It’s been over a year since I last did a life update sharing the news that we had decided to move to Johannesburg. Now, after two big moves, a couple of school changes, plenty of packing (and unpacking), and much uncertainty, I find myself writing this from the comfort of my cosy bed, back in drizzly, windy Somerset West. And I couldn’t be happier.
So much has happened over the past year – so much so that I feel a bit dizzy just thinking about it all! A month-long stay in Kalk Bay while house-sitting my aunt and uncle’s house (and before setting off on the arduous road trip from Cape Town to Jozi), months spent trying to find the perfect new school for Beanie, address changes, registering cars, settling into our new home, coffee and lunch dates with new (and old) friends, new clients, the death of my beloved Oupa, the death of my husband’s Granny, a month-long stay in Kimberley… my marriage also went through it’s rockiest patch yet, and I found myself battling with depression yet again. It’s been a really, really tough year.
As excited as I was to move back to Jo’burg, after a good few months, I found that I simply wasn’t settling in and I yearned to be back in the Cape – and closer to my friends and family. I also wasn’t happy with the school that Beanie had been attending, and I missed the lifestyle we enjoyed here in Somerset West. I missed being able to go for a quick walk around the neighbourhood, and I missed popping by my mom’s house for a quick cup of coffee whenever I needed it. Since both my husband and I work from home, it didn’t make sense to keep trying to settle in a city where I simply didn’t feel at home.
It’s been exactly three weeks since we arrived back in Somerset West, and although things are still up in the air, I feel at home for the first time in months. I’ve been back on anti-depressants for a couple of months now and I know that those have played a huge role in my sunnier outlook, but I also know that the beautiful scenery, regular walks on the beach, and the proximity to close friends and family all go a long way towards feeling more positive about life in general.
I have spent much of this past year stuck in a victim mentality, wondering what on earth I’d done to deserve all the difficulties that have come my way and feeling angry with God because things weren’t going my way. It’s taken a lot of time, hours spent journaling, and a good dose of prayer and meditation to realise that everything that has happened up until this point has happened for me, not to me. It’s a massive cliche, but I’ve had to find my faith again and have learnt to trust that there is a bigger plan, and that He knows what that plan looks like (even though I have no idea where life is headed).
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I stumbled upon this scripture earlier today, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I am never going to be fully in control of my life, so I might as well stop trying. I can’t survive on my strength alone. I have always been a proud person and hate asking for help, but I’ve had to suck it up and rely on the kindness, generosity, and understanding of others more than I’d like to over the past year. Being vulnerable (or ‘weak’, as I’d typically describe it), admitting defeat, and asking for help has been extremely difficult, but it’s also brought me closer to so many people and has opened up my eyes to the love that surrounds me. My own weakness has allowed God’s love to shine brighter and stronger than ever before, through the actions of my family, my friends, and often from unexpected sources, too. The delicious home-cooked meals from friends while we were packing up ahead of our move, the support from my friend, Tash (and her husband, Adrian), when I was going through a really difficult time, the wise words and endless support (and voice notes) from Errolene and Keri, the love and compassion from Mandi, the prayers and boundless love and support from my grandparents (and delicious food, too!), the hospitality, love, and generosity of my brothers, my parents, my brother- and sister-in-law, and our friends, Caz and Stef, since being back in Somerset West… they’ve all acted out of deep conviction and a love for my little family, and they’ve helped me to know that God is real – and that He is here for me. That He hasn’t forgotten me. That He has a plan for my little family. That we’ll be ok, no matter what.
I haven’t really stopped to think about everything that’s transpired over this past year until now, and doing so has made me realise that I have changed so much in these last 12 months. It hasn’t been all bad and there have been plenty of highs too, but the lows have been much lower than I’ve ever experienced before and they’ve taught me so much about myself, about life, and about love. And about God, too!