She’s an unwavering Afrikaans woman, on a mission to change people’s lives one step at a time. I had no idea how many trials she faced in life, her joyous personality doesn’t reflect a breath of sorrow. Tessa and her husband have found a new home in the UK, where they landed incredible job opportunities. Her dream didn’t look this big when she was a young girl, all she hoped for was a normal family life and a caring family.
For three years, Tessa and her sister slept on their neighbour’s couch. Her father didn’t feel competent enough to take care of his girls after the divorce, so he left the girls in his neighbour’s care. Tessa was only 6 years old … (seriously people!) …when her purity was repeatedly abused by the neighbour’s sons. This act unfortunately became the norm; what must’ve gone through Tessa and her sister’s minds at that time, at that age?
Fast-forward a couple of years.
She absorbed information like a sponge. Tessa had no problem bunking school, but her exams testified of a very clever girl. She was far less interested in school, instead, she spent her evenings bartending until early the next morning. A few months later, she faced the most difficult time in her life. Her boyfriend, that she stayed with at the time, disapproved of the baby that grew more and more each day. Tessa had to make a choice to either keep the baby, or lose her boyfriend, and at the time she didn’t know God the way she does today. After her break-up with him only a month after the abortion, she was almost halfway from what awaited her.
Tessa started working at a new company after school that faced an exceeding amount of theft at the time. The company arranged to have polygraphs done with each employee, and it included the newly appointed Tessa. After she confessed that she is using drugs, the man who performed the polygraphs instructed her to 'sit down a moment.' He asked her a question that she least expected from a stranger, ‘why are you not okay?’ She was flabbergasted. 'I didn't even know that I wasn't okay.' With tears running down her cheeks, she took his business card after he invited her for coffee. Tessa reached success in her job after six months, but she still hasn't found her joy in drugs, alcohol or her relationship with her girlfriend after 5 years. Thoughts of suicide started creeping in, and in a moment of faith without ever knowing who this 'God' is, Tessa prayed 'God, if you're real, I need your help.'
The next morning, Tessa remembered the business card that the polygraphist gave her six months ago. With a quick email, they arranged a coffee where Tessa was introduced to his daughter. She invited Tessa to church, which was a strange situation for her because she never thought that this “God” they spoke of would make her life better. She could only remember her dad dropping her and her sister of at bible school every Sunday, but she was never really interested. Well, only until she had her first visit to church, she felt something different. Tessa made difficult changes after a few months, but she realized what weight her life carried and that she could bring change to the lives of women who struggled with situations similar to hers. After facing cancer as well as a highjacking with the attempt of murder, she has overcome challenges with a strength that she found in God.
She started a movement on Facebook called ‘Poetic Projects’ that enables her to motivate people to reach their short and long term goals.
The unwavering Afrikaans woman has stepped onto new territory. Her story didn’t only have an impact in her community and a few extra women in South Africa, but now she can help women across the world by sharing her story and build a community of support for women in need.
What an inspiration!