My journey as a fitness trainer started 17 years ago.  One I would never have anticipated when I finished high school.  Probably a road I would never have considered then, but has now become a passion.

At age 18, I couldn’t see the bigger picture.  My focus was on teaching little pre-schoolers, my excitement to learn inevitable, my joy was seeing little minds being formed, little lives being sculpted, and I was playing a part in doing so.

But a couple years later, a new plan was put in motion, a journey with lots of speed bumps and huge mountains, and days with sunshine too.  In the end, the road trip was one of self examination, finding myself, my spot, my purpose and ultimately being able to let go of what I know, and to drive right into the deep end and swim.  And looking back now,  the start of my journey was not a dead end, I might not be teaching little ones, but the knowledge I acquired, fueled my purpose, helping me find direction to where I am today.  Today, I am using that knowledge more than ever.

My journey is definitely not done.  We can never say we have arrived.  Each day brings new challenges and we are constantly changing.  But every restroom stop along my journey is building blocks to the end of the road, when ever that might be.

You see, we often look at bad things that happen to us, as just that: bad things.  We see the way we are hurt, rejected or even looked down upon.  And while we are in that negative state, we see with clouded eyes.  We can only see now.  We forget to breathe, take a set back and close our eyes.

I worked with Andre in an Corporate environment for 2 years, hating every minute of it.  Because there was no teaching posts available in the small community we were staying in at that time, I had no choice to go work in the Bank with him.  I was placed there for a reason, my new journey of finding my purpose starting right there, but I didn’t see it then.  I was clouded with sadness  –  wanting to fall pregnant and not being able to (a story for a different day..)  All I could see was my self pity, literally giving up on life, not caring any more.   I definitely didn’t want to be on this journey.  It felt like I was heading no where, and it took my dad having a triple heart bypass and my best friend dying the same day, to shake me out, get me to breathe and close my eyes.  Only then did I realized I was allowing myself to be dragged along.  It was time to get up.  The journey was still the same, but my vision was clouded with my self inflicted pain.  I only saw me and what I was feeling.

It’s like the story of the footprints in the sand.  There is only 1 set, because He is carrying me, but my eyes were closed.  Don’t we do this?  Close our eyes and let Him do all the work?  Today, I acknowledge that time of my life with joy, because in opening my eyes, I was stripped down to just me, and in being vulnerable, new adventures emerged.  Yes, He is still carrying me, but now – from the position of sitting on His shoulder, I could see so much further ahead.  And the plan for my life started to unfold.

It was in this time that Andre was transferred to a VERY SMALL town, called Tweespruit, my vision of teaching turned to helping mothers in need of empowering themselves through fitness and better health choices, and I started to see more pieces of the puzzle.  I started finding myself more and more, realizing my purpose and ultimately seeing my journey.  And adding to my joy, I fell pregnant with twins.

My journey keeps on giving.  The mountains are never ending, but the sight from the top cannot be described and  the valleys are beautiful, rewarding, yielding so much fruit.

I lost a lot along the way.  When my brother drowned 13 years ago, I knew that that was part of my journey, my ability to work through the loss and pain, became my strength.  Today, his death fuels me to do better, to live every day to it’s fullest and to keep my eyes focused and to see each bump in the road for what it is: a learning station.

And in realizing the loss and the “bad times”, I have gained life experience, grew to be stronger.

This is me.  I am Elmarie.  I am not perfect, nor do I want to be.  But I will see my life for what it is:  a journey with lots of rest stops, lots of hills and bumps and many valleys with picnic spots.  I will take what I have learned along the way and use it as much as I can, empowering myself to keep my eyes focused.

To acknowledge His footprints in the sand and play my part by acknowledging His life in me, always guiding my to be who I am.