In the Gap Clothing – Our Lockdown Testimony

Man standing on beach with arms raised in surrender

We are at Day #131 of Lockdown in South Africa, and as we have started to adjust to the new normal and going about our lives again I reflected on how faithful God has been in this journey.

As a family, working from home,  we have been pouring our lives into In the Gap Clothing for the last 9 years seeing God grow His Kingdom and spreading the Word through Christian Clothing. As of last year, we were able to employ 3 others (besides my husband and I) to help with all the ins and outs of the business.

Covid happened…

In the beginning of 2020, when Riaan started reading up on the news of a new sickness spreading in Wuhan, China, I was oblivious, thinking that down here in the Southern point of Africa, we will be untouched. Fast forward a few months, sitting on the couch watching the president address the nation.

Official Lockdown. South Africa in a state of disaster.

I vividly recall the shock of that moment. It felt surreal. Even then, I couldn’t comprehend the adjustment to our lives. The next morning, for me, was business as usual, but reality hit in waves. Hard.

Two of our biggest markets (festivals) of the year were cancelled. That’s okay, I thought, we’ll pour it all into online sales. Then the moment came. The couriers were limited to only essential items. Clothing was not essential. All the stock that we prepared. All our hard work. All in vain. We could not make one sale. I cried.

No income

I remember walking out of my office with a feeling of “What now?” Winter was coming. Traditionally not the best season for selling clothes… Our markets were closed. And now even our online sales came to a halt. Fear and worry over how we will pay rent and salaries took over. There was only one thing we could do. Surrender.

And as we did, came a quiet acceptance and peace. I started to enjoy the extra time with the kids, built puzzles, made pancakes. Riaan started talking of building a tree house. We were at the end of our own effforts and the only thing that we could do, was trust that God had this.

Baby steps

Then after a few weeks of no income, someone somewhere put in a complaint to the government that baby clothing was not listed as an essential item, and after days of discussions and court appeals, baby clothing was added to the list.

At this point, God’s complete control over our lives became so apparent and real to me.

Before the new financial year, we made a drastic decision to move from being a sole proprietor business to become a pty ltd company. Financially this made no sense at the time, because of all the extra costs. But our company registration came through just a few days before lockdown. And because of this, we were immediately able to apply and receive our Essential Service Certificate to start selling baby clothing online. Praise God! Even in a time when many other clothing stores were not open in lockdown.

Then as we entered Lockdown Level 4 we started selling winter clothing and after a few weeks, with a great sigh of relief, E-commerce sales opened completely.

He is Faithful

As I look back now, I am so aware of God’s protection and provision over us. He cared for us, down to every last detail. He opened new doors of opportunity as others closed. Through His grace, we were able to meet all our obligations, keep paying salaries to our employees, and experience the best winter season since ITG has started.

I know that He is a God who sees us, knows our every need and He provides. What are you trusting Him for in this season? He is so able to meet your need. But I want to challenge you: Surrender that need to Him. And then, wait and watch to see what He will do.

 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  ~ Matthew 6:31-33

 

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