Monday, 31 December 2012

God's Words to us

This morning, I began a new Bible reading schedule.  I will share more about that in the New Year.  However, I was struck by something this morning, which I felt would be a good thing to share, at the end of an old year and the dawn of a new one, looming on the horizon.

I love how I can read a passage that I have read countless times before, and still be struck by things in a new perspective. God is a good God.

I was reading the first 3 chapters of Genesis this morning.  Truly, they are PACKED with amazing truths, and essential doctrine. I could share dozens of important truths, but this one just particularly struck me.

Throughout chapter 1, we read of God speaking all things into life.

"And God said..."

God simply spoke, and all things came into being, by the power of His word.  It's astounding,  amazing and incomprehensible to our puny minds. And yet, we know it as truth.  Indeed, to doubt it is to err.

That's the part where my brain kicked in, and God showed me something so important.

We take it as truth, and relevant and important, and doubtless, that God's word of command created all things.

Should we not then take as crucial and important truth, the words that God spoke that apply to us as women, in those first few chapters?  Should we doubt the verity and importance of believing THOSE words to be truth.

For this to make sense, I need to remind you what those words are, which are relevant to us.


"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
Genesis 2:18



"and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Genesis 3:16




For some reason, women of today - CHRISTIAN women of today - doubt that part of God's Word to us.  We don't doubt that, by His Word, all things were created, but we want to doubt the relevance and truth of the words above. The first spoken before sin, the second spoken after.  NEITHER made redundant at ANY POINT throughout scripture.

Putting them side by side shows me of the contrast between our relationship as husband and wife, comparing pre and post-sin.

The first words that God spoke relating to our existence at all, were relating to the purpose of our creation. It was the first point that God did not say that "it was good".  He says that "it is not good".  What was not good?  It was not good that man should be alone. So, God in His infinite wisdom, and His perfect plan, made woman - a "help meet".  Or, an "aid mate".  "Helpful counterpart".

A suitable helper.

We were created to complete man.  So that we, as a couple, would be whole together.  That as man and wife we would be the perfect unit.  One is not complete without the other.

We live in a world today, which diminishes the completeness of the union between a husband and wife.  We are led to believe, that EVEN IN MARRIAGE  we can function as individual units.  2 people, happening to live under the one roof, who can do their own thing, and be their own person - separate from their spouse. That the wife does not need to be that help and aid to her husband.  That he has to somehow muddle and guddle through on his own, whilst the wife waltzes off doing her own thing whenever, and however, she pleases.

THIS IS NOT GOD'S PLAN FOR US.

We were created to be one.

If that means we have to set aside the pursuits of our single life, prior to marriage, in order to be that help and aid that our husband needs, SO BE IT.

If it means we have to put our selfish desires aside, in order to be a loving, helpful, caring and God honouring spouse, SO BE IT.

Why should the wonder of God's word of creation, be any less as God's Word of creation for our marriages?  That Him creating the perfect world is amazing, but creating the perfect union is to be dismissed as not relevant.

This year, I want to be reminded daily of the wonder of God's Word for my marriage - that I was created to be a perfect helper and aid to my husband.

That's God's Word to me.

The second "words" to us, are after the fall.  They are part of the outworking of God's curse upon humankind. This is the contrast to how God created our marriage to be, and how it became following sin entering the world. And, the words that relate to us as women are a bitter pill to swallow.  Somehow we muddle through, and stoically accept the pain involved in pregnancy and child-birth.

"Ah, well, it's all part of the curse, and we just have to endure it.  It doesn't last long, and we get a baby at the end."

That saccharine approach somehow disappears when the words "he shall rule over thee" are mentioned.

Our sinful hearts rebel against THAT part of the curse.  Having to submit to the headship and authority of our husbands is a somewhat more bitter pill to swallow.  It's a command that directly relates to the part that Eve had to play in The Fall.  She went off, under her own steam, doing what she thought was right.  Tempting her husband into doing the same thing.  Him weakly accepting.  Under the curse, the men are to do the ruling, and we are to be the ones to submit.

It's a CURSE.  It's not meant to be easy.  Our rebellious hearts squirm under the command.  We scream inside, wanting to still do our own thing, bucking against the instruction to submit.

And yet, in God's grace and goodness, we have further instruction in the New Testament, which makes it a bit easier to bear. We are reminded that under that umbrella of headship, we are under the headship of Christ.  We are obeying His command, and we are able to give up the burden of leading and guiding the family, to our husbands. What a huge task they have to bear.  How glad I am that my role is simply to submit, and not the one to have the responsibility to lead.  How I pray for my husband in that huge task.  Give me child birth any day. Ok, maybe not ANY day....

God's word brought this earth into being.

It brought us into existence.

It gave us our purpose.

It gave us our curse.

All God's Words having equal relevance and importance, we then need to embrace His Words to us, as much as we wonder at and give credence to His Words of creation.

My prayer is that we all would seek God's strength and grace, this year, to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.




Saturday, 29 December 2012

Looking back

There are many who would say that we should not spend out lives looking back.  In some senses this may be true.  We shouldn't look back, continually going over mistakes or sins - dragging them up in our mind, let alone in conversation. We shouldn't look back with regrets, with a negative perspective - mulling over things we wished we had done differently.  What's done is done, and we can't change it.

However, there is great blessing in looking back over the good, and rejoicing with thanksgiving for the things that have happened in our lives.

Undoubtedly, this has been a year of great blessing to our family.  Just today, I am celebrating 13 years of marriage to the love of my life.  What incomparable years of joy they have been.  The blessings of marriage are so many, that I cannot begin to count them up in a blog post. Our love has grown, our relationship deepened, our personalities matured and our character improved  All of this adds up to a continuing love for each other, as we daily learn to die to self and give to one another. I love Robert greatly, and am thankful for him every day.  I can not imagine life without him.






We have been blessed with another child - our seventh.  I can hardly believe, 13 years on, that we have been so wonderfully blessed with these 7 children, from the Lord.  Simeon is a joy, and it is thrilling to see him develop and grow every day.  He's getting more vocal, more mobile and ever more adorable. All of the other children continue to grow, and learn.  We have many "wobbly" moments, where things don't go as smoothly, humanly speaking, as we would wish.  Balancing that all out, and tipping in the opposite direction, are the rich, moments of blessing that the children bring.  The smiles, the laughter, the tender moments, the little things they say, the precious things they do.  All a blessing. And, even in the trying times, there is always something to find, which we can still be thankful for.







We  are continually blessed and encouraged by our extended family.  Opportunities to meet up together, and have fun have been a joy.  To grow closer, to be blessed by help, and kindness, and love, and generosity of many varieties. Family is always a blessing.

Related to that has been the opportunity to open up our wonderful, new home, to have many people come to visit and to stay.  It's SUCH a blessing to now have home large enough to not only have room for our own family, but have room to comfortably accommodate overnight visitors.

We have been blessed with friendship.  Through my contacts with Facebook, we have made several new friends. Some that are more exclusive to me, in my online contacts - friends who I come alongside with, in prayer and praise, and who span all corners of the globe.  What a blessing to see answered prayer, and to be encouraged in my Christian walk by other like-minded Sisters.  Some are friends who have extended to an IRL capacity - "In Real Life".  To meet people and find they are just as you imagined, and have friendships bloom and grow.  What a blessing and encouragement. To have many come to stay in our home, and to be able to talk of the things of the Lord, laugh about many different things, and be so deeply blessed by the company of so many.  We particularly enjoyed meeting the St John family, and the blessing and encouragement that friendship has been to us.





We have been blessed in our journey in home education.  Beginning new curricula, seeing the children come on in leaps and bounds, having Susie start to read, and the general privilege of having my children with me in the home every day.  Is it hard at times.  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

We rejoice to keep in touch with friends who have been with us in years gone by, and now see them ministering in many ways, and in many places. What a thrill to see young men labouring for the Lord, and new families being raised for God's glory.

My heart is truly full, as I look back at the blessing that God has filled my life with.  We are contented with the many blessings which the Lord has bestowed upon us.

And, as I look back, with a full heart, I give thanks.

Thanks for the many, many wonderful gifts that God has given me.


"for consider how great things he hath done for you."
I Samuel 12:24


"The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. "
Psalm 126:3










Monday, 17 December 2012

Guns cause death?.... sin causes death

My heart, as with so many others, has been truly crushed to hear the shocking incident in Newtown, Connecticut.  The shooting and killing of 27 lives, so many of them little 6 and 7 year olds.

My heart ACHES.

To look at my own children, and think that someone else's life has been shattered, as their own precious child has been so cruelly snatched from them.

Endless numbers of people are sharing their thoughts and views about what happened.  Most of my American friends maintain their view that if everyone was allowed to have guns, then these things would be less likely to happen.  The fact that we are not allowed the freedom to won and carry arms in the UK, seems to still be a major issue the Americans have with us.

However, at the end of the day, whether it is legal to bear arms or not, there will only ever be one reason for such atrocities.

Sin.

If a sinful, degenerate being is determined to commit a crime, not a gun law in the world will stop them.  It may not be in a school, if they have excellent security measures, or defence systems.  That sinful being could equally walk into a shopping centre and do the exact same thing.  I am not entirely convinced that teachers being allowed to have a gun strapped to their body could have prevented this atrocity.  It may have done.  It may not.  It's a moot point, really.

Sinful abusers will abuse no matter the laws to prevent it.

Sinful rapists will still commit rape, no matter the measures to prevent it.

Sinful thieves will still steal, no matter the laws on that matter.

As long as there is sin, there will be hurt and harm.  The only resolution will be upon the Lord's return.

I think the things I take away from it are these.

Firstly, I do all I can to protect my children.  Whether it be making sure they are securely strapped into their car seats on a journey, or making sure I have my home as a safe and secure environment, with minimal dangers. I live in the UK, for which I am grateful, and we are not allowed to have guns freely, so that is not an option. With the very minimal risk we have of coming under attack, compared to other countries, I don't see it as a necessary item. I also choose not take them into areas that are known to be dangerous.  Without a doubt, certain crimes are committed in particularly "dangerous" areas.  Protecting my children also includes teaching and training them about the correct way to live and behave, in society.  What God teaches about violence and murder, is more important than anything else.

Secondly, sin will always be sin. Until the day the Lord returns, we are sadly going to be surrounded by appalling crimes and wickedness. Sinful and wicked hearts will continue to commit such atrocious acts.  We can only throw ourselves daily upon the Lord, for His care and protection and for His will to be done. We can cry to the Lord to grant the binding up of wounds to the broken hearted.

Thirdly, I can be thankful.  I am thankful that I have my children at home with me every day, where there is undoubtedly a higher level of safety.  Even from the simplest fact that we don't have journeys to and from school to contend with! It is NOT a major reason for me to home-school, because ultimately shootings like last week's are rare.  More children die in car accidents than in such rare shootings. We don't stop driving in cars. I am also thankful that my children are all well, and I can hug them closer today.

Society is reaping what it sows.  Around the world, children are not being brought up to be respectful, kind, loving and kind.  If they are not to taught to behave correctly, I despair for the generation that rises.


I will leave American's to hash out gun-carrying laws, and laws that look after mentally ill people.

I will stay in my corner, praying for the families of the victims, and hugging my own blessings close.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mysterious happening....

My children's current writing project, for their writing lesson, is to learnt to write in the mystery genre.  Lo and behold, if I didn't have a mystery this morning, so here's my story.



The Mystery of the Self-typing Laptop


It was a chilly, winter's morning.  Outside, the frost clung to the branches, like tiny, jewel-encrusted swords, making the world sparkle in the sun filled morning.

It was Caroline's early morning routine to do her devotions and then check online with her emails and Facebook. She had, as was usual, several tabs open at once, working on different things. A message had recently been sent, in her private messages on Facebook, and still the tab was open.  On a new tab, her status was open, whilst she watched a video someone had posted there for her education and benefit.

Suddenly, the video stopped, and the tab with her private messages flicked to being the open one.  Mysteriously, like some "other-worldly" thing, a word started to type in the message box.  Caroline sat, with mouth agape, and hands in the air, shocked at what her eyes were seeing.

S - U - S - A - N - N - A, appeared slwoly before her, followed by a random list of letters, as if some small creature had just run over her keyboard, typing out a garbled message.

To say she felt freaked out would have been an understatement.

Puzzled.  Shocked.  Astounded.   Bewildered.

All these words would have done nothing to accurately sum up her emotions.

Her brain started to work overtime, trying to conceive how this could possibly have happened.  SURELY there was a logical explanation?

She put a message on Facebook, to say what had happened, hoping someone could shed some light upon the matter, and share a possible explanation.  Responses came in, and suggestions ensued.

Could it have been "ghosting"?

Could it have been a hack of some other sort?

Could someone know her Facebook password, and have signed into her account?

Could her children have signed in on another device?

Well, she knew that her mobile phone was right beside her, and not being touched.  Josh was playing Angry Birds on her ipod right by her side, and SHE certainly hadn't typed anything whilst watching the video on Facebook.

The only explanation seemed to be a sinister hack.  Advice came in about how to work out whether she had been hacked, by checking all sorts of files and registries that she had not much of a clue about.  Her brain started to whirl at the idea of having to resolve the issue.

It was time to bring her husband his morning coffee, and she brought it to him, along with the tale of what had happened on her computer.  The possible reasons for such an occurrence were relayed to him, post haste.

He (as men do) made a wry suggestion about it being the "ghost of Christmas past".

Such help.  Great.

However, he then proceeded to ask his adorable, wonderful, sensational, amazing wife (aherm) if any of the children had been in the school room that morning, particularly Susanna.

"Maybe," she replied. "If anyone, it was Susie."

"Was she touching the wireless keyboard?", her wonderfully handsome, witty and intelligent husband asked.

"I don't think so, but why would you ask?  Your computer is not even working or turned on!"

Being the dumb malteser that she is, an explanation was necessary.

"You have the wireless mouse for your laptop just now, as you dropped your other mouse into a glass of water, is that not so?"

"Yes", said she. Recognising the fact that most normal people manage to drop their mouse in a glass of water. Right?

"So, you have the wireless control plugged into your laptop?"

"Yes.......but does that not just control the mouse?"

Robert invisibly rolled his eyes in despair, and sighed an inaudible sigh, and said "It controls the keyboard, too."

"Oh", she said, in a short, stunned, and "I'm really thick" sort of way.

"Go and ask Susie if she touched the keyboard."

Off toddled the dim mother, into the girl's bedroom.  Susie was sitting on her top bunk, looking innocent and beautiful, as she so often, deceivingly, does.

"Susie......"

"Yes, Mummy."

"Did you touch Daddy's keyboard, for the computer that's not turned on, in the school room?"

"Yes", she said, with a cute, little, beguiling smile.

"What did you type, darling?"

"Well, just lots of random letters."

"So, did you type your name?"

"Yes!", she said triumphantly.

"Did you type anything else?", her, now smiling, mother asked, trying to make sure that her leading question was not procuring a false, Anne of Green Gables type, confession.

"Just some more random letters."

"Which did you type first, Susie?"

"My name, then the letters", she said, with pride beaming on her face.

"Ok.  Now, you mustn't touch Daddy's things again, do you understand?", said her mother, who was trying not to laugh out loud, as she worked out the solution to her mystery!

Back to Robert she went, confirming that his conclusion was, of COURSE, correct.  Being a husband, and all, who is most nearly always right, about everything?..... He sent her off downstairs, to get one of the other children to repeat the process, to prove it was a correct assessment of the situation.

Josh willingly ran into the school room, whilst Caroline sat at her laptop, waiting expectantly.

Her eyes were glued to the little message box on Facebook, waiting with anticipation to see what would happen.

Sure enough, moments later, letters appeared in the box before her.

"i  l-o-v-e  y-o...."

"MUM - where's "u" key?"

Caroline smiled to herself, as her mystery was solved, and her message was completed before her eyes.

The End.



(My children have very little computer time, hence Joshua's struggle to find the right key on the keyboard! Susanna seemed to manage to type her name quicker, interestingly.... *grin* )

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Once upon a time.....

Once upon a time, there were three ladies.  They all professed to be Christians, they were all wives and mothers, but they were not all quite alike.

It was known, far and wide, that there was a big, bad, "wolf" who wanted to devour these lovely ladies.  He wanted to get to them, and harm them - he wanted to hurt their lives - he wanted to destroy their families. He was cunning - he was canny - he was subtle - and above all else, he was dangerous.

The first lady, in an effort to protect herself from his wiles, built a house of "straw".   She had made a profession of faith when she was young.  The knowledge of that was about all she clung onto, in her protection from the wolf.  She hardly read her Bible - she hardly ever prayed.  Her defence against attack from this wolf was weak, because she was resting in her own strength, and her own ability to fight him off.  Understanding of God's Word, and how she should be living it, was hardly existent. The wisdom of worldly friends was more important to her, and from listening to them, she tried to build up the straw a bit thicker, all in her own strength. Respect for her husband was nil, bringing up her children according to God's way was then lacking, she wanted to be out of her home more than in it, and her family was suffering - all because of her weak defences.  In due course, because she lacked any wisdom at all, she began to pull parts of her straw house back DOWN, as it didn't look so much like the "houses" of her worldly friends, which were all aesthetically beautiful, and admired by others, more than her house of straw.

One day, when the house was at its weakest, the "wolf" came along.  He huffed and he puffed - he roared and he growled - and without much effort at all, the house blew over.  

Off the first lady went, running to her friend's house that was built from sticks.

THIS lady, had things going on a bit better.  She went to Church regularly, along with her family.  To those on the outside, her house looked fairly sturdy.  However, looks can be deceiving.  This house didn't have very strong foundations.  This lady knew what she should be doing in her life, but she was still trying to do it in her own strength.  Some days things would go really well - she would lovingly submit to her husband, she would teach her children well, she would have good relationships with those around her - she would care for her home, and run things well.  But those were only SOME days.  It didn't take much, and things would still fall apart.  Reading her Bible, and praying, was inconsistent.  She tried to be a good example to her friend who had fled the "wolf", but because her faith was weak, and her knowledge of God's Word was lacking, her example was not its best.

But then, it happened.  The "wolf" came along tot he house made of sticks.  He had to huff and to puff much harder this time, but huff and puff he did.  He came on the perfect day, because despite this lady's best intentions, she hadn't read her Bible for weeks - it was left sitting in a corner.  Things were not great with her husband, and relationships with her children were at a low point.  So, when that "wolf" came along, her house of sticks eventually came tumbling down.  She was shocked - she had thought her house was fairly sturdy, and never imagined that it could be toppled so easily.

Both the ladies went running to that third house.  This house was the most amazingly fortified dwelling you have ever seen.  It had solid foundations, and walls that were impenetrable.  She let the ladies come in, and they clamoured to ask questions.

"Why are your walls so strong?", they asked.

"Well, I didn't build them myself," she replied, "my defence and strength comes only from the Lord alone.  I am weak in my own strength.  The only way I can protect myself from that ravenous wolf is to look to the Lord and His word.  In it I find all the wisdom I need to strengthen my life.  I find all the instruction I need to have a godly marriage, and to raise my children.  It isn't always easy to rely on God's strength instead of my own, but it is always best, and for my own good ad protection. Yes, the wolf sometimes stops by.  He tries to huff and puff in my marriage, and we sometimes get blown about, and ruffled up a bit, but he can't blow our house down.  I have weak days, sometimes, where I am foolish - I tear down the shutters on the windows, and unbar the door a little.  I don't submit to my husband, or I rely on worldly advice and wisdom in the running of my home and training of my children.  I forget God's ways and do things my own way.   It's on those days that the "wolf" ruffles things up.  But, do you know what?  My senses quickly return, and the shutters get slammed back up and the doors are barred again.  My marriage quickly returns to where it was, and my home life resumes its God honouring ways."

Right enough, before long, the "wolf" came along.  He huffed an he puffed.  He blew and he blew even harder.  He even tried to dig under the walls, but no matter how far he seemed to dig, the foundations were deeper still.  He gave up and he went away to find another house to blow over.

"You see," said the third lady, "that is my truest defence.   Not only are my walls strong, but my foundations are deep.  Further still, they are built upon the sold rock underneath.  No matter how hard that wolf blows, this house won't fall down.  The only thing that could make this house fall down, is if I start to pull it apart - brick by brick - chipping away at the mortar - hammering at the foundations with my own hands.  If I look to the Lord as my defence - if I cling to His wisdom and truth that keeps these walls so rock steady - then this house WILL stand, no matter the storms around, and the wolf blowing with all his might."

Those other two ladies saw the wisdom and truth that the third lady spoke.  They saw the evidence as the wolf had tried to blow the house down, and it had hardly any effect.  They looked around, and saw many other houses that were like that one.  How the wolf had blown hard, in many, many ways, and yet the houses stayed firm - death, illness, job losses, money problems, husbands who were not all they should be, children off the right track - none of these things resulted in the wolf blowing down the house.  They saw that God's grace wrapped around the whole dwelling, and His everlasting arms underneath.  They saw that they needed to repent of their ways and seek protection in Christ alone.


The words of my story are weak.  But, the sentiment is genuine, and the analogy so accurate. I see my own heart, reflected in the dwellings of those ladies....and see how I need to keep my shutters closed, and how I mustn't chip away at the bricks of my own house. I mustn't tear it down with my hands.   Our family, and our lives, will only withstand the attacks of the wicked one, if we have lives built upon the rock, and depending upon the defence of the Lord alone.  That will only come if we are seeking His Word, searching out truth, living it out in our lives, and coming before His throne in prayer.

Straw, sticks or stone?  Which house are you living in?


"Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress"
Psalm 71:3

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. "
Proverbs 14:1



(Inspired by reading the 3 Little Pigs with Daniel yesterday, for his writing lesson - isn't it funny how God speaks to our hearts, in the every-day sort of ways!)


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Innocent fun?

I want to begin by saying that laughter is a good thing.

We like to laugh a lot here, and laughter should be something that involves everyone having fun.

The Bible even tells us that...

"a merry heart doeth good as a medicine".

We are to have a happy and cheery heart!  Laughter, in the right context, does the world of good.

However, we heard this week, in the news, of a horribly sorrowful event. My heart was utterly saddened and disgusted to hear of the Australian radio station, whose DJ's deceived their way, in a telephone call, to the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted, and managed to get information about her, pretending to be Royalty.  It was all in the name of "entertainment" and "humour".

"Innocent fun"

So extremely sad, though, was the event that followed.  The nurse that was on the reception, who put the call through to the ward, took her own life just a few days after the incident.

Innocent fun?  Their innocent fun obviously caused such an impact on that girl, that she took her life.  Whether it was guilt, shame, disapproval from others, loss of employment, disgrace - we don't fully know.

The  thing is this - we do not ever fully know the situation and circumstances in the life of another.  And so, if we choose to say or do something with the intent to be funny, jovial or play a prank, we don't know what impact that could be having on someone who already has many other issues going on in their life.

It reminded me, once again, about the power of the tongue.  We are told quite plainly in scripture, that the tongue is a very powerful thing.  We can use it to bring good or evil. And, it is in our power to use it correctly. We need to be SO wise in what we say to others.  Something we consider to be an innocent jibe or tease, could very much offend another.  Is it not safer to be kind and loving, than to risk offending or causing hurt to someone else by our unwise choice of words?

So, so many have been hurt by the event this week.  This nurse - her family and friends - her employers - a delicate and ill Duchess and her extended family - and many unrelated people like myself, around the world.

Words can be a gift.  We need to make sure we use them that way, and never to hurt others.  We need to be wise, and make sure they don't even unintentionally do damage.

Having fun with those you are close to - close friends and family - when you know how they will react and respond - whether something will be taken in the good humour intended, or not - that's one thing.  But, let's be very wise how we engage humour with those less well known to us, and certainly most carefully with strangers.

Above all else, we must make sure that our motives are God-glorifying, and edifying, in every way we can.  God doesn't expect us to be dour and miserable.  He DOES expect us to be loving, kind and good.

I will certainly be taking the words from Proverbs, and trying to apply them to my own heart and life.


"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
Proverbs 31:26




Sunday, 2 December 2012

All in a week

The last 7 days have been interesting.  So much has gone on, amidst all the ill health.  When I started looking through my photos, it showed an array of different things

Last Saturday I hit the local garden centre.  I had TOTALLY forgotten about buying bulbs to plant in the garden, for the spring.  There were very few that appeared this last spring, in our "new" garden, and I love spring flowers.  It's my favourite season.

So, we dashed off last Saturday (as well as ordering some beauties online).  Well, when we went in, we saw something we were not expecting!




There were some people there from an owl rescue sanctuary, so the children were pleased to bits, and even braved stroking this beautiful owl!
My parents came to visit on Monday and Tuesday, and we started getting the bulbs planted - but, when you haven't seen your Mum for months, and you get talking, you end up planting bulbs in the waning light, and virtual darkness! *chuckles*

Then, we had more illness appear, with my throat getting hit with the virus that had appeared, and other children falling prey to it all.  That, and Elijah with a nasty ear infection.

To add joy to my week, Simeon started to roll everywhere and to sit up.  One day he wasn't doing it, the next day he was!! It's always fun to watch a baby realise how much they can see and do from a sitting position.  


Talk to a teddy bear...


Oh, and we have started weaning.  With socks?...... well, that's what he was attempting.  Otherwise he has managed bread, pieces of broccoli, mashed fruit, mashed veg and fruit smoothie mixes.  My little baby is getting big - eating and on the move. *sigh loudly*


By Friday, there was enough improvement of health to have a walk to the Post Office.  It was a lovely clear, crisp, cold day and it was so lovely to just get outside for some fresh air after weeks and weeks of illness.



By the end of the week, more have come down with the throat thing - Joshua, and Robert is not feeling 100% either. 

Today reminded me of something to share. 

I have been "dieting", of sorts.  Well, I certainly have been trying to lose weight for the last month or so.  However, I started on a new eating plan.  It's called Whole30, and the aim is to do it for 30 days, and then re-add food groups back into your diet and see how it affects your body.  Basically, you cut out all grain, dairy, sugars & sweeteners, white potatoes and legumes.  Yes, ALL those things.  You eat 3 meals a day, and try to not snack in between.  Each meal must have protein, veg and a "healthy fat".  I have got used to it quite quickly, and enjoy what I am eating.  The bonus of it is that it helps you to shift weight.  I have been doing it for 13 days, and already my skirt has got looser and I can get back into my preg-pregnancy, favourite denim skirts! AND, I can get my wedding and engagement ring back on.  I am SO thrilled! 



Who wouldn't want to eat a lovely dinner like that??  I am loving eating the sweet potatoes...yum-my!

So, imagine the struggle it was tonight.  

I bake for a shared tea at Church, for the first Sunday of every month. I like to try new recipes, and usually I would try what I make.  But, no dairy, no grains, no sugar.... no trying baking.

I was trying out the new tin I treated myself to from Lakeland this week (well, I was ordering some Christmas things, and decided I needed to treat myself to cheer me up!!.... *aherm* ), and making THESE little babies...



Do you see that?...little, cute, gorgeous individual cakes - diddy lemon sponges, with lemon buttercream frosting, lightly dusted with icing sugar. 

However,  I couldn't even LICK MY FINGERS to clean them, as I was frosting them.   

What AGONY.

What TORTURE.

I guess I will just have to make them again after 30 days are up, and not eat more than one...



 Here is the recipe, if you are interested.  I can't tell you if they are any good, as I couldn't do my usual "try before you serve them to the world" policy. If they taste as good as they look, they will be fine!   I can't wait to try out my tin for others things - individual sticky toffee puddings springs to mind, as well as individual cheesecakes.  They are BRILLIANT tins, and you don't even need to grease or line them.  Being little, loose-based tins, they pop out so easily.  Another triumph from Lakeland.

So, thus ends my up and down week.  

Yes, there are 2 more potential candidates to get ill, but we WILL get through it.  Above all else, I can praise the Lord at all times.  I don't have to rejoice ABOUT my trials, but rejoice IN them.  There is always something to be thankful for, and I can count many, many blessings, amongst the difficult moments.  

I am blessed beyond measure.

So, here's to less of this....




And more of this.......










Wednesday, 28 November 2012

No pit so deep

I have been having a tough few weeks, hence the blog silence.

I have had one or more person ill in this house, for nearly FOUR weeks.

I have, too, been ill amongst it all.  Last week, and again today.

Swollen tonsils.

Chest infections.

Ear infection.

Cough.

Sinuses.

Colds.

High temperatures.

Generally, yuck.

I. Am. Tired.

It's been the toughest time of sickness in this household, ever.

And yet, despite the fact that I feel so humanly weak.  So humanly weary.  So humanly fraught.

I am sustained by the power, grace and never-failing love of my heavenly Father.

My children are listening to "The Hiding Place" whilst tidying the kitchen for me. (There's a blessing all on its own - the older ones have been SUCH a help.....)  I just heard a wonderful quote, from Betsy Ten Boom.  If she could say this, what are my struggles?



"There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still" Betsie Ten Boom



She, who was held in a prison in war-torn Europe, in conditions that were vile, filthy and humanly horrendous.  Yet, she still gave thanks to the Lord, amidst such conditions.

My days, over the last few weeks, no matter how hard, are nothing.

"This too shall pass"

No matter how deep we feel we have sunk, in difficulties, trials and hardships, the Lord is still there.  His love goes deeper than the depths of our despair, and He holds us up with His hands.

The verse of the wonderful old hymn "How Firm a Foundation" springs to mind.


"In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be."


We are given the strength we need, for the circumstances which the Lord allows.  When we are weak, then we are strong.

Based on that premise, I am strong right about now. And, it's true, I am.  I am so incredibly strengthened, and have managed to cope, with few stressy moments, and mostly calmness.  Ok, I have had my odd moment, but all things considered, I feel so very blessed by God's goodness.

I have also very much felt the prayers of so many, who I know have been praying for me.  Had I had this happen even a year or so ago, and without the prayers of my friends, I would not have been coping so well as I am now.

All of the Lord, none of self.

So, I end another day, with a new child falling ill, and I look to the Lord for whatever tomorrow brings.  And a chorus of a hymn, based on a wonderful scripture (my favourite hymn), springs to mind.



"Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see,
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."




 "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 
 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."
Lamentations 3:22-24





Looking forward to tomorrow, where His mercies will be new, and His compassions will still be unfailing.











Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A REALLY important story you should read

I was doing a quick browse of recent FB posts this morning, when I came across THIS story.   It's about a horrible thing that happened to a 5yo.  Basically, whilst her Mum was chatting near their car, her little girl got tangled up in the car seat belts, and could have strangled to death.

Read the story.

Buy some scissors for your car.

I also personally learnt a lesson about giving children lollipops.

When Joshua was about 20 months old, someone gave me some of those hard, boiled sweet type lollipops for him.  I hadn't given them to him before, but I knew my friend gave them to her similar aged child, so I gave him one.  I was sitting RIGHT next to him whilst he ate it, to keep an eye on him.

But, it's amazing how quickly something can go wrong.

He managed to pull the sweet OFF the stick, and he choked.

I noticed STRAIGHT away, but it was stuck in there.  I did what they recommend for a baby who is choking, and tipped him up and hit him between the shoulder blades.

Nothing.

I repeated it, harder, and tipped him up more.

NOTHING.

At this point he was getting no air in or out, and I was starting to panic.

I thought about calling 999, but I quickly realised that by the time they would get there, he would be dead.

I realised I needed to try the Heimlich maeuver, even though it's not what you should do for small children.  I figured better that he had damaged ribs and be ALIVE, than dead and intact.

So, I did the Heimlich, but it took a few attempts.  You know how the story ended, because Josh is indeed alive and well.  But, boy...was that a scary moment.

I now do not give children lollipops until they are a lot older, and have a strict "sit down while you eat that" policy.  I prefer them to have chewy ones than hard ones.  Actually, that's a lie.  I would PREFER that they have none, but that would be slightly over-protective.

I would certainly recommend that every Mum knows what to do if your child chokes.







I was less successful when Abi gave Elijah the last bit of a sweet she had already been sucking, when he was only months old.  We were at Church, and I could NOT get it out.  I was very thankful that 2 of our Church members were nurses, and I just handed him over to one of them, saying "you do it".  Very thankfully, he managed to do it. Poor Abi was just trying to be kind, and had no idea small babies do not eat sweets.

So, read the above article, and hug your children close today, and always be on the look out for their safety.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Beautiful - inside-out!

My children were watching a Bible DVD about David.  It got to the part where Samuel is choosing from Jesse's sons, which should be anointed as king.  Samuel doesn't understand why a prime specimen like Eliab should be passed over, and God tells him this...



"man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
I Samuel  16:7


Those words jumped out at me, as I was sitting doing something else in the same room as them.

I was struck by how this verse is truly a verse for women.  We live in a day and age where we are bombarded with advice, information and advertising, for things that will make us more "beautiful".  Weight-loss advice (which, I will say, is not always to do with beauty, but fitness, which IS good), how to style your hair, which make-up is best, which clothes to wear to flatter your figure.  We are given "examples" of beauty in models, actresses, celebrities.  We are constantly pressurised to compare ourselves to such "beauties", and made to feel we just don't cut it unless we measure up to how they look.

I actually know people who think they need to obsessively exercise for the perfect body - that they need to plaster their faces in make-up to hide every single "blemish" - that they need to spend a fortune on having perfect hair - and, that they need wear the latest fashions to look "right".

It makes me sad to see people caught in the world's "snare", of wanting to be beautiful.

Why?

Simply because they are looking to the wrong parameters of what matters.  Look at the verse above.  Eliab
was basically good-looking and tall.  He was, probably, the perfect picture of manhood.  I KNOW it's a man, in this particular story, but I think that in today's world, it's women who are judged in this way MORE than men.  The Lord is not looking for what looks good on the OUTSIDE, He is more concerned about the heart.

THAT, my friends, is what I am talking about.  

We could spend all the time in the world, preening and pruning and primping, to look "just right".   We could spend money we don't really have on make-up, hair products and clothes that we just don't need.  ALL to look good on the outside.  

What is all of that, if our hearts are not right before the Lord?  If we are harbouring sin, that we need to deal with.  If we don't have a loving heart.  If we covet the beauty or possessions of others.

We even have a more specific instruction for us women.

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
I Peter 3:3-4


"Meek" and "quiet" seems to conjure up this vision of a  little mouse of a woman, who will not say a word unless spoken to. 

THIS is NOT what it means.


"Meekness" is NOT weakness.  

Meekness is humility and gentleness.  



"Quiet" is NOT being silent at every given opportunity.

Quiet is still, unruffled and immovable.



It is to do with being calm on the inside, whilst everything maybe be going nuts in the world around us!  

OH how like my outside world THAT is!!! As mothers, things can get pretty hairy around us.  Children get into all sorts of mischief, disagreements, scraps, bother and general mayhem! 

So, how do we live this out in our lives?  How can we make sure that this aspect of our "heart", which God sees, is pleasing to Him?

Those moments when we disagree with our husband's about something?  We DON'T descend into a crumpled heap of weeping woman on the floor - fighting to get our own way, and for our opinion to be heard above his.   We remain gentle and calm, and work it out in a way that doesn't involve an emotional outburst.

Those times in the day when our children are being wilfully disobedient?  We DON'T have an outburst of anger and discipline them in the heat of the moment.  We calmly speak to them about their behaviour, and deal with it in a gentle manner.

Those tired moments, when we are struggling to get it all done, we have children being, well, CHILDREN, and the house is descending into anarchy?  We DON'T start yelling at the children (because we haven't dealt with it sooner and it's escalated  by our own neglect, into this chaos), and having a melt-down.  We calmly look at what needs to be done, and gently get things into gear by being the example we should be. 

The examples are endless, and I am sure you will think of some way that you don't normally exhibit "meek and quiet", when you should!

I KNOW it's hard.  I KNOW days can be difficult.  Do you think I came up with my examples out of the fresh air?!? NO!!!  I am an expert at "NOT meek and quiet", to my shame.

I think, like so many other things, that if we have our heart focussed on the Lord through-out the day - if we are immersed in His word - if we live a life of "praying without ceasing" - all of this will help us have our hearts in the right place, where meek and quiet come more naturally.

And, do you see how God describes such a heart?



You can cast aside all the valuable jewellery you may possess, because a heart that is meek and quiet is,  in God's sight, "of great price".  It's a valuable thing to have, and God sees it as precious and worth having.  THIS should be my primary motivation, above all else.  Having a heart that is precious in God's sight. 

So, today, I am going to endeavour to work on my heart's beauty.  

Yes, I will shower, get dressed, and make sure I look presentable on the outside.  

But, my heart will have a work-out and I will do my best, by God's strength, to be that meek and quiet woman that we are told of in I Peter. 

Will you join me? 



Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Titus 2 - Be sober?

I was reading Titus chapter 2 recently, particularly the passage teaching about how we are to behave as young women.  It struck me that it would be a good place to study through, phrase by phrase, and see what could be learnt from it.

I am tempted to jump to things further along, but if the order we are given is the order that God put it in, who am I to argue with it??

So, what does Titus 2 say?



"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Titus 2:4-5


Now, let's get something straight first.  Just because it is directed to young women, does not mean that none of this applies to older women, too!  So, no running off, you older ladies! *winks*

Likewise, just because I am not an aged woman sharing this with you, does not mean you don't have to pay attention, either!

Ultimately, this is GOD'S word to us.  It is Him speaking to me, and to you.

So, the first instruction we are given?  To be sober.

Sober, in this situation,  has NOTHING to do with the lack of alcohol.  It is NOT an indictment to become teetotal.  THAT, my friends, is not a debate I will get into on here.

The word "sober" literally means to be serious.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me that sends out images of a very straight laced and sombre character.  Never a smile.  Never any laughter.

However, I don't think it is meant to be taken to that extreme.  We KNOW that the Bible says that laughter is a good thing, so it can't mean we are to be sombre all the time.  Rather, I think it relates to how we view and live out our lives in a broad sense.  There needs to be a sincerity about what we believe.  A seriousness in how we perceive God's Word, and how we live it out in our lives. A seriousness about things spiritual.

I think it is particularly crucial, when you go on to consider what follows in these two verses.  If you don't take them seriously, then you can basically go and do whatever you jolly well please in your life as a wife and mother.  But, no - the Lord first instructs us to be serious about our lives, and how we live them.

Serious about reading God's Word.

Serious about listening to God's Word.

Serious about understanding God's Word.

Serious about OBEYING God's Word.

Being serious in all these ways is crucial.  It's of primary importance if we are going to be fully committed to a life of obedience, honouring the Lord in all parts of our lives.

So many today, who are often heavily influenced by feminist thoughts, think we can throw verses away.  That we don't need to take them literally.  That they are only figurative.  That we they are cultural.  Perhaps that we only need to keep the spirit but not the letter of what it says?

But, NO!  This is VERY practical.  VERY literal.  VERY important.

What follows in these verses is of utmost importance, and so very, very precious.  God has deigned to give us words that apply to our very heart and soul, and we must endeavour to take them seriously, and fulfil them.

So, before I go any further, I want to search my own heart and make sure that I am taking God's Word seriously.  That I truly desire to honour God's ways above the world's ways, and most certainly above my own sinful heart's ways.

Am I sober? Are we serious about God, and His word to us as women?

I pray that God will make it to be so, and that I will prayerfully consider and obey what follows on from here.




Monday, 12 November 2012

The joys of being a Mum of many

There are times when having a lot of children can become a circus act, of sorts.

Juggling.

That's the name of the act.

Juggling between a poorly 2 year old, a grumpy 6 month old, four doing school work, and a 4 year old who has  drama queen tendencies.

Those days can be tough, and I have had a few of late.

Then you get little moments like yesterday.

Simeon learnt to roll over a little while ago, but yesterday he did it in a bigger way.  He learnt to roll repeatedly, and get somewhere!!  I turned my head for a moment, and he was by the sofa, not in the middle of the floor!

"Did you just move Simeon, Joshua?"

"No, Mum!"

Well, talk about a cheering squad!?   The rest of the children shouted and cheered.  Many shouts of  "clever boy" and "Yay Simeon" erupted around the room.  Toys were found, to put out of his reach to fetch, with more shouting and cheering ensuing, when he dutifully complied and rolled to get them.

It really made me smile.  Seeing them all get as excited as me about their brother doing something new.

A whole troop of cheerers is always a bonus!

Days like that, it makes it all worthwhile.

Baby on the move, on the other hand.....you know you're a mother of more than 1 when you DON'T want them moving.

Then, today...back to juggling.

Poorly baby, choking on phlegm and vomiting, needing lots of cuddles.  And, then the blessing of a 9 year old daughter, making Cottage Pie pretty much on her own, from scratch, to rescue the job of making dinner, leaving me to care for Simeon.

Blessings amidst chaos.  You have to love it!


Simeon on a better day! 

(not today, but Beth being typically helpful. Love that girl)



Sunday, 11 November 2012

We will remember them

11/11/11

11th hour.  11th Day.  11th month.

Remembrance day.

We have SO much to be thankful for in our country.  We have so many freedoms, which we take totally for granted.

It's incredibly easy to forget that many, MANY have lost - and are still losing - their lives, to ensure we have those freedoms.

The Great War and WWII were MASSIVE losses for our country, whilst men fought to defend it.

Men and women are still being killed and injured right now, whilst on active duty.

When I was in London with the oldest 3, just last month, I stumbled upon the memorial for the merchant navy. It's just opposite the Tower of London.

My Great Uncle died in WWII, whilst serving in the merchant navy.



I saw the front of the monument first, and it said it was in memory of those who lost their lives in the Great War - WWI.  I thought I wouldn't find my Great Uncle's name, and was disappointed.  Then I stepped behind and realised there was an enormously long wall - convoluted, snaking it's way around the back of a garden - with the names of all those in the merchant navy who had died in WWII.  They were listed according to the ship they had been serving on.

A call to my parents was required, to find out the name of his ship.  Then, a wander around the garden to find the name of his ship.

The Melbourne Star.

And, then I found it.







A.C. Christie.  

Alexander.  Sandy, to his family.

Listed along with the many others who had lost their lives.

It was a very touching moment.  To think that was my flesh and blood, listed there.  My Mum's uncle, who had lost his life serving his country.

Another of her uncles died in WWII.  In a Japanese Prisoner of War camp.

THAT, hardly bears thinking about. 

Such a loss.  Such a debt.

We need to be thankful for their sacrifice.

We need to make use of our freedoms.  Proclaiming God's wonderful grace, whilst we still HAVE that freedom. 

Thank you.  Thank you to all who have, and still do, serve our nation.  

We will remember you.









Friday, 9 November 2012

Build-upper or tear-downer

When Robert was about to finish his studies for the ministry, we were invited to sit on a panel for a Youth Meeting - a "Mr and Mrs" of sorts.  We were asked various questions about ourselves.  I can't remember much about it all, but I remember that we were on the panel with a godly couple who had been in the ministry for many years.  The opposite end of things from us, if you may.

They were asked to give us advice as we entered into this service for the Lord.  I can't tell you what Mr Begg's advice to Robert was, but I can remember what Mrs Beggs said to me.

"Encourage Robert.  Precious few others will do so in his ministry, and you must make sure that you are his encourager.  He will need it. " (that is not a verbatim quote - just the general idea...I have an awful memory for exact quotes...)

That has stuck with me ever since.  Those words, at least.  I have tried very hard, regarding his ministry, that I am an encourager.  I don't pick apart his sermons - I don't highlight his weaknesses - I am not negative - I don't complain about his content or the length of time he preached for.  It's true - plenty others do those things, and he doesn't need me adding to it all.  The devil uses God's people to be a discouragement - often.

Encouraging someone will build them up.  It will help them to be comforted in their labours for the Lord.

Being negative and critical tears them down.  It makes them sad, worried and anxious in their Christian walk and life.

The thing is, as much as I try and do it in his role as a pastor, I seem to forget to put it into practice the rest of the time.  Being a wife who is positive and encouraging should be something I try and do all the time.  I know *I* like to hear words of encouragement, but I don't give them out in the same measure as I expect to receive them!

Likewise, as a mother.  it's SO easy to hand out the negative.

"Don't do that"

"Why are you doing that?"

"I've told you a hundred times not to...."

"When will you learn that you shouldn't..."

It takes a lot more work and effort - a lot more time and thought - to give encouragement.  Sometimes it's outright HARD, because we seem to pick up on the negative so very easily - we see the bad, and don't immediately see the good!  How sinful our hearts are that we have to LOOK for good, instead of seeing it before anything else.

When you think about it, the very essence of consoling and comforting someone -  to encourage them - implies that the other person feels down or discouraged about something.  The point of us encouraging is to lift them up in their spirits.  To do what we can to comfort and console them.  Basically, to give them courage.  To make them feel strong again.

We are all human.  God gave us our humanity.  God KNOWS our humanity.  The Lord Jesus took upon flesh, and lived an earthly life.  He understands our frailty and remembers we are dust.  It is BECAUSE of this, that we are given instruction about giving encouragement to others.  To build the up.  NOT tear them down.


"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another" 
I Thessalonians 5:11


The word in Thessalonians "edify", literally means "house builder".

Those around us are like houses.  If you build them up properly, they will stay standing through all sorts of onslaught.  All kinds of bad weather, attack from the outside, earthquakes.  The best built houses withstand even the harshest of conditions.

Of course, as with any house, it starts with being built on the good foundations.  So, this principle is especially true of those who love the Lord.  We need to train up our children in the truths of God's work, to prepare their heart for the Spirit's work.

That aside, we still must be encouragers, whether our children, or those around us, have made a profession of faith.  We don't want to tear others down with our words or behaviour - we want to be builders, not demolishers!


How should we BE that encourager  though?

Well, for a start, the words that come out of our mouth have SO much power.  The book of Proverbs has a LOT to say about our tongue, and how we speak to others.


"There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health."
Proverbs 12:18

"A wholesome (or healing) tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness (or visciousness) therein is a breach in the spirit." 
Proverbs 15:4

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue"
Proverbs 18:21

Do you see how it talks of the tongue in relation to HEALTH? How we can heal by the words we use?

You think of a small child, who is hurt or worried.  We talk to them in a way that will soothe and comfort them - to make them feel like everything is ok.

The same applies to life in general.  We will encourage by the words we use, and HOW we say them.  We will give them health in their hearts, by how we speak to them, and by what we say. 


" A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1


Oh BOY do I ever find this one hard!  I see other Mums who are so gentle, and here's me struggling to keep calm and use soft words.   If there ever was a verse for me, on bad days,  on most days, it's THIS one. *blush*

The other one I need to be careful with, is sarcasm.  Scots are cursed with the ability to be sarcastic.  I don't think it's appreciated much by my English cohorts, and I must be careful to not use it so much.  We take it as humour in Scotland, but I think it can be offensive down here - people consider it as being condescending, not funny. 

We all know our own hearts and lives, and in what way we need to alter our words and how we say them.


This next verse, in Ephesians, highlights the responsibility we particularly have, regarding the words we use.



"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29


  This then tells us what we SHOULD say.  We need to speak words that will build others up.  That will help them feel better, and stronger - not worse and weaker.   This verse says that they should minister grace to those that hear them.  This means that the hearer will be grateful for what you have said. 



So, how can we encourage our husbands today?

We can thank them for their love.

We can thank them for their provision of a income.

We can thank them for their help in the home.

We can thank them for taking on responsibilities so that we don't have to.

We can thank them for the things they do for us that make us feel loved and appreciated.

We can thank them for SO many things.  I am sure you can think of things that apply to your own circumstances.


In what ways could we thank them?

With our words.

With actions - leave a note, do something nice for them that they will appreciate, buy them a small gift, make something for them - food usually works - give them some extra "lovin'" (*winks*).

How about our children?

We can praise them for a job well done, even when they think they have not done so well.

We can encourage good behaviour.

We can speak to them gently when rebuking and teaching them.

We can be patient with them, even when we feel frustrated.



There are many others who we can encourage, outside of our home. Extended family, friends, our Church family especially,  and even strangers!  Those who are ill, those who feel low, those who are discouraged by circumstances, those who feel they are not doing a good job of being a wife or mother, those who have needs.  SO many ways and people who we can reach out to today.

Even better, we can teach our children to be encouragers, too!  Help them to find ways to encourage those around them - starting at home first.  Doing little things for others.  Being kind in how they speak to each other.  Helping those in need.

So, do it today!  Find someone to encourage! Don't be weary in well-doing - keep at it, even when it's HARD (says the woman who struggles in SO many ways....).

And, more importantly than anything else...start at HOME.







Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A door of utterance

For our family, home-schooling is a conviction.  It is something that we feel is right to do for our family, based on what we read in scripture.

We don't tell everyone else they are wrong if they don't agree with us.

But, it galls me slightly greatly when people tell us we are not doing the right thing.  They use multiple reasons, which those who home-school themselves are all too aware of.  I am not going to get into all of them just now.  I don't have the abundance of time that it would take.  Instead I am just going to focus on one, because during my devotions this morning I came across a verse that made me think of it.

What is that reason?


"You'll miss out on the opportunity to witness to the parents at the school gate."


Yes, you're right, I will.

We can be led to feel that there should be a level of guilt felt because we are missing out on an opportunity that MUST be ours. That we are somehow negligent if we don't have that particular opportunity.  That what we are doing is somehow lesser to this evangelistic opportunity.

I disagree.

We have been incredibly blessed with 7 children, thus far.  They are a truly precious heritage from the Lord.  By God's leading, we have them at home with us.  All. Day.  And, there you have it.  This is my most amazing evangelistic opportunity.  My own children.  I have the opportunity, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to seek out opportunities to show them God's plan of salvation.   To let them see God at work in our hearts and lives EVERY day.  Countless, precious opportunities to show them truths lived out right here.  Right now.


"Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance"
Colossians 4:3


Like Paul, we must plead with the Lord that He would open that "door of utterance".  That our lips would be opened to speak of God's truths to our children.  These tender hearts, that need to hear the gospel.  We have the chance to use our words and ways to utter God's truths to them.

It would be so easy to waste that opportunity.   To neglect the responsibility we have.  To forget the words of Deuteronomy 6 verses 5-7.



"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, 

and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, 

and when thou walkest by the way, 

and when thou liest down, 

and when thou risest up."

Morning, night, right through the day.  Teaching them to love the Lord with every part of their being.  To learn that we love Him, because He first loved us.  What that love looks like lived out in our lives. And, more than anything else, that they should accept God's ultimate love, in salvation - because we are undeserving sinners who can only saved through Christ's atoning death, through love, on Calvary. 

As the hymn-writer put it 

"My every sacred moment spend,
In publishing the sinner's friend".
(from "Give me the faith which can remove", by Charles Wesley)


What a tremendous opportunity we have!  Let's not waste it, but seek the Lord to open that "door of utterance", so that we share the gospel with our children.

Not wanting to neglect a single reader - this should be the desire of every single one of us!  This should be the prayer of us ALL.  That we should speak the gospel with those that we come into contact with every day.  When you read on, you see that Paul was "in bonds" - he was a prisoner, and yet he still sought to share the gospel with whoever he could.  

"Redeeming the time".  

Making the best of the time and opportunities we have.  

Yours may be at the school gate.  

But, mine is right here, in my home - and, oh what a precious opportunity it is.