Monday, October 27, 2008

Are you working for God or with God?

I was confronted with this question yesterday when reading our current 'book club' book, Just like Jesus - Learning to have a heart like His by Max Lucado.

Before I read chapter 5, Being led by and unseen hand - A God-intoxicated heart I would have said I was working with God, not for Him.

But as I kept reading I started having second thoughts.

Lucado writes,

For years I viewed God as a compassionate CEO and my roles as a loyal sales representative. He had his office, and I had my territory. I could contact him as much as I wanted. He was always a phone or fax away. He encouraged me, rallied behind me, and supported me, but he didn't go with me. At least I didn't think he did. Then I read 2 Corinthians 6:1: We are "God's fellow workers" (NIV).

Yesterday I spend most of the day in and out of bed with an upset stomach and thick head.

So if I took on the above perspective of God, I would be telling God, as my compassionate CEO that I couldn't come into work today because I was sick, I needed the day off, and I'll get back to working for Him when I am better.

I must admit, I heard myself saying this to Him.

I just can't do anything, it's too hard to speak kindly to my husband and children, to pray or do the 'little things' around the home.

I felt myself saying I'll be back to work tomorrow when I'm better. Don't expect too much out of me today God, cause I need to rest!

But I was challenged to think about what I would be saying and thinking about if I was working with God.

Instead of being somewhere in an office in town carrying on with His own work, He would be right next to me, taking care of me.

He would be filling my mind with sweet scriptures about His goodness and greatness.

As my children approached me with requests and demands, He would give me the strength I needed to respond kindly and patiently with them.

When it was time to make meals, He would encourage me to take a step towards preparing a meal and He would sustain me and keep me while I got it done.

As I started to view God in this way, I started to experience such precious communion with Him, even though I was feeling weak physically, there was an inner strength being generated by Someone most powerful.

The rest of the chapter was all about pursing an unbroken, constant, intimate communion with God. Lucado writes,

"The more we search the Bible, the more we realise that unbroken communion with God is the intent and not the exception. Within the reach of every Christian is the unending presence of God".

Communion with God is not just something I do in the mornings in my devotions, it is something I can experience throughout the whole day - but it is my choice to commune with Him, to think about Him, to worship Him.

I would love to be like Frank Laubach, whom Lucado quotes, who wrote:

It is my business to look into the very face of God until I ache with bliss.....Now I like the Lord's presence so much that when for half an hour or so He slips our of mind - as He does many times a day - I feel as though I had deserted Him, and as though I had lost something very precious in my life. (March 3, 1931; May 14, 1930).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10 years together!

I have returned from 3 wonderful days in Sydney with my beloved husband!
Tomorrow is our 10 year anniversary so our time away was a kind of celebration for that and we wanted to go see Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin and the Dave Crowder band at the Sydney Entertainment Centre!

Despite the cold weather and intermittent rain, it was so wonderful to have our bed made every day, our dishes cleaned, not have to cook (or change nappies!) and most importantly to have uninterrupted time together.

It is hard to believe that 10 years tomorrow we were married on a magnificent day in October.

I absolutely loved everything about our wedding day (and still do!).
I chose to have a simple wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses, and dressed them up with wonderfully colourful flowers!
Our ceremony was held at the church I had been attending all my life, and our reception was held on the grounds where the church is located.
Our reception was like a great big picnic. We wanted to invite as many people as we could, and we are not sit down dinner people, so we had a big marquee, chairs, tables, umbrellas, picnic blankets and a jazz band which set the scene.
We had a simple ploughman's lunch (breads, cold meats and salads), and the only things which was missing was the jumping castle and pony rides (which my husband desperately wanted!).
It was so lovely to have so many of our family and friends and lots of children buzzing around the place and the weather was beautiful.
I am so thankful for such fond memories of that day, and I am still so grateful for the many people who helped out on that day to make it so special

Now 10 years on, I can't believe it was so long ago! We'll both admit that the first few years of our marriage were hard, I felt so naive as a wife, I really had no clue about my role as a wife and the whole submission thing!
But as the years have gone on, things have become so much better, easier in some ways, and I have learnt so much about what it means to be a wife!
However, like with every relationship we need to put lots of time, love, sacrifice, and prayer into our marriage, every day, and we should be careful not to take each other for granted.
A few months ago I came across a list I wrote before I was with my husband (back in April 1995!) called, 'My Perfect Partner'.
  • Someone who loves me for who I am and all that I am
  • Someone who absolutely adores me
  • Someone who is bright, cheerful, strong and sympathetic towards others and not critical
  • Someone handsome with a loving smile
  • Someone who loves animals
  • Someone who is very godly and a spiritual leader
  • Someone who can endure suffering and pain
  • Someone whom I can admire and respect
  • Someone who is clean cut and friendly with everyone.

As I look back over that list I am so thankful that my husband has all of those qualities and so much more!

I was 20 when I wrote that list and I am so glad I did, as it helped and guided me to my husband to enabled me make a rational decision about him, not one merely based on emotion and feeling (does that make sense?!).

I am so thankful for the prayers prayed on our wedding day, and for the way they have been answered.

I praise Him for the beautiful children He has blessed us with, and I praise Him for the trials, pain and suffering we have been through together!

There are many things I regret in our marriage, but God has allowed them and used them to build us closer together and to give us a deeper understanding of Him.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Kindy girl

My 3rd child started pre entry Kindy last week. She has been waiting for AGES to go to BIG Kindy. She has been going to occasional care, a 2 and 1/2 hour session for 0-4 year olds at the Kindy the bigger kids go to for the past 3 years, and the past few months she has been rather desperate to be on the 'other side'.

I couldn't get over just how excited she was on Friday. Every day last week as we got ready to take no. 2 to Kindy she would ask

"Am I going to BIG Kindy today?"

And each day I had to say, "No, not today, on Friday".

And every time I would get an "Oh...I want to go to big Kindy".

So it was soooo exciting to say to her on Friday, "Today you are going to big

I must say that I was amazed at how well behaved she was all morning as we got ready for Kindy and waited until it was time to go. I didn't notice it until I had dropped her off, but she had been so well mannered, so helpful (she watered all my plants!), there was no battle about what clothes to put on, there was no squabbling with siblings, just lots of joy and goodness coming from her! It made me think about how I am when I am excited about something, I am so much more tolerant, kind, helpful...happy! It was such a joy to see this in my 3 year old!

It was so wonderful to see her at Kindy, the place she has been waiting to go to for soooo long! She could finally put her bag on the 'Kindy side', no longer on the 'babies side'.

As soon as we got in there she joined in on group time and had no problems singing the songs, and sitting nicely. I don't like to think too much about how quickly our children are growing up, I prefer to focus on how delightful they are where they are at, and to enjoy them where they are at, not where they were or how they will one day be!

A few days ago while I was watching group time for no. 2's Kindy session, I watched one of the teachers trying to restrain a boy who did not want to sit still and quiet, he was screaming and squirming. It made me think, I am so thankful that my children are able to sit still and pay attention (most of the time!).

It hasn't been easy work though. I still remember no. 2 squirming and screaming on my lap when he was 9 months old because he didn't want to sit still, but I was determined to win the battle, and finally he gave in and sat still.

As parents we have had to battle this with all of our children on numerous occasions, so to see no. 3 on Friday sitting still and joining in with the group was a delight, and she did not bring shame to me, like this verse talks about.

A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov 29:15).

So when she got home, daddy asked her what was the best thing about Kindy, and her answer was "siah", which means "Josiah", he is a friend from church!

She then proceeded to tell him how she also liked playing with the boys!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My first priority

I have been challenged lately about life purpose in general. And I have come to the conclusion, that I have not been making my husband my first priority.

It is so easy to get busy doing things, and not that they're bad things, they are just things that take me away from making him my first priority (after God that is!).

Our relationship has not been suffering or anything, but I have been starting to fill my life with other things, that are distracting me from making him number 1 in a practical way.

This week while I have been thinking through all of this, I came across this post based on Proverbs 31:12. “She does HIM good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”

Kristin Chesemore writes,

'The object of this wife’s active do-gooding is her husband.......Sad to say, I don’t always do this. Sometimes I am quick to meet my kid’s needs or to agree to do a favor for a friend without considering whether or not it would serve my husband. Serving my children and those in the church is right and important--as we see in the example of the Proverbs 31 woman. But I must remember that I am uniquely gifted and called to do good to my husband first.'

I am uniquely gifted and called to be a helper to my husband, that is such a privilege, no one else has that opportunity or calling! I am thankful for the way God grabs my attention, even though I had to go through some pain and humility for Him to get me this time.

Please feel free to remind me and encourage me to make my husband my first priority, I have the gift of mercy and I love to help others, which is OK, if it is not causing harm to my husband. My goal is to do him good all the days of his life!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When all is quiet in the kitchen....

This is what happened the other morning while I was on the computer!

I noticed that it was rather quiet in the kitchen, when is should have been noisy.
My 2 year old was left ALONE at the breakfast bar after morning milks (everyone else was in the bedroom cuddling daddy, and I was on the computer).
She can't get down by herself and the milo tin was left on the bench.
You can see her pointing to the floor, she was telling me there was milk on the floor, there was no conscience about stealing milo!

So I quickly got the camera and took a snap, and then left her to finish her milk!

And then this happened.

You would think I would have been smart enough to take the milk away as well!

I must say that she got out of being told off for it all, it was funny, and I was partly to blame!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog design change

I am in the process of changing my blog design. I am attempting to do it all from scratch so it's a work in progress at the moment.

If you have ever been to my house you will know that I am always changing things around, so sorry it will be the same here as well!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Frustration with sin!

I have been frustrated with sin today!

There was an 'episode' this morning where I sinned, regretfully, and whilst I am so thankful for God's forgiveness, His death on the cross, the hope of eternal life....

I am still so frustrated that sin exists.

I know we are being conformed to the 'image of His Son' but we will never be perfect or like Him until we get to Heaven.

It feels like sin just gets in the way of doing what I should be doing for God!

But....obviously God has sovereignly allowed sin in this life, and I know that He does use 'all things for good', I have a long heavy puritan book all about that!

I just hate it when I sin.

A friend of mine reminded me a week ago, that if our children never saw us sin or saw our faults, and if we never had to apologise to them, and their opinion of us was that we are perfect, then as they get older and realise what life is all about, they would become disillusioned, they wont know how to deal with sin, because they haven't seen us deal with it.

It's one of the hardest things, to let my children see, my weaknesses and pride.

I need to rely so much more upon the grace of God to keep me from being a stumbling block to my children, and that He truly would use all things for good, that He would be the one who saves them, protects them and keeps them.... especially from the sin of their mother!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Teddy Bear's Picnic

We had the Teddy Bear's picnic on Wednesday for my 6 year old and 5 of her friends. It was such a fun day!
I spent all day Monday sewing these backpack picnic blankets for each of the girls. I came up with idea when I was trying to think of a way they could carry their teddies.
The blanket folds up into a backpack and there's a pocket on the back to hold a teddy. I have so many odd bits of material that just haven't been used for anything so I didn't have to buy anything to make them!

I found some $1 baskets from some second hand shops and put some material in them. They used these to carry their tea cups and food.
I made cupcakes and the girls iced them and decorated them.
They also made pretend cupcakes and food for their teddies. Can you tell which ones are real?

Once we had made everything we went outside and had the picnic!

After eating the girls played while Emma and I sat down and had a cup of tea!
Then we played some games with the teddies.
Push the teddies on the car;
Teddy sack race;
And their favourite was hide the teddies. We hid the teddies all around the garden and they had to try and find them!
At the end, they decided to do some more making, this time clothes and costumes for their teddies. They were so creative and came up with costumes and dresses!
I am glad I put in the time and effort to make it a fun and special day, not just for my daughters but for her friends!
I thank God for such a beautiful sunny day, despite the rain in the morning!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Being sick = resting and waiting!

I love the way God always knows what I need and what is best for me.

It is so incredibly hard to trust Him sometimes, but when I do.....such amazing peace, and I wouldn't want to be in any other place (does that make sense?).

I have been sick the past few days, I always welcome sickness as a time for physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. When I get sick I see it as God's way of making me slow down, to stop and evaluate what I am doing and why, and what is most important.

I crashed emotionally on Sunday night when I was in despair about being sick!

All I could think about was all the plans I had made for the upcoming days and that my husband was going away and how was I going to cope with it all! I felt like my brain was about to explode with all the thinking whilst my body was in pain with the sickness I had.

Yet in my despair, what could I do but cry out to God, and wait on Him.

During that night of restless sleep I picked up a devotional book and I read over some familiar verses about waiting.

Psalm 27:14
Wait on the LORD;Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 39:7
And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.

I knew I had to wait patiently on God to restore my health, to guide me one step at a time as to what to do with the plans I had for the coming days, and to trust that He will take care of me, my husband, my children and my house!

As it turned out, the following day I was no better and my husband organised for the children to be out of the house all day, while I spent the day in bed, reading, sleeping, and I was able to catch up on a bit of light housework.

He heard my cries, He knew what I needed and He provided for me, and I praised Him for it.

That morning in my reading I read over another familiar, favourite verse.

Psalm 50:15
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.