My way or…

I read something today that made me think. Well actual I read it three times, in three different ways.  I always find that is the way God works with me.  He knows I need to hear things multiple times to belive them, I need have time to think things through, forget about them and then get made to think them through again before they stick.  This was one of them…

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I don’t know about you but sometimes I get so caught up with wanting my children to do things my way that I think ;I forget; that they are as entitled to an opinion and way of doing things as I am.  The battle of meal times, bath times and bed times can feel so wearing.  What happened to the joy? Where does it go? Where does the acceptance and love and gratitude go?  I don’t know but I’m starting to think that the way to getting it back  is putting others above ourselves, it’s not about enforcing our wills over others but living together in relationship and in love.

And I’m not for a minute saying I think children should get their own way all the time, discipline is important, very important. But maybe there is a different way, with less confrontation and head banging and frustration.

At the moment there seems to be an awful lot of whining and not listening in my house… and it’s been frustrating. Frustrating not knowing why it seems to happen on this rotational basis in my house, not knowing how to fix it without causing even more tension and frustration.  Maybe it’s due to the change of roles in the house and not spending as much time with the children as I’d like to.  Maybe it’s them spending more time at school and being more tired.  And then I read this…

It seems like such a simple solution.  A solution I can do. A solution I’d actually enjoy doing.  A solution the kids would enjoy.
Just this afternoon I spent time playing cars and building roads with the kids. I spent time doing homework with Jenna and then time just drawing people and vests and shorts and surf boards and waves…  This was before I read these. You know what; no fights this afternoon.  That mights just be coincidence but I think it’s true.  The more time and effort you put into a relationship the better it will be. The more time we spend with God the more time we want to be like him and be obedient to Him. Why wouldn’t that transfer to obedience in children?

I’m sure this isn’t a new concept, but I think it’s something I need to work on in my life.  I think I need to remember the blessings and precious moments, concentrate on those and forget about all the moaning about the early mornings, washing and toys left lying around (yes that was a little moan – I’m not perfect!!).

I found this quote on DesiringGod about a year ago and it really sums up what I’ve been feeling…

“Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.”

I’m not a hard-core as this lady, but I’d love to be.

Romans 12:2   Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

Psalm 118:24   This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Create in me a glad heart Lord.

Helpless but not without hope.

We had a moment a few Sunday nights ago when I realised just how helpless we really are sometimes.

A friends husband had gone missing.  He had played a sports match then gone for a drink at the pub with the team.  Last he was seen he was outside at closing time at 1am waiting for a taxi.   He didn’t make it home.

He has a wife and 3 girls who were all understandable distraught.

People were out searching the area for him the next morning, hospitals etc were called and nothing.

We only found out about it at 6pm on Sunday after the police had been called.

It is in moments like this that you realise that sometimes the only and best thing you can do is pray.  Get down on your knees and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  Why does it take until everything practical has been done before you pray?

I’m glad to say he was found at about 9:30pm on Sunday, nearly 21 hours after he was last seen.  He was found on a bench in a park 25 miles away confused.  He had received a knock on the head in his game and they think he had concussion.

The relief we felt was huge.  The relief we felt on behalf of his family even more so.

God has plans for this man.  Anything could have happened, but it didn’t.

A bus driver found him on a park bench and helped him figure out who he was and his address then called him a taxi to take him home… thank goodness for the honest and good people who are out there. What he was doing the whole of Sunday we might never find out as he still has no memory of it.

There are lessons to be learnt, I’m not going to spell them out or put blame anywhere all I’m thankful for is a good outcome and a God we can run to and lean on when we feel helpless and out of control. Why does it take times like this to remind us! He is there always and always there to lean on we just need to do it!

Build Your Kingdom here

I love this song and love this band, they played at Soul Survivor Momentum this year and were awesome.  They’re so unique and different … it brings back memories of sitting out under the stars, chatting with beautiful friends whist listening to the sound of worship travels across the air.

I’ve been listening to this whilst writing my message for church this week and it just fits so well with what I’m focusing on!  Listen to the words…  “We are Your church, we pray revive this earth, build Your Kingdom here!”

The momentum post!

 

We were blessed recently by friends with tickets to a Christian festival – Soul Survivor Momentum in the summer holidays.  It was something we had been wanting to go to for many years but kids and logistics has always got in the way.  This year there was nothing stopping us besides finances but that’s no obstacle for God as he proved.

There were 8 families from our church that went together and it was an absolute blast.  We loved it and the kids loved it.

Camping with a 4 yo, 2yo and 1yo had it’s logistical complications but nothing a cable tie and some ribbon couldn’t sort out!  I was really surprised at how easily they go into it… for us it was a little harder to get into the super early mornings that seemed to accompany camping in the middle of summer with bright early morning sunshine!

Worshipping and spending time with about 6000 other Christians is WOW!

The weather played along and lovely evenings were spent with under the stars with vino or coffee whilst children slept listening to the sounds of worship drifting over from the big top.

There were sessions for the kids so that we could attend the main sessions and we took ours to the evening worship sessions from 7-8pm where they loved dancing around!  There was also supervised movies for children over 5 so that parents could go to the evening talks.

You know what if you have the chance do it, go with friends and enjoy some special and inspiring times with God.        Next time I’ll make sure I remember a potty – 2am toilet block runs are not fun!

Generous gets as generous gives.

I am constantly reminded in the little ways that the more you give (to people, places, work and finances) the more you seem to get in return.

It’s a well know known fact that the more you put into a relationships with people the better it will be and the more you will get from it. Doesn’t this hold true for all relationships though.

It reminded me of a situation we had not to long ago. We’ve got this car, it’s our second car, and it’s a bit dodgy.  The engine lights been on for about 2 years on and off but no specific cause can be found for it. As it’s the second car it also tends to be left on the side line and no be top of the priority list when it comes to services and general care.  But in the last 2 weeks it’s started fighting back, wanting to be noticed and needing a little love! We now think the catalytic converter needs replacing; *GULP* which is estimated to cost us alot!

It’s one of those big expenses… which have no money allocated to them!

Last week we decided it’s time to start giving formally to our church (we’d taken a short break whilst I was on maternity leave).  Not quite sure where exactly it was going to fit into the budget we did it anyway. 2 days later there was a surprise deposit into our account from HMRC for back payed funds. Enough to cover the car with a little extra to possibly finally (nearly 4 years later) get some curtains for the lounge!!!

Just another reminder that when we are faithfully generous in our lives that generosity seems to multiply and come back to us!

Just this week something we have been searching for on E-bay for the last 2 months for was offered to us – for free! God knows our needs we just need to trust in Him and his goodness!

What can you do to be generous today… in your time, your skills, your money or your friendships????

In it not of it!

I find the whole concept in John 17 of living in the world but not being of it very hard  get and do.

I get so caught up in the day-to-day life of being a married woman, working 20 hours a week and trying to raise 3 little children. Of running a house and all the cooking, cleaning and organising that it entails.  The school run, just getting out the door with 3 kids in jackets, with shoes on and bag packed. The stress of trying to fit in lunch and nap times around the school run.

Just juggling all the practicalities sometimes takes my focus away from what should be our my whole focus. To be able to think of heavenly things. To change my perception of how mundane my life can be.  To look at what I am spending my time doing as a ministry and not just getting through the day in the best way I can. To remember that every moment can be used for His glory. Those moments where I’m stressing can be turned to moments of prayer.

The time out sessions can be times to give thanks. The hour I spend surfing the net and eating lunch whilst the kids are quiet could be spent reading the Bible instead.  The petty school and work politics that I/we get so caught up on are surely not more important than suffering being endured all over the world and the injustices that happen on a daily basis. Why don’t we get more caught up in this.

My attitude is sometimes so normal, so standard, sometimes even sub standard; which sad. I should be more than this, we’re called to be more than this. More loving, more caring, more willing to help, more angry about injustice, more focused and more prayer fuelled.

How do you as a Christian mom, caught up in the humdrum of life keep it Christ centred, keep it real but keep it Godly? To be equal and normal and not create an us vs them mentality and yet hold ourselves to a higher standard?

Optimism in the face of adversity

I’m so incredible lucky to have some really lovely friends both here is the UK and back in SA. Unfortunately one of my most loveliest friends is going through a really tough time.

In 2010 her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer.  He was in his early 20’s. It was devastating to hear and to be so far away and unable to offer any practical support or just be there with glass of something warm or winey was tough. But he’s a tough guy, a couple of surgeries and a few months of chemo later and he was on the mend.

Their faith, hope and beat it attitude was something to be admired.  The way in which they supported each other and yet considered all those around them and their needs to see.

A couple of weeks ago I got news that they had found some lesions on the liver and he could need to go for more surgery. A few days ago he had half his liver removed – he is now recovering in hospital. They’ve moved out of their newly renovated house to save some money whilst he is unable to work and will be living with family.

And you know what chatting to my friend, his incredible and loving wife, all she could say was how lovely everyone had been and how supportive and how lucky they are to have such a good team of doctors and staff at the hospital.

Yes, I know it’s a bit of a soppy post, but a huge five to an incredibly stong, loving, supportive, faith filled, super wife who deserves some better times ahead! If I can’t be there for you my friend the least I can do is tell you how much I admire you and your fighter or a husband!

And for those reading any prayers are appreciated for this special couple!

Fresh eyes

My husband and I were lucky enough to both be able to go to the Soul Survivor Naturally Supernatural conference one night last week. It was such a brilliant time just spending time with hundreds of other like-minded people!! The atmosphere when there are so many people in one place all with the same goal of drawing closer to God is just amazing. It’s at time like this that when I look around and wonder how anyone can say God is irrelevant, outdated, non-existent and has no place in society today.

Yes, it’s not something you see everyday and no it’s not something a lot of people are exposed to often.  It was so lovely to be sitting to a lovely new Christian lady who was seeing the Holy Spirit work in some new ways that she hadn’t seen before! I loved being able to share in the moments as she discovered new ways that He can work and manifest in us. In a non scary and totally loving way!

It took me back to pre children where we were able to go to things like this a lot more often. Admittedly I did feel like the old aunty in the room with so many young people around, and yet all I had to do was look to my left to see a couple who looked in their late 70’s just as excited and involved in the worship as those in their early 20’s!

He is truly a God for all the generations and all the people. And you know what if you don’t believe, that’s Ok, but if you ever get the chance to go to something like this take it! Don’t knock something you’ve never seen or tried. There’s a place for everyone in His house, a church for everyone – whether you like the loud or the quiet, the very traditional or more modern!

Sitting at the conference I was looking at it all through a fresh set of eyes, thanks to the lady on my left, and it made me appreciate again what an incredible, mighty, loving God we serve!