Sunday, August 31, 2008

I love Sundays

Thank you God for Sundays!

I love everything about Sundays.

Some of the things I love...

  • The extra sleep in
  • Reading and coffee in bed - with my husband
  • A cooked breakfast by my husband and son
  • Having half andhour to get ready (instead of the regular 10 minutes) while my husband dresses the kids!
  • Time to listen to worship music and prepare for church
  • Going to Church with my family (my kids love Church!)
  • Worshipping God and learning from His word
  • Meeting new people, and spending time with my church family
  • Having an easy lunch (hot chips is almost always on the menu!)
  • Afternoon sleeps
  • Doing no housework!
  • Hanging out with my husband and kids; and
  • Having an early night!

I am so glad God commanded us to have a day of rest!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Being thankful for bad days!

As I write this post tonight I am so aware of God's mercy, His sovereignty, His kindness, love, faithfulness, ..... The past few hours have been such a struggle to truly love my children unconditionally!

It is so hard sometimes to love them when little things they do can be so frustrating! I am so glad that God is in control of their lives, and that even if I make mistakes or lose it as a parent, He forgives me and can still use my mistakes and sin for good. It is comforting to know that "all things word together for good" (Romans 8:28).

I am such a perfectionist at heart and I have these dreams of living perfect days, walking closely with God, loving my husband, children and others unconditionally, sincerely and without hypocrisy, to be stress and anxiety free able to face any trial that comes my way with quietness and meekness of heart....but I know I am far from experiencing those days. That's why I am now basking in God's forgiveness, in awe of His amazing salvation, and I am so convinced that I can't do it on my own, I need to trust Him and acknowledge Him in all I do.

I can try as hard as I like to persuade my children into being saved, into being good all the time, into working hard and being nice to everyone they meet (and to their brothers and sisters!) but if God doesn't work in their hearts, then my work is in vain. As I was reminded yesterday by a friend, all we can do is pray for them...diligently pray for them, commit them into God's care and allow Him to do the work in their hearts.

I am learning to be thankful for bad days, because they remind me of my need for God, to earnestly call upon Him in my times of trouble. They cause me to stop, confess my sins (which are many) and acknowledge to Him my dependence and trust. God knows my heart and every desire I have for my children, I need to trust in Him to bring them to pass, not try and do things my way or in my own strength.

And....I am thankful for a new day tomorrow, and I can't wait for Heaven!

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:
Great is Your faithfulness.
'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'.
Lamentations 3:22-24

Friday, August 29, 2008

We are never alone

Last night our 5 year old son reminded us of a wonderful truth. He was telling us how at Kindy he doesn't always play with his friends, sometimes he likes to play by himself, but

"I know I am never alone because God is always with me."

My husband and I looked at each other in shock! This is something he has meditated on and knows deep in his heart, that God is always with him.

When I pray for my children I almost always pray that they will know that God is with them, and that they will know that God loves them very much, no matter what they have done. It was very exciting to hear him put one of these amazing truths into practice, when he is at Kindy he is happy to play by himself, knowing that God is right there with him!

As my children get older I know that I can't be with them all the time, like I could when they were babies! They start to stay at friends houses for a few hours, then they start Kindy, then school, then one day they will be out there on their own.

When my first child started Kindy, I had to let her go willingly and with a heart that trusted God to take care of her. God is the one in control of their lives, not me!

It is my responsibility to teach them and remind them often that God is always with them, to help them have a relationship with Him so they can call upon Him for themselves in times of trouble.

I pray that our son and the rest of our children will always remember this truth, that God is always with them. So that in times of trouble, loneliness, temptation, fear, joy, sadness, suffering, or insecurity, they can call upon the name of the Lord and He will help them.

...For He Himself has said,
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."
So we may boldly say:

"The Lord is my helper:
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Love the Word

I love the Word of God. I never really used to, up until only a year or so ago, I have to admit that I found it hard to open up my Bible, it felt like a task to do, something that I should do, and when I didn't do it, I felt guilty!

But I am so thankful to God that He has given me a hunger for His Word. Over the weekend I didn't read it much at all, and I felt hungry, and somewhat weak. But the past few days I have been feeding on it again, and I feel stronger, satisfied again, in God alone.

We have just started a book club and the first book we are reading is called Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Have you ever considered how many lies you believe? There are so many bombarding messages surrounding us that are full of lies, and our country is so materialistic that we easily believe the messages that Satan is trying to mislead us with. With so many different forms of media out there (my blog included!) we can so easily fall into the trap of thinking we need to watch TV, we need to read magazines and books, we need to go on the Internet every free moment we have. I know sometimes I go to these things when I need inspiration, encouragement, instruction, when I am down or even just to enjoy myself - there's nothing wrong with doing that, but if these places are the first place I go to, and not the Bible for answers, encouragement, inspiration, satisfaction etc. then maybe they are wrong for me.

We get trapped into thinking the lie that God's word is not enough, that its irrelevant to our current situation, that its boring and hard work! But its not, here is a list of some of what God's word does for us taken from Psalm 119.

  • It blesses us (v1,2)
  • It keeps our way pure and helps us not to sin (v9,11)
  • It delights us, counsels us, revives us, strengthens us (v 24-28)
  • It gives us life (v50)
  • It teaches us good knowledge and judgement (v66)
  • It is better than thousands of coins of gold and silver (v72)
  • It is faithful (v86)
  • It makes us wiser than our enemies (v98)
  • It gives us understanding more than our teachers (v99)
  • It makes us hate every false way (v104)
  • It is sweeter than honey (v103)
  • It is a light to our path (v105)
  • It makes our heart rejoice (v111)
  • It is pure, everlasting, truth (v129,144,160)
  • It is a great treasure (v162)
  • It gives peace (v165)
  • It causes us not to stumble (v165)
  • It delivers us (v169)
  • and so much more.....

Isn't the Word of God amazing! And as I was reminded when I started reading the book I mentioned above, we need to be in it so much more than ever before so we can discern what those lies are and whether they are true.

Sometimes we may not even see that we are believing a lie, until we start reading the Word, it starts to expose the lies and shine the truth, because the Holy Spirit is working through us as we read His Word. The word of God is a weapon to fight off Satan and the lies we are bombarded with.

I have been challenged lately to take more time to read the Word, I know I love reading it when I have my time in the morning, so why don't I long for it more during the day? I know for me I need to cultivate that habit and ask God to prompt me to turn to His word instead of the computer, a book, a magazine, even if its just to have some down time, how much more enriched my mind will be if I choose to meditate on the Word instead.

And for the sake of my children, I am their teacher, and the words that come from my mouth need to reflect an understanding and a delight in God's Word.

I have rejoiced in Your testimonies, as much as in all riches... Psalm 119:14

This verse reminds me that there is nothing more precious and satisfying than rejoicing in the Word of God.

If you don't have a love for the Word of God, ask God to give you a hunger for it, I am confident He will answer your prayer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Time for some pruning!

Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2b

On Friday our bible study was about pruning! We have been going through John 15, and this week we looked at how pruning is an act by the vinedresser to cut back to bear more fruit. Pruning may also be looked at as 'the testing of your faith'.

After this study I had a feeling that I was about to undergo some 'pruning'. Sure enough the next day not long after I had talked to my husband about how God prunes, the pruning started, in both of us! I was so thankful, straight away I was able to recognise it as a time of pruning, a test of our faith, to make us more Christlike, so that we can bear more fruit, for the glory of God! I must admit initially I felt crushed, hurt, somewhat angry, but once I realised that God was in control of it all, that He would use this time to prune us, I was able to relax and trust in Him.

I had to go to the shops, so took the time to listen to one of my favourite songs at the moment - Desert Song on the new Hillsong 'This is our God' cd.

This is my prayer in the desert, when all thats within me feels dry. This is my prayer in the hunger and need my God is the God who provides.

This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain. There is a faith proved of more worth than gold so refine me Lord through the flame.

I will bring praise, I will bring praise, no weapon formed against me shall remain I will rejoice, I will declare God is my victory and He is here.

This is my prayer in the battle when triumph is still on its way, I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ, so firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life. in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing I have a reason to worship.

This is my prayer in the harvest, when favour and providence flow, I know I'm filled to be emptied again, the seed I've received I will sow.

I love the second verse which reminded me that God refines us in the flame. I had the choice to rejoice that God is working on us and even though it may seem that God is distant, I know that He is so close and is holding us tightly in the fire. I also love the lines,

All of my life. in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing I have a reason to worship.

At church yesterday, whilst I was feeling glum, I had so much reason to sing and worship such an awesome God. The joy of Him is my strength. He never changes, and He is unconditionally loving. I am confident that God will work this situation for good (Romans 8:28).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Igniting a sense of wonder

I was having a discussion the other day with my husband about TV, I was trying to explain why I don't like it! I couldn't quite explain how I was really feeling and what it is about TV that I don't like. I know there are many great, beneficial and entertaining interviews, reports and shows, but in the context of our children, I am not convinced that it is always a 'good' thing for them. The next day I received a book on parenting from a friend of mine and in it was a few pages about TV, this part of a quote has helped me to work out how I feel about the whole TV issue.

"Sure, life without TV was difficult when they were all little. With five small children running around, at the time, it was tempting to turn on the TV just for a break. But the short term break would have created a TV appetite in the children that we didn't want to feed. We reasoned that once they realised that the TV does most of the imagining and thinking for them their brains and bodies become lazy.

....The sad reality is that the shows may be innocent or 'educational' when they are little but as they grow up so do their tastes. Barney may satisfy Junior when he's five, but when he's fifteen he is going to want to watch something a little more attractive than a purple dinosaur. The problem is that his habits have been established and his appetite to be entertained has been satisfied for so many years he doesn't know that to do with himself."

A TV appetite is what I don't want my children to have, and at the moment whilst my children don't watch much TV, they all love it and would easily watch it all day! That's not to say that they don't like doing other things or that they can't entertain themselves, but I just don't want to feed that appetite. I need to make an intentional effort to feed appetites that I do want them to have, and that are going to be beneficial for them throughout their life.

The biggest appetite I want them to have is for God and His word. Jesus is the bread of life, John 6:35, I want them to learn how to be completely satisfied in Him, not things in this world. For this to happen though, I need to make the time to read to them, talk to them about God, answer their questions about life, show them that He is priority in all that we do, that we give Him first place in the mornings, first place in our distribution of money, and that Sundays are the best day of the week where we go and worship Him as a family. And most of all I need to be an example of someone who is hungry for God and seeking to be satisfied in Him alone.

Another appetite I want to create within in them is a sense of wonder for God's creation. A secular book I purchased recently called The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson, has encouraged me in this.

A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood

......If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

....If you are a parent who feels he has little nature lore at his disposal there is still much you can do for your child. With him, wherever you are and whatever your resources, you can still look up at the sky - its dawn and twilight beauties, its moving clouds, its stars by night. You can listen to the wind, whether it blows with majestic voice through a forest or sings a many-voiced chorus around the eaves of your house...You can still feel the rain on your face and think of its long journey, its many transmutations from sea to air to earth.

If I want them to love God's creation I need to be in it with them, looking for opportunities to show it to them, and tell them about God through what they can see and feel around them.

The other appetite I want to feed is one for reading. This one, requires a lot of effort on my behalf initially, I need to set aside the time to read to them, not just picture book, but words that make them think and imagine. And they need to see me reading!

So, we haven't quite booted the TV out the door, but I am making more of a conscious effort to not feed their appetite for TV, but feed and create an appetite for God, His creation and books (good ones!). I need daily, moment by moment patience, passion, and perseverance from God alone for this!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More thankful

Since my last post a week ago, we have had a successful week of daily chores. Number 3 hasn't quite grasped the concept of a roster yet, she doesn't understand why she can't prepare the milks and make breakfast everyday! Number 1 and 2 are understanding it very well. Number 1 does a good job at organising everyone, she tells the others what jobs they are doing for the day, and for the day after!

I have really appreciated the help they have given me and I love seeing them serve each other. But what I have noticed most of all is at dinner time, there are so many 'thank yous' to the people who have prepared tea! A spirit of thankfulness is something I have been wanting to instill in my children, and particularly a thankfulness to the cook. My mum encouraged this within us, to always be thankful to someone who has cooked for us, taken us out, or had us over, or given us a gift.

I think because they have each been involved in helping prepare tea at one stage or another, they are more thankful to each other and to me when they eat their meal. Their thankfulness is really sincere, and it comes out spontaneously without me having to prompt them.