The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Sunday Snippet: Our No is God’s Yes…

July 25th, 2011 · 27 Comments

I come from a town in Africa and I have a dream… I have always wanted to write that!!! Anyway God has placed wonderful and amazing christian women in my life, throughout my life and when I was a teen I used to hang out at the house of one of them. For no reason other than her door was always open and her freezer always had a tub of ice-cream. She didn’t listen to my teen troubles per se and she didn’t preach her beliefs to me. She just lived and I learned.


As I said, her door was always open, and so was her Bible in fact come to think of it there were a couple of Bibles open through out the house and people read them!!! They lived in a massive house and her kids were grown and in various stages of moving on… and her house was a perpetual maze of visitors. I think I may have learnt a lot of my hospitality skills right there. They always had missionaries visiting and resting in their home, they always had visitors from all corners of the earth popping in and she wrote endless letters and kept in touch with the people that passed through.

For all her visitors there were no airs and graces, her house wasn’t fancy by any means and her meals were regular family fare and every meal ended with ice-cream and custard. She was all about strategic seats next to a book case of enticing books and endless cups of tea and newspapers floating on the coffee table. Nothing was “show house”, nothing was pretentious and everything was perfect.

I knew that when I grew up I would like to have a home just like that – an ever open door and anybody and everybody welcome to pass through and rest. Particularly missionaries who are living in the heat of fire… I think they need a place to just be, where they aren’t on display and they can walk around in their socks and read a book and go for an amble on the beach and return to dinner on the table…


So here we are in a relatively small house with no spare room or even mattress in the very foreseeable future. We don’t have a lot of house guests trying to squeeze into our house!!! However, I have pretty much got the endless meals and the drop in anytime part of my hospitality vaguely under control and we do have a lot of hungry folk passing through our home every week… but it is hardly “the guest house for missionaries” that I had in mind… Nothing like it!!! In fact when missionary folk visit us I can’t imagine it is “that restful place” at all, because while we feed them, our curiosity overwhelms us and we ply them with questions about their work, their good times and their bad times…

Well, and this is where we got a bit ahead of ourselves, a few years ago… we went on holiday to the UK and we stayed on a farm with friends in Wales and we had this idea that this would be the spot to get our “guest house” started… rather than at the tip of Africa, which is pretty out of the way, from the rest of the world, at the best of times…


So we did some renovating and we got our house ready-for-sale and we put our house on the market and we new that in a couple of weeks our home would sell and the passports that we had stood for so many many many hours in the queue for, would finally be used. And I started a blog so that the grannies could keep in touch with what their kids were up to…

What did I learn:

  • It is so easy to get rid of stuff you can’t be bothered to pack in a box and ship.
  • It is so easy to keep your house spotlessly tidy at all times, in case a potential buyer comes knocking at the door.
  • It is easy not to be too materialistic because you can’t take the stuff with you… so why buy it in the first place.
  • It is easy to make deep and abiding friendships all over the world because home is where your friends are rather than at a fixed address anyway.

Basically God got the materialist totally out of me!!! And made me practice “People before things” on a very daily basis.

Now it is a couple of years down the line, I am back in the passport queues renewing passports that are about to expire, every single house on our block has sold at least once, if not twice and we have never ever even had an offer on ours!!! And I would be mad to think that going to Wales was on the cards for us anytime soon. And actually, since no one has ever even given us a vague offer on our house it is probably quite realistic to think that we are here for the duration!!! It is all quite alarming really and I would have to say perhaps God wants us here – let’s face it there is a lot to do here, we live in a part of the world where “high need” doesn’t begin to describe it!!!


And while it appears the God is saying a definite no to a “Guest House for Missionaries in Wales” he is saying a definite Yes to hanging out here and continuing to live as we do, inviting people over a couple of nights a week… writing a blog and sending good Christian books to the far corners of the earth… Believe me I am happy with that, in fact rather more than content with my lot. Especially when my lot is a house full of kids that I love and adore and a stream of visitors passing through. In fact when I prayed, “God let me serve, wherever you need me…” I got off really lightly!!!

I think what I have discovered is that when you pray that “God may send us wherever he needs us and use you in whichever way he can…” then he might just be asking you to stay where you are, and raise your kids to serve the Him with all their hearts. So while some might say God was saying no, it has taken a little time for me to realize that he isn’t saying no at all rather he is saying yes… carry on with the job at hand!!!

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27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 olivia // Jul 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

    So good!

    I felt the same shift to simplicity and gained a more eternal perspective when we moved. So freeing!

    But old habits die hard… I think i’ll go chuck some non-essentials right now!

    lovely. Brilliant post

  • 2 auntymuffin // Jul 25, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Lovely, but challenging message; contentment regarding where God places us, even, or especially in difficult circumstances, should be our aim in His service….but such a tough lesson to learn for us self-centred people.

  • 3 Christine // Jul 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I assume the pictures are of Wales? It reminds me so much of England. Ahh, the beauty!

    Of course, you have a beauty in your area, and you have a delight to share, and you choose to spread your love far and wide. . .

    May I humbly suggest that you don’t limit your “guest house” idea to a physical structure? (For I certainly feel like a welcome guest every time I visit!)

  • 4 se7en // Jul 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Olivia!!! Hi there, Thanks for the great comment, it is always so good to have you stoop by…. Hope you have a brilliant week!!!

  • 5 se7en // Jul 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Hay Aunty Muffin, Isn’t that the truth… sometimes even when we have to stop thinking “it’s all about me.” Sometimes we think we should be doing so much more… when actually we should just be focusing on what we are meant to be doing!!! Hope your week gets better and better!!!

  • 6 se7en // Jul 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Oh Christine – It is so good to have you back on-line and you say the nicest things!!!! No a virtual guest house has never ever occurred to me, I love your humble suggestion!!! Even more, I am so glad you always feel welcome here – I am going to bottle that comment and keep it!!! Thanks so much and I hope you have a great day!!!

  • 7 Katherine marie // Jul 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful reflections friend! What a lovely reminder that God’s plans are always so much better than our own plans. Sometimes we don’t see the gifts immediately! Thanks for sharing from your heart. God must smile thinking about all of the lives you have positively and lovingly touched!

  • 8 se7en // Jul 26, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Hay Katherine Marie, Thanks for your lovely comment!!! Hope your week gets better and better!!!

  • 9 Mamalion // Jul 26, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Oh, I so needed to read this! We are in the midst of the opposite situation- God is apparently moving us to a little bit larger house, and has laid it on our hearts to be wide open to hospitality. And now He’s given us the space. And I’ve been on a mad spree to pitch, donate, and otherwise get rid of excess stuff!

  • 10 Sherrin Drew // Jul 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Wow, I didn’t know any of that about you! Is your home still for sale and will you head off if it is sold? I wonder if nearly every white person in SA who is rich enough has at some point planned/contemplated relocating?! I know lots of people who are happy there, and meet so many positive people when I come over, but then even some of the most positive people leave for one reason and another (work, family, etc).

  • 11 Cilla // Jul 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Wales is BEAUTIFUL I agree (although it gets more than it’s fair share of rain!!!) Is that Tintern Abbey? The idea of moving to Wales (from England) has crossed our minds too. – My in-laws live in Cardiff and my husband grew up there.

  • 12 Hollie // Jul 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Can’t comment on what Gods plans are for anyone in this world (who can?!) but you should totally come back to Wales! I live here and love it – can’t really imagine being anywhere else. Hope you manage to at least visit again soon, even if its not the ‘living the dream’ that was once a possibility 🙂

  • 13 se7en // Jul 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Sherrin, Thanks for your comment!!! Our house isn’t on the market, we reckon if we are meant to move then if it is on the market or not doors will open for us!!! And frankly we will go wherever we are led, if it is a guest house in Wales fabulous, but right now some of my kids are leaning towards a yurt in Mongolia!!! I think there are as many reasons for staying or leaving our country as there are people staying and leaving our country… I certainly wouldn’t say it was one particular ethnic or economic group that was staying or leaving…I think the people that are here are generally very positive about our country!!! In fact I know so many people that will never ever move… You have strong ties to South Africa and yet don’t live here… I don’t think where you live is indicative of your love for a country at all!!! That being said our home is wherever we are led… and we are prepared to go or to stay, depending on what opportunities arise!!! Hope you have a good day!!!

  • 14 se7en // Jul 26, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Hollie – We have readers in Wales, that is wonderful news!!! We certainly plan to visit there again – all that lovely green, and all those country walks and castles… We really loved it, it just felt like home!!! Hope you have a great day!!!

  • 15 se7en // Jul 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Oh Mamalion, That’s fabulous… I hope it goes so well for you!!! Lots of love and thanks for stopping by!!!

  • 16 se7en // Jul 27, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Hi Cilla, I know what you mean about the rain… it rained everyday when we were there and we still loved it!!! And yes that’s Tintern Abbey one of my favorite places in the whole wide world!!! There is indeed something very special about Wales!!! Hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  • 17 Tammy mayes // Jul 27, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Ok so here is a practical question how do you manage with meals and visitors do you do lunches, suppers seem stressful with bedtimes but that would rule out week days. And if you do suppers what time do your guest generally come and go? We have family who visit for dinner and I also find it hard to chat to them cause of the noise level and end p getting cross with kids which is unfair, then I feel guilty ….. So my question is times, and dealing with noise and communication when guests come.

  • 18 April O. // Jul 27, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Sometimes the hardest (and surprisingly fulfilling) assignment from God is when He simply says, “Stay.”

    Blessings on you all for your patience and obedience.

    Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post; your blog touches more people than you know.

  • 19 se7en // Jul 27, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Tammy, These are such great questions!!! I must say I haven’t really thought about it, it just sort of happens – So I need to figure out how it “just happens”… Just remember with a bunch of kids I have a bunch of help and bedtime is such a routine that it can pretty much run itself!!! I am going to think about them a little bit and I will blog about it in the future!!!

  • 20 se7en // Jul 27, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Hi APril O. So Right and so good to hear from you!!! Thanks for such a kind comment!!! Have a great week!!!

  • 21 Taryn // Jul 28, 2011 at 12:35 am

    thank you for sharing this – so poignant and real and so glorifying of Him who deserves all the glory.

  • 22 se7en // Jul 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Glad you liked it Taryn, Indeed… in His service. Have a great week…

  • 23 Sherrin Drew // Jul 29, 2011 at 5:34 am

    I am sure you have a much clear perspective on going and coming when you are “on the ground” so to speak! I get so confused living here in Australia. The South Africans you meet really do come from one ethnic and economic group ( and when I write “rich” I mean in world times – well off enough to get visas and plane tickets and get jobs at the other end). There is one dominant reason for going as well: fear of one type or another. My husband is one of the few South Africans I have met who didn’t come here for solely that reason! Living here, you begin to wonder if you are mildly insane for even thinking about going back to live in SA one day.

    Then you visit SA and you see buildings going up everywhere, and happy people, and meet people who have moved there from Germany, Zimbabwe, Malawi, England, Australia and Zambia!! It makes my head swim a little.

    Do you have any thoughts on this seeming contradiction? It seems like different people react to the same events in wildly different ways!!

  • 24 se7en // Jul 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Oh Sherrin, I think you have met up with the contradictions of any country… As I said for every person that leaves, their are others that arrive and each have their own personal reason for it… I think in South Africa fear is a very real factor for some people leaving, there isn’t anyone here that hasn’t experienced a nasty crime encounter and some folk have been at the wrong end of some very frightening experiences. You can’t blame them for leaving and wanting to live in a place where they are not afraid. I think for folk arriving they have never experienced a smash and grab, a best friend lost for no reason other than they had a cell phone… Like a blog where you only see a snippet of someone’s life, when you visit a country you only see a snippet of “it’s personality” … all countries have good and bad aspects and you have to evaluate your reasons for staying or moving anywhere on where you are called to be… Maybe folk aren’t reacting to the “same event” but rather to the “snapshot” they have seen or experienced. There is so much food for thought around this idea of moving from place to place and you raise some good questions. It is always good to think about what is happening rather than just accepting it as the status quo. Hope you have a great weekend!!!

  • 25 Cheryl // Jul 30, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I love Wales too. We are just over the border, so it is one of our favourite holiday places. I have got to say you surprise me. I had you down for a dry, warmer climate. I’m glad that you are content with now, but if you ever make the move, I’ll be dropping in! Open invite to ours. Goes without saying, I hope!

  • 26 se7en // Jul 30, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Oh Cheryl, I first visited your blog because “you live in the area!!!” We surprise ourselves!!! It rained everyday we were there but we got outdoors and went stomping through the countryside and we loved it totally. Remember winter here – there is no heating, torrential rain, we are totally not geared or equipped for winter here – because it just doesn’t happen. Whereas… you have things like rain jackets and gumboots, warm clothes and beanies… Yes we would radically miss the sunshine, but a weekend in Greece every couple of months might be sustaining!!! Open invite totally accepted and vice versa!!! Hope you have a fun weekend!!!

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