I don’t recall ever being nervous about a blog post… but this one makes me nervous because I suspect some readers may have already got a little hot under the collar before I’ve even reached my second sentence. So before I get into it, let me preface this by making it clear that in no way am I accepting the sin you will pick up in this post, nor am I saying it was God’s will. I am simply sharing my experience of a God who does work “all things for the good of those who love Him – those who He has called according to His plan” (Rom 8:28).

I met ‘Babes’ late in my teenage years.  She was somewhat of a celebrity in East London – everyone knows her as “the flower lady”. This is because ‘Babes’ is a hippy who walks the streets of East London dressed in bright dresses, carrying flowers and waving at cars. I met ‘Babes’ in a recording studio where I was doing some vocals, and she was recording a testimony of a life of drug abuse before coming clean onto CD.

After a while, Babes joined our church and was regularly seen worshipping in the back row with a big smile on her face.  Many people weren’t comfortable with Babes because, well, Babes was different. Odd. But Babes was harmless and we’d often have little chats in the foyer and the bookshelf and I could tell that Babes felt a sense of security with me. I could tell she didn’t feel judged around me.

Here’s the story you’ve already suspected:  Babes was not always a woman. Babes had a full sex change in the 60’s.

Here’s the crux of this post (and how Rom 8:28 fits into ‘Babes’ story).  Before leaving East London to finish my theological degree full time in Joburg, Babes (who really had little means and not much to offer the world except for a smile and a flower) came up to me and shared a little of the impact I had had on her life.  I was right.  She had never felt judged.  For me, this is a big deal.  Being judgmental is one of my greatest flaws – one I have to constantly work at. Just before the end of the conversation, Babes said she wanted to give me a book in hopes that it would help me in my studies.

The book she gave me has ended up being the most important text book of my entire college career.  There hasn’t been a single theological assignment that I’ve completed without spending a great deal of time in the book.  Theological discussions have lead me back to its pages to discover the different opinions.  And, her gift saved me well over R1000.

Here’s why I felt the need to share this with you.  God uses all kinds of people. Maybe you’re the student who will receive a gift / blessing / word from an odd person.  Maybe you’re the odd person that God will use to make a big difference in the lives of many people.  The point is, we don’t ever, ever, get to limit God.  We don’t get to choose who He may, and may not use.  And we should never make the mistake of rejecting the work of God in our lives because it didn’t come through someone who looks like they have it all together.

I will, for as long as I live, be grateful to a broken individual who found the need to completely change their physical makeup and undergo that operation.  This person has contibuted more to my academic life than many people who have it all together have. I cannot, nor will I, take that for granted.

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2 Responses

  1. According to the deaths notices in today’s East London’s Daily Dispatch much loved Babes Markus, East London’s “Flower Lady” passed away 25 July 2016 after a short illness 🙁

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