COULD YOU EVER IMAGINE GOING THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE JOB DID? A PERFECT LIFE TURNED TO DUST? TANYA VAN ZYL WENT THROUGH A JOB-SEASON AND THIS IS HER TESTIMONY.
My baby was born on the 3rd of May she is a miracle baby because I had 16 surgeries from 2007-2011. Five of them were major back operations and six of them life threatening abdominal surgeries.
In 2007 I was in a “good” place, you see I was studying full time interior design and architecture, I had even taken on extra subjects. I was on the path of greatness doing extremely well. I had always been independent and driven because I grew up with parents who showed me what it is to work hard. I had kept running actively every morning, to me my life was (as I in my adolescent mind thought) perfect. I felt my relationship with God was even better as I had a very close relationship with him as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, I would get to learn how much more I was worth, I could lose all that made me proud of myself and become all that He knew I could be.
In the winter of 2007 we went down to the coast for holiday and, I had started seeing a huge lump on my abdomen. The pain was so immense and out of fear that it might be something serious, my parents drove us straight home because I can’t be admitted where we were on holiday. When you have your own business like my parents you know you can’t risk being away for too long, as previously mentioned, their world revolved around it and it was all we knew. We arrived at the hospital at 6pm and I was taken to the emergency room. Upon examination I saw the radiologist eyes widening and he immediately phoned the surgical rooms (bear in mind I was 19 at this time and had never even thought of kids or anything like that at that stage of my life, I was too focused on becoming a successful designer.)
Next thing I know, I am being rushed to theater, my mom running behind me filling in papers and just before going in through the doors, they tell me; “sign here.” What, what was happening? This would be the first time I would sign a consent form putting my life in stranger’s hands. As I am going in, the nurse tells me I have a cyst that is 18 cm in diameter and according to the sonar it might be cancerous. The next words I hear are; “you might only lose your ovary, but they might decide to remove more.” The last I remember was thinking things couldn’t get worse, there wasn’t enough time for me to process or decide. I wasn’t able to choose, just like the storm that turned violent and then hit your house, I had no control.
I woke up hearing that my cyst had burst in theater and all my organs were infected. I had to have 5 more surgeries to correct it, each time they had to literally remove MY ORGANS, have you thought about the precision God uses when he “builds” you? Everything neatly, sits in its place and it needs to be exact, each part working perfectly. But my house was hit hard I had lost one ovary and my appendix, my colon had to be removed 5 times. Your colon is about 150cm divided into 5 segments and it can’t come in contact with outside air and dry out, so doctors have limited time when removing it and I promise you they don’t put it back with the precision God does.
I felt hurt and confused, why would God allow this to happen to me?
Winter 2008 I had recovered as best as I could and was coping well. I had continued my studies and was doing well, I felt what had happened the previous year had made me stronger and my faith was at an all-time high. God had helped me through the storm it was a battle I felt I won…
On the 9th of June I was on my way home after a great semester, I was in a wonderful place, had just gotten some of my marks back and I did exceedingly well. On my way back, I had sung praises to the Lord and was speaking to Him like I have done throughout my life thanking Him for all my blessings.
I was driving with my dad’s car that week because my dad was servicing my old trusty Corsa. Which in itself did not mean much but what was to come was a strand of knowledge I would need to connect things later. As I got to an intersection a stop that would be a stop I had not anticipated, in that moment a stop would come to everything I knew about life, love and faith. All of that would be STRUCK so hard that it would all fall apart, everything I thought I was, would become rubble.
A guy crossed two lanes and hit me with full force driving a bakkie, his clock got stuck at 160km/ph so we presume that, that was the speed he hit me with. I don’t remember much of that moment except that uproarious sound of the crash, the car was hit so hard we only came to a stop 65 meters away. All the glass shattered and the taste of blood in my mouth and then darkness. Until a few minutes later when I still couldn’t hear anything only silence, I opened my eyes and did not feel anything. Out of the corner of my eye through a small gap waving open, under the silver blanket over my face, I saw my father get out of his vehicle and fall to his knees.
Seeing my dad like that stirred something in me, I tried to scream to him, but nothing came out only my lips would move. In that moment I thought is this it, am I dead and immediately I asked “God why am I still here? Where are you?” Nothing, nothing but the silence and then darkness again…
“Zachariah 13:9” And I will put this third into the fire and refine them as one refines silver and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ’The Lord is my God.”
Why did I not get an answer when I called upon His name?
I woke up in ICU numb on my left side, even my face hung, my parents came in sobbing. A cracked scull, compression fracture in my neck, my back broken at 3 levels T12, L1 and L2; L1 had broken off and was piercing into my spinal cord, chipped knee and shattered glass buried into my skin all over. The house got completely torn apart by the storm…
In building construction, you need to follow regulations to insure low risk, if the foundations were inadequate and structures aren’t built accordingly, it is considered as uninhabitable and high risk. Was my foundation not strong? Did I not live my life following Gods
I will never forget the moment that my spirit also broke, I am naturally a very optimistic and competitive person so for me to finally give up was hard. The surgeon on duty said they have no guarantee that I would recover or be able to walk again, but they will have to operate on my back, I heard “we are going to operate, and everything will be fixed, I will walk out of here the same person I was.”
Again, I was told the surgery is very invasive eight to nine hours was to be expected in theater and I need to sign a consent form as it is regarded as a high-risk surgery. Nothing new, had done this 6 times the previous year, so I signed the consent form with what little strength I had in my right hand without even thinking twice. But this time being pushed into the theater, I saw a huge drill lying on the table, I grew up with drills and one year even got a Makita drill for my birthday, never did I think one would be used on my back like I had used them on the walls of a house.
I woke up and nothing had changed, my parents being who they are completely trusted and prayed 3 days nonstop. On the third day I started to feel a burning sensation in my left foot and the feeling started coming back! I had recovered from being paralyzed, God had answered their prayers and instead of being elated I felt defeated, even though God had once again saved my life and even gave me the gift of being able to feel again I felt numb…
People started saying our family is cursed and this really got to me, I decided to talk to the Man I had spent my whole life trying to please and then abandoned me when I needed Him the most, I called on Jesus. I had a bone to pick and this time I would not accept silence through
the years struggling to pray, wandering far off the beaten path. I had always remembered my grandfather saying this is why the Holy Spirit is so fundamentally important, this is why Jesus died on the cross, to create this covenant of blood between us and God, it is in times like these that the Holy Spirit prays for you and guides you.
“ROMANS 8:26 – And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words”
That morning after stating my case to God for most of the night I had a vivid dream.
I saw God telling my dad to please service my Corsa so I can drive with his BMW.
I saw an older guy in his 50’s he was born death and dump, I saw him struggling, living with his parents, his wife left him and took the kids. He was sad and disturbed and had too much to drink, the devil had seeped into his cracks. He got in to his bakkie and spun off, I also saw me at the stop street singing “and you will find the reasons why one step at a time” (the song was playing when I was in my accident) “I KNOW!”
I saw Jesus sitting next to me smiling and singing along. Then I saw the guy in the bakkie snap, he did not care what he would hit he just did not want to live anymore 1,5km away from his parents’ home he saw the BMW and put his foot down on the gas and turned towards me, then I heard God say loudly “YOU SHALL NOT TAKE HER LIFE” I saw Jesus put He’s arms across my chest pushing me against the seat and God pushing the bakkie away from the door towards the left wheel base (the strongest part of the body) I saw how Jesus kept me from dying and stayed with me holding my hand in the ambulance to the hospital, He showed me how the devil was angry and shut my eyes so I couldn’t see Him, I saw Him cry when the devil gave me the nightmare and I fell for it. I saw Him standing in theater guiding the surgeon and the devil kept interfering. I hear God telling His angels to keep me safe and then I see Him touching my feet, breathing new life into me again. I see the devil displeased and he goes and tries his tricks on my family.
I woke up in tears how could I have been so blind? How did I fall for all these lies and suddenly I ask God why? Why does the devil have it out for us what did we do wrong? And the silence is broken, He clearly says to me go read Job, your family is precious to Me, you have been obedient and I have been able to touch many people through your actions go read Job.
Job 1 New International Version (NIV)
1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
6 One day the angels [a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
At this moment I repented of all my sins and God said; “Tanya I have forgiven you, the hardest part of this is for you to forgive yourself.“ I was reborn at that moment and I had gained so much depth, I had a direct personal relationship with God, I could feel the Holy Spirit coursing through my veins. I was ready to take out my armour of God and stand up again. The old Tanya had died, and out of the fire came a purified warrior the old me was blind but now I could see clearer than I ever had.
God had patiently waited for me to call on Him and He had answered.
Six years I was told by numerous specialist that I would never be able to have children, my husband knew before we got married and yet he was still hopeful. We eventually went to the Vita lab in Johannesburg to hear yet again that even with insemination the chances were slim to none and would cost so much, plus the specialist explained that I would probably have a miscarriage.
I prayed so hard that God either gave me and my husband peace and that we would be able to let it go or create a miracle because I did not want to go through all of that especially the loss, after already losing my brother and best friend I felt I wouldn’t be able to handle a miscarriage. Well God answered my prayers, a month later I got pregnant naturally (no fertility drugs nothing) At first, I couldn’t believe it, the day I took my pregnancy test was on a Sunday morning. As we were going to church, that day the sermon was about when the valley of Achor and how God said to Moses His presence will be enough, He would lead him by sight “I saw how God revealed the beautiful flowers growing in the midst of the dark and cold Valley, how He revealed Himself in the flowers and how those flowers gave hope and brought joy and I could feel the warmth of the Holy Spirit in my womb, from that moment I knew I was pregnant.
With new hope, God was present, and no doctor could tell me otherwise, even though they tried, not even after my blood test showed positive did they believe I was pregnant. The specialist made me come in for a sonar telling me to please not get my hopes up as the chances of a false pregnancy far outweighs the chances that I truly am. You see I only had one working ovary and according to tests only 5 viable eggs plus stage 4 endometriosis and severe scar tissue growth. The day I went in for my scan, my husband and I however, were in good spirits our faith being much stronger in the Word of God than the word of man. The moment the specialist heard the heart beat we saw the shock on his face and he immediately got emotional, admitting that this is a miracle and that he and his colleagues had reviewed my file, there was no medical explanation.
I was labelled as a high-risk pregnancy, telling me I could not carry full term and would not even be able to reach 27 weeks, there was just no space, I ignored every word and trusted. I ended up carrying 41 weeks chances of natural birth where slim because of my history, my doctor supported me, and I knew that I would not be able to get an epidural or spinal tap so if we had to go to theater I would have to be put under anesthesia. Yet again God answered my prayers and on 41 weeks I had induction and gave birth after 11 hours. My girl was perfect, even though they had to use an instrument to get her out because of all my scar tissue.
Today I have a purpose far better than a successful designer or draughtsman, I am a full time mom and I can help more people because I am able to see life completely different than before. I have much more compassion and I can surrender everything, my whole being to God so that He can guide me and use me, not the way I intended but the way He intended. He has turned all my burdens into blessings and he continues to do so daily.
Photos supplied by Tanya