Friday, September 25, 2009

He knows

About a week after Jouke passed my little man asked that I pray with him for Jesus to come and live in his heart. WOW! what a moment. At 4 he had made a personal relationship with Jesus. Jouke wanted so badly for his kids to know Jesus and he would be so delighted to know that Tiaan gave his life.

That said, I have been wondering how real a little boys' conversion could be. Does he understand? These things have been plaguing me, until this weekend.

We were driving to some friends' house for dinner and a some country song, about the war, was playing on the radio. Something in the song, about men giving their lives for others, got Tiaan's attention.
He said: "That's like Jesus".
"How?" I asked.
"You know how He had to die on the cross for our sins so that we can live forever, like that".


And then he continues, "Its like how Pappa had to die once and now he can live forever, with Jesus."

Big WOW!

What a comfort to know that Tiaan understands. He gets the magnitude of God's grace and he understands that life for believers does not end, rather we are blessed with eternity, in heaven, with God.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Through all this I have learned who my true friends are. They are the ones that can look at me, broken and shattered and love me anyway. They are the ones that let me feel this, they don't try to take it away from me, they know they can't, but they feel it with me. They loved Jouke and miss him, too. They talk about him. They cry with me.

I heard this song a few weeks ago and it speaks of just what I am writing about now.

Thanks for those who are willing to share the dark. I love you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today I miss Jouke. Its not just that I am grieving for him, I miss him here. I desperately want him home, want to see his half-smile, to hear his laugh.

There are moments when I think that I can do this, play this game. I am strong, I tell myself. God has a bigger dream for me.
But then the reality of death, of permanance, of forever, creeps in and a wave of understanding hits me so hard I feel myself being swept of my feet.

How? Why?

I wonder about crazy things like what actually happened in Mudgee. Dread that Jouke was alone when he died. Hate that I didn't get to say goodbye.
It all feels so detached. I wasn't there, I didn't see, yet I am living it and it all doesn't make sense.

I am tired of this. Tired of feeling this low and pretending this hard that I am coping. Tired of life that keeps on keeping on. I don't want to move on.
Don't you see that my husband is dead and that EVERYTHING is different?
I don't care about petty things, that your coffee is cold and your shoe broken, don't you know that my Jouke is gone? Don't you see that those things don't matter?

I try to feel different, try to say busy. The problem is that were I go, there I am and Jouke is not. I can't shake this, can't run from it and can't get around it.


I heard the kids talking about love this morning.

"What is love?" I asked.
"When people hug", said Tiaan.
Anja replied: "Pappa. Pappa and Jesus".

They know more than I give them credit for.

Monday, September 14, 2009


One of Jouke's best mates is around this afternoon helping me with some things around the yard. Turns out some things I just can' t do, no matter how hard I try. Starting the whipper-snipper is one of them. I pulled until my arm ached but no luck. I am so grateful for his help.

While he was out there I ran a cup of tea out to him. Suddenly I missed Jouke so. I miss the noises in the shed and the sounds of him around the yard. I miss the smell of his clothes as he comes home from a bike ride - fuel and dirt and sweat. I miss his tools around the place and the many things he took care of that I simply do not know how to do.

Mostly I miss conversation with him. I'm a talker, he a listener. I miss not having anyone to have meaningless conversation with about all the little things that matter.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

At work for his Master

Jouke was a great worker. He wasn't lazy, he was willing and wanted to please. More than that he was capable and talented. There was little he put his hands to that he didn't do well.
It is that which I love about him that made him a wonderful employee. It was the same that made him a wonderful husband and father. Things got done, things got done well and because he was physically strong he could do things easily that others struggled with. I was told many stories about his physical strength and great work ethic in the days following his death. In a way it makes his death at work a bigger tragedy.
The day before he had to leave to go to Mudgee he told me many times that he didn't want to go, he also told a friend. But because of his ethic, his standards, he wouldn't listen to my pleas to not go and just pretend to be sick. For once I wished he did listen.

One of his good mates send me this only a few days after the accident:

There are two ways in which a workman regards his work: as his own, or as his Master’s. If it is his own, then to leave it in his prime is a catastrophe, if not a cruel and unfathomable wrong.
But if it is his master’s, one looks not backwards, but before, putting down the well-worn tools without a sigh and expecting elsewhere better work to do.”
Henry Drummond. 1851 – 1897

Jouke belonged to his Master. Everyday, in all he did, his attitude and humility spoke of this. His ministry was not one of words but action. He wondered everyday if he was doing enough to let people know about Jesus, to tell them the good news. I believe so.

And now that he is no longer here to tell, God is still being glorified. There was well over 300 people at his funeral where God's truth was boldly shared. The members of our church have worked tirelessly to make sure that we are cared for and this is speaking volumes of God's love in action. People have told me that they have seriously reevaluated their lives, some even quitting time consuming jobs so they can spend more time with their families.

His work for his master is continuing. What a wonderful legacy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

6 months

That long already? I know its not technically the 4th but Wednesday is just a tough day. Couple that with father's day on Sunday and it is proving to be a really hard week. I hate it. I hate that anniversaries matters. Hate that I have survived for 6 months without him here.

So how I am really doing? Everybody wants to know. Not everybody can handle knowing the truth. I often answer "Doing as best as we can, thanks". Another woman on a similar path as me wrote in her blog:

I suspect that being near me is like looking into the sun. It hurts. You can't look directly at it for too long. Watching my pain must be painful for others. I don't envy them. It is hard for everyone, and those who are near me are especially brave.

So how are we really doing?

* Anja is struggling hugely. She has regressed in many areas of her development. She is back in nappies, she needs help dressing & eating and has become quiet and withdrawn. She hasn't got the language abilities to put into words her pain or even her memories. She is coping as best as she can, but I worry about her.

* Tiaan is such a beautiful boy. He was very close to Jouke and is having trouble accepting that this is real. He is asking lots of hard questions. I hate that his little head is worrying about such big things. He asked me the other day if I had got a chance to say goodbye to pappa. He is worrying about me. Worrying that I didn't get to say goodbye. My heart breaks for him.

* Alani has lived a 3rd of her live without a daddy. A 3rd! That makes me cry.
Two mornings ago she climbed out of bed and ran around the house calling "Pappa! Pappa!" How is that? She was only 12 months old the last time he was home, but she knows he is missing. It just shows you that we are made with the need to have a father figure in our lives.

* I am broken on the inside. I am changed. Hardened. I have built a wall around me, not really letting people close, not really letting anything out. I function because I have to. I try not to think about it. Really though, I am sad. Just so sad. And sick of being sad.
I am struggling hugely with knowing who I am without him. What to cook for dinner, what type of shampoo to buy, what to wear. All the thousand decisions we make everyday I made with him in mind. I don't even know what I like without him. I am trying to work it out.

So yeah, this is tough. I wouldn't wish this on anybody. But, I am coming to understand God's grace in a way that I never have. I am starting to see that life is not about what I want but more about how God is shaping me for his glory. I am seeing God's love practically through his people everyday. I am anxiously waiting for heaven - it is so real!
And a hope is growing in my heart, that through all this we will come out the other side. God is not done with us yet. He wouldn't leave me like this.