We've had the pleasure of getting to know Juann and Yolandi having met in the blog world and communicating via Facebook. I asked if they would tell us their story of how they became Christians and about their relationship. I hope you are as encouraged as I am in seeing the similarities of a couple and their Christian walk living in a country most of us, unfortunately, know little about.
Yolandi and I have been married for just under a year, but we'd actually gone through some serious tribulations even before we were engaged. We stuck together through not having enough money to eat, to me having to quit studying because I simply couldn't keep up with the 18 hour days my job at the restaurant plus my studies demanded. There was a loved one who attempted suicide, my mom's divorce from one of the most miserable POS'es I've ever met and other things along those lines.
But in the end, she has proven that she loves me no matter how much or little money I make. I was blessed in a very real way by being offered a job I never applied for by a company I had no connection to whatsoever. Today, I am moderately successful and we can afford a nice “bourgeois” lifestyle. The best part about all this is that I know my wife will support me if times ever got tough again. Her faith in our Father and in me is the single biggest driving force in my life and I hope it serves as a concrete example of why a loving wife is of the utmost importance in fostering a healthy and robust family unit. I feel ready and equipped to take on anything life throws our way because I have the unwavering support of an awesome wife who trusts me and wishes me success.
My most intense experience of our Father happened one morning in church, 17 years ago. I was an angry teenager. I had to deal with divorce, friends who died because of utter stupidity and also the usual stuff life throws your way when you're poor and not really something to look at. I was losing the plot completely when one Sunday morning our preacher gave a sermon on the time of Grace rapidly running out. He lit a candle on the pulpit and said it represents God's period of Grace. He invited us to come forward and confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. I hesitated for good five minutes (an eternity in a church service, mind you), when I finally scraped together the courage to step forward and take responsibility. I had no sooner made it to the front than a gust of wind blew the candle out. Whether or not it was mere coincidence I can't say, but it was the most powerfully clear message I could have received. This was 1996 and it took ten years to rectify the mistakes I had made in two. The Lord had taught me so much and has awarded me with wisdom beyond my years, the Joy that is knowing Him and a loving wife with which I can practice all that which I have learned.
I came to really KNOW Jesus when I started dancing at Vibrant School of Dance. Vibrant is a christian dance school. Through the freedom of dance and the interaction with other born again christians I made a choice to knowingly accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. As my husband can also share with you, I was a VERY shy person. A real introvert, with a lot of acceptance (am I good enough?) issues. My parents did not raise me like that at all, it was just the lies of the enemy, I unfortunately believed.
My confidence and faith grew and so did my dancing, but unfortunately my dancing grew faster than my spiritual life. I wasn't doing anything “wrong” in the sense but I kinda got stuck in my faith. Nobody really knew that except for me and Jesus. At first I didn't want to admit it, but faithful as the Holy Spirit is, I was convinced. None the less my dance teacher saw potential in me to become a dance teacher myself. I trained with her and started my teacher's examinations. Growing in my faith again my dancing got to a whole other level. I was truly worshiping God through dance and not just making moves to Christian music. I danced at the school for nine years in total.
My biggest faith lesson came about two and a half years ago where I started to experience hip pain. I carried on dancing with pain for about a year and thought it was just muscles that were sore. Unfortunately it got worse and worse. I went to a hip specialist who said he is 99% sure it is labral tears in my hip. For the specialist to be 100% sure that it is that, I had to go for an MRI scan. Unfortunately our medical aid did not want to pay for the MRI. Which is a lot of money, we didn't have. So I had to resign as a dance teacher and had to stop dancing completely. As being a teacher was my only income I didn't have a job. I worked on and off for about six months and then I started working at a local mall for a lady I used to teach dance to. For fifteen months I didn't dance at all. In the beginning it just felt like a relatively long holiday, but reality soon sank in. I went through all the “why is this happening to me?” Jesus knows that this is my job, but so MUCH more than that, it is my passion. Suddenly just gone!
My faith went through a bit of a struggle, but nevertheless I quoted to myself Jeremiah 29:11 “....For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.......So I HAD to cling to that with all I had. I always knew that the money for the MRI had to come from somewhere or someone else. I had the epiphany that the only reason “bad” things would happen to people is firstly to get them closer to their Creator! I'm so glad that I realized that so I sought Him even more. Just to know that I can get closer to Jesus, my priorities changed. I tried everyday to put Jesus first in my life. THEN came the blessing, someone gave me the money for the MRI scan. It was their tithe that they had to give to someone and the Lord directed them to me.
I'm getting my operation to fix the tears in a little more than a month's time.
All the glory and honor to Jesus Christ, my Healer!
It wasn't all bad this fifteen months past, my ABBA blessed me with a wonderful husband who I know loves me very much. Through Jesus we can overcome any problem that “life” throws at us. It is because of Jesus' Grace and Mercy that we are so privileged in knowing and loving and accepting one another. I absolutely love being married! I believe that the ONLY way to have a great marriage is to do it God's way!! Truly blessed!!