The Other Six Days: Marika Kleyn’s Story

Part of our Mission as a Church is to Equip every member of Harbour City for ministry in all of life. In this series of Blogs, we will share the stories of ordinary people in our Church who are following Jesus and seeking to live out their faith in every part of life. We hope their stories inspire you to do the same.

I’m an Afrikaans girl who grew up in the Western Cape.

My parents, brother and I moved to Durban when I was in Grade 9, which is now 30 years ago. I remember battling terribly to adjust to Durban and its culture at the time and I also wrestled with God for allowing my parents to relocate.

At age 15 we usually think we know best, and living in Durban was not part of my own plan for my life. Now, 30 years later, I look back and I see God’s perfect plan and I’m so grateful. He blessed me with an amazing husband, Christo, to whom I have been married for 23 years and two beautiful daughters, Linette (20) and Leandri (17). Christo loves God and he loves people; he is the most trustworthy person I know.

I love being a mom, it is such a privilege for me. Having said that, I thought parenting will get easier as children get older – but I was wrong, parenting is still challenging and a daily learning experience. I’m grateful that we don’t have to do it alone and that we have God as a role-model.  A big challenge for me is to allow my children to make their own choices as young adults. I pray that they will always make Jesus the center of their lives and that they will set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4v12).

I’m a high school teacher by profession and a professional juggler by trade! The challenge to juggle a career, motherhood, to be a good wife and friend and all the other roles we have to fulfill, is real. Now, at age 45, I have made peace with the fact that I will drop some balls, I just have to make sure that I don’t drop the same ball twice in a row!

I am also slowly learning to differentiate between things that are important and things that are urgent.

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important” – Dwight Eisenhower.

Spending quality time with God is important, loving and supporting my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, our Life Group and church community is important. Resting is important. I will keep on trying to get the balance right.

I teach in an all girls’ School and I love my job; it is my passion. While our School has a Christian ethos and it is easy for me to follow Jesus in my job, it is challenging working with people, and young people in particular. I need God’s wisdom and grace daily and I am very aware of the power we have as teachers; power to build up and encourage and the power to break down and discourage.

I care deeply for the girls I teach and I’m concerned about their emotional well-being, as they need careful nurturing. Life is tough for young people today, they are easily distracted and far too serious; they seem to stress more and laugh less. With the help of God, I try to create an authentic, happy place in my classroom where we laugh hard and work hard and where girls can just be themselves. I want to be approachable and I want the girls in my class to feel that they are important enough to be listened to.

To be fruitful as a Christian and to love the people around me as God wants me to, I need to spend more quality time with Him. I have been running on a rather empty tank over the last year, failing to realise that I need to go to Jesus more often to rest and re-fuel. I have also realized more than ever that God is in control in difficult times and that failure and mistakes help us to be empathetic and keeps us humble. If I could go back in time and change anything about my life, the only thing I will change is that I will pray more and more specifically. Luckily it is never too late to start doing this.