Our Story Our Song Continues……

Oh my life simply slips past sometimes….. So our days in the cape slipped by. This chapter of our Story and Song has been written.

We ended up spending less time at Living Hope than we had expected. Instead we found ourselves helping with the informal settlement fire rescue operation in Hout Bay. As well as simply spending time with people – hearing their stories – singing our songs with them during the time that we danced our lives together and they became a part of our story.

God worked

God worked it that we spent the last month of our trip staying back in the granny flat we had previously stayed. And he blessed us in so many ways. Kadin loved being apart of the music school. Nate was enjoying his dance lessons, and the twins were going to Brownies. Juggling these and youth groups on Friday night and canoeing lessons it felt like we were living here. Then one morning – 3 weeks before our date to leave.

The trip home was an adventure in itself – we stopped and saw so many places of interest. We even slept in the car at an Ultra City! We visited friends and arrived home on Easter Sunday. As we had however rented out our home and we were back early and had no where to stay once we were back. So 2 more weeks were spent staying with friends – whilst God revealed all the reasons we had to come back when we did – we stood in awe of his perfect timing and planning in our lives.

So arriving back resulted in us – once again – moving house and trying to settle into some sort of routine from our nomadic lifestyle. This has been somewhat achieved – however our feet are already itching to be on the move once again…..and so our story continues.

Our Story Our Song Day 27 – Living Hope

Monday 6 March and Thursday 9 March

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Today was a special day as we were finally able to go and work at Living Hope. We had a wonderful morning helping out on the farm. It is a lovely concept whereby Living Hope uses a farm to teach people how to run a business whilst teaching them how to grow their own food. It was really great meeting new people and hearing their story and their songs.

The little people really enjoyed spending time with the farm animals. The day was however fairly hot and we were slightly frustrated in that we were not able to help much with the two little people attached to us. We headed out at lunch time and found a beautiful spot under some trees near Kommetjie beach. After lunch we joined in with the kids club which is run in one of the poorer areas.

The idea being that many homes are unsafe and children don’t always have food so the children can spend their afternoon there and then take a warm meal home with them. We played outside with some of the children for a while whilst we waited for the kids club to start. As 2:30pm they began to play very loud music and children began to arrive from all over. They then played some games outside before moving inside for some songs and stories. It was a well organised program and the children all loved it. We did however find it very very loud and overwhelming for most of our children. As we realised things were about to fall apart we decided to leave for the program ended. It was a busy but good day.

During the day we had met a lovely American missionary family who invited us to have supper with them. It was a quick meal with little people needing to head home but been a great opportunity to quickly connect with other people and to hear a part of their story and their song. We have found this tapestry of God’s family to be something so beautiful that we can meet with strangers and without awkwardness or fear we can embrace on another and spur each other on in our journeys we’ve each been called to run.

On Thurs day we return to Living Hope and once again helped pack and pick veggies on the farm. We had spoken at length about the children’s club and realised that they had so many volunteers there that there wasn’t really much for us to do except watch others volunteer. So we rather went and helped prepare the food for the children. But even here we realised that there were already so many volunteers that we were more in the way than a help…..

Seeking God’s will

It was time for us to seek our father and hear what it is that he wanted us to do. To keep going to Living Hope (where they were already flooded with volunteers) or to seek h20170306_143708is will in other areas……

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Our Story Our Song Day 21 – Day 26 – Settling In

Tuesday 2 March – Sunday 5 March

20170305_081801 20170305_121909 20170305_124836 20170302_085328The next few days were spent establishing some sort of routine and settling in a bit after almost a month on the road. Our 4 older children moved into our tent while the younger 2 and ourselves moved into our friend’s bush lapa. What a luxury this off road caravan is! We had our own fridge, freezer and gas stove! Our stay in the bush lapa was certainly one that we would recommend to others! Garden living took sometime to get used to but we soon managed to settle our normal routines into a very different setting.

One real joy and blessing of homeschooling is that the children can easily adapt to a new – very different – environment and just pick up with life from where we left off. I had a good smile though when after breakfast they all asked to please be excused from the mat!

It is however a beautiful thing to see what we read Charlotte Mason tell us about year ago being played out now. We read how she insisted it was very important to work on one habit at a time and to lay down firm rails into a child’s life so that these habits would be established throughout life. So we began. Teaching them to make their beds, fold washing, be kind, talk nicely, ask to be excused, how to sweep, how to wipe a table, to complete their work, read their bibles, pray every morning and so on and so on. So often I felt we were wasting our time and effort. Yet I hear my heavenly father utter the same words – “train up a child in the way he shall go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Yet here in a different time and space I am watching with awe as my children are actually doing these things on their own.

My heart sang

With us not all sleeping in the same space and there being so many garden and friend distractions we have found it difficult settling in and have family bible times. This was really concerning me and then we started chatting in the car and the children all began to tell me what they had read that morning on their own. Yay. My heart sang. Yes family bible time is so important and still a corner stone in our family. Yet here I’m seeing that I no longer need to hold their hands so tightly and be responsible for their spiritual growth. Those years of encouraging them to read on their own and valuing that in our home has now allowed them to begin to walk their spiritual growth with God themselves. And they don’t need to wait for me to bring them water to drink… they know how to go to the father on their own!

Divine provision

On Wednesday we realised that our car brakes had been making a funny noise. So Neil took the car in to sort those out and we found that they needed to be repaired immediately (eeekkk R1500 cash suddenly required) but we knew we had to have it done. The next hour Neil gets a call with someone wanting to give us R1000! How amazing is this God that we serve! Not having the car for a day was a blessing in itself as it meant we could all settle down and just gather ourselves.

We took time to visit the Castle – which we had been learning about in history, as well as the water front.20170303_114918
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We went for a Saturday morning walk along St James beach with friends and then spent the day on Fish Hoek beach. I honestly didn’t realise how much we love being at the beach!

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We visited a church on Sunday and had a picnic in Tokai forest with my cousin in the forest on Sunday afternoon before being treated with a roast for supper back at “home.”

A somewhat busy but yet calmer week in that we had a base to come back to each day. I must say that I’m constantly loving the how going on a trip such as this, and emerging yourselves into people’s everyday lives has really deepened and strengthened relationships and friendships – within our own family and with people we didn’t know that well before –  in such a forever way.

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Our Story Our Song Day 20 – We Go Camping

Wednesday 1 March 
So we woke early and packed up our trailer not having a clue where we would be sleeping tonight. We had a special time praying with the family we were staying with before we headed off to get our police clearance and be introduced to Living Hope. We’d hope to be able to work into the one area but as they had a gang shooting there last week no one can work there at the moment. I went off to the mom’s group with our 2 little people and Neil took the others to go and see the farm.

I loved being with the moms. However, it was fairly structured in that I didn’t get much time to chat to the moms. But it was good to meet them. At lunch time we needed to find some picnic bits and pieces which we enjoyed at Imhoff farm. We spent sometime looking around the farm stalls and estate agents. This gave us an opportunity to share our story and our song as we asked if anyone knew of a place for us to stay.

20170305_081458We had a quick play on Fish Hoek beach before settling that we are going to take up the offer of our friends to camp in their garden. This journey is crazy and not turning out how we expected. Camping in a garden! We are literally living in the moment, seeing God simply supply our daily needs. This having faith is hard work, I’m tired!

Parenting ain’t easy…

Being Mom on the road is hard work too. Everyone needs a piece of you all the time. With camping in the garden, routine is out the window. One little person in particular is taking strain with the lack of routine. The moaning and complaining and arguing wearies me to the bone. Why does every instruction I give result in her responding with…. “No – I have an idea actually.” Me saying “No” means nothing except providing a challenge for which she can rise to. Having no routine as such has lead to a downward spiral of “but, no, But I want to , I don’t want to , actually ……”

Yet Being Mom is something we become when our little people enter into our lives – not something we just do when we feel up to it. So even when the road is long and the days endless if we choose to stop. And ask. And listen. Our heavenly father whispers his wisdom and truth into every disagreement. He leads us on and upward as to how we should keep moving forwards.

Our Story Our Song Day 19 – History and Music

Tuesday 28 Feb 

FC Georgio (1998)Today we had a fun family day exploring the Southern Suburbs. We went up to Rhodes memorial and read all about Cecil John Rhodes. After a quick sarmie picnic we hurried back to the flat-let we were staying in so that Kadin could get ready for his first violin lesson at Beau Soleil. Kadin having this opportunity is one that he has waited for since he was 2 years old so this is a very significant moment for us all. He loved his lesson. He was invited to play with the orchestra so we quickly hurried home and he had half an hour to practice the pieces. He is so excited as there is a concert in 2 weeks time. Even once he was home the music didn’t stop. Gabi – with whom we were staying with – organised for another old homeschooler friend to pop in and play violin with Kadin while she played the piano or harp. After which Kadin plopped into bed at 10:30 exhausted – but oh so happy!

 

 

Our Story Our Song Day 18 – Faith

Monday 27 Feb Day 18

Today we met with Kenny, our contact at Living Hope. As he spoke of all the things they do and how we can be involved, I felt an excitement growing in my Spirit. We may not have a place to stay, but our purpose for being here is becoming more and more clear.

It is not about us serving others – let’s be honest, Living Hope don’t really need us. It is not about us bringing hope to the lost and needy, or us in our arrogance thinking we can even offer anyone anything. It is about the journey that God has us on. It is about the faith he is building in Jo and myself, as well as my kids.

Being the donkey…

It is about positioning ourselves to be tools in the hands of the Master – to do His will. Above all, it is about him teaching us more about himself – in the way he provides, the way he uses us to bring truth and builds faith in us. It is about being the donkey. In fact this whole trip is about teaching us to be donkeys – to carry the King and his truth and principles wherever needed. It is about bringing glory to Him.It’s about pointing people to Him. It’s about adjusting the magnifying glass so that he is magnified. And through it all, he works in us. He draws us to him. He weaves the Madgwick family’s story and song into His perfect Story and Song.

 

Our Story Our Song Day 17 – What is Your Story?

Sunday 26 Feb Day 17

20170226_183748Church

Sunday dawned upon this sleepy family. We decide to attend the church with which Living Hope is associated. It was with great joy that we once again heard it being preached that we are here as the body to serve and to rub shoulders with others. He kept asking – what is your story? Can you tell your story? He spoke about binding up the broken and setting captives free, the same words spoken again and again to us.  It was profound hearing exactly what God has said to us as a family over the past months.

Catching up

After church we spent a lovely afternoon catching up with another beautiful family who have loved us so much over the years. When I first started homeschooling Kadin was probably about 18 months old. Her daughters were 12 years old and up. Yet she would let me come into their home – whenever I rocked up on the door step – and just let me be there.

We sat colouring in or playing with the chickens while she homeschooled her girls. So much was woven into the fiber of my being mom and raising my children to love and serve God in those simple hours of just watching them raise their children and being a part of their everyday life. As we still have no place to stay on Monday she gave me the number of a friend who she thinks may know someone who is away, we also left our names at the church in the morning. All we can do in this regard is trust God. Our dear friends did however invite us to camp in their garden if need be. I know that this is not the answer but just knowing there is somewhere to be brings some comfort to us in this time of absolute unknown….

20170226_191457The beach

We then spent a beautiful evening with my cousin on the beach watching an eclipse and the sunset. I don’t think my children have played on the beach till 8pm before! Winding our way home over the mountains I was asked to read our school story book to them as they dozed in the car. My mind is feeling so mixed up here. As we used to live here 10 years ago and now we here for a while but we are not on holiday and we technically have no home in KZN… it’s a very surreal feeling knowing the only place that you truly belong and can call home is heaven.

 

 

 

Our Story Our Song Day 16 – Fish Hoek Beach

Saturday 25 Feb

20170225_095042By the morning I can no longer dwell on or consider the “what if” and what will be of the next few days. Living in the here and now is all that afford ones sanity. So waking early and noting that the tide would be out soon, we worked hard to bustle ourselves off to Fish Hoek beach.

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Oh and what a treat was in store for us! As we arrived a train pulled into the station. Then as we walked onto the beach a team of old school fisherman were bringing in their nets with their great catch of yellow tail fish. What fun we had watching and jumping out the way as they hauled it all ashore.

20170225_094745Opened doors

This time even opened doors for us to speak to various beach goers about the fish, where they lived and their lives.  With some we could even testify to the goodness of Jesus within our lives. After this excitement our children hurried to the sea to splash and dig in the sand.

Before long a siren broke the calm and the white flag of shark alert was hoisted upon the flag pole. What fun it was watching people 20170225_102639who were already 2 meters away from the ocean dash further up off Fish Hoek beach, in case the shark were to jump ashore. So much excitement for one morning was awesome. The girls also made another 9 year old friend upon the beach. This was an answer to prayer for them as they have so missed all their friends at home.

After all this great excitement we were able spend the afternoon catching up with old friends and meeting their 5 and 2 year olds for the first time. Amber-May particularly loved her time in the park with Hannah. The evening was then spend catching up with another friend from way back when. Aaahh the sweet, sweet flavour of friendship and what we learn from each other. We spent a great deal of time discussing identity in Christ – which is something that God has gently been teaching us in the past year. How beautiful to see Jesus knitting the same threads throughout his body. The most profound moment was her statement that “at the age of 6 I gave my life to Jesus but only at 40 did I start living with Jesus.”

Before we knew it we saw that it was 1 am and we hurriedly said our farewells. Meeting old friends from a story that was written here 15 years ago and being able to bring truth and perspective into some very hurt lives is something we seem to be doing without that being part of the plan. It’s a prayer that through us healing will come through God using us here.

Our Story Our Song Day 15 – Unity

Friday 24 Feb 

As we are in the Southern Peninsula at the moment and it seemed20170224_124326
we’d be in Hout Bay next week we grabbed the opportunity to go for a drive along to the Cape Point – What Frances of Assisi named as “the fairest Cape in the world.” We were awed by the vast expanse of mountain and sea. One’s smallness is really amplified in a space so vast!

The glass blue waters and white sands whispered of another land. We honestly felt as if we had left South Africa and ventured into another country. As we reached the tip however we lost the awe of the Cape and were instead left in awe at the vastness of the number of people. The cars and people streamed in and out the parking lot, up and down the mountain, like ants teaming in their nest people scurried everywhere. As we began “people watching” we were in bemused by those with their selfie sticks posing and grinning as they snapped away at themselves.

Once again we began to question how many people are living in the present and are actually seeing and enjoying what they see or how many are simply living it though a camera? Those selfie pics all had the vast beauty behind the phone owner. I never saw them stand and look out at the vastness. They saw all the beauty through the screen of their camera. Only one couple had stopped. She lay upon a wall with her head upon her husband’s lap.  Like us he too was people watching – though I think our herd were the people he was watching. Hmmm I wonder what he saw and what he took home. Did those brief moments of looking into our interaction, speak to him of something from another Kingdom?

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The girls and I had a lovely time in the afternoon wondering around the local mall looking for a wallet for Amber-Mai and buying some stickeeez toys that I had always said that they could not have as Riley was too young and may eat them. Oh the excitement over a few little plastic toys.

As we prepared for supper my friend that had offered to host us contacted us to say that their complex would not allow so many people to come stay. Oh what it means to have a big family! Trusting God with your family size does not end with giving birth. Somehow people are scared of us having six children. When we traveled here in the past with just 3 children people happily hosted us now however people are not so keen…..

As we once again find ourselves without a place to stay on Monday I feel wave after wave of homesickness wash over me. This is ironic as at this point we have no home. We are wandering gypsies…. children of heaven on a simple mission…. to obey our King today.

Home?

I try to gather comfort from the fact the disciples were also sent out and had to find places to stay as they traveled and Jesus too traveled – but they did not have 6 children on mission with them and for some reason people fear children. They see them as noisy, messy inconveniences. Oh how I miss home… home…. If we have no physical address – what is it I miss…. It’s our community, our church, our people.

You see I know that while we are there we are seen. We are valued. We are loved. Here we are simply wandering strangers passing through…. As I think on the verse “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.” This isn’t talking only about miraculous provision – it is talking about the Kingdom, the body looking after each other. We share our food, we open our homes, we love and protect those within our community – and without – but we know that as long as we are in Hilton we would have a place to stay and have food on our table. Yet here and now…. it’s us and God. We have no one to rely on.

What about unity?

Yes we can send prayer requests but our family is far away. I think this is something I’m trying to process and something God is breeding in our hearts…. The bigger body. I think deep down we had assumed that as we traveled we’d call a church and someone would take us in, someone would look out for us – simply because we are part of their body. No we don’t meet together on a Sunday and no we don’t actually know them. But we are all filled with the same spirit. We are essentially all one.

So in my naivety I simply thought as long as we could find a church we’d be fine…… Very quickly we found this to not be true. Yet it was at this point that God began to challenge and poke my heart…. Do I love everyone in the body of Christ beyond my community I’m familiar with? And even within our community would I have lent my mattress or invited into my home someone not in our community that I have no relationship or identity with? Probably not! This is a huge wake up call. Is this the unity God spoke to Neil and I about last week? Is this what he’s wanting to breed in us?

Our Story Our Song Day 14

Thursday 23 Feb 
20170223_123525This morning dawned bright and sunny but Neil and my moods were far from reflecting that. I could hear what I always tell the children,  “You can’t let your situation determine your mood,” swirling  around in my mind but yet the reality of not knowing where we would be staying next week was weighing so heavily upon me. My stomach ached and I could feel myself slipping into the panic mode I had lived in and needed to choose to fight off so many times in the past 2 years. At least I can now recognise it but try as I may I could just not fight it. How I miss the sweet fellowship at North Hills Church at home. Someone to go visit and to call and pray with you. We were sinking… All I could say was that I felt like I was on Survivor and was waiting to be voted off and sent home.

It’s not often that I get into such a bad place within my mind but when I do I feel like there is simply no way out or forward. I had begun asking on gumtree and searching Facebook and property sites in all earnestness, we began to talk about Neil maybe needing to get a job while we are here so we can pay for rent….. we were doing, making a plan every minute. Yet deep down I knew none of this would work. I knew it was all wrong but I had to do something. I had to make a plan I had to save us from not having a place to stay!

Then Living Hope called to move our meeting to Monday. So now the questions rage…. Should we be going to Living Hope? Does God want us to work into another area? We have committed to a time of serving how does that look and where will it happen?

After breakfast we called the children together to pray. Such simple prayers they offered. Simply asking God to show us the way forward and where we will stay. Everyone prayed right from Riley and Maisy we all offered up our prayers and requests.

After which they all offer up words of encouragement and what was on their hearts.

Nate shared the words from a song that said: “The mysteries of our God revealed” They are revealed but we don’t know when that will happen… now or a second before when we need them.

Kadin said he kept thinking of the scripture: John 17 – where Jesus is praying for all the believers to be unified. The exact scripture God had given us the week before.

And Lily read Ephesians 3: 14 -21 – A Prayer for the Ephesians: “14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  

All these words so encouraged for us all! It is so amazing having your children on team with you.

The whole time I kept thinking of the name of a friend of ours that we had not seen in the last few years. I know she’s had a tough time so I had only wanted to have fun when we saw her and not burden her by asking if she knew of anywhere we could stay but I kept feeling to contact her…..

So after our prayers I sent out a quick WhatsApp to her to say we were in town and hoped to connect sometime but we didn’t know if or where we’ll be next week.

20170223_074558We then managed to do some school work and Neil met some work deadlines before setting out to explore Simons Town and Boulders beach. On the way we stopped at estate agents and 2 other places to see if we could find accommodation. All fruitless efforts. I was still feeling an absolute melting down panic boiling within my mind and yet somehow since we had prayed my soul was at rest. I am finding so strange how in the last while I find myself often walking in these two different realms at the same time. Maybe someday I’ll learn to trust the kingdom realm to let go and just rest in what I know – deep within my soul – is right and peaceful.

20170223_143324Whilst playing at Boulders beach I checked my phone and there was a message from my friend saying she has two rooms for us to come and stay in. I’m not sure why we are to stay there or how it will work as it is far from Living Hope but God has clearly directed us to her door so it’s with excitement and anticipation that we will enter into the next part of our adventure.

What a better way to end off a miraculous day than to spend the evening with old friends catching up on the past 7 years whilst watching our kids reconnect and watching today close over the sea and mountains below. What an awesome, faithful God we serve!

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