Tag Archives: christianity

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I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where are but does not leave us where it found us.

~Anne Lamott~

Thoughtful Thursdays

Am I Growing In Love?

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Yesterday, I listened to a talk on these verses in 1 Corinthians 13: Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

What a lovely image of what love is!  It’s easy to read along these lines and nod in agreement that, yes, this is what love is, but it doesn’t go further than that.  The talk was a challenge that the sign of our change and growth as Christians came in how well we were loving others.  And the longer the talk went on the more I started to squirm in my seat as my heart was convicted.  As I asked myself truthfully how I was doing in this area, the resounding answer was not very well at all.  In fact, I have become extremely stagnant in this area.

The speaker talked about how love covers a multitude of wrongdoings.  He used the example of an oyster who upon getting a grain of sand inside their shell, weeps an emolient over it.  The sand hurts; it aggravates; it irritates, but the oyster weeps an emolient over it giving it a covering and the end result is something precious and valuable.  in the same way we are to cover others’ faults and failings with love because love changes all.

It’s so easy to grumble and complain and pick at people’s faults.  We live in a selfish, me first, society, where if someone does us wrong we take care of ourself first; we judge others by our standards instead of seeing them as Christ sees them.

So, how am I doing?

Long suffering: I am so short tempered and snappy.  I have no patience whatsoever.

Kind: hmmm, erm, I find it much easier to spew unkind words and without from doing kind deeds.  It is my natural bent.

Does not envy: I envy a lot.  I envy other people’s success, their career maybe, their domestic skills, their crafting skills, the list is endless of what I envy.

Does not parade itself:  Fail again

Is not puffed up:  Yeah, I like to boast and be proud and conceited sometimes, ok a lot of the time.

Does not behave rudely:  oh boy, this is an area where I need a LOT of work.  Again it comes so much more easily to me to be rude to other’s to ensure my own needs are looked after than it does to be gracious and kind.

Does not seek its own:  Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I can be quite selfish.

Is not provoked:  I am too easily provoked and I fly off the handle far too often.

Thinks no evil:  I judge, I huff and puff about people, I resent, I hold on to wrong doings done against me

Does not rejoice in iniquity: Ok, so I don’t rejoice with evil acts in this world like murder etc, but when something bad befalls someone I don’t like very much it’s easy for that little voice in my head to think yeah, well, they had that coming or they got what they deserved.

rejoices with the truth:  Truth and honesty are big things for me, so by the grace of God I do rejoice in truth.

Bears all things: DO I always protect?  Yes, myself, but I am not so good at doing the same for others.

believes all things:  Do I trust?  No, experience has taught me to be suspicious, so this is a major area for me

Hopes all things: I rarely hope.  I currently prefer wallowing in despair that nothing will change etc so why bother.

Endures all things:  For me it is far easier to give up and quit than to keep at it.

 

Wow, that’s me; a horrible person when I really start delving into my true heart.  I want to love this way.  I want to be characterised by 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, but I can’t on my own.  I may succeed for a few days…probably more like a few hours, but in my own strength this would be exhausting to do.  To change myself into this, I need time everyday in the presence of Jesus.  I need to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible to allow him to transform me with His love flowing through me.  Only then can I even have  a hope of loving others like this in His strength.  So the first big change for me is setting more time aside in my day to spend in prayer and study.

The speaker in his talk told us of these words that someone (I don’t know who) has written:

 

Joy is love enjoying

Peace is love resting

Patience is love waiting

Kindness is love reacting

Goodness is love choosing

Faithfulness is love keeping its word

Gentleness is love empathising

Self-control is love resisting

Lord, help me to love like this. Amen.  I think I may do something with these words so that they can grace the walls of our home and be a daily reminder.

 

Be with Jesus

Happy Easter

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I would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter; that time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. May you have a wonderful time with your families.

“He is not here; for He has risen just has he said he would.”

 

Unexpected Visitor

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Last night, we had a very unexpected visitor to our home.  One of my dogs was barking incessantly in the garden.  This is not unusual, so I went out to tell her to be quiet, but I found her barking at a hedge near the bottom of the garden in such a way that I knew there was something in there she wasn’t quite sure of but that she wanted me to see.  Down I went with baby to find the cause of all the commotion.  I saw nothing, nothing but a grey something that could possibly be a football come over from the neighbours’ kids.  Again, that is quite a regular occurrence, and I thought she had just scared herself by seeing the ball in the hedge.  So I laughed, told her to be quiet and walked off.  She continued to bark, and then I turned around to find her pulling a pigeon out from the hedge.  I assumed it was dead at first, and my dog, being a Flat Coat is quite partial to finding a dead bird or two, though she usually doesn’t bark and go crazy.  I thought I knew the drill, she’d hold it expecting me to chase after her like she normally does upon finding a dead bird.  But, wait, she’s carrying it up the garden and setting it down and looking at me expectantly waiting for me to come join her.  So I trek back down the garden and she backs off from the bird, not her usual game.  I take a closer look and find the bird is alive but looks like a cat has tried to attack it.  I take baby inside and ask my husband to come down and put the dogs in their bed as I felt the poor pigeon had had enough commotion.  I got an old towel and gently draped it over the bird and scooped it up.  It was still alive, but quite frightened.  My husband found a box and we punched loads of air holes in it and lined it with newspaper put a dish of water in and some bird seed.  I carefully placed the bird in the box, we set the box somewhere quiet and called the RSPCA.  They had told us they would be out soon to fetch the bird.  Two hours later, we had heard nothing, so we called again, and someone called us back to say they were very sorry, but it would now have to wait til the morning, but we had done all the right things and the pigeon would be fine like that til they got there.

I checked on the pigeon twice before going to bed and it had moved a bit and on the last occasion it seemed more relaxed and its breathing had steadied.  This morning, my husband went to check on it, and, sadly, it had passed away.  We weren’t able to keep the bird alive, but we were able to create a safe haven for it to pass away in without the risk of further attack from any animals in such vulnerable state.  It got me thinking of a verse in the Bible in Matthew 10:29-31, where we are told that God cares for each and every bird.  He ensures they have food, He knows when one dies and He cares.  But oh, how much more He cares for us!  And just liked I provided the bird with a safe haven, a shelter in its time of need, so God does the same for me.  When life wounds me in some way, which it does, He is there to gently swoop me up, and He holds me in His arms, a safe haven against the storms of life, He comforts me and nurtures me and gives me the time and space to recover from whatever trial came my way, the same way I comfort and care for my daughter.  How awesome a God we have.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Refrain

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Patience and Grace Needed Here Please!!!

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Ever get those days as a parent when life just seems to be against you?!  I’m now into my second day of that.  I’m currently rather ill with a cold and chest infection(the weather round here’s been so changeable that viruses etc are having a great time with people’s immune systems), so am not really feeling up to the job of being mum.  I wish there was an option to call in sick to work because right now I could really use some time to recover!

Yesterday, my daughter screamed all.day.long.  No matter what I did.  She refused to go down til 10pm and I was so exhausted I followed to bed shortly after.  I was feeling exasperated.  Today, I woke up hoping things would be better, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I’ve tried feeding, cuddling, playing, dealing with any underlying teething pain, wrapping her, but nothing will pacify this child today!!!!  Except, of course, sitting out in the blazing sunshine, which she then got fed up with and cried but screamed even more when I brought her in to bring her bouncy chair etc inside so the dogs wouldn’t destroy it.  This is made all the more embarrassing and frustrating as both sets of neighbours are outdoors and can hear her scream like I’m causing her some harm.  I was so stressed out, I ended up slipping on some water spilled by the dogs and twisting my knee and ankle.  So, I have placed her safely upstairs, still screaming at the top of her lungs, closed the door (and the windows to save the outside world from having to suffer the same fate as me), and come down here for a quick 5 minute breather as this tired mama is at meltdown point.  I hate listening to her crying alone, and I rarely leave her like this, but I felt for my sanity’s sake right now it was best to get some space between us for a few minutes so I could just breathe before going to try and find a solution.

My husband’s unhelpful solution was to have patience…………..clearly he couldn’t see that my patience tank is running on empty with being sick, exhausted and having already listened to her screaming for a whole day previously!  So, if there is any patience out there to be had, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease send it this way.  And if you can’t find any then please, please say a prayer for God’s grace right now.  We sure would appreciate it.

Do you ever get days like this?  How do you get through them?

When Life Disappoints

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Before becoming pregnant, I signed up to do a Diploma in Reflexology.  I had seen great improvements in my health regarding my endometriosis etc and as my parents suffer from many health issues, I wanted a way to help alleviate some of their pain with the possibility of setting up my own clinic in the future.  After joining, I then discovered that I was pregnant and as the Hyperemesis got progressively worse, by December I had to step out of the course.  I had done all the coursework up to this point and lots of practicals as well.  I discussed the situation with my tutor and left with the promises that all the work I had done already would still count, and I could just rejoin the course in December where I left off, and that I wouldn’t have to pay a penny more than the fees for the year 2011-2012.

Since leaving, he has decided to switch awarding bodies, as the body he was with are no longer awarding to the same level.  This was fine as in February he still told me that my work done already would count and he was still upholding the agreement that I wouldn’t have to pay any more money despite having to be registered with a new awarding body.  I emailed him about coursework in June and disappointment one came: he replied to say not to do anymore coursework as some of it would count, but some of it wouldn’t, and that I would have to pay another fee to be registered with the new awarding body.  I then saw there were 5 extra lessons and so started to think, well how am I going to just “slot back in” in December where I left off?  My husband and I were in the middle of deciding what to do about the whole situation, and today I got another email stating that I’d have to attend ALL classes again, redo ALL course work and pay this fee.

Now, I was struggling with the fact that I would have to leave my baby girl for a whole day every 3 weeks come December, but from September would just break my heart.  This is why I asked and reasked if I would be able to just come back at the point where I had to stop.    I also don’t know how I would find the time to do all the course work again, as it took me forever when I didn’t have a child to care for 24/7 and could devote whole days to doing it.  So, we are left with a situation where I feel I can no longer continue on with my training and now need to try and get money back for his breeching the contract he made with me 😦  I hate confrontation, and I know that ultimately I stand to lose a lot of money….money that we could do with having back right now!

Disappointed? Yes

Upset? Yes

Annoyed? Very

But I know that even in all this God has something good for me.  If I can’t continue on and have to drop out and if I lose all the money I have paid, there will be a reason even if I don’t know why this side of eternity, and God only shuts doors when He has something better He wants to give.  We just have to be patient and be still instead of trying to batter down the closed door.  So, I will take my upset and disappointment to Him and leave it there and await His answer to all this trusting that He has something great in store for me, and he has plans to prosper me and not to hurt me (Jeremiah 20:11).

How do you cope with life’s disappointments?

Learning to Love Self

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So, I’m the kinda girl who hates leaving the house without make up on her face.  I’m the kinda girl who made sure her toe nails were painted ready for labour and that on the actual day wanted to do her face and her hair so she’d look half decent in the photos.  I’m the kinda girlw ho asks people to keep my head out of photos if it happens to be a day when I’ve not bothered putting make up on as I’m not going out.  I don’t want people seeing the uneven skin tone that I see or the scars on my face from when I was troubled with acne.  I want people to see someone beautiful.  Since having my baby girl, I’ve had a lot of time to think about lessons I’d like her to learn in life, and God really spoke to me about this area of my life and how heavily I depend on makeup for people’s approval.  This isn’t a trait I want to pass on to my daughter.  I don’t want her to feel that beauty is only superficial and that natural God given beauty isn’t enough so it must be covered up.  These are thoughts I want her to live by:

1 Peter 3:3-4- Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

 

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.  For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.  For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.  For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.  For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.  People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.  As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”  ―    Sam Levenson

I want my daughter to spend her time not chasing after superficial beauty, but cultivating a beautiful character, one of grace and gentleness, compassion and understanding.  You can have all the outward beauty in the world, but if there’s nothing to match it on the inside, it doesn’t count for a lot, and it won’t get you far in life unless you enjoy the superficial.

It’s taken many years for me to get to this point where I feel free from the prison of make up if you will.  I guess God started this change in me when a hair cut went wrong just before my daughter’s birth, and I felt stripped of something I had relied on to make me pretty, and something prompted me for the last few weeks to just try going with no make up.  My skin felt so much lighter instead of feeling weighed down and no longer did I have the feeling like it was melting underneath the foundation in hot weather.  I didn’t have to worry about it getting on my clothes etc etc.  Now, I’m not saying never wear make up or that I won’t ever wear it, I just want to teach my little girl that it’s her inner soul that will make her beautiful all the way to the outside, and it’s far better to eat healthily to keep the outer skin looking its best than trying to cover it up.