There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a timeto heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time togather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to giveup, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from histoil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has madeeverything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts ofmen; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end(Eccl. 3:1-11).
For everything in life there is a specific time. Every year during the winter holidays our family and my brother’s two daughters go to Yzerfontein for the school holidays. We are making such amazing memories sitting around the kitchen table and sharing our hearts and lives with one another. Every morning we go for a walk, and each of us has a turn to take Aldo by the arm to help him. The others skate with their rollerblades around him, and this morning Josh carried Elisma on his back the last bit of the way while they were kidding around. There is so much laughter that follows us wherever we go. What an amazing sound!
When we get back from our morning walk, we make some hot porridge with honey and cinnamon, and that is how we start our day. With steaming cups of coffee we stretch ourselves out on the couches that overlook the sea. No matter if the sun is shining or if it is pouring rain outside – we are happy because we can enjoy each other!
We split up into teams for the “Master Chef Yzerfontein” competition, and our skills were put to the test. Every evening a team (consisting of two people) get to show off what they’ve got, and the rest of us get to watch and make comments as they go along. After dinner all the kids come to sit around the kitchen table and we do some Bible study together.
The other night one of them asked while we were still busy reading our Bibles, “Hey,where is Aunt Retah’s recipe book?” The next moment we all started chatting about recipes and sharing ideas about how to improve our cooking skills. “Auntie Retah” had to make a list of the ingredients that we needed to buy the next day because the children were too excited and talked too quickly to remember it all.
During the day I also have to be on stand-by for the tennis team. Josh and Elisma are the main tennis players, but I always have to be ready when they call me to be a part of one of their double’s teams. Then I have to drop everything I’m doing, get on my bicycle and get to the tennis court as quickly as I can. “Yes Mom, you are a part of the tennis team, and therefore you need to be ready when we need you,” Josh said when I tried to make an excuse the other day.
Aldo and Chans are so at peace doing their own thing. They enjoy each other’s company and Aldo is catching up on his reading while Chans does all kinds of other things around the house. They are so good for one another.
On Monday a cyst on Aldo’s head had to be surgically removed at the hospital in Cape Town, and I had to be in Cape Town for a radio interview – so we decided to make Monday the “big city day”. I know by now that Sammy and Elisma need about two hours to get ready for such an outing, so I made sure they knew what time we were leaving the night before.Oh, how I love these girls, and their girly way of doing things. At Yzerfontein there are only a few shops that sell the basic necessities, and thus going to Cape Town is a big event. The simplicity of Yzerfontein is what makes it so special to me – there are no distractions, so all we have is to spend time with each other.
Tinus and I also make time to go on walks on the beach by ourselves. We put on our warmest jackets, but the cold breeze against my cheeks still reminds me of YHWH’s ever present closeness. We just sit there quietly on the beach and appreciate the peace and each other’s company. It is in the quietness that I count my blessings.
I am so thankful, Abba! How can I ever thank you enough for what You have done in our lives? You didn’t leave us for one moment. Even if things were sometimes difficult, you were always there with us.
Thank You for each season of our lives. Even if the winters sometimes feel so long, it is the season that You use to strip us from the leaves of our old nature. You teach us to dig our roots deeper into You, and to be totally dependent on You. The winter teachesus to be honest with You, and to allow Your Holy Spirit to search through ourhearts and to deal with the brokenness of our lives.
Even though it may be winter in South Africa, it is summer in our hearts! And for that I honour and bless the Lord! Thank You Father for this time of peace and rest.
Retah and the family.