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.