Thursday, June 30, 2011

Five Books That Have Changed My Life

A friend of mine has asked me to share a list of five books that have changed my life. It was very difficult to only choose five, bit I am very happy with the selection.
Each one of the books below challenged me on some level. I believe the process of change only comes through challenge, that seems to be God's way.  In compiling the list I am now thinking of continuing on to complete a list of movies next.  Anyone want to join me?

The Bible by God
This book literally gave me the key to new life.  God can speak to anyone through the bible.  I was 16, and really messed up. I picked up the bible and decided I wanted to know who won in the end.  The first book I ever read in the bible was Revelation.  Yes Revelation, in the New King James Version, and I understood it.  It was clear to me what God was doing and saying and I accepted Jesus, there and then.  When I called out to him, I felt and saw the darkness leave my bedroom, and two weeks later I was healed of ongoing illness that had gripped me for two years.  This book is more than a book.  It is God's lifesaver, thrown out to whoever will hold on for the ride. 

Jesus Freaks by DC Talk
This book is like a modern Voice of the Martyrs.  It is filled with short accounts of people that have been tremendously persecuted for their faith and were strengthened and upheld by God to persevere.  When I read this book it opened my eyes to the suffering and persecution that goes on, worldwide for the sake of loving Jesus.  It spoke to my heart about being bold and courageous and fighting and standing for what you believe in, no matter the cost.

Like a Mighty Wind by Mel Tari
Like a Mighty Wind is written by an Indonesian man of a local church that was part of a mighty revival in their country.  This book taught me about transformation both personal change and impacting communities through obedience to God.  It taught me to listen to God and act to see the miraculous in my everyday life.

A Message From God by Retha McPherson
This book is about the true story of Retha and her son Aldo.  Aldo was seriously injured in a car accident and had a heavenly encounter with Jesus and with God.  This follows the the story of their life's transformation through hardship.  It inspired me to always trust in God's promises and believe no matter what you see.  Interestingly enough, God placed this book in my path about a year before my little Sam's diagnosis.  I still follow Retha's writing to this day and can't wait to read her other books.

Sam's Heart byNicole Watson
I guess this one is different from the others because it is the book I wrote, not one that I've read.  Our journey was life changing yes, but it is the process of writing that was a surprise to me.  God used this book to bring closure and assurance to my heart with every passage we wrote together.  It taught me to share all of the parts of my heart with others for the good of His Kingdom. As I wrote, it was as if the any residual feeling of the experience were taken from me, and although it is still a part of my life's journey, the soul wounds have been healed.  It changed my life, by ending one part of my life adventure and offering a new beginning.

Thanks to Jo @ Princess Warrior Lessons

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pruning Hurts

I haven't posted recently, because I haven't felt like I had anything inspiring to share.  Instead I will just share what is going on in our somewhat lively day to day adventures.
True to my usual form I have been trying to plan everything, make lists, and find a new home in a new state, all of which have fallen flat on their face.  At every turn God keeps reminding me that I have to let go, lay it all at his feet and wait.  I am not good at waiting.  I am trying to learn, but God knows I am slow to learn.  Trying to find a home interstate is almost impossible,as rental properties in Victoria need to be viewed before they can be rented.  So while I was desperately trying to find a way around that, God provided a few weeks on campus at the College at the student accommodation, that we will need to pay for, but it will provide opportunity for us to find a home.  One step at a think I would know the rhythm of his pace by now, and still I try to run ahead and do it my own way.  I still have this inbuilt desire to provide stability and a smooth transition for my family which I have to continually relinquish to God.  It is not a simple and easy process but something that must be done many times a day.  There's a whole lot of repenting going on at the moment.  God is pruning away the dead wood, preparing for the new growth in the new season.
The next thing I do is try and plan costs for everything, and as I do I become increasingly frustrated because it doesn't balance out.  I try to see into the future and think about all of the costs and make sure we have enough to cover them.  We don't.  So then I have to give it all back to God and tell him I can't do it.  I need him to be our provision on this path he has us walking.  Empathise with me if you will.  There is at least one budgeter in every family, and God does want us to prepare somewhat, but He does not want us to say'

...“Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. (James 4:13-14)

I cannot plan ahead for what I cannot see.  We will be in Melbourne 18 months or so, and then who knows where.  I can't plan for that, and God doesn't want me too.  Already he is reminding me that he is in control.  We didn't have enough money to complete the move to Melbourne, so God had someone remind me that we can stop the payments on our home, and use that mortgage money now, and we also got a bonus that we weren't expecting.  God is our provider.  This is what I struggle with at the moment.

God has reminded me that it is my job to be a good mummy on the ground now, not to worry about the future.  It is my job to make sure my little boys are OK with this move, that my husband feels supported and that the house is ready to go to it's new owners.

And so the scripture God gave me, his promise, keeps repeating in my head about every 10 minutes:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.(Matthew 6:33)

Pruning hurts but already I feel renewed and more prepared to face this new adventure.  I recognize the strong and firm hands of my God, as he gently but resolutely cuts away the dead wood.  It reminds me that he is changing me from day to day into the likeness of Jesus, so all is well with my soul.

If you would like to hear more about the calling that Don and I are embarking on read the post - The Calling

Thursday, June 23, 2011

W.O.W. Wow

Yesterday was such a strange day.  In the morning we were disappointed to learn that the contract to sell our home had fallen through.  Don and I spent the morning searching God because he had told us both separately that this was the time.  We rallied our friends to pray.  Something just didn't feel right.  We did not have God's peace.  We praised God anyway in the midst of our uneasiness. 

I started to question if I had heard God right, if he really wanted us to go to MAF at all.  I asked him to send a buyer for our home that day, and to not put me to shame when I had faith in His promises. I cried and asked his forgiveness for doubting him but I needed a to know that I wasn't crazy!

An hour before Don left to go to work, we received a phone call from the real estate with another offer from different buyers on our home.  We negotiated over last night and we agreed on a price today.  The contract will be signed over the next few days. WOW.

I really don't know what to say.  God saved me from shame, he was faithful to his promises as he always is.  Why don't I learn, after all we have been through with Him?  I feel just like Israel in the Old testament as they meandered from obedience to unfaithfulness.  I cried more then, and asked God's forgiveness for my human frailty, lack of wisom and lack of faith.  And as I told him how much I loved him he said 'Just as this promise has been fulfilled so will Sam's heart be whole.  So will he testify of my goodness to all men.  So will he be a display of my mercy and power upon the earth.  Just keep your eyes upon me and do not be anxious for anything'  Amen Lord, amen.

So what does this mean for us.  It means a great many things.  It means the time of rest here in Pittsworth is coming to close.  It means that the time of waiting is over and the time of preparation for missionary service has begun.  So now we prepare, pack and move to Melbourne, for Don to begin study.  I don't know what this will all look like yet, but it will likely happen over the next month.

I beg you for prayer. We have experienced fierce opposition in recent weeks from the enemy.  I would ask that you cover us with God's protection and the blood of Jesus.  I would ask that you pray for the  house contract to be finalised without any hitches and hiccups.  I would ask that you pray for peace of mind for us all as we navigate this new path, especially for the boys.  And finally I ask that you praise God with me for the mighty blessings he has bestowed upon us. 

Let the fun and games begin...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worship While I Wait

YOU are holy no matter how I feel,
YOU are mighty no matter what I see,
YOU are righteous in the darkness,
You are blinding in splendour,
YOU consume and refine the whole of me,
I am undone...I am undone...
I am lost and found each moment seeking YOU,
Less of me each day and more of YOU,
Broken and reborn by YOUR love,
Until there is only YOU.

(Written by Nicole Watson)

Another time...

The pendulum ride is over.  Our home is not sold, so here we remain for the next ...

I would be lying if I said I was was not disappointed but I am happy to be wherever God wants until his time is right.

Thank you for your prayers.  They mean so much to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Want To Call Her Stacey

At the conference over the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting the creator of this short animated film about a baby's life in the womb before abortion.  It is powerful, emotive and extremely beautiful.  Zac Bavas has with great care and thoughtfulness created a visual masterpiece that gives a very different view of pregnancy from the baby's perspective.  You get to see the baby grow and change.  You get to hear what the baby hears as she grows-the good and the bad.  And then you get to see the terrible truth of abortion- light entering the womb, a frightened baby, and then nothing.  Zach and the film team have woven this film together without being gory and unreal.  It is truthful and I can tell you, I cried uncontrollably.  I cried because this is the future that was offered to us for Sam and many other babies on a day to day basis.  Did you know that in Victoria it is legal to kill babies up until birth and if they survive the birth they can just be left to die?  That law was passed in October 2008, 10 days after Sam's birth. In the very state and city where he was given the chance to live.  And yet our government recently stopped the ban on all live cattle exports because of animal cruelty.  God help us.

I have included the link to where you can buy the movie for only $10.  It may not be something you will watch every day but I can guarantee it once you see it, you will never be the same again.  If you are interested in saving the lives of unborn babies and also supporting and loving their mums, I would encourage you to have a look.  Please pray for Australia's mothers and babies and also for our government.

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’(Matthew 25:45)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pendulums Do Not Rock

I have never been fond of pendulums.  When I was young, there was a big ride at the fun park that was a giant ship on a pendulum, that swung high into the air backwards and forwards, backwards ad forwards, back and forw.., ba... and for....
I felt so sick when I got off of the ride, that I will never do it again.  Nor did I enjoy the swells out to sea while whale watching.  My inside don't cope well with the ebb and tide of the rocking. And so it is with the current pendulum I see to find myself riding.  It is always a thrill when you first begin the ride and then after a while it is just not funny anymore and you want to get off.  Did you hear me I want to get off!

Now before you think I've lost my mind and call mental health services, let me explain.  Since we have had our home for sale we have had 3 false alarms with buyers for our home.  Meaning that we prepare ourselves mentally for what may be a move and even begin to prepare physically, only to find that it all falls through.  It is wearing and I am over it.  Because we are moving interstate it is no small feat and if we get the green light then we need to act quickly.  Tomorrow is the cut off day for us.  If nothing comes of the contract by tomorrow we will be here another 6 months.  And oh how happy I will be to finally leap off the pendulum and rest my weary mind and spirit. 
We want to move on and do all God had prepared us to do but only once we are able to sell our home to finance it.  So I wonder if you can pray for us over the next few days.

For me to hold on bravely and with peace in my heart and head.  For me to be be a good wife and mum when my head is thinking about other things.  For God's will to be done with our home (we are facing tremendous resistance from the enemy), and for us to praise God though it all regardless of which way it turns out.  I am stumbling at the moment and just need your help. Thanks friends.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Speaking Up to Cherish Life

Sensational, would be the word I use to describe the past weekend.  The Cherish Life Conference in Brisbane was well prepared, presented and was a blessing to all involved.  The speakers were excellent and I learned much and was challenged by some of the information put forward.  I do like a challenge. I loved speaking, it felt so natural and to share our story barely required me to look at my notes.  So I think it came over well.  I made people laugh and cry, so I believe it did. 

I met the most amazing people and God orchestrated many meetings that were God incidents (I don't believe in coincidence).  There was even a beautiful woman with whom I spoke, that was not told about the surgeries in Melbourne and lost her precious baby (who had the same heart condition as Sam) as a result.  This is why I must continue to speak!  This is why I want people to read our book.  We need to raise awareness and save more lives and more souls.
I met doctors, members of parliament, advocates, mothers, fathers and lovers of God.  Each has there own story to share of God's work in their lives, in the good times and the bad.  Each has their own gifts and talents.  However we all share one thing in common; a heart and purpose to see that all life is protected and cherished.  I will leave you with some photos of our time in the city. I am hoping to obtain conference photos and video sometime soon, and will upload that later. 

The country mouse in the city

Good times, just the two of us...

My big day, time to tell our story and speak up for those that can't.

Following is the final part of my speech from the day...

I imagine…

I imagine a day when life is considered precious in all of its forms.

I imagine a day when there are no more remorseful and regretful parents.

I imagine a day when pregnancy is considered a blessing and not an inconvenience.

I imagine a day when babies are recognised in the womb as babies.

I imagine a day when the elderly, and the ill are given every opportunity to live and not feel a burden.

I imagine a day when all of humanity celebrates and gives thanks for the time they have been given on the earth.

I imagine a day when the least important in the world become the most important.

I imagine a compassionate and loving humanity that knows how to cherish life.

Will you be bold enough to imagine with me?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cherish Life

On Saturday, I am honoured to be speaking at the Annual Cherish Life Conference, in Brisbane.  Did you know that if we had chosen not to cherish life, Sam would not be alive today?  One of the options given to us as a treatment for Sam's condition, was to terminate his life.  I am so blessed that we have our little boy.  Each minute we have with him is precious and wonderful.  And yes, he is living life to the full.  Even if it hadn't turned out this way and Sam had gone home to heaven soon after birth, we still would not have regretted our decision. I got to hold my baby.  I got to look into his eyes and tell him how much I love him.  As it turns out many diagnosis of babies conditions in utero are often misjudged, incomplete or just plain wrong.  So when I was asked to speak I was quick to jump at the chance to tell our story.

I have since found there is much stigma involved with those who actively work to protect the lives of the unborn.  These people are not pushy, placard holding, aggressive protestors, but genuinely loving people that want to give a voice to those who do not yet have a voice; the unborn babies.  When I first shared with some people that I was going to tell our story at the conference the responses were guarded 'I guess, it's ok if you really want to get involved in that sort of thing.'

Oh yeah!  You'd better believe it, I will not be silent when I have a chance to save another precious bub who has been given no hope.  I will not be silent when there are Mums and Dad's out there hurting, having to make heart wrenching decisions about their lives and that of their baby.  Neither will I be silent when the Mum's who have aborted their little bubs, grieve and hurt each day of their lives thereafter.  This is not about being militant.  It is about love in it's most truest sense.  There is no greater lay than to lay down one's life for his friends.  If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.  I am wiling to take a battering for the take of saving a life.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."-Edmund Burke

I look forward to having the most wonderful time on the weekend with my marvelous husband and when we return home, we get to see this:

because we chose to cherish Sam's life.

Will you please pray that I will speak well and be courageous :)  Thanks xx

Stand Your Ground

First we have to know who we are in Christ-Put on Your Tiara

Then we have to fight-Pick Up Your Sword

Finally, we have to stand our ground!

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.(Ephesians 6:13)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.(1 Corinthians 16:13)

After we have done all that God asks of us, we must stand firm in victory.  It is in victory, that we let our guard down.  It is in victory, that the enemy of pride comes in to tempt us.  It is in pride, that we will fall.  Picture it in your minds eye, you have battled long and hard, and God has given you the victory.  You are weary, battle wounded, and long for rest.  And rest you should, but there is something you need to do before you rest.  You need to praise God!  You need to sing his praises and give Him all of the glory.  If you win the battle, and forget to hand over the prize to the champion, you will be cut down by pride.  This is not an easy word to hear.  We like to take the honour. We like to hear people say:

Her faith has got her through 

She has overcome every obstacle.

You deserve all the good things you have coming to you, because you persevered.

If we let these praises rest in our hearts, they grow and bloom into the weed of pride.  Make sure you give all of the honor to the One who got you through, the One who overcame every obstacle, and the One who gave your strength to persevere.

It is here that we draw the line in the sand for the enemy and declare in victory:

This far and no further!  This ground belongs to Jesus.  All glory and honour to Him.

This the place where we can rest.  This is the place where we have taken the ground for the King.  

..but remember even a city in victory does not let down it's guard...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pick Up Your Sword!

Now that we have put on our tiara's/crowns(read here), God is calling us to a higher purpose.  God has told us that the difficulties and challenges that we face each day, are not fought with our hands and feet, but with the spirit (Ephesians 6:12).  I believe it is high time we stop complaining about our situations and circumstances, and standing in our royal garb, take up the sword.  I see a stirring in the people of God after many years of defeat, a stirring that is awakening the warrior within.  No longer are his people content to whinge about the weather, their latest ailment or their financial situation.  There is a change happening deep within the human spirit, that has been emerged through the signs of the times.  I think we have finally come to realise that we are a catalyst for change.  We have been given power from on high to affect change on the earth.  We are able to do nothing without God in us, but by Him we can do all things(Phil 4:13).  He is empowering us by Holy Spirit.

In this last week we have had a tumultuous time of waiting. We are waiting to see if our home will sell, if we are moving interstate, we are waiting on Sam to be healed, we are waiting to hear if Don passes his medical, and we are waiting to see if the college will take Don mid year.  So much waiting and trusting and hoping.  And while all of this goes on, the enemy of discouragement comes.  This last week has seen us in the emergency department with Sam with suspected concussion.  An ambulance ride at 11.30pm, only to arrive home and well by 3.30am.  The enemy's pathetic attempt to keep us distracted and defeated.  We have had difficulties with home buyers, our finances, and a number of other problems.   It is these times on the front lines that our character is tested. 
With God's help we have learned again and again that this is not the time to accept the lies, become distracted and put your head under a pillow and scream.  This is the time when you take up your sword!  This is the time when you deal the enemy his biggest blow.  When you are on the back foot, the last thing he expects is for you to run and charge with sword drawn.
Shout God's promises, read them, meditate upon them.  Train your mind to block out all negative thoughts and desires.  Sing your heart out, even while the tears pour down.  I have people say to me, 'That all sounds very spiritual, but this is a real problem'

What we see before us is not the reality of what we fight.  The reality of the fight is in the spirit, and when we stand our ground there, we see the problems before our eyes and in our heart, transformed into blessing. 

Will you draw you sword brother and sister?  Will you stand with me on the battle ground?  Will you bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to Earth to prepare the way for the King?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Put On Your Tiara

This post is a little more in depth than my others, but worth the read if you will stay with me :)

You know how it is.  God gives you a scripture and it is burned like a brand upon your heart and mind. I am not talking about a memory verse, but one that has been planted in your spirit by God.  As you go about the day to day, the same words keep coming to you.  You face a challenge or difficulty, and the words literally jump up from your heart and jolt your brain.  That scripture for me for the last 6 months has been Matthew 6:33.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)

This word from God for me is amazing.  Any time I start to doubt in our future, Sam's healing, our finances, the boy's behaviour,  or my relationships with friends and family, this is God's answer.  It is a rock solid promise and I hold onto it with everything I've got.  When I speak it out loud I feel the fear and insecurity pick up tail and run.  I love that it affirms who God is, and the simplicity of walking in the ways of Jesus.

Today I did some further research into the original meanings of the words before they were translated.  I don't often do this but I was prompted.  What I discovered both delighted me and challenged me.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else...

Seek means to look for; (latin word quaerite)

Kingdom of God means; kingly government, royal authority, kingship and royalty (latin word regnum)

all else means; first (latin word primus)

I always thought seeking the Kingdom of God meant to seek after the things of God.  These words just made the meaning all the more richer. We are to be governed by the King, we are to exercise royal authority and act as royalty to seek God.  This means that when troubles come we don't slink back and hide in a corner, we stand upright, lift our eyes to God and proclaim his government over earth, and over our problems.  We bring the Kingdom down to touch earth!  How awesome is this? I now love latin!  This is where we speak our faith.

...and live righteously...

The latin words here mean to follow all of Gods laws, to walk in His ways (Latin words et iustitiam eius.).  This is where we do our faith.  And remember faith without works is dead (James 2:26)

...and he will give you...

The latin for these words was my favourite discovery.  The word adicientur means to throw, cast to, fling at, put, put to or set near.  I literally had to stop myself laughing to type this.  God is saying speak and live your faith in Me and I will pitch what you need to you with great haste and urgency.  I love this I can almost see God dispatching his angels with great haste to aid his royal children upon the earth.  I also had the very comical picture of Jesus rolling up his sleeve, and pitching his help down to us from Heaven, but that is just my imagination.  I can't help it if God made me weird! :)

...everything you need.

omnia, means all and every, and the words 'you need' come from the latin vobis which is also comical.  It is a rhetorical kind of phrase meaning "Who knows more than you? I do."  This is where God tells us that He knows what we need and he affirms that He is in control.  I love this word and all that is implies. 

I wonder if you have a verse that God has given you for a special season of your life?  Please share if you would like.  I would love to hear from you.  I hope this hasn't been too heavy.  The colourful language and the rich beauty and fullness it adds to God's promise to me, was something I wanted to share with you. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bible Stories Unleashed

As a child I remember being read exciting and dashing tales from the bible. Stories about life and death, sacrifice and slavery, and power and glory.  The truth was not held back from me.  The pictures in the bible story books were realistic and did not cover up vital elements of the story.  I remember asking many questions as the stories shocked me and penetrated deep down in my heart.  It was the truth of these stories that would later pave my own path on my way to the foot of the cross.  I vividly remember seeing children as a part of the crowd drowning in the Biblical flood and having to work through that with my Grandma and with God too.  It challenged me but made the story real to me too.
(Image source:The Bible for Children-Retold by Bridget Hadaway & Jean Atcheson, Cathay Books 1973)
Children’s bible stories today have been watered down and placated at the risk of exceeding a 'G rating'.  The characters in the pictures are often over animated and the words so dull, it is no wonder that our children go searching for more exciting, more adventurous, more dangerous entertainment.  I remember reading to my 3 year old son the biblical account of the battle of David and Goliath from my own bible.  As I read, I came to parts of the story I could have skipped or glossed over, the insults that were hurled at David, the retort from David’s own lips, the fact that David decapitates Goliath with his own sword.  However I chose to leave those details in.  I chose to give the real the account portrayed in the bible and see what God would do.  I saw my son’s eyes come alive! I saw him gasp in excitement and ask a multitude of questions.  I was amazed.  He was not terrified; he was enthralled, to the point that he could repeat the words said by both characters.  The next day was filled with playing out the story.  The Bible was alive to Him.  God was speaking to his young heart and leaving an imprint there.

It is no wonder that children are enamoured with Ben 10, Spiderman and every other action hero.  Children crave adventure and excitement.  The Bible is jam packed with vivid tales and truth from beginning to end.   We dearly need to embrace this and share it with our children, so that there is nothing more exciting than God and his adventures with his people.  When our children can learn to value and love the past, they can readily and enthusiastically embrace their future with God too.

Lets look at a quick example from the Gospels.

Jesus wakes up one morning and as he and the disciples push the boat out onto the lake, they asked where they are going that day.  Jesus tells them they are going across the lake to Gedara.  The disciples recoil in terror.  Hushed whispers come over them as they pile into the boat.  Gedara was the residing place a crazy demon possessed man.  They had heard the rumours of this man that was unable to be bound by rope or shackles that had superhuman strength and power and beat and hurt whoever came near.  He cut himself with sharp rocks and was covered in blood and caked dirt.  He lived in the tombs outside of the town and at night, the townspeople could hear him howl and moan in the darkness.   Why would Jesus want to go there? As the boat drew close to the edge of the beach at Gedara, the disciples began to shake with fear as they heard the howls of the mad man.  Jesus was steadfast and undeterred, focused and calm.  He had come to pick a fight.   They all disembarked the boat and started through the tombs and hills toward the town.  At once the demon possessed man ran at Jesus………and bowed low at his feet.  The disciples looked at each other in confusion.  The madman shrieked in a high pitched tone “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  In the name of God I beg you, don’t torture me!” Jesus replied firmly,” Come out of the man, you evil spirit. What is your name?

And so you know how the story ends, a man is delivered. The town lost their supply of pork and the Kingdom of God prevailed over the kingdom of darkness.  What an exciting and dramatic account!  (Story compiled from Mark 5:1-18)
(Amazing storytelling credited to Nicole Conner)
I am not suggesting that we terrorise our young children so they can’t sleep at night, only that we are honest in our portrayal of the bible.  We want our children excited to embrace the bible, the good the bad and the ugly.  We want them to be inspired to share it with their friends.  We want the Spirit of God to work in their hearts from a young age.

We work so hard at trying to protect our children from many things in this fallen world.   The bible is a wonderful teaching tool to challenge our children’s thinking and guide them along the right path, all while engaging their imaginations and heart.  God’s Word truly is a treasure for every family.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Learning How To Rest

I don't remember exactly when it happened.  It was in my teens that I became aware of it.  The fact that if I was not busy, then I must be lazy.  I think it kind of meshes well with today's lifestyle.  We get up, and go go go, until we drop into a chair at the end of the day exhausted. While there is some sort of satisfaction in having done a hard days work, I can honestly say there are many days that I get to the end and say, "Wow, I'm exhausted and I don't even know what I achieved today."  There seems to be so much emphasis on being all we can be, having all we can have, and doing all we can do, that the essential element of rest has been lost.  Now rest is seen as indulgent, a bit naughty and even sinful, when God never intended it to be. 

I will share two exciting tidbits from the bible about rest that may help to frame this thought.

...And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.(Genesis 1:3)

When God separated darkness from light, the evening came first.  The time of rest came first, then followed by the day.  This amazed me.  I thought that day came first and then the night.  Instead evening was the first, a time of rest and refreshment, followed by the new day.  We must rest and be ready to for each new day and the challenges that come with it.

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:23-25)

Even in the midst of the storm Jesus rested. I absolutely love this passage.  It is crazy!  The boat is about to capsize and Jesus is sound asleep.  Can you imagine the noise, the rocking, the water drenching through to your skin?  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be sleeping.
We cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by our circumstances.  Jesus knew who he was, he knew who his Father was, and so he kept his eyes and heart firmly fixed on the one who orders his days.  We do ourselves no favours; running ourselves down and trying to get through our 'to do lists'.  We need to start living with purpose and peace, not for process and product.  When the world around us starts getting demanding, we have to learn to shift our focus back to our God.  We must rest in Him, and live our daily lives with purpose and satisfaction, not to complete tasks, but to please God.  Not only will our weary bodies then find the rest they need, but it also strips away the pride of 'getting it all done'.

So I am still learning how to rest.  It is not easy, but Jesus is a patient teacher.  The two things I must continually remember are:

1. Rest before Action

2. We must know who we are in Jesus, and keep our heart beating as one with his.

Then we will find perfect rest, in the day to day tasks of our lives, and  even in the midst of the most ferocious of tempests.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I love plants.  I love growing plants, propagating plants, nurturing them and enjoying them.  It does my heart good to walk in the garden at different times of the day, and enjoy the sights, sounds and scents that nature provides.  I love how each of the plants responds to seasons and circumstances.  Many times in the bible Jesus uses plants to describe our relationship with God.  Here are some of the beautiful things we can learn from the seasons in the garden.

To survive the intense heat of the Summer we need to make sure that we have roots that go deep, to streams of living water. Though we may be heat stressed and weary, this is also a time of strong growth, encouraging us to put down strong roots for the next season. Summer is also the time of rain and storms, which refresh us and wash us clean. 

 Autumn is when all of the dead leaves fall away.  We are often pruned in this time to make way for the new growth in the Spring. It is a time of rest and stripping away.

Winter is a season when we are often dormant. A time of standing fast and waiting.  A time of weathering through the harsh frost and icy winds.  To stand strong in this time of this time you must have put down deep roots in the Summer months.

Spring is the season of new life, new growth and new adventure. Definitely where we would like to live most of our days.  However did you know that without the Summer heat and rain our roots would fail to grow deep enough?  Without the rest of Autumn, our lives would be short lived and overly burdened.  Without the cold frosty Winter, our buds may fail to bloom and give fruit.

Each Season holds it's own beauty and purpose, both for the plants of the earth and the children of God.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecc 3:1)

If you have the time read more of this passage here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Want To Be a Tree Hugger

Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages better than gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies,
nothing you desire can compare with her.
She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honour in her left.
She will guide you down delightful paths;
always her ways are satisfying.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.
(Proverbs 3:13-18)

Put's a whole new perspective on being a tree hugger doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Born to Bless

Did you know that we were born to bring pleasure and glory to God?  That is why he created us.  So we could have a relationship with him.  Today I want to talk about what is means to live in the Kingdom of God, walking a life of blessing.

Through the recent years of our lives there are two words that I have systematically worked to remove from my vocabulary - luck and coincidence

Growing up I seem to have soaked up a great number of words that I have had to change over the years as I grow closer to God.  There are also a great many words that have embedded deep within my soul as the word of God grows in my heart. 

People use ‘luck’ very freely today. 

I’m lucky I didn’t need any further surgery’

‘Luck was on my side.’

Only when we really hear what we are saying, do we realise the implications for our life and relationship with God. When our youngest son Sam was diagnosed with a rare heart condition I didn’t put that down to bad luck.  As I watched Sam and the rest our family, overcome one obstacle after another, God spoke to me about removing the word ‘luck’ and adding the word blessing.  You see when we bless and are blessed we are actively acknowledging our Creator God in every part of our lives.

Let’s try replacing ‘luck’ with ‘blessed’:

I am so blessed to not need further surgery.

‘God was on my side.’

When we change the way we speak and think, it also changes the way we relate to God.  We begin to give him credit where credit is due.  He has a plan and purpose for each of our lives; nothing is left to mere chance or luck.  There is purpose in everything God does.  The bible tells us ‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Rom 8:28)  Here we read that God has a purpose for each of us. For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.(Ecc 3:1) And here we read that there is a time, designated by God for each part of our lives.  Even the outcome of the casting lots for Jesus garments at the crucifixion (John 20:24), which could be seen as gambling or luck, was foretold in the Old Testament book of Psalms (22:18) Not one event in our lives can be attributed to luck.

Words have the power to transform lives.  As mums this is very important for us to understand and embrace.  When we bless we are blessed, when we curse, we are cursed.  I don’t know about you but I want my family to live in God’s blessing.

If we are to believe that there is a purpose and a time for everything under heaven, then there is no such thing as coincidence either-only God incidents.  We like to acknowledge them as God moments, miracles and interventions, but in reality God incidents can be a regular and everyday part of our lives; if we are willing to acknowledge God for them.  There is nothing lackluster about walking in thankfulness and unbridled faith in God.  It is intoxicating and contagious.  Watch what happens around you when you openly begin to praise God for everything he does in your life.  Your children will begin to copy your behaviour, your friends will notice a difference in you, and your husband will recognise your love for God.  Living in the blessing God provides has a flow on effect.   

Open your mouth with purpose to praise God for all he does in your life and watch your life slowly be transformed, to one that reflects what it means to live in the Kingdom of God.

The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)

Will you join me?  Let us all testify of all of God’s goodness in our lives and dance under the blessing that pours down from Heaven.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Will You Pray?

As many of you know, God has called Don and our family, to serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  To read more about that calling click here.  We have had our home for sale since late last year and have been waiting, praying and living in expectation. 
In recent weeks we have signed a contract on our home subject to the sale of the buyers home. It included a clause that after 21 days, other people can offer to buy our home.  That 21 days ends next Monday, and we have another buyer interested in our home.  So next week should be very interesting.
To make things a little more exciting we also found out that Don maybe able to start his flying training mid July, so that would mean moving to Melbourne as soon as the house is sold. 
It is quick.  But if this is what God wants we are happy,we are ready in our heart and heads, we just need to get moving on the ground!  However we will know nothing for certain until late next week.
So with all of this going on I asking for your prayer.  It is all out of our hands, which I love, because I know it is all in God's hands. There is simply no better place to be.

And here is where we  continually just hold it all up to God and say 'Take it all.'  Every day as we get up and then lay down to sleep we pray the same thing.  Will you please join with us?
I guess I would ask that you would pray for us to have peace and courage.  That all will go well according to God's plans and purposes for us and that each part of the plan will fall into place in his timing.  I am also asking him for confirmation about the move mid year.  I have received scriptural confirmation but he knows me, I always look for more than one :)

And to make this all the more action packed, this week I have a Sam's Heart book signing on Saturday and then the Cherish Life Conference the following week at which I get to speak and share our story. 

This is not a blog where I will pretend that I have it all together.  I don't, and never will this side of glory.  But I will be real and share our struggles and fears.  I will ask for prayer because the bible tells us to love and encourage one another.  Thank you for listening and praying alongside us.  May God bless you inside and out. xx

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Story of a Necklace

I want to share something with you that on the outside may seems petty in it's significance, but it's emotion runs soul deep.

Yesterday morning as I prepared the boy's breakfast I was a little frazzled.  I had been trying to keep them quiet as Don had been on night shift, and was trying to sleep, and they were being unusually noisy. I had told them to be quiet a number of times, and then it happened.  Jack picked up the necklace.

Now, you are going to need a bit of back ground onthe necklace.  I bought this necklace last weekend at the Conference.  It is beautiful and shiny and girly.  Most importantly it has a large heart shaped glass bead at the bottom. For the last many years, I have not bought anything pretty for myself; I just haven't.  I have been on a journey of stripping myself bare of all refinements and adornments because I had been wearing them for the wrong reasons.  It was a God journey, and definitely a story for another day (I may share it if you ask).     Another reason that I haven't had any of these 'pretties', as I call them, is because the boys end up using them for treasure or pirate apparel and they get broken.  This particular necklace though, I was very particular and guarded about, because there is a story involved and this one I will share now.

At the conference as I was sharing with the other ladies, God spoke to me about buying something pretty for myself from him.  At first I thought that was a strange request, so I just went to look at what was on offer at the stalls.  I looked at the crosses,that were all bejewelled and they looked overstated and almost garish to me, not something that I would like.  As I walked around I got talking with a lady on the '26 seconds' stand.  This organisation works at getting children and young women out of the sex slave trade in various countries.  Every 26 seconds a new girl is sold to the sex trade, that is how it get's it's name. I looked down and saw all of the beautiful jewellery on her table and she told me that the women make this jewellery to sell and it provides them an income to live.  I LOVED the string of red beads, they were beautiful and understated and shiny.  God said no.  I kept looking and there it was, pastel pink and glittering with a huge glass heart.  "This is yours" he said.  I bought it, and as I walked away, God said "This necklace is a reminder to you that I love you and I am pleased with you, and most importantly it carries the promise that I have placed in your heart.  It will remind you of Sam's new heart, it is coming."  OH, OH, OH how my heart soared the rest of the weekend and still does.

And so back to the busy kitchen.  Jack is holding the necklace in his hand and before I can tell him to put it down... it breaks and I hear the beautiful shiny beads hit the wooden floor each making their own plink, plink, plink, a hundred times over.  And so I just screamed and then I cried.  I literally sat in a corner and cried.  I called out, "Can't I ever have any thing beautiful, just for me!  Is it wrong to want something that makes me feel pretty!"  But more than that it was my gift from Him.  The boys cried too.  Mummy doesn't cry very often, not like this anyway.

As it happens the commotion woke my husband up from his slumber, he held me and told me what I needed to hear.  He cleaned up the mess of beads all over the floor.  I asked him just to throw it all out, just keep the heart.  It was gone.  Like every other pretty thing I had tried to hold onto.

This morning I woke to find this necklace draped over the computer monitor.  Completely restored, each bead in it's place, like it was never broken.  My beloved husband Don, had stayed up after I went to bed and re beaded the whole necklace.  I can't tell you what this did to my heart.  God has used this beautiful man to restore my broken heart and in the same moment restore his promise.

"Yes, Sam's Heart is broken, but it will be restored just like this.  It will not happen immediately but you will be surprised.  What you thought was gone will be made like new.  And you deserve to have pretties because I delight in you. "

And now I am lost for words...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stepping Out of the Bubble

I heard a very profound reminder over the weekend, that hit home like a slap across the face.

'Your bubble is not the world's reality'

I experienced the most wonderful times of worship over the weekend with many great women of God.  I had the blessing of hearing many anointed speakers and God spoke to me throughout it all.  However, it was the phrase above that humbled me the most.  I was challenged by this statement.  Our bubble is a comfortable place to be.  We like routine.  We like familiar environments, familiar faces and comfort.  However God has not called us to a comfortable life.  He has called us to an obedient life, one of daily obedience that regularly calls us out of our bubble.  There is a whole big world outside of our bubble.

The next profound challenge to me was:

The minute we become comfortable with  Jesus, we have made him in our own image".

Wow.  Let's explore that for just a moment.  The moment that we take Jesus for granted, answer him when we feel like it, obey him sometimes, and make him a part of our lives rather than him being our life, we have made God in our own image.  That is a powerful statement.  That draws us to account and brings us to a place where we have to repent.  We have no choice.  We do this, there is no denying it.  Even though every part of our spirit wants to serve and love God with reckless abandon, our flesh rebels and seeks what it thinks is best for us, contrary to God's plan. 

I don't want to serve a God I have made in my own image.  A God that I have put in a cage and open the door when I want to give him a cuddle and a pet.  I desire and declare that I want to serve God as he has always been, the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of Hosts, The Great I Am.

Although I have stepped out of my bubble in the last 5 years, it has been a sometimes slow process.  And that is OK.  Sometimes God works quickly in our lives and at other times at a much more steady pace.  It is during the journey that God develops that character that he desires in each of us.  This is good news friends;  very good news.  We don't have to struggle to better ourselves.  We don't have to beg and plead and do ten courses on 'How To Be a Better Christian'


Simple, unburdened, unbridled, unparalleled grace.

And so as I work through these things in my heart with God.  I leave you with the same challenge. 

Are you ready to step our of the bubble you have always known?

Are you prepared to let God be God of your life?

(The two profound statements above have been lovingly borrowed from Nicole Conner, of Citylife Church Melbourne)
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