Monday, 16 April 2012

Music on a Monday?....

Ok, so I have taken a break from my matriarchs! I am, when this hits the net, 3 days overdue, and waiting for my lovely bundle to arrive.

So, I thought I would quickly share a "find".

Good old find lots of things on there, and no matter what the sceptics say, Facebook has been a stack load of encouragement and help to me!

So, I did one of those "let's have a look at what someone else has 'liked' to see what it is".

What did I look at?

The page that directed me to this.... Scripture Lullabies.

If you go to this link you can listen to samples of the tracks on Album I.

They are basically 2 albums of VERY peaceful, and gentle "scripture in song" type songs!  A female and a male soloist, on different songs.  Very calming, and beautiful voices.

They are intended as lullabies for your little ones.

GREAT!  Scripture to play them, to create a peaceful atmosphere!

But, when I started listening to them the other day (I bought Album I first....AND you can download it, which is handy for us Brit's who can't easily get the CD's!), the scriptures really struck me as PERFECT for listening to during labour!!!  They are so encouraging, uplifting and calming....EXACTLY what I would enjoy listening to on my ipod.

So, now I have another job done - nearly 2 hours (yes, I then splurged and bought the second album of songs! *whistles* ) of peaceful listening for labour....if I need longer than 2 hours, then that labour has been TOO long!!!!  Or, I could just hit "repeat" on the ipod!.....

So, have a listen...I  think you will find that they are perfect "easy listening" to calm babies, children and especially stressed out Mums!

And, if I remember, I will come back and do a give away soon!.....remind me if I forget! ;-)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

That dreaded moment.....

The teeny, tiny, precious little clothes are laundered.

The hospital bag is packed.

(can I just mention, there are things in this picture that I do NOT put in my hospital bag...just sayin')

All the baby blankets and sheets are ready to go in the swinging crib.

(But WHICH colour will I be needing?.....hmmmmm......)

The swinging crib is...well, the parts are all sitting in the kitchen, and I am sure it won't take my beloved many moments to put it together!

This is my seventh baby, as most of you may know, so I haven't got a birth plan written.

No, siree.

No detailed notes of the why's and wherefores of my "refined-to-the-last-detail" plan.

Why not?  Because I have learnt that birth just isn't like that! ROBERT is my birth plan.  I go in, tell them the basics upon arrival, and he makes sure that any of my other wishes are followed as necessary.  Never underestimate the value of a well-advised husband, who is able to give instructions with authority!

I need to write my list of people who I need to contact when I have given birth ( 2 lists - 1 of people who are happy to be contacted ANY time, and others who value their sleep more than news of a baby...THAT can wait until the morning, I am told....).

Everything I can do, is done.

I am ready for that blissful moment, when I get to hold my newborn in my arms for the first time....


Usually about now, I have a dreaded moment.

The kind that makes my stomach drop right out the bottom of me, and dread fill my heart.

It's the moment when I realise that in order to welcome the precious new baby into our family,



Suddenly, all those suppressed memories come flooding back.

I am completely convinced that God has given us an amazing ability to blot out the ACTUAL feeling of childbirth, in order that we still want to have more children!

But, that little flutter of dread still happens....usually....

Not this time, though.  It hasn't happened....and I am wondering whether this time, it won't?!

You see, my first 5 births were really not great.  3 assisted deliveries (2 venteuse and 1 forceps), 1 c-section and only 1 "normal", my second birth.  Even at that, it was just ok.  Over 2 hours of pushing is still not my idea of amazing!

Until last time.  It was a VBAC, and I was totally determined to have it.  I simply did NOT want to have another c-section.  Don't get me wrong, the one I had was totally necessary, and a complete work of the Lord that needed to happen in order to preserve Abigail's life. But the recovery is HORRENDOUS compared to a normal delivery.

So, I researched, read, and listened to advice from others.  I learnt how to relax and focus on child birth, and block out everything else around me.  I learnt about how birth SHOULD be, and what I could do to make it happen in the most natural way possible.

And, do you know what?  It happened!!

For the first time ever, I felt the urge to push...and Elijah was born after only about 5 or 6 good pushes, so about 1/2 an hour, instead of 2 hours!

I had prayed, and prayed that I would be given a wonderful birth experience, and God answered my prayer.

So, maybe that's why that dreaded moment has NOT happened!?  Maybe it won't happen at all, because I KNOW I can do it again, through God's strength and enabling!

Yes, I KNOW it hurts.

Yes, I KNOW it's hard work.

But, I know above all else, that God is able.  God is able to bless me with the same wonderful experience as last time, and I HAVE nothing to dread.  There is not a thing that can happen to me, that God is not completely in control of.  That He will not give me the strength for.  That He will not give me the peace in.

So, instead of having a dreaded moment, I plan on having a delightful moment instead.

So, will you pray with me? Will you pray that I have another wonderful birth...that I would have peace, and strength to have a great labour?


Monday, 9 April 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Ruth - Part 4

"Where hast thou gleaned to day?"
Ruth 2:19

I love this verse.

6 words.  Only 6.

But yet, these words ask something so crucial.

So vital to our walk as women living for the Lord.

They are like a diagnosis of our spiritual walk.

A question that delves into the depths of where our heart truly lies.

Where have we gleaned today?

Naomi was asking about where Ruth had gathered from...where she had collected her precious bounty from? The nourishing and energising food, from which they would draw strength.  Without which, they would struggle to survive.

Where have *WE* gathered from today?

Where have we turned to for strength and sustenance?

Where SHOULD we turn to for our strength?....

If we rely only upon ourselves, we will have little.

If we turn to worldly sources - to the news, to trashy magazines or novels, to worldly advice on parenting and our role as wives.

Then we will find no sustenance - no nourishment.

Sound advice, fellowship and friendship from friends and family is good.  But, it's not the source of our strength, and should not be where we glean from over and above anything else.

It's God's Word that we need.  It's HIS field that we need to go and glean in.  To gather the "handfuls of purpose" from the field of our kinsman redeemer.

From our Saviour.

From our Lord.

From that One who gave us life...eternal life.

We echo with Peter...

"Lord, to whom shall we go?"

We should not...CAN not...go to any other for our Daily Bread.

When was Ruth there?...from the morning, right until late in the evening.  Diligently gathering...handful, after handful.  Left for her, under instruction from her kinsman.

Oh, how the Lord has left so many satisfying morsels for us, if we would but search for them...

gather them...

spend our energy...

give up our time...

to glean them.

He WANTS to satisfy our spiritual hunger, and provide for us every day.

But, there is no benefit in leaving those handfuls strewn upon the ground, left to rot away, with no benefit to our souls.  We need to gather it up - to take it in - to seek it with hungry hearts.

To gather it with the same enthusiasm, effort and determination of Ruth.

Oh, we fail you.

How we neglect Thy precious Word.

How we hurry through our day without a thought for that "better part" - of sitting at Thy feet and hearing Thy Word speaking peace and strength in our hearts.

Forgive us, Lord, for thinking we have the strength to manage alone.

Challenge us...

Stir us up...

Lead us on....

to glean in THY fields today, and every day.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Kite

We receive a little monthly publication called "Cheering Words" - it is filled with little stories, anecdotes, quotes and other useful snippets to encourage God's people.

I was reading a backdated issue from a year ago, and came across a poem by John Newton, that struck a cord in my heart.

The Kite and it's string

"Once upon a time a paper kite
Was mounted to a wondrous height,
Where, giddy with its elevation,
It thus expressed self-admiration:
'See how yon crowds of gazing people
Admire my flight above the steeple;
How would they wonder if they knew
All that a kite like me can do?
Were I but free, I'd take a flight,
And pierce the clouds beyond their sight;
But, ah! like a poor prisoner bound,
My string confines me near the ground:
I'd brave the eagle's towering wing,
Might I but fly without a string.'

It tugged and pulled, while thus it spoke,
To  break the string - at last it broke.
Deprived at once of all its stay,
In vain it tried to soar away;
Unable its own weight to bear,
It fluttered downward through the air;
Unable its own course to guide,
The winds soon plunged it in the tide.
Ah! foolish kite, thou hadst no wing,
How couldst thou fly without a string?

My heart replied, 'O Lord, I see
How much this kite resembles me!
Forgetful that by Thee I stand,
Impatient of Thy ruling hand;
how oft I've wished to break the lines
thy wisdom for my lot assigns!
How oft indulged a vain desire
For something more, or something higher!
And, but for grace and love divine,
A fall thus dreadful had been mine."
J Newton

Oh, how like my own foolish heart!  

How we can pull, and pull away from the guiding hand that God has upon our hearts.  

That we can think that our own plans must be the right ones - how we would get on so much better if we could just be free of the restraints that God, in His wisdom, has upon our life.

That OUR plans, which seem to be so wise and good, must surely be as good as the way that God is guiding us?

Surely being buffeted about, this way, and that way - thinking God is leading us one way, when, SNAP....he draws another way.  Surely THAT is not as good as the smooth and easy way that we can see for ourselves, without change and rise and fall.

Just like the kite, we think we can soar, smoothly, to higher and greater heights...

These commitments that God has placed in our life - if we could just change them - pass them onto someone else - then we could soar to great heights for the Lord?  What greater ministry opportunities we could seek, if we could free ourselves from the "strings" of family, and home?....

But, may we learn from the picture that John Newton "drew" for us, in his words from hundreds of years ago.

We cannot bear our own weight, in the winds of life.  We have no ability in ourselves to rise to any height at ALL.  It is GOD alone who maps out our course, keeping a firm hold upon the strings, to guide us, and keep us in the place where HE would have us to be.

Cut our strings, and we would fall, like the kite, down into the tide of life - sunken in the "tide" of despair, instead of where we should be, guided and controlled by GOD'S hand. 

May we be content to rise high in the winds of life, controlled by the hands of God.

 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, 2 April 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Ruth - Part 3

Today, I am taking a leaf out the book of my Preacher Husband.

No, I am not planning an alliterated sermon!

He would say, when studying through a book, that you cannot possibly deal with every little detail.  So, in like manner, I am jumping on through the book a little, to part way down chapter 2.

There are a lot of little golden nuggets, on the way to the verse that struck me.

We see Ruth's willingness to work.

We see the kindness and generosity of Boaz.

But, the words that struck me were these...

"under whose wings thou art come to trust."
Ruth 2:12

The Bible is SUCH a wonderful book, packed full of wonderful pictures that illustrate the character of God. 

This picture really struck a cord in my heart.  It conjures up such a beautiful picture - a picture of security, of safety, of refuge of comfort.

Th dictionary defintion of "trust", is this...

"Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something"

Obviously, in our lives, that is in GOD.

Ruth firmly believed that God was all truth - that he was reliable, able and strong.  And so, she packed up and went to Bethlehem with Naomi.

She didn't presume that she would have things work out the way they fact, when you consider that she was married for 10 years before her husband died, she wasn't even young and typically "eligible".

She simply knew that God was the one, true God and she needed to put her trust in Him.

And, how was her trust evidenced? her actions.  She travelled away from her home land - she helped to support Naomi - she went out and found work in a foreign land, where she would have been considered an outsider, and potentially rejected by the maidens around her.

She didn't hide away in her home - she trusted God, and His perfect plan for her.

It all sounds so simple on the surface, but just today, my trust is being tested.

My baby has been flipping between travsverse, oblique, the odd moment in the correct presentation, and now I am fairly sure that the baby is breech. At nearly 39 weeks.

I am going to be honest, here.  I am finding it realllllllly hard to trust.  I am finding it incredibly difficult not to panic and worry...about potential dangers of going into labour with the baby in the wrong position, OR (my biggest "fear") of having to have another c-section.

It's so easy, humanly speaking, to see only the problems...only see the fears...and the struggles.  I *know* how hard recovery is, following a c-section, and it's not my idea of fun.... the issues beyond that just crowd my mind.

But Ruth...dear, precious Ruth.  She had so much peaceful trust, that others could see it evidenced in her life. She didn't just "talk the talk" - she "walked the walk".

Ultimately, she was saying "thy will be done".

When we are trusting ourselves to be under the Lord's wings, we are placing ourselves in a place that He has complete control.  We are CHOOSING to leave behind any protection that we can provide for ourselves, and trust ONLY in His will and guidance.

It shouldn't be a hard choice, really.

I mean, who wouldn't choose to be in the safety and comfort of that place where you rely totally upon God's protection?

But the flesh wants to fight.  So, today, I need to leave my flesh behind, and run into that place of trust, and safety.  I need to place my concerns into God's hands, and leave them there.

Let me clarify...I am not going to leave aside the wisdom that God has given us...I will try and do the things which have been shown to turn a baby...I WILL contact my midwife and chat through the options.

But, that's not the main's the trust.  It's the peace that comes from the knowledge that whatever happens, it's what God wants, because He has me under His wings. That I cannot come to harm when His protection is upon matter how it may seem humanly speaking.

It's a hard lesson.

It's a vital lesson.

I didn't mean my lesson from Ruth to become all about me.  I'm sorry! *wry grin* But, this was the verse the Lord laid on my heart over a week ago, waaaaaay before this baby started the shenanigans.  If I can't apply the matter of trust in THIS situation, then when can I?

There are so many other verses that speak about this picture, of us being in the safety of God's "wings".  Robert even read one in his scripture reading at Church last night!

So, I will leave you (and myself) to mull over these following verses.  If there is an area that you are struggling with, in placing your trust entirely in the Lord, then I pray that you, too, will run to Christ, and place all your worries in His hands, and rest in peace "under His wings".

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:"
Deuteronomy 32:11  

"hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
Psalm 17:8 

"for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge"
Psalm 57:1

"I will trust in the covert of thy wings."
Psalm 61:4

"Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." 
Psalm 63:7

 "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:"
Psalm 91:4