Your choice

“Have you ever watched a bird take flight to go somewhere? It looks around, it picks its destination, and it lifts itself from one place to the place it wants to go. People are the same when they leave Me. “

I was looking down at a corner of a bricked building, there was no roof and I could not tell how tall the building was. Bricks were steady and sturdy in place, fitting perfectly so that you could not see thru the bricks…there was no mortar. One brick took wings and flew off, then over further another one did the same. Yet no holes were to be seen in the brickwork….

Often when I receive a vision, I wait. I wait to hear more, I wait to know more, I wait to make sure it wasn’t me and my own imagination.

I want to be sure.

A few months back I was praying, during communion in church, when the vision written in the above paragraph flashed into my mind… and stayed. A number of times over those few months it has come back to me, and I have taken it to God in prayer.

Each time it is the same thing – People who once professed to love and serve God are now rejecting God and turning away. They choose of their own free will to reject the love and mercy given by their Saviour.

The one theme that has stayed with me is this:

1. At no time does God cement us in so that we must stay.

2. This makes no difference to God’s church being built.

“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve… But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NLT

1. We are not cemented in.

Did you know that we come into God’s family by our own free will and we stay because we chose?

That is right. When we chose God, He does not say to us, “I have got you now”. Neither does He make us stay. It is our choice to come and it is our choice to go. In fact, the Christian religion is the only religion that has free will as a doctrine. Any “Christian” faith that says otherwise, is a cult.

In fact, God does not need to cement us into the faith that we have, because He knows exactly where we fit. What we lack in “the fitting”, He gives us part of Himself (without reservation) so that we would have help to fit. Then we actively work as the building block we were made to be in the body of His church.

Now just in case you are confused. This is how it works (simply put, of course). –

We accept the gift of salvation by realising that we are never able to live this life in rebellion and sin and turn our life over to God. He adopts as a child of God, and we now live differently in obedience because we now love the God we call Father, Lord and Saviour. This is not because we are “made” to, but because something inside us has changed and we find ourselves being different… and wanting to be different. The more we know Him and love Him, the more we want to change what and who we are. He gives us a part of Himself, the Holy Spirit who lives within us so that we have help to live while on this earth. We have now just become part of His special building called the church – working and living for Him on this earth.

Because we are not cemented in, and because it is our choice to stay, we can leave. We can forget the gift given to us, we can grow hard and cold, we can leave. And God lets us. Remember He did not make us come, He does not make us stay. This is why in the vision He allowed me to see that there was no mortar.

I asked God about the wings. Why the wings? God answered me in this way.

“Have you ever watched a bird take flight to go somewhere? It looks around, it picks its destination, and it lifts itself from one place to the place it wants to go.  People are the same when they leave Me. There is a reason why they leave. In the vision the flight was slow and steady, not in fright? People do not leave in fright, they leave because they have decided. Fear and hiding or running is not rejecting Me, they are simply not trusting Me. When people leave, they have long decided to find another destination. It is just that they have not yet lifted their wings to take flight.”

I sensed a deep sadness in God’s tone. God grieves His people leaving, but He will not stop them, neither does he step in their way to detain them.

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple.

1 Peter 2:4-5a NLT

2. Being part of God’s building.

God’s church is not a building or a set of rules or doctrines – that is simply denominations and places where people go to fellowship with other believers and to hear about God’s word. “The Church” is God’s obedient and faithful believers everywhere, doing what God had given them to do and living the way He wants them to live.

Often when I speak to other Christian’s, I get the sense that they are very robotic, and they believe that there is only one way of doing something and only one way to be. Unformal and robotic.

This is not God’s way. You are you. He knows your past, He knows your personality, He knows your future. The fact that He knows, means that you are your own special version of God’s representative on earth, your own special part of God’s church. That is why we all fit together- not because we are the same, but because we are all different that we fit together nicely.

The church is God’s people everywhere; serving Him, being obedient to Him and living daily in the world. The most necessary part of being here, is to live daily for God…for all to see. This is why I saw like a building, you cannot miss seeing a building. A building is a visible presence that you cannot miss. The same with Christians. We become a visible – a known presence in the world we live.

We have the world that want to knock the building (God’s people everywhere) down and stop them from living for God in this world. We have the world that knocks our beliefs, and mocks our stand for God, morals, ethics and standards. But…it never stops God’s work.

People leaving God does not form holes in the walls, because His church is spiritual. The structure of God’s church does not change. It stands if people leave. It stands if people are jailed for there faith. It stands if we are martyred for our faith. People think that if they kill us off, or knock a few from their faith, that the work of God stops. No, it remains a presence simply because God is and will always be. Even in the darkest places of the world where you think there is no faith, God is reaching someone, and His church remains.

I want you to understand this – Even if the church buildings (as in the denominational building structures that we go to every Sunday) are not allowed to be there, we remain the bricks that are His church.

While we live, He lives. While we are here, His church is here. While we stay, we are the presence of God in this world – His church.

My prayer today is for those that are about to take flight. Maybe something has happened, and you are shaken in your faith. Maybe you want to live that life of rebellion. Maybe sin looks really good to you right now. A lot has gone on in your heart for you to even get to this point right now. My words may seem to slip over your head as you brush it off. You have made your decision, you are just waiting to spread your wings. So this is my prayer..

Father God, once more I ask that you reach to the heart of this child, who used to be yours. I ask that your Holy Spirit would speak words to warm and touch this cold heart. Instead of looking to the next place to take flight to I pray that they will look at You and remember Your love. Thank you, Father, that you know them by name. I place them in Your hands Father, knowing that this is the only place to be. In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.”

Stop for a moment. The decision you are about to make is a momentary one, not an eternal one. It is completely up to you. God didn’t make you come and He is not going to make you stay.

There

While He is “there” I can know that He will step in and move things when needed. While He is “there” I can know that He knows exactly what is going on. While He is “there” I know that He knows, and has always known.

 

This year is going to be …um…actually I cannot find a way to describe it. There are times when I want God to do miracles and fight fights, not just stand there. It seems like sometimes He is just…there.

One day, I stepped out of the car to go and do the weekly shopping and it hit me. The huge commitments I  had taken on this year were mind boggling. With one foot on the ground and one foot still in the car, I breathed the words in prayer –

“Oh Father, how am I going to do this?”

The words replied to my heart, “With my help.”

My youngest son decided at the end of last year that he wanted to do his Year 9 schooling through Distance Education, from home. This added to an already overloaded and chaotic schedule for this year.

I am really not sure how this is all going to happen. But in my prayer time, God assures me that I will get through it and that there is a reason for what He is doing. God has assured me that He has placed every one of these things on my heart, but I need to give up one thing… and it is the one thing that would take the most faith. Slowly He is reducing this to almost nothing, and I have to trust.

I want to grip this tiny little area of my life and rely on it, but apparently it has to go. God promises me that this area is known by Him and He will be the one who is this for me. But I hate to let go. I feel like a little girl hold her security blanket for grim death, all the while asking God to take it from me. I want Him to show me that I will be alright before I let go.

He knows why I don’t want to let go.

I know why I have to let go. I also know why I have to do so much this year.

My son is reading Gifted Hands – the Ben Carson Story. Once again, I was reminded today that God has a way of reaching out to people and giving them tasks that are beyond them. This is an excerpt from the book that I read today –

“I’m not sure people always understand when I say that, but I had an inner certainty that I was on the right path in my life—the path God had chosen for me. Great things were going to happen in my life, and I had to do my part by preparing myself and being ready.”

(Ben Carson, 1990) (Gifted Hands 20th Anniversary Edition (p. 81). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)

“…I had to do my part by preparing myself and being ready.”

Ah huh!!

The other evening, I stood in the middle of the kitchen, breathing heavily. I was dizzy, tired and about to pass out. The pain I was in was beyond being able to stand up anymore and for a moment I thought I was going to faint. I stood quietly and prayed. I opened my eyes and nothing had changed.

The phone was in my hand as I talked to my computer company about my computer only being out of warranty for two months (That afternoon my computer had died in the middle of important document being prepared, and my son’s computer was frozen because it could not do what I needed it to do). I was getting tea ready. I was answering my eldest sons’ questions, answering text messages on my mobile phone about baby sitting for a friend. I was waiting to be paid for a job I had just completed and had just been told that I could have to wait for 2-4 weeks for some money. My youngest son walked into the kitchen and held out his arms- his work shirt no longer fitted him.

At that very moment, the cat purred between my feet and let me know of his annoyance of being not fed and I nearly fell over him. I lifted my foot to move him out of the way, when I felt God say, “you can do this.”

Nothing had changed, accept that for some strange reason I was no longer breathing heavily. I was still feeling overwhelmed and in shocking pain. But for some reason I was okay.

God will sometimes give us more then we can handle. Sometimes He knows that life as just thrown us a curve ball and we have more then we can take. We will find ourselves in situations that are a bit beyond us, or completely beyond us.

Breathe.

Pray.

Believe.

When we open our eyes things haven’t changed, but God has changed us. Even though feelings are the same, there has been something that has changed.

Sometimes He provides a miracle. Sometimes He provides

…and sometimes He is just “there”.

I believe in a God who does awesome things. I believe in miracles. I believe in a God who cares and provides. But sometimes He is just…there.

Is “there” enough?

Yes, “there” is better then “no there”.

I still look forward to the day of getting more then 4 hours sleep a night, and not being in pain. I look forward to blessings and rest.

But this is what I want the most –

To be strengthened. To be changed. To not being so affected by the world that I live in. To not be reactive and emotional.

I don’t want to avoid the storms, I want to survive the storms

Yes, “there” is enough. While He is there I can change, I can lean and rely on Him. I can pray and believe. Because being there is better then not being there.

While He is “there” I can know that He will step in and move things when needed. While He is “there” I know that He cares. While He is “there” I know that He knows, and has always known.

Do you want my blanket God?

 

Editors Note:

Hi everyone, 

This year my world is chaotic, so my blogs are going to be short and to the point.

Okay..well..let’s see how we go on that one!!

Rephrasing that – I will attempt to make them short and to the point.  ??

Thank you all for your comments, support and prayers.

Blessings

Ruth

Mothers

There are so many things that accumulate in a mother’s every day that can cause an overwhelming takeover of our minds and bodies, and ultimately making us wonder why we wanted motherhood.  The precious lives that shape the reason why we are called “mum” can draw from us the reason to breathe every day, and yet can have break us to the point of helplessness and hopelessness..

 

I was listening to my pastor preach this morning on the power of the tongue and it reminded me that I had this blog in a half-finished state – in the too hard basket. Why the too hard basket? Because I want to be careful what I say…

Women…

We are hard on ourselves and each other. Why?

Being a mum is hard work. There are so many things that accumulate in a mother’s every day that can cause an overwhelming takeover of our minds and bodies, and ultimately making us wonder why we wanted motherhood.  The precious lives that shape the reason why we are called “mum” can draw from us the reason to breathe every day, and yet can have break us to the point of helplessness and hopelessness, initiating a final breakdown and tears.  In this journey called motherhood, we will either find supportive allies or fierce critics. The hardest part, I personally found, in being a mother, was the way people treated me as I tried my best to survive without a Instruction Manual. My children did not come with an instruction manual, they came crying, needy and fully relying on me that I knew exactly what I was doing.

Over the years, I have seen some awful ways in the way women treat each other. It seems that the way some women speak, they wrote the manual for every living child on the planet, and if you have any question or look in any way needing assistance, they will tell you exactly what you are to do.

We live in a society that rarely has the support of those closest – including our own mothers, grandmothers, aunts and older siblings – family who would have once surrounded our lives and helped us parent, and cope with the demands of life. Motherhood seems to be a place of disconnection from others, and even within Christian circles it is about who is the “best” rather than who need support.

It seems that the smaller the community whether it be Christian of otherwise, the more people think they have the “right” to advise you… mostly with dripping condescension or “holier-than-thou” attitudes.

Living with Criticism

When I was first arrived, in the little country town I live, I worked in one of the local eateries. One day a barmaid, that I had not seen before, came from the other section of the restaurant and approached me. The conversation went like this.

Her: “Well hallo there (big beamy smile) I haven’t seen you around this town, are you new here?”

Me: (“wow,” I thought, “a local”) “yes, we have only been here a year.”

Her: “Ooooohhhhh, so where do you live?”

Me: (feeling like I was a bug under the microscope) “(named the street and number)… across the road from Mrs _____”

Her (gleefully): “Oh, you are the lady who is always yelling at her kids!”

Me: (stunned silence)

Her: (smiling smugly while she waited for her words to sink in)

Me: “Well, I suppose that is what comes with living on the edge of town and only having elderly neighbours. (Edge coming to my voice)

Her: (tittering) yes, anyway, I am M______, I am besties with your neighbour across the road… see you around.”  (Walks away swinging her hips)

Me (under my breath): “So my neighbour is friends with the town gossip. That is something to remember.”

If I can help paint a picture…

At the time I was a mum of a 6 and 4 year old, who lived life full on. It was always full volume, full speed, full movement and zero….ZERO stopping. There were many times I wanted to put myself in timeout, just to see if they would leave me alone. Our house was noisy with “boy noises” and tv…. and just the busyness of life. I didn’t have a quiet spot, anywhere.  Even in the toilet, I was found and needed for one thing or another.

I rarely yelled at my children. Rarely. But often when I did it, and still do it, was/is probably late afternoon and evening when the sound of my voice carries well. I only have neighbors across the road from me. Behind and beside me is rural countryside. I often forget that I have neighbors across the road… as did my rambunctious and boisterous young lads – at that time. Up until then, I thought that my neighbors were ok with their new neighborhood family. Maybe not??

Oh, and I should tell you the time my youngsters (about 7 and 9 years old, then) decided to play “bad guys” out the front of our house at 6am. I woke to hear shouting out the front of my house–

“bang, bang, you’re dead.”

“I am not dead for long, I am alive and I am going to kill you!!”

“you can’t get me, I am going to kill you first.”

Mmmmm…you know… out the front of the house, in the middle of our once quiet neighbourhood. At 6AM!!. Yep!

Then, there was the time we went camping with some friends. At 11pm, I got the boys to leave us and go to their tents. My eldest, then about 11yeas old, decided to sneak into his brothers tent to scare him. My youngest, caught him in the act and yelled at the top of his voice (at 11pm!!) –

“Get out of my tent!!!”

And then before I could move to speak to them, he shouted for the whole campsite to hear – “AND DO UP THE TENT, OR SOMEONE WILL KILL ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!!!!”

Yes, my darling son, right at that moment there are about 100 campers who have just sat bolt upright in their beds. They will be coming after you, very soon!

I can laugh about it now, but at the time I had a hard time looking my fellow campers the next morning. With out fail I had one lady confront me in the public toilets and tell me that I needed to discipline my children better. (groan)

I have had to learn to handle criticism about my parenting abilities. I have been criticised about lack of discipline, too little discipline, too dirty, too clean, too controlling, not controlling enough….and the list goes on. One day when my eldest was about 3 months old, I cried in the arms of my local midwife about something my parents-in-law said about me. It was one of many things that people felt that they could come and speak to me about. Shocked, she gave me a little shake and said (half-jokingly), “Ruth you need to carry a brick in your handbag. Give that thing a swing and deal with them!!” I smile at the thought, because this midwife was the one who encouraged me to know my own heart as a mum and to trust that “God had given me good sense.”

Over the years I have a particular person who has felt the need to call every form of authority on me to have me investigated in regards to my children. He has criticised everything that I have done and tried to get others, by lying, to say the same. I have had police and child safety in my home and asking me questions. I have been investigated in every form and in every way. I have had police walk up to my house and request to speak to my children, alone, and then not knowing the complaint or problem, stand outside my own house feeling helpless and heartbroken.

Before my youngest was born I learnt, from a mutual friend, that this person was after me and warned me to be very careful how I disciplined my children. I had to bring my children up without any form of physical punishment. This took energy that I often didn’t have, experience that I was beyond how I was brought up and required forethought, ingenuity and often emotionally exhausting. I was criticised because I was “making a rod for my back” and “spare the rod-spoil the child”. One time I took the time to explain to one mother that it was either the way I did it or face losing my children – they told me that they would go to jail before bowing to anyone’s control. Often it was just useless to explain and easier to just accept the criticism.

This same person has spoken to medical personnel in my little country town, to sow seeds of doubt as to who I really was as a mother. I lived like this for about 8 years, under close scrutiny of others, while bringing young boys up through some to the most difficult years of boyhood to being young men. There were many times I fell on my knees and begged God to have it stop. He did not, but He made me so aware of need to rely on Him for wisdom, trust him when I fail, and show me how much this eventually strengthened me.

There was not a single investigation that went everywhere, because it was built on someone’s desire for revenge, the person’s hatred of me, lies, false allegations and vexatious litigation. It was during this time that the Lord’s promise to me in 2006 – “Ruth, your boys are in My hands.” – came to reality. Yes, God had my boys in his hands and the person was actually fighting against God’s hand. God sees injustice, and many of us would do well in remembering that when you do wrong to someone with your mouth, God sees this.

I learnt that, as a parent, I had to be sure of what I did and why I did it.

I had to be sure of the way I had decided to parent my children.

I have spent a lot of time on my knees. I have asked God for wisdom and knowledge.

I have asked God to bring up my children in the areas where I fail.

This strengthened me in my resolve as a parent.

I learnt that people could be very hurtful and mean to me as a mum. That as a woman, I was under the microscope and examined regularly. It seemed that every action of my child or children were a direct consequence of my abilities in being a mum.

This taught me to forgive.

I have learnt that some days in being a mum can bring you to your knees, weeping and wondering whether you can ever survive another day. It is those day where we doubt our ourselves and wonder if “they” were right.

There is nothing wrong with being brought to your knees – you will find God lifts you up. It also bring a certain amount of humility in reach others. Nothing like being presented with the fact that you are not all you think you are. Hmmm??

One of those days…

Recently, I had one of those days…

It was a Monday. I had started at 4am to go to work, arrived home just in time to get my young men off to school. A series of things happened that left me overloaded. The internet went down. I had phone call after phone call. People dropping in unexpectantly and I needed to clean my house from the weekend’s activities and get a pile of washing done. A visitor was staying that night and I needed to change the sheets etc. That night I was Chairing a meeting and I couldn’t even print off the agenda or print off documents for the meeting. By 1pm I thought I was on top of it all, but I was exhausted…

Then I got another phone call, while yet another visitor sat at my table. This phone call informed me that one of my children was getting into some mischief with a friend, and the mum rang to tell me. Not only was “it” mischief – it was blatant disobedience and total disregard for personal safety…and he was sneaking behind my back to do it. In fact, he could have been killed doing what he did.

So, after the meeting which finished at 9 pm I went to talk to him in his room. Needless to say, he was grounded and lost a lot of privileges…but he was repentant and did not show one ounce of defiance. He did not argue with me and accepted his punishment without anger. This to me was important and I still thank God for this.

That night I was exhausted and after getting to bed at midnight, I knew I had to get up for work in 4 hours. But I could not sleep. I berated myself. I condemned myself. Finally, I wept.

I was frightened, and scared that as a mum I was failing. I was scared for my son and the fact that he could been very badly hurt by his choices. The night was dark and I allowed everything that had ever been spoken to me as a mom to fill my head.  In in the wee hours of the morning a quiet voice whispered to me that I had “better get out of ministry”. I cried to God. He spoke directly to my heart. I felt Satan’s lie slip away… and I fell asleep.

My God is always good and waits until I see the lies, before he brings me back to some sense.

No mum wants to see their child hurt by the consequences of wrong decision-making and rebellion.  What makes it worse is that we blame ourselves and speak poisonous words to our ourselves.

Then others come around and speak words that add to that disapproval and the poison sinks deep. I have seen it time and time again. A group of women talking about another’s wayward child and pointing their finger at her parenting or at her as a person. The whispered “oh-and-did-you-know’s” added to the juicy mix of tender juicy gossip and censure.

Satan is the master of lies and he likes to condemn and poke at our frailties. What is worse Satan loves others tearing us apart. He hopes we will give up and run away.

Women are not always kind to each other, and your struggle as a mum seems signal to others that they have the right to give fragile mothers lots of “helpful advice” and “instruction”.

Yet among the women I know, I have found women who are kind, supportive, caring and a safe place to cry and be myself. These are women who care about me enough to sometimes speak the truth (even if it hurts) and encourage me to be all I can be. God has sent me some beautiful women to be part of my life, I am so grateful for these women. I am blessed with women that will hold me and lift me up. God has sent into my life a large group of mighty warrior women, who are an incredible blessing. I love soaking in time with them, being in their presence and blessing them with mine.

The God factor.

I read some verses in my bible reading this morning –

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT

“O [God] my strength, I will watch for You; For God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower].  My God in His [steadfast] lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly on my enemies [who lie in wait for me].” Psalm 59:9-10 AMP

It was an interesting read since I was to finish this blog today.

Let us think to what we say others of their building up and encouragement. Meet together, talk and speak words that will motivate us in our lives to be everything…we…are…meant…to…be… AND MORE.

Then there is the “God factor”. God is the one I run to. He ultimately is the one I listen to. I can pour out my heart to Him and He hears what I don’t say. Last night He heard me talk to Him about some things that I had never spoken to Him about (did I think that He did not know?). My testimony of God is that He is my stronghold, my Protector. God does not need me to say that to make it so, He needs me to say that because others need to hear what God can do.

Has God been the faithful and loving part of my life? He has often heard me tell Him what others are saying. He has stood in the gap when I have been accused falsely. He knows that I let things bother me. He knows I struggle trusting Him, and He seeks in all this to make me strong.

Yet He is the strong place, the fortress, the place of safety I can run to. Although…sometimes He is awfully slow to answer and He doesn’t come running when I throw a tantrum. Yet He is God, and my life is only a small part of what He is doing in the lives of His kingdom on earth.

Our mouth and our judgments are from the tiny place in the tiny world we see, yet He sees all and everything. Our world, with our own personal view, is a very small world indeed, and I often wonder if this is not the root of all our judgments.

I am not there yet, and neither are my beautiful friends. My world is a small place, and so are my opinions, what I see and what I think. The more I realise that I – that is me- am not perfect, then I suppose this is a good place to start.

May I also say this – during the struggle with myself, my failings and hearing criticism, I have found that no matter what comes my way… He knows what to do and I can trust Him.

Finally, to answer my question at the start – why are we hard on ourselves and each other? I believe it is because of that very reason – we are hard on ourselves.

We are more critical of ourselves than anyone else. I have heard over the years some talk from the mouths of women, that would make you wonder. Yet the biggest thing that I have found when you dig deeper is, that they are far harder on themselves.

Are you aware that it does say in the bible to love our neighbour? Now, read this –

“The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” “

Many people will quote the “Love your neighbour.”, but it says to love your neighbour as yourself.  As yourself? Soooo, if we don’t like ourselves, what are we going to do with others?

Are we speaking words that we speak to ourselves?

Are we treating others as we treat ourselves?

I will leave that will you and ask you to think about it. I will be praying for those that need to hear this. I will be praying for those of us that have a long way to go yet. I am thanking God for His loving faithfulness and His mercy. And I am grateful for His arms to go to.

 

Be blessed

 

 

 

 

Expectation

The words in this blog are to encourage you to have the faith, the hope and the trust in God Himself. Encouragement to place your requests before God and to wait with expectation, and for Him to speak to YOUR heart.

 

 

A few days ago, I was sitting eating my breakfast and reading my bible when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and asked me to turn to Psalm 5. This was the verse that stood out for me.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests

before you and wait expectantly.

The Amplified Version of the Bible says it this way –

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will prepare a prayer for You

and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].

Today – the 1st of Jan 2019 – is the morning of a new year. In fact I would consider the whole month of January to be this.

At the moment I am thinking about what I need to place before the Lord. With this in mind, I have no idea what this year brings.

Every year the Lord seems to give me a scripture that seems to sum up the future or the year ahead. Sometimes He gives me the same scripture for a few years…or half a year. Last year’s verse was Proverbs 3:5-6. This year a lot has been thrown at me, and for me the word has been “trust”.

God wants us to trust Him.

In fact, if I needed to add anything more to that it would be this – We really need to understand, that for our own sake, God wants us to trust Him.

Over the past year I have found my life to be… interesting. My friends know that when I use that word, I am not sure what else to call something, or I am trying to be polite. Apart from now learning to live with chronic pain, and still keeping up my very active and busy lifestyle, my role as a mum and wife has become full on for so many different reasons. So much has changed over the past year that I could not go over it all , even if I had the space to write.

In the middle of this I have had some very revealing conversations with God. Okay, let me rephrase that – God has spoken and I sat thinking and wondering what to say. In many ways He has revealed a new layer of things for my life. Yet even in this I still know little of what is ahead in my future. For me my life in service for Him is about a step by step process of only knowing enough to know that I am still on the right track. Yet in this, He keeps giving me tasks to do that make me wonder of my future.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was sitting reading my bible and praying. All of a sudden, I blurted these words out aloud, “God is turning my world upside-down”. I felt a shock go through me and I realised that God had just revealed something new to me.

Now for those that know me well – I don’t like anything surprising, new, out of the ordinary or not structured. I do not like adventure and I cringe at anything outrageous. In fact, I have had situations where someone changed something at the last moment and it completely threw me into a spin.

Yet when I spoke those words, I was completely a peace.  It was at that moment that I realised for the first time in my life, I was excited about a world where I didn’t hold a control over what was happening, and that my world at the moment although crazy and chaotic was exactly as it was supposed to be – and I am at peace with God working things out.

Now for my friends reading this who happen to be more adventurous and less structured than me, and who desire me to be crazy, adventurous, and wild like them…yeah, just steady up and hold your horses!!

I am yet to see how much of my life he has changed in that way. The fact that he is changing me is a huge thing. This important revelation that come to me over this conversation with God was this –

Over the past years He has taken me through things that have cause me to have a greater faith and trust Him for the outcome. This has been scary and frightening. But I need to go through this to get to where I am now.

Did God cause these stressful and terrifying times to happen? No, but he wasn’t going to allow hard times to go by without the opportunity to grow, should I chose to take it up. I do believe that during the past 15 years, there were things that happened which God allowed to transpire so He could take me deeper in my faith. If I hadn’t chosen in those time to trust Him, I would not be here now. In fact, I would still be a faith baby – still unable to digest a fuller, stronger, flavoured faith that has been needed.

I don’t know what is going to happen this year, and neither do you. To pray for requests at the start of the morning or the start of a new year is like deciding what to wear when you don’t know what the weather is like outside.

The greatest thing we can ask for is faith and then trust God to do the rest.

If you are going through some hard times at the moment, you cannot rely on the weather, careers, people or family …and especially not in governments or politicians. If you are trusting any of those things, you are going to be deeply disappointed.

I know of people at the moment that are in desperate need of trusting God. I know for some, they wonder even if they have the faith to believe in God. There is nothing that I can say that can help this. I can give you all of God’s promises but without you taking a hold of them yourself and making them yours, I am the person you trust, not God. You need that relationship with God where He comforts you, and you believe Him. My comfort and my words are tiny and small and a comfort that will not last…because it is not given to your heart.

The words in this blog are to encourage you to have the faith, the hope and the trust in God Himself. It is to encourage you to place your requests before God and to wait with expectation, and for Him to speak to YOUR heart.

I have found God too be trustworthy. This is useless to you unless you too find Him to be trustworthy. Don’t rely on my faith and my strength. I can speak out what God has done for me, so that you too will call on Him. You need your own testimony of God’s goodness, not mine.

God does not promise our lives to be without trouble, but He has promised us to be there in our troubles.

If you are new to all this God thing, or if you are in need of faith may I encourage you to start reading the Psalms in God’s Word. Read them again and again asking God to give you wisdom and revelation Ephesians 1:17-18

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, (NIV)

This is my prayer for anyone reading this blog.

Place your requests (not wants and wishes) before Him and wait with expectation and listen for Him.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

 

Note from the author:

For the coming year and whatever it brings-

May God be found to be your hope and strength.

May you find in Him a rich store of love and peace.

May His presence be with you, His hand upon you,

and may He be the Rock on which you stand.

And so this is Christmas..

People often seem to need something, but the thing they are asking for is not what they need. People at Christmas all say they need more time and money. The cry of their heart is actually for peace, and someone who cares about them and loves them. 

 

 

This past week I have been watching people as they feverishly attempt to gather things in preparation for Christmas. It seems that only at Christmastime do you see so much stress and distress caused by the celebrations of one day.

The tension seems to fill the air and everyone is searching for something on the shelves of their chosen store, filling their bags with goodies, and hastily paying for their new prized possession. Trolley seemed to be filled to the brim, and the music seems to have a repetitive tone. For the lack of joy, one would wonder if the reason for Christmas is forgotten.

Then there are those with little…

Yesterday, I watched an elderly woman’s face as she paid for a ham and the few meagre groceries that seemed to be basic grocery items. Over the speakers in the store came the familiar strains of “we wish you a merry Christmas” and she glowed like a Christmas tree. She looked happy, seemed at peace and happily chirped to customers around her and the staff that served her.

Another scene crosses my mind from yesterday, an elderly man sat in his own thoughts outside the grocery store. He looked tired and lonely and very unhappy. I smiled at him and he looked away. Later when I came out, he was gone. As I got into my car, I noticed the car beside me – along with many other things. A towel and clothing hung over the back seat. A pillow and blanket on the front seat. There was rubbish on the floor and a very strange smell coming from the open window … and the elderly man munching on an open bag of bread. I realised he lived in the car. He glared at me defiantly, but I said hallo anyway. I heard a curse come floating through the air as I closed the door of my car. I sighed and I wondered if he had any family or if his family knew where he was any more.

Early this morning I saw a young man looking desperately for cigarettes on the ground. His frustration grew as he found none. My heart broke because he actually looked like he needed some food, yet a cigarette was probably easier to find than food at that time of the morning. I had not seen him around town before. Was he one of our new homeless?

I have been talking to God a lot lately because I have been feeling a great sense of frustration. I watch as a something that God gave to me as a passion, passes a second Christmas without being completed. The sheer length of time that it takes to set up such a project, along with government paperwork and rigmarole, is frustrating and long winded. The last couple of months, I have been wading through rubbish bins, early hours in the morning, to find drink cans and bottles to take them to recycling outlets. This is the way I can raise money for the insurance when we do get started. I often feel the tears prickle as I see the hungry, lonely and vulnerable, knowing that I could have helped some. This journey has placed me in a pensive mood for a while, the sense of giving is so strong.

I find myself sitting back this year. I have not done anything for any Christmas celebrations. It seems the older I get, the less I like what Christmas has become. I find myself missing friends, longing for conversation, loving the time I have with family and talking to God.

I want people to be ok. You know, I want them to seek something that will give them hope and purpose for life.

Years ago, I watched a young mum desperately search through a discounted bin in a shop trying to find some toys. She found a broken one and hesitantly put it aside and then looked again. A baby, about 2 years old, started to cry in the stroller beside her and distressed she turned aside from her rummaging to rock him back to sleep. As she hushed her baby, I saw the tears form and she bit her lip hard. Suddenly she turned quickly and walked out of the shop.

This young woman was me, and it was a week before Christmas. I was a single mum with a 4-year-old and a two-year-old. With the money I had to last me 2 weeks, I had paid my fortnightly mortgage payment, bought food, paid my bills and I had enough money to either put fuel in the car or buy some presents to give to my children. I was in the shop trying to see if I could do both with the little money left.

The fortnight before I had spent about a week eating what was left over from my children’s plates to feed myself. I was sick of it… sick of wondering if my children would have enough. This did not make me desperate, it made me angry.

I knew I was angry. I could feel it. The thoughts in my head were eating me up on the inside. I needed above all of this anger to find a peace and be right with where I was. I was unhappy, discontent and miserable. To be poor was one thing, but to be poor inside was another thing. The anger was making me desperate and agitated. I knew that I needed to change my heart. I walking out of the shop because I was feeling sorry for myself, but it gave me time to think.

That night my eldest had an asthma attack so bad that he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. My youngest, while we were there, had another one of his nightly stomach migraines. He arched his back, screaming, while waving his arms and hitting everyone in pain. The nurse helped me hold him until the pain medication took hold. My eldest gasped at me from the bed that he was scared, I felt the same. I held him as he fell asleep, and sat weeping for a long while, while my youngest slept on my lap. My children’s lives were the most important thing to me.

Over the next few days, I found that God cleared my head and changed my thinking. The first thing was what happened inside. I had lost joy, peace and love… and most of all hope. Did I really believe that God gave His son to give me life? I could only be happy with my life if I accepted it warts and all. This could only happen if I forgave, because unforgiveness had crept into my heart and was destroying me.

From this act of forgiveness,  I not only received joy, peace and hope – but excitement too.

Christmas was not about toys or things. Children loved Christmas just because it is. It was me that wanted it to be something it should not be. So, with a change of heart and attitude, I did a toy swap with another single mum. I took some things that I no longer needed to a second-hand place and sold them. With that money I bought one nice gift each. I remembered that I had some wrapping paper somewhere that was red and I had enough to wrap the purchased and swapped gifts. I remembered that the last lot of birthday candles, I had purchased months ago, had some green and red candles in pack and set them up in candle holders to light Christmas Eve.

But the thing that made that Christmas different is this…. I was excited about celebrating what God had done, and why I even celebrated Christmas in the first place. Inside I was content and at peace. I didn’t need what I thought, I had what I needed.

As I said before – I want people to be ok. I want them to seek something that will give them heart and purpose. It is never about what we want, but what we need. For me that something was a change of heart, a new outlook on life and forgiving my past, and knowing I could go forward – whatever that life gave me.

People think that life is the momentary seconds in which they live.

No, we live with a past, pass through the present and live for our future.

People think that Christmas is about getting gifts and food.

No, it is about giving…especially the One who was given.

People think that they are to surrounded by lots of people and laughter.

No, this does not fill what you really need – love.

Hope and purpose are not based on what we think we should have or the things we have. So many people do not have family, and do not have money. If we think that, money and people and what feels good for a moment, is having hope and purpose for living. Discontentment breeds more discontentment. Unhappiness thrives without joy. Anger lashes out at others and bitterness is a poisonous fruit.

I thought about the three people from yesterday and today. One was happy with what she had, one was angry at a smile and lashing out, and one was looking for what he craved and not what he needed. Because of the journey I am in, wanted to give them more. This scripture came to mind…

Acts 3:2-6

Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

Money would have only given this beggar enough to live until he needed some more. Momentary things only fixes momentarily.

People often seem to need something, but the thing they are asking for is not what they need. People at Christmas all say they need more time and money. The cry of their heart is actually for peace, and someone who cares about them and loves them.  Yet, if we are compelled to give money to someone in any way, as we can do this – then do that.

Reading this story, I have thought of the times over the years when I have begged. I have often asked God to change something in my life, so that my life would be easier, what He gave me instead is the strength to go on. Then other times He sent someone who gave, but leaving me in the same situation still.

So, this Christmas…

Don’t ask God for less hardship, ask for strength. Don’t ask God for ease, ask for the things to make you stronger. Don’t ask for someone else to change, ask God to change you.

This Christmas, can you ask God to change you, so that you can change the world you live.

Not every life can be touched, but you can by all means touch the lives of some.

 

 

Daughter

There are times when I will be daddy’s girl, other times my Father’s daughter, then still other times the daughter of the King or daughter of God.

 

My mind whispered a lie to me that other day. Well, actually I still don’t know if it was Satan telling me lies, or my mind needing to be told the truth.

Now, before I start that part, let me share this…

I know that I am loved.

I know that I am loved by God.

I know that I am deeply loved by my Heavenly Father.

It wasn’t always like this.

God allowed me to go though some really dark places, about 10 years ago, before I realised that I really did not know the love that God has for me. When this single revelation reached my hungry soul, it was like I became a new person. Suddenly, I realised that the God of this universe, the Creator of mankind, the Almighty, all powerful, all knowing God who knew me by name even before I was born…He knew everything about me and loved me. He loved me not only for who I was then, but for what I would become.

Once this understanding reached me, I was also aware of the mercy, forgiveness and grace that God gives to all that call on His name. That, included me. This very fact, has not only became a revelation – it became my life. A revelation I started to live. I want to love Him too, to serve Him, know Him. I wanted to know everything about this God who loved so much and gave so much so that I could walk with Him.

I knew it, I read it, I learnt it and I experienced it. I learnt to know this great love even I the toughest times and the darkest valleys since then. I learnt to live by the faith that I had in this loving God.

So…

It came a shock to me as I was praying the other day and in the middle of the pray I said something like “…as your daughter…” and a tiny voice in my head, which I knew was not the Holy Spirit said, “who says you are His daughter?” Could that be Satan, or was it a doubt?

I stopped mid-sentence and said to myself, “You know you are His daughter.”

I felt so much resistance in from somewhere inside me and so much doubt that I was shocked. I was even more shocked that my brain was telling me two different things. My heart and my spirit told me that I was indeed His daughter, but my brain was saying no. Weird!

Odd occasionally I feel this resistant when I tell myself to forgive someone who has hurt me badly. I will often say to myself– “I need to forgive _______.”. Inside I feel the resistance. So, I persist until I can fully and without resistance thank God for that person and forgive them from my heart. It is also a similar resistance when my desires fight with my will over having another piece of chocolate. I am sharing this because it was the same feeling, so I knew what a fight was within my being.

I needed to think and pray about this some more, so I left my notes and bible on the table and headed off to work. While I was at work that day, I thought over what had happened that morning. Maybe I didn’t know this because it wasn’t in the bible? You know, like one of those things that Christians say because someone, somewhere thought that it sounded great. Later that day I went back to my bible to have a look. No, it was there.

“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Cor 6:18 NLT

“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16

So, then my mind tried to figure if I had ever used the words – “I am His daughter”.

The next day I found the PDF document of my book “He Whispers our Name”, and did a word search on the document. Shocked I realised that in 258 pages of the book, I had never referred to myself as a “Daughter of God” or “God’s daughter”. I had referred to other Christian women as daughters of God…but not me.

Why would I fight with the knowledge that I was indeed a daughter of God? Had I just never explored that concept – that facet of my relationship with God? Yes…that might be it. Did I think I was not worthy of that title?

Ahhhh… that was it.

Wow, after 38 years as a Christian I still had not come to that point. Both the worthiness and knowing this was something that had never considered. This facet of my relationship with God was something that was yet to explore. This sounded exciting. But first I needed to deal with the doubt/lie/resistance.

This time I said, “You are a daughter of God.” So I said it again, this time I added, “I am His and He is mine.”. Something lifted from inside me and my head cleared like I had been in a fog. But had I been in a fog?

I sighed and said to myself, “so, how long have you felt that way?”

This time the Holy Spirit answered, “You have never truly known this.”

Right where I was I wrote these notes…

“My Father has always been with me, a long as I could think back. I fully know that I am His loved and treasured child –loved unconditionally and protected by Him. God has many times whispered His love for me even when He needed me to be more obedient, or even when He needed to convict me of sin.

How long has my unbelieving mind been fighting my heart and my spirit? Had there been a battle, unknown by me, going on inside me?

How long had my unbelieving brain ignored His scripture and the Holy Spirit within me?”

I couldn’t believe that I had been a Christian for 38 years and I that I had never said the words “I am a daughter of God”.

So, I went through a list in my heart –

Redeemed? No resistance there…

Child of God? All good.

Believer? All good.

Treasured Possession? All good.

Loved? All good.

Forgiven? All good.

Friend of Christ Jesus? All good.

Co-heirs with Christ? All good.

Worthy? No, all good now.

That title is already given, but I had needed to take it up. It wasn’t about claiming a title or a name. It was mine long ago. I don’t need to work for it, or earn it. It is not for sale and it only comes with one price. The death of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross for my sin. It was added to me because I believe.

Daughter of God. Interesting….

If I am my father’s daughter, I am also within His sphere of protection, cared for and cherished. This is a concept that I already knew and experienced. But is it always my way, all to benefit me. This new facet to my relationship with God is given freely, but yet with responsibility. Not only is it to be in the circle of His fatherly arms, and to bounce on His knee or sit at His feet, but also to behave as one fit to be His daughter.

I have always understood and known that I was His child. Yet this somehow seems almost to have a sterile concept in more vague terms. Yet to be His daughter has a clear definition of relationship. A bit like when I say I have two children, and then I say I have two sons. It defines the relationship a bit more.

There are times when I will be daddy’s girl, other times my Father’s daughter, then still other times the daughter of the King or daughter of God. Each one explores the relationship I have with God already, yet I didn’t know this. By knowing I walk as this comprehending my relationship with the One True and Only God – Almighty God. Who set out from the very beginning of time, and ability to walk, live and have a close relationship with Him. That He could called us sons and daughters.

Daughter of God. That is an interesting concept. Yes, I love how God works. I am sure I will write on this again. In the meantime, I can put my hand into the hand of my God and allow Him to father me.

Over the next few days God has continued to show me some things about my hesitation to accept what He has already given. It is not about where I am or who I am. God is about my growth – this will grow me. It is about taking new steps forward that God wants me to take. Once again God is teaching me a new concept of the scripture Isaiah 30:21 (NLT) –

“Your own ears will hear him.

Right behind you a voice will say,

“This is the way you should go,”

whether to the right or to the left.”

 

Editors note: I hesitated to place this up on my blog as this is intensely personal to me. For about 4 weeks I have had this sitting, written, but unable to share it. I also rang a pastor friend of mine to talk to him about it. When he picked up the phone, I couldn’t tell him and talked about something else instead. The more it sat on my computer, the more I knew I was supposed to share this. I hope that you are blessed by my ponderings. Ruth

 

Celebrate

My celebrations come from the heart today. I celebrate, grey hairs, laugh lines, a certain amount of pain in my joints and lessons well learnt…. and I celebrate wisdom. Wisdom is a good thing. It is because of wisdom that I know to stay close to my God and to learn from the past.

 

Today I celebrate my 50th birthday with joy and peace in my heart. I am so thankful for the years God has given me on this earth.

As a baby I was born too early and as a premature baby, my introduction to this life was one of fighting to stay well. 10 months later I contracted Golden Staph in my lungs, again I fought for life. It was the prayers of a young Pentecostal minister who came and prayed for me that saw me go home a few days later. God fought for me too.

I realized this week that I can celebrate “the fight”. I have finally figured out that I actually enjoy the fight. I am not talking about arguments and confrontation – I run from them. I enjoy taking on the battles in life with God by my side. Not every fight has been won, but every fight has won in my heart. Every fight has been a point of growth in me as a person, even the losses. Today I celebrate the “fight”.

I also celebrate today my God. He has been everything to me. I cannot go through this life without Him. As my Father, Saviour, Friend, Counselor, Protector, Guide and Provider, He has been with me through not only the darkest deepest valleys but has climbed to the mountaintops too. I have seen Him to be true, faithful and loving.

“He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” S of S 2:4 (NASB)

My family are my next celebration. I have a husband who loves me and supports me in all my endeavours. He has been with me through thick and thin and sees me for who I really am. I am blessed with two young men who I am privileged to be able to call my sons. They are amazing young men who enrich my life and fill it with joy (and the need for patience). I have a sister, mother, and two brothers – they are courageous people with stories to tell of survival. I could tell you of aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, all of which have placed something into my life, even if just a great memory that brings joy. I can celebrate these people I call my family.

Finally, I celebrate my closest friends. These women are the best of women. I love all of them. They range from a friendship of 32 years to 10 months. They are incredible, beautiful, courageous, strong, encouraging friends – an amazing pride of Lionesses. Their feet hit the floor every morning and they are conquering their world. I am blessed to have these women in my life. Every single one of them are so very different yet so alike. I looked around the table of those who could come to my party and I also saw those who could not come. Each and every one of these women have allow me to be my best. Sometimes life and distance gets in the way of having time together, but that is ok too. At the moment I am exploring the friendships of three other women who fascinate me and inspire me. I meet with two of them today and look forward to finding treasures yet unknown. I also meet with my newest beautiful friend who is walking with grief hand in hand. She is yet to know how beautiful and strong she is. She too is surrounded by Lioness friends who are there for her, I see this and feel blessed.

My celebrations come from the heart today. I celebrate, grey hairs, laugh lines, a certain amount of pain in my joints and lessons well learnt…. and I celebrate wisdom. Wisdom is a good thing. It is because of wisdom that I know to stay close to my God and to learn from the past.

I think God for all of this. I celebrate my life so far and laugh at the days to come (Prov 31:25b NIV)

 

 

Life knocking at your door

Life will intrude on your pain. The phone will keep ringing, and people will bang on your door…. even we don’t have the ability to lift up our head.

 

Life sometimes gets in the way of what you are going though.

I often find that God speaks to me in ways that are hard to see at the time, only to go “ahhh” when He shows me. Other times it is as clear and audible as someone standing in front of you. Today was the former.

I was laying in bed. I had just woken from a sleep. Yes…in the middle of the day, I was sleeping.

The past year has taken its toll on me. The year was going to be busy anyway, I knew that. I had taken on a lot of projects this year. I won’t bore you with the details, but just to say that the part-time work became more and I took on some other things that became bigger than first expected. On top of this I injured my back badly and needed very strong painkillers just to walk. With football season just finished and my weekend now back to where I could get some other things done, I found myself one night shaking from exhaustion and I watched as the world spun crazily time and time again. I clung to the side of the kitchen bench and prayed for strength. I knew that my body was telling me to rest. I pulled out of a major volunteer job that I had promised to help with and took a deep breath as the rest of the things that need doing could just wait for later.

For the past week and a half, I have rested and slept… a lot.

Today I was in pain, still tired, and a little emotional about some things that are going on that are out of my control. A picture comes to mind as I lay on the bed, half asleep. It was the sight of yellow leaves on one of my patio pot plants.

My Blueberry bush has yellow leaves, it is lacking something in the soil. To add to this, my old dog had scratched the dirt out of the pot. Its branches are full of flowers and I have not given it any fertilise since last year, and it is now too small for the pot it is in.

I winced and closed my eyes as I remembered that I had noticed, a few weeks back, that another pot outside my house that was starting to crack. It was cracking because there are too many of the same plant in the one pot. They are overflowing, and need to be separated and transplanted into new pots. The dozen or so plants on my front patio needed some moisture and some fertiliser, because they look neglected and sick.

Suddenly my whole front yard came to mind and I groaned. The winter had taken its toll on the front lawn, it was full of weeds and there was hardly any grass left after the frost killed it time and time again.

Spring had decided to come whether I wanted it to come or not. I wanted to curl up and lock my door. I wanted life to go away. I wanted to be well, with energy and no pain. But no, that was not the case. I buried my head in the pillow and wished for life to stop so I could take some “time out”. Then, I remembered the sick and pitiful looking plants at the front of my house, and I sensed that the Lord was going to show me something.

He did.

I headed out to the front of my house armed only with the need to move. I have serious concerns that there will be anything left of the plants afterwards, because I have the innate ability to kill even the hardiest of plants with my “loving touch”. After 5 hours work I will now watch with concern to see if they survive. I am in so much pain tonight I can’t move too much. I have to get dinner ready and life still screams at me… and I yet the Lord has me writing this – ‘cause someone needs to hear it.

There is a story unfolding in the life of someone very close to me and this is about her… and for some reason… someone else.

About 2 months back this lovely lady lost her eldest son in tragic circumstances. I have been one of the ones God has asked to journey with her, so I know her well. This story is not about me, it is about her. She will read this story and know why God needed to do this today.

Three days ago, she spoke about how someone wanted her to get on with life. She felt the need to inform me that she should just suck it up and move on. I told her off…gently, of course. I told her that she was – a grief-stricken mother; a broken-hearted woman desperately trying to stop the tears from flowing. I was angry that she felt the need to find a way to look past her circumstances and be something that she was not…and I told her so. You cannot be anything more than what you are.

She has been deeply upset by life intruding on her grief. She is conscious of the pain that has her housebound and almost physically bent. She is aware of the cracks that are showing her life. Spring is intruding on her winter. She is not over the winter, she does not want spring to be here.

For anyone who has lost a child, there is a special kind of grief that comes with this loss. No one should lose a child…no one. I am told that those who lose a child grieve for long and struggle with the need to want to go on with life.

I have never personally had this experience, and so I can only go on what God has given to me as I watch my friend grieve. God keeps giving me compassion and insight. Like today.

Now please understand me – my little problems are nothing like what she is going through. But God often speaks to me in a way that I can explain to others.

Life will intrude on your pain. The phone will keep ringing, and people will bang on your door. Washing still needs to be done and the children still need to be fed. Our close family members (husband and children) will demand our attention even we don’t have the ability to lift up our head.

Most days my beautiful friend is too broken to exit from her room, yet life is demanding that she move. I sense that she resents this.

God did not ask me today to do everything. My house is still in need of a good clean, I need to get our tax done for the accountant. I have paperwork littering my desk and I am sure my editor will be wondering if my scheduled article will be ready in time. My winter sheets and blankets are in a pile ready to be washed and put away, and I need to dust the house.

He got me to do something that would also lift me up. My mind was clogged and unable to write much of sense. I tried numerous times over the past few weeks to get my brain to produce words for anything. My brain was frozen.

For some reason what God asked me to do brought clarity, and stopped my mind from looking at all the other stuff. It has also helped me find the words that I struggled with the other day, so these words are for her –

My Beautiful friend,

Life seems too big for you right now, but don’t be scared. You cannot do everything that you see in front of you now. Don’t try either.

Your beautiful son is not here and nothing is going to bring him back. I know you want to turn back time and stop the pain from occurring. I am so very sorry that the help I give does not lessen in any way the pain you feel. I want to take away your pain, but I can’t.

God has placed in your life some special women who will are trying their hardest with help you, but they can only help you so much. God is placing some things in front of you right now that need your attention, because whether you like it or not the world will not stop for you. I am sorry that it won’t, and I know you need more time.

God will help you see what those things are and I know you watch with concern that you might actually only have the ability to destroy rather than to fix. You have lost faith in yourself and you doubt the encouragement that God and others bring to you. You are exhausted and sick and you feel lifeless and limp. The things that used to bring you joy are like a sword in your heart now.

God never asks us to do everything, just what He places in front of us.

Please don’t expect too much of yourself, you are not capable of anything too much at the moment. You are very hard on yourself – God is not. He gets you, He understands and knows you. What others think you need to do, is not what need to be done.

I know this will hurt you to do this, but you need to do it. This is not only an encouragement but a warning. I am sorry I have to say this.

Yes, what you are looking at may survive without you involved. But “it” needs you. Strength comes when you step forward. Trust God to give you what you need to do, and He will help you with your pain after.

I am so sorry I cannot take this away from you, my beautiful friend. I am sorry I cannot lessen your pain. I am here and I am standing with you.

Love you.

 Normally God would just give this to me, and I would only speak to the one person that needs to hear it. This time He hasn’t. Which means that there is someone else that needs to hear this too. For some reason it is about someone with a broken dream or life. You are shut away from life and wanting life to end.

I don’t know your pain, I don’t know what it is that you are going through. God has not left your side, He is waiting for you to draw close to Him. Don’t worry about the feelings, they are affected by what you are going though. Just trust God to help you and heal you.

Life will not stop. Sometimes it will pound at your front door. It will not let you rest or stop. But it will give you the ability to move.

I am reading my way through Psalms at the moment in my time with God. I am up to psalm 27 and 28. Verses 7, 8 and 14 have been on my heart all day. Take some time to read them and I will pray for you.

Psalm 28:6-7a –
“Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” (NIV)

Editors note: I am to put this up quickly and I will probably read it tomorrow and see all the grammar and spelling mistakes. I hope you will look past this and know that this is important. Be blessed.

Do not give way to fear.

The uncontrollable and unforeseeable has always challenges the hearts of a woman. We long for the love, protection and security of the known. We want gathered to us – the marriage partners we love, the children we have borne, the friends we have grown to love, and the loved ones we surround ourselves with. On top of this we want the walls of homes to stay around us and the country we live in to remain a place of safety.

 

 

I have been hesitant to write this blog. I preferred the one that was on my heart last week. It was easy, encouraging, more….uplifting.

Last week the bible study I lead was exploring the faith of Sarah – wife of Abraham. The main message was “do not give in to fear, no matter what you face.”

Easy. Simple. Been there, done that. Yep, I have seen, conquered and overcome.

Now, here me clearly as I say this. I do not think for any moment that I have arrived in any great area of faith in God. In fact, I would say that I am “in training”. God has been slowly training me for many years and I would say also that I am steadily growing in faith.

Now back to Sarah…

Sarah, from what was written in the bible was a woman who was no wilting violet. She left her home town to move to an unknown land with her husband. She was barren – which in those days was like a really big problem and she was kind of on the outer when it came to acceptance in society. Then twice she was told by her husband to say that she was his sister, so that he would not get killed. The reason for this was that she was beautiful. So beautiful that at 90 years of age she was taken into a king’s harem.

The study referred to a scripture in 1 Peter 3:6b that says this – “do what is right and do not give way to fear.” (Because I need to talk about one thing in this blog, I am not quoting the whole verse. But I will keep it in context anyway.)

The main message I got out of the study was this, no matter what happens, or who is in control of your life, or what ever is out of control in your life – there is a place of peace in not allowing the fear to run your heart and emotions. Note that Peter did not say “don’t have fear” he simply says “don’t give way to fear”.

The whole scripture of I Peter 3:5-6 is one that I struggle with a lot. As a former abused wife, I struggled with with this verse. Especially since I have heard it time and time again without the clarification of other scriptures to put with it. But I always understood and comprehended the concept of not “give away to fear”. I lived it and breathed it for many years. And while I now do not live in the same fear, I have faced many fears since with the same understanding – God sees and fixes. Even if He doesn’t fix it, I can still trust Him to bring me through and give me wisdom in my decisions.

The one thing I wanted to get through to my bible study ladies was that no matter what, don’t give into the fear that you feel. It takes away your ability to trust, to live with a sense of peace and to operate without being run by the fear that threatens to take over. This was the message I want to reach them with.

When I left the bible study, I felt that I had not reached them and somewhere it had not touched my inner person either. I pondered this as I drove home. Five minutes after reaching my house God answered my pondering.

A situation that had been simmering in a particular lady’s life for months came to an eruption from her husband. This person exploded and said some things that were very hard to take. She was stunned, hurt, and broken-hearted. Her husband said to her that she was stupid, moronic and dumb. This person was angry and resentful and there was nothing she could do about it. He accused her of many things, things that were no where near the truth. The anger that came out of his mouth was vicious and callous. She was scared by what she saw in him and had no idea how to deal with the situation.

After he walked out, she sat crying. While assessing the situation with her, the Lord spoke clearly, “….do not give way to fear…”. My own experience of what I have gone through before came to the fore and I was able to rely on first hand account of what I had known of the faith I had learnt before.

The message that I was struggling to share could now be the testimony of hope. Due to the need for her to say anonymous, this is all I will share about her because I can draw on my own past experience to tell the story.

I have spent all my life with people telling me that I was not worth anything. That my thoughts, words, actions and life were nothing. I grew up being told by my father that I was stupid, my first marriage was the same. I spent 36 years being told that I was stupid and dumb.

“…do not give way to fear….”

Being brought back to your deepest insecurities and pain cut deeper for some of us. It sucks us into a vortex of hurt and misery. We fear that they are correct. We fear that we are pretending that we are intelligent. We fear so much and hurt so much that we crawl back inside ourselves, as a reaction to our own fears.

“….do not give way to fear…”

We wanted to crawl away and acknowledge their correct assessment of our character and person. We want to acknowledge their summery of our lack of brains and it’s lack of intelligence. Surely we are not worth the space on this planet.

“…do not give way to fear…”

Like Sarah, We sit awaiting our fate and praying for God’s rescue. The time he rescued us before should serve to remind us of His love for us, but we remember our terror then.

“…do not give way to fear…”

These words echoed in my mind for the rest of the evening while my husband and children walked around me, not knowing that inside was a turmoil and pain I felt for this person. They echoed during the night when I woke, and they echoed time and time again the next day as I fought the fear and dread of times past. God was taking me through my past and reminding me of what He means when we can rely on Him for our protection and help.

God spoke so many times over the next few days to this lady. The peace that came over her as God spoke was something that is indescribable. Despite the pain and turmoil, there was the sense that God was all over the situation. What I found was that God was all over me too as I was able to bring my past to the present as a victory already won.

“….do not give way to fear…”

For many years I have experience God doing just what He has done to this lady this week. He speaks to your mind and your heart and stops you freefalling into the deep canyon of despair and doubt.

Fear causes us to react in desperation and hopelessness. It rides a giddy wave of ups and downs. It rips at your very being and drags you down to the lowest of lows. Once you give in, it tightens its grip and laughs at your attempts to get free. But God has this way of reaching out, even through that words of a bible study hours earlier and you hang on to the arm of Almighty God.

Words spoken by others cause you to wonder if everyone feels the same about you, and you pull back not wanting to hear their words.

I have been watching as a number of people lately, including a Pastor, tear at me with unkind words and judgments. They have called me names and spread rumours and lies about me. I am not reacting, but I am hurting. Some are trying to change who I am, by saying who they think I am. I fear that they are correct. The fear is wanting to run my life and my mind. God knows differently.

“….do not give way to fear…”

The more I acknowledge that God is faithful, the more I know God has even this one. These incidents are beyond me, but not beyond God. By not giving way to the fear inside and the condemnation from the outside, I also acknowledge that my faith is not in myself, but in God who called me and made me who I am.

“….do not give way to fear…”

Other people are challenging my ministry and God’s call on my life. I know it was God who called me, I know what He has for me to do. He then confirmed it by telling my husband before he asked me to marry him. I have people who are making it their business to speak into my life, whether I want it or not. This does not bother me. I will do what God wants me to do, how He wants me to do it, and when He chooses. He is all over that one too.

“….do not give way to fear…”

At the moment there are situations that sit unresolved, and I am waiting for the wisdom I need to speak or to walk away from these people. This lady needs to make decisions not based on fears but based on the confidence that God is with her in whatever decision she makes. Fear will keep her there and break her apart.

Over the past years of living my life for God and trusting in Him, is the understanding that God creates from chaos. From the very beginning He created. My God is so big that He is the God of Creation, therefor I can trust Him. He can handle my life.

Years ago, the same situation that this lady is going through, would have turned her into a mess of anxiety, confusion and fear for weeks. This time due to God’s words, she is still strong. One day I pray for the ability to grow in faith, no matter where her life leads.

I am aware that there are beautiful women that I in my circle of friends and acquaintances who have situation beyond their control. I stand with them in prayer and in person as they face the fears and wade through the murky situations that surround them. My prayer for them and myself is that in the midst of the storms that they will find a peace that comes from trusting in the God who is Creator, Almighty God and Father, He made them and knew the circumstance before it happened. Our failings are not a surprise to Him, neither are our successes.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a –

failing or faltering marriage

an abusive husband,

a wayward or estranged adult child,

the loss of a business,

a ruined reputation by gossip,

a past or present marred by our own mistakes and choices,

the death of a child,

illness and disease…

 

we have a God who sees our heart cry, our tears, our pain and allows us to fall sobbing in His arms while we watch as our world’s fall apart. He cannot and will not override the free will of another person, but He will do all He can to bring the outcome we pray for.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 NKJV

When people speak words of death and anger, it is their intention to bring us to the point of pain. God speaks life, His words build us up while challenging us to be everything we can be. His intentions for us are for good and His motive for us pure.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13 NIV

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” Deut 30:19-20 NIV

We have parents, friends, former spouses, church members, leaders in the church, siblings, workmates, bosses….in fact, we have many people who open their mouths and speak words that lack in care, insight and wisdom. This also must not be forgotten – that we ourselves are guilt of the same. Too many times words come out and we cannot take them back. They hang on someone’s head like a heavy weight and load them up with unnecessary burdens.

God can fix our hearts and our bodies, He is fully trustworthy and able to believed. Until you comprehend that God can do the unbelievable, our fear will run or life.

I have people who have scars, deep scars, after what they have been through in this life. I cannot answer those questions, but I can point to my testimony and I can refer them to people in the bible.   Will our wounds eventually reveal themselves as the marks of God’s goodness and grace.

The uncontrollable and unforeseeable has always challenges the hearts of a woman. We long for the love, protection and security of the known. We want gathered to us – the marriage partners we love, the children we have borne, the friends we have grown to love, and the loved ones we surround ourselves with. On top of this we want the walls of homes to stay around us and the country we live in to remain a place of safety.  This does not always happen.

What needs to remain is the peace in our soul, because this is ultimately the only thing we are in charge of. When our soul (that is, our mind will and emotions) become damaged, God even promises to restore this. Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul..”

My prayer for this lady and for the women of this world is this –

I pray for peace to your hearts and minds as you face uncertain days. That God will give you strength and wisdom through His Spirit and boldness in your inner being.

I pray that God will raise you up, scars and all, to fight for your marriages, your family, your friends and especially for your children.

I pray that you will speak words that build others up, encourage others and that your words will have a life long effect on those within your circle of influence and care.

I pray that your emotions will settle and that fear will be placed aside.

And finally that you will know your God to not only be your loving Father, but your Jehovah Shalom – your peace and you will not give way to fear.

 

Be blessed.

 

 

 

 

Finding treasures

 

 

Have you ever spent time looking at the ground? It is interesting what you see and notice. Have you ever looked at the ground when it is dark?

My two teenage boys have an early morning job that starts when it is still dark.  They are employed for a small amount of time by a company that cleans a local car park and toilet block. Their job is to pick up rubbish, blower vac the car park and take rubbish bins out. It is not the nicest of jobs to have, but it is teaching them some great lessons.

It has been a fantastic time to remind them that everyone needs to start somewhere until they get where they want to in life. They have also learnt how dirty people can be, and how thoughtless people can be. They are learning that some habits that people have, not only  cause addictions, but cause those people to not care about others or the environment that other have to live in.

Every morning the boys have to pick up hundreds of cigarette butts, lolly wrappers, alcohol bottles and cans, soft drink cans and takeaways food containers.

There job, hopefully, will teach them to enjoy the product of a finished job. The “thanks boys” from their boss, and the grateful thanks from the shop tenants, should also help them understand that when a good job is done, it is sometimes noticed by others.

There is one other important lesson that they are learning – treat people nicely no matter what someone does for a living. I teach my children to be wary of strangers, but to be polite and say hallo. I do the same. People are sometimes so rude and look away, not respond, or just stare at us. Just because we are picking up rubbish for a job does not mean we are ignorant or lower than them to be treated as such.

It is my job as a mum to wake them when they are tired, prompt them when they don’t want to get up, and drive them back and forth to the job. It is my job to make sure the environment is safe and that they are doing the job they are paid for. I also use the opportunity to teach them small things that they have no idea that they are being taught. I also help them get started – my eldest starts up the Blower soon after arriving so my younger son has to get ahead of him in picking up the rubbish. I help him get started, by putting on some gloves and picking up rubbish too.

There is something else that lies on the ground unseen by many.

Coins. Yes. Money. Often by picking up rubbish you see the 5 and 10 cents pieces left by others. Odd occasionally, you find a real treasure like a $5 note.

Most mornings you can collect about 50 cents worth of coin. But here is the thing – you have to pick up rubbish to see it and, because it is still dark, you can almost walk past the money on the ground. The silver coin is nearly the same colour as the asphalt, and the $5 note is often caught up in the garden or under rubbish.

While picking up rubbish this morning, the Lord reminded me of a lesson He taught me a few days before. It was after I had bent down to pick up some cigarette butts that my youngest had missed, and something caught my eye. I bent a little closer and realised that it was perfectly round. I picked it up and it was a 5 cent piece. It was tarnished, slightly damaged but it was money. I walked over and gave it to my son.

As I handed it to him, he made a comment about it being too dark these days to see the money, but I noticed he was taking more attention to his job. The Holy Spirit spoke into my heart. “Sometimes people cant see because it is too dark.” As I walked the final part of the car park with my son, I mulled over what I had been given. Too true, sometimes life, circumstances, ill health, tragedies, mental and emotional problems, and exhaustion, stop us from seeing treasures and (sometimes) rubbish that they need to see, take note of, and remove.

At the moment I have had quite a number of ladies who have reached out to me through social media, email and through my blogs. They are battlers – struggling with life, abuse, depression and illnesses. My job is not to tell them what to do or give them advice – I am not a doctor, lawyer or professional anything. My job is to be there and to understand, to prompt them, encourage them, point them towards a professional, and sometimes, help them pick up rubbish and show them the treasure they cannot see.

Just like I did in not lecture my son for missing the cigarette butts and money, there are people who do not need the lecture from others. Not only do they need help to see treasures, sometimes they need help seeing the rubbish too. A lecture will do no good as they are doing the best they can, however encouragement can bring a better eyesight. Right now, each one of those ladies are being lectured to and sometimes treated as inferior. Recently, one lady wrote this – “don’t tell me to pray and have faith”. Some people cannot see in the dark.

See, sometime the world has been a dark place to live for a long time. As Christians they go to other Christians for help. They often get told to pray, put on praise music, thank God for their life and to have faith – they get treated as if it just easy to get up and switch on a light. As if their human will is able and that their eyes can see in the dark.

It is true that many people need some light – they need a torch …or maybe a lamp or a light for their path. I can strike a match to encourage them for a moment, but they will soon need more then that. They will need the Son to rise and shine once again into their very being. Until then they need those of us not effected by the dark to hold their hand and help them.

I was in that dark place for 18 months too once. I, my mind, will and emotions, could not see the treasures that lay around for me to gather, I could not see the rubbish. I felt the rubbish. It was tripping me over and I could sense it around my feet but didn’t know what to do. But the treasure was hidden. I couldn’t see my life with anything precious within it. But God gave me the ability to see and hold onto something that helped me hang on.

You see, in my darkest moment it was a homeless man who helped me to see a treasure. He told me that he was happy to live no matter what tomorrow would bring. He had nothing and nowhere to go. But he was ok with living. It was from this moment that I was given a tiny piece of treasure that night which I gripped for 18 months.

Three months after this, I reached up a took a hold of God’s hand and He held me until I could see again. It was a simple prayer that said to the God, I didn’t know was listening, that I would not give up no matter how hard life would get. For some reason I knew He heard.

It was the hardest thing that I had ever done – taken the hand of a God that I hardly knew and walked around with no feelings to help. The only feeling I had, wanted me to give up and I knew I couldn’t trust them. Amongst the rubbish I found faith, which was worth more than I could ever imagine. It would be the thing that held me for years to come.

Many people told that I just needed be richer, cleaner and that I needed to stay on my feet. They told me to read the bible, listen to Christian music, that I need to have more faith. The worst advice I received was this – “get over yourself”. The greatest thing I needed was hope and faith. I wanted it. There was treasure there on the ground for me to find and take a hold of, but I could not see.

The faith that I thought that I didn’t have, was there in abundance. I didn’t realise that the more I hung on, the greater my faith. In hanging on to God, He was filling my pockets with treasure for me to have later on.

That this scripture – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

One bible commentary put it like this – “the soul thereby seeing what the eye cannot see”.

So, what can you then say to someone whose soul cannot see either? Do we all have some spark of hope deep within us? Is it just that we need someone to help us find and acknowledge that hope, no matter how small? Do you realise that sometimes people need someone to walk through the darkness with them?

There will always be someone is who will help you to seek the treasure among the rubbish and in the dark, but it might be the least likely person or it might be a pet. Somewhere you need to promise yourself to hang on and wait for your eyes to see again. Find people to help you – the right people.

In the meantime, this is my letter to you –

Dear Damaged and Hurting One in the darkness,

I have this treasure given by God to give you. I know you cannot see but I found this while I was walking around in the dark. This treasure is called “hang in there” or “perseverance”. Make a promise to yourself that you will never listen to the words that come from the dark places of your mind and heart. Make a vow to yourself that you will live, no matter what.

This is the treasure that will see you through until you find hope. The hope you find will build in you and will grow.

When you feel no one else cares, there is a God who cares. His knows you like no other and will be there even when you don’t feel Him. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for things to help you through. But don’t expect people to be that answer. People are often only able to see their own life. Allow perseverance to reach out to God and use it to hang on Him.

I cannot promise you anything other than this – Keep looking for treasure in your life and look for the treasure “contentment”. This is the treasure that sees everything differently, it settles into your heart like nothing else. Keep contentment and do not trade it for anything.

Don’t allow the darkness to keep these treasures hidden from you. Don’t allow the rubbish to be the only thing you pick up. Don’t hang onto the rubbish, it is not worth it’s weight.

There are others who have won this battle and now walk thru the darkness with God’s light in front of them, helping those who are lost in the black.

From your fellow Treasure Seeker.

 

Psalm 50:15 – “Call on me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor me.”