Shadow of protection
After a string of divorces, Christa found the safe place she longed for
“At 32 years of age, what a freedom I found! Total peace came over me,” says Christa, pictured beside husband Cobus
Well-educated and raised in a stable loving family, Christa Britz recalls her life was set on a confused course when a preschool teacher molested her.
"The teacher asked me to put my hand on a black Bible and swear I will not tell anyone ever about what has happened," Christa begins.
"I knew enough to know what a promise was, especially on a Bible, so I never told anyone."
Although this teacher soon disappeared, more tragedy, confusion and loneliness followed when her parents divorced during her teen years.
Christa's internal battles were ultimately displayed outwardly in two devastating forms: adultery and anger. "To be honest," she shares, "everybody lies and cheats, steals and curses, but my problems were adultery and a bad attitude. I was married three times, and now in my fourth, and last, might I say."
It upset her greatly that she had no money to study for her dream job working with children.
She also battled loneliness when she found work after graduating high school and had to live with an unfamiliar family member who had many boyfriends.
To escape her isolation she impulsively married a school friend she barely knew and was soon pregnant.
“I so longed for that shelter, that peace and protection against the world”"Six months after I was pregnant we were married in a simple civil ceremony. We were poor and I cried through my whole pregnancy. After my first son was born, something really bad happened, so I filed for divorce and began living with my dad.
"I will never forget that terrible day of my divorce hearing when I was five months pregnant, and the most gracious old magistrate asking me over and over, 'Are you sure?'"
Feeling guilty that her father had to support her, Christa married another school friend she knew well and had a third son.
"Life was so meaningless for me; I was so empty inside," Christa remembers.
"Hoping it would add meaning to my life, I started an affair with a wealthy man who was old enough to be my dad. I then left my husband to be with this man.
"I remember praying every night to a God I did not know: 'Please help me out of this situation.' One day I got the courage to leave.
"Many times I wanted to end my life, but three beautiful boys popped up in my mind every single time."
In a troubled neighbourhood Christa met some acquaintances who invited her to their church. There she heard the most hopeful message of her life.
The preacher spoke from Psalm 91: "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
The Psalm concludes, "'I will rescue those who love me,' says the Lord '...I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation'".
Christa continues, "I so longed for that shelter, that peace and protection against the world, myself and all that was happening around me. Slowly something happened inside me."
After making up with her mother, Christa moved in with her and began attending her church.
"I learnt a lot about Jesus' salvation and knew I had to make a decision.
"I heard from the Bible that Jesus is the only One who can save you and forgive you, and who loves you unconditionally. Who does not hold your sins against you and does not remember them anymore.
"So I asked the Lord to come into my life and take over my life. I turned away and repented from all my sins and made Jesus Lord of my heart.
"At 32 years of age, what a freedom I found! I asked many people to forgive me for my wrongs against them."
After this, Christa says, "Total peace came over me. I was not afraid anymore. I was so excited and the emptiness was gone!"
Now free of her burdens as a Christian, Christa explains that she still made more mistakes and learnt another hard lesson.
"I did not consult God's guidance about a man I wanted to marry, a mistake that led to another sad divorce. It was a very hard lesson to learn. I have made my peace because God knows and He forgave me.
"Eight years after I joined a full-time Christian outreach ministry, I met my husband Cobus. God spoke clearly to us through Isaiah 54-55 to both of us during a Christian conference. We have been married now for three years.
"I have been diagnosed with an incurable auto-immune disease called Lupus. We pray every day for His strength and healing, and God often shows me this verse, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9).
"I love God, my husband, my three sons, and two four-year-old angel granddaughters. To God be the praise for His salvation, forever and ever."