I'm so excited to have a Ruby post for you this week! Lene and I attended ACU together (as did many of the Rubies!) and she has such an adventurous spirit. Lene majored in graphic design, and we had a few memorable all-nighters together in the art building (that may have included Walmart runs at midnight for cupcakes and a glass of wine... to fuel our creative juices, of course!). Lene is such a fun person with an infectious love for others and for Christ. I loved that when I asked her where she'd like to take pictures, she asked if I knew of anywhere with graffiti ;) Get to know her below!!
Tell us about yourself! Hello! I am Lene Botha and I am a graphic designer in Dallas, Texas! I was born in beautiful South Africa and moved here when I was 10 years old. I have awesome parents, they have been married for 29 years and an older brother, Pieter who is one of my best friends and role models. We moved to Abilene, Texas where I lived until after I graduated from ACU. While I was in college my parents moved to Houston and I lived with them for a while after graduating, and then finally moved to Dallas.
What inspires you? I am inspired by nature, people, beautiful art, laughing, traveling, exploring, having fun, the ocean, people who have beautiful hearts, waterfalls, paintings, a good song, a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I am full of so much passion to go and explore, travel and also to help people that I think I might tear at the seams with excitement about it. I really love to do watersports and I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
What are your gifts and talents? I absolutely love art, it is a total release to me. I have never really been good at expressing myself with words, but luckily with painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture or music there are no words necessary. Empathy is one of my gifts, if I see someone cry sometimes it can make me cry and the same with laughing. I like to put myself in peoples’ shoes and understand their perspective. Peoples’ feelings and emotions affect me so much and I easily take on their moods as my own, sometimes it can be dangerous for my own happiness. My mom always tells me that I should have been a nurse because I love to take care of people and make sure they are comfortable and happy.
How do you use your gifts to serve others? I pray that I can be a positive influence to everyone around me. I am optimistic and hope that my love for people translates into my daily life. I want to use my gifts to help people in places where others don’t want to go or pay attention to. Earlier this year when I was still in Houston, I was briefly involved with prison ministry and I knew that was exactly where I was supposed to be. I hope to get involved with that again here in Dallas soon. I feel called to be a voice for people who can’t speak for themselves and to go into dark places and fight for those in need.
What would you do if you had nothing holding you back from your dreams? If I had nothing holding me back, I would go home right now, pack a bag and immediately drive to the airport. I want to travel around the world, go explore new places, food, culture and people. I would go skiing and surfing in the same day! Sharing about Jesus and freedom in Christ wherever I go. My first stop would be South Africa so I can go give my grandmother a hug and a kiss. I would absolutely love to be a professional adventurer/explorer/missionary.
Tell us about a season of suffering that lead to good things in your life. Moving to the United States was amazing, scary, fun, overwhelming and the biggest adventure so far, but it was the beginning of a season of suffering for my family and I. We sold or gave away everything that we had in South Africa and packed two suitcases each and that was it. We gave our dogs away, sold our cars, said goodbye to dear friends and family. We had to learn English, a new culture and ways of doing things. We moved here so my dad could go to grad school for marriage and family therapy at ACU. He only had a student work visa, which meant that he could only work on campus and my mom didn’t have the right paper work to have a job. So our family of four was completely dependent on a grad student who worked part time on campus. We learned very fast that we had to fully rely on God and nothing else. My dad would go to class, go to work and then come home and study without ever complaining once. People from our church supported us so much and someone even gave us their car! It was an extremely humbling time but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it made us so very close as a family. Going through a time of struggle like that has completely affected my relationship with the Lord. I have seen him provide and take care of us in ways that I didn’t know possible and I know that He is bigger and better than anything this world can throw at me. Also, my parents showed me what complete obedience to the Lord looked like and how sacrificing what is comfortable to follow his will looks like.
Share your proudest moment. Every time God uses me to make a difference in someone’s life I feel like my gifts are being put to good use and is a proud moment for me!
Also from age 12-18 I was privileged to be on Team USA for windsurfing. I got to travel, do a sport that I loved and meet amazing people everywhere we went. It was truly a dream come true to be a part of that. Looking back at it now, I am overwhelmed by how blessed I was to be in that position. Some of my favorite memories and proudest moments come from those days of meeting people, traveling, racing against my friends and occasionally winning a few of them.
I feel my purpose in life is to… let God use me wherever I am and to reflect His love.
To meet more Rubies, check out the rest of The Ruby Project!
All images via That's Pretty Ace