Tim Keller's quote in Chapter 21 is something I've always struggled with—putting people in the place of God. It's still habitually comfortable for me to put all of my stock into Julie. Although still infants in our marriage, we've learnt the extreme importance of not relying on one another as our "only source of love and meaning."
In order to make it through each and every challenging month, God has had to be the foundation of our lives as individuals.
October 2013 was my last month working up at the mine, and an old back injury, which I still walk with today, was keeping me from working the average eight-hour day underwater. I spent countless hours on the beach working the shore. Believe it or not, days go much quicker whilst mining underwater than they do sweat-roasting in 21 millimeters of rubber during the beginning of South Africa's summer. The days were long. The sun came up earlier every day which meant we arrived on site earlier each day too.
My alarm would go off (in the darkness of my small dormitory room), then I'd roll out of my canoe-shaped bed, pour fresh water out of a five-liter container into a yellow-stained plastic cup, and drop two vitamin C effervescent tablets into it. I can still hear them hissing as they dissolved into a drinkable solution.
Breakfast was the same every morning—a small helping of muesli and yoghurt. I'd wait to hear the alarm of my co-worker and friend before heading down the dimly lit, narrow passageway. We'd share a cup of Douwe Egberts instant coffee in his room, which was a replica of mine (except he had a fridge that he had kindly shared with me from my first day onward).
We'd listen to a variety of music, ranging from The Dirty Guv's, Alt J, United Pursuit and Flux Pavilion, for a few minutes and then go our separate ways to make our sandwiches for the day. Mine were peanut butter on dry bread or butter on banana loaf. And his? Gourmet cheese, lettuce, tomato and sometimes even a burger patty on healthy bread. After sorting our lunches, it was time to climb into our wetsuits.
Without Ruan Le Roux, I don't think I would've made it at the mine. God blessed me with exactly what I needed.
I resolved with the Lord that it was indeed His plan for me to be where I was, and my comfort was knowing that He always honours obedience. I spent many hours reflecting on what He'd done in my life throughout the year and the patience and grace that He'd offered me. I had the great privilege of sharing the Gospel with my co-workers by doing a bit of life with them, and I witnessed lives transform in front of my eyes.
I was living in a mixture of ups and downs as I processed the reality that all of this would soon come to an end.
I felt God's presence with me. It was fresher than the ocean air that filled my lungs. He taught me about life and spoke to my heart about marriage and family. Two strongly rooted oak trees would give birth to (and adopt) a forest of oaks. Our family would be firmly grounded in Christ. We would walk in a new identity—one given to us by our true Father in heaven. Julie and I would walk together in unity on the bedrock of Christ.
I was excited for the next season but sad to leave the wild, wild west coastline. I'll never forget how the Weskus ("west coast" in Afrikaans) played such an instrumental role in growing me as a man. I'm now able to sit back and thank God for all the uncomfortable times—the pain and hardship I was forced to walk through.
I was moving from one season of preparation and into another.
October 2013 in a few words:
Hot. Exhaustion. Sweat. More sweat. Pain. Frustration. Sadness. Joy. Laughter. Friendship. Support. Confidence. Faith. 14-karat diamond. Breath in. Breath out. Obedience. Completion.
To read our full story, please visit our Love Story page.