Thursday, 13 September 2012
Since starting junior school, our eldest son Josh has held onto the dream of getting into year 5 and trying out for the school football team. He loves sports and has been so excited at the prospect of representing his school in this area.
Tuesday of this week saw him lugging an extra bag to school with his gorgeous, vibrant football kit and boots in, so that he could stay an extra hour and take part in the trials to get on the team.
We prayed for him, encouraged him that Gods was with him and all he had to do was try his best...whatever the outcome we would still love him and be very proud of him. But, if I'm totally honest, all of us including Josh felt him getting onto the team was already "a done deal!" His P.E teacher practically told him to expect to get a place on team and we were all so excited when Josh came home from the practise full of happiness and hope that today he would hear the news that he had indeed been chosen.
Fast forward a couple of days to now, and when I collected the children from school, a very upset Josh came out to meet me. He eventually shared in the car that he hadn't made the team, when many of his friends had, and burst into tears!
At first, sitting there looking at my biggest baby sobbing his heart out, I was lost for words. Whilst I'd had a lovely day with my mum and younger children...Josh had lived a day of extreme hurt and disappointment. After a few moments I drew him into a big hug and just held him close..."oh Josh, I'm so sorry," I whispered.
We began the drive home, and trying to not cry myself, and stay strong for my boy, I encouraged him that he still had his athletics and the community football team he'd been offered a place in but had held out on due to the school try-outs. I told him God had a great plan and although it was hard to see that right now, we would eventually...but his reply surprised me: "mummy," he said, "it's not about the other things I have or could have. I so wanted this, it hurts me that Gods plan is a sad one for me and that my friends are doing this together, that I'm clearly not good enough...if it's okay, I just want to have these feelings..."
I replied that of course it was okay for him to have feelings and deal with his hurt however he felt best, but I also reminded him that, him not making the team didn't mean he wasn't good enough..it simply meant God does have another plan and that sadness would soon turn into joy, that as hard as it feels, sometimes in life we don't always get what we want, but we have to trust that that's because better things are in store for us.
Of course, there is a part of me that wishes my boy had made the team, that at 9 years old he didn't have to experience hurt and disappointment, that as parents, we'd somehow prepared him for this news instead of being overly optimistic, but deep in my heart I honestly do cling onto the fact that God knew my son before he was even conceived...whilst we are his earthly parents and carers, God is the ultimate parent over Joshua's life. He really does know best for Josh....not just Josh...all of us!
When was the last time you felt disappointed? How did you respond to that feeling? The truth is, we will all face disappointment and hurt at some points in our lives....some of us, more often than others...whilst to some Josh not making the football team may sound trivial, to him, it's a really big deal. God knows your heart and life, and whatever your disappointment, hopes, fears and desires, He is in control of them all.
PAUSE & THINK: If you remove the "D" and replace it with an "H" you turn "Disappointment" into "His-appointment!" Instead of dwelling on what could have been and the why's and not-fairs, lets be a generation who encourages one-another to put everything in front of God and allow Him to have His way in us and over us!
The bible tells us in Psalms 55:22 (NIV) "Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall."
What an amazing truth! God isn't just about the good and pretty situations. God is telling us here that He has shoulders big enough to carry our worries...and the heart to bring forth solutions!
All we have to do, is come to Him.
I just want to encourage you today to get a hold of your disappointments and turn them into His-appointments! Use the opportunity to trust in God and see your situation unravel into something so much bigger and better than you could of ever imagined. Hurt may linger for a while...I'm not saying your journey will be completley smooth rolling, but I know He can mend hearts, heal lives, and restore hope!
I pray this for my lovely Josh, who right now is in the garden with his brother kicking a football around. I know when he goes back into school tomorrow and the next days...it's going to hurt. When his friends start properly on the team and share stories and laughs and experiences...for my boy, that's going to hurt. But, I claim right now that God would mould his heart, turn his sorrow into joy, and my little man would trust God as he has done before for a breakthrough like no other.
James 1:2-4: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Be Blessed :-)
Sunday, 9 September 2012
One thing I've noticed about our generation and society is that we're quite obsessed with time. Whether it be asking someone for it....every few minutes, wishing it away, wishing for more, planning ahead, squeezing in as much as we can ...we seem to constantly have time on our minds.
I'm guilty of it I admit. Life as a very busy mummy, wife, daughter, friend, and ministry worker sees me constantly diary keeping, time planning, hour watching, chore juggling...and dare I say, staring at a clock trying to freeze the hands so it stays 12 mid-day for a few hours longer! (That by the way is the time everyday Monday-Friday that I have a whole hour to myself... three children in school, one at nursery until 1pm and a sleeping baby....I do like my 12 mid-days!)
Be honest, I'm not alone in wanting that as my super-power am I? ;-)
Anyhow, God has really spoken to me over the last couple of months- since I went to the ladies conference at my church, (see my previous post - "Enjoy knowing rest is okay" for more about that) about how I prioritise my time. Trying to fit too much in, pressuring myself and trying to please many people saw me reach a state of feeling burnt out, and whilst I'm so far succeeding in the little rules I've put in place to overcome that feeling and behaviour when it comes to my family life, my friendships and ministry, I kind of feel God pressing me about the time I spend with Him. Or atleast the quality of it!
PAUSE & THINK: You know, in the King James version of the bible the word TIME is mentioned 623 times. The bible speaks of Gods TIMING, spending TIME with God and what Jesus done with His TIME on earth, regularly. The fact is, it quite clearly is a very important aspect of life.
Every morning I read my devotionals before I get out of bed...I have actually succeeded in setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier to do this...BIG achievement for the girl who loves sleep! ....and then, every morning I pray with my children on the way to school, every evening I pray with my children before they sleep, every ministry meeting/Bookgroup gathering/when the moment arises I pray with or for other people. Throughout the day I might listen to a worship song or see some inspirational verses shared on Facebook or Twitter....if I'm really good I may get to read a couple of chapters of the latest book I'm reading by a great female Christian speaker.
Now whilst this sounds great and lovely and all ribboned up...and it is all those things, really it is....the last few days I've felt stirred that it's not enough...that I'm not getting my timing completely right when it comes to spending time with the one being who loves me unconditionally, constantly pursues me, protects me, strengthens me and saved me.
I feel God whispering to me, "Stace, you can't live your life just slotting me in when it's convenient!"
Wow! Big truth there daddy G! He knows, I absolutley try my hardest to spend as much time filling myself with Godly things to keep me on the right path, give me wisdom, fill me with more patience, strengthen my relationships and so on...and whilst these are so important for us and to God (He really does love us doing all those things) what He wants more of, is us (me) just stopping...sitting...being still, keeping silent, open to having real TIME with HIM. Not DOING, just BEING!
We dont always need some huge glossy, pretty, wrapped up gesture, song or book to fill us with what God wants for us...we don't need to cram ministry, bookgroup, bible time, a worship slot, and then abit more ministry into one day to gain HIS APPROVAL, LOVE, or TIME for us.
The TRUTH is my friend, what we need to do, is stop the busy-ness and get more rest with our beautiful saviour!
Now, I'm not silly (I'M NOT!) and so I totally recognise, like myself, you also have a busy life... maybe you work long hours, have a busy family, are a single parent, poorly and have constant hospital visits...maybe you do manage, like me to have God moments in your day! Please know I'm not knocking these atall...every little thing we do that fills us with more of Gods love and promises over us, which we can then share out to others is brilliant...important...needed! I'm merely stressing the point that we need to check our hearts and ensure we are spending quality time with Jesus, not just managing him as another "5 minute filler!"
It is so important we check our hearts, our motives and our priorities in life, to ensure we are living the life God set for us.
And...spending quality TIME with GOD, puts everything else into perspective!Dont just fill your week with chores, friend coffee dates, shopping trips, watching tv, reading magazines, depending on other people to fill you with Gods word, checking Facebook and so on, and not leave restful, enjoyable space for TIME with GOD!
And for those of us, who like to have organised days, who believe there must be more in store for us...a bigger calling...we don't need to worry about the perfect plan coming over our lives, we don't need to stress that God has forgotten about us, we don't need to get frazzled and upset that it's too late for us, that our miracle isn't going to happen... that time is against us...our bible tells us in
Psalm 62:8: "Trust in Him at all times people!"
God has so much time and there's no denying He uses it differently to us ... but He knows what He wants us to achieve, share, live, breathe, and do at the perfect times in our lives. As humans we can all to often want to hurry up that job promotion, speed up that house move, see our children grow up too quickly, lead the ministry we feel we'd be good in when we're ready to do it, serve on our terms...but you know, quite bluntly, it's time we grow up, shut up and get filled up with knowing how God wants us to do things!
To finish this little rambling, God put on my heart, I really want to encourage you...keep on pressing on with God. Don't stop reading, singing, sharing with accountable friends, serving in the right area, attending church and lifegroup...BUT...check your heart my friend...are you getting REAL, QUALITY, RESTFUL, ONE-on-ONE TIME with God too...? He is so ready for that time with you...you just need to sit and meet with Him...not DOING, just BEING!
Hear His words, feel His love rain down.... enjoy not clock watching and live a little!
I also want to share a great scripture which I feel sums up this post:
Ecclesiastes 3: A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Be Blessed :-)