Signs of love and forgiveness

Leanne van Rensburg
God came knocking on my door, says Leanne van Rensburg

Highly sceptical at first, Leanne van Rensburg believed only in coincidences, not 'signs', before she could no longer deny seeing God's love pursuing her in the midst of her loneliness and heartbreak.

"I recently moved from South Africa to Australia and I wasn't in a good place during this time," she says.

"I ignored God because I felt He had forsaken me due to a lot of unfortunate events that had happened. I thought that I had to just go it alone and I was very lonely."

For a while Leanne attended a church in the hopes of making some friends there but she recalls secretly feeling angry towards God and the people around her.

"I have always believed in God, I just didn't believe He loved me because I have repeatedly and deliberately done things God wouldn't approve of in my life," she admits.

After ending a long-term intimate relationship that left her feeling empty and used, Leanne thought she would find happiness in starting afresh in a new country and working hard towards goals in her career and physical fitness.

"I did very well without God but nothing made sense in the end. I mean, what was I doing all this for?" she says.

As she pondered this while walking to work one day, Leanne curiously picked up a note lying by the footpath that was written in her Afrikaans language.

"It was a page out of a Bible study notebook and although I never believed in signs I kept it in my pocket anyway because I thought it might inspire me to start reading the Bible again.

"Then a few weeks later, I was painting an abstract picture and when I stepped back from the half finished painting to take it in I saw that in the waves of the ocean the lines formed an angel and the clouds were positioned above it like a halo.

"I thought it was purely coincidence but it did bring a smile to my face and I remember wondering whether God was trying to remind me of Him in these events."

Shortly after this Leanne attended a church with her mother and she remembers praying to God saying, "God, please come knocking on the door of my heart again so that I can allow you into my life".

"I kept going to church after that and each service turned into a message from God answering all of my uncertainties," she says.

"One of the biggest questions I had was how can people believe that God just forgives our sins? Surely God wouldn't just keep forgiving you if you continue to go and do the same sins, like sexual immorality. It didn't make sense.

"This is why I thought I could never be forgiven. I committed too many sins over and over again."

Leanne found the answer in a church service where the pastor explained how people could only be made perfect through Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself through death on the cross as the ultimate punishment for their sins.

"I realised that the debt has been fully paid already and we don't have to keep ourselves from eating certain things or perform certain rituals in order to obtain eternal life," she says.

"This made a difference to my view of Christianity because I thought that I was not good enough, knowing that I don't meet all the requirements of the Old Testament.

"My pastor touched me deeply when he said: 'It is not that we deserve God's love, but the fact that God loves us absolutely despite our shortcomings'."

Relieved that she could depend on God's grace and forgiveness in the areas where she sometimes still falls short, Leanne asked Jesus to take His rightful place as King in her life.

"I quickly started to see things change in my attitude and life when I started to pray more, asking God for help. For example, my behaviour towards others significantly changed when I realised I needed to love others for who they are just as God loves and forgives me.

Leanne is now pursuing journalism for websites like Christian Today, so she can continue to encourage others in their own search for God.

"This is something I can use to show people that God loves all of us for who we are and that we should keep on living as an example to others."

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