Growing into Maturity
What I wonderful privilege it was to have eight kids in my house over the weekend. Four big ones, and four small ones. I don’t think Josh will be impressed when he hears me referring to them as the “small ones.” We laughed, we had fun, we made food together, and the girls gave me a few lessons in the kitchen.
On Saturday we all went to the hockey and Zozzie had the biggest fan club cheering for him. At the breakfast table we all blessed him for the game that day, and asked God for three goals, and that is exactly what happened - God blessed him and he scored three goals! Aldo got so excited while cheering him on, and after every goal he prayed and said thank you.
What an experience to watch the parents next to the field. An angry father yelled at his son, “if you don’t score a goal now you are walking home!” Another lady yelled step by step instructions to her son to tell him how to play the game, and when he didn’t perform as she wanted she yelled, “Why aren’t you listening? Don’t you have any ears!” There were other parents who kept running up and down the field, and in contrast to that, there were those who sat quietly watching the game from a distance but still participating in their child’s role in the game.
This is how I experience Jesus also watching over us with a protective eye. Never too far to run to us when we get hurt, but not overbearing and forcing Himself on us. His eyes are focussed on those whose hearts are turned towards Him.
While I was sitting next to the field I interceded for the people around me, but something happened in my heart and during the game I stood up and went to sit down by myself on the grass, to pray a bit more.
“Abba, my lovely Abba Father, thank You so much that I don’t have to be an achiever in the eyes of the world to be accepted and loved by You. Thank You for Your unfailing love towards me, even if I don’t hit the ball in the goal every time. You always just put the ball before me again and say, “just try again My child”. Please Father, grant us to have mercy on our children, as you have mercy on us.”
Halftime Zozzie came over to us to drink some cool drink and I gave him a big hug. “Zoz, look me in the eyes – there is nothing you can do in this world to make me love you more, and there is nothing you can do in this world to make me love you less. Go and enjoy your game!”
“Thanks, Mom!” he said and ran off, very happy to have his fan club behind him.
That afternoon they all went for a boat ride and some fun on the water with the tube. Aldo even did some tricks and put his leg up in the air when it was his turn on the tube. Josh enjoyed it so much with all his friends, and even his dog Moya also went with! Very tired they all came back that evening and they were all sunburnt.
Zozzie came into the study where I was working and said, “Mom, thank you for this awesome weekend! It is so nice to have you here.”
Those words made me to put off my laptop immediately and focus all my attention on him. That evening we were up till past 12h00 and then I went back to the study to do a bit more work, because the deadline of the book is so close!
At one stage during the Saturday evening I was sitting with some of the girls (the cousins and some other friends) on the floor of my dressing room. We chatted about life and the challenges they are facing in school. Tinus came into the room and said, “You girls are missing the most beautiful sunset!” But for me it was worth missing, because I enjoyed the girl-time so much!
The smaller children held a concert for us and the anointing was so strong that we had to wipe away the tears when they sang “Yeshua our Messiah!”
Later that evening Aldo said, “Mom, Your angel is so big! He also liked it when we sang the Messiah song.”
All the kids and Aldo also had lots of fun, and I am surprised that he stayed awake until so late, because he was up and ready at 3h00 on Saturday morning reading his Bible and spending some quiet time with Jesus. Tinus tried to get him into bed, but it was no use. It was a long day for him, but he made it!
The Lord is faithful for sending such godly friends into his life, and through their friendship they are teaching him about that time in his teenage life that he missed. They chat about normal things, and he also tells them about his ministry. As I listen to them I stand in awe to hear what great things Abba is revealing to him. He doesn’t always talk about these things.
This was a prayer of mine that has been answered. I pled before God to send people into his life that will help him on this road to recovery. To help him with the things he doesn’t know how to handle - because for so long he has been cut off from social groups and his peers. These are friends that can pray with him and enjoy Jesus with him. And so God has handpicked each of these children to be his friends. They love God and they don’t have anterior motives other than friendship with Aldo.
The whole weekend Aldo wrote about Jesus being the bridge. Josh asked me to explain what Aldo wrote and Aldo answered him that the bridge is the cross. “Zozzie, you can’t earn your salvation through the things you do or the sacrifices you make. Jesus is our bridge to the Father and to heaven.”
Jesus paid with His blood so that we can be saved and that is the only road to salvation – we need to understand that. But there is only one way to be obedient children of our Abba Father, and that is to be disciples of Jesus - and that means we need to lay down our life, pick up our cross and follow Him. When we lay down our life we choose to die to ourselves and our selfish desires. This is an everyday process. God placed in all of us a divine destiny – a calling that He wants us to fulfil, but in order to reach this heavenly goal we need to lay down our lives in order to pick it up again with Jesus. Even if we fall today, we need to stand up again and go on. Jesus will always stretch out his hand to help us.
You probably know by now how I feel about deliverance and that is a very important part of our road with Jesus, but I also want you to listen closely to this truth: “If you have been set free – you are free indeed!” After being delivered you need to stand up and go forward without looking back. The enemy is overcome, and when you have dealt with whatever it is that he wanted to bind you with, you are free of those chains! Don’t let other Christians hold you back by trying to look for more and more faults. After deliverance we need to build, and this building process is towards your Godly character and maturity.
When we look at Paul we can see that he knew there was only way to live out Jesus’ example, and that is to die to the old man, and to live to Christ.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35-37).
In my life before the accident I used to run away from these type of Christians, and now that I am also walking a road dealing with deliverance I can see how Christians still bring damage to the body of Christ. Don’t let people convince you to keep looking back all the time, rather stretch out your hand to them and help them on a road to maturity. I see this with the friends God has brought into Aldo’s life. I see how they are stretching their hands out to him even if he makes mistakes.
I want to stretch out my hand to those of you who are saying, “Retah, I fall so many times. I make so many mistakes.” Believe me, we all do. But there is a King that stretches out his hand constantly to pull us up again. Just put up your hands high in the air and you will experience how He takes your hand. When Aldo fell from the balcony of our house, he said afterwards that he saw a hand in the heavens reaching to catch him, and supernaturally he only fell to the ground floor and not further down the hill.
Don’t fix your gaze on people. Be sure that you are led by the Spirit of God. Even this web-site is just a story of a mother testifying of the road she is walking with the King.
Do I make lots of mistakes? Yes, definitely! If you are looking for someone perfect to follow it is not me. It is Yeshua, the Messiah, you are looking for. He loves us so much, and it is His love for us that compels Him to compassion to help us in our weakness. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from the mistakes other people make. We learn from each other’s lives and from the victories we achieve. We shouldn’t expect from one another to be perfect. I mean, are you?
If I think back upon my life I know there was a time when I condemned everything I am now preaching. I didn’t want to know anything about the Jews, and with a shy smile I now realize Jesus was a Jew and that Father God chose them as the nation He would first reveal Himself to. This doesn’t make me a Jew or put a yoke on me to keep the Law, but I see something special there. When the Jews and the Gentiles finally become one as we ought to be, I believe we (the gentiles) will be partaking in His feasts, and not pagan feasts like Valentine’s day or Halloween. This is how I see it, that through the life giving Spirit (NOT by trying to keep the Law!) we will return to His feasts. Please, don’t be lead by my opinion, but only through Holy Spirit.
This is an amazing and humbling road we are walking on, and one of the greatest lessons I have learned is not to judge others. Only when a person reaches some level of maturity in Christ can you say: I don’t always understand, but Holy Spirit, if this is from You, I am willing to learn.
The alternative is to be spiritually prideful and say, “No thank you. This is not for me.” If it is not from God Holy Spirit will still show you and lead you in the right path. This is how we learn in the Kingdom of our Abba.
Humbleness has three aspects:
Obedience to God’s Word.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Complete dependency on God.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).
Trust and obey by faith, even if you don’t always understand.
The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Sam. 17:37)
My lovely Abba Father, in the beautiful name of Yeshua we want to come and worship You.
Thank You, thank You, thank You that You love us so much Lord. Thank You Lord for Your outstretched arm that guides and protects us. Please help us Lord, as your children, to increase our capacity for Your Spirit and Your Word in us. We don’t always hear Your voice because our spirit is too weak and flesh dominates, but we want to be completely surrendered to You and to Your will.
Lord, I am holding out my heart in my hands out to you – and I want to guard my heart above all else! (Prov 4:23).
(Our hearts are the targets of the enemy’s arrows, and so many times these arrows come through people close to us. People who haven’t come to that place where they had to bow their knees before God yet, or who do not walk in the path of complete dependence on God. Sometime it is Christians who are immature in their character, thinking and words. My dearest friend – Jesus met you in love to walk the road with Him, why not do the same for others? If you can’t help others in love, know that you are walking in spiritual pride. All of us are on our own road of discovery. It is a learning curve – have mercy and grace on others. Stretch out your hand in love and display the heart of Jesus!)
“Father, please forgive us and place Your hands on our hearts today. Teach us the joy of being humble. The joy of being able to bless our enemies. Teach us to live out the character of Jesus, and not our own human fleshly desires.
“Thank You Jesus for Your cross. Thank You for Your blood. We love You so much!”
Sunday I had a wonderful time with my family and friends. We laughed so much and shared about the love of Christ. What a privilege to be living in this hour. Enjoy your spouse, your children, your friends – all the treasures God entrusts you with.
For me friends are those people not looking for the perfect “Retah”, but who embrace the Retah who laughs and cries and makes mistakes.
Thank You Lord for friends! It was so wonderful to laugh with my brother again, and to have all the children around us.
Aldo gave Zozzie a hug on Sunday night and said, “Josh, thank you that you are such a wonderful brother. I bless you!”
Josh called out from his room after he went to bed, “Night Aldo!”
Tinus commented from the lounge, “Go to sleep you too. You sound like the Brady bunch!”
I smiled as I walked past to the bedroom – this weekend was definitely a highlight of my year.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord look with favour upon you and give you His peace (Num. 6).
Retah and the family