“We are all fools searching for a life worth living.” – Coach Jan
My story is not that important, because you also have story to tell, and that’s why I want to finish writing mine; so I can listen to yours. It’s a process of self-discovery and growth; and it never ends.
As your “Coach” and the founder of “Bodybuilding for Christ” I would like to ask for 40 minutes of your time. To share my heart with you with as much transparency as I can. So, here I am; an open book for you to see.
Finishing my story and sharing my testimony is also like the “cherry on top” when I consider this journey of healing. You see I’ve faced quite a lot of *** in my life, and I truly believe it started when God spoke to me.
It’s like the enemy noticed the calling on my life, and he set out to destroy me, but I am still here and “I am” stronger for it. God blessed me with a beautiful strong body and I plan on using it for His glory. For Christ.
I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. We lived in the Northern Suburbs where Jack Parow, Fokofpolisiekar, and Braaivleis was the vibe. Oh, and skateboarding. That’s still one of my big passions.
My parents raised me and my brother (G) in a average looking home, in a average looking neighborhood, and we went to an average school; I got average grades, and nothing felt like it would ever really change.
My mother is a researcher in human molecular genetics and my father showed me what the LAW looks like. He was a Judge, and we did not see eye to eye. He gave up on his dreams, and he was so filled with pride.
Always right, and never wrong. He expected perfection from everyone. Yet, he could do what he pleased. However, God used this to strengthen me. All my life I experienced oppression, rejection, and judgement.
My mother tells me she prayed about her marriage 3 years in because he was smooth talking (flirting) with everyone; and he only ever loved her to get something in return. His love was conditional. We accepted it.
The biggest part of my healing came from dealing with the *** in his house. Going back there after running away like the Prodigal Son. So, let me share my story for God’s glory, and I hope you can draw hope from it.
FACING THE WORLD
I remember going to primary school as a positive experience. There I was a Casanova on the playground. Istene Barnard, I still remember that kiss in the closet, but I’ll admit I was really more into Maryke de Wet.
At the age of 7 I heard God’s audible Voice, and it was quite frightening to say the very least. Standing in your bedroom at night hearing the words “Let the butterfly go.” in Afrikaans is quite something??? Right?
Anyway. It wasn’t long after that night that my mother noticed I was mixing words when I read from the Bible. She took me to a specialist and they tried to strengthen the muscles in my eye, and I got glasses.
That’s when the bullying started; and I slowly over time I gained weight. By the time I was twelve I had ballooned to 80kg (176lb). But this was actually a blessing in disguise. I was stronger than most people.
In grade 6 the PT teacher told me how strong I am, and then he invited me to play rugby for his team. Approximately 7 months later I qualified for the Western Province U/12 team as their Prop (Number 3).
The training was so brutal I lost over 30kg in that season; and I returned to school to play number 7. Skateboarding was always a thing for me, but now it became something I pursued because I could.
I also shot up by 10 – 15cm and now I felt myself again. It’s wonderful what confidence can do to you. Transforming your body and mind goes hand-in-hand, and when I realized this. I started doing more.
HIGH SCHOOL ’07
However, just before I leveled up my girlfriend dumped me for a chance to be seen by the most popular Gareth Kruth who played number 8 at a rivaling primary school. This rejection pushed me to to rebel.
Skateboarding and smoking with the punk rock emo kids became more my scene. I don’t know why but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled. I became somewhat of a player kissing one girl after the other.
But then I met Carina Meyer. You know if you meet that person who just makes you forget about the existence of other people… Yeah… That was Carina Meyer. God bless her soul. We dated for a while.
You see in Grade 10 my mother’s company got sabotaged by her PhD students, and my father invested everything he had in his brother-in-laws business who then died just a few months after he joined them.
His wife ran off with her lover and my dad’s life savings, and my mother “died a little”. Depression started. Running away from home became something I unknowingly did. Every morning I’d run like Forest Gump.
I became skinnier and skinnier. I became obsessed with my body. With what was eating. Controlling it. When I reflect on this I can see that I was unknowingly trying to control the chaos I was experiencing.
MY FIRST BREAK
We broke up because I spoke the words, “I no longer want to live”. My training regimes became more intense, and I self-medicated with exercise, cigarettes’, and online video games like World of Warcraft.
In Grade 12 I set my sights on passing the final exam with flying colors. Going to Stellenbosch University was expected of me, even though I had no idea what I wanted for myself. So I applied for BSc Dietetics.
You see, being obsessed with what you eat is not healthy, even if you know it’s not healthy, and then you study nutrition because it’s all you think about. Anyway… one day before my classes started I broke down.
I could not go out to face the world. You see because my father never taught me and brother how to be strong men, we became adolescents who lived in another reality. One where you can use cheat codes…
Being weak is a sad thing because you are reluctant to try new things. Staying in your comfort zone will never get you from point A to point B to point C. So you will always resent those who have big dreams.
My problem was I had no dreams. All my life I was performing for love and acceptance and now I was standing at a crossroads where I felt unworthy of my parents approval. I was weak, and it was killing me.
World of Warcraft occupied my mind and kept me from thinking of the things that were trying to break me. Playing a Blood Death Knight was like playing number 3 and 7 for my team. I was the one who tanked it all.
However, in real life (RL) I was a nobody. I had no income. I had no purpose. No education. No confidence. Just a depressed kid playing TV games all day, and trust me it was all day. I logged on from 7 am to 3 am.
It was in this comfort zone that I learned to grind for in-game achievements, for gold, and for rare mounts. My best friend would visit me and I would continue playing WOW. It was sad. I was hiding away from life.
My father “suggested” I go to the business school to get something behind my name, and so I enrolled. During this time I met cool people like Devan, but I still felt those shameful demons keeping me away.
I had a relapse (breakdown) just before the final business plan presentation because my presentation wasn’t something I wanted to share. It was for a mental health organization that supports students.
One week before my presentation I changed everything. My business plan was for an IT web design company, and that gave me 50% to pass the program. That following year I enrolled for web design.
GO WITH THE FLOW
The classes were creative, and challenging, but my brother from another mother Dirk de Klerk moved in with us for a year to finish his thesis with my mothers supervision and we started going out more often.
The problem was… we were going out drinking with the intent, or well I was, to get with a girl, and thank God we drank too much most of the time. I don’t even know where we got the money. We sure party’d.
That’s when one of the girls I really liked rejected me for being too skinny. So I started looking at ways to bulk up and build some muscle, and we (me and dirk) joined a gym. We still kept drinking and smoking.
However, about 7 months into our bodybuilding journey the booze lost if appeal, and my motivation for results grew into dedication. I grew HUNGRY for knowledge, and I applied everything that was working.
That’s when I turned to my mother and said, “I want to be a personal trainer.” She looked at me and said, ‘finish what your currently studying first.” That’s not what I wanted to hear. Eventually I got my way… lol…
So, I left Prestige Academy 1 year early with a certificate and then I embrace the “fit life” with everything I had in me. I was that annoying “know-it-all” kid in the class, and my teachers challenged me. I Ace’d it.
THEN I MET JEZEBEL
I was still spending my free time doing what I do best, and that’s to tank the *** out of those demons. Online dating sounded like a good option at the time, and that’s where I met her: The Playboy Bunny.
She had all of these sexy lolipop-licking playboy bunny modeling shots in pink. It was crazy. Then she invited me over to help her with her SD (sexual deprivation). The gentleman that I am, I kindly obliged.
I fell into her web of lies, and the craziest part of it all is the fact that she told me multiple times about how bad she is and how she was a compulsive liar all her life. It started in school to fit in and be cool. Now look!
I was oblivious…***! 4 years later and I almost married a 3rd generation witch. You see she had a very dark past of rape and abuse that nobody knew about, and it opened foothold for the enemy to use her for evil.
God stepped into my life just in time. All hell broke lose before the wedding day, and I stayed away while she was at the altar in black. My parents and everyone was there… I wasn’t. Shame pushed me to Jesus.
Someone invited me to church that night and I remember standing there at the back feeling that message penetrate my heart like a dagger in the chest. I raised my hand and I said “Jesus if you live, please show me.”
I stepped out in faith and invited God in. That’s when He opened my eyes to see what was going on all along. But He was so loving, so gentle, so amazing, that He first saved her and then healed our hearts.
My mother tried to pay her to move out. They stole the deposit. Then I walked through our apartment praying a cleansing prayer someone had sent me. When I walked into her bedroom I said something…
She exclaimed! Samarah Hayden, the Devils Guardian. It was a book she wrote as a hurt 16 year old girl. Samarah Hayden was the devils daughter, and a boy who was like her brother came and he saved her.
I burned the book that night. The apartments lights started flickering like there was something going on. This was my first experience with the “dark side” and it opened my eyes to the unseen battle we all fight.
Ilse is now happily married with two beautiful boys to a loving man of God. I bless their union and I am grateful for everything we shared on this journey back to God’s purpose for me. We all need a family.
I quit my job as a Personal Trainer and stayed in my apartment worshipping God, studying every Word, disciplining my mind to obey Him every time I feel convicted to do or go or say what He desires of me.
I stepped out in faith, even if there were moments of doubt in me. In the Bible it says, “They worshipped Him, but some doubted.” “Oh you of little faith”. “Do not be afraid, do not be dismayed, God is for you!”
God has a funny way of being for you. Sometimes it feels like He allows you to walk through hell with a loving voice that says, “But did you die?” I don’t think we can truly ever know God without being shown.
What I mean with this is the fact that God cannot be God if there is no reason for Him to be God. Jesus Christ is dangerous; and He will throw you to the wolves just to show you what He placed inside of you.
God sent me another wife, or well I thought so. You see M was an amazing woman, broken nonetheless. She had manic bipolar disorder, and she used to do coke. But Jesus saved her, and I believed she was O.K.
I think God knew the only way He could send me home was this way. She invited me to her church, said things like “where have you been all my life”, and then she asked me to move in with her. So, I said yes…
Three months later all her wounds were re-opened. It was pretty intense seeing someone with bipolar pacing up and down the hallway talking to herself until another person emerges. Cruel, brutal, and hurt.
MY FATHERS HOUSE
We had sex on Valentines Day and after that she believed I had a sex demon. Perhaps… I mean sex with my ex it was pretty intense. I am also a very passionate “lose yourself” kind of lover. But now I was enemy #1.
Needless to say she kicked me out. God bless her soul. I moved back with my parents, and that’s when my eyes were opened to the reality of my fathers house. It was a shadow compared to my childhood memories.
You see I ran away from home for a reason. It was an unseen reason. I was blind to it, and so were they. Both my parents were oblivious to the weight hanging over their home. God placed me there to see it.
You see I learned there are images hanging over the braai area that come from Greece. These depict slavery, oppression, racism, and greek gods. One of these gods are called Amun, or the hidden one. See Wikipedia.
God gave me scriptures to confirm the fact that these idols MUST be removed from the home. Cleaning the home or God’s temple is not merely a spiritual act, but a physical act as well. We must be sanctified. Holy.
These things have been in the home for such a long time that nobody noticed the changes. My father has been fighting one cancer after the other. My mother’s new business is also facing oppression continually.
I BELIEVE GOD
I forgot to mention. That company that was sabotages by my mother students. Well, after my baptism there was an investigation launched and 3 emails were found to prove foul play. They were each sued for R 1 mil.
That company was placed in my hands with a vision, and Bodybuilding for Christ is the working prototype. Architype if you will. Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all your needs will be met.
God is still shaping me. He is not done yet. I have learned to let go of the outcome because I can only see what He shows me. I believe in the dream I keep within because He is actively making it a reality for me.
My wish is that you find Jesus Christ like I did, and that God will restore you, heal you, and dance with you. Jesus Christ is dangerous. He will go to trance parties with you to minister to broken people. Let Him.
You have a golden heart like I do, and that is why the world hates you. My story is far from done. Lol who knows I might even stand for president one day. Just because I can dream and work hard to see it take shape.
God is not mocked, and we will reap whatever we sow. He is not concerned with what you earn, neither with how holy you might think you are. You still call it ***. Grace upon grace upon grace; upon grace.
This is why I did what I’ve done.
Because I love God.
And I also want to feel loved.