‘Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.’
In every relationship, trust is vital. Without trust, a solid foundation cannot be built. The key to building long-lasting relationships is to have complete faith in one another, knowing that you can depend on each other to keep their word.
‘Trust may be the most important factor in successful relationships. A person trusts another when they feel that they can be vulnerable and everything will be alright. You can build trust in your relationships if you are prepared to make the effort. Building trust requires making a commitment to trustworthy behaviour.’
According to an article on WikiHow, there are three clear ways you can show someone you can trust them: by doing what you say you’ll do, honouring your promises, and being consistent over a period of time (‘Someone reliable is someone you can always count on’).
It’s been over 7 years, yet I still have a hard time processing what happened to me. It has influenced my relationship with God, made me question God’s promises towards me, and has made me wonder if I can really depend on God.
It’s like I said, in a relationship trust is vital. Without it, you can’t trust one another. I used to be able to trust God easily, because He always came through for me and kept His promises. I’ve been obedient to God, listening closely to what He wants me to do. By doing that, I would then receive major favour upon my life and be blessed through rewards. This recipe always worked…
Until seven years ago, when, within seven years, seven knocks came knocking on my door.
The first knock happened when my parents and I moved back to Worcester in 2013. God gave my parents a clear word that they should return to that Boland town. As soon as we arrived, things started falling apart. And it kept falling apart in every way until 3 years later, when we finally got out of that town and moved to Johannesburg. I still don’t understand why we had to move back to Worcester or what was the purpose of us being having to return.
The second knock came when I received a scholarship to study at the University of Stellenbosch. I have received prophecies numerous times that I will make an impact in student government, change student policies and be an influence in student bodies.
I got the full scholarship, started studying and attending classes. Within two weeks, I just felt God saying that I needed to get out. My mom received the same exact word at that same time, that same morning. As always, I was obedient and heeded to God’s word.
I gave back my scholarship, but I cried as I did it, not understanding why I had to do it, but fully trusting that God had a good reason why He didn’t want me to study further.
The third knock came after my first cochlear implant operation. There were two bandages wrapped around my forehead to keep the wound from bleeding. I had to keep it on for three days, and then return to the hospital where a doctor would take off the bandages.
I remember during those three days, the bandage was extremely tight and my forehead hurt even more than my wound did.
When the bandages were taken off, I had a hole the size of a R2 coin right in the middle of my forehead. The skin was completely gone, and the hole was blue and purple from the lack of oxygen.
I had to go for plastic surgery to close up that hole. To this day, I still have a clear mark on my forehead, which I have to cover with foundation (and sometimes a fringe).
It was around this time that I also started having panic attacks in the form of struggling to breathe deeply. One weekend, I was admitted to the hospital because I just couldn’t breathe. They did all kinds of tests on me. One doctor told me I had asthma, and prescribed a cortisone pump that I would have to ‘use for the rest of my life.’ Thankfully, my mom started massaging my back for a couple of nights in a row and eventually the spasms went away. I no longer need to use a cortisone pump, and I definitely don’t have asthma.
The funny thing is, I had received confirmation from God two times that I should get a cochlear implant operation; the first was at a function in Belville, when I bumped into my very first audiologist I had when I was a kid. The second time was when my latest audiologist at that time also recommended it to.
The fourth knock came regarding my career. It came to halt when I arrived in Worcester. At first, it looked like things would be going well when I appeared in a music video for Straatligkinders, as well as when I got the leading role in Kinders Van Stilte, an Afrikaans theatre production based on Children Of A Lesser God.
Then things started to go downhill from there. I met up with a variety of film producers, asking them if I could shadow them in their work. Some of them promised to give me the opportunity; none of them ever did.
One television producer from kykNET also promised me a television show called ‘Vat My Hand | Take My Hand.’ It took a couple of times of meeting up with him, visiting him in his studio, until I realized I was wasting my time and let it go.
I had also signed up with a modelling agency in Cape Town, but after what happened to my forehead, I couldn’t do it anymore.
I couldn’t understand, as I had felt God tell me that my time in Bloemfontein had been over, that it was time for a new chapter. Yet this chapter in the Western Cape remained blank. Why?
The fifth knock came when we moved to Johannesburg. By then, I believed my career was now over and I had given up. I decided to go in the ministry, which was a safe thing for me to do. I got an administrator / PA job at the church where my parents were now head pastors, and I started dating a guy in church.
I received a clear word from God that I was to date this guy. Things went well, until it didn’t anymore. Then I received a clear word from God once again that I was to break up with him. I was scared as hell, as by that time we were engaged to be married.
I just couldn’t disobey God; I broke up with him. I was devastated.
The sixth knock came with my father’s death. At that time, I was in Redding, California doing BSSM. Two weeks before my graduation, my father phoned me and told me had lung cancer. My parents came to California for my graduation, and everyone prayed for him. He even visited the Healing Rooms.
We returned to South Africa, and within 7 months he passed away.
What I couldn’t understand was that my father still had so many prophecies over his life that had yet to come pass. Sometimes I wonder if certain prophecies continue when we pass into eternity? Or does it get passed on to our children, or in my father’s case, get passed on to Johan (my nephew)? What happens to all the prophecies that did not take place? Is it void, nullified when we die?
The seventh knock happened last year, when I received a scholarship to study at Simpson University in Redding, California. After I finished BSSM in 2017, I had said to God that if He wanted me to return to Redding, He would miraculously provide all the finances. Then I received this email from Simpson University, stating that all BSSM alumni qualified for a scholarship at SU.
In December 2019, I received bad news: SU would only cover my tuition and accommodation; the rest I have to provide for (medical aid, flight tickets, visa costs, pocket money, travel costs, etc.). And I had to prove that I already have a year’s worth of finances to cover all my expenses, in my bank before I can even apply for a visa.
We all experience setbacks and major disappointments. What’s interesting to me, is that we tend to remember the bad stuff more than the good stuff. I am confident and sure that there’s been many times during the last 7 years that God was still faithful and that He still came through for me, but somehow I have a hard time remembering them.
Why do we forget the good stuff so quickly, but hold on to the bad memories?
Why do we only remember the bad memories?
Here is one user on Quora’s thoughts on these questions:
‘We don’t (remember only the bad memories). It’s just that bad memories give us pain and the pain we feel stands out in our minds more than do the joyous experiences we’ve had.
Somehow we have been conditioned to feel subconsciously guilty for having good times and enjoying our lives, but we don’t have the same feelings about suffering.
I suspect this guilt feeling comes from some religious concept and tradition built into our society from centuries ago… Suffering is traumatic and the presence of trauma might account for its standing out more in our memories.
The truth about memories is that they never exactly fit the actual experience remembered. They are coloured with our beliefs, opinions, desires, and dreams and so many differing emotions that the memories become a new separate experience in themselves.
I try not to do very much remembering. It’s more important to me to intensely in the present, letting the moments come and go and making no attempt to hold on to the experience each moment brings.’
Jennifer Warner says the following:
‘Researchers say negative emotions like fear and sadness trigger increased activity in a part of the brain linked to memories. These emotionally charged memories are preserved in greater detail than happy or more neutral memories…’
I know that good stuff did happen the last seven years. Stuff such as:
Despite what happened to my forehead, God provided the finances for me to get not only one but two cochlear implants. This has brought my hearing up to 80%, which is an absolute miracle.
The implants also gave me the confidence to go by myself, to California for 9 months (which I would not have been able to do with the 40% hearing I had before the implants).
My nephew Johan was born during this time. For the first two years of his life, he lived with my parents and me, and was an absolute joy (and still is) to watch him grow up.
I know that if I had married that guy, it most definitely would have ended up in divorce. I was saved from a lifetime of emotional pain when I decided to break up the relationship before the wedding day.
My mom and I almost moved to Cape Town 2018 and opened up a guest house. But instead God guided us and we moved back to Bloemfontein, which was the safest and best decision for both of us (and my grandmother) at that time.
Financially, my mom and I was able to rest and ‘Just Breathe’ for one year following my father’s death. God made it possible for us to restore and be renewed.
In 2019, I achieved some personal goals. I had the opportunity of having my own radio programs on OFM and Maluti FM, which is something I have always wanted to do. Finally, I was able to tick off this dream off my list. I started writing again here on my website, which is something I never thought I would do again. I also started exercising again, and I enjoy it immensely.
In December 2019, when I received the bad news from Simpson University, I contacted Stellenbosch University. Their applications had already closed by then, but I am trusting God for immense favour. When their offices open up next week, I’m hoping they’ll grant me the grace to study there from this year on.
Maybe I was not supposed to study in California, but it awakened a desire in me to start studying… So maybe I’m meant to end up at Stellenbosch University instead. Like someone told my mom recently, ‘Maybe Stellenbosch needs Vicki more than Simpson University…’
In the Bible, stones played a critical role when it comes to remembering God’s faithfulness. I want to train and rewire my brain to remember the good stuff more than the bad stuff. I want to remember where God came through, instead of where God didn’t (or so I thought).
‘Samuel used stones as a memorial when God’s people wanted to remember His goodness and faithfulness. First Samuel 7:12 says that when God enabled the Israelites to defeat the Philistines, the Prophet Samuel “took a stone and … named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’
Joshua also used stones to help God’s people remember His goodness. After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, the Israelites experienced the power of God to roll back the waters of the Jordan River, enabling them to cross over and take possession of the Promised Land. Joshua then commanded them to build a memorial of stones as a public testimony of what God had done for them … stones that would remind them to keep on praising Him.’
Anne Graham Lotz
I have to choose to let go of the things I don’t understand. I don’t have the bigger picture; God does.
In this gorgeous video that Jonna Jinton made, she talks about the art of balancing stones. It takes time, patience and concentration to stack stones on top of each other.
You build and build the trust between you and God, and just a little bit of wind can knock it over, like it was never there in the first place.
‘In this moment, I try to find a tiny, tiny little balance point, my thoughts are completely silent and that’s a very good feeling.
Sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes to take a balance, and sometimes an hour. But when it’s done, I love to watch the stone balance. It looks so still and quiet in a world that is constantly moving.
Just go out there, find some stones, play around and have fun. After a while, you will get to know the stones and get a feeling of how to balance them in the best way.
You will learn to see which stones works best together. You might spend a lot of time trying to balance a stone that will never balance.’
I remember when I was at BSSM. Leslie Crandall, who is Associate Overseer of BSSM 1st Year, spoke about how trusting God is like a river. At first, you only dip your toe in the water. Gradually, you step with both feet into the water. Then you go knee-deep, then waist-deep, until you are fully emerged.
She also said that it’s important to just let go, let the river take you were it will lead you, and not to fight the current.
This is something I have to remind myself regularly: Trust is a process.
Three years ago, when I was still at BSSM, I had posted this on Facebook & Instagram:
‘I’ve been dreaming every night since I was a 9-year-old and I asked God to fill my nights with dreams. Most of the time they are just a reflection of the emotions I experience in life.
But last night’s dream was significant.
I dreamt there were tiny little holes all around my body. Then the Holy Spirit came as a white dove and flew directly at me. As He was flying towards me, He suddenly broke up and split up into dozens of tiny little doves and flew straight into all the holes inside of me.
The light piercing the holes were bright and blameless and warm and full of life. The light covered me and filled me and made me whole and full. There were no holes left after this transformation. Nothing lacking anymore, nothing that needed replacement.
This morning I woke up. With hope in my body.’
This is my prayer for this year: That I will experience a renewal of hope, and that I will experience God’s faithfulness once again.
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