Friday, 30 November 2012

"Baaaa" "Baaaa" ... We are all sheep...!

This morning whilst my older boys were getting dressed for school, Olivia our 16 month old was sat in front of CBeebies (it DOES have its uses!) watching a show called Timmy Time! For anyone who is not familiar with this show, it's a little carton based around Timmy - a lamb - and his nursery adventures. It's really quite cute and scarily very similar to how our little people behave!

I couldn't help thinking of our 3 year old son Samuel who is at nursery and if him and his little friends got up to the same antics as Timmy and his animal friends. So I asked him:

"Sam, do you have fun at nursery like Timmy with your friends?"

Samuels response was so sweet:

"Yes mummy, I like nursery and my friends....but mummy, I'm not a sheep!"

Our eldest son then had great delight in explaining to Sam that Timmy was in fact a lamb and the whole cycle behind natures young and their parents.
Whilst the boys had their little conversation, I got to thinking about what Sam had said, "I'm not a sheep!"

True! Last time I checked he was definitely human...but surely there is a-bit of sheep in all of us....let me explain my thinking!

Sheep aren't known for being very smart bless them. They have the ability to wander into deep water, get completely sodden wet, and then drown due to their wool getting very heavy and stopping them from getting out of the water.
Sheep also don't have a great sense of direction. They walk around aimlessly and require a shepherd and/or a sheep dog to guide them safely to their destinations. They require someone with more knowledge than them to care for them, teach them and keep them on the right track.
Summed up, without wise help and support, sheep are pretty useless by themselves!

Whilst hopefully most of us aren't growing wool from our ears and wandering into lakes and drowning, as with the animal species of sheep, we too require that extra help to get us through life more easily. As mere humans we do tend to find ourselves in situations beyond our control.
Isaiah 53:6 tells us "We have all wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone our own way!"

Truth is, we all need a shepherd in our lives, to guide us, protect us and help us reach our destination as easily and safely as possible...and how blessed are we that Jesus came to be that person!
Jesus said in John 10:14-15 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep!"

I feel pretty useless when I attempt to deal with things life throws my way myself...I know that when I trust in my Jesus, things feel safer, more secure, easier....less heavy!

So, as a little encouragement today...whose your shepherd? When life feels heavy and you find yourself aimlessly wandering around like a lost sheep, who do you turn to?
Whilst friends and loved ones fill an earthly need in our lives of love, friendship, advice and real hugs...can I be truthful and tell you, they too are little sheep my friend...each needing to remember who their shepherd is. Draw close to the one who layed His life down for you...He loves you so much and really does have everything He needs to get you to where you're headed safely....

Be Blessed :-)


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Baptism Boy!

Today is a special day in the Omokaro house! Adam, son number 2 was baptised at church this morning.
Adam has had a desire to be baptised since watching his older brother Josh take the "plunge" a couple of years ago. But it wasn't until a few weeks ago that he felt truly prompted by God to take this step of obedience.

Whilst we appreciate some people may not agree with children being baptised, for us as parents and also for the leaders of our church, we fully believe God can and does speak to children of any age and if a child feels led to be baptised, who are we to stop them on their personal journey with God.

Adam wrote his little personal story himself and bravely stood on stage in front of 500 people and declared his love for God. My husband and I naturally feel so proud. I am so so thankful to God that whilst some people may look down on us for having 5 children, we know deep in our hearts it was always His perfect plan for us, and He equips us in every sense to bring these little people up in His ways. He meets our every practical need and our daily prayer is that our children would grow stronger in their faiths and know Him for themselves.
To think that two of our five children have publicly shared their love for God and have chosen themselves to follow His word and seek Him for themselves just humbles me, excites me and makes me feel a sense of achievement as a parent.

I don't ask for much in life...believe me....but like most mothers, I want my children to have a better life than me. I don't want them to have the struggles I've see your baby being baptised at such a young age kind of confirms God hears your desire and words and is onside....that may sound silly...naive...but it sure does encourage me that having five children isn't hindering our family from doing what God calls us to do...that whilst our children still squabble, make mess, answer back at times, that actually God is already moulding them and using them for bigger things.

I'm so thankful God came into my life at 16, so that I could share His love with my precious babies. I pray they would all continue on their paths with Jesus...even 16month old Livvy who screeches Amen at the end of prayers! God touches the youngest hearts!

Today we have had a special family tea, shared gifts with Adam and I've got his favourite dessert for later...simple pleasures to cement the day....perfect! :-)

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptised, shall be saved!"

Thursday, 22 November 2012

From the Inside...Out!

 So, I was thinking, at 3am this morning when I was soothing my poorly baby girl about how when there's a change on the inside of a person, it reflects on the outside.

Many people who follow my blog or facebook antics, are aware that in May this year I began a journey with a Bootcamp style fitness club. I made the choice to join and start a committed vigorous exercise programme as after giving birth to five children in eight years, my dress size had increased significantly (from a size 12 to a big size 18 to be precise), I felt sluggish, had poor self esteem with my body image and   having just turned 30 knew this was the time to start putting myself further up my list of priorities.

It's been a yo-yo of emotions being a part of the group. The exercise sessions can be tough and now the weather is FREEZING here in the UK, it sometimes feels a drag to go out at 7.30pm three evenings a week to a cold barn with a wet floor.....but I absolutely LOVE the friends I have made there, and the fitness instructor who  tortures  sorry, takes our classes. Heidi just really inspires me, motivates me and encourages me constantly. She is pretty amazing and I'm thankful for her. I love that for the first time in my life I am eating sensibly...I struggled with an eating disorder throughout my teens and despite not actively being bulimic for around 8 years I can truthfully say I have always had a love hate relationship with food...eating too much...not eating enough...and so on. I have managed to cut caffeine and wheat out of my diet and know when it's okay to have a glass of vino, or when it's best to say no. I know I'm in a good place in this area as 2 weeks ago a weigh-in told me I have achieved losing 3 stone of the 5 stone I needed to lose. (For those wanting to work out dress sizes, I'm now a bigger size 14)!

What I really love most about the journey I'm on, is what it's doing to me mentally and emotionally. I stated from the start it was a journey I would 100% keep God in with me. I never take being healed from an eating disorder is only by His grace and goodness I have overcome the areas there needed change in.
I feel so much healthier inside... I know my heart is healthier, I don't get out of breath as quickly as I used to, I don't feel bloated and yucky in my tummy area any more and I sleep well after getting through long days well! It's great to feel so alive even when life's situations can be tough! It's so true the hormones released when exercising boost you.

But, like with my exercising and eating plan only being able to make my heart healthier, my skin more radiant, my body slimmer and with signs of muscles being toned starting to appear (woohooooo) by me staying committed to my membership and attendance and efforts, I know this is the same of us when we are wanting to be healthy with God.
You may have just thought "healthy with God? Stace, what on earth are you talking about woman?" Well, let me explain abit...
It's so easy to get into a zone of "yeh...I'm a Christian. I attend so and so church, I serve in this ministry a couple of times a week and that other ministry the other days, I know the Pastor well, I attend a bible study group with other Christian women/men, I say a prayer when things get tough and always say grace at meal times....." If we allowed ourselves, it would be easy to fall into a trap of thinking that we are in good relationship with God because of the things we do or fill our week with. Whilst these are nice little factors to life and quite important when it comes to building community and friends, can I be really honest and tell you, they are not what make you a born again Christian!

Accepting Jesus died for you on the cross two thousand years ago is what makes you a born again Christian...but the decisions don't stop there. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour we know a change happens inside of us. The natural form of life enters the supernatural. Eternal destiny with God is promised to us and we are forgiven of the things we have done wrong.
We must however, continue pursuing knowing, trusting, seeking and praising God at every opportunity we get. Reading His word, spending one-on-one time alone with Him...talking but making time to listen, spending time in worship and speaking in tongues. Continually asking Him to refill, refresh, reaffirm His love and grace in our loves. As we do this the change on the inside manifests and spills out onto the outside.
People comment that you don't seem as nervous or angry as you did before...when life throws a curve ball, you may have more strength to fight through it and not crumble at the first hurdle, you feel more love and compassion towards people, you smile more, you walk straighter, you feel a sense of worth. You feel healthier! What's taking place in your spirit, shines out for people around you to see externally.

It's only natural that at some moments we may slip into a lazy few days, weeks, months even for some...whilst God understands and patiently awaits our hand to grasp His out-stretched one.... He wants us to take that commitment we made at the very outset very seriously. If you're in a contract at work or seriously you take those commitments should only be a fraction of how you treat the commitment you made with God. The effort I put into my bootcamp life, I should put as much if not so much more into my relationship with God. Only He can do the changing within us...from the inside out! And He wants to, that's the great thing. That for me feels like a pressure off revelation in itself. Knowing there's a force so much stronger than us ready and willing to help us through is just love in it's finest form!

So, a question...what are your insides looking like? Is what's flowing out a good influence and attractive to the people you encounter? Whilst my physical appearance matters to me, whilst my physical health matters to me, let me be really real and say 10000% truthfully that what I am as a person is not defined by these attributes alone. I could achieve my full weight loss, but be a complete cow-bag to the people God puts in my life...I don't want that...I want to  reflect Jesus to the people who have yet to know Him, I want to experience every good thing God has waiting for me, I want to be known as the girl who encourages, loves and is generous to people she meets...I want God to need to continually refill me with more of His goodness because it just keeps pouring out. This my friend, should be your desire too!

Below is the chorus to one of my all time favourite worship songs "From the Inside Out" by Hillsong Church! My prayer for us all is this chorus really!

My heart, my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Be Blessed :-)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Paint Pots!

As many people are aware we are a mixed raced family.
I was born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire here in the lovely UK. And whilst there is a real mix in my extended families of Irish, London Cockney, Spanish and Northern England, I was raised in the South in a county called Berkshire. I'm very fair skinned (that would be the Irsih side coming out!!!) have dark hair and greeny blue eyes.
My hubby, Robert is a British born Nigerian. His parents moved here in the 1960's and Rob was born in London and raised there until school age, when his parents moved back to Nigeria. Robert moved back to the UK in his late teens and has been here since. Roberts got gorgeous dark brown skin.

Together we have five children. Four boys and a little girl. They are typical, loud, naughty(!), clever little beings..and they have the most beautiful features. Big brown eyes, long eyelashes, their dads ears and the most perfect light brown shade of know, the shade us fair skinned girls wish we could have all year instead of having to use fake tan and sit in the sun for hours!
Our eldest three boys have all had conversations about our differing skin colours. Many times we've explained the science behind why they have the colour skin they have...many times we've answered questions on why daddy has dark brown skin, why mummy has pink skin(!) and why they all have light brown skin. And many times we've told our children just how beautiful they are and how they are created in Gods perfect image...their skin colours are not mistakes...their skin colours are nothing to be ashamed of...their skin colours are a particular shade of two people joined together and out of love creating these awesome little creatures! We know our family is no coincidence...God has great plans to use us and our children and our skin colours are all part of that plan! We fully believe that!

We're very blessed that we haven't received too many ignorant or racist comments as a family...there have indeed been moments, especially for our eldest son, who now he's in year 5 at school is an easy target for a child who wants to point out the obvious. But thanks to us being open, and secure in Gods plan of this little Omokaro legacy, our children are confident, can hold their own when it comes to identifying who and what they are, and adore being a part of two cultures. Christmas is an especially favourite time of year in our home to celebrate both cultures traditions. We consider ourselves very lucky :)

This afternoon, for the first time our 3year old son Samuel began a conversation with me about his skin colour. It went something like this:
Sam- "Mummy? You and daddy mixed together makes me light brown. Dark me light brown."
Me- "That's right Sam, and look at your lovely skin colour. It's beautiful!"
Sam- "Yes! We're like paint pots...all different colours. You're a peach one!"

This little innocent chat with my youngest son, where he compared me to a peach paint pot filled me with delight. No negatives, no doubts...just PRE-school understanding of why and how he is... Just perfect :)

My prayer for anyone reading this post is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you originate from, whatever your social circle...that like my lovely boys (Olivia's a tad young to understand as yet) you would have deep filled confidence...not arrogance...but confidence of who you are. That you are made in an image so much more beautiful than man can ever perceive. That you are are are precious and here for a great purpose.

And if like me that means being a peach paint pot, then bring it on! ;-)

Be Blessed :-)