Beauty restored after shallow love

Heartbroken by continuous rejections, Retha found eternal renewal

Retha Malherbe
Retha Malherbe

In the experimentation of the 1960s, Retha Malherbe wanted to get “in on the fun” before she discovered that her poor relationship choices were far from the excitement she desired.

“I wanted to be beautiful, to be noticed by the boys, and to know what life beyond my upbringing, was all about, even if it meant getting hurt,” Retha says.

After falling out with her deeply religious parents, she reminded herself that she was finished with a “boring and limited” life.

“I got married to an alcoholic,” says Retha, “and for three years I learned what life could be on the other side — where the beauty, wholeness and truth I had experienced as a child became alien to me.”

Her dream of a fun life became what she describes as a nightmare.

“I wanted to convince my loving parents that I was okay, but my life just spun totally out of control.

“I left my husband, still believing that it was just him. I couldn’t yet figure out that whether or not you slept with a guy you still wouldn’t see him again!”

The excitement she had felt now turned into bitter rejection, hurt and shallowness, Retha says.

“I turned hard and my heart became like stone. If these men thought they were using me, they were making a mistake — I would use them!”

But after several years, her mountain of hurts became too much to bear.

“It slowly dawned on me that there had to be more to life and, like Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, I was living with the pigs and staying hungry.”

Stopping the partying lifestyle, she turned her attention to raising her daughter.

“I wanted to stop the nonsense but I was shocked that I could not escape the vicious circle.

“My loneliness and the ‘friends’ I had were slowly drowning me. I could not stop the filth and I knew that my rebellious lifestyle would kill me.”

Thinking back to her childhood, Retha knew that the only one who could save her was Jesus Christ, whose greatness and love she had heard about through her parents.

“I remember my dad’s face shining with the glory of God,” she says.

At age six, Retha wanted Jesus Christ, God the Son, to come into her heart, forgive her sins and make her clean inside, but she admits that she only believed what her parents believed and did not know Jesus personally.

Now at the end of her rope, Retha humbly cried out to God and asked Him to take control of her life.

“The world was my playground, and it was not enjoyable any longer,” she explains.

“Very soon after my desperate cry out to God I found out that I was pregnant. I just knew that God had lovingly put a wall in front of this hell-bent daughter of His.

“This was the instrument He used to get me out of the mess I was in.

“My parents stood by me and I returned to God by trusting in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.”

As she surrendered her life to Jesus and trusted He took the punishment for her rebellion against God, Retha says her life changed.

“It was a struggle to bring up two little girls with a single mum’s salary, but God is so faithful and He was my children’s father.”

A few years later, Retha says that God gave her a husband with the same commitment to Jesus Christ and a business in which they serve God in.

“We both made seriously wrong choices early in life, but since we have trusted our great God our past has not consumed our future.

“In Christ we have new beginnings, more than once.”

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