Monday, December 21, 2009

Being organised for Christmas does not guarentee a 'Happy' Christmas!

Every Christmas I find myself saying, 'next year I want to be more organised for Christmas!'

I was doing this a few days ago while meandering around the shops trying to get my head around what else I need to buy. But after a few hours of feeling frustrated and despondent over everything 'commercially' Christmas, I came to the realisation that even if I was more organised, that doesn't guarantee a 'happy' Christmas.

I have thought a lot about being organised for Christmas this year, but honestly, Christmas hasn't been a priority, there are always more things that are more important to do or be involved in than being 'super organised' for Christmas.

I had to remind myself of that, and hand all my worries, needs, frustrations to God and simply trust Him to lead me, to grant me the peace and joy that only comes from resting and waiting on Him!

I long for a 'Happy' Christmas, that happiness can only come from God, from trusting in Him fully, and by spending time reflecting upon the amazing birth of the King of Kings.

He knows my needs, my desires and ultimately what is best for me and everyone else around me this Christmas.

So often when I am super organised for things I find that I can shut God out and take control of things the way I think they should go. I so easily forget that He wants me to come to His throne of grace, to ask Him for what I need....

I also easily forget that He has never failed me, and His ways are always good.

This morning I was humbled and overwhelmed at the birth of Jesus after I read this in the book I am reading, God in the Manger by John MacArthur.

When Christ entered the world, He came to a place that had some of the smelliest, filthiest, and most uncomfortable conditions. But that is part of the wonder of divine grace, isn't it? When the Son of God came down from heaven, He came all the way down. he did not hang on to His equality with God; rather, He set it aside for a time and completely humbled Himself (Phil 2:5-8).

Jesus did not merely humble Himself and agree to be born in a smelly stable, but He humbled Himself as a substitute for wretched sinners and bore the stench of their guilt in His own body on the Cross. He came down to the common people to bring them His glorious salvation. The picture of the infant Son of God tolerating a stables' dirt and foul odors is a fitting metaphor for the later scene of the Saviours bearing the stench of sin as He died at Calvary. What an amazing picture!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's the grace of God that teaches us..

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Titus 2:11-12

I have been reading through Jerry Bridges, Discipline of Grace - God's role and our role in the pursuit of holiness, and these verses were at the start of chapter 5 entitled, Disciplined by grace. I read this chapter the other day, after a rather frantic and stressful week, and these verses have been plaguing my mind ever since!

I am coming to realise so very slowly, that my only hope in this life is the hope I have in the gospel of Jesus Christ! He is my only hope. It doesn't matter if I am having a good day, or a bad day, if my hope, my purpose, my understanding of all that happens in this life is not based on the gospel of Christ, everything can so easily fall apart and seem all so hopeless!

This past week I have been confronted so many times with my sinfulness, and I have easily become caught up in the trap of guilt and hardness of heart, but this chapter helped to release me somewhat, and remind me once again of where I need to fix my mind, my heart, my hope!

This chapter, and the above mentioned verses in particular reminded me that it is the grace of God that teaches me to life a life that glorifies God, the same grace that brought me salvation. And its only when I stop to consider this saving grace do I have the ability to say "no" to ungodliness, and yes to self control and godly living.

Bridges writes,

Paul said, though, that it is the very same grace - God's unmerited favor - that brought salvation to us in the first place that disciplines us. This means that all our response to God's dealings with us and all our practice of the spiritual disciplines must be based on the knowledge that God is dealing with us in grace. And it means that all our effort to teach godly living and spiritual maturity to others must be grounded in grace. If we fail to teach that discipline is by grace, people will assume, as I did, that it is by performance.

That is why we must not put the gospel on the shelf once a person becomes a new believer. he or she will have just as difficult a time believing that God saves by grace instead of by works. ...

He closes the chapter with this reminder.

Remember, the grace that brought salvation to you is the same grace that teaches you. But you must respond on the basis of grace, not law. That is why you must "preach the gospel to yourself every day."

So once again I have been challenged about my need to preach the gospel to myself everyday...I am so thankful that He is my only hope!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas is all about worship

Lately I have been listening a lot to Chris Tomlin's new Christmas CD, Glory in the Highest - Christmas Songs of Worship. The CD is definitely all about worship! The way he sings the carols, and other songs he has written all draw me into a heart of worship.

My favourite so far is My soul magnifies the Lord. I just love the way he has Incorporated Mary's song of praise to the Lord when she visited Elizabeth. Luke 1:46-47 says,

And Mary said:
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour....
When Mary was told about the baby she was to give birth to she worshipped God. When the shepherds were told of the birth of Jesus, they came to worship Him. When the Kings saw the star they followed it to worship Him.

This is what Chris writes about the cd,

This is a record that is a long time coming for me. I love how this music and season breaks all the walls down. Rather than just listen to a performance of songs, I hope that this recording quickly invites you to join inthe wordshp of the Savior of the world.

Jesus is the only One who has ever chosen to be born. All glory and honour to Him, for He has come to bring us peace.

The great announcement from the Heavenly host has been made, 'Glory to God in the highest!'

Christmas is all about worship, to God who came to dwell with us, and die for us. There is just so much to worship Him for. I just love the opportunity Christmas gives us to worship Him.

I saw a blow up nativity scene today in Cheap as Chips, something I was surprised to see amongst the santas, trees and reindeer's, but my heart rejoiced to see the glorious scene of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals gathered around a manger, worshipping the King!

I pray that you will have many opportunities to worship the King this Christmas time, and every day of the year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homemade Christmas gift ideas

This Saturday I have set aside the whole day to help our kids make Christmas cards and gifts for their friends and teachers. I can't believe there is only less than 2 weeks left of school!

I haven't completely decided what they will be making, but I came across a few good ideas for gifts for teachers and lots of other inspiring ideas for
friends and family.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spring Favourites

Here are some things I love about Spring... that is when it is 'normal' Spring weather (not like the hot days we had last week!).

You know those low 20 degree days when the sky is blue and there are a few wispy clouds floating around and there's a gentle breeze in the air....

I love lazing on blankets and cushions in the sun,

Going for walks to the park and friends houses


Going to the park for dinner and watching our crazy, cute kids play cricket...

Flying kites (this one was a really groovy red octopus my dad brought us back from China!)...

Days at home with friends....they love painting the wall with water!

And one of my favourite things is tea parties on the back lawn!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 23, 2009

Justified by faith alone!

Justification is a word I don't spend enough time thinking about, and I am only just beginning to realise how vital it is for me to think about it more.

Recently I have had days when I feel like the worst mother, wife, friend...I have called upon the Lord constantly to help me with my attitude, my heart, but what I have failed to realise is that the reason I feel these things so much is because of my own self-righteousness.

If I were to examine my heart more honestly, I know that I am more grieved at my inadequacies rather than been grieved that God is not being glorified when my heart is not totally fixed on Him.

The cross is my only cure. The realisation that it's only by the blood of Christ that I have any worth, it's only because of what He has done that I have been made righteous before a Holy God.

The book I was reading today, Your Home a Place of Grace, by Susan Hunt reminded me of justification.

"Most of us struggle with accepting the people and circumstances in our lives and with feeling accepted by others. Our performance orientation is heard in statements as:

......If I do more for the Lord, He will love me more.
And the guilt-ridden hyperactive child of God eventually loses joy and grows weary of well-doing.

This type of thinking displays a theological problem - a failure to understand the glorious doctrine of justification by faith alone. Martin Luther said that justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls.

...This doctrine is an essential building block in a haven of grace because our acceptance of ourselves, our circumstances, and others will be in proportion to our understanding of our acceptance before the judgement seat of God."

A few months ago, after reading The Cross Centred Life - Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C J Mahaney, I was challenged to read over passages about the cross daily, to help me keep my mind cross centred. I am starting to realise how essential this is. I have had Romans 5:1-11 pinned on my bathroom wall all this year and the times I have meditated and saturated my mind with it have been so enriching...but lately I haven't been focused on it....

I think I need to spend some more time in the bathroom!

Mahaney lists the following passages to help us preach to ourselves, that speak of God's work of salvation through the cross.

Isaiah 53:3-6
Romans 3:23-26
Romans 5:6-11
Romans 8:32-29
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Galatians 2:21

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Link to great looking recipes

I have come across two yummy recipes on the back of Arnotts biscuit packets in the past week, so I decided to check out their website for more recipe ideas, and there were lots of them! I am am a bit of a fan of biscuits so lots of these recipes look very appealing to me!

Here are some I liked the sound of.

Black Forest Choc Ripple Cake

Sao Vanilla Slice

Malt O Milk Chocolate Layer Cake

Apricot and White Chocolate Granita Slice

Caramelised Strawberry Shortcakes

Butternut Snap Chocolate Ganache Tartlets

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our day at the Christmas pageant

We braved the heat on Saturday and went to the Christmas pageant.

I don't' have any clear memories of going to the pageant when I was a child and my husband has never gone, so this year I really wanted to go. It all seemed a lot more manageable now that we don't have prams and nappies to work around!

Another motivating factor was the possibility of us going to the USA next year, we wouldn't have the chance to go to the pageant again for another 3-4 years and our kids will be older then!

Even though the weather prediction was for 39 degrees, we went along. We managed to find a shady spot, and were thankfully in the shade for half the time, (the time we were waiting to start). When it did start we were so focused on the pageant that we didn't notice the heat too much, I had a little girl in a pram behind me who kept spraying me with water, which was wonderfully refreshing.

I am so glad we went, our kids loved it. When the nativity float went past, my son said to me quietly, "Do they know that story mummy?". Even though he knows that Christmas is all about Jesus, he is starting to realise that there are a lot of people who think Christmas is all about Santa, presents and parties!

After the pageant we went to the markets for lunch and then back to my dad's for a swim!

Here are a few snaps of the day, the kids loved writing with chalk all over the road, and the pink fluffy 'Bruto' and 'Toby the tow truck' were favourite floats!

The Young Mother

Just before I was pregnant with number 1 child, I listened to a sermon by John MaCarthur called Hannah: A Godly Mother . This was the sermon that gave me purpose for having kids!

It wasn't long (only a month or two) after listening to this sermon that we decided to start trying and then got pregnant!

I decided to listen to it again because I was teaching about Hannah in Sunday school last Sunday, and listening to this message again, now that I have children has been very inspiring and challenging!

I was moved by this story he read out, its a bit long, but worth the read!

"The young mother set her foot on the path of life.
Is the way long, she asked?
And her guide said yes and the way is hard and you will be old before you reach the end of it but the end will be better than the beginning.
But the young mother was happy and she would not believe
that anything could be better than these years.
So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them
along the way and bathed with them in the clear streams.
And the sun shone on them and life was good and the young mother cried,
`Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.'
And then night came and storm and the path was dark and the children shook with fear and cold and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said,
`O mother, we're not afraid for you are near and no harm can come.'
And the mother said,
`This is better than the brightness of day for I have taught my children courage.'

"And the morning came and there was a hill ahead and the
children climbed and grew weary and the mother was weary.
But at all times she said to the children,
`A little patience and we'll be there.'
So the children climbed and when they reached the top they said, `
We could have not done it without you, mother.'
And the mother when she lay down that night looked up at the stars and said,
`This is a better day than the last for my children have learned strength in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage, today I have given them strength.'

"And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth,
clouds of war and hate and evil.
And the children groped and stumbled and the mother said,
`Look up, lift your eyes to the light.'
And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory
and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.
And that night mother talked of Jesus and said,
`This is the best day of all for I have shown my children God.'

"And the days went on and the weeks and the months and the years.
And the mother grew old and she was little and bent.
But the children were tall and strong and walked with faith and courage.
And when the way was rough they lifted her for she was as light as a feather.
And at last they came to a hill and beyond the hill they could see a
shining road and golden gates flung wide.
And the mother said,
`I have reached the end of my journey and now I know that the end is better than the beginning for my children can walk alone for they walk with God.'
And the children said,
`You will always walk with us, mother,
even when you've gone through the gates to the Savior.'
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone and the gates closed behind her.
And they said, `We cannot see her but she is still with us,
a mother like ours is more than a memory, she is a living presence.'"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How do you enjoy your family and the ministry?

Over a year ago, my husband asked Randy Alcorn this question on his blog under his question and answer of the week.

I’m a full-time youth pastor with four beautiful kids and an incredibly supportive wife. It is so hard to juggle ministry and family and do it well. As someone who has reached the other side, and now with grandkids, does it get easier? How did you find the energy and time to really enjoy the kids AND the ministry?

He wrote back an answer on my husband's blog, and just a couple of weeks ago, he used that same question and elaborated more on his answer.

Here is a link to the post.

We found his answer very helpful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What to do with a heavy heart

There are some mornings, days, weeks when whilst everything in life seems fine and rosy, but your heart feels heavy, empty, and its hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is!

Well, I had one of those mornings...I am so thankful for God's faithfulness in drawing me to his throne of grace every morning (5am every morning!), even when I know deep down I would much prefer to still be in bed!

I started off with my bible reading, I am reading through Matthew. I am up to the crucifixion, and as I was reading I was ashamed at myself for reading over it all with such indifference, without it really impacting my heart, that was until I got to the part where Peter denied Christ 3 times and went away and wept bitterly.

I knew I needed to be on my knees praying, and that I am just as guilty as Peter of denying Christ in my heart. There was so much inside of me that wanted to resist God, I know that He hasn't been 'enough' for me these past few days, and I needed to spend time before His throne of grace, humbly asking for Him become 'enough' for me.

While I was praying I remembered something that John Piper talked about on his When I don't desire God DVD, when his heart doesn't feel right before God.

It is 4 prayers, IOUS.

I - Incline my heart to Your testimonies. Psalm 119:36a

O - Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18

U - Unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11

S - Satisfy us early with Your mercy that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

I prayed through these this morning, and it didn't take long for my heart to start desiring God and recognise just how far my heart had been from Him these past few days.

Almost instantly that heaviness was gone, when I willingly turned my heart to Him and focused on Him and the cross, my burdens were lifted.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Our plans to leave the country!

So my husband announced last Sunday to our church of our intentions to pull aside from full time ministry and study full time for 3 - 4 years. Over the past year his desire to study and know the Word more has grown and our dream of going back into study for a period of time started to become a reality!

We were married 11 years ago last month, and we have been involved in full time ministry our whole marriage. And after 11 years, my we are certain we don't want to be doing anything else with our lives (ie. secular work) but we are feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of full time ministry and are seeking to be better equipped to withstand the coming 20 or so years more of ministry!

So what that all means for us is that we are applying to colleges in the USA because the options for study appear to be more appealing and suited to our needs and desires. We have considered options in Australia and a few other countries, but we feel more led to the USA at the moment.

For me, I have always wanted to live in another country for a reasonably long period of time. The thought of never living anywhere else except Australia is quite stifling for me. God has made this amazing world and I want to see and experience so much more of it!

These are some of the things I am looking forward to.

- The challenges of packing up and leaving the city I have lived in for the past 34 years

- The opportunity to be completely dependant on God for provision of everything

- The opportunity to home school our 4 children for 4 years

- Taking almost nothing with us and starting out new in a completely different country

- The opportunity to experience a different church

- The opportunity to meet many new people

- The opportunity to learn, from what my husband is studying and by being involved with the college we will attend

- The opportunity for all of us to depend upon each other, and God, as we will be away from the familiarity of family and friends

....and there are so many more things I could list!

People ask me if I feel overwhelmed by everything, and my response is, if I think about it too much I do! But I have chosen to not be overwhelmed by it all, to just take things one step at a time, one day at a time, to wait patiently upon the Lord to guide and provide for us.

God's will for me this day is to love Him with all of my heart, soul and mind, to love my husband and children, and to love others, I try not to get too caught up in the tomorrows!

We would appreciate your prayers for us over the next 8 months, as you can imagine there is so much to plan and organise.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I can't naturally 'love my children'!

I think a lot of people know that I have never naturally been drawn to babies and kids, not like I was towards animals...!

The first time I ever really held a baby, changed a baby, dressed a baby, was when my first daughter was born. It's not that I didn't like babies or kids, I was just never really around them much to be able to gain a love, and appreciation for them!

So something that I pray, almost every day, is that God would help me to love my children, because it doesn't come naturally for me.

I have been mulling over Titus 2:4-5 a lot lately,

"that they(the older women) admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."

I came across these messages by Carolyn Mahaney the other day, I listened to the one on Loving my children. She reminded me that the love referred to in this verse is an uncommon love.

Her book, Feminine Appeal is a follow up of these messages, and she writes about this love.

...Yet it's in the midst of the trials and challenges of motherhood that the command comes to love our children. Once again the Greek word phileo is used to describe the kind of love we are to show. As with our husbands, we are to love our children with a tender, affectionate and passionate love.

Although many mothers are committed to caring sacrificially for their children, they sometimes neglect to enjoy them. They fulfill the responsibilities of motherhood but overlook the pleasures. I have often erred in this way myself.

Now it is noble to be faithful to the task of serving our children. But Titus 2 calls us to something more (and definitely not less) than a sacrificial and dutiful love. We are to delight in our children.

I know that the only way I can truly love and delight in my children is if I spend time loving and delighting in God. They received the overflow I received from Him, and I know that the love I show them is sincere, genuine because it comes from His grace, His strength, His Spirit at work in me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

When we are going it alone

I came across this post today and it was so encouraging for me. It is called "Going it alone", she describes a time at a church picnic when her husband was busy and not with her, and she felt like her time at the hot church picnic with two small children was a waste because she interacted with only one other person, and in general it was plain hard work!

I have been in the same situation Janelle described in her post many many times before! It was so uplifting to read about someone else who also feels the same way, and to realise that there are good reasons for sometimes "going it alone".

This is a part of the post.

Why did I even go? I wondered to myself later that afternoon. I didn’t have any profound ministry moments or evangelistic opportunities. The one guest I spoke to probably doesn’t remember our conversation. The church members we sat with at lunch are probably still laughing at us. Was that all just a grand waste of time?

No. When I stopped to think about it, many good reasons for "going it alone" at the church picnic came to mind. Here are three:

1. “Going it alone” shows my kids I love the church. It proves Daddy and Mommy really mean it when we tell them: “Sunday is the most important day of the week” and that’s true for all of us, not just Daddy. It shows them what it looks like to be committed to the church even when it is not convenient or easy. Sure, they may not understand that lesson now, but someday, by God’s grace, they will.

2. “Going it alone” shows the church I love the church. Whether we’re aware of it, or not, people are watching us. They notice when we attend and when we don’t. (Actually, sometimes, when my kids are screaming, they can’t help but notice I’m in attendance!) But simply by showing up at a picnic, the Sunday morning meeting, or any other church event, I am showing the people in the church that I care about them and that I want to be with them, even when it isn’t easy. And hopefully I’m encouraging them, (with actions, if not with words) to love the church too.

3. “Going it alone” shows I believe God is at work. God is always at work in the church! He’s always up to stuff—conforming us all to be more like His Son, building us together in unity, using our lives to display the gospel and using our words to preach the gospel. If I truly believe this then I’ll go expecting God to work, even through an overwhelmed mom with two crying, hungry children (and no sunscreen!).I may not have thought anything profound took place at that picnic. But I may be surprised one day to learn that God was using me in ways I had no idea. So, was going it alone all a grand waste of time? Not a bit!

I totally agree to each of these 3 points, and this verse came to my mind after reading them.

"And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

Galatians 6:9

Monday, August 31, 2009

Todays mercies for todays troubles - don't worry about tomorrow!

There have been days of late when I have been desperately dependant upon the God's strength each moment of each day. I have learned over the past few years to not look too far ahead, to live each day as it comes.

This year has been a particularly busy one. I spent 3 weeks at the beginning of the year mulling over a timetable of my weeks, I tried to find a spot for all the things I had to do, places I had to go, and people to see. But each time I went to slot something in, I had to stop, I disliked the idea of writing anything down. The thought of having a full week, made me feel horrible, so I ended up throwing the timetable out and proceeded to live each day as it came!

The lessons I have been learning this year have caused me to be so much more dependant upon God, to humble myself before him in every area of my life, and to be so much more desperate for His glory in all that I do.

Here's something I read in a sermon I came across just this morning.

The Christan's secret to dealing with trouble

There is a secret to the Christian life here that I want you to get a handle on. If you don't - you do on desperately needing to feel today the strength for tomorrow, then is seems to me that either you will cave in under the pressure of excessive anxieties, or you will find a worldly strategy for developing immense ego strength and persuade yourself the you really are sufficient for tomorrow's troubles.

Neither of those is God's way. God's way is summed up in two passages of scripture. One is Matthew 6:24,

"Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."

The other text is Lamentations 3:22-23,

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassion's fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness."

This has been such a timely reminder for me, that 'this is the day that the Lord has made, to rejoice and be glad in it.' Not to rejoice in yesterday, or tomorrow, but TODAY!

...As your days, so shall your strength be.
Deuteronomy 34:25b

Saturday, August 8, 2009

At home and not happy

I was reading a letter written into a secular magazine. It's from a father responding to an article called 'At Home and Not Happy'. I haven't read the article, but the father's response to the article was very interesting.

I read it to my husband and he could relate somewhat to the father. There have definitely been times as a mother of young children when I have resented my husband for leaving me 'stuck' at home to go to work, meetings, the occasional night out with friends.

It took me a couple of years of having children before I realised how I had placed so much expectation on my husband regarding his reponsibilities as a husband, and father.

Now having read this article it has made me realise what a devastating effect a little resentment or 'poor me' attitude can have upon a father.

Here are a few excerpts from the letter.

The words (At home and not happy) could have come directly from my wife - the same resentment and anger about being stuck at home with small children. All very understandable and explainable. There is however, another party involved: the husband and the situation impacts on him, too, particularly when his wife is so unhappy.

When our second child was born, my wife became steadily more resentful towards me. If I went away on a business trip, it was labelled a "junket" or a "holiday". Being late home from work was greeted with a frosty atmosphere. Needing time on my own (a common need for males) was tantamount to declaration of war. ....House tasks were done by her before I'd even noticed they needed to be done, then I was resented for not doing them. The tension increased steadily, and I started drinking readily to escape. I was told most days about my lack of contribution, about how easy my life was in comparison to hers, about my ever growing list of inadequacies.

One day after about 3 years all of a sudden I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't stand the tension, the bitterness and resentment and the constant psychological attacks. So I walked out to save my sanity and remaining semblance of self respect. Our marriage ended on that day, despite subsequent attempts to renegotiate behaviours.

I've since re partnered...My partner doesn't demand all the time, so I give willingly. If she wants me to do something, she just asks, and she doesn't expect me to drop everything and do it immediately. She treats me with respect and I love and respect her for that

...Deciding you don't like it after the fact (having kids) and taking out that anger on your 'significant other' is a great recipe for destroying your relationship. The pattern of blaming males is particularly destructive. Men tend to initially avoid the problem, which makes it worse. Then they get down and depressed. Then if pushed too far, they will eventually seek to escape- through alcohol, drugs, going on trips, having affairs or leaving their partner permanently..

...So my advice to those unhappy stay at home parents - male or female- is to mentally reframe your situation in a more positive light, and stop thinking its all about you. Don't fall into the trap of seeing yourself as a victim and lashing out at those around you...

...And don't forget your partner - people respond better to carrots than sticks, and bitter words from someone you love is far worse than a stick. Love needs kind words and actions to survive and grow, or it slowly dies and fades away.

This letter reminded me how much I need to respect my husband and be thankful and appreciative of all that he does for our family. It is so important to focus on the positive and not get sucked in to a 'poor me' attitude.

...and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:6

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Marriage, humilty and the gospel

These are the subjects I have been learning so much more about over the past few months. So much of what I have been reading and listening to have had these topics in them and I am so thankful for all God is teaching me about them in His Word.

There have been some hard 'cut to the heart' lessons, but God is so good and He has shown me time and time again "the path of life" and that "in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore". (Psalm 16:11)

Our book club has just finished a life changing book, The Cross Centred Life by C J Mahaney. It's one of the shortest books you'll read, but worth every page!

The following quote encompasses all 3 of the topics I have been dwelling on.

Your relationships with others must be based on your relationship to God through the cross. Ephesians 4:32 states, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you."

When I become bitter or unforgiving toward others, I'm assuming that the sins of others are more serious than my sins against God. The cross transforms my perspective. Through the cross I realise that no sin committed against me will ever be as serious as the innumerable sins I've committed against God. When we understand how much God has forgiven us, it's not difficult to forgive others.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:10-11

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well, it's been quite a while since I have posted anything. I have had lots of thoughts floating around in my head, and I always find it so hard to know just what to pull out and expose for everyone to read!

So, this post is all about our 3 year old's Pretty Pony Party on the weekend!

We have parties in our family on the 3rd, 6th, 10th and 16th birthdays, and this year we will have a 3rd, 6th and possibly a 40th!

Our daughter decided she wanted a pony party about 2 months ago. When I mentioned this to my sister in law she told me she might be able to borrow a friend's pony for the day!

Well, Sasha the pony was a wonderful suprise guest at our 3 year old's pretty (girls only) pony party!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We are in a war

Two weekends ago I attended a conference about Spiritual warfare. It was a life changing event and has changed my way of thinking about the Christian life in so many ways.

The speaker was Chris Mueller from Faith Bible Church in California (you can download his sermons, he has preached through the whole book of Epesians), and we went through that awesome passage at the end of Ephesians, 6:10-20.

Here are some things I learnt and was reminded of throughout the weekend.

- As Christians we are to stay dependently strong to be able to stand firm. Eph 6:10

- We battle as a church, not as an individual

- Be strong, means to be dependant totally on God

- To win we need to know our enemy.

- We battle against an army of demons.

- We need to battle evil by remaining humble. This was the the most convicting one for me. These verses have been so helpful to me over the past two weeks.

James 4:6-10 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1 Peter 5:6-9
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

- We need to be prepared by wearing the Armour GOD gives us, it's His Armour we are to put on.

- The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God refers to the bible verbally spoken to resist temptations. We need to attack temptations with the right verses. We need to know our weaknesses and be ready to fight using appropriate scripture.

- We need to lean on the word, learn the word, live the word and love the word.

- We need to be alert through prayer and purpose.

- We need to focus our prayer specifically on evangelism.

I guess the biggest thing I was reminded of was that we are in a WAR! Satan and his army are doing all they can to bring us down. We need to constantly be on guard, examining ourselves, our hearts, and devote ourselves fully to Him, and cover each other with prayer continually!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unless theLORD builds the house...

I have been striving hard lately, mostly in my mind!

Striving to keep my house clean, sort things out so everything is orderly, to keep on top of washing and ironing, to keep on my kids backs about keeping the toy room clean, to have tea ready on time, into the bed on time, to love my husband and delight in my children and to teach 'teach them diligently'.

The problem with all of this is that I have been striving to do it all and the other day it all came on top of me in an emotional heap! I had been accomplishing these tasks, but in my mind they were never good enough, I needed to keep doing more.

I so easily slip into the sins of pride, selfish ambitions, anger...which all fuel these tasks in the wrong way.

But these verses refreshed, convicted and instructed me...

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1

What an amazing reminder that it is God who needs to build my house, its not up to me and if I do build it, it will be in vain!

I am so thankful for the Word of God, it never fails to show me what I need to hear the most.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My hands were busy

I spotted this poem on my friends fridge the other day, I have read it once before, but it was a very timely reminder for me about how quickly time goes by and how I need to cherish the fleeting moments I have with my precious children!

My Hands were Busy
My hands were busy through the day
I didn't have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn't have much time for you.
I'd wash your clothes,
I'd sew and cook,
But when you'd bring your picture book
And asked me please to share your fun,
I'd say, "A little later son."
I'd tuck you in all safe at night
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door...
I wish I'd stayed a minute more.
For life is short, the years rush past.
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play.
No good-night kisses, no prayers to hear;
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands, once busy, now are still
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back to do
The little things you asked me to.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A special time away

1 week ago I had the privilege of going away with my eldest daughter to Sydney to visit my sister. It was a big surprise for her, she knew her and I would be going away sometime (she thought next year!) but she didn't know ANY details, until the night before we left. None of our kids have been on an aeroplane that they can remember, so just going on a plane was a special event, and then to see her Aunty, and to have her all to myself for 5 days!

It truly was a joy and delight to be able to take her away and spend the time alone with her away from her siblings. To just hang out with her, away from the cooking, cleaning, washing and general busyness of life, it was a precious time and one that I hope and pray she will remember fondly. It has helped me appreciate and love her so much more. I hope to do that with each of my children every few years.

Here are some snaps from our little holiday!

I think she went up and down the steps of the Sydney Opera House about 10 times!

The best experience was feeding my all time favourite animal, a giraffe! They are so adorable close us, big beautiful brown eyes!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A tribute to my Mum

Today it has been 6 years since my mother passed away and ventured into her glorious home in Heaven. This time of the year brings back so many memories of my mother, her life, her sickness and her death.

Around Easter I am always reminded of Easter Saturday when my dad rang to tell us that it wouldn't be long before she left us. She had been in and out of hospital so many times during her life, but this would be the very last time she would be in there.

It was my birthday last week, my sister's birthday on the weekend and I can recall so many birthdays when she was in hospital, unable to celebrate at home with us. Then today, the 5th May she passed away, in the week before Mother's Day.

Although my days are mostly filled with gladness, there are countless moments when I am overcome with a desire for her presence still. I am so confident there will be a day when I will see her again and share my life in eternity with her, but life here on earth is often lonely without her.

So many people who knew my mum would agree that she was an amazing selfless woman of faith. Her personality was completely different to mine in almost every possible way, yet I inherited so many of her passions for animals, flowers, craft, sewing and gardening.
I miss her most for her steadfastness, her strength despite such immense pain and suffering throughout so much of her life. I used to question why she had to endure so much suffering, but I came to realise and see how God used so much of what she went through for HIS glory and for the edification of so many of His people and those who did not know Him. She spoke so boldly of her faith to doctors, nurses, patients, family, and friends. I saw that God gave her a life of suffering for His purpose and her faith in Him inspires me to keep hoping, and trusting in a God who kept her, and used her so much for His own glory.

During the first 8 months of her intense sickness around 18 years ago, my father was saved. She lived around 15 years of her Christian life without him knowing and loving God, and it was only through her sickness that he was saved. She testifies how she would go through it all again for his salvation.

It was only last week, that I realised how her suffering and pain brought me to Christ as well. One time when my mum was in hospital and I was about 18, I was heart broken over a guy. As my mum was in hospital experiencing her own pain, I felt I couldn't talk to her about what I was going through, and I didn't have the courage to talk to anyone else. So I turned to God, utterly and completely. As I prayed and read His word so much more, I was overcome with who He is and what He had done for me.

Suddenly everything I had learned as a child and teenager came together for me, and I began to make Jesus the Lord of my life! I grew in such intimacy with Him and His word restored, lifted and completely satisfied me.

I realised only last week (on my birthday in fact!) that had she been well and available for me at that time, I would not have turned to the only One who could truly heal me and help me and who has given me an amazingly glorious new life!

There are still days when I lament over her not being here on earth. I am saddened that she never got to hold 2 of my children, but yet ever so grateful that she was able to witness our marriage and hold our first two children, something we all thought she would never have the chance to do!

So today I praise God for my mother, she will live in my heart and soul forever, and I can't wait for the day when we are reunited again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Music for my soul

This morning I had an unexplainable heaviness in my heart. I was trying to fight off random negative thoughts and my tiredness was allowing them to have victory.

Even though I know deep down that only God can truly satisfy, it is so hard sometimes to come to Him.

But something within me drew me to put on some music, and within moments my downcast soul was lifted, amazingly, and overwhelmed by my wonderfully gracious, almighty God.

I bought the CD Valley of Vision - Songs of worship inspired by the classic book of Puritan Prayers, a few weeks ago, and it has been such a blessing to me. I love the way music can touch parts of my soul like nothing else can!

These are the words that turned me to Him.

In the Valley

When you lead me to the valley of vision
I can see you in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision
It's here your glory shines so bright.
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is t o be high
That the valley's where You make me more like Christ.

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You're near with every breath.

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley's where Your power is revealed.

The last verse is what got me, I love looking into the sky during the day amazed that the stars that we see so clearly at night are still there. The only reason we can see them at night is because of the darkness, and they shine so much brighter out in the country where there are not so many lights.

Just like in my moment of darkness, the wonders, grace and love of God shine so much brighter than during the daytime, when things are going well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A worthy biblical goal for our children

I have been a bit slack in my blogging lately, I have been too consumed with many good books and projects and I haven't taken the time to sit at my computer!

Amongst all the good books I have been reading, I picked up one of my favourite parenting books the other day, Shepherding a Child's heart by Tedd Tripp and I was challenged about what my goal for my children is.

He mentions the following as unbiblical goals.

Developing social skills, psychological adjustment, saved children, family worship, well-behaved children, good education, control.

So what is a worthy biblical goal? His answer comes from the Shorter catechism.

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

He continues,

Is there any other goal that is worthy? Are you willing to start here with your children? You must equip your children to function in a culture that has abandoned the knowledge of God. If you teach them to use their abilities, aptitudes, talents and intelligence to make their lives better, without reference to God, you turn them away from God. If your objectives are anything other than "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy God forever", you teach your children to function in the culture on its terms.

How do we do this? We pander to their desires and wishes. We teach them to find their soul's delight in going places and doing things. We attempt to satisfy their lust for excitement. We fill their young lives with distractions from God. We give them material things and take delight in their delight in possessions. Then we hope that somewhere down the line they will see that a life worth living is found only in knowing and serving God.....

From their earliest days, they must be taught that they are creatures made in the image of God - made for God. They must learn that they will only "find themselves" as they find Him. Your child must grow to see that real living is experienced when he stands before God and says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And being with you I desire nothing on earth" (Psalm 73:25). If this is what you want for your children, then you must ensure that the content of your everyday life fits this objective.

It is so easy to get caught up with worldly goals for my children. Good behaviour and control is a big one for me. I can easily get into the mindset that if my children are under my control and are well behaved, they are doing well. But loving and enjoying God is a so much better goal and desire for my children. I long for them to know and love God with all their heart, soul and mind.

So often I focus on correcting their behaviour and telling them what God does and does not want them to do, more so than I talk to them about how glorious, majestic, loving, forgiving and sovereign our God is.

I am so thankful to God for this reminder, and I pray that He will help me to see the opportunities He gives me to talk to them about Him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A time apart...

Every now and again I take the kids down to my dad's for a few days to allow my husband some 'quiet time' at home.

The first time we did this, a couple of years ago, I dreaded the thought of being left alone with a 4 children under 5! But, it was something he needed, and as it ended up, something I needed as well!

In the past I have unintentionally depended on my husband way too much. He has been such an awesome help ever since number 1 entered the world. He does absolutely everything when it comes to babies and children (except clean up vomit!). I am so thankful for all that he does, I don't know how I would have coped without him!

But the balance between his work, family life, marriage, personal times etc. has been hard to work out and maintain, and this has overwhelmed us both at times. So our times away from each other have been so vital and necessary. Beneficial not only for us individually, but for the impact it has on our family.

The first time I left him at home alone, I had to depend totally and utterly on God to get me through. I wanted to give him that time alone, but I felt so inadequate and overwhelmed at the task of caring for our children all on my own.

But, thank God for weaknesses, as they cause me to run to Him, to depend upon Him, to find strength in Him alone, and at the end of the day, He ALWAYS hears me and pulls me through, victoriously and joyfully! Those few days ended up being so wonderful, and it was so freeing to know that I could do it on my own with His strength and grace. I really enjoyed the time with my kids and with my dad, it ended up being a wonderful time away.

So this week I am back here at my dad's enjoying a holiday away from my home! I actually have a project to complete while I am here, painting his office to accommodate more beds for when I invite all my friends over for sleepovers!

I am also enjoying time to spend with my kids, they are older now so I don't feel like I have to do as much for them. I cooked meals last night for us all, so I don't need to fuss about cooking, and it really doesn't matter if we spend the day in our pyjamas as we don't even really need to leave the house!

I love being at my dad's house, it brings back lots of wonderful memories. I love exploring in the garden, sitting by the pool, reading in the formal lounge, and the early nights!

I am looking forward to hearing all about the time my wonderful husband has spend on his own and with the Lord, and absence always makes the heart grow fonder!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A donkey's back

This week we have decided to read portions of the Easter story to our children each night leading up to Easter and then have our children draw a picture of what happened in the reading. I hope to collect the drawings each night and put them together in a book with the readings alongside the pictures.

Tonight my husband read about Palm Sunday and Jesus' welcome into Jerusalem. As our children were busily drawing donkeys, my husband informed us that all donkeys have a cross on their back.

"Really?" I said, "Yes really, I will find you a picture on the Internet." He replied.

Well he found lots of pictures, none of which I can post here as they are copyright (so if you are interested google donkeys cross and check it out for yourself!).

I was completely shocked! I can't believe I have lived 33 years (almost 34!) without ever knowing donkeys have a cross on their back. I feel rather silly, because I guess that's the kind of information EVERYONE knows, but can I just say that it was such an amazing thing for me to learn about!

I still find it amazing every time I think about it. That an animal which led Jesus as a baby inside his mother's womb into Bethlehem and that led Him into Jerusalem, the City in which He would be crucified on a cross, had a cross on it's back!

After learning about this my children all put crosses on their donkey's backs!

God never ceases to amaze and wonder me!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Incomprehensible vision of marriage

I have been reflecting upon two awesome pictures of marriage today. The first from Ephesians 5:22-32, the picture of marriage being like that of Christ and the church. Wives are to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord, as the church is subject to Christ. Husbands as the head of the wife are to love their wives and give themselves up for her as Christ have Himself up for the church.

The second picture I have been contemplating is the one found in Genesis 2:18-25, God makes a helper for the man, and the man says "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Verse 25 then says "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed".

I am trying to get my head around both these pictures of marriage, pictures that God has established and that He desires of marriage. In every day life what does it mean to submit to my husband as to the Lord, as the church submits to Christ, and what does it mean to become one flesh?

I love the word of God and I am excited about thrashing out these passages so much more so that I may have a better comprehension and understanding of God's desire for marriage.

These words from John Piper's book, This Momentary Marriage have also got me thinking.

"There has never been a generation whose general view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between biblical vision of marriage and the common human vision is now, and has always been, gargantuan......That was the case in Jesus' day as well. But ours is worse. When Jesus have a glimpse of the magnificent view of marriage that God willed for his people, the disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry" (Matt 19:10). In other words, Christ's vision of the meaning or marriage was so enormously different from the disciples', they could not even imagine it to be a good thing. That such a vision could be good news was simply outside their categories.

If that was the case then - in the sober, Jewish world in which they lived - how much more will the magnificence of marriage in the mind of God seem unintelligible in a modern Western culture, where the main idol is self; its main doctrine is autonomy; and its central act of worship is being entertained; and its three main shrines are the television, Internet and the cinema; and its most sacred genuflection is the uninhibited act of sexual intercourse. Such a culture will find the glory of marriage in the mind of Jesus virtually incomprehensible.

.....I mention this cultural distortion of marriage in the hopes that it might wake you up to consider a vision of marriage higher and deeper and stronger and more glorious than anything culture - or perhaps you yourself - ever imagined. The greatness and glory of marriage is beyond our ability to think or feel without divine revelation and without the illumining and awakening work of the Holy Spirit."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two opportunities to share the gospel before 7am!

We get up early in our household, actually make that 5 out of 6 of us get up early!. By early I mean between 5 and 6 am. I am usually the first up, then the dog, then our youngest, and then the others start coming out anywhere from 6am onwards.

The other morning during my devotions I asked God to help me be patient, self controlled and unconditionally loving towards my family.

It didn't take long before He allowed an opportunity to answer my prayer! Before we got to the breakfast table (which is around 6:30am) I gave warnings to my son who was not responding to my answers with a 'happy heart!'. This attitude carried over to breakfast time and it wasn't long before he was sent to his room to think about how he was responding. During this time, I talked to him about his heart, in particular his selfishness, and I told how this was sin, and then reminded him why Jesus came and shared the gospel message with him.

In his book Shepherding a Child's heart Tedd Tripp writes,

You need to shepherd your children in the ways of God at all times. There is, however, no more powerful time to press the claims of the gospel than when your children are being confronted with their need of Christ's grace and power during discipline. When the wax is soft during discipline, the time is right to impress the glories of Christ's redemption.

The gospel message is so powerful and I need to recognise the many opportunities I have been given as a parent to present and impress this into the hearts of my children.

It was only minutes after I had spoken with my son that I had to take my 4 year old daughter into her room and talk to her about her disobedience, another opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ!

All this happened before 7am!

There is such joy in seeing selfish and disobedient hearts turned into ones that have been forgiven and restored.

Needless to say I was incredibly thankful to God for granting me the patience and self control I asked for!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pumpkin soup and beef casserole

I love my slow cooker! I was thinking that today as I cut up some pumpkin to pop in my slow cooker for soup for tea tonight!

I don't know if anyone is interested but this is how I make pumpkin soup in my slow cooker.

1 butternut pumpkin
3-4 carrots (add more carrots if you want it sweeter)
1 onion
2-3 cups chicken stock

I just cut up the pumpkin, carrots and onions into cubes, and add around 2-3 cups of chicken stock, then put it on low and let it cook for the day. If you like chunky soup you can just mash it all up with a potato masher or if you like it smooth use a blender.

You can also put it on high for 3-4 hours, this always works well for us in Winter for Sunday lunch. I put it on around 8:30am Sunday morning and when we come back from church at around 12:30 its all cooked!

The other meal my husband in particular loves is a beef casserole.

500gms of diced beef
1 can tomato soup
Around cup beef stock

Put it all together in the slow cooker as is, no need to brown meat etc, and put it on low for the day. I was rather amazed at how much flavour the soup gave to the meat! You could eat this with rice, mashed potato or perhaps use the meat for a beef pie!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scripture memory revived!

We have been rather neglectful with scripture memory in our household the past year. I'm not sure why I dropped it off, just got out of routine I think. But the past few weeks I have been resurrecting verses we have learned over the past few years, and I can't believe how awesome they have been.

I lent a chart called Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman to a friend the other day. It identifies 22 behavior problems in children (such as disobeying, lying and tattling) and offers examples of Scripture passages that help address heart issues. I was going through it with my friend and I thought I hadn't used it very much, but upon review I realised how much I actually did use it in the past. A lot of what I say to my kids has come from suggestions from this chart. In particular we have learned a lot of the verses she refers to.

Seeing this again inspired me to get my kids back into scripture memory, not just so they can rattle off a bunch of verses to sound 'spiritual' but so that they can hide it in their heart and for it to help formulate their way of thinking about how they should respond to their day to day events.

I mostly did it with my older two kids who are 7 and 5 now and they remember parts of the verses, but the younger two never really got into it, they are 4 and 2 and 1/2 now. In the past I use to sit them down before going out in the morning and do a devotion and go over a memory verse together, but now I have just put them at the dinner table and try to integrate them into our conversation at the table. I try to pull the verse to bits and get them to really think about what it means and how they can apply it. I love being able to bring things back to the word of God.

We are reviewing Ephesians 4:29 at the moment,

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

This verse has been great because when they talk unkindly or rudely to each other, I remind them of this verse and ask if unwholesome talk is coming out of their mouth, and encourage them to think of words that are helpful and that will build the other one up.

It's a huge challenge for me as well, I love the power of scripture, it cuts so deep into the heart!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We have had mice trouble in our bin and pantry area, its been going on for a while now, but we have been too slack to put out traps to try and stop them. Our cat sits diligently in the kitchen every night awaiting a capture, but she has yet been successful!

The other night during dinner I opened the pantry door to get some ingredients for butterscotch pudding when I saw a grey flash, I asked my husband to come and see if it was a mouse. He pulled out everything and there it was trapped and staring at us! Not for long though, it suddenly dashed off and out of sight. We dragged everything out, but we couldn't find it. We set a trap that night, but he didn't fall for it!

Two days later on my husbands day off I did a small grocery shop. We had a nice morning, went for coffee, browsed around Big W and finally into Woolies. The checkout lady was scanning items and packing items into my reusable shopping bags. She opened one and she looked down and said in a very calm voice "Oh", I thought there might have been a spider in there, she said "It's a mouse!" The mouse then jumped out of the bag, ran under her checkout then under the checkout next door. That checkout lady said, "I think I stepped on it, someone come and take it away, I don't want to look!".

So I sent my husband over to have a look and get rid of the mess!

It all happened very quick and we were all a bit shocked by it all! I felt rather embarrassed that the mouse had come from my shopping bags but I was very glad that it was stepped on so it didn't 'freak out' any other shoppers or checkout ladies!

I am so thankful for a very calm checkout lady, she said she would have been more bothered by a spider than a mouse, I am so glad she didn't scream, and for my husband who got rid of the squished mouse!

Upon reflection I can't believe that I had spent the past 1 and 1/2 hours carrying those shopping bags around, for coffee and all around the shops, and I am glad we finally found where that mouse got to!

And just so you know we still haven't got rid of the mice, so far I know of two that have died, and there is still evidence of more in the house! My oldest wants to keep one as a pet.....maybe not!

Monday, March 2, 2009

How television affects your brain

I have been thinking about the impact of TV on us as Christians lately and I googled in the phrase, 'How TV affects the brain' and came across the video.

My husband and I managed to get out of the habit of TV watching a couple of years ago, we fall back into it when we are on holidays, and I always look forward to getting back into routine and there being less TV!

This video proves to me that it does affect your brain. I just know for me that when the TV is on I don't have the capacity to think about anything else. I may not actually be thinking about what the shows about either, its like it dulls my brain. I used to just put it on to help me relax, but I found it sucked me in and I felt lazy and unproductive for the rest of the afternoon or evening.
It requires a complete change of thinking to stop turning the TV on and to instead turn on some uplifting music or to even just go and lie down if I am feeling tired, at least my brain is not going to zone out. I will often find that even though I may be completely exhausted, if I go lie down or just listen to some worshipful music, within around 30 minutes of resting I start think productive thoughts like reading a book, calling a friend, or doing the ironing! But if I was just watching TV there would be no chance for those thoughts to enter my head!

Anyway, check out this video and see what you think!

I have been thinking about these verses from Psalm 1 lately and how they relate to TV watching.

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1;1-2
When we watch something on TV and it's not from a godly perspective, aren't we exposing ourselves to the wicked, sinners, and mockers? And if we are watching TV more than we are delighting in and meditating on the word of God, we won't be like that tree planted by the waters.
I am continually challenged and convicted about Psalm 1, I pray daily that my delight would be in the word of God.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What should I really be longing for?

The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. I feel like life is rushing past me.

I am a person who likes order, control, times of rest....I long for the 'perfect life' where its easy to wake up early in the morning and spend time with God, where I can go for a peaceful, invigorating 20 minute walk as the sun rises, where the before school routine runs smoothly with an element of joy in the air, where I can leave my house clean, neat, ordered, where I am so organised that I have lots of extra time to sit and read and play and have fun with my husband and children....

I also want to be readily and happily available to the needs of my family, friends, neighbours, church, community, not overwhelmed with housework....

Is it wrong to long for this perfect life?

Wouldn't having these things work out for me make me more Christlike?

There's a huge part of me that thinks it would!

But what does God think, what does He want for my life?

I strongly believe He is sovereign and in control of everything that happens in my life, that He has a purpose for everything, that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and who are called by Him.

But it is so hard and such a test of my faith when my 'perfect life' gets 'interrupted'

by helping others and by misunderstandings,
by washing machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers breaking down,
by unexpected guests and meetings,
by sickness and financial pressures,
by the presence of snakes and demonic activity happening within metres of our home....

How is is possible to have my 'perfect life' and be able to do the things which supposedly make me more Christlike and peaceful when these things come into my life?

Reading the following from our latest book club book, What happens when women say yes to God - Experiencing God in extraordinary ways, by Lysa Terkeurst, helped me with my attitude towards all this.

There are some things God wants us to get settled in our heart. Do we want to chase after the world's emptiness instead of His fullness? Or do we want our lives to be characterised by perfect love instead of perfect performance? Many people halfheartedly claim to be Christians, believing that because we will never be perfect on this side of eternity we have an excuse to pursue that which pleases our human longings. Why not push the limits, live for the now, and worry about eternity later? The problem is that we miss the whole point of our existence, the very purpose for which we were created. God made us for the relationship of His perfect love. While we are not capable of perfect performance this side of eternity, we are capable of prefect love. We can settle in our hearts that we will choose God's love and the pursuit of a love relationship with Him above all else, not matter what comes our way.

After reading this I spent ages pondering the fact that I am capable of perfect love towards God. I can choose to love God with all my heart, no matter what comes my way. That's what I should long for (not my ideal of a perefct life), to love God, to choose to love Him no matter what happens, no matter what He allows to come my way. He wants my heart more than my good deeds, a heart that has chosen to trust Him completely even when it feels like everything is failing apart. Later in chapter Lysa writes,

Nothing in life is certain. Circumstances roll in and out like the ocean's tide. The unknown can sometimes seem so frightening as we ponder all the tragic possibilities that we know can and do happen to people. We catch ourselves wondering what the next page of life might hold. We can't stop or control the things that roll our way anymore than we can stop the water's edge. But we can make the minute by minute choice to let our souls rest in God.
"Rest knowing all is safe in My Hands. Rest is Trust. Ceaseless activity is distrust. Without the knowledge that I am working for you, you do not rest. Inaction then would be the outcome of despair. My hand is not shortened that it cannot save. Know that, repeat that, rely on it, welcome the knowledge, delight in it. Such a truth is as a hope flung to a drowning man. Every repetition of it is one pull nearer shore and safety."

So I am choosing to love and trust. I am choosing to not be overwhelmed by the lack of order, by my dysfunctional household appliances, by threats of snakes, mice and demons, by fears of broken friendships and misunderstandings....

Its in all these times that I truly learn to know and love God, that I understand more deeply and fully about the love of God, the sacrifice He made. I am thankful for all the overwhelming things that have happened int he past two weeks, for the whirlwind I feel like I am in, because it is drawing me so much deeper into the love of God, drawing me further into that place of complete trust and surrender, deeper into goodness and treasure of His Word.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hope in God

Yesterday I got a taste of what my husband experiences as a Pastor!

Some days he comes home feeling drained, exhausted, downcast....

When you are involved in people's lives, for the sake of the gospel, you are a target.

You can expect to be misunderstood.

I don't know how he does it, I know I need to pray for him so much more, and for all the pastors and elders in our church, they carry such heavy burdens so much of the time.

I am so thankful for a God who can sympathise with us, who can lift our burdens, who truly answers prayer, who is enduringly faithful to His children.

I am so thankful that I can put my hope in God, and I am thankful for my husband who picked me up and cared for me yesterday.

So for all those out there who may be downcast, here is a verse for you.

" Why are you downcast, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God.
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God."
Psalm 43:5

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How do you show love to someone when they are suffering?

I have been asking myself that question today. There are people all around me, and one very close to me, who are suffering, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

My mother experienced extreme physical pain for a lot of my childhood and most of my teenage years, early marriage and early child bearing years. I often struggled to know how to show love her.

When someone is in pain, its impossible to really understand how they are feeling. Most people are good at hiding what they are going through, so sometimes we can walk right on by without any idea what they are suffering.

I have regrets about the way I showed love to my mother when she was alive. She suffered so much pain, that she felt bad to mention it. You could just see it in her face and body language.

I remember when I was in the early stages of my first pregnancy I tried to put myself in her shoes. While I was lying on the couch feeling fatigued, nauseated, useless, I would chat to her on the phone and realise this is how she feels almost all the time!

We watched Fireproof last night and what hit home to me about that movie was the only way the husband could love his wife was when he came to an understanding of Christ's love for him. The love of Christ is unconditional, unchanging, never failing, sacrificial. Christ's love fills us and enables us to love others because we are relying upon His love and strength not our own.

So I guess to be able to love others deeply, genuinely, as Christ loves them, I need to spend more time with Him, enthralling myself in His love and all that He is.

Coming back to my question, if you have ever suffered, or are suffering emotionally, physically, spiritually, what are some ways you need to be loved?

Monday, February 9, 2009

To keep or not to keep?

Ever since I got home from sunny QLD and stepped into my home, I have had the overwhelming desire to sort through and rearrange almost everything! I don't have much tolerance for clutter, everything needs a place and if it doesn't, I don't rest until I find one for it.

Due to the extreme heat we experienced last week, I wandered around my house aimlessly trying to ignore the piles of STUFF that needed to be put away. I had no energy to move, change, or sort, however I did manage to go through the kids bedrooms and the toy room and put around 10 bags of clothes, toys, bit and pieces into the Salvation Army wheelie bins!

Now thanks to the cooler weather today, I was into it again, this time my wardrobe which seems to collect all sorts of odds and ends. I managed to fill a 60 litre container full of old letters and cards. As I was going through them (and lots of other things) I couldn't help but think about all those people in Victoria who lost their homes, all their stuff in a matter of minutes from the bush fires.

I like to hold onto things for sentimental value, but I realise I cant keep everything, and when I think about how quickly it can all disappear, it makes me wonder if any of it is worth keeping at all!

But I keep thinking about the things I wish my mum kept from my childhood, and so I try to keep handfuls of mementos for my children. However, if God allows it all to be destroyed by fire, (one day it most likely will be) then so be it!

As I go through my things I can't stop thinking about all the hundreds of people tonight in Victoria who own only the clothes on the backs. Everything they owned has been destroyed by fire, I pray that they may turn to the only One who can give them the most precious thing in this world, the salvation of their souls.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reflections and Friday nights!

This year we are venturing into some changes. Mainly they are to do with my husband's role as a Pastor in the church we are at. One of the most noticeable changes are to do with Friday nights, he will be home on a Friday night regularly for the first time ever since we have been together! He is no longer running the junior youth group on a Friday night. He has been involved with youth groups in 3 different churches for the past 19 years (I have been good friends with him for around 17 of those years!)

A lot of people might read that and think, well he deserves to have his Friday's back, he deserves a break from youth, he has done his time, it's probably time for him to move on... But the truth is he has never thought of it in those ways. There have been times when he's come home late from youth group and there have been issues with kids or leaders and he feels tired, discouraged, disappointed, but he's never wanted to give up.

My husband is so very patient, faithful and committed. He may feel like he fails or gives up, he might feel weak, but I know that his heart is firmly planted in God's hands.

As tempted as he has been at times to give up the ministry, he has always pushed through, kept persevering, waiting and trusting in God to pull Him through and for Him to keep working.

I was reflecting this morning on his work at the church. Personally he has gone through some difficult times particularly in relation to his health, which has overflowed into and affected all other areas of his life! But as I look back I can see so much fruit that God has and will continue to produce through him.

At the last church we were at 7 years ago, there were doubts from the elders there about my husbands abilities and skills, but what I think they failed to look at was his heart. My husband has a heart that is full on for God and for serving him.

I often remind him and myself of this verse,

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop (pastor), he desires a good work. 1 Timothy 3:1

There are not many who desire to be elders or pastors, but my husband desires that, he longs to serve God wholeheartedly, to serve His people, to shepherd, nurture, lead, build up. The temptation for him to leave the ministry has always been overcome by his desire to serve God, sometimes the grass looks greener elsewhere, but to be where God wants you, there can be no better place.

I have so much love, respect, admiration, for my husband and for all that he has been through the past years. I am so thankful for all the trials and hardships God has allowed us to go through because they have only brought us closer to Him, to each other, they have given us wisdom and insight into the ways of God and His ministry, and built up our hope, patience, faith, character. We probably still have another 20 or so years of ministry left in us, so I am thankful for the lessons we are learning adn for what He is preparing for us in the years ahead.

We looking foward to this coming year, it has and is taking us a while to adjust to the changes, especially having Friday nights free! Although I don't think they will be free for long!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Number 2 starts school!

Well this week has been rather eventful, eldest daughter back at school, year 2 - my boy started school for the first time, and no. 3 started fulltime kindy!

No. 2 was very excited to start school.

He gets just about as excited as my husband does! When I asked him if he was excited about going he looked at me with a very straight face,

'Yes I am excited about school.'

He was very adorable all dressed in his school uniform, bag on his back, hat on head, I was very happy for him.

He was very happy to say goodbye after settling in and he informed me when I picked him up that he loves school!. We shall see how long that lasts!

But what was very special today was what he told his dad in the car while I went to pick up no. 3 from kindy.

Daddy asked him who he played with today.


Daddy said, "Is E... your best bud?"

He shook his head and pointed at Daddy,

"Am I your best bud?" He nodded his head.

He is such a special boy, such a deep thinker and just knows how to connect. I pray that he will continue to only grow in his love and respect for his father and His heavenly Father who loves him so very much!

I look forward to watching him learn and grow at school, I can't wait to have another reader in the house!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back from the beach!

We have finally arrived home from our holiday in the sun. We reluctantly packed up the car and made our way home from the Sunshine Coast early Tuesday morning and got back late last night (to a wonderfully clean house, thanks to our awesome housesitter!!).

A part of me was looking forward to coming home, but mostly I wanted to stay by the beach! I was not looking forward to coming home to the crazy heat wave here in Adelaide, QLD weather is hot, but humid so there is some relief at night, and we were right near the water, the best place to be in Summer.

I loved hanging out with my husband and kids for 3 whole weeks. I was surprised at how well we all got along, of course there were moments...but we all seemed to enjoy each others company, and it was lots of fun being somewhere else together.

The kids did so well to travel 12 and a half hours for 2 days straight. There was barely any complaining, or fighting, only a few toilet and food stops - mostly we just all sat back and cruised along listening to Colin Buchannan, Veggie Tales, some worship songs, a few sermons and a couple of dvd's in the arvo. I loved sitting in the passenger seat taking in the scenery, reading my novel and being forced to sit down for 12 hours straight! I had plenty of time to think about the coming year and mentally prepare myself for the return home!

I was so thankful for God's protection over us while travelling and while we were away. We had many wonderful experiences together, I will post a few photos and stories in the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let patience have its perfect work

I have decided to read the book of James for this month of January.

The first few verses start off with.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-3

We experienced one of those trials the other night, and after reading these verses again, it made me think that sometimes trials like the one we had, may just happen to let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.

No matter how big or small the trial, they all test our faith. Am I still trusting and holding on to God even when it seems like everything is turning out wrong, or I just don't know how I will make it through.

It is comforting to know that God IS doing something, even if its just to perfect my patience.

There are so many little things that happen day by day that try my patience, my children are great instruments to teach it to me.

Sometimes when I reflect upon my day, I am rather horrified to look at the times I lose my patience over something so insignificant, and....selfish!

So often it definitely is a lack of trust thing. I have things planned out in my head the way I think they should go, when they don't turn out that way, I start to lose patience and get frustrated. Instead of trusting Him with all my heart I fall into leaning on my own understanding.

But...I am thankful for the many times the Holy Spirit has led me back to look to Him, to make the choice to trust in God and have faith in Him and His plans, they always are the best way.

And the peace that takes over is so wonderfully freeing, I no longer have to worry that we are running late, that we won't get to the toilet in time, that the kids are getting restless and fidgety while we are waiting for someone.... I just hand it over to God and He grants me the peace, and ability to be patient!

I have been meditating on this verse of late.

..being confident of this very thing, He who began a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6
For the first time I realised that He will still be working on me until the day of Jesus Christ, which may not happen until long after I have left this earth.

So in Heaven, He will still be working on me, if I haven't learned the patience thing!

I am looking forward to that day in sooo many ways!!