I was not disappointed and I consider myself lucky to be able to say that the grass is still greener on this side. It wasn't an easy move to make, as I am sure anyone that has migrated away from home having to leave all things familiar behind, would understand.
Looking back on this exciting period in my life, I find that I remember feeling very hollow. I missed my friends, family and insignificant things that I would have never thought I would miss, such as the sweet smell of the African Lovegrass that grew on my father's farm.
I soon became lonely and I was in fact alone, because when I chose to migrate I also chose to do it on my own, without God. The decision to move away from home was difficult and was based on unhappy circumstances that caused me to feel that I was not loved by God and I did not deserve God's love or help for that matter. With a chain of events stretching over about two years, God showed me that the opposite is true. He needed to show me, because I was too stubborn to believe it otherwise. I would like to share this story with you.
When I was younger my mother taught me the way of the Bible by example and taking me to church as often as she could. She is greatly devoted to God and I believe it takes years of living in God's light to become that devoted, because His path is never without rocks and potholes. She always tells of how many wonderful things she has experienced in prayer to God, I however haven't been fortunate enough to experience this.
When I pray, I often get the feeling that it hits the ceiling in my bedroom and it never reaches God. Because of this, I have had many internal dialogues arguing His interest in me. Yet I kept going to church now and then, I surrounded myself with Christian people and I listened to what they had to say about God all though I no longer really wanted to believe that He is so wonderful.
One day on my way to work in Sydney I saw a page lying in someone's garden. I picked it up, because I saw that on it was a note written in my language: Afrikaans. I was very surprised to find this; what are the chances that I would come across a note in my language in a foreign country?
It was a note from someone's bible study. I stopped and wondered whether it was a sign from God. To my disappointment the note didn't 'speak' to me; it didn't give me any instruction on life nor did it try and show me that God is remotely interested in my existence. Looking back at that note now, I see that God was leading me back to Him. He was just reminding me to think of Him.
I went to church a few weeks later, one my mother told me about. She said she heard of it on her return flight to South-Africa when she visited Australia in 2009.
I arrived at this church and for once I felt very comfortable, as I have tried another church before and it didn't work out as well as I would have liked. During service one Sunday I prayed for the first time in months and I believe this one prayer changed it all. It was a repetition of a prayer that I recited fruitlessly many times as a child: 'God open my heart to the Holy Spirit and make me a believer once again. Take my willing heart and use it as you see fit'.
Noticing God in me and actions
I didn't do anything else to make God part of my life, I just went about my daily business as usual. Every day I started to notice God in me and my actions. Here I am, weeks later, writing a comment in Christian Today. I am not sure if I will touch anyone's heart in my writings al thought I certainly hope so. A few months ago I would have never thought to even try and pray to God let alone write about an experience I have had that demonstrates His love for us, no matter how insignificant we might feel.
This experience has taught me one thing: God loves us, even if we don't deserve it. We just need to open our hearts and accept that we are not perfect and that we can only be made perfect in Him by opening our hearts to Christ. I kept an open mind and I accepted my own flaws and I accepted that God will love me despite of them.
Now small miracles are happening in my life. God has shown me that He loves me by working through normal people around me: a humble note and the good examples of other Christians. Those that played a role in my story didn't have to experience an appearance of God to change my life, they did so purely by sharing His light and keeping their own faith in God.
They may never know they had a role in this wonderful experience I had, but I will remember it forever. Therefore, live in Christ's light and be an example for others, because you might be helping God gathering His lost sheep without knowing it.
Leanne van Rensburg grew up on a farm in a small town in South-Africa. Leanne earned degrees in biotechnology and microbiology and moved to Australia in 2012, working as an oncology technician in Sydney. Leanne is adventurous that loves taking risks and trying new things.
Leanne van Rensburg previous articles may be viewed at