Trading Ashes For Beauty

by | Aug 20, 2020

“My life is a testimony, that God is able to trade what was once seen as ashes and turn it into beauty!”

“Did you get a chance to read it yet, was it ok?” Holding my quaking breath, I pressed my cell phone as close to my ear as humanly possible, feeling vulnerable and fidgeting for a brief release of distraction while waiting in murky silence for her reply. Wading in this pensive pause, nothing else seemed to matter, the roof could have caved in and I would still be hanging on the line… waiting in anticipation for her to answer. For her approval. My maternal grandmother, Faith – has played a monumental role in my life. As a child, my brother and I spent countless weekends on my grandparents farm in the Eastern Cape. Where we plucked ripe granadilla’s, pretended to drive a broken down tractor, chased butterflies, baked cookies after eating most of the raw dough and spent lazy afternoons picking wild flowers and playing with our furry family that were named after sweets, (Lab’s called – Candy and Flossy).

My dear gran received one of the very first copies, titled ‘When I was your age’. Because her approval weighed heavily on me. I needed her to know that I was respectful, just as she had taught me to be, that I tried my best to treat each person in my book fairly, that by the time – you – read it, instead of seeing a hero or villain, you will read of people who made decisions in their lives that altered their path forever but it did not define them. You, will have read some of my highest moments and also my lowest, the ones that I am bitterly ashamed of, the ones that hurt and left scarring and the ones that I tried to burry. But most importantly, you will come to know a mother, wife and woman who was also once a young girl. Because I need my daughters to know they are not alone in this world. That God can turn ashes into beauty. In my grandmother’s era, it was not a norm to go public with your failures or feelings and so a cycle was created which was forged, long before she was born. My idea with this book was to start a revolution, where our generation of girls will come to know their worth long before they have become women.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how she would respond or if she would even finish reading the book at all but I needed to ask anyway! … “Granny what did you think?” I could hear her form an answer, I braced myself. “It’s a book to be proud of, not something you find on shelves these days”. Finally, I could exhale. I so desperately needed a book growing up that could give me tools on how to have generational conversations with not just my mother but my grandmother too, on how to simply ‘communicate’. There were so many parts of me that struggled to understand myself, never mind those closest to me. I needed to make sense of things but when the foundation of the so called ‘norm’ has been laid in generations before us how do we bridge the gap? I can tell you for certain, that communicating our fears, feelings and failures with our children is a very good place to start.

I have always taken great care in writing each blog, making sure they are appropriate; suitable for all ages and that they carry value and insight. This month’s issue is no different. I officially launched my first book – When I was your age – in July 2020. This in itself was a massive undertaking. Since working on my ‘13 Milestone’ series (which is a short vlog) discussing each chapter in the book and guiding the parent on key factors I have come to realise yet once again, how critical it is that we create a ‘new norm’ for our children, one where they can come to us with every failure, where they will share their fears and feelings because now there is a bridge to walk safely across and into our arms.

Photo by Andy Makely on Unsplash

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