Surrender

After a long and weary road of being Jonah, I have once again (finally) come to the conclusion that surrender is, after all, a beautiful thing. Whether we run away from God because of hurt or pain or apathy or anger or whatever other reason, we only end up hurting ourselves in the process. Surrendering to God always brings intense relief, peace, contentment, and a sense of grounding. The floor is no longer shaking beneath my feet-it’s solid and real.

I don’t know why I keep doing this, but either way, it’s good to be back in His arms. It’s not safe, and it’s not easy, but it’s the best and most peaceful place to be. The most secure.

A while ago, I wrote this poem, and I’ve shared it a few times on this blog. But I keep experiencing layers of it, and today is yet another day when Like a Dance is relevant, so here it is once again. Happy Monday, everyone. xxx

Like a Dance

I am not interested in the mediocre.
Destiny, breathless, alive, fire.
These are a few of my favorite words.
I am not interested in living on the edge;
I am interested in jumping off it.

Let me fade, let Him grow clearer.
Where I am, I am in the way.
Where I walk, I walk in the wrong direction.
He is a breathless symphony;
He is the beat in my heart
and the fire in my chest.

Where I am mediocre,
He is extravagant.
Where words fail me,
His song always prevails.

He is adventure; He is love.
He is raging fire; He is a silent wind.

Being with Him is like a dance;
a dance none of us know,
a dance we once knew
and now must learn.

He leads and we follow;
He goes and we go after,
into places strange, unseen.

God of mountains, God of seas
God of the tempest and the firestorm:
take me there.

Speechless

A world of words inside my soul; how can I explain it? All the words I know can’t come close, all the pretty prose and turns of phrase are useless.

Can you translate the whispers of the deep into spoken words? Can any amount of music or painting come close to revealing true beauty? Can the glory of the sun compare to the essence behind the sun, to the lifeblood which gives it its glory? Can a foggy mirror produce the same clarity as the thing it reflects? Does the moon shine as brightly as the sun, whose light she mirrors? Sing, my soul, and speak, my mouth, although all falls short of God, although all falls short of the depth of feeling. Though I fall short, still I give my all.

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I Am Not a Trashcan

I am not a trash can for your past.

It has been such a long time since I’ve felt like myself. Since I’ve given my soul the space to be who it really is. Since I’ve set boundaries in place so that no one else but God can influence the core of my identity. I let other things come in and take little pieces of me – chip them away and carry them off like thieves. But no more. I am Awake. And I am free. Nothing can tame me, because I stand on the solid rock that is Christ. To people who don’t believe in Him, I’m sure this sounds silly. I’m sure you’re embarrassed for me. But that no longer matters.

I’ve always tried to give the people in my life the benefit of the doubt. I’m not put off by differences or quirks. I like to celebrate who people are and I appreciate the differences and the huge variety in personalities and beliefs that my circle of friends contains. I truly love and appreciate the people who are in my life, even when I disagree with them. Can you do the same for me?

Sometimes I hide what I believe because I feel I have to make up for the bad experiences people have had with Christians. But you know what? If you walk around pinning all of your baggage with Christianity on the people around you, that’s something you need to work through. If your first reflex when speaking to me after you hear that I’m a Christian is to only take what I say half seriously, that’s something you need to think about. I’m not trying to undermine the hurt some have experienced in church or at the hands of Christians. I recognize it and I know it’s a problem. But:

I am not a trash can for your past.

And I can’t keep quiet about this very big and important part of my life, because it is exactly that. Whatever you might believe about the truth or lie of the Bible, God is the reason why I’m still here. He’s the reason why I’m free. He’s the reason why I have the courage to get up in the mornings and face the day. He is the breath in my lungs. He is the lava in my lamp. He is the coffee smell in my coffee. Basically, I love Him. And I shouldn’t have to apologize for that, or justify it, to the people who call themselves my friends – just like I don’t expect my friends to apologize or justify to me why they are who they are.

I lost myself when I started to try and hide Him away. I hate admitting that I even did that, because it breaks my heart to imagine how that must have hurt Him. But this is Attempting Authenticity, and here is where you’ll find raw truth. And there will be no more hiding. I am free.

Photo cred: Debbie Orolowitz.

The Long-Awaited Adventure

Brace yourself: a long but important post is coming. Many of you have been following this blog for years and years, and I want to share this with you because it’s the next step in my life.

This blog once contained a lot more UCT (University of Cape Town)-related posts, but after the third year there aren’t really many new things to talk about, so they haven’t been as prolific lately as they used to be. This one isn’t about UCT, per se, but it is about what I’ve been studying and why.

img200.jpegTowards the end of high school in 2010, I allowed myself to dream big and think, “What do I actually want to do with my life?” Two things popped up that had been there for a while, chilling in my subconscious: a heart surgeon and a writer. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a missionary like my parents. The thing is, when your parents do something, you have no romantic illusions about it. You’ve seen the reality, and it’s not always a bed of roses. No profession is, but it’s easy to harbor romantic ideas about a profession you haven’t seen first hand. By the time I finished high school, I had been turned down for medical school at UCT but accepted for a BSc (Bachelor of Science), which meant that I could do some of the med school courses and transition over at some stage. I was all set to become a doctor.

office 012But then, literally the morning after I finished my high school diploma, I went with my parents on yet another month-long missions trip. Going on these trips is nothing new for me. Throughout my childhood and my life with my parents, I never went more than 8 months before traveling somewhere, and often for 3 months at a time. I feel more at home on the Heathrow, Schiphol, Addis Abiba Bole, and many other airports, than I care to divulge. I feel as at home on an airplane as I do in the UCT library, if that gives you any idea.

37192_1718061875520_6271964_nOn this particular trip, I was going to help my mom, who is the Director of Promotions at The Word for the World Bible Translators, to take photos and videos so that she would have ample promotions material for a while. I remember the exact moment when I knew, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, that this was it. The Calling. The Passion. The Life. I was sitting in the back of the room where, looking for good photo opportunities, when suddenly the thought ran across my mind: I can’t believe people get to do this for a living. And when you think something like that, you can’t just ignore it. You can’t just go back to Cape Town and start studying in a totally different direction. The change of mind was so absolute, and so complete, that it seemed idiotic and unbelievable to me that I’d ever considered anything else.

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And that, my friends, is how it came to be that I’ve spent 5 years at UCT studying Linguistics, Classical Greek, and Hebrew (though Greek is the only one I’ve studied for all 5 years). Unfortunately, I had to spend quite a lot of time convincing myself that I was where I was supposed to be, because the inspiration of the moment inevitably gives way to, “What the hell was I thinking?” I wish I could go back to my first year self and tell myself to stop worrying, stop being anxious, and just trust myself and more importantly, trust God. In any case, the point of this post is that I am finally finishing up my postgrad degree in Classical Greek, and as of the end of January, I will be throwing myself into the work of TWFTW.

IMG_4151It’s exciting to be on the threshold of your dream, and of what you believe you’re supposed to be doing, but it’s also terrifying. As I know all too well, the sweet joy of the life I’m about to enter, the life I grew up knowing, is also fraught with difficulty, frequent financial hardship, and, to an extent, isolation. The simple truth is that when you’re out of the country you “live” in for a month at a time several times a year, it’s difficult to get involved in local things, to be married, to have a family, to consistently keep up with your friends and family. To be “normal”. Moreover, it is difficult for people to relate to you and your life, and this can be isolating as well.

However, I firmly believe that as long as you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing in life, you will have the strength to live. I also believe that God gives us what we need to come through every hour, every day, every month, every year.

All of that said, I’m incredibly excited to be involved with TWFTW. Through the work they do, people who have never had a Bible in their own language before are able to have one. Can you imagine what that feels like? After a lifetime of having to read it in a language that you might know but that isn’t your language, that isn’t your mother tongue…finally, finally you hold it in your hands, and suddenly you realize that God speaks your language. That is breathtaking. And that’s what makes it all worth it. That’s what I want to help achieve.

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If you would like to receive my newsletters (they will not be nearly as rambly as this blog post, I promise, and I’ll only send one every 2-3 months so you won’t be spammed) please send your name and email to africanstardust@gmail.com, or click here.

And thank you, all of you, for following along all this time.

-Veronique

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

I remember a while ago writing a blog post about “the in-between”, where a lot of us in our early to mid 20s often find ourselves. It’s a place of uncertainty and a million roads to choose from, which can be exciting, but is also terrifying. I can’t say that I’m moving away from “the in-between”, but I do see my road more clearly now, for the simple reason that my eyes are on my God. So actually, let me rephrase that. I can’t see my road, but I can see the heels of His feet as He walks in front of me, and that’s all I really need. I become afraid when I look away from Him and try to forge my own road.

That’s not to say that His road is easy. Often it’s much more difficult, much more fraught with storms to weather and jagged peaks to climb and chasms to cross than the path I might have chosen. But it’s a path where you’re Alive and where you have His footprints ahead of you to guide you along the way.

And now I can look back over the last five years and recognize why He took me through all the things that He did. He was making me brave. Because the person I was five years ago, and three years ago, and even a year ago, was not suited for this road. This road is hectic. It’s Sam-and-Frodo-walking-to-Mount-Doom kind of hectic. But now I can, because He’s made me brave.

He’s made me brave.

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