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.