Before I tell you about some lessons lock-down is highlighting about myself, I moved off the horse farm and am staying with my brother FC, Corine, Janco and baby Josua in Stilbaai.
I knew I would not stay in paradise for ever and the 4 weeks will be quite unforgettable.
I loved my walks every morning and fortunately, the weekend I moved, a new rule in SA to walk between 6-9am came into effect.
I am like an arrow from a bow every morning from 7-8'ish walking the streets of Stilbaai. The sun-rise is spectacular most mornings.
I am teaching the Bible to my brother's 7 year old son, Janco.
The photo at the beach (4th pic above) was the morning I went to 'steal sand' for my SandBoxBible.
Janco loves Jesus since he was very small. When he was tiny, sitting on his father's neck he would always wave to the sky and shout 'hello Jesus'
Janco and I have been watching SUPERBOOK on YoutTube every day. Once done watching a story, Janco would find the figures from the SandBoxBible collection and rehash the Bible story we watched. He would ask me various questions and I re-affirm the story to him.
I find this an incredible tool to teach my brother's son the stories. My highlight was when we watched the Book of Revelation. It was really well done for children. I will never forget Janco's face when he "saw heaven coming down" I told him that this is where his late uncles, Zarias and Antonie are and a light went on in his eyes.
Then we watched the story of the fall again in the Garden of Eden and Janco could start to figure out where the Devil came from... and where he will be going one day. (He is happy about that one!)
The photos below was before I had sand. We did Joseph and his brothers on the back of the couch and because I had a jail made for Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, we had a jail for Joseph in Egypt.
My scene behind my computer have also changed...
and I am one happy 'tannie 'Lisi'
I am having fun with baby Josua. He is such an easy child. He only moans for the bottle and that is it. No crying. Just a really happy baby that smiles when he dreams.
I think my family will look back on this lock-down season as a time we came much closer together.
Not so good news:
Mom has been diagnosed with heart-failure. We know God has been extremely gracious to us with mom.
Do keep her and dad in your prayers please. They are looking after my two doggies for me.
Their business is also closed and can only open on level 2. It is most likely the same for my youngest brother and his (nearly due with twins) wife. The date she is due is the 2nd week of June.
I am grateful on MANY MANY levels for this incredible gift of time with my family.
What am I doing?
Seeing that I am going through the Bible with Janco, I am figuring out Old Testament figures to create. I need Goliath! and a few more O.T. people.
Seeing how a seven year old enjoys the SandBoxBible is fuel in my fire to see it go out to families.
If there was a way to bring my machine to Stilbaai in this season, I would have... but it is an elephant to move. It will need to wait.
I wonder if the Masters will gather again in 2020. We are supposed to later this year. Students are using google classroom for work and reports.
It will take a miracle with flights and South Africa's leaders are quite something at the moment. According to our Covid numbers my country should not be in lock-down. The opposing party (DA) is trying to be a voice for much of the grave injustices that is now playing out for all to see.
Some family pictures I treasure in this special season
When I go walking for an hour every day I listen to books.
When else will I have time?
I just finished the last hour of "The Life you've always wanted" by John Ortberg. This is the second time listening to the audio book and because I am not in "book-report" mode, I am taking in much more than during my masters. It is a book one can revisit every 3-4 years. If you do not have it, it is a good one to invest in.
On the not so spiritual side is a free audible book called "CAFFEINE" I thoroughly enjoyed. If you like your coffee like I do... it is worth listening to.
As many of you know YWAM Missionaries live from the generosity and support of family, friends and churches.
Thanks to my supporters who are there for me during this lock-down season. I appreciate it.
LESSON I AM LEARNING
It is harder with more free time to practice spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, praying and reading good books. It simply confirms to me that having more free time does not mean I will read the Bible, read good books, and pray. This is why it is called a DISCIPLINE. Having more time is like a test. It actually makes it more difficult!
Get off the internet. I suddenly realized why I had no time. YouTube is a hungry monkey that can grow into a hungry gorilla. I had to make the difficult choice to 'get off YouTube' and not to watch every whats-app video! Suddenly I had time.
Then I had to ask myself: what am I gaining from what I am watching? Do I grow spiritually? Is this adding to my relationships or taking away from it. How is my discernment growing or is this dulling my discernment? Is this strategic for where I am going in life, or simply noise I am adding to my life.
I do not have to watch every whatsapp video.
This is hard because now I am touching relationship... How to say no without rejecting someone, or feeling they will reject me if I simply say 'I have not watched it'
Whatsapp is great tool for communication but is a key factor to not having time, or to be pulled away from my bible study time in the morning when I wake up and when I go to bed. When I try to pray these conversations are constantly in my head. This is my fault!
I practice the discipline of reading long portions of scripture when I wake up and when I go to bed. Whatsapp and my 'brain-addiction' to go there all the time, had to stop. I simply had to break the pattern.
Then I deleted my FaceBook for a season. I do not know which one is the biggest gorilla in my life but both whatsapp and Facebook are not mere monkeys I am playing with anymore. They have become time-stealing monsters and I do not have any more bananas to feed them.
THIS IS HARD.
I try to practice servanthood. How much am I serving without grumbling. Everytime I wash dishes I go into a time of prayer, 'dear God change me'
'Dear God, giving in secret is so contrary all'
'Dear God, babies are so important' Serving this one makes you smile.
... things like this is what I am pondering during lock-down.
What are some other spiritual disciplines?
Dallas Willard, in The Spirit of the Disciplines, and Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline, have compiled a list of spiritual disciplines and practices they believe were modeled in the life of Christ. These disciplines are typically organized into two categories:
the disciplines of abstinence (or “letting go”)
the disciplines of activity.
Disciplines of Letting Go
These practices allow us to relinquish something in order to gain something new. We abstain from “busy-ness” in ministry, family life, and work. We stop talking for a while to hear from God. We give up buying another material possession to experience God more fully. First Peter 2:11 warns us to “abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” Identify what is keeping you from experiencing greater strength and perspective. Do you talk too much? Are possessions controlling you? Are you too worried about what others think? Choose disciplines that will help you become more dependent on God.
Solitude—Spending time alone to be with God. Find a quiet place to be alone with God for a period of time. Use the Bible as a source of companionship with God. Listen to Him. Remain alone and still.
Silence—Removing noisy distractions to hear from God. Find a quiet place away from noise to hear from God. Write your thoughts and impressions as God directs your heart. Silence can occur even in the midst of noise and distraction. But you must focus your attention on your soul. This could mean talking less or talking only when necessary. And it could mean turning off the radio and the TV.
Fasting—Skipping a meal(s) to find greater nourishment from God. Choose a period of time to go without food. Drink water and, if necessary, take vitamin supplements. Feel the pain of having an empty stomach and depend on God to fill you with His grace.
Frugality—Learning to live with less money and still meet your basic needs. Before buying something new, choose to go without or pick a less expensive alternative that will serve your basic needs. Live a simple, focused life.
Chastity—Voluntarily choosing to abstain from sexual pleasures for a time (those pleasures that are deemed morally right in the bond of marriage) to find higher fulfillment in God. Decide together as a couple to set aside time to go without sexual pleasures in order to experience a deeper relationship with God in prayer.
Secrecy—Avoiding self-promotion, practice serving God without others knowing. Give in secret. Serve “behind the scenes” in a ministry that you are assured few will know about.
Sacrifice—Giving of our resources beyond what seems reasonable to remind us of our dependence on Christ. Choose to give your time or finances to the Lord beyond what you normally would.
Disciplines of Activity
Dallas Willard writes, “The disciplines of abstinence must be counter-balanced and supplemented by disciplines of engagement (activity).” It’s choosing to participate in activities that nurture our souls and strengthen us for the race ahead.
Study—Spending time reading the Scriptures and meditating on its meaning and importance to our lives. We are nourished by the Word because it is our source of spiritual strength. Choose a time and a place to feed from the Word of God regularly.
Worship—Offering praise and adoration to God. His praise should continually be on our lips and in our thoughts. Read psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs, or sing to the Lord daily using a praise tape. Keep praise ever before you as you think of God’s mighty deeds in your life.
Prayer—Talking to and listening to God about your relationship with Him and about the concerns of others. Find time to pray to God without the distraction of people or things. Combine your prayer time with meditation on the Scriptures in order to focus on Christ.
Fellowship—Mutual caring and ministry in the body of Christ. Meet regularly with other Christians to find ways to minister to others. Encourage one another.
Confession—Regularly confess your sins to the Lord and other trusted individuals. As often as you are aware of sin in your life, confess it to the Lord and to those you may have offended.
Submission—Humbling yourself before God and others while seeking accountability in relationships. Find faithful brothers or sisters in Christ who can lovingly hold you accountable for your actions and growth in Christ.
Bill Donahue, Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996), pp. 51-52