas in the car and He said He did not tell me to worry about that, He told me to go! So, off we went. Late that night, really late, around 01h00 while we were still on this farm with the family, a friend from Hermanus phoned and asked where we were. He asked for the directions and told us to wait for him there. When he arrived he immediately took R200 from his pocket and said he was on his way to bed when the Lord had pressed it on his heart that he should phone us and take money for petrol and drive behind us the couple of kilometres to Caledon to get petrol. Then he also gave me a folded slip of paper with these words: I hoped I had heard correctly, but the Lord told me you need this. It was a cheque for R10 000! I can recount so many, many miracles of provision, healing, deliverance, multiplication of food, etc.! But, it was not an easy road. There were many hardships, failures on our side, disappointments. The attacks from the evil one had been fierce and many, but Jesus has said that Satan has asked to sift us! And sifted we were and still are. On every promise we stood we were severely tested and tried. Through much tribulation we have to enter into the Kingdom, the full rule and reign of Christ!
From 1996 to 2003 alone, we moved house eight times! My children and I one day counted how many times I have moved to different locations and houses with my parents, or spouses, or by myself, since the age of five: 45 times! There were times when we had no idea whereto until the very last moment. But, we were packed and ready to go! We have lived in a caravan, a shed, with friends, strangers, in big houses, small flats, but never once, did we not have a place to overnight! And thanks to my mother, we got moving house down to a T. Move today, unpack, cook and have friends for supper that same night!
While driving home from Hermanus one day, flames from the engine of our car burst through the dashboard to the inside! I stopped the car, got out and ran to the nearest house, screaming, “Fire, fire!” The car was a write-off, but through His grace I was unharmed. For the next six months we had to walk the 4 or 5 kilometres into town and out to do our shopping! The relationship between AW and I were extremely taxed by various issues and in 2003 we also divorced. I remember walking on the farm where we then lived, with tears streaming down my cheeks like water from an open water faucet! I fasted and prayed, but knew, it had to end. It was a very dark night of the soul! The Lord called me out of public ministry and had me to just come and sit at His feet and eat and drink from His hand, His Flesh and Blood, True Food and True Drink. But first, I had to learn to forgive and forgive and forgive, also myself, as He forgives. And to be healed and become whole myself… Oh, He who formed us and knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs knows us. He knows every hidden hurt and fear, everything stowed away in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds. The years that followed were years of tremendous deep inner healing, falling in love with Him afresh, learning His heart for every person and a renewal of my mind… In that same year still I met and married Maré, my current and I believe my last husband!
How awesome are His dealings with us! In 1998, long before I even met Maré, while I was driving through Stanford, Father said to me that if I wanted Him to bless not only myself and my family, but also the people in and around Stanford, I had to forgive every one who had ever “persecuted” or mocked me for my faith in Jesus Christ. I went up the hill where we used to live in Moore Street and parked my car at the top of the hill overlooking the village and as the Holy Spirit brought their names to my remembrance, I spoke the names out loud into the atmosphere and said that I choose to forgive and that He should let His forgiveness rise up within me, flow through and out of me to every person. After I had done that and was sure that there was not one person forgotten, I heard Father say, “I give you Moore Street”, and then He said a certain number. I had no idea where it could be, as the houses did not have street numbers in those days. He then again said that He will certainly bring the vision to pass, even should it tarry. He will perform it. He Himself. No man would be able to take credit for it. After Maré and I got married, we continued living in Moore Street where Maré was renting and he then bought two plots adjacent to where we were renting and the following year we built our house and planted our garden!
Maré, me, my eldest son, Thys and our beloved cat, Fielie, aka Mr Files on our wedding day.
We also took over what started as a village newspaper, but became Village Life, a beautiful glossy, national magazine which in my husband’s words, “aimed to be a broad-based window on interesting ‘ordinary’ people, the natural environment, history and social life. The magazine did not publish ‘advertorials’ or editorial material in exchange for advertising. It also did not compete with other magazines in reporting the everyday disasters of life, or the affairs of ‘celebrities’.” We did virtually everything regarding Village Life ourselves for the first three years, from research, writing, photography and canvassing advertising, to driving 4000 km, later I did up to 10 000 km, per month to do articles and distribution and canvas ads. I also did the accounting which in itself was another miracle! We were later joined by Ronel Vosloo, who looked after the 2000 subscribers and also took over the accounting. And although we were later fortunate in having as contributors knowledgeable historians, experts from the scientific community and freelance journalists, we still had to do an awful amount of work and driving ourselves. I think I spent more time in our car than at home during those years. Village Life magazine was called a “poem, a hymn” by well-known Afrikaans author, Hennie Aucamp. And it was. Someone once remarked to a client: “I always feel so clean after I had read Village Life.” For the commemoration of Stanford’s 150th birthday, we also published a coffee-table book on the history and people of the village. The whole idea, I believed, was God-breathed! For this project, which took 7 months from start to finish, I interviewed almost all the people of Stanford, took ± 50 000 photos, did the research and writing of the text, my husband did the lay-out and editing. It was an amazing project from start to finish, and brought much healing and reconciliation to a community that were cruelly divided by the apartheid’s regime. Photos from the book were exhibited in Cape Town, Holland, Germany and Italy.
In 2005 my youngest son was in a motorcycle accident and miraculously survived and kept both legs after doctors initially thought they would have to amputate his right leg under the knee, so badly was it injured. There was a time that we thought we would lose him. Again the Lord gave His word, and performed it! He nevertheless could not work for the next almost three years and came to stay with us after his discharge from hospital. The road back to full healing and use of his leg, now 4 cm shorter than the other, was long and very painful for him and at times for us. The Lord blessed him (and us) by a foundation in the Netherlands paying for a pair of custom-made built up boots for him. He phoned me after he received the shoes, and said: “Mom, I feel like a human being again!” Last year in November, all his music equipment, to the value of R25 000 were stolen from his car in a couple of minutes the car was left unattended. And as some of it had to go on the backseat under cover, his insurance refused to pay out. So, now he is unable to work and is at present again living with us! But, with him too, I know the Lord’s promises and purposes for his life will be fulfilled by the Lord Himself!
Despite the excellency of the magazine, the praise of readers, loyal subscribers and advertisers, we just never could get sufficient advertising support to grow the magazine substantially and see it through the economic crunch that hit us in 2009 and 2010, and we had to borrow more money from the bank against our house until it reached a state where we were “forced” to cease publication of the magazine in June 2010. What followed have been the hardest three years of our lives. A shaking of everything that could be shaken and fiery, extremely fiery trials… And with Standard Bank harassing us morning, noon and even at night for their money! In beginning of 2011 we had to sell our car back to the dealer just to rid ourselves of that obligation and on the advice of a friend applied for debt review. We were told that it would bring about a decrease in the interest we pay per month and also in the fixed amount to be paid back on our bond. The bank, instead of lowering the payment amount, increased it by something like R3 000 per month! By the grace of the Lord we had a regular and good income through work last year and we managed the payments. This year, all of a sudden, the wells of income seemed to have dried up, and for the last three months we were unable to honour the payment-amounts to the bank at all! We still owe the printer money after we gave our vacant plot to him in lieu of our debt to him. The Lord had miraculously provided a car for us – a 2002 Volvo which I could “buy” from a friend in exchange for work! But amidst all the “disasters”, human frailty and impossibilities, stresses, looming bankruptcy, possible loss of our house and much, much more, the Lord has kept us together. And I truly mean, He has done it. You can imagine the strain on our relationship through all of this! I was also confronted with a part of me that neither I, nor anyone else for that matter, liked at all and which caused much harm: anger, a very fierce, burning anger that manifested in me saying, sometimes screaming, the most horrible things to my husband and children when they were not treating me “fair”. Oh, what anguish this caused me! I cried out to the Lord and repented and repented more and cried out more. Eventually I just gave over, totally surrendered it to the Lord – if He does not set me free, I will stay an angry woman for the rest of my life. On the cross He has done it all, and only He could manifest His victory over this. And He did. Once again Father had it all covered, deliverance prepared before I ever was, and He set me free. And, through all of this Father has brought me to REST, a complete rest and trust in His unfailing love and resurrection power. Only He can bring His promises to fulfilment! With Job, I say: “Even should He slay me, I know that my Redeemer lives!” And, as He is now the only desire in and of my heart, I not only know that I will see Him face-to-face, but that He would bring me to that place where He is all in me… now and forever more. And I believe that He Himself is the answer and fulfilment to every prayer, desire and longing of my heart for myself, my husband, children, family, friends and acquaintances.
On 23 August 2012 I was cleaning the shower as always using white vinegar, but for some “silly” reason thought that if I added some bleach it might just work wonders! The moment I stuck my head into the shower to scrub the tiles, I was hit by the fumes, but nevertheless continued scrubbing… Within seconds I could not breathe. It felt as if someone had poured hot liquid cement into my lungs. Between gasps for air I prayed and declared that I will not die, but live! Yet it took me many hours to just breathe somewhat normal again and for weeks after my lungs felt as if they were set in stone and made terrible wheezing noises with every breath. My husband said it sounded like I had my own chamber orchestra tuning their instruments in my lungs! I later learnt from a biochemist friend that the mixture that I unknowingly made [2HOCl + 2HAc ↔ Cl2 + 2H2O + 2Ac- (Ac : CH3COO)] was chlorine gas which is a pulmonary irritant with intermediate water solubility that causes acute damage in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Chlorine gas was first used as a chemical weapon at Ypres, France, in 1915. Of the 70,552 American soldiers poisoned with various gases in World War I, 1843 were exposed to chlorine gas. There was not much that anyone could do, my innards just needed to heal. And it did.
Now, once again we are in a place where our everything is on the altar, awaiting His fire! I recently said to a friend that it feels to me that all my life, that is where my life had been – on the altar! We have done what we could, following His leading every step of the way, and should we have erred somewhere, we have repented, and He has also worked His forgiveness in and through us, and we believe that He is busy with something so amazing in our lives which will proclaim to everyone who knows us or have heard of us through the magazine or internet, that He is alive, and exactly Who His Word says He is! I believe we will see Him face-to-face and live to tell of His goodness for ever and ever! He has promised, and he will do it!
In February this year Father said to me to open a PayPal account. For weeks I walked about, mulling about it and asking for confirmation. Then a facebook friend said Father has told her He is releasing the funds necessary for those buried visions and dreams and we should get our PayPal accounts because finances will come from all over the world. So, in obedience I went to the bank and got everything in order, not knowing how Father will work this out, because He told me never to ask for money from anyone, never to complain and to always give freely of what I receive from Him – freely receive, freely give!
A fortnight ago I was in Hermanus for our weekly shopping and had to stop at Clicks to buy zinc salve for Maré who suffers with psoriases (which I believe Father has healed him of and his healing will manifest). The chemist then told me about this salve that apparently works wonders for psoriases sufferers, but I would need a prescription from a doctor. I quickly phoned a friend who is a medical doctor and he kindly gave me a presciption for it. But, oh my, when I asked for the price, it was so expensive! R650 for 60g! Buying it would leave me with very little money for food for the next 2 weeks. I nevertheless felt I should get it, because with all the additional stress Maré was really suffering, so much so that the wounds under his feet were bleeding and he was at times walking with extreme difficulty. But, I was so scared of how he might react because of the high cost of the salve, my heart started palpitating. The previous day he told me that we have very little money for this month and that we should work very careful with what we have. Anyway, on my way back home I prayed and just asked the Lord to provide for our needs and take care of Maré’s possible anger and my reaction to it. The whole way (20 km) I was in two minds whether to tell him the truth about the price, or telling a lie, but the Lord said, “No, no lies!” I schemed how and where I could possibly cut on expenses. When I got home and told him the whole story, he immediately demanded to know what it cost! I decided to be truthful and take whatever comes my way. Was I surprised and thankful when he was upset only that they could charge so much for such a small amount, but not at all with me! As it was almost supper time then, I first made supper and then we watched a movie. It was almost ten at night when I switched my computer on and there was this message from a friend in Canada, “Annalize, I wanted to totally surprise you with this but I have no idea how to do this and get it to you. The Lord has told me to send you money and He wouldn’t let this go. It was on my heart all night to the point that I knew that it is urgent. …it seemed to me that the Lord was really pressing me on this to do it quickly, so I will! So please tell me how I can get this to you. Is it safe to just mail it to you probably in a bank draft or money order? What kind of currency do you use so I can have it sent in your currency? What is your mailing address? Please let me know the best way to do make this happen which will make it the easiest and fastest for you.” I wept! I praised the Lord! I profusely thanked Father and asked Him to bless her. As I was praising the Lord, He said to me: “Annalize, you know what I want? I want you and all my children to praise me like this even when things “go wrong”! I want you to have joy, exceeding abundant joy in every circumstance and situation, only because of Who and What I AM.” I have thought that I always did that, but I then saw that my joy in and under all circumstances should be unshakeable! It should always overflow towards Him!
The next morning I received another email, this time from a friend in Europe asking for my bank details. She wrote, “Our heavenly Father has told us to send you something!” With my whole heart I believe Father will perform His every promise to us and His body worldwide. He will shut the mouths of the mockers and scoffers and will restore to us the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, His great army, which He had sent among us. (Joel 2:25)
He, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Father forever and ever, has poured me from vessel to vessel, and in His great grace did not allow me to settle on the dregs! May He be blessed forever and forever more!!!!!!
Should you want to have a look at some of my photos you could do so, here: Life in Pictures.