Tag Archive: Dalene Reyburn

After last week’s fairly quiet week on the internet, this week seems to be right back up there with issues or race and transformation taking centre stage, with a sweet injection of Christmas in between. Here are the blog posts, links and stories that have been catching my attention this week – which one was yours?


My friend Dalene Reyburn finally launched her book, ‘Dragons and Dirt: The Truth about changing the world and the courage it requires’ which i was privileged to read in advance so that i could write a review for Amazon – please check this out and consider buying a copy, especially if you know moms with young children who i think will appreciate it more than most, although there is something for everyone!



This Teacher Taught His Class a Powerful Lesson on White Privilege – the White Privilege for Dummies in one sense as a teacher comes up with a simple but clear way 0f demonstrating Privilege



NFL player Benjamin Watson’s Ferguson post on Facebook goes viral – the absolute best post i have read on the Ferguson and race conversation simply because it seeks to look at the issues from a number of different perspectives – READ THIS ONE!!!



Inching closer towards a truly changed South Africa – Michael Talbot gives us a brief but insightful view into the process of engaging with crucial ideas and conversations



When the Norm is Twisted – my friend Linda Martindale challenges the so-called norms by looking at the effect they can have on other people



Black is the new Black: White Privilege and White Fragility – another challenging piece from out of the #Ferguson story but with some vita truths worth paying attention to which have relevance to us here in South Africa as well



What My Married Friends Would Like their Single Friends to Know – Meet Lisa van Deventer – this really popular post shares some thoughts from a married woman to her single friends



When Violence Stares You in the Face, and you Turn and Walk Away – what do you do when there is a potentially abusive or violent situation happening in your space? This is a huge thing i am wrestling with and am looking for answers and ideas and creativity.



Inching closer towards Reconciliation, one post at a time – my friend Michael Talbot shares some of the story of his engagement with the race conversation we’ve been having.



Two True Meanings of Christmas – Guest post by Graham Heslop – one of the most exciting ideas in Christianity for me is that of the Incarnation – God coming near – and Graham gives two short but excellent reflections on this and other Christmas vibes



@BobGoff Our worst day isn’t bad enough and our best day isn’t good enough; we’re invited because we’re loved, not because we measure up.

@shaelb: Complaining won’t change the complaint. @JabuMTS

@meganshead: The thing that gets me is that it is real. There is a puppet in court.  #puppetcase

@ozchrisrock: Just found a new app that that tells you which one of your friends are racist. It’s called Facebook. #FergusonDecision

@DemetriMartin: Today could have easily been called Givethanksing instead.





What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekend reading…



From my friend, Dalene Reyburn: So, I’m honoured to be hanging out with Brett in this bustling corner of the internet to introduce the next Taboo Topics series: people with special needs.

I think Brett’s a hero for having the courage to open up these sorts of topics – things that are often ignored or misunderstood or too fraught with pain to be voiced. This series will give parents and others a safe space to be honest about difficult – confusing – deflating – journeys. A chance to recapture big-picture perspective, and to glimpse God’s glory.

Our eldest son is visually impaired. My husband and I know the emotional exhaustion – fumbling prayer – making stuff up as we go along – of parenting a child with special needs. We’ve done the pointless projections of long-term scenarios. We know how it feels to carry the tension of uncertainty and the fear that our child’s heart will be hurt by life. We’ve experienced people’s kindly ignorance. Sometimes we feel side-lined and sometimes we feel conspicuous and sometimes we’re tired of feeling like That Family. We’ve done anger (where the hell was God?), doubt (does God even love us? Or love our kid?), and guilt (did we do something wrong?). And every day we know the terrifying joy of watching our hearts walking around in someone else’s body.

We’ve also experienced incredible compassion – the enormous warmth and sincere interest of friends and family and total strangers who love us. So many have held up our arms. And this series is about holding up yours. Alongside Brett, I’m praying that these posts will be comfort and relief for brave parents of braver kids. Please come. And know that you are not alone.

‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!’ Daniel 10:19

Meet Lauren van Zyl and her son Noah [A.D.D., Learning Disabilities & Auditory Perception problems]

Meet Louise Bowley [Asperger’s Syndrome]

Meet Shaina Cilimberg [Aspergers Disorder]

Meet Susannah and Monrovia Prinz – [Deaf, from a mom’s perspective]

Meet Kashveera Chanderjith – [Deaf, from a grownup’s perspective]

Meet Rebecca Benn – [Dyslexia]

Meet Steph Mclennan [Mild Ataxia – Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Keith Slabbert [Quadriplegic – Broken neck]

Meet Michelle Botha – [Retinitis Pigmentosa – Degenerative Sight Condition]

Meet Helen Laas – [Soft Tissue Spinal Damage – Car accident]

Meet Lachlan Nicholson [Spastic Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Gabriella Del Fabbro [Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Uel Maree [Spinal Cord Injury – Unfortunate Diving Accident]

[If you are someone living with a disability  or a parent of a child with a disability or know someone who might be up to sharing their story, please contact me at brettfish@hotmail.com – have some stunning stories on the way, but always room for more]

Dalene bio picA letter: Of congenital defects and world change

Dear Cameron and Scott

I’m writing this letter because Brett asked me for a post on one thing I want to teach you boys that might change the world. And because I had a conversation this week about being fearfully and wonderfully made. And I think the two might be related.

So this friend and I, we said sure, God says we’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). But what if we’re not? What if it’s very fearful and not at all wonderful to be born with Down syndrome or no limbs or epilepsy or cataracts?

Here’s the thing

‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.’ (Romans 5:12) Creation fell (Genesis 3, Romans 8) and took with it every kind of intended normal and perfect. Which means that everyone has congenital defects. Everyone is born physically flawed. Sometimes the imperfections just take a while to show up – like cellulite or rheumatoid arthritis or wrinkles or infertility or cancer or untameable hair or tennis elbow or forgetting your wife’s birthday. To varying degrees, at some point, every human being’s physical faculties will let them down. Even if the first time that happens is at death. Babies born with obvious or sensational deformities or deficiencies just highlight this reality. Our humanness – our brokenness – becomes a palpable given rather than an unspoken, unconsciously accepted and largely ignored element of c’est la vie.

And yet still, God – perfect in love, wisdom and power – calls each of us fearfully and wonderfully made.

Cam, God saw the cataracts form on the lenses of your eyes in the obscurity of my womb during a normal happily nauseous pregnancy. (Whether he formed them – or allowed them to form – for me that’s one and the same, but that’s also for another blog post – or book.) They didn’t take him by surprise. It’s true of you as it’s true of every throbbing life he ignites in the darkness, ‘You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.’ (Psalm 139:13-16)

My boys, the miracle of conception, of matchless fingerprints, of genetic traces in your temperaments, of wholly unique personal journeys – all these and so many more marvels of your creation are the yes-yes-yes to how wonderfully you’ve been made. For sure, all creation suffers under – and perpetuates – the wave of sin that rolls on unstoppable from generation to generation. But even so we are image-bearers of the Creator and still the creation is shot through with his glory. We thirst for redemption, for holiness, and trapped in wrecked bodies we long for eternity and all things made new.

And this is where the world change bit comes in.

It took giving birth to two little boys – unthinkably adored and wholly in need of a Saviour – to get me to wear the bifocals of eternal perspective and earthly urgency. Because all this – the physical and the temporal – will pass away and I need to focus the lens of my heart on what is to come so that I can be more effective in what is. People gripe about Christians being ‘so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.’ That’s junk. If your mind is really set on eternity you’ll be a force for seismic change in the here and now. Your priorities will shift and you’ll be free of negligible concerns that might otherwise have consumed you. You’ll also be moved to speak hope in a world of broken bodies and shattered souls.

And because you are fearfully and wonderfully made, God will use each of you in distinctive, remarkable ways, according to your gifts and passions and opportunities, to plough Kingdom ground, and to change the world.

The fearfully-and-wonderfully-made psalm ends with this:

‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.’  (Psalm 139:23-24)

So, to be a world changer? Embrace how God has inimitably moulded you – your gifts, your physical, emotional and intellectual quirks, and your obvious shortcomings. Bow low before him. Surrender your spiritual deficiencies to the scrutiny of the Spirit and as he convicts and forgives and restores, your lives will be different. And so will the world.

All my love to you always,



Twitter: @deereyburn

Blogs: http://growyounginside.com/  and  http://reyburnboys.blogspot.com/

[For another inspiring story on raising your child as a World Changer, meet Ro, Ad and Aaléyah]

aslan“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” [C.S.Lewis ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’ ] 

We continue the Aslan Jesus series with a guest post from a good friend:

Shasta and Aravis are heading north. From poles-apart socio-economic backgrounds, they’re fleeing loveless lives. Long story short (read it – The horse and his boy – number five in the Chronicles) – they get wind of the Calormene rulers’ plan to invade Archenland and Narnia while Peter who is now High King is distracted by marauding giants. They bolt on their talking horses (no kidding) to warn the good guys. But Rabadash’s army is closing in. Near the border they’re chased by a lion (guess who) who frightens them into outrunning their (real) pursuers.

Also, the lion claws Aravis because she drugged her slave-maid to escape from Calormene and the lion wasn’t cool with that. She’s too badly wounded to go on and she’s forced to stay with a hermit while Shasta goes on to great battles and certain heroism. But Aslan hasn’t forgotten her. He returns. And she’s changed forever.

Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia aren’t God-breathed. They’re just vivid fantastical escape-into-wonder magical tales told by a really smart man who loved Jesus and wanted to reflect even in make-believe the better-believe-it fairy tale of a King born in a stable and rising in glory for eternity and for sure, we can learn from Aslan as he mirrors something of the character of Christ.


  1. 1.       He dares us.

Shasta and Aravis know they’re in danger and they’re going as fast as they can. Except they’re not. They need a bit of a kick in the talking horse. Aslan dares them into pushing harder riding faster going further. Because actually they can. And actually sometimes so can we. Pressures rise and we’re forced to act because he knows what he’s put in us and sometimes to call it out he has to be fierce.

I wonder if Jesus terrified Peter when he said to him, ‘I’ll build my church on you.’ (Matthew 16:18) Peter the rough-around-the-fishing-net guy who was the pebble that became the rock that spread truth to continents.

  1. 2.       He disciplines us.

We’ve forgotten how to be ok with difficult truth. When stuff starts getting a little off-culture we stare at the floor or do the nervous laughter let’s-rephrase-that thing. Like, we’re fine with the wounds of the Saviour as long as we don’t get scratched. But what if the Saviour is so deeply wholly motivated by love that he will do whatever it takes to make you holy? What if he’s the Saviour who says, ‘My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.’ (Proverbs 3:11-12)

In The problem of pain, C. S. Lewis writes, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’

  1. 3.       He delays us.

I like how Elisabeth Elliot talked about being sick. She said she wasn’t ‘laid aside by illness but called aside to stillness.’ Somehow when our plans short circuit and there’s disappointment or delay God does deep things that just don’t sink in when we’re caught in the frenetic melee of normal life. When Jesus shows up in the waiting we’re never the same again.

Moses was, like, seriously delayed. Forty years in an Egyptian palace separated from his people. Forty years in the wilderness looking after his father-in-law’s sheep. Forty years wandering to the brink of promise. That’s a lifetime of delay. Yet Moses was the friend of God who stood sans-sandals on holy ground and raised his staff above parted waters and saw the glory ‘til his face shone.

I guess my challenge to you is: if you’re following Jesus, be scared and don’t be scared. Be scared because he’s the living God of terrifying power and blinding splendour. Don’t be scared because you are his wholly beloved, forever redeemed child and heir. And if you’re following Jesus, ‘There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.’ (C. S. Lewis)

[To read the next part on Sticks and Stones, click here]

So great to have my friend Dalene sharing a completely different perspective on this Aslan Jesus story than I would have been able to. She has a great gift for writing and I encourage you to connect more with her here:

Twitter: @deereyburn (https://twitter.com/deereyburn)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dalene.reyburn

Blogs: http://growyounginside.com/ and http://reyburnboys.blogspot.com/

so according to wordpress stats, these are the 5 most visited posts of mine this last quarter which means people must have liked them [or really hated them i guess, altho i don’t think i’ve had one of those for a while – must be doing something wrong] so i thought i’d display them here in case you missed one or more of them:

First up there was Kate Hurley sharing on Singleness which always gets a lot of views – her alias being The Sexy Celibate no doubt helped a little

Next up was another guest post, this time in my ‘One Way To Love Your Spouse Better’ series by the always delightful and depthful Dalene Reyburn

Then there was one actually by me with a simple explanation of the two times that i feel it’s permissible for you to leave South Africa

The next most popular blog featured the Did-Joel-Osteen-resign-from-Christianity-or-was-it-a-Hoax [and even if he did, how do we respond] saga.

Then there was the true life drama excitement of Valerie trying to fly out of South Africa actually wearing her wedding ring which was discovered to be missing, presumed drowned, just an hour or so before she had to be on the plane…

And this? Oh this is just a link to a picture of a pair of flip flops/slip slops that look like fish [so don’t click on it, you can’t get those thirteen seconds of your life back. oh man, now you’re going to, hey? don’t say i didn’t warn you.]

my friend Dalene, who is an incredible bloggist, has been married for 8 and a half years and this is a pearl of wisdom she has to share with us in terms of one way to love your marriage partner better:

Dalene and Murray Reyburn

‘My husband stares into other women’s eyes all day. It’s his job. But when he’s done with corneas and optic nerves he comes home and tells me sweet somethings and whispers wonder and holds me relieved and grateful. But like, some of those women are hot. And some of them probably wouldn’t mind staring a little longer.

Our marriage isn’t perfect but it’s freakin’ awesome. And I think this might be the secret:

You just keep on doing the Next Right Thing.

Sometimes the Next Right Thing is tiny, like pass the salt or iron a shirt. Sometimes it’s massive, like change churches or jobs or countries. Sometimes it’s making him the most important person in the room. Sometimes, it’s shut up. Say thanks. Make a covenant with your eyes. Hold his hand just because and like you’re fourteen and it’s the first time. Say yes more. (Because, ladies, sex is governed by your head not your body. You can decide to be in the mood.) Ask forgiveness. If the Next Right Thing isn’t obvious then pray for him, every time you open a drawer or switch on the kettle.

The Next Right Thing is always intentional. It’s always the answer to, ‘How do I love him right now?’

And it’s simple, not simplistic. It’s the hardest thing and the most powerful thing. It’s the thing that’s easy enough to be your default when you’re tired. Ecstatic or distracted. Overwhelmed or afraid.

And if, for example, you find out your baby boy is blind and there are operations and uncertainties and things start short-circuiting inside of you and it’s hard enough to hold yourself together never mind a marriage, then the Next Right Thing comes right down to What happened in your day? D’you want more tea? Next. Right. Thing. Over. And over. Until you’re through it and you can look back and see the wake of the ship plain sailing again in calm seas.

Before we started dating my husband read me Yeats:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

We’ve only been married 2 979 days, but let’s say we’re each making only five Next Right Thing decisions every day – small, I’ll-feed-the-dog decisions – that’s already 29 790 decisions behind us. Without for a moment pretending we know tomorrow or presuming on every breath God lends, let’s say we’ll be married for 55 years before one of us goes Home. That’s another 17 155 days, and another 171 550 Next Right Thing decisions. I have faith that God is weaving those decisions into heavenly Yeats-type embroidered cloths of legacy and eternal breath-taking beauty weighted with glory. The Next Right Thing to wear and to walk on.’

Check her inspiring blog out here…

@deereyburn on the Tweetster

[to read what Robert Martin has to share on sacrificing self, click here]

Ambition: the dark side, the light side

Dalene Reyburn

I suffer from various Double-Edged Personality-Strength disorders. If you’re human you probably do too. ‘Cause your greatest strength is always what most quickly becomes your greatest weakness. For now, I’ll just ‘fess up to one.

I have Ambition, which has led to a secondary infection known as Competitiveness.

There are a number of different strains of the Ambition Virus, so it’s important that I clarify. I’m not Lady Macbeth. I’m also not the girl who wants to sleep her way into the boardroom. Or earn more than her husband. In terms of my Competitive condition, I won’t sulk if our volleyball team doesn’t beat yours at church camp, and I don’t immediately accelerate if someone passes me on the highway.

Doctors sometimes struggle to identify my strain of Ambition, because it hides in healthy-looking cells and the symptoms can even manifest as bursts of startling wellbeing. This is because Ambition is essentially good, if managed. Left unchecked it goes, well, viral.

My Ambition is what drives me to keep on becoming everything God made me to be. Even when I was very little, I was aware of this Thing in me always pressing me – calling me – to be more. As I grew up so did my understanding. I committed to living as fully as I knew how. For as long as I’ve known my sort-of grownup self, I’ve had an overriding-undergirding desire to live out – out loud, outside of myself – all the best bits of me that God has stuffed into my DNA. I’ve tried to develop the gifts and hack out the lousy sinful bits.

Sounds good, right? Pretty damn spiritual.


The virus becomes dangerous when two things happen.

  1. My ego, feeding on the outworkings of God-given strengths, becomes more important than God’s glory.
  2. Things don’t happen as quickly as I’d like them to, in the direction of my dreams.

So lately, I’ve been self-medicating on Scripture and other sort-it-out suppositories.

My treatment is still in the experimental, non-FDA-approved phase because I’m not completely cured. I suspect that this side of eternity I can only hope for some kind of long-term semi-permanent remission with daily antiretrovirals.

Still, if I were to write out a course of treatment for other Ambition sufferers, it might look something like this:

Take two capsules of Reality Check. It’s not about you. Whatever your strain of Ambition, channel it into Kingdom purposes. You are nothing more than dust-to-dust transience. Any enduring impact you hope to have can only be in reflecting God’s glory and making him famous.

Inject yourself daily with Now. Enjoy the present. Don’t only crave future possible (or impossible) successes. Love the work (today) not the result (hopefully tomorrow). Celebrate the process.

With the Now, take a double dose of Trust. God knows what he wants to do with your talents. He gave them to you. It’s in his interests to position you perfectly for his Kingdom purposes. Leave it to him. ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honour.’ (1 Peter 5:6)

Cut out all forms of Worry. Don’t let it get to you when people are dismissive or condescending – when they won’t admit that you have what it takes. ‘The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.’ (Exodus 14:14) Don’t stress out about proving or defending yourself. If and when the time is right God will blow your trumpet. Loudly, for his glory.

Rest. Don’t keep checking the progress of strangers or friends. There will always be people behind and ahead of you. Your journey is your journey.

Swallow all the Right Thinking you can. ‘Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.’ (Romans 12:3) So don’t be arrogant. But back yourself. Fail forwards. Risk.

To get rid of the excruciating pangs of jealousy that sometimes beset Competitive and Ambition sufferers, find ways to celebrate others’ victories. Brag about how awesome they are.

Like, I’m bad at a lot of things (like cake decorating, and finding my way out of public toilets. Seriously. So many cubicles. So many mirrors.) But I’ve always known I can write. I’ve always known I can teach. I get jealous when other people are doing just that – so flippin’ well – in the kind of forum I would totally love. I get all feverish with Ambition and Competitiveness when I think about it. I go, ‘She has so many followers on Twitter. He has so many invitations to write and speak.’ The thing that kicks my jealousy in the teeth every time is giving these people the shout out they deserve. Spreading the love. Because, again, it’s about the Kingdom. Not me.

So I’m praying for me (and I’m praying for you):

Jesus, I find this stuff so overwhelming, because I’m terrified I don’t see it in myself. Help me to hold the gift of my strengths carefully, in open hands. I don’t want to clutch them to myself and squash them out of their intended shape. Help me remember that you have plotted out a little patch of Kingdom garden for me to tend. That I can surrender to your agenda because you hold all of time. Show me the me-shaped spaces in the world that you have prepared for me to fill. In your way. In your time.

(Dalene blogs here and here.)

[for more on Steve and his Strength Weakness of Knowledge, click here]

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