After a long, extremely busy and stressful winter, my favourite season of the year made its appearance a few weeks ago – Spring (although it feels like mid-summer here in SA already!) Spring is a season which always reminds me of new beginnings, new opportunities, new life! I just love the aroma in the air, the birds chirping in the early morning when you wake up, the beautiful blossoms everywhere with all the bright colours always brings a smile to my face. But this September, I could not appreciate the new season yet, I could not see a new beginning, I did not even see the beautiful blossoms, I was just too busy surviving, it was still winter deep inside my soul and in my life…
Being a working mom, working far from home, managing two school’s admin, fetching both kids from school, driving Gian to all his therapy and Leane to all her activities, doing homework with both of them requires lots of skill, time management and tons of energy. When I took it on, I knew it would be hard, but I believed in my ability and knew I could do it. I had to make it work, it was the perfect scenario. I could do the work I love and be there for my kids, but it did not take long for me to realise that it is quite tough. This type of lifestyle is chaotic, always busy, always rushing, always late….
One afternoon, I was standing in the queue in Woolies, feeling irritated because I needed to fetch my kids, but had to stop to buy something as I did not have time to make them lunch in the morning, and yes, because of the queue, I was late…..AGAIN. While tapping my fingernails on the trolley, very irate and rolling my eyes feeling sorry for myself and mad because the line was not moving fast enough, my eyes caught the name of an article on the cover of an Afrikaans Christian Magazine, “Lig” (“Light”): “Verskuif jou fokus, blom waar jy geplant is” (“Move your focus, bloom where you are planted”). Immediately I was intrigued and bought the magazine. I knew that God wanted me to read it…..but again life happened and the magazine was left unread in the boot of my car.
To be honest with you, these past couple of months were tough on me…..I struggled, even though I was still smiling, trying hard to be myself, I struggled, and it was hard to admit… Well it took a long while to admit it, because I always have everything under control. I can do a lot and believed that the more I have to do the more I can do, well so I thought…
Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being successful. I always wanted a high profile job, working for a big company, traveling the world with my designer suites and stilettos. I wanted to be somebody important, doing an important job. But this dream of mine took a slightly different turn, God had something else planned for me. My life turned out quite different than I imagined.
I was on my way to the top, working hard, putting everything into my job and then I became a mom, not just any mom, I became a special needs mom.
I resigned my job when all Gian’s problems started, because helping Gian suddenly became my passion, and although it was heart breaking to give up my career, I did it for him. While unemployed, a lot of career opportunities crossed my path, and being who I am, I took it on head strong. Some were good, some not so good and unfortunately some not good at all, but none worked out the way I thought, which led to yet more broken career dreams and unnecessary stress. No one understands my journey….. While looking back, I realised why I took everything on….. I was still chasing this dream of being successful in my job, wanting to be on top.
Since 2014, I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to do commercial work, which is my forte, at the firm I love and that on a half day basis. I was over the moon! I was so excited and thankful to God, that, although I do not fit the profile of a typical commercial attorney, working crazy hours, drinking, eating and sleeping work, He gave me the opportunity to show the world that you can be a special needs mom and a successful attorney. And yes, I thought I rocked it, in spite of it creating such a hectic lifestyle.
My perfect situation at work got challenged earlier this year when my boss and mentor resigned. Suddenly I was faced with a lot of changes at work especially having to learn to work under new management. I found myself bending over backwards trying to proof myself and my ability all over again, because they do not understand my circumstances. I was so scared and felt alone. Again I stared another career failure in the eye, yet another broken dream. It happened again, I just could not find contentment in only doing my job, my ambition got in the way of my happiness, I again wanted more, I was chasing success, just to burn myself out, finding myself unhappy, tired and depressed.
At this lowest point, I thought about that magazine I bought, and eventually read the article. Then it hit me between the eyes: You do not have to have the ideal and best circumstances to enable you to bloom. It is important to trust in God’s plan for your life, you need to surrender your whole being to Him. You must free yourself of what once was important in your life and make you available for God’s working in and through you. If your circumstances don’t change, change your attitude in order to be a blessing to other people.
It is not success that counts in this world, it is making a difference…..being significant.
I then read Philippians 2, wow, I was in awe! Here Paul told the people to be like Jesus, although he has equal status to God, He humbled himself and lived a selfless, obedient life on earth and because of his obedience God lifted him high and honoured him far beyond anyone or anything. Then Jesus said from verse 14-16 The Message: “Do everything readily and cheerfully, no bickering, no second guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I have good cause to be proud of you on the day the Christ return”.
I needed to change. I then asked God to completely free me from what was once important in my life: Wanting to be successful in my job. Suddenly I didn’t want to be successful anymore, I rather wanted to be significant. Success is merely to add value to yourself, but significance comes when you add value to people. It is so much more rewarding. Being significant in life will outlive you and this is the legacy you leave for your children, not how successful you were in your job. I might not travel the world with my job, I might not be a director at a law firm, I might never even have a management position at work, but God gave me the most important job in the world, He honoured me by making me a mom of the most awesome kids in the world! Success does not matter anymore!
When I looked back over this bad time I was going through, I realised that the only thing that kept me going was my absolute passion to help Gian fight for his place in this world. While I was weak, Gian flourished! He had an amazing term. We had a lot of breakthroughs, he even read his first word! He was the one that comforted me, wiping my tears, telling me to breathe (the way I do when he has a meltdown). I then knew, being Gian’s mom and telling our story to the world, is my purpose in this life and in the process I can add value to the life of others!
Well, I did not resign, I actually really love what I do and need to keep my brain busy, but I also love and cherish being a mom. To make it a bit easier for me, we appointed an amazing au pair to help us with the kids, not that I failed to be a good mom, or for me or Deon to work longer hours, but I just could not deal with all the rushing and driving around anymore. I want to be a better mom, spending quality time with my kids in the time I have available, being more relaxed, have more energy and having loads of fun. And because God freed me from my ambition to climb the corporate ladder, I will relax, work hard and do my job to the best of my ability with a smile on my face! I can leave the office to go to my kids, without feeling guilty and just enjoy every second I spend with them.
Suddenly I started seeing and smelling the blossoms.
A new season of significance awaits me and I am super excited! I will bloom where I am planted!