This is my Livi (Olivia) story. I cannot tell it without crying.
Just over three years ago, God lead me to work with Neal. He had just signed a share sale agreement with SAPPI to purchase Usutu Forests. I worked under the title PA, but really I was his intercessor. For the first time ever, I would not be with our four children 24/7, and Neal’s working days were very long. Mia was 10, Julia 8, Olivia 5 and David 3 at the time. God lead us to an Au Pair who agreed to be with our children. I hardly knew this lovely lady at all, but God did, and God loves my children more than I do. So I let go and trusted God, most of the time.
Just before this, I had had a conversation about not making your children idols, but rather handing them over to God. Well, God was turning this into a very practical lesson. It was hard, because the Au Pair and I are very different people, with very different methods, I often came home and had to bite my tongue. Remembering that she was making great sacrifices too, and that in the end, this was God’s will.
On one of these working days, Neal had a full working schedule and was suddenly called to hand over blankets to the Queen Mother for her charity. Neal had an hour or two to spare, but then he’d have to go, leaving me there to represent him. I desperately wanted him to be there, I felt so insecure around protocol and royalty! There were about ten minutes to spare when we were finally called to enter into the Queen Mother’s residence. Neal was about to leave when I got a phone call which I ignored – I could not take this call now! Then Neal’s phone rang, he picked up the phone. It was his sister (and our neighbor) Candace. Olivia had gone missing. She had been missing for fifteen minutes already. They had searched all the houses and called and called, she really was gone!
I was panic stricken. I did not want to go in to meet the Queen Mother. I had to go, and find my child. Livi had probably fallen off somewhere high and died instantly – she is our wild card!
But I had no choice, I was already inside. Neal was leaving. I got quiet. Knelt down, and handed Olivia over to God. He had given, He can take away. Dead or alive, missing or not, He is God Allmighty, I can’t stand in His way. If this was His will, I didn’t understand, but so be it. And then I had peace. Five agonizingly long minutes later, I got another phone call. They had found Livi, she was safe.
Later that evening when I had got home, I got the full story. Livi loves swimming. She was promised that they would go swimming at the Foresters Arms pool. Foresters Arms is a hotel, three kilometers away from our house on a national road. Livi was excited, but that was still some time away, so she played across the road at her cousin’s house for a while. When she moseyed on home, the Au Pair’s car was missing. (She had gone to fetch Mia and Julia from school). Olivia thought she had been left behind while everyone had gone swimming. She ran into the house, got dressed into just her swimsuit, and started off on the three kilometer walk to the pool, on her bare feet.
Between Candace and the Au Pair, they found her halfway there. She had walked with nothing but a swimsuit on for one and a half kilometers, along a busy main road.
A few days later, I was having a conversation with God about this incident, and He showed me a picture from His perspective. He showed me what had happened after the moment that I had handed Olivia – dead or alive – over to Him.
I saw Olivia walking on the road, but she was not alone. Jesus was walking next to her. He was looking down at her, an expression of pure enjoyment on His face, His eyes filled with just the most indescribable amount of love for
my His little Livi. Then He said these words to me: “Thank you for handing your children over to me, I so enjoy spending time with them.” And I was reminded of a quote by Corrie ten Boom.
God reminded me that the enemy is much stronger than I am, and he would love nothing more than to rip my beloved possessions out of my hands, and he can fight me and win. But he can never win against God, Jesus has already had the victory. Everything is safer in God’s hands than my own.
I would also much rather give God access to my children, than to stand between my them and God. He does a much better work than I ever could dream to.
That doesn’t mean that if I hand over nothing bad will ever happen, or that no one I love will ever die. But God always has eternity in mind, only He knows what is best for our eternal well being. But I certainly would prefer to have things in God’s hands, God’s will and God’s timing, because He knows, and I don’t.