Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Compassionate Heart

John 11:35 Then Jesus wept.

I come across so many people from different walks of life, ages and conditions but when it comes down to it, right down to the person's soul and spirit these things are just labels. Age, health conditions and what has happened to you does change you but they are labels that people can look at and think they know you.

I met an elderly gentleman today who clearly had some form of dementia or health problem. He walks into the bookshop where I work and I have such compassion for this man. In his prime he must've been many great things. Admired and loved by many.

But today he did not feel welcome or loved. His family don't want to travel with him because his condition makes it difficult for them and I could go on a rant about this but I do not understand the circumstances that his family are in but I do find it a little sad.

I just felt so sad for this man, who now needs to deal with something that is out of his control. He is alone but he isn't alone because his faith is still there. In his walk of faith he met Jesus and Jesus is still there.

He quotes scripture about being the light of the world. That light being manifest through us and it being our responsibility to shine that light and be that light to others. I really hope that I was a light to him. That somehow I made his day brighter and happier. Maybe even eased his burden a little but I also pray that today he will have many more happy encounters today. That at the end of this day he will have a smile on his face and not a tear in his eye.

Compassion for others is a good way to live. Look past the exterior things of the life. The illnesses, the age, race, gender, history and look into their eyes. They eyes are the window to the soul. We do not look at a person's eyes enough. We don't really see a person for who they really are.

We can learn so much from each other. There are people out there really hurting and who feel so alone but we look at the exterior of their lives and think that they either have it all together and have many friends or that they are a mess and it is because of their poor choices and it is what they deserve.

Not everyone has it all together. In fact those who do look like they have this life sussed probably are struggling more than most of us to keep it all together and feel like no one really gets them. The person who is a mess and is falling apart and keeps on making the same mistakes may not listen to your advice today or even 10 years from now but one day they will remember your kindness. One day they will understand that you cared enough and didn't give up on them and that your prayers made a difference to them.

For the elderly who have lived full and active lives now slowed down by age and conditions, ask them about their lives. Most of them are willing to tell you what their lives were like when they were younger. How they learned from their mistakes and what they took away from it. How they lived their life for Jesus and if they haven't maybe you can be the one to be the light in their life and give them the hope they have been seeking all their lives.

As the wise Rafiki from the Lion King 1.5 said to Timon, "Look beyond what you can see" Look further, look harder until you really see it and there you will find compassion to develop your compassionate heart.

Pray for someone today that you don't know so well because you are very different from each other and ask God to reveal to you how He sees them. Celebrate that person's life and decide to see others this way too.

Blessings to you all.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Time for an Update

Hi everyone. I am still here. I haven't forgotten about you all. My days have been full of drawing, drawing, drawing and more drawing. There are only a few pages left to go before I can compile and publish my Adult Coloring Book.

With my self imposed deadline I have had to work fast if I want this book ready for Christmas presents.

September has been a busy month with my husband being away and the girls end of term things and meeting new people. It has been a very exciting month. I got back into contact with a penpal I have been friends with for 12 years. That was great. We just picked up where we left off.

This got me thinking a lot about friendships and about God. I have many friends around the world I have not met. Some of my friends live about an hour or so away and I have never met them and I guess that is the power of the internet. You can be in contact with so many people around the world and never meet them but still have a connection.

Although I haven't met God in person we still have a relationship. He lives in me. One day I will meet God in person which will be a great day but God is never far away. He isn't an hour away and He isn't half a world away. He is right here with us. We may not see Him as we would see each other but He is more real. We can have that kind of relationship with Him if we can have a friendship with someone we have never met in person and connect with them and be best friends then surely we can have a great relationship with our Father who is always there and always hears us. If the internet is down He is still there. When the lights go out He can still see us in our darkest hour. When the battery on your phone is flat you can still dial in to Him. When you forget your phone at home or your landline is down you can still reach God. Your line of communication will always be there. It will not be down for maintenance or destroyed by the elements and you never have to wonder whether He still wants to be your friend because of something stupid you said.

Unconditional, unwavering, not distracted, not easily angered.

Yet we take this relationship for granted a lot of the time. We get stressed first instead of praying. We focus so much on a problem that overwhelms us instead of praying about it. We don't talk to Him and then wonder why we aren't getting the breakthrough we need.

Talk to Him throughout the day. I don't know about you but I love it when friends want to talk to me and are in contact with me often and are interested in me. I don't like it when people are too busy to spend time with me and I don't like being too busy to spend time with friends. I can sometimes be too much for people or not enough but with God I can never be too much and I am always more than good enough.

He accepts me as I am. Yes He is working on my character and the Holy Spirit lets me know when I need to stop doing something but as I stand here today I am accepted.

You are accepted as you are right now. You do not need to sort your stuff out first before you come to Him and talk to Him. You do not have to wait for a better connection and you do not have to wait for better conditions. Get on your knees and talk to Him as you would a friend. He is always there for you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Your Calling a Blessing

Romans 8:30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

What is the Call anyway? I have always wanted to know what my calling was. What is it that God wants me to do? What does He want me to be? What am I meant to do now that will put me in the path of my future calling?

This way of thinking was getting me into a bind. I was asked so many times what my calling was. I didn't know and even at the age of 30 I didn't know.

Let me let you in on a secret. What you are doing now is your calling. What you will do in the future is your calling. Wherever God directs you is your calling and it may not be in just one thing.

There are many hats I wear but it doesn't make me many different people with different callings.

Our call doesn't always mean we need a qualification or certificate. God qualifies the called. He is the one that has created you and He knows exactly what your call is. Whether you work in office or at a school, at home with your kids or fight fires, if you are doing what you are passionate about and what you love and are shining your light in this world then you are called.

A call is not a mystical thing. For years I thought it was that one big thing I was created to do. I was looking at the future as a final destination. As if all my life would be leading to one great feat. What I didn't realise was that every little thing that I have done in my life has brought me to this point in time and this point in time will lead me to the next season which will lead me to the next chapter and so on until I am old and I leave this world. My call will never be done until I am called home.

I challenge you to be you. Be the you God has you at right now. By all means look to the future and don't look at your past mistakes and failings but look at what you have right now and how you can use that today to change someone else's life.

Had I not committed to Blogging I would never have had enough posts to put into a book that is now an encouragement to those who do not read on the internet. People who need hope can now read my words in their own homes as they deal with the hard things in their lives and I pray for each person that receives my book as I pray for each of you reading this.

Had I not pursued my love of art I would not have discovered that I enjoy doodling and that I can be of help to those who can benefit from art therapy or the simple joy of coloring in.

Had I not followed through with my maternal instincts and had not had my children there would be people out there that would not have met these beautiful girls and have been prayed for by them. I can't wait to see what God has in store for my daughters. Each of them are so unique and each have their own gifts and talents. They are destined to be world changers and prayer warriors.

We have been blessed to be a blessing. You have been blessed with just what you need to be a blessing to someone else who needs love and encouragement today.

If you do not know what your call is then look at your hands and ask what it is your hands have been gifted to do. If you have something on your mind, write or speak it out. If you are good at sport find a way to use that to encourage others either by joining a team or forming one. If you can draw, draw and keep going. If you can cook or bake use that to bake for someone that has been on your mind for a while. There will always be a way for you to help someone else or do something. It may not be the marvelous thing you thing a Calling may be but God cares about the small things and small things always add up to big things.

Dream big, live big but don't forget the small things in life that add up to some really wonderful things that can transform someone else's life.

You are so blessed, be a blessing

Monday, August 15, 2016

What Mary Saw

We all know the story about Mary and Martha. How Jesus came to visit and Martha busied herself in the kitchen preparing the meal alone and how she complained to Jesus that Mary needed to come help already.
I always identified with Mary in a way because I am pretty bad at housework and I like to avoid it as much as possible but I also identified with Martha's frustration over the lack of help because when I do clean my house really well it is usually only me doing the hard work and then an hour later it is messy again.

However there is one thing about the story that we sometimes overlook. This is not a story about who doesn't do work in the kitchen and who doesn't.

Mary wasn't just shirking her responsibilities she was sitting with Jesus. What did she see? I don't think she would be the kind of person to purposefully avoid helping her sister in the kitchen to prepare the food.

Martha complains to Jesus telling Him to talk to Mary and tell her to help. What Jesus says to her is interesting Luke 10: 42 “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I found over the last few years I have been very busy and rushed and attending to all the details. Even my prayers were rushed or were take away meals with Jesus. Come dine with me Jesus while I attend to this thing or that thing. I was so busy fixing this and fixing that in my own life that I forgot that the only thing I was meant to be fixing is my eyes on Jesus.

I felt guilty for not reading my Bible and praying for hours. I was upset that God felt so far away from me. I didn't only want to read my Bible because others were doing it and it was expected of me I wanted to want to read it. I wanted to worship out of a place of relationship and not from trying to be something.

My busyness was mainly a way to smother the difficult and hurtful things in my life. If I only kept myself busy I wouldn't feel so bad. If I keep busy enough maybe the grief won't kill me. If I were to fully express what I was going through I didn't think I was going to recover.

I wonder what would have happened if Martha had stopped what she was doing and sat next to Mary to listen to Jesus.

What would happen if I did that?

Well I did. This year I stepped away from the things I was using to hide my troubled soul. I had reached a point where there was a lot of confusion and torment in my mind and in my soul. My soul had become starving and was trying to fill itself with doing things that kept me busy. Only these things I knew were not what God would really have me do. Now don't get me wrong I learned a lot over the last few years. God used my bad decisions and motives and turned them for good.

As I stepped away and looked closer at my motivations and my decisions, God began to peel away the hard layers of my heart. These layers of hurt, grief, fear and shame. There may still be some left for God to fix but I feel softer. The area is tender and I cry a lot easier now. I cry when I am happy now.

I sat at my Saviors feet look up into His face as Mary did all those years ago and this is what I saw, this is what Mary saw, we saw the Father's love. We saw the one thing to be concerned about about all other things. When you sit at His feet all other things pass away and become meaningless.

If you tune everything out and listen carefully, He speaks and when He speaks you will never be the same again for He speaks healing and peace into your very soul, into your very bones and into your heart. That my friends is entering into His Rest. Entering His rest is not something you do or try. It is when you become hungry for more than just a take-away meal and you hunger for a 5 course meal with Him and "just one last cup of coffee Jesus before I go about my day?"

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Father's Heart

Luke 15:32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

There is something amazing about answered prayer. I have so many people on my heart right now. I guess I always have but there is something different about it. My viewpoint has shifted.

The last two weeks have been a shifting time for me. I am a big sister and the eldest in my family. Most of how I see things is processed through the big sister lens. In Luke 15:20-32 Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son. I would always identify with the older son. I thought it was cool that the younger son came back but could identify with the older son's frustration.

Something has changed in the last two weeks though and it can only be that I have become a mother.
I have been a mother to my own kids for 10 years now and so you would think that this is strange but let me explain.

The reason why the older son was not happy when his younger brother returned is because he wasn't seeing him as his father saw this younger son. He was looking at his brother as a little brother who messed up and was getting rewarded for his bad behaviour. However the father did not care what his younger son had done or how much money he had wasted. Instead he was only happy that his son was back. If the older brother had only seen that the return of someone to the family is something to be celebrated and is of far more worth than being a good person and doing good stuff.

My Father in Heaven doesn't care what I have done wrong. If I am not near to Him He misses me terribly. When I have run away from Him He doesn't hide from me and sulk. He waits for me. He stays where I left from and waits for my return. He stores up His love to lavish upon me on my return.

I used to roll my eyes when people ran away from the good things in there life and the only thing I would wait for was the day they would come back and realise the wrong thing they did and repent.

Today none of that matters. Today I became a mother. Today I see people with the Father's heart. It is good to repent for what we have done but the main focus should always be on the return.

I pray for those that have run away from God to return to Him so they can feel love and not judgement. God wants to clothe the prodigals in your life with a ring of authority, a robe of royalty and sandals of sonship.

In our lives we compete with each other for the love of our parents. Any sibling can attest to this. Who hasn't said "mom and dad love you more than me because of xyz" I must've said it or thought it a few times. It stops mattering when we see your siblings as the Father sees them.

With our brothers and sisters in the Church how do we react? I have acted as a big sister and even as a little sister trying to win approval. My pastor last week said something that I had a good think about. He said that there are people who are looking for someone to be a father to them but what they really need is to be a father or mother to someone else.
There comes a time in our life where we need to realise that we no longer need to be fathered by anyone because we now need to step into a place of being that person to someone else.

Lisa Bevere puts it well in her book Girls With Swords. She was feeling unsure about how to step into the women's ministry God was calling her to. God said to her that all she needed to do was be all the things to these women that she always want from someone to be to her.

I wanted someone to always be there for me, champion me, look over my faults, encourage, support me and love me just as I am with all their hearts.

I really hope now that that is the person I am now. I want to be that person to those younger than me.

I have graduated from big sister to momma bear and I will fearsly and fearlessly protect and love all those God has put under my wing and those He has called me to mother. I want to be Jesus to people and I want to bring the Father heart to people.

God loves me so much. It is only in loving others as a mother that I have come to see just how much He loves me.
Imagine as a mother giving up your own child to save the life of one of someone else so that they can be a part of your family? The concept is foreign but that is what the Father did. He took his very Son who was part of Him and gave Him up so that you and I would know how His heart for us.

I give up my right as a sister and daughter so that I can be a mother if that is what it takes to bring you back to Jesus.

As a daughter and sister I had a right because I was the eldest and I was good and did nothing wrong. I didn't give anyone any trouble therefore I had a right to things those who mess up all the time didn't have. I would get really bent out of shape if I saw a "juvenile delinquent" get promoted over me when I tried so hard and there they are messing up all the time and now look they get a ring, robe, sandals, a fattened calf and a party! It is unfair!

There comes a time when you just want them back. You want to see them succeed and you just want to hug them again and hear their voice. There is nothing sweeter than a prodigal son worshiping the Father.

A friend came to church today. I prayed so hard over the last year for him. I saw him as a little brother. I have a little brother who lives very far away who I love very much. He isn't perfect but I miss him despite the mess. I have a few young people in church that I see as little sisters and brothers because mine are so far away but today when my little brother here in New Zealand came back after I prayed so hard for him I was so excited. I was so happy to see him again. It didn't matter that he was away for that long. I was just so happy that he was there.
I got to thinking about how God saw those who come back to Him. The absolute joy that the Father has for each person that turns back to Him.

I have read in the Bible where it says there is a huge party in Heaven when one person is saved and I thought that was cool but it only full registered today just how amazing it is.

So I was in a puddle of tears today as I thought about all the people in my life I am praying for. Answered prayer is sweet, so so sweet. Unanswered prayer when done without ceasing grows your faith.

Don't stop praying for those who are far from the Father. Don't lose faith and don't lose hope. Keep pressing on and when they return love them like the Father does. Love them as if they were your own child. As you pray for them, pray for them with the heart of the Father.

I thank God for His love for me.

I wrote this bit of a song in church today as I was worshiping.

I thank you Lord
I thank you Lord
I thank you Lord
Your love is Deep
Your love is Wide
Your love is Sure.

His love for you is deeper than any ocean and wider than any horizon. Above all it is sure and reliable and ever present.

My mother heart is always so much deeper and bigger than my sister heart. My sister heart always had conditions but my mother heart is unconditional.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Look Up Again

Genesis 15:5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

My youngest daughter has been taught about stars and is constantly looking up at the sky and spotting the stars in the sky. This got me thinking.

Children look up. Children look around themselves and experience the world.

Early this morning I had the worst heartburn. I simply could not sleep and so I decided to get up and make myself some tea. While the water was boiling I looked out of my kitchen window and saw the stars. They were so beautiful and reminded me of when I was younger when my favourite thing to do was lie on my back outside and look at the stars. It still is but I don't look up that much anymore.

It got me thinking about Abraham.

When God told Abraham to look at the stars He was making Him a promise. My God keeps His promises. He only told Abraham to look up into the sky and count the stars. God did not put a condition to His promise because when God promises something He will follow through. He does not say that He promises only if.

That night when God spoke to Abraham He gave him a dream. He planted a vision into his mind of what the future held for Abraham. He allowed Abraham to dream big. I wonder if Abraham actually sat and tried to count the stars. I can only imagine that in his excitement he might have tried. If it were me and my dream I would've been sitting there until the stars withdrew one by one with the coming of the dawn.

There is something exhilarating about a new promise. When God whispers a dream in your ear or fans that little flame burning inside. But all too quickly that first little flame and revelation of your dream becomes easily robbed away or forgotten about with the grind of daily life.

Those days of dreaming of becoming a nurse or firefighter are replaced with bills, financial trouble and responsibilities. It is almost as though a bucket of cold water was thrown on your dreams and what you are now left with is a memory of what was hoped for.

I am sure Abraham and Sarah must've felt this way. They were well past the fertile age for having children. The stars began to wink out with every year that they waited. They may have asked themselves over and over if they had heard right. Was it even real anymore. What ensued from their questioning was doubt. Doubt swallowed up the dream and they took it into their own hands and devised their own plan.
But oh if they had only looked up during those dark times. If they had only counted the stars once more instead of looking down on their situation.

Does it feel as though your dream and promise from God has winked out? Don't look down and forget the promise God made you. Instead look up and count the stars. Keep on believing. It is through faith that we please God and He never forgets His promises to His children.

I guess that is why I love rainbows. I don't know if you have noticed but wherever there is a rainbow it is usually during the rain or after and always there is the sun shining. There have been storms in my life but one thing I could always count on was that the light of my God's glory was always shining with a promise. All those thousands of years ago God promised Noah that He would never again flood the whole Earth and as a sign He sent a rainbow so that we would always remember His promise. What sign has God given you?

Let me encourage you to look again at your dream and promise that God has given you. Look up at the sign of His promise. Do not let the stars wink out. Count them again. Remember the promise again and remember the excitement as though you are hearing and seeing the dream for the first time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Process

I have tried to write this post several times but I just can't seem to get things down quite right.

I am just so excited about things right now.

The last few years have not been easy. I can't be 100% grateful for the tough things that I have had to go through. I have really had to dig really deep to cope with things in my life. But if because of all those things I have become stronger and a better person then I am grateful to God for carrying me through.

I have never really know what I wanted to do with my life. I always love drawing and telling stories. From a very early age I have wanted to be married and have children. When it came to my final year of school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I applied to become a nurse but did have enough credits (or whatever they call it) to get in and they closed the nursing school that year. There was no one to marry and there was nothing I really felt I could pursue. I decided on taking a year off to do all things I loved to do. I painted, played my guitar and sewed. It was great but I still was looking for my calling. I was looking for my purpose. It was during this time that I fell in love with this really cute guy. Not just in a 'oh he looks nice' kind of way but I just knew I was meant to marry him.

We got married 18 months later a month before my 20th Birthday. A few months into our marriage and thinks got really intense. I learned just what I was willing to fight for and I learned a bit about myself but I also prayed for help a lot. Not many people believed me when I tried to get help and that was really difficult. I learned that I am not ever responsible for the actions of another person. It is not my fault and I am not the cause of someone else's behaviour.

I became a mommy when I was 22. It was the best day of my life. A beautiful baby girl. We sold our house a few months later and moved to New Zealand. We coped on our own for 3 years and in that time had another little girl who had silent reflux. It almost drove me crazy. when she was 8 weeks old I was at the end of my rope. Either there was something wrong with me or there was something up with my baby. When she was diagnosed and given medication things improved greatly. It was around this time that we had quite a few prophetic words spoken over us. From where I was standing I could see none of it. I could not see how God would do any of these things. In those 3 years I had a miscarriage and then fell pregnant with our 3rd daughter. We moved closer to family when I was 20weeks pregnant with her.

She was born a healthy 9lbs 2oz later that year an full 8 days late. At 3 months old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. For 8 weeks she wore a harness that kept her legs in a froggy position. Fortunately it was only for 8 weeks and she was rolling and doing funny little things in no time at all.

When she was 10 months I found out that we were expecting our 4th little baby. My family was complete. 4 little girls and a marriage that was really good. What I had always wanted and still do. I would not give it up for anything. There was always something missing though. What was I meant to do once my children were grown and out the house. What was my calling? I was happy if motherhood was it but I had this constant pull that there was even more. I felt not to discard the words spoke over me and my husband.

I started trying to find my place. I may have done it wrong so many times. I chose things I was really not any good at and I had so many things I was carrying on my shoulders. I just couldn't sit and do nothing. I felt called to something big. There were a few things I did right though.

This process so far has been painful and stressful and I am sure that the future won't be all peaches and cream. I know that to live is to learn but I really look forward to it anyway.

As of this moment I am feeling so blessed. I really feel like I have taken a step into my call. I can look ahead and make that 5 year plan.

God uses what the small things you have to do great things. He will always multiply the meager and heal the diseased things,

I am now an author about to publish her first book (this Blog) and working on drawings for an Adult Colouring Book. I have three of my Blog posts published or due to be published in 2 different books and one of my drawings is on the cover of The Word For You Today. 25 000 copies have been mailed out to the whole of New Zealand.

When I think back I look forward to what is to come. The process brought me this far and I know that God will use the next season's process to take me further. I am so in awe and so thankful that God loves me and that He has called me to this new and exciting season.

God will use a process for you too. He will shape your character and strengthen your foundations so that you are prepared for what He has called you to do. Trust Him. He is faithful and trustworthy and really knows what He is doing. He will be with you in the dark and He will help you to switch on the light and He will be with you through the mess and He will celebrate every success with you. In your life you cannot out Party God. He loves you so much and delights in you so much.

I can just see Him right now when I got my copies in my letterbox of the books with my cover on, dancing and clapping His hands seeing how excited I was and still am.