Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stop and Sense the Roses

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

This month is proving to be a very jam packed month. Both my husband and I are away at different times and what with work, the kids' school, painting assignments and conferences my brain is slowly filling up with knowledge.

Last weekend I spent two days learning to see properly. It sounds a bit strange but I learned so much. I see my world differently now. Instead of only seeing a tree I see pale and dark green and shapes of each leaf, the twist and texture of the bark and the shadows that fall and the light that illuminates. I see angles of a sloping roof and the different shades in a flower. I see the silhouette of a bird in flight in the blue sky and the sun shining as a silver lining of every cloud.

When I see a face I see the shapes and rise and fall of every curve. The windows of the face revealing the deep wells of the soul.

Light illuminates form and shows up the beauty of our world.

I can't look at the world the same way I did before. The best part is that by seeing in this way my sketching has improved so much.

You see by judging a book by it's cover we miss the story inside. When we look at an insect and we call it an ant it loses it's mystery. It is an ant and from what we have learned about them in the past is what they do and how they kind of hang out together in colonies and live under the ground. When we look at this creature and really see it for the first time we will notice fine details about that creature we never saw before.

We need to start seeing deeper and wider than we have been. We are missing out by glancing at the world and not seeing it as God sees it.

We are missing the very beauty of God's creation by our business and our narrow and lazy eyes.

What else are we missing by not stopping to be still? Maybe our ears are not hearing very well. We do not understand that hearing is not an external thing but an internal once. The sound enters into your ears and onto your ear drums and sends information to your brain and from you past your brain processes what it hears and send messages to your body. Just like food enters our mouths and we taste and it nourishes so does sound, vision, sensations and scents. They all send messages to your brain about your external world.

What could we learn from life when we stop and meditate or think on the pure. lovely, honourable, lovely, true and admirable. When we stop to see what God has done and hear His voice speaking over His Creation we praise Him and He will give us peace.

We rush around in haste and busyness because we do not stop see clearly. We are going full tilt into every area of our life but we do not stop to hear the sounds around us. We do not stop to see how our Father sees or hear what our Father hears and is saying to us. We don't feel the texture of the clothes on our skin until it irritates us. Until the nails hit the chalkboard and that high pitched squeal ensues we do not hear anything. Until there is a car high-beaming and we getting annoyed we do not see. Until somethings smells like rotten fish and assaults our nostrils we do not smell.

Why is it that we only take notice of our senses when we get annoyed or uncomfortable? Maybe it is because it is far easier to keep our senses of all that is pure and lovely so dumbed down that all we end up doing is complaining and being grumpy about our discomforts.

When we value our senses and the gifts that they are we will experience His Creation in a different way. A new peaceful way of living our lives where we actually live it and not go through it limited.

It is beautiful. Every inch of it. Don't let it go by in a blur. Stop now and sense the Roses.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I moved over to New Zealand 8 years ago. I moved to a first world country and for some that doesn't seem to be such a sacrifice. When people think of being called to the mission field they think of China or Africa. We still have a TV and running water from the tap and other luxuries "real" missionaries don't always have. We even have a flushing toilet (for which I am most thankful).

Does this make me any less called though?

I do not know why God didn't just leave us where we were in South Africa and use us there. I do not know why He didn't send us to Africa and China (although we may still end up there in the future). What I do know is that He sent us here to New Zealand. We heard the call and we said yes.

We never thought we would ever leave South Africa. Why would we need to leave, we had family and friends there? We had just bought a house and were about to welcome our first child into the world. We were settled and serving in a church. A small part of us decided to leave because of the crime but a large part was that we heard the call from God to leave and go to the land which He was showing us.

Stepping out was difficult but at the same time it was an adventure. God had called us and I was eager to see what He was going to do in our lives. But it came with sacrifice. I had to leave my side of the family behind and my husband left his parents behind. Not being able to be there for your sister when she was expecting her little baby boy. Not being able to comfort your brother or sister when they are having a hard time and not being able to be physically there for them is a sacrifice. It is a price I had to pay. I live in a beautiful country with wonderful people who have been there for me through the hardest times of my life and have celebrated with me through every victory and milestone. I sacrificed the familiar for the unfamiliar. I need to make things work here whereas where you have grown up you know the history and you know those you have grown up with. But hey wherever I go I will always be a stranger in a foreign land. No matter how well I learn the language and try and blend in with accents and the way I dress I am still a foreigner because my real home is with the Father. This home is only temporary.

In New Zealand we have made many many friends. Served in a few churches and supported leaders and pastors and we are still doing that today. We lead our own homegroup and we are seeing God move in the lives of those around us. We are stepping out in new areas and overcoming challenges and giants.

There was a cost. There was sacrifice. There was heartache and even today as I sit here my heart aches for my family still in South Africa who have to go through things alone. But I hand it to God. He has the best plan for all our lives and right now I am where I am meant to be. Not in China or Africa... yet but here in New Zealand with a TV and running water from a tap and a flushing toilet.

Have you weighed the cost? Do you know that there will be some form of sacrifice that you will need to offer up? Are you willing to leave family, work, friends, whatever it may be to follow where He leads you?

Listen carefully to His call. When you hear His voice calling your name, take that step and in obedience no matter the cost. There will be people who will tell you you can't do it. They will think you are crazy but do it anyway.

There is sacrifice for now but God rewards those who diligently serve Him. He rewards those who have sacrificed and paid the price.

Nothing is impossible for our God. So follow Him with your whole heart, forsaking all others.