I had been wanting steak and was not keen on going into a restaurant and ordering a steak on my own. It is not that I have a problem eating on my own, but a steak dinner is not the kind of thing that one indulges in by oneself. Also, steak dinners are pricey.

For various reasons, I decided a few days before it occurred to attend a Conference hosted by my Department.

Gender Unit launch

At the close of the Conference one of the Profs invited me to a small dinner that the department was hosting for two of the eminent persons who had presented. I, of course, accepted the invitation.

The dinner was held at an elegant restaurant.

Big_Easy Restaurant

I marveled that I had been given the opportunity to dine with such an esteemed group. I was the only student present.

Because I was marveling at my good fortune at being included, the fact that I might be able to finally have a steak did not register. The steaks being ordered by others sounded good, but there was also a very inviting Fish of the Day on the menu.

I asked the waiter for his recommendation. He informed me that the fish was excellent, and that the steak was recognized as the second best in the entire country.  “It depends on what you have been wanting to eat. Maybe you just had steak or fish, then I would order the other.”

At these words, I knew why I found myself sharing in this dinner. The Lord was giving me steak, that I would not have to eat alone, or worry about paying for.

I returned the menu to the waiter, and ordered my steak, in that elegant restaurant, among those esteemed personages.

Big Easy. Steak

As promised, the steak was outstanding.

Dessert, my favorite part of a meal, followed. I had the strawberries and cream baked cheesecake. It, too, was perfect.

Big Easy. Cheesecake

When I was driving away from the dinner, I laughed out loud, giddy over the extravagance of the the Lord’s grace towards me.

Then, getting close to home, I saw a text on my phone reminding me that traffic might be dense in the city because the Cape Town Jazzfest was underway and a free concert was taking place on Greenmarket Square. En Vogue was performing at the free concert.

The previous year it took hours for the headline act to come to the stage, and I actually left the concert before they did. This year, I thought, still buzzing with joy as I drove into the city, it was late enough that if I went by the concert I might be just in time to catch En Vogue. I went, and I was right.

I sang and danced under the velvety night sky soaking in the jazz-infused vibe of Greenmarket Square.


It was a night of utter wonderfulness.

The Lord told David the King, that though he had given David everything imaginable, including the kingdom, “if that had been too little, I would have given you even more!” (2 Sam. 12:7-8)

Let me affirm for you the truth of this statement. God has given me Cape Town. And keeps giving me even more.

P.S. This happened right around my birthday.  The Lord remembers.



Since, unlike most people my age, I don’t have a spouse or children whose exploits I might publicly share, I have decided to share with the world the absolutely wondrous relationship that I have with Jesus. After making this decision, it seemed, I had more thoughts of things to say about my #sweetjesus than I had time to write down.

A South African, who is Zulu, once asked me what my  name meant. I replied that my name did not have a meaning. I was named after an aunt. It had never occurred to me to wonder about the meaning of my name beyond that fact.

Recently, though, I have been considering Africanizing my middle name, in the way that the Hebrew Yeshua became the Latinized Jesus, or Mary, Italianized, becomes Maria. I would go from Anjeanette to Njaane.

To think about an African name, though, is to think about the meaning of the name. If I am going to have an African name, I must be prepared to share what my name means. Which is how I found myself looking up my  names’ meanings. What I discovered astonished and delighted me.

My first name, a re-spelling of Elise, from the Hebrew means either: “Oath of God,” or “God is my satisfaction.” The latter meaning, I thought, was highly appropriate.

It was the meaning of my name derived from the French, though, that truly arrested me.

It means, “Consecrated to God.”

I could not believe it when I read the words. My father named me, and was a Francophile, so the French derivation is certainly fitting.

I am consecrated to God. Of course I am. This is why I alone among my siblings committed to serving the Lord as a teenager. This is why I loved serving in the church much more than I ever cared about my professional life. This is why I left the practice of law to study theology. This is why I am seeking ordination in the church.

So astonished was I by the rightness of the meaning of my first name that I then looked up the meaning of my middle name, Anjeanette. This name is rare. In fact, I thought it might be something that my father came up with himself. I did not expect to find a meaning for it. But I did, and my heart was lit up by what I found.

Anjeanette means, “Gift of God’s favor.”

I don’t know if my parents understood my birth as a gift of God’s favor (seeing as how I was a bonus baby, and how they already had two little ones, born 11 months apart, at the time that I arrived 18 months after my sister, and how their marriage was coming undone at the time), but the name has proven true. My life has been a testament to the enduring gift of God’s favor. Favor that encompasses too much to list.

As I digested the significance of being named my names, I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)

Before Alease was born, she was consecrated to God and appointed to nations.

The truth that African peoples have always known has now been revealed to me. My identity is all wrapped up in my name.