Pastor Carmen Beeming believes it is her calling to help Lavender Hill women who are suffering in their homes because of the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
She grew up in Aaron Avenue, Ottery, with her parents Grace and Robert and attended Wittebome High School but immigrated to New Zealand, nine years ago.
Seven months ago she found herself back in Cape Town, doing ministry work in areas such as Mamre and Atlantis and doing “food ministry” in Lavender Hill.
She will return to New Zealand in December but before she leaves she is promoting her self-published book titled From heartache to God’s peace, a compilation of poems, inspired by her own challenging experiences.
Ms Beeming, 49, faced an ex-husband’s infidelity, and her current husband’s recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
“Everything is written in the book, in my poems,” said Ms Beeming, “I am willing to share my experiences about my victory over heartache and brokenness when my family and I went through trauma of my drug and alcohol abusive husband.”
She met her first husband at the age of 20 and got married on her 21st birthday. “I was so in love, and a year later I was pregnant with my daughter, Tamsin. My son Joshua was born when she was a year old. But when Tamsin was three years old she got very ill. She has an extra chromosome. The doctors said she would have a learning disability and she would have a problem coping in a mainstream school.”
However, Ms Beeming refused to give up on her daughter and she kept on praying for her well-being.
“My husband at the time was partying with other women. I was becoming negligent of myself, I was anorexic and felt if he loved me he would have been there for me. I decided to get a divorce.”
While going through the trauma, she started writing poems and turned to God. “I took a stand and started a relationship with God. I prayed and fasted.”
Four years after the divorce she met her current husband and they have been married for 15 years.
They were both “saved” but unfortunately her husband, who had previously been a drug and alcohol addict, turned back to that lifestyle.
“The pastors advised me to divorce him, but I knew his heart, and I refused to let go. I wrote my poems and fasted and asked God to help.”
Her husband wrote her a poem which she had printed in her book. “He was in a state of confusion and I realised that in order to help him I had to work on myself, first. So I had to be strong and started to live and love myself.”
It wasn’t easy for her as her husband kept on going back to his old habits.
Then Ms Beeming got ill. “I had to face another challenge when I heard I had cervical cancer.”
She chose to have a hysterectomy. “I had to come to a place where I had to make peace with that. I had a husband struggling with drugs and alcohol, who moved out to live in a caravan, and I had family problems and I had to raise my children, and my husband’s son.”
Her parents and brother Julian immigrated to New Zealand and Ms Beeming moved into their house in Ottery.
After fighting to get her life in order, another tragedy hit her. “My husband phoned to say that he was attacked by four men. He was rushed to hospital.”
To her relief her husband was admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre. “He was recovering. However, he relapsed again.”
The final straw for Ms Beeming was when another sibling decided to move to New Zealand. “I wanted to go too, and made up my mind to try and persuade my husband to go.”
At first he didn’t want to but eventually he changed his mind and joined her and her two children in February 2008.”
Ms Beeming’s prayers were answered and their lives changed. “We started fresh. My husband recovered, we both got jobs, my children went to college and we bought a house.
In 2011 Ms Beeming continued with her mission to help people part-time and joined the Kingdom Fire Outreach Iinternational Ministries. “My heart goes out to women,” she said.
She published her book in New Zealand and it was her husband who said, “it’s time for me to come to South Africa.”
“Seven months ago I came back and I am counselling women. I think it is my calling because I am passionate about family and marriage restoration. I also preach at churches and ministries.”
Her recent quest was to raise funds to help feed people in Lavender Hill.
“My goal is to find a safe house for women and children in Lavender Hill.”
She said she will return from New Zealand to continue the project. . “I will go back to raise funds in New Zealand, to bring back to South Africa.”
For more information about the book, call Ms Beeming on 061 243 4429.