Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When in doubt....


As many people are aware, after being quite poorly the past few months, two weeks ago my mum was admitted into hospital as an emergency case to undergo major surgery to remove a large section of her bowel and a huge abscess that had formed in her lower abdomen which was causing her much pain and poorliness.
Whilst we had been praying for answers and developments regarding her health, it was quite a shock to receive the news on that Tuesday afternoon that she would be having such an invasive operation a couple of days later. In a way I guess it's sometimes easier to deal with suddenly's as opposed to big build ups which can drain you as you tick off the days...we agreed as a family that we had all been praying for Gods perfect plan and timing and so had to trust this was the right time for my mum to have the procedure done.

I consider myself a pretty strong rooted believer. I'm not ashamed of my faith and have never really faced any prejudice because I'm a born again Christian. I'm definitely a big believer in prayer and gathering trusted friends in times when I feel only prayer can and will make an impact.
But, if I'm fully honest when I heard my mum would be admitted into hospital and learnt more about the procedure, the risks and maybes that could come up during surgery, the recovery time and the potential impact on her life, I kind of had abit of an emotional meltdown.
Thank God when I initially heard the news I was with two good friends who were just amazing in comforting me and distracting the children from mummy being upset.
Thank God for my husband who took over and let me be...before giving me a light kick up the bum about the fact I am a believer and needed to root myself in God's word!
And, lastly, thank God for the many many friends who sent messages, stood with us in prayer, and sent little cards & yummy treats ;-)

These friends and family members stayed encouraging and loving throughout the whole couple of weeks my mum was in hospital, and many are still alongside us now my mums home and in the second stage of her recovery.

How I've personally coped mentally and emotionally during this time has been like a yo-yo. Loving God, trusting God deep in my heart, but also full of fear and doubt at times that all would be well. Especially when my mum developed an infection a few days post surgery. Her health deteriorated rapidly over a few hours and we were told to remain available during the night so if the hospital felt we should go in to be with her, they could contact us easily. I honestly thought my mum was going to die that night. I was scared, I reverted back to feeling like a vulnerable little child and just wanted this all to go away-to be small and sitting on my mums knee for bedtime stories and I felt God had forgotten us and wasn't watching over my mum. I allowed others to pray, but I couldn't really bring myself to. Words just evaporated into tears and I felt exhausted. I trusted Gods plan...but I knew His plan could be for my mum to go home to her saviour. As much as this gives me peace at other times, that night, I felt selfish and wanted her to myself.

My mum thankfully did respond well to the many drugs the doctors blasted her with and the infection eased over the following couple of days... Obviously we were so thankful and grateful and praised God who we know broke into the situation, but I did feel guilty towards God for doubting Him...not fully turning to Him in my time of hurting.
I wondered if He was cross with me, if this somehow had damaged my relationship with Him. And then I was reminded of a story in the bible found in Mark chapter 9, verses 14-29.
The story is of a man who brings his son, possessed by an evil spirit to Jesus to be delivered and healed. The man claims he believes but is still unsure of if Jesus can or will help him and his child. He says to Jesus in verse 22 "If you can do one thing, take pity on us and help us!" Jesus responds, "IF I can? Anything is possible for those who believe!" The father exclaims, "Lord, I do believe, help me with my disbelief!" And Jesus heals his son.
Jesus didn't get angry with the scared father in front of him, he didn't rebuke him or neglect his son...instead he gently reminded the father of his faith...what his faith meant...and what Jesus was able to do for those who rely purely on Him.

It was a refreshing revelation to me to read these verses, understand the meaning and message behind them and have that peaceful reassurance that God fully knows me...He created me...He loves me....and He knows that my mum means so much to me...He understands why I was scared and upset. The love I have for her, is nothing compared to how He feels about this precious lady.

I've learnt alot during this testing time...I'm sure I've had this test many times before...and I'm pretty certain at some other stage in life I will go through this test again. I know I'm not perfect...I know I love Jesus so much,  I know He loves me....but I also know that at times life gets and will continue to get overwhelming. Again, I tell myself..."Stace, don't put God in your little box. Don't think He can only do certain things at certain times...know that He can, does and will far exceed your hopes and expectations."

I'd like to encourage you with this message too. I may not know your circumstance. I may not have all the answers to the worlds problems. But I love a God who does. Whilst I don't always understand His ways...His plans...His timing...I know that like the man and child in the story above, He just wants to change our situations for the good. He wants us to stay rooted in His love, His word, His ways...but He is so gracious and compassionate, that if we fail to keep our eyes on Him throughout every second of our ordeal...He remains rooted in bringing hope and joy to us.

I'm so thankful. I'm humbled. I'm relieved. I'm grateful. I'm stronger than I was a week ago. I'm still learning. I'm not afraid to be honest. I'm imperfect. I'm blessed to be a blessing. I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. 
He believes in me!
HEY! He believes in YOU!

Lord God, we thank you that you know us so well. That you know the smallest detail about us including the numbers of hairs on our heads and this matters to you...we matter to you. I pray Father that you would you humble us to your teachings, your word, your love for each one of us. That you would help us Lord to overcome our times of dis-belief. That you would strengthen us and guide us to stay rooted in your word and promises of being a God who can do all things for those who love Him. I pray for miraculous breakthrough in our circumstances that would glorify your name and I ask father that you bring comfort and peace to all who read this pray. Thank you Jesus, Amen!

Be Blessed :-)








Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Oh you gotta have friends......!

Today's blog entry is dedicated to a very special person in my life.
I'm so blessed to be a friend and to have many good friends. I totally value people who welcome me into their world, entrust me, laugh with me, and allow me to spend time with them.
Equally, I am hugely blessed to have many many friends. I believe it is possible to cherish many people but that friendships fall into different levels or categories so to speak. You can have those friends who you see every now and then for a cuppa and catch up, and it's nice and you know you'd always be there for that person and vice versa but you don't necessarily share every in depth moment of your lives with eachother. Then there are the friends who are made through having kids of a similar age and with similar interests. You share the highs and lows of parenting, have park play dates, share birthday parties, etc...but again, you may not share totally personal stuff about your lives...simply because there is no need. Similarly, maybe you're involved in a particular hobby and have met some people through that joint passion who you love seeing but may not ever introduce your whole family too because again, that's not what that particular friendship needs.
I just love friendship.....I love praying, talking and laughing with people of all ages, nationalities and walks of life..but especially with a small circle of girls who I am extremely close too and know are there for me, love me and pray with and for me through all of lifes seasons.
After a couple of traumatic experiences in my teens, I found it hard for a long while to trust people....but over the years my guard has dropped...Jesus has softened me and I know the women who value me as much as I value them! I also have a truly amazing husband who I Love with all my heart and thank God for every day. He is my ultimate soul mate and I just adore him! I am blessed and I know it.

In particular though, there is one very very special girl who has just changed my life with her presence. This girl I class as my sister. The fact we have different biological parents doesn't matter...we know the bond we share is more than just friendship.
I first met this person when she was heavily pregnant with her third child. I'd seen her up on stage leading worship at church, I'd heard all about her, I'd been at the same social events as her, but we'd never really spoken much...until a toddler group Christmas event. A mutual friend introduced us properly and from that moment we clicked.
If I remember right, it was us leading a kids group together that saw us grow close and over the past five years our relationship has gone from strength to strength. She's one of the few friends I can cry and snot over, fart in front of, visit in my pyjamas wearing no make up, discuss ANY subject under the sun with and know she won't think me mad, horrid, stupid or plain crazy. I know I can reveal my full self to her-warts and all, share my worries, successes, ambitions, past secrets and they won't go any further than the four walls surrounding us. She's the person I can turn to ANYTIME of day...like last night...9.50pm to be exact when I heard my mums health had detoriated following major surgery and called this friends phone....I was a blubbering mess....but my beautiful friend took time to hear me out, encourage me, pray with me and love me...despite being shattered herself and dealing with her own family issues.

Friends such as these are pure gems....I'm sure you can think of a friend similar to mine, who you wouldn't be without...ever!

So...to finish...my precious beautiful sister...Sally Roper...I love you so much. I thank God for your life...I thank God for your realness, your humbleness, your love, your wisdom, your time for me and my family, your beautiful creative gifts you randomly drop through the door. I thank Him for your funny laugh which makes me smile, that you accept me for me, you always have time for me, you never judge me or make me feel silly or worthless, that you have never ditched me for someone better, that you treat me with respect even if our opinions differ, that you try so hard to not eat that second slice of cake...but think oh what the hell sometimes and have a third ;-)
I just think your awesome my love. Everyone needs a Sally friend in life, and I'm so blessed to have you. Thank you huni xxxxx

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Breakthrough!

I have a bit of a testimony to share of some recent breakthrough in our personal life. Where better place to share but my trusted little blog :)

So as many people know I'm a stay at home mum to our kiddies and have been blessed to have been in this role since our eldest son was born nearly 10 years ago (can't believe he will soon be in double figures!) The reason I've been able to stay with my children is because of the job of my amazing hubby who works so hard. He contracts his limited company to Siemens and is a testing manager for them placed at Royal Mail. It's a great job which he loves and excels in, but the hours are long and not always family friendly. We've always ploughed through this quite graciously I think and know God has met my desire of being available full time to my children in this season of parent hood with the provision of Roberts job.

However, once a year in September we always endure the waiting game of hearing if Roberts contract has or will be renewed. Whilst we have the slight "worldly" re-assurance that during the years contract Siemens have to give him 3 months notice, when it comes to the end of that year, he could literally be out of a job within days.
Usually, if I'm honest, I quite struggle through this time. I feel scared, I worry about our future and how we would provide for our children should the contract not be renewed and I stress. I do pray about it, but sadly it is my one "thing" that I happily take back from Gods control and put the burden on myself. I believe this stems from a childhood of financial uncertainty. My parents struggled during the 80's recession....my dad lost his business...this resulted in them being re-possessed and losing our family home and having to start all over again. It was a daunting time, and I know an experience I wouldn't want to endure as an adult with a family.
However, with Robert and myself, his contract has, for the last 10 years been renewed each time and I always thank God and wonder why I stressed myself quite so much.

This year really has been a year of me "finding myself," as a grown woman- yes, I know at 30 I've been an adult a long while but having married at just 20 and having children throughout that time, I'd kind of put truly knowing myself on the back burner and concentrated all my energy into my growing family. I think knowing our daughter is our last child had made me wake up about getting to know who Stacey is...outside of parenting and everything else. So, anyway, throughout this year I've really given myself, my worries and fears, how I live my life and spend my time and energy to God. The woman's conference at my church in July really helped me kick start this change of heart.
So as we approached the time of Roberts contract for 2011-2012 coming to an end, I made a conscious decision that I would give the situation to God and leave it right there...with Him...not take it back and lose sleep over what could be....but rest in His promises of a secure future....rest in His love that if Roberts contract wasn't renewed that I would trust that, that was because God had a better plan.

Not as easy as it sounds actually, but by making this a prayer point everyday and not discussing the what-ifs or even really the fact that we were once again at that time of the year with anyone, asides from my husband, I can honestly say I felt so calm and peaceful as the days went by leading up to d-day!

And the outcome...well Robert has another years contract with Siemens and as a little bonus a 2% pay rise aswell! Amazing in the currect financial climate our country is in! THANK YOU JESUS! I feel as if it's a double reward because God is saying, "Stace, atlast my love, you have understood your role and my role....have the little 2% thing as an extra gift of my goodness!"

But, you know...it's not just with the things we class as the biggies that we should do this with. God wants us to trust Him for breakthrough continually. I think the most important thing we can do is dedicate ourselves to praying, believing in our prayers, believing our prayers are not wasted words but us giving God the chance to answer, and ultimately resting in the answer He gives us.

Whilst I can't guarantee how I would have felt had Roberts contract not been renewed,  can say very honestly, that I was at peace and secure about the decision and like to think my faith through this time would have remained had the decision been different.
But God knows what we need, what we desire and He truly works His very best to meet those without hindering His plans for us.
I love Him so much....He's so good to us...even in the hard times...He keeps us going more than we'll ever know...He protects us from so much more than we could ever comprehend.

So, to finish....a question! What is the breakthrough you're trusting God for?
I'd just love to encourage you to give it fully to Him...pass it over, and close the door on trying to manipulate the outcome yourself. Have faith my friend in the supernatural goodness of your creator...He loves you so much! Challenge yourself to do what I done in our situation and rest in knowing that He's got your back...whatever the outcome! You WILL see and reap HIS reward over you!

I believe it for you! I truly do...
Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you!"

Be Blessed :-)