Monday, 30 September 2013

Growing forward

Growing forward
Be bold. Be strong. Never give UP.’
Psalm 31:24
* NPC: 2011/004081/08  * 18A Tax Exempt Status ((PBO) file no. 930/036/181
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
Helen Keller
“The signs and evidence of pain and suffering are everywhere. Sometimes it is close by while other times it hovers in the distance, touching others.” – A.Jennings
This weekend, we were once again encouraged by the resilience of the human spirit as fUSS delivered training session at the African Leaders Institute for Community Transformation ( to students from 26 countries.  During an intensive 3 month period, ALICT students are trained in a variety of community transformation strategies. Since 2010 fUSS has played a role in addressing the impact of loss in the lives of ALICT students, helping them on the journey of growing forward, through their pain, incorporating the variety of experiences into their lives. Thus aiding them to live, strengthened by the experience of pain, rather than a victim thereof.

 When we experience loss, it seems impossible that anything ‘worse’ can happen to us; it feels like the sun has set on us.  I listened as a young man, through waterlogged-eyes, explained to me:  ‘When my family (parents, three siblings and grandfather) was killed in the civil war, I only had my baby brother with me.  At times I felt ‘why didn’t they kill us too?’ – not because I didn’t want to live; at 13, I just couldn’t bear the responsibility of caring for my little brother. Years went by, the war ended, I got married and even my ‘baby’ brother started a family with a wife he loved.  Sadly, they both died in an accident, and their little baby became our child…”

I listened as he talked, and after he finished his story, we investigated some of the ‘happier’ memories he shared with his brother as they were growing up, the struggles they overcame, and the happiness they shared as they started their families.  Once again, the tears flowed over his cheeks.  This time, with joyful memories.  “These aren’t sad tears. Yes, I miss him. I miss feeling like we’re a big family. But I have such love and joy in my heart when I talk of him. I know that I can deposit a memory bank of good memories into the lives of our children.  And they can also feel part of our family legacy.”
Growing through pain takes time.  When we build a house, we build it brick-by-brick.  When we learn to live with a loss or life-changing event, we rebuild our lives ‘brick-by-brick’ too. Patience and persistence are two key-words in re-adjusting our ‘new’ lives as we learn to live with the change. We need: Patience to grow slowly.  Persistence to keep going.
When we experience a big loss in our lives, it is normal to feel that our life has fallen apart. As you embark on the growth-journey, it can however be helpful encouragement for our journey, when we look for some good things; we might find some good that has come from the situation.
Among other things, here are some resilience-characteristics we have been fortunate to observe in the lives of those that we work with. Resilient people:
  are strengthened as they grow through their experience;
  come through the experience whole and focused (albeit with a few battle-scars);
   have a clear plan for their lives and have not allowed their loss to stop them from having hope for their future;
  become a person who is an inspiration to others.
  support other people to help them through their experiences.
  share their growth-journey, in order to give hope to those who face similar situations.
  “The sun will come up tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar there’s tomorrow!” - Annie

If you are going through a time where you feel live is ‘squeezing’ you, may you be like a sponge and bounce back as the ‘squeeze’ is released. And remember the cheerful song of the little-curly-red-haired-rosy-cheek-orphan-girl Annie as you grow one step, one day at a time. 

Be encouraged by our foundational biblical verses that say:
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut,
He will help you catch your breath.” –  Psalm 34:18, The Message
 'Be bold. Be strong. Never give UP.’
Psalm 31:24
Want to chat or get in touch? Follow the link via the websites below:

facingUP Support Services: * NPC: 2011/004081/08 * 18A Tax Exempt Status (PBO) file no. 930/036/181
PO BOX 14, HOWARD PLACE, 7450 Fax:  +27 (0)86 762 5024 
Directors: Dr. SH Walsh, Mr. IS Smith, Mr. E Lombard
(If you need help in the UK, contact our UK partners:

All pictures and content is protected under copyright law. Should you want to use any of it, please contact fUSS.