Testimony I How Grace Restores What Was Once Broken


by Cheryl Benadie


cherylI met Shayne and Marna in early 2013 during their visit to Pretoria (William was just four months old then).


Although I’d been a Christian since I was 12, I had been really burnt by religion. I’d been involved with a spiritually abusive church in the past and I was extremely cautious about anything that looked ‘churchy’.


I loved God… but because of what I’d experienced, I didn’t really believe that He loved me and wanted the best for me. Being exposed to the message of Grace (the real gospel about Jesus and His finished work) slowly began to heal my heart.


It felt like the foundation of my faith, which had proven to be shaky, was being rebuilt. My then boyfriend (now my husband) went through GraceLife’s discipleship guide with me and I would end up crying in almost every session (I was so embarrassed).


I was discovering the true nature and character of God and while it made me joyful on the one hand, it also made me sad that I had believed the lies of religion and had lived with the bitter fruit of false believing for so long (I guess we all have our stories of transition to tell).


Over the past three years, seeing Shayne and Marna live out their message in real and honest ways has also helped to restore my faith in Godly spiritual leadership. I accepted Alècia’s invitation for me to share my gift of writing and I started working on the Refresh devotionals in 2014. Since I was learning about the true message of the gospel, it made me more confident in expressing my understanding of God’s heart.


I also supported my husband Christiaan to further establish the GraceLife community in Pretoria and we’ve been able to enjoy authentic connections in building a faith community. What I love is seeing the Gospel at work in people’s lives – there is something so incredibly powerful in watching someone come alive spiritually. Growth in the individual spurs growth in the group, which cannot help but spill over into the various circles of influence.


In 2015, we felt God leading us to move down to the Western Cape to attend GraceLife’s Bible school and once we committed to the decision, He moved things in our favour. Within a year, we were moving into our new place in Somerset West!


Although it has been difficult to leave the people we love (natural and supernatural family), we know that we are connected to God’s adventure of growth and destiny. I finally feel like I am a part of something powerful, something real – something that I can really get behind because the focus is not on the doing but rather the being. Of course, there is no perfect church – only opportunities to allow Christ’s perfection to be actively at work within us.


Your partnership through the years has enabled Shayne, Marna, Alècia and many others to wrap their arms around me, a once-broken person who is constantly renewing her mind about her blood-bought wholeness in Christ.


How does one say thank you for that? There are not enough words to measure the value of restoration and transformation – and so I pray that God will reward your faithfulness in ways that are way beyond your imagination.


May God bless you exceedingly, abundantly and above all you can ask or think!