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)

 

 

Listening to the Sounds of Silence

 

 

Last night, just after our night mealtime was over, we had a power blackout. When this occurred there was no television going, the boys were in their rooms quietly…um…maybe studying? We went from having lights, to no lights. Wherever you were in the house, is where you stayed until your eyes grew accustom to the darkness around you. The first sense that kicks in to gear is hearing, because listening will allow you to stay safe until you can see again.

In our house the sudden darkness was followed by shocked exclamations coming from my teenagers’ bedrooms. There was some bumping into furniture and they came out, like bewildered little children, to ask me what I knew about the situation and when it would be fixed. They looked warily at me when I burst out laughing. I was, at the time, lighting two candles that I keep on the kitchen cupboard.

“I don’t know and… I don’t know” I said trying to contain my mirth.

“Why are you laughing mum?” my youngest inquired

“Because I know as much as you do. However, we first need to make sure it isn’t just the safety switch on our house. It is easy to see if the neighbourhood has the same blackout, just look at the streetlights outside.”

There was more bumping and exclamations before they returned with the verdict. It was bigger than just our house, the whole street was black. So, they gathered in my kitchen and asked me what they should do. I helpfully suggested that there was dishes to wash and dry… to which they disappeared back to their dark rooms. (yes, I am amused)

I didn’t really do the dishes either. I retreated to my room to lay on the bed in the dark. Suddenly I heard something, and I turned my ear towards the sound. I was surprised to hear baby chicks in the tree outside my closed bedroom window. I listened to their little chirps and the excitement in their chirps as obviously their parent joined them. Then the chirping became more muffled and less excited.

It was so very quiet. Even though our house had not been noisy before the blackout, it was almost deathly quiet now. You could hear yourself breathing. Soon I heard quiet footsteps of one teenager and the bed sunk under the weight of a body. My youngest lay quietly beside me. Soon more footsteps and my eldest joined me. I could hear them breathe. One had a slight wheeze as he obviously needed to take some asthma medication. I suggest he do this. In the dark I heard some more footsteps and I heard my husband come to a stop at the end of the bed. My two boys scampered off the bed and I heard them walk through the house.

My husband came a lay down beside me in the dark and  I put my head onto his chest. I could hear his heart beat. I was steady and strong. Suddenly the lights came back on, my husband removed himself back to his computer and I sighed and went to do the dishes.

This morning I found myself pondering the quiet that had come over our house with the blackout. So quiet that I could hear baby birds chirping. So quiet that I could hear my husband’s heartbeat, or my child breathing.

It was like the Lord had just put together some thoughts that had been in my mind for a while. For the past few weeks I have been reading Isaiah 28-35. I have felt saddened by the way they were treating the God who had redeemed them. The other morning, I found a scripture that I had read over so many times, but it had never been brought to my attention. Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NIV)

I sensed a clarity as I focused on what God desires of His children. He wants them to stop and listen… and obey.

Sometimes, the only way people will listen is to have all other noise stopped. Then it is like they look up from what they were doing and say, “oh… hallo God”. It becomes a shock to them to know that God is there at all.

Earlier on in Chapter 30 of Isaiah, the Lord is saying that His people are rebellious children who are unwilling to listen. (v9) This was not just being busy or having too much noise, this was hearing and refusing to listen.  They were asking Isaiah to stop speaking about God like it was too confrontive for them. Are we ever like that?

The ability to stop and listen sometimes is hard through the noise of life, but I believe that at least once a day we should be quiet and ask God to speak to our hearts. In this, we should keep in mind that sometimes it is not that we are busy or that the noise of life is so bad, it is just that we do not want to listen.

God wants us to hear Him. How can he speak to His children if they are too busy, too noisy, too much wanting to do their own thing?

If you desire God and everything that God has for you, then you must be wanting to hear… and wanting what God has planned.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jerimiah 29:11 NLT

Do you love that verse? I do. I love to know that God has plans for my life. I want God to have plans for my life. Do you?

To know the plans, you must listen.

For those plans to come to fruition, we must listen and obey.

 

Be blessed.

My children. His children.

My children are on school holidays at the moment. I love school holidays!! No lunches to prepare, no early mornings, no homework. There is also no set routine…oops… I just said the one thing that I don’t like about school holidays… oh… and when my children are bored.

In Australia, we have six weeks over the Christmas period that they have off from school. By week 3, which is just after New Year, the boys are at each other’s throat and driving me up the wall!!

When they tell me they are bored, I give them a job to do. They don’t like that.

My boys hate chores.

They don’t like mowing the lawn, helping with the dishes and cleaning their room etc. But if they want to live in my house, they must be part of a family that works, plays and eats together.

My eldest thinks he is very funny, apparently. (I think he is hilarious, but he isn’t to know that!!) Recently a conversation with him went like this –

 

Son:       Where are my socks, Mum?

Me:        In the basket of clothes that is sitting on the table waiting for you to take them in to your room.

Son:       (standing in front of me) Where??

Me:        You walked right past it (sarcasm dripping) You know.. it bit you on the butt as you walked by!!

Son:       (returning to the table) Oh… I just need the socks..

Me:        (voice now raised) Take the basket of clothes and put them away!!!

Son:       No it is all good. Thanks mum for the socks.

Me:        (now heading for the table) Don’t you dare…

(Rounded the corner to see an empty table and a cheeky teenager heading to the room with his basket of clothes)

Son:       Got Ya!!!

Seriously… doesn’t he know that irritating his mother is bad for his health. My youngest is no better, he watches his elder brother with amusement and brings his own cheeky moments that irritate me and cause me to wonder if I could skip these years of parenting and go straight to when they have teenagers themselves. (sigh)

They are great young men… really they are. They also teach me that God is a wonderful parent and much better then me.

Yet this question came to me this week – If God is a great parent, an Awesome Father and a Just judge, why do His children go so wild?

Think about it.

God is everything that a Father should be, yet we are still rebellious and wayward.

I have often had people come up and gossip about another person with something like this – “you know such and so, their son/daughter is really wild. They think that they are so high and mighty!”

Wow… you don’t want to know what my thoughts are at that moment!! Apart from the fact that the person is gossiping, they have not considered this question – If God is the perfect Father, why do his children sometimes turn out so bad? Did it every occur to someone that it is actually about the child and not the parent?

Yes, sometimes it is our parenting and our fault that our children are like they are, remember that we are not perfect and we make mistakes and make bad decisions too. But this is also a fact – You cannot make someone good, only God can do that. You cannot override a person free will. If someone makes bad decisions there is very little you can do about it once a child hits a certain age, because it is their decision.

I suppose the next question someone should ask is this – Do you really consider that God is your Father? How then should you act?

My youngest one day said to me, “You are not a girl, mummy. You are a mummy”. (I think that he was about 5 years old at the time) I love the fact that my boys are still of the age where they are fully and firmly aware that I am mum. They best respect me too!!

It is not only that we say He is Father, but that we live it. My children need not only to call me mum, but to carry it out in their actions.

My children need to know that I cannot be their best friend. They need me as their mum. Yes, I can have a friendship with them. They know that I am their soft place to fall. They can confide in me and converse with me on any subject. But I am first and formost their mum.

God too needs us to recognise not only that He is God, but that He is Father. He cannot be our bestest friend. While there is an ability for Him to befriend us, He is ultimately God and Father.

I love the fact that my relationship with my children causes me to look at my relationship with my God. I love how God uses my relationship with my children to teach me.

God is a good Father. His love for us is complete. He waits for His children to not only acknowledge His fathership but also allow Him to be that parent.

Ask God about this. Think about this. Look at the scriptures. God has every good quality that is needed to Father us well.

 

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

 

Be blessed.

 

 

Don’t take your eyes off what God is doing.

 

It is holiday time and my house has been taken over by teen and preteen boys! Argh!! It sure makes life interesting and the cupboards empty.

To get a moments peace to write is very hard. So…this blog is going to be very short this week, and you will have to forgive the grammer and spelling errors!

Some days I feel like I am everything to everyone. Yesterday afternoon I was fixing the wheels on my son’s scooter, as his new wheels and bearings had arrived in the mail. I had to do a lot of repair work because after assembly, the wheel bearings were coming out the “watcha-ma-call-it” and the wheel was scraping the side of the” thingy-ma-jig”. Do you get my point? Even though I have no idea what it is that I am fixing, it is up to mum to fix. So, I did this and I now have a happy son.

My hubby needed a pair of trousers fixed – I hate mending!! My eldest needed me to contact some parents so he could catch up with mates. I needed to get a nice tea ready for my hubby, as he is going away for a few days. My youngest son arrived home with his mates, and they were all “starving”. Just to add to that my computer was playing up and I am in the middle to putting together some very important documents for a huge event coming up soon. I desperately need to get the draft finished so that the editing can start.

So, in the middle of this I sat down to get this blog done. Yeah… well… there wasn’t a single thought that made any sense!! I tried a few times and gave up until this morning.

Everything is quiet this morning in my household. The “ever-hungry-ever-verbal-ever-question-asking” offspring have not vacated their beds and come to drape themselves across my shoulders and mumble in my ear – “what is there for breakfast?”. Yet the stirrings from the bedroom tells me that my peace of thoughts are about to be interrupted.

So here are my thoughts for the day….

It is really hard as a mum to keep your head and your cool, when life gets so busy. It is at these times I forget what God is doing, especially in my life. It seems that I am a never-ending “fixer-upper” and “conflict-stopper”, when I so want to be a miracle worker.  I forget that being a mum and wife is part of me… a big part of me. God is in the chaos and my quiet. I long to soar above it all and tell you that my life full of miracles and “God moments”. In reality, it is every day mercy and “God seconds”. In the middle of this God reminds me of where he is heading with His plans for my life… and the lives of women everywhere.

A few years ago, God gave me a page of words (one of many) that I was to share in my book. Last night, one of those words came drifting across my mind as I tried to make sense of my chaotic thoughts. I am going to share that vision with you…

 

“I see daughters of God who are rising out of that place of dimness. They are seeking God more and their lives are being directed and moved. The fire I see is real. I speak to some of these ladies, I see some of them from a distance and I hear of others. In every area of their lives I hear them say, “Father God, show me, teach me, direct my paths.”

They are seeking God for their families and how to bring up their children in the wisdom of God: their sons to be men of God … their daughters to be women of God. They see beyond the now and temporary.

They want to be the best mums, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, employees, employers and lights to a dark world. They want this not for themselves but for their Heavenly Father. They want Him to be glorified.”

God is with you in your washing and cleaning and cooking, (or in your workplace) as well as your time with Him. When we give Him our all, He is in our all. Even when our days are chaotic and we are at our unloveliest. Ultimately, our time on earth is about us walking daily, a life, that is His in a world that needs Him.

As we all start this new year (this new day, this new hour, and this new moment) can you see God in the moments and ask Him guide you in the coming year. Our world is not dim when we have a hold of who God really is and how much He loves us… and our everyday lives. Oh.. and don’t take your eyes off what God is doing.

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)