Thursday, 28 February 2013

See-saw

I feel like I'm living one of those weeks that reminds me of a see-saw. Constant ups and downs!

We've had a flurry of illness, and our 19month old is especially poorly with I quote "a virus" that despite following doctors orders of plenty of calpol and fluids is not shifting...in fact I feel she's getting poorlier but having been made to feel that a third visit would get me a smack on the hand by the GP, I'm perserveering with the cal pol...with the fluids...with plenty of hugs, and I mean PLENTY ...and lack of sleep! It's so hard seeing any of your children poorly but when they're still baby-fied and can't communicate what exactly aches and hurts...it's so tiring...

But then an up....our big boys got fantastic school reports and both have improved in certain areas, especially our eldest with his attitude to learning. I received an email from the head today commending them on such good reports which makes my heart burst with pride.

Another up, hubby and I started a new Freedom in Christ discipleship course at our church yesterday. We have a brilliant team alongside us and over 30 guests who just seemed to come in raring to learn and share and it was just such a great first session with everyone. We are so excited about what's in store along this new journey.

Then today, some news which kind of crushed my heart. A hope and dream seemingly dashed in a moment. Something we felt was a God given gift snatched away.... It's made me feel sad I have to be honest.

But...I know I have a choice...we always have a choice.
I could continue crying and asking God why not...why not for us? Why not what we wanted? Why not our prayers being answered...why not our children seeing their hope for something come to them?
But...I can't. I can't sit in self pity for this slow ride down on the see-saw...I have to stay focused on knowing God loves us and has us in His hands.
I have to rest in my favourite scripture
Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!"

Why do I have to do this? Simply answered because 14 years ago I had a choice then too, and I chose Jesus. How He turned my life around then, He has continued and will continue to do so now.
Two thousand years ago He also had a choice...and He chose to give me life...my precious Jesus...I choose you now...despite the sadness in my heart, I choose you...and I want to rest in knowing, no matter how small this may seem in the grand scheme of things, that you understand and you will bring happiness and an almighty up on this see-saw ride!

Be Blessed :-)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Agenda and Attitudes!

I wonder how many of you like to be organised....have a little daily or weekly agenda that you refer to, to keep up with appointments, tasks and meeting with friends. Sometimes certain days of the week may have the same agenda week in, week out....for example, for me, Tuesdays I meet with my beautiful bible study girlies, Wednesdays I serve at and get to enjoy Sparklers, my churches toddler group with many friends and my little Livvy and Thursdays are the morning Livs and I shimmy our stuff at Jo Jingles (a music group for babies and toddlers) and I usually make an effort to do something exciting for my PRE-schooler Sam once picking him up from nursery after lunch.....this could be a visit to a park, a play centre, swimming...whatever takes our fancy.... Those are a couple of  "set" tasks in my week...of course grocery shopping, housework, lots of cooking, marriage time, family fun, homework, school runs and meeting other friends are all important tasks also within the week...but they can differ in day, time and locations!

In this post though, I want to concentrate on a different type of agenda...the type that can cause hurt, confusion, disappointment and suffering. I want us to think about the times when our intentions are to satisfy only ourselves and we are blind to the destruction around us...
Of course, I'm not talking about having a new haircut, taking a much deserved holiday, having a pedicure (by the way, I LOVE having pedicures...these pampered tired feet do enjoy being cared for!) or enjoying an innocent hobby...I'm more on the wavelength here of being aware about other people in all we do....checking our motives when we step out to do things that we claim are to help and benefit others-but really it's because we care more for our reputation...thinking before we speak, so as to be sensitive that our words carry huge power in how they mould us in others hearts...stopping to check that family, neighbours and friends are riding this journey called life comfortably, happily, safely, instead of being more concerned about ourselves and what benefits are next coming our way.
It's a challenging one of course, because let's be real, we all deeply care how our own life is going. And so we should. We have a responsibility to others to ensure we are healthy, happy and secure in who we are...but our motives in all things MUST be good.

My husband and I together lead a great course at our church called Freedom in Christ. We have been the course leaders for six years now, and have a real passion for seeing people connect with God on a new level...to see people overcome past hurts and lies....to love and encourage our course guests through prayer, conversation, cake and scripture! Outside of the weekly set up and team email, there is no agenda...there is no desire from either Robert or myself to see our names glorified, no "it's all about us and what we can do," it's purely two people, along with a fab team of hosts knowing how it feels to be broken, lost and in need of supernatural love and grace, wanting to see others grasp it and experience it for themselves.

In my opinion...good intentions and an honest "agenda" comes down to our attitudes and beliefs.
Jesus maintained a perfect attitude throughout every trial and situation He found Himself in. Why? Because He maintained a prayerful life focused on God, which allowed Him to not worry, but instead concentrate on the people He encountered. Jesus's attitude was never to become proud, defensive, jealous or discouraged purely because He stayed focused on and wanted to please His Heavenly Father, rather than to achieve His own agenda.
The bible tells us in Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfish ambition and conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others!"
What we are simply being taught here, is that when we are self obsessed and our eyes are not open to the needs of others around us...we can (granted) unknowingly cause much hurt to people. Whilst God  wants us to live a fulfilled, happy, secure life, He doesn't want us so preoccupied with ourselves that we forget to show compassion, encouragement, friendship, and practical help to others.

So....as we enter a new week...one that could have a calendar agenda full to the brim...or quite the opposite...with not a lot planned... lets be intentional about ensuring our human agenda, meaning our motives, desires and wants, aren't self obsessed...aren't all about us! Lets be a generation that makes a change in this world full of suffering...makes a change amongst the many hurting people- because guaranteed my friend, they are all around us...sometimes I just have to look in the mirror to see one....lets be encouragers- not criticisers, lets bless others generously-not brag and be greedy, lets be friends to the people who desperately need good, honest, real friends....lets stay focused on our Heavenly Father and allow Jesus to be our example. Think about it.... If Jesus had been self obsessed...where would we be today...? And like Jesus, lets do it all with a quiet, humble, beautiful nature... Wow I'm so grateful for my saviour!

And to finish, a quote, I came across yesterday that I just really liked.
"To encourage is to play a part in helping others reach their potential, with no agenda other than their growth!" ~John Prescott!

Be Blessed :-)

Friday, 8 February 2013

You can't kill Hope!

The title of this post may have got you wondering....
You may not agree with the title of this post....
You may be questioning what hope is....
You may be in a zone where you feel your hope has been killed....
Whatever your position, whatever your thoughts, I really...um....hope this all makes an ounce of sense at the end of my rambling...here goes!

According to www.thefreedictionary.com kill and hope have the following meanings:
HOPE: Something that is wished for or desired; to wish for something with the expectation of its fulfilment; to look forward to with confidence and expectation.
KILL: To put to death; to put an end to/distinguish; to cause extreme pain or discomfort; to destroy and deprive of life.

Two very different words with two very different meanings....but all too often grouped together when circumstance feels tough!
Whilst I know our feelings can dictate how we view hope in our lives dependant on our circumstances, the deep rooted truth is....hope can NEVER be killed! As long as you are breathing, as long as you have life, as long as you choose to keep going, as long as you grasp to believe truth over feeling, as long as you choose truth over what circumstance may be saying....there is ALWAYS hope...and it's very much alive...in us, around and through us!

Don't let negative thoughts steal your joy...steal your hope!
Stand firm in knowing Gods word speaks of the Holy Spirit giving us, filling us, and being our hope....there's nothing we can do to change that...just soak it in and rest in knowing hope cannot be killed....hope will prevail!

Hope - believing in what you have yet to see....waiting patiently as the circumstance unravels...as Gods light shines through.....Hope....alive and in us!

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in Hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in Prayer!
Be Blessed :-)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Blessings of a food poisoning kind!

So I haven't been very well this week thanks to a very unexpected, very inconvenient and very painful and grim experience that is food poisoning.
It has literally floored me, seeing me not able to do virtually anything except sleep, sip water or other rehydration meds and um...well get more sleep to be honest!

I hate it when I'm out of action, have to rely on others (whilst I know it's good to let other help you, I much prefer being the one doing the helping) and lose precious moments of life.
But through it all, we have to stay positive right, and count our blessings...and so this week, these have been some of mine (I'm sure there is probably more)...so far....

1. My eldest son every morning making breakfast for his brothers and sister...he wasn't asked to and it wasn't expected, but every day this lovely young man, aged only 10 has taken it on himself to get showered and ready for school and come downstairs and prepare bowls of cereal and mountains of toast...my little hero!

2. My husband, who despite working 10 hour night shifts has gotten up every morning to take the brood to school and nursery, nursed me and grabbed sleep here and there before picking them all up, sorting them all out and then going back off to work...and then doing it all over again...my big hero!

3. My friends and parents who have sent lovely messages, and showered me with get well prayers...thank you!

4. Two particular friends who have helped by taking Livvy (our active 18 month old fairy princess) all day so I can sleep and rest properly...love you and am so grateful!

5. My youngest sons nursery for keeping him extra hours, no quibbles, no extra cost...just wanting to help us out and see me get well...beautiful team of ladies!

6. My sofa...my bed...blankets...comfy pillows...my home! It's so easy to forget how blessed we are to have a warm, clean, beautiful little home to cosy up in. When I'm poorly especially, God reminds me that this is one of my favourite places...I am so thankful for my house!

7. Free medical care...yes okay, the NHS may have its issues, but we are so lucky to have the services of great doctors and medical professionals within quick, easy reach...grateful!

8. Clean water. We forget that many many people in this world...country even...struggle to get water. I turn on my tap, there it is...thankful!

9. My ever loving and comforting God. I could be cross with him that I've been poorly this week, especially with what caused it, but I'm not...I know He's protected me from it being far worse than it has, He's surrounded me with all the above blessings that have made my week much easier than it would have been without them, and He is helping my body fight off the illness....I also know that He has wanted me to rest, be blessed and for reasons I may never know...not be out and about crazy this week, but instead be safe at home.

It's so easy to forget the simple, everyday blessings...but they're all around us, we just have to choose to keep our eyes open, our minds at peace and to be focused on the good even when things feel tough.
Even with feeling so physically weak and poorly this week, I have seen God at work in our family life hugely. We have had answers to prayer that we weren't expecting at this time- positive news which we've been claiming, standing firm in prayer in, despite the distraction of me falling ill. We have kept our eyes fixed on the one who gives life and gives it in abundance....satan will always come prowling with his lies, distractions, silly plans...but when we know where our Hope lies, we can overcome anything....and in my case this week, it's a nasty bout of food poisoning!

Omokaros with God by their side - 1
satan - 0

Whatever your circumstance, I encourage you to see your blessings...focus on the good in the hard times, feel the calm in the storm, experience the peace amongst the chaos, trust in the faithful promises amongst the lies! They're there...just keep your eyes fixed in the right direction and you'll see them!

Be Blessed :-)