Monday, November 28, 2011

Forgive Yourself

Most of us have learned the lesson of forgiving others.  There are times we have been hurt, offended, let down and condemned and we have had to be able to forgive those who have wronged us, and give them back to God.  It is clear in the bible that if we do not forgive others, then neither will be be forgiven by God.

What I want to speak about today is much more sinister.  It stops us from spending time with God, and it is the devils number one tool against mothers.  It is called guilt.

You know of what I speak. I hear the nagging whispers condemning me, they tell me,

'You don't spend enough time with your husband, you don't spend enough time with God, you need to do more for your children, you are not as appealing since you have had children, you don't exercise enough, you don't spend your time wisely, you don't write as well as your peers, you don't pray enough, you can't rest your home isn't clean.'

I want to remind you today that if the whispers you hear are putting you down and condemning you, they are not the whispers of your Saviour.  God will not condemn you.  God will speak and ask you to change parts of your life.  He may say,

'Your husband desires you so much and he needs you, I would love to talk with you I am here anytime, look at the smile on your son's face as you play with him, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, exercise will help you clear your mind and strengthen your body, invest you time in Me and I will use it for my glory, your writing glorifies me and I am pleased with you, I long to hear your voice in prayer, work a little but then rest and listen to me'.

Firstly we must stop listening to the lies of the enemy.  Secondly we need to forgive ourselves before we can go to God and ask for forgiveness.  We need to let go of the guilt we carry around in our spirits.  It is a roadblock that stops us form being intimate with God.  It also allows the enemy to have a foothold in our hearts.  We must forgive ourselves, ask for God's forgiveness and then live life guilt free, in truth and love.  For we must remember:

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.(1 John 3:20)

As God told me today, I encourage you:

You will never be any more beautiful to me than you are at this moment.  This moment when you come before me guilt free, washed clean by the blood of my Son.  Do not conform your mind to the lies of this world, listen for my voice as it beckons and calls with great love and affirmation.  I am a  God of love words.  Even when I correct I do it in love.  Be at peace and come sit by me, I have much to share with you.  There must be nothing between us, guilt cannot stand in the presence of my perfect love.

Guest Post CWD

Today I invite you to visit Christian Writers Downunder.  I am a regular contributor to their blog.  My post there is titled:

Nothing New Under The Sun

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Question Worth Asking

Yesterday I was checking the Sam's Heart website, and as I did I listened to the interview I had done with 89.9Light Fm.  Sam was having morning tea at a small table next to me as I worked and listened.  In the beginning of the interview I am asked by the radio broadcator what the options were for Sam's treatment after diagnosis of his heart condition.  I proceed to give the three options that were given to us, termination, palliative care and surgery.  After the interview had finished Sam stood up and walked over to me and put his hand on my leg.

'They wanted to die me. They wanted to die me.  I don't want to die Mum.'

(Insert wanting to cry here, instead I suck it up)

'Yes, they did. But we fought for you and God has saved you.  (I lift his shirt and show him his scar). You had these operations instead, and the doctors helped save you. That's why you have this on your chest'

He nods his head, and looks at me.

'I love you Mummy, I'm alive.'

'I love you to little mate.  And God loves you more.  He has big plans for you.'

He goes back to watching ABC Kids, quietly playing with the scar on his chest.

I sit there in silence.  A million thoughts race through my head but one was most clear. 

I would love to have put a professional medical practitioner in my place just now, so that my son can lay a hand on their leg and tell them.

You wanted to die me.

I wonder if it would make a difference to the need for this abhorrent 'choice' in pregnancy.  I wonder if those poor parents that lost their babies this week would have gone along with the advice they were given, if they could spend a day with my son, and take a few steps in our shoes.  I don't pretend to know the circumstance surrounding the loss of two little lives this week.  I pray for their everyone involved, that they would receive mercy from God, and that they would know his forgiveness.  Read the story here.

What I do know is that it makes me even more passionate to reach who ever I can and tell them that there is always hope, God keeps his promises, and every life is precious no matter how long it is lived.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.(1 Cor 13:7)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lemon and Lime, Hold the Bitters

The last few weeks have been monumental.  Don has been continually studying/cramming for the last 7 weeks.  He passed two exams only to fail the third.  The boys and I have been to Qld, where I attended the Word Writers Conference in Brisbane and then had a few days holiday with family.  Since we have arrived home we have been very busy, and the boys and I have had a head/cold/fever.To top it off Centrelink called yesterday to inform us that they were decreasing our payments as they had made a mistake with their calculations. Oh dear.  I am sure that you have days like this, sometimes weeks even, where everything just seems to go pear-shaped.

The world suddenly becomes much to big for it's boots and you feel like you are about to be buried under a pile of rubble. 

Do not despair, God is there.

He has not gone somewhere just because things are not going swimmingly in your life, in fact if anything he is closer than the air your breathe.

Do not allow bitterness to settle in your heart, but let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2)

Do not compare yourself and your situation to others around you.  Each of us is on our own unique journey, and though we may encourage and uplift one another, comparing will do you no favours.  People will always be better off than you, people will always be worse off than you.  Your problems are as significant as the next persons and your troubles will not overcome you, if you give them over to God in prayer.

God can take what is broken in your life and turn it around for your good.

Harbouring self pity and bitterness in your heart bind God's ability to help you.  He will not force you to choose him.  He has always given us free will

I am not rebuking you today, I am reminding myself and sharing with you in the process.  I will not pretend to be more than I am.  I would be nothing but for the mercy of God.

We know many families going through life changing circumstances and unimaginable heartaches, we know people that are struggling to pay bills, have ongoing depression, some who are watching their kids struggle daily with their health, and some who have lost them this side of heaven.  But I will not take on their burdens or they will crush me.  Only Jesus was designed to carry the weight of the burden of sin.  He did it all on the cross for us so that we would not have to crushed under the weight.  I warn you, as I warn myself, do not harbour disappointment, anger, resentment and offence in your heart.

I will cry with them, I will laugh with them in victory, I will carry them to God in prayer.

'Father God refresh my mind and heal the wound left by bitterness in my heart.  Forgive me.  I love you.  I wait for your joy in the morning.'

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time To Take A Dip

I have tasted life without God.  It is like sitting in a  rock paddling pool and enjoying the cool of the water, but there is no room to be free and swim. It is not deep enough to put your head under the water and feel the freshness on your face.  But it is all you know, and you are comfortable in your little pool, all the while wondering if there is anything better.  You hear rumours of others saying that they have splashed in rivers and some crazy religious nuts even telling you that they have plunged and basked in oceans.  But life is too busy, to get carried away with rumours and fairy tales.  And then one day you become frustrated with your pool, the thoughts of what others have said might be true, inspire you to look over the rock wall that has blocked your view... and your breath is taken away, as you behold the endless sea before your eyes.  For so long, it had been blocked from your view by the wall separating you.  And now you know the truth, and you can't go back to the pool.  You know the ocean is real and is within your reach.  And although it is daunting, you edge your way out to the sandy breakers and wade out into the depths.  As you dive beneath the emerald green waters, you wonder why you spent so many years in the paddling pool when you could have been basking in the open sea.  You have been transformed and you know your life will never be the same again. As you emerge from under the surface and draw breath, it is like you have never truly breathed before.  You have become a new creation, you have a new home and a new outlook on life.

Want to come and swim in the depths of the ocean with me?

I know a God...

who paints the sky with the sweep of his hand and the breath of his mouth, to delight me and take my breath away.

I know a God...

who has felt every emotion that I have ever had to endure and comforts me in the very depths of my spirit.

I know a God...

who never leaves me, and laughs and cries with me in every season. He truly has the most profound sense of humour.

I know a God...

who fights for me every inch of the way. He goes before me each day and clears the path by the Word of his mouth.

I know a God..

who sees me when I raise my voice at my children and when I fail to help others in need. And he still loves me anyway.

I know a God..

who disciplines me when I am out of line, and does it with such authority and love, that I am left undone by his grace.

I know a God..

who takes my lack of anything and turns into into a feast for the glory of His Kingdom.

I know a God...

who strokes my face while I sleep and speaks to me in my dreams. He shares his heart with me like the closest of lovers.

I know a God..

who is not afraid of my emotions and hears both my praise and prayer with a compassionate heart. His grace and mercy never end.

I know a God...

who is transforming me day by day to live and dance in a Kingdom of light. A Kingdom where there is no sickness, disease or death and where He will reign forever. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Faith, Flying and TV

Yesterday I was offered the opportunity to fly to the Sydney Foxtel Studios, and pre-record an interview for 'Wesley Impact!'  I was so excited, to be asked to do such thing.  As you would know by reading my previous post, it was also an answer to a dream that the God had given me.

For those who have been following, you would know that we had Sam's appointment the day before, and once again God brought me to a place where I was empty of myself.  Any control that I believed I had over Sam's future, or ours, was once again erased.  All I had left after that day, was my hope.  And this is my hope:

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.(Heb 6:18-19, emphasis added)

Hope is not some intangible thing, something that we can possess. Hope has a name, His name is Jesus. 

So yesterday morning I arose to find that the previous day's nausea, had now emerged into a nasty gastro bug.  What would you have done I wonder, knowing that you have to travel in a car, aeroplane and taxi, to a place far from home, and the safety of your own lavatory? I made a choice to believe God's word, over the circumstances I found myself in.  So armed with his promise and a box of Gastro Stop, I drove the hour to the airport and boarded the plane to Sydney.  By God's amazing grace, I made it to the studios with my dignity.  He is so merciful!

The staff at the studios was amazing.  They were so understanding and prayed with me, and brought me to a room to relax.  It was here that I met a man who was sent by God.  He was also being interviewed that day and was a chaplain and worker with the homeless.  He proceeded to tell me that a homeless couple that he is working with are due to have their first baby and would be born with HLHS, the same condition as Sam's.  Oh, there is no coincidence, only God incidence! I was able to give him a copy of our story and encourage him in the amazing things that God can do.

I was given a good dose of make-up by a lovely make-up artist, who has worked on many different TV shows throughout the years, including Better Homes and Gardens, and Water Rats.  This helped to mask my somewhat less than glowing complexion on the day.

And finally the victory came, and I got to share with  Rev. Keith Garner, and soon whoever else may watch, the faithfulness of our God in every season.

I also had the privilege to share with both of my taxi drivers, and they also told me some of their stories.  I got to pray for one of them, and he was most encouraged when we parted.  He did not know God, but I could hear God calling Him. 

Late in the afternoon I flew home again, and though I was very weak in body, my spirit was at peace.  I had not been able to eat throughout the day, but God had sustained me and filled me with all that I needed to succeed in what He had called me to do.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.(2 Cor 12:10)

Because I know He filled me and sustained me yesterday, I know that the hearts this program touches will not be because of anything I am.  But instead they will see all that He is, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you for your prayers over the recent days.  I am still recovering from this illness, but it will not remain long.  I bless you all in the name of Jesus.  I can do all things because He is my anchor.

This program will go to air on Mother's Day 2012.  You can read more about Wesley Impact here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sam's Heart Review - We need your prayers

We approach the hospital, we see the familiar corridors, the smell comes flooding in and I suddenly detest McDonalds...

What are we doing here Lord?  Why have you brought us back to this place?

We attend the clinic for Sam's Heart check...inwardly we cringe but keep bright and cheery, keeping Sam excited to meet his new doctor.

 I feel sick but I smile, because I have just seen the faces of so many parents who are broken and weary, wafting in and out of the Heart ward with the 'hospital look' that says, 'I am existing, but I am a shell.'

As we sit and wait in the waiting room, a teenage girl sits across from us, cannula still in her arm, she has tears sliding down her face and hangs her head low, she is broken.  Can anyone see her?

Where are you Lord?  She needs you?  

We go and Sam has his ECG and Echo. He is so brave and climbs up onto the bed by himself, he even helps remove the stickers.  I encourage him to lay still so they can take a good reading.

I'm holding on to you Lord.

We wait for another half an hour to see his new doctor.  We greet and Sam is happy to meet 'Dr Foormer' (Dr Andreas Pflaumer).  He tells us that Sam is doing fine, that all is well. Then, that the leak in his tricuspid valve has increased and that if it has not changed over the next 6 months then intervention may be needed.  That they want to start talking about the Catheter and the Fontan, because we are talking about going North in the next few years. Through the doctors eyes this makes sense, I can see his reasoning.  But I am not a doctor, and I am not reasonable about anything that means that my son must endure more pain.

What!  Where are you Jesus?  Is this your idea of a miracle?  Do I have to see him endure more pain?  Do We have to endure more pain?  I know you can take all of this way by just a word from your lips.  So where are your words?  Surely this is not your plan for us. 

We walk back to the car in silence, buying coffee from nasty McDonalds to get home.

As we drive home, the ache in my throat intensifies...

I can't do this anymore, I am weary from the fight God, not just weary, I have had enough.  I don't want to hold onto the hem of your garment anymore, it hurts too much.  You know I don't have the strength to endure this again. My spirit is crushed by the thoughts engulfing me, and cannot be made right by human hands.

I see a picture of a hand coming out of the heavens dangling a white hankie, the miracle we need, and me jumping like crazy to reach it, but it is just out of reach. I think I jumped most of the way home in the car.  The ache moved from my throat to my heart, as I look at Sam asleep in his car seat, worn out from the big morning. 

I am sorry Lord, I can't do this anymore.  I am meant to go on TV tomorrow and talk about the God of miracles, and I am not feeling that right now.  I am feeling angry, and like I am about to suffocate.

When we arrive home I slept for two hours.  I had nothing left.

When I awake and as I write He speaks:

Remain in me, you have tasted of my goodness and you know I will no let you go.  Remember the new promise that I have given you.  Claim it today and watch the new day come.  You may broken now, but it will not last for ever:

Restore our fortunes. Lord
as the streams flow in the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
But they sing as they return with the harvest.
(Psalm 126:4-6)

So this is where we are, right now at 4pm in the afternoon.  Pray that God can heal my ache, so that I may go and tell the world how great He is.  For He is above all things, even when I don't FEEL like it.

As I write this I have a voice whispering to me that 'the result was favourable, that I have no right to complain, and that there are many others out there that are far worse off than what we are'.  I would like to say that each of us is on our own journey, and despite the fact that we are all in different places, does not diminish the fact that the battle is any less real, or hurtful or significant.  God bless you for praying for us when we really need it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Max's Place Needs Help

When we were in Melbourne to have Sam and through the surgeries that followed, there was a special place that we called home. It was called Max's Place.  It was our home for 5 months, while we were going through one of the toughest times in our life.  And now the owners of those units need our help.

'In memory of their precious Heart Angel Max Round, the Round family sold their family home in Adelaide to help other families dealing with the devastating impact of Congenital Heart Disease.  They purchased Max's place, 3 units directly across the road from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne where many families must come for life saving surgery, often for up to 6 months.

Max's place provides a home away from home for heart families which is safe, private and at no cost.  Having somewhere to call home during these difficult times and not having to worry about accommodation costs helps support families in a practical way which is greatly appreciated by all who are lucky enough to get into Max's place.

These units require renovations and funds are desperately needed, will you help!  Please click on the fundraising link and sponsor Terri Hanlon's marathon run for heart families.

I have been after a way to support Max's Place now for the longest time. These little havens have been home to countless families and I delight in being able to help them in this way.  When we left Melbourne we had very little money left and we gave the Round's the last that we had as a token of saying thank you. 

When we were at Max's Place the room we were in was water damaged, due to a unit above us setting off the sprinkler system and flooding their unit.  We managed to clean it up, but their was still damage that needed repair.  We spent our first Christmas with Sam in Max Place, and it will always hold a very dear place in our hearts.  And the people who look after these units are God's hands and feet upon the earth, helping families in some of their darkest days.

If you are able, I would ask that you consider popping over to the everyday hero website and sponsor Terri on her run, a few dollars will go a long way to providing hope to families like ours.

PS.  I am not in the habit of asking for donations from anyone, but this is very near and dear to my heart.  Thanks for listening friends.
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