She Owns A Rock Now!

by Chris Kamalski

Bling Is Her New Middle Name!

(I asked Maxie to write up her take on the past few weeks leading up to our engagement as a way to introduce you to her…so, ‘Now I proudly present, in her very own words, Sarah Magdalene Van Der Merwe…the future Mrs. Kamalski!’ Happy Valentine’s Day love!)


It’s not Hollywood, its better… it’s real!

I woke up Saturday morning with Chris coming into my room and handing me a big envelope… ‘What? What’s going on? I can’t focus on anything this early in the morning, what are you doing?’ If you know me, you’ll know I’m not the best morning person, especially anything before 7:30 and/or before a shower. So grumpily I opened the envelope and found Chris’s storyboard inside.

Wait, what? You’re not supposed to give this to me before you ask me to marry you, I thought. My confused morning person took time to try and figure out what was going on. I started to read through each page, trying to figure out where we are in the story. But it took me so long; Chris had to come get me as I just stayed in my bed, trying to figure this out. When I realized what was happening, my first response as Chris came back in was “You’re doing it in the morning?’ because all I thought was who’d really want to marry morning Maxie, she’s not always the best person.

But he decided that this was real. In the morning I am at my rawest self. And the thought of him loving me completely, even when I’m that grumpy (I’m really that bad, especially in the morning), was overwhelming…

I’ve always had this weird idea in my head that there’s really no-one out there that will ever get me, love me and want to be part of the things I’ve given my life to. I mean, who’d want someone who doesn’t want the white picket fence, can’t cook and burns rice but goes into prisons, builds shacks, hangs with dirty kids, and can’t seem to stay in one place long enough to settle.

I always used to ask God why he made me the way he did. Why was I completely and absolutely made for relationships (I’m an extreme extrovert, verbal processor with all my 3 top strengths being woo, includer and connectedness). I was made for people. 100 %. But the one relationship that epitomizes intimacy and deep connection never seemed possible to me. I always thought it would end up being God and me on some crazy adventures.  My deepest heart’s desire was to know the deepest relationship God uses to describe his love for us. Maybe I will get God’s love a little bit more if I can experience this…

Most of my closest friends over the past 10 years have wiped tears and listen to the ramblings of my lonely journey. I always remembered saying, I know God is with me, but he can’t play soccer with me…

I’m a very cheesy person. I love romantic comedies, cheesy love songs and cheesy gestures. And God always seemed to woo me with the cheesiness in friends, in movies, in songs, but God always reminded me that He does not forget. He will walk with me through whatever happens. I might not know how it will look, what will happen, but I know He is good and somehow I’ll be okay.  I really never thought it could happen for me…that I will meet someone who gets me, loves me and wants to journey with God and me into the brokenness of our world and be a force for good in restoring this beautiful world God has placed us in, loving broken people back to life.

Its been 10 years since I left high school and decided that I want to give my life for something bigger than myself, no matter what the cost would be. Choosing to follow the call I felt in my heart launched me into a 5 year journey with YWAM all across the world, starting with a year and half in Texas (the US, with a trip to Mexico), 3 and a half months in Australia, 2 months in New Zealand, 6 months in Hammanskraal (a township outside of Pretoria), and almost 2 years in Durban, South Africa. After an 8 month Sabbatical the Pure Hope journey started, and I’ve been living and working in Pretoria since 2007. I’ve hopped around the world, trying to be obedient to the still small voice inside. And it has been guiding my heart into this greater unfolding story…

It feels surreal to see the most beautiful ring on my finger as I type this, feeling a little bit like Alice in Wonderland, having to pinch me to make sure that this is real.

God never forgets.

Since May 2003, I started on a journey of no turning back. I remember writing in the front of my Bible during a teaching in Texas, ‘No matter what happens, I will not quit’. I will not quit this story God was writing. I will walk through whatever may come, how hard, how painful, how lonely that may be.

Over 18 months ago I met this intriguing red-headed American out in Pretoria North, not realizing that he will become my husband.

Walking with him through his fears, through my own fears, through the conflict of our false selves, we have gotten to know each other deeply, intimately.  We have come to find that there is life: That God loves us beyond what we deserve, that we want to give our lives to be part of God’s greater story, that His grace is enough; that His hope will not disappoint.

He asked me. He chose me. He really did. He loves me. He really loves me. He’s even more than I ever imagined…

And I can’t wait for what lies ahead!

Who would have thought that this African-American love story would be God romancing us…

Its not Hollywood – its sooooooooo much better…