23 January 2013 – Meeting with Dalene

During the time that my house was marked, I slept only two hours on average per night. The lack of sleep caused me to fall into depression – as a lack of sleep can do – and I made an appointment to see Dalene. She prescribed HTP5, a natural product that helps a person to sleep and she prayed for me.

The end of January 2013 – Be gone!

It was the last time that I heard a rustle in the tree next to my bedroom, where the potential burglars would climb over the wall. After a month of hardly any sleep, being depressed from it and having had enough, I decided: this is it. Time for a confrontation!

I took my little torch, with its feeble little light, went outside and walked right up to the tree. I could see the leaves rustling and I became very nervous. My heart was beating in my throat. The first thought that entered my mind was: you are too close to the tree, they can jump on you. The second thought was: no person on earth is skinny enough to sit on the very thinnest branches of the tree.

I heard a thud and moved my light to where the sound came from. On the neighbours’ roof, I saw a huge big rat, limping away hurriedly. It was the last time I had unwanted visitors in my yard or my tree.

22 February 2013 – Pearls before swine

Since the day the Lord had revealed His plan for my life, I had told a few people. Some were neutral about it, others said they heard something that confirmed it and there were those who completely discarded it. On this day God told me from His Word: do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample it and turn around and tear you up! With that, He meant that I must not tell people, because there will be many who will not believe and their disbelief will discourage me. Thus, I stopped telling people what my calling is. When the time is ripe, it will be public knowledge. But for now, only those who know, know.

After my house was marked for a break-in, the idea of selling became more and more appealing. I started packing in all earnest.

1 April 2013 – The writing in the clouds

My house was sold and the new buyers had to move in on the 5th, which was when I had to move out. I had nowhere to go, no money and way too many things to move with. The 1st of April was a public holiday and I had a braai for the very last time at my house, by myself. After my food was done, I did not quite feel like eating just yet. Instead I went to my front lawn and lay flat on my back, took my glasses off and put them on my chest and started crying. I poured out my heart before Jesus, sobbing bitterly. I was horribly lonely and terribly afraid. I had lived in my house for eight years and I was being pulled out of my comfort zone.

I very specifically asked God this question: what must I stop doing or let go of, for You to bless me again?

The next moment, I felt my eyes being directed to a letter in the clouds. It was as though my eyes were pulled by two strings into a specific direction and my attention was focused onto it.

I could not believe what I was seeing. I hurriedly wiped my tears and put my glasses on. There were thin, pinkish clouds drifting from a northerly direction toward the south. Right in these clouds was a perfect capital F, lying on its back floating overhead. The black night sky was visible in the background, where the F was. Literally as though God had taken His finger and had written in the cloud. The F was about the size of my thumb.

I was in awe. Still am when I think about it.

My mind started working overtime. F. What could it mean? My cat’s name is Frisco. Maybe I had to move to a place where I can not take Frisco. Maybe I had to give him away. Oh no! I could never!

The next moment, I felt my eyes being pulled again, to the next letter, which was almost completely attached to the F. This time the letter was much bigger. Probably because God saw that my attention was becoming divided by my thoughts. It was a capital R, also lying on its back.

Unbelievable! And quite frankly, many, many people do not believe me.

Because of my excitement and the fact that I knew no one would believe me, I ran inside and grabbed my camera. As a photographer, we realise that the scenery changes every second and every second count. As I stepped out of my house toward the front lawn, I would see the R fizzling out / starting to break up in the clouds. Hurriedly I tried to take a picture. I could not see anything through the viewfinder and thought it was because of the dark, but still took two pics in the hope that I would get the letters. In fact, I had forgotten the lens cap on. It happens, to even the best photographers in the world.

By this time my mind was racing at Mach speeds. F, R … Frisco? Or did it mean Frisco and RG? I was praying a lot for RG, but perhaps it was time to shake the dust from my feet.

I put my camera down and lay on my back again. There were three bright, very straight lines diagonally across the sky, perfectly parallel with each other. I saw them and wondered what they could be, but my mind was too distracted.

I worried and thought much about it. I ate and went to bed and tossed the whole night long. F, R, F, R, F, R … Frisco, RG … raced through my mind and sleep was nowhere to be found.

2 April 2013 – Fretting and a rainbow

I could not wait for a decent enough hour to call my sister and tell her what God had written to me. I told her of the F and the R. She was as excited about it as I was and told me that she would pray and call me back as soon as she received an answer.

About an hour later, she called me, telling me this: God showed me that there were four letters, but the last letter went missing.

(Probably because my mind was racing so much and God saw that I had stopped paying attention, hence He stopped writing.)

She also said: God will not ask you to let go of Frisco. Those are little things. He is concerned about the big things. I do not really know this English word, but the word is FRET.

Immediately I realised that the three diagonal lines that were parallel with each other, was an E! And I did not tell my sister about them. It did not occur to me at the time that it was a letter. And each letter was written bigger than the one before.

My sister continued: God says to leave the FRETTING and make room for FAITH!

She gave me two verses which the Lord had shown her: Psalm 37:1 (and a few other verses in this Psalm) and Jeremiah 12:5 (YLT). Not all versions use the word FRET, but these were the two God had pointed out to her.  I Googled the verses and a few articles on FRETTING.

Feeling relieved, I called the local radio station and asked if any flats to rent, were advertised. There were perhaps two or three, but one stood out and I called the number. Later that afternoon, I went to see Christa about the flat.

On my way there, I prayed, asking God to give me a rainbow as a sign that it is where He wanted me. I know that Jesus said that it is a wicked and adulterous generation that asks for signs however, I was abruptly pulled from my comfort zone and I was SCARED. And I needed comforting.

Driving to Christa’s place, I approached a four-way stop and a person in an SUV skipped the stop street.

Immediately I said: So, just because you drive a fancy SUV, you … don’t… have …to …

Holy Spirit: Ruth, you are fretting!

Me:   Oh LORD! I did not realise how serious this fretting was! I’m so sorry.

Holy Spirit: do not place your sin of fretting on top of the sin of lawlessness that that person exercised and which you are fretting about. Focus on your task at hand. God will deal with the unrighteous. It is not your place.

I realised that I was FRETTING myself to the point of utter exhaustion. That I needed to trust God and believe that He KNOWS what is best and will provide accordingly. And that He is the one to judge over sin and unrighteousness and not me.

As I carried on driving, I kept peering through all the windows of my car, hoping to see a rainbow. But alas, none was visible.

When I arrived at Christa’s place, I waited a few minutes for her and she came home, opened the garage and parked her Ford bakkie and opened the door for me to go inside. We talked and immediately connected as Christians. It was settled that I would move in that Friday.

After our meeting, I stepped outside and walked to my car and as I turned around to greet her, the rainbow was in the background, right across her house, with her right in the middle of it at the front door. Oh LORD! How gracious You are! I knew there and then that it was where God wanted me to be.

Over the months that followed, Christa and I had become good friends. She was a friend and a mother to me and I had grown very attached to her.

24 July 2013 – M’s scans

My best friend Marusharne – M for short – went for brain scans. Initially, I took her to the eye clinic as her left eye was giving problems and everyone thought it was just her eye being the issue. However in July 2013, she was at Medi-Clinic in Vereeniging for brain scans. The doctors discovered a relatively big tumor in her brain, just behind her left eye, causing the eye to go blind. At the time, she was only 34 years old.

Needless to say, fear gripped my heart – and everyone else’s. But M was very brave and stood strong in her faith.

Arrangements were made for an urgent operation in Pretoria.

14 August 2013 – Job

On the day before the operation, M came to see me at the plot. God kept giving her the book of Job and she asked me to pray about it. I called my sister and she told us that she believes God will instantly heal Marusharne. We prayed.

15 August 2013 – Stroke

On this day, my best friend M had a stroke.

It is not clear whether it was the night after the operation or whether it was on the operating table, but she had a major stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side and without speech, the ability to read and write, taste or smell.

According to her mother, she screamed a lot during the night after the operation and she had to be tied to her bed, as she was trying to pull the pipes out of her throat.

In the days that followed, I went to visit her. My heart broke. There was my best friend, the good arm tied to the rail of the bed. She was weak, pale. Non-responsive.

I sat next to her bed, silent. Confused.

The next time I visited her, a few days later, she looked considerably better – I can not recall whether she still had the pipes down her throat or not. I could see that her lips were parched and that she was terribly thirsty, but she was not allowed anything to drink, as she might choke. I asked if I may put some water on her parched lips because I could see she needed it. As I approached her with the cup in my hand, she reached out to grab it from me, but I pulled away and told her “no, you are not allowed to drink just yet”. She slumped back onto her pillow, eyes flashing lightning bolts at me. With my finger, I put some water on her lips, just to moisten it without any danger of her choking her. Weak and fragile as she was, she still had that strong spirit in her. A fighter. A survivor. Through Christ who strengthens her.

For about six weeks M was in the hospital in Pretoria. Her husband, Jaco drove through to see her, sometimes twice a day, plus having to take care of their two boys and the business. She gradually improved and her right leg became stronger, though her right hand and arm remained crippled. Her speech was very incomprehensive and words were extremely limited.

M’s last day in the hospital was the day she walked out to stand next to a very busy, four-lane road, trying to ‘hike’ her way home. Thankfully someone saw her and took her back inside. That day Jaco took her home to be with him, Chris and JC. She hated being away from her family and being at home, was by far the better option.

To this day – October 2017 – M can still hardly speak. Her right hand and arm are still crippled and she can not taste or smell anything. Her faith is so strong and she inspires me many times. She says that God has given her a huge testimony and we still believe that there will come a day that God will heal her instantly. As far as the tumor is concerned, the operation was successful and she was healed instantly in that regard.

5 September 2013 – Habakkuk 3:16 – 18

The Lord instilled into my heart Habakkuk 3:16 – 18.

16 I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

October 2013 – Walking with Jesus

In October I got terrible flu, was in bed for a week and on very strong antibiotics. My phone was next to my bed, playing the audio Bible in English. It must have been at the part where Jesus was at the bath of Bethesda. I started dreaming and dreamt that I was at the baths with Jesus. From the corners of my eyes, I perceived blue mosaic tiles with patterns on them. I also saw pillars. In my dream, Jesus was on my right-hand side, about a meter and a half away from me and slightly in front of me. I could not see His face. Each time I gave a step forward, He also stepped forward. We moved slowly. I knew it was Jesus and I could not take my eyes off Him. My heart was racing, beating in my throat. I was super excited. In my dream I kept saying: “turn around. Please turn around.” I craved to see His face, but He did not turn around. I experienced an unfamiliar peace and well-being which left me wanting more of it. I did not dream for much longer and when I woke, I wished I could go back to sleep and dream some more. It was an amazing dream.

22 November 2013 – Christa passes away

The Cherry Festival at Ficksburg took place that weekend and Christa came late from work. She was in quite a rush and upset that she only managed to get away from work so late. And that she was going to drive at night. I secretly hoped that she would change her mind and only leave very early the next morning, but her mind was made up. She was going.

As I sat behind my desk, looking out the window, I saw her leaving. As she drove past, I knew that I would not see her again. I felt a bit of anger in my heart that she insisted on going, even if it was already getting late. I carried on with my day. It started raining. I went to bed, somewhere between 20:00 and 21:00.

As I dozed off, Christa’s son – Jacques – knocked on my window and asked me if I could feed the animals the next day or so, that Christa was in a serious accident and that they were on their way there. I took the keys from him and I started shaking uncontrollably. I prayed that God would keep them safe on the road and I knew Christa had died. I called my sister, asking her to pray that Christa would be alright, but in my heart I knew my friend had passed away. As I spoke with my sister, my hands, knees, lips … my entire body trembled.

I sent Christa’s daughter messages to ask if she was alright and eventually the message came through that she had passed away. It felt as though my whole world had collapsed once more. I asked God: why, why, why!?!? I called my sister to let her know.

At that time Jacques and Gale had returned, knowing that Christa had passed away and that there was no use in rushing through to Ficksburg in the rain. I felt relief that they came back because I was very worried about them also.

Shock and confusion reigned.

The next day, I Googled to find out if the accident was true. I just did not want to believe it and I came across an article that confirmed the accident. It appears to have been a head-on collision with a truck and that she was killed instantly. Christa’s children told me what had happened. I did not want to see the photos of the bakkie. I just wanted to remember her as she was. As I saw her in her bakkie the very first time.

The months that followed were tough and I was preparing to move. The plot was in the market, my business was doing poorly and my life felt completely wrong.

I struggled with the Lord again for some months. I needed to understand why this happened. And true as He is, He calmed my heart and I am assured that I will see my friend Christa, in heaven one day.

16 December 2013 – Calamity (Onheil)

On the 16th of December I experienced a gripping fear of what is to come. Mandela had just been declared dead and world leaders were in South Africa for his funeral. There was speculation that he had already passed on in June, but that it was kept below the radar until December. I had a glimpse of how corrupt this country is, how evil prevails, how truth is subdued and how God will put an end to it all. One day.

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Salvation message plain