00:16 Sonja Wood: So, I would like to thank you all for coming today. It’s absolutely wonderful that you could come here to Oikos studio and be with us. We know how this all happened. Thank you, Gerta, because you’re just a star. A while back, Gerta asked me to join you ladies at a Mom’s Encouragement Day. And I was so impressed with just where you’re all at and your commitment with your families and your home education journeys. I just felt God smiling on all of you and His heart just being so full with what you’re doing, and what He has called you to do, and your commitment to that.
00:57 Sonja: And so I thought, “Why don’t you come and spend some time here and we will just hear your stories and hear what you’ve got to share with other people?” And so we’re starting with Gerta, because you instigated of all of this. And also Gerta’s been an Oikos Mom for so many years. She’s literally raised her children as Oikos children. So she’s really encouraged and supported lots and lots of people. And we keep sending people to her as well. I hope that’s still okay. Yes. We’ve asked you to come to just share with us. So we’ll start with you Gerta. Have you got something to share with us?
01:33 Gerda Davies: Yes, I would love to start by just sharing how I found my surety that this was the right thing to do. Because I prayed about it for a whole year when my son was three. And my dad said a very interesting thing to me. He said, “I really, really, really don’t want you to do this because I don’t want your son ever to grow up and resent you for not just being his mom, for being his teacher as well. Especially if you clash.” And that made me think a lot. I had to really seriously search my heart and pray about it. Because he had a valid point. What if my child grows up and looks back at his childhood and think, “All I wanted was a mom and I got a teacher.”
02:13 Gerda: So I thought about it a lot, prayed about it a lot, went back to my dad and just said, “Dad, I’ve always respected what you say. I’ve listened. I’ve taken stock, but I really feel called to do this.” Then I started the year he turned four and then the doubt came. “Oh my gosh, have I made… What if my dad was right? What if this is not the right thing?” The things that came a lot, the attack that came a lot was, what if I’m not good enough? And what if I’m not doing enough? And was this really the right choice? Because the reality is it would have been simpler to just send him school and know that everything’s covered because the school will cover it.
02:52 Gerda: They’ll know what to teach. They’ll know what to do. And that seemed the easier route. So for a whole year, that was sort of, let me just send him back to school and then everything’s covered.
03:04 Sonja: But just hang on, I just have to ask you. Just for people who are listening. How old is he now? I think they need to know this.
03:11 Gerda: So now he is 17.
03:11 Sonja: Okay.
03:11 Gerda: So that was the year he turned four. For the first year, four to five. And I kept on wondering, “Would I be enough? Would this be… And did God really say, ‘Do this.’ Did I hear correctly?” And then I said, “Okay Lord, you need to give me something to stand on when it gets tough.” And they must have been between four or five years old because a friend of mine phoned me one afternoon and said, “Please, can you go and fetch my son from the crèche?” Or, not a crèche, like a play school. Because she was marking and she was running late. And when they close, they close. And it was 5:00, just before 5:00. And so I quickly rushed out there. I walked into this play school and it was like something hit me in the face. I felt like I walked into paradise.
04:00 Gerda: There was little tracks for the bicycles. There was the most beautiful sand-pit. There was the most beautiful jungle gym. There were all these classrooms that were painted different colors. There were all these little hooks outside with each child’s little symbol. There were bags hanging. It literally looked like a child’s paradise. And I remember standing there thinking, “I’m keeping my child away from all of this?” And then I remembered I built a little jungle gym with my own hands and nails in the backyard, and I made my own little sand pit.
04:31 Gerda: And it’s falling apart. “And that’s what I’m giving my child. That. And he could have all this, what am I doing?” And then I remember so clearly, this thought came to my mind. “Stop, look, look at each child.” And I can still picture them. There were two kids in the sand pit, there was a little boy going around the track. There were some kids on the swing. There weren’t many because it was almost 5:00 in the afternoon, so most kids were gone, and they were playing. And I felt this, “If you go and kneel in front of every child right now, looks them in the eye and say, ‘Do you want to be here, or do you want mommy?'” Every single child will say, “Can I please have my mommy?” Because it’s a long day being in that place without your mom. And then I just felt God saying to me, “You can’t give them all of this, but you can give them you. And you are what that child needs. And those little kiddies would choose their mom over this paradise.” So that clinched it for me. That was, “You know what? I can give him me. I can give my kids me, that’s enough.”
05:39 Sonja: More.
05:39 Gerda: More than enough. Then I went through… Okay. Like I said, he’s now 17, and I have gone through stages of, “Is it still enough? Am I enough? Will this ever be enough?” Then I start comparing. My friends whose kids are going on school trips and drama classes and the sport, and the beautiful buildings, and the science labs, and the stuff that schools can give the children. And I have to constantly say, “Am I still enough? Is it still enough?” And then what happened was, you guys shared that scripture about seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added. I really made that my mission to keep on saying to God, “I can’t give my children that, and that, and that, and that, and that, when I compare and what I see in the world, but you can add some stuff for us. ”
06:31 Gerda: I would start seeking Him and I would ask Him, “What do they need more?” And there was a time where I felt, well, they needed a bit of music, and I discovered there was a music teacher walking distance from our house, and we started struggling a little bit with some of the maths. And I just started praying, “Lord, I need some help.” And we discovered a friend of ours is a maths teacher and she said, “Let your kids walk over anytime and I’ll teach them their math.” And over the years I’ve seen how God has added what we needed, when we needed it and it’s always been enough.
07:02 Sonja: And tell me, just, I need to ask you, has He taught you about comparing ’cause you mentioned how you were comparing. Did God teach you something about that?
07:09 Gerda: Very much so. So that is come… That’s come strongly through, that I almost see it as a sin to compare, honestly, because it’s not fair. It’s not fair on me, it’s not fair on the children, and I had to stop myself from doing that because I would. I would compare constantly. The one day I went to a private school to quickly go and organize something, and the same thing happened again. I thought, “If my daughter gets a scholarship to this private high school, would I send her there?” Because you start comparing what they’ve got there to what you have at home. And it was such a resounding no, no, not even if they give her a 100% scholarship. I won’t send her here, because this is not what God’s called us to do and comparing is wrong. Because comparing always, always brings discontentment and it always makes you feel like you’re not doing it right and it’s not enough.
08:03 Gerda: And because what God’s plan for my children is not necessarily for the other children or the other family. What works for them is not gonna work for me. What works for me doesn’t work for them. So yeah, I’ve worked through that quite well. And then the other thing that I’ve now learned, and again stems back to that thing of, do I have enough? Am I enough? Will this be enough? Over the years, God has just answered that beautifully with, “Actually, no, you’re not enough. That’s the answer. No, you’re not enough. But I Am. I Am.”
08:37 Sonja: He’s more than enough.
08:39 Gerda: He’s more than enough. And everything I miss out on my children, not teaching them, He’ll do. He’ll take over. He’ll teach them at the right time, so it’s okay. And then something else I discovered, and just the discussion with a mom one day, she was saying to me, “I think I’m gonna send my kids back to school because they really need the sport. They are good, good, good little sportsmen.” And they were very talented. They were very, very good. And they need that sport.
09:09 Gerda: And I remember looking at her and saying, “Is that what [chuckle].. Do you think that’s what God thinks is really that important for them and do they really, really need that?” And so I said to her, “If it is, you will see how God will open up the door for them.” ‘Cause I’ve walked through the last 13, 14 years with a lot of homeschoolers that were very talented in sport and God just opened the doors for them to go high up in the sport. But God opened that door because yes, for them, it was really that important. And just after that conversation with that mom, I started thinking, “Is everything we think our children need, is that what God thinks they need?” And so I started shifting my thought.
09:48 Sonja: Good thing you checked with them that.
09:51 Gerda: Yeah. So my thought would be, “I think my child needs this, and I really think my child needs that, and I think my child is missing out here. And I think, oh Lord, is that really that important to You? Is it really that important to You that my son is now… Gets accolades or a medal around his neck for running the fastest? Or is it more important for You that I teach him about honoring other people and respecting other people?” And if he’s that talented, he’ll get there, he’ll do that. We’ll see. But yeah, it put me into a place of just really starting to seek with Him, is what I think is important for my children important for Him as well? Because if it is, then God opens the door.
10:32 Sonja: Wonderful. And you’ve got three children?
10:35 Gerda: Yes.
10:36 Sonja: And you’ve just gone all the way?
10:37 Gerda: Yes.
10:38 Sonja: Absolutely fantastic.
10:39 Gerda: Yes, we’ve got a 17 year old, almost 15, and a nine year old. And I remember the first time I met you years ago, you kept on saying, “Just focus on what God wants for your children step by step and He will open the doors.” And God has really done that for our son. He is finished with his formal education now, and God has opened up doors for him to go to Mauritius to go and work in a ministry there as a missionary for a year. And it’s just… We could not have thought up something as great as what he’s going into.
11:12 Gerda: So I could have tried. I could have tried to plan his future, and I think I could have thought, “This sounds like a good idea for my son.” When I look at what God has planned for him now, what he’s going into now, it exceeds everything I would have thought up because I would not have thought up something so incredible as what he’s going into. The people he’s gonna be living with are the most wonderful, wonderful people and the whole opportunity, I would never have been able to have thought up something like that. No I couldn’t. So, leave the future in God’s hands.
11:42 Sonja: God going before everything. And that’s what you’ve had to always rely on, come back to Him, back to Him. And when Gerta’s got in the way of what about and what about, and then you go back to Him and His plan is different, often, isn’t it? It’s not what you thought up, as you were saying.
11:57 Gerda: Yeah, that’s right, it is quite different. And it has also come with some difficulties from theirselves. For instance, my daughter really, really, really wanted to go to school. And she has made it very clear. And then we said to her for a few years, but my darling then pray about it because you’ve also got a relationship with Father God, and if you really wanna go to school, ask Him. Keep on asking him, saying to Him, “God, I want to go to school. Could you make it possible for me?” And I said to her, “He loves you. He knows what’s the best for you. He will make a plan for you if that’s important to Him as well. And if He knows that’s best for you.”
12:29 Sonja: If that’s where He needs you.
12:30 Gerda: If that’s where He needs you. But you talk to Him as well. And she did start praying about it and an opportunity came open for her to go to a little cottage school for a term and she loved it. And then we said, “Would you like to go back the next term?” And she said, “No, thank you, mom. I’m fine at home.”
12:48 Sonja: She needed to get to that…
12:52 Sonja: Now, I really appreciate you sharing ’cause I know you’re not 100% well at the moment, you’re feeling a bit of a chesty, coldy thing. And she didn’t even have a voice a couple of days ago. So, I’m glad you have one today so that you could have shared your heart with us. It’s just fantastic. We all enjoyed hearing all those little pearls. I think today is a day of sharing pearls. Wouldn’t you say? Hearing those pearls of wisdom from you. You’ve walked a long journey, you’ve hung in there. I’ve seen you go through the valleys and you’ve just called out in God and you’ve always gone back to Him. I mean, if you hadn’t…
13:26 Gerda: No, that was it.
13:29 Sonja: You’d be sorry today. But instead, you’re here giving thanks to Him. I say that confidently, because I know that sometimes you would have possibly been tempted to follow the way of the world that wasn’t right for your family, and you didn’t, even though it was tough for you. You’re not one of these moms that’s sitting and saying, “Oh, it was wonderful, glorious. Everything was easy.” No, no. You’re saying it’s been tough. And because of that, you can actually share with others now and tell them the reality. It’s been tough, but you’ve had God.
13:58 Gerda: And also, one thing that helped me a lot that you said years ago to me was, when our children get older and they start bleating like little lambs, “Please, I wanna do this.” Like my daughter, “Please, I wanna go to school.” Or, “Please I need this.” Or, “I need that. Please, mom.” And you hear the bleating, the bleating, the bleating. It’s hard on your heart as a mom. You want to give in to them. You wanna give them what they want. And I remember you saying, “Don’t listen to the bleating of the lambs, listen to the voice of the Shepard.” And that has helped us.
14:28 Sonja: And let the Shepard lead, not the lambs.
14:30 Gerda: That’s right. And that has helped us.
14:32 Sonja: Exactly, exactly.
14:33 Gerda: Thank you.
14:34 Sonja: Well, thank you.
14:34 Gerda: Thank you.