Candice Eleonor Solomons knows what it is like growing up without a mother’s love, being rejected and abandoned, going to bed without food, being locked out of the only home she knew, and losing a brother to violence.
She has lived with bitterness but always sought a relationship with God, crying out to Him for answers when life was at its hardest. She has now written a book to encourage other women to do the same.
Candice says her book, Efficacy of Hope was born out of hopelessness. “I want women to know that God is in control and that life is a process. My experiences have enabled me to relate to many women – when relationships do not work out, children are disobedient, etc. – but when God steps into your boat, the story is not over,” she says.
Her life of hardship began when her single mom remarried and left her two children with their grandparents in Boksburg, south of Johannesburg. Candice was nine years old at the time and her brother six years old. The only thing that kept her from destruction was talking to God.
“I grew up with feelings of rejection and abandonment; an unhappy childhood; and would talk to God and ask Him why He was allowing this. I had my first baby at 19 and was almost gang-raped at 20 but the guys fled due to light that just shone ever brighter. They thought it was a car approaching and ran away but when I looked for the light it was gone,” she says.
It was a few years later when Candice became born again after a minister from Ghana who was visiting a church her daughter attended in 2010, told her daughter that he needed to talk to her mother. “He phoned me and insisted that he needed to see me. I agreed and eventually met him when he was at the airport for a flight back home.
After that meeting, there was a restlessness inside me that would not go away until I went to church two years later,” Candice explains, adding that, despite surrendering her life to God, things did not go any easier at first. “I lost my job and was without work for about four years but, during that time, was able to attend Bible school fulltime.”
Candice says in 2017, she met Timothy A Lambe, a pastor from Nigeria, who had published a book and started communicating with him via social media. He offered to provide her with guidance to write her own book when she shared her desire to do so. Lambe eventually published the book and had it printed in Nigeria and couriered to South Africa ahead of the launch event.
Her dream is not only to encourage women with her book. She has also registered a non-governmental organisation called, Valley of Achor through the Gates of Hope, with the hope of having sufficient funds one day to open an empowerment centre for women in central Johannesburg. “The name is based on the scripture in Isaiah 2:15, which I received from the Lord one morning in August 2015. It means that it is in your wilderness period that God will begin restoring you.
My dream is to empower women and teach them a trade, to build them up with God’s help. I already know the stories of so many destitute people who want help and just need someone to see the potential inside of them. In turn, they could help the next person. We all need support from each other,” Candice states.
She says, “There was no helping hand for me for the longest time and it seemed like doors were being shut from every side against me. All I could do was give myself over to prayer and fasting but God was using that time to build and strengthen me, so that I could develop emotional muscle.
“What I didn’t realise was that God was and still is listening. Just like Maria who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume, so we must be at the feet of Jesus. This allows Him to teach us so that we can learn and also unlearn certain things.
“It’s like Jesus takes a vase that has been broken and starts mending all the broken pieces; we must just believe and not look to the left or the right. Close your eyes and ears to things the enemy says to you and remind yourself that you are the woman God says you are.”
Candice remembers crying out to God and one Sunday went into a church from which she heard prayers emanating. “I went to the pastor afterwards and he allowed me to cry. Afterwards, he told me to pray instead of crying because that has a more effective result, which requires patience and time,” she says, adding that there is no instant way of knowing God. “You have to open up your Bible in order to not be deceived; you have to receive the training because there are a lot of things that you have to learn and unlearn.
“God does allow good and bad things to happen but we have to keep on pursuing holiness and a relationship with Him. He says: Take delight in me and I will grant you the desires of your heart,” Candice concludes.
Anyone who would like to order a copy of Candice’s book can contact her on 074 306 0939 or 062 021 6021.