Monday, 10 April 2017

Faith in the Shadows

Transitioning into parenthood is a blessed challenge. Its a journey like no other and I found that my whole world was flipped upside down and over. Something I really struggled with was maintaining a faith through this transition. I never got to the point where I stopped believing - after experiencing and seeing unexplained things from God, that is not a question for me. But, walking with him closely and daily was a struggle. Overcoming guilt and condemnation was sometimes crippling.

My faith seemed to be in the shadows, hidden, cold and wanting to be in the light so close but impossible to get to. What I mean by the shadows, I felt that my heart and relationship with God was covered by darkness that hindered me from connection with Him and His creation. Sundays was like being a lamp that had forgotten to be switched on, there was no connection.

I struggled with this trying to understand what I wasn't doing right, how this was happening, was it the depression, did I not have the time. My brain struggled to process the Word of God or to even pray the way I used to.

Then one day I decided to have a tea with Jesus. I heard about people doing this all the time, going to a cafe, ordering a coffee and spending time with God. I didn't really get that. However, I was desperate to connect, to be a role model of a healthy relationship with God for my children. To be healed and healthy in my mind. To enjoy life with Him.

So I gave this tea time with God a go, and you know what once I got over the feeling of seeming strange, talking to an empty chair, something shifted. Hearing myself speak what was on my heart, I started to make sense of what I was feeling. At the time I simply felt like my faith was in a shadow, I can explain the emotions and thoughts now because I have processed this time. But at the time there was no explanation for me, just a shadow with a struggling intimacy in my faith.

I said to God "What am I suppose to be doing? I can only manage reading one verse from the same book in the Bible, writing in my journal is such hard work, I can utter a simple 'help me' for prayer. Why can I not connect with you?" then there was this stillness in my heart, and I heard clearly God say to me "That is all you need to do, you are connecting the best you can right now and that is all I ask." Immediately I was filled with peace, the sun was shining and I could breath relief. I said to Him "Aren't I suppose to be serving your Kingdom, but I am always at home. What should I be doing." the reply "You are doing what you are suppose to be doing, you are in a season of motherhood your priority is loving your children and enjoying your life, this is serving my Kingdom. Your dreams will come in good time. For now, love me, connect as you can, rest in this season of mothering and I will take care of the rest."

Mind equals blown!!!

The weeks following I continued to process this conversation and my perspective changed as I took the pressure of being the right christian follower off my shoulders and simply loved God and who He is to me the best way I could each day. Some days were deeper than others, other days were walking through the day thankful and then there were days I just knew He was there.

There was still this feeling of my faith being in a shadow but as my heart was changing and relaxing and I was enjoying life I soon realised that it was not a shadow of darkness but I was resting in the shadow of my creator, my father, my savior, my King.

He knows exactly what I am walking through better than I know myself and I don't need to explain or justify why I might be struggling. This experience taught me that He loves me in all stages regardless of what is going on and all He expects from me is to love Him and allow Him to walk with me through it.

Gods desire for me is to enjoy the life I have, to trust Him with my hopes and dreams. So now I live knowing that He gives me strength and peace.

My hope for you reading this is to be encouraged. If your not yet a Christian I expect alot of this to sound strange, trust me when I read over it and see the language it does sound strange. But I want you to know that God is real, He is gentle and He is loving. I cant explain to you how He does what He does, how I know in my inner being how real He is, the best way for you to find out what I am talking about is to discover a relationship with God for yourself. All I can do is share my journey, my joys and struggles in truth. My truth is that God saves me, loves me guides me through it all. So test the waters, go to a church, ask the questions, challenge Him and allow God to reveal whats true to you. Find your friend who lives with Christ and talk with them, pray with them. See what He shows you.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger so why should I tremble?"  Psalm 27:1

I don't believe there is a wrong and right way to connect with God. Our relationship with Him is unique to us. For me, I have recently discovered that my connection with Him is through the creative. Painting, writing, music. This is where I connect with my God, His Word and where I talk with Him. You've just got to love Him, be still and allow Him to teach you how to grow your relationship with Him. And if you feel like your in the shadows, you might actually be in the Shadow of Him so rest there.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Puddles in Socks

Our day started at 6am like most days with the slow rise from bed as our parental duties start to commence. Soon the slow start catches up and we become frantically packing the family and all that goes with it into the car hoping we can get Hubby to work on time. I stop for 30 seconds to realise I haven't even given him a proper morning hello, so we finally make eye contact reminding each other what we look like and make sure we affectionately connect with our last 5 seconds while the little ones watch and giggle... then its game time once more.

I get so swept up by the frantic every time it visits, its almost like frantic blinders go on and all I can think and see is what needs to be achieved now and quickly even when the rush has passed, frantic has forgotten to leave! Those blinders fool me every time as I wonder why Miss 3 has to walk slowly up the drive, how all three of my gorgeous children seem to be hanging out with frantic and little people do not like frantic. They don't want to be rushed, they want to have fun.

Miss three (who today is an elephant) and I fuss around getting bags on hooks and lunch on shelves (this is no quick task when you talk like an elephant and walk like an elephant) with the kindy routine when I go to glimpse at what Mr two might be doing....there is a grin on his face....a puddle....gumboots by the buggy....batman socks....wet! What can I do? Well there are a lot of options with that question but I stopped, removed the blinders, took a breath and said goodbye to frantic.

The blessing of children in my life. They cause me to stop so many times and to check my view. When I stand to see the fun Mr two is having with his sock feet in the puddles, hearing Miss two giggle and laugh at her funny brother I am thankful I didn't allow frantic to rob me of such joyful special moments.

One of the lessons I am learning through my children is yes, there are times to hurry along with frantic but there are more times I need to switch of the 'to dos' and enjoy the process. Frantic fools me me into thinking that everything needs to be achieved now or else....or else what? I cant answer that question.

My days should be full of joy, laughter and peace not just with my children but in every aspect of life and people. How many moments have I missed stressing out about getting things done, how many missed opportunities have I collected from thinking I was in a hurry and how often have I stopped to kick off my shoes and jump in the puddles with my children.... in my socks!

Life for me needs to slow down, I'm not actually in a hurry as much as I think I am. Today I might take a page out of my children's book and distract myself with a puddle or crawl through the house like an elephant just because its fun!

My opinion is that we need to learn when to shut the door on frantic and welcome in the fun. I know as a mother I hang out with frantic a lot more now than I have ever done in my life before. I don't want a frantic family, I want a family that can enjoy the process together.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Peace in the Shelter

I came across this image in the study I am currently reading. I sat for a moment and thought about this scripture. No words came to my lips for prayer just a simple image of sitting under the shelter and care of someone who cares for me so much I have nothing to worry about. Peace filled my heart knowing that everything will be ok. I don't know how and I don't know when but resting in the presence of my maker is all I need right now. No questions, no instructions, no pleading just simple, undisturbed peace. In that moment I felt I could breath.

That wonderful mystery of God. Having faith that he is real, that he is here and that he cares. Knowing that he is the one who gives me the strength to get out of bed every morning.

I can breath because of him!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Welcome to Planet Earth

I sit here wondering, 'How do I even start to write?' Its been a four year journey having three beautiful children with my amazing husband. I feel like now, after Mr Three, that I have returned to my home planet and have commenced the slow journey of touch down! The past four years has been an incredible, exciting and challenging adventure almost as if I had taken off into the unknown space above us, discovering new life and overcoming challenges I never thought I would have ever faced.

As I reflect on this Sci-Fi imagery I am reminded of the early days when Miss One was a newborn and we were learning on the job about feeding and sleeping through the night. It took us at least an hour minimum to have her fed, burped and changed before putting her back down and it was the original Star Trek series hubby and I watched at each feed that got us through the tiresome three hourly life style. Now we have Mr Three and we are some what feeding and sleeping pros as the confidence has grown and the ability to allow the children a short time of protest no longer phases us or pulls on the heart strings. Seems old James T Kirk is neglected at this parental growth.

Today I felt the urge to come back to the blog life, something I enjoy, and start to share the journey of life with others or simply help me to process what has happened in my world and make sense of it all.

I don't know what this beginning journey of family building is like for most people but for me it has been a time of great joy, mass amount of love growth, marriage making but also isolation, and loneliness bought on by depression and anxiety. Some days life is about simply surviving until my number one gets home from work or being able to form some sort of a smile to a friendly stranger. There has been days where I have wanted to jump in the car and run, stay in the bed under the covers or cry all day for no real reason. I've had friendships sail to a greater distance away due to lack of understanding and my faith has been shaken as trying to read or even pray becomes to much for my brain to process. But through the battle of ugly I have won and come out the other side to land in a beautiful world that has transformed and flourished underneath the fight above. Now its the exploration part, I step out of the ship that has felt like my place of holding for four years to explore the new and beautiful mother, wife and woman that I am.

Although when I look back I see darkness there has been an abundance of Sun shining hot and bright melting the troubles away. A lot of these moments are to do with my family, yes this might be the time where I start to seem like I am bragging or being biased, but if I did not have my children or my husband to wake up for every day, I know there were times where I wouldn't have. As well as my family I know that my faith in God is also the only place I could draw true strength and peace often seeing where God has intervened by the right person at the right time, being able to pick up the phone, send a text or just remind me in a simple breeze that he is there and I will be OK. He helped me to laugh with my kids, love them abundantly and to lean into my husband instead of to run. I know I have heard his soft and gently voice prompting me, guiding me and encouraging me. Most importantly he allows me to connect with him where I am at with no pressure or unrealistic expectation to give what I don't have.

The journey is what it is, sometimes its easy and sometimes its not. But its the village that supports and loves you and the hope you hold onto that gets you through it.

Having children turned my world upside down. What I thought I knew about myself I had to relearn. I had to be vulnerable to people and discover new friendships not to mention getting to know what young parenting looks like! But we made the beginning journey in one piece and have the blessing of a family and now greater excitement is on the other side of the door to my ship and its time for me to step out and close that door behind me taking everything I have learned, and the beautiful moments of fun, laughter and joy forward with me. I hope that my journey can be an encouragement, I know I have been encouraged by many who have shared with me.

Welcome back to planet earth!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Spreading the Love

I don't know about you, but there are some days that I just do not feel like sharing anything with anyone. Those days that seem to have started from getting out of the wrong side of bed, the munchkins are pushing the boundaries and you've got a list of things to get through. We all have one of those days or one of those weeks however that looks. 
Now in saying this, I recently felt the pinch of challenge against my attitude. You see I sometimes find I can get stuck in the self focused thinking and no room for thinking of others. Almost like I start feeling sorry for myself for the tough day I am having and want some pity sent this way. I was having a conversation with a friend and she was sharing how she had heard this message at her church and it was simple - can you love...just one more time? 
Pondering on this thought made me think about how often I get so caught up in me I can easily forget to show love to someone else just one more time regardless. It's not that what I am going through isn't important but when I started to remember to slow down and let genuine love flow to every person I was encountering all of a sudden my day got better, I felt lighter and all of those things I was feeling down or worried about didn't seem so stressful anymore. Not everyday is one of those days but taking a moment to challenge myself, can I show some love just one more time makes a huge difference to how I interact with people. Changing from making the shop teller see I'm stressed and hurry up to wanting to know how their day is going.
So this is just a little quote to ponder and hopefully inspire some love spreading in your worlds because we all know our world needs loving!

Monday, 29 February 2016

Boldness in Faith

Those who know me well, know that have been a Christian my whole life. When I was younger it was a part of me that I openly shared without much care of reaction. Nowadays I found sharing that part of me to be a difficult task. I have been asking myself why I seem to clam up and go silent at the slightest hint of sharing faith and all I can come back to is the fear that holds me tight. Sharing my faith and telling stories of what my life has been like having God in it should be an exciting, empowering and joyful experience for those who listen but unfortunately I have let so many of those opportunities slip by because the care of how people may respond or think of me has been to greater burden to even utter a tiny squeak.

I didn't want to become one of those friends seen as a 'shove the Bible down your throat, if you don't listen to me about Jesus today you'll be damned' type of person. Sometimes I hear the Christian language that comes out of my mouth and I think, if I wasn't a Christian I would think I was crazy talking. I didn't want to offend any body or upset people or end up in a heated debate where I feel like I'm arguing more than having a pleasant conversation. Id even avoid thinking about sharing what my life with God was about.

However with all this fear and worry keeping me quiet I have forgotten the power of revelation, of truth, the power of my own personal experience that cannot be argued with. I'm allowing myself to be intimidated. I know I'm not a crazy person, I know sometimes the Christian language is a bit strange but I also know that I have some amazing stories to tell that might just help a few people better yet I even know the good news about Jesus Christ and how hearing and believing this historical event can save a life for eternity.

So the solution, stop holding onto fear and step out in boldness. To trust, love and share. And if my language doesn't make any sense just ask me what I mean and we can talk it through.

I have some stories to tell, I believe they will change a life, I believe they will save a life so its time to have some boldness in faith.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Making it known

I was wondering what I might post about this week and not much came to mind as my mind has been having a lovely holiday these past few days. We have recently had a long weekend and with the blessing of my husband (meaning he was happy to solo parent for three days) I read the entire Hunger Games series.

That's right three books in three days. This again reflects the intensity of my personality, I must finish each book because I must know every detail today! 

So I wondered if there was anything I could take from these books other than I might need to watch a few Bear Grylls and get survival savy as there is no way I would survive and come out with a only few scratches. Much to my surprise I did have a revelation or a light bulb moment.

Sitting and verbally digesting one of my biggest frustrations in the book with my husband bought about this eye opening moment. I had been explaining to hubby how much it annoyed me that Katniss would never acknowledge to Peeta how much she appreciated him, although when she does it's almost to late. I went on about how much I liked the character of Peeta, how all he ever wanted to do was protect, provide and love her and why couldn't she just let him sometimes. Then as I'm getting really into this discussion about fake people I see an interesting look on my husbands face. Could it be that I was raving on about a fake Peeta and how great his character was? That is a little weird if you think about, but I said to my man "Babe you know I'm so blessed because all of those qualities I see in that character are things you are and more." Then the light bulb went! Often I snap at my husband because his nature is to help me, my nature is to be independent and achieve things on my own which is a great quality to have however I suddenly realized that I was a little bit Katniss with my husband! I didn't fully appreciate his willingness to want to help, protect, provide and love me. Could this be why he had a funny expression, was he remembering all the times I snapped at him and told him off for interfering! 

I know my husband knows that I love him, but does he know that I appreciate him but also that although I'm very capable to look after myself just as Katniss was, I actually need him. Which Katniss eventually realized about Peeta. The great thing about my situation is I'm not in a tropical jungle trying to avoid death, I live in a lovely home with an amazing family and I have a great husband that if I was honest with myself I wasn't fully appreciating the true character of him.

So this is what I did, I decided that instead of telling him off in frustration when he was trying to get involved with something I was doing, first I thanked him for wanting to help me but it's OK I've got this and if I can't figure it out can I then ask for help. The first time I did this he had an awkward laugh and this huge smile on his face. After a few more times speaking to him this way and letting him know I appreciate his desire to help I noticed that inside I felt so much calmer, and joyful. I even said to him, talking to you this way makes me feel so much nicer. He said he actually has appreciated me taking the time to explain situations to him, he said it makes him feel valued instead of being cut down and pushed away almost like he was a pain in the but!

I had know idea that the way I had been speaking or reacting to him had made him feel negatively about himself and our relationship but I am thankful that taking the time to see a lesson from the Hunger Games has helped me to make it known to him how much I appreciate him not just love him.
At the end of the day we all want to know that we are valued, appreciated, loved and respected and it's so easy to get self focused we forget to make it known to others their importance. We just need to slow down a minute, remember what's important about life and let those who need to know, that they are valued and appreciated.