Thursday, April 27, 2017

Taking a Break

Every now and then something beautiful catches my eye which I just have to photograph. This is one such thing. I just love the colours of rosemary...the dark green, the silvery white and the earthy brown. This sitting on my window sill this morning just caught the most amazing light....and it was just so simple and beautiful. There is not enough of that in my world....I need to work to create it more or seek it out. 

You may or may not have noticed but I am taking a break from blogging at the moment. I recognise in myself that I need to create space for me. While that may come across as selfish I don't believe it is. EVERY SINGLE thing I have been doing in my life is for someone else.....and somehow I feel like I lost my way.....and inside I had been feeling chaos and definitely not God's peace. Blessings had become burdensome and I was beginning to resent what God had gifted to me. I haven't felt any joy in blogging for a while and felt that the purpose for me doing it wasn't been fulfilled. My writing has been going in a different direction now and whether that ends up in a blog format remains to be seen. 

Also to be honest I feel like I still need healing from our crazy journey of the past 5 years but especially last year. Our family needs time to re-adjust and find its feet in this new normal. I am just paring down what I do and commit to...for now. Blogging is just one thing as the pressure to write regularly is not something I can do. I want to have space to create, to be and to soak up all that is God and what He has for me. 

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;" 
                                                                                                                                - Ps 23:2-3a





Friday, February 24, 2017

The Elijah Syndrome

I am suffering from this today. I know I am. So one would think if I knew that I was it would be easy to shake it off. I am trying to.

Elijah Syndrome = Where one experiences a great high in life/ministry, a great break through in ones life.... Where one spends ALL of ones energy that one comes to a screeching halt and spirals down quickly after said high. You spiral down and then you are attacked by the enemy. You down play what has been accomplished, doubt and fear creep in. You just want to curl up and sleep, cry, and eat...possibly all at once. (This is my own definition of course.)

This is me...right now. Just like Elijah ran away and hid when he found out that he was being chased down by Jezebel who was wanting to kill him. After he had killed 400 prophets of Baal and then prophesied and witnessed rain coming after a severe drought, all this among other things. He got depressed, feared, had a pity party and hid. He hid.

Please don't be mistaken for thinking that I am comparing myself to Elijah, to what he accomplished for the Lord. I am just a mere dot compared to him.

"Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. She
sent a message to Elijah: “You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.”
Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah. He left his servant there, then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.” Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep." - 1 King 19:1 - 5
You see, Elijah was spent. Emotionally, Spiritually, Physically (look how far he ran and walked) and Mentally. When you are spent you are very much susceptible to what Leena Tankersley calls 'soul bullies'. And in times like these 'soul bullies' come out to play and have a field day.  They certainly had a field day with Elijah so much so he was hugely afraid of Jezebel, even though he had just accomplished all that he had done for God....he failed to see and to trust the Lord to help him overcome this particular problem. All he wanted to do was curl up and begging the Lord to let him die.
OK so I am not begging God for that....but I am spent. Today we had the Loving Arms 'Walk of Fun' and while it was a great day, and it was certainly fun and we absolutely raised a great amount of money for a worthy cause. I am glad it is over. I have spent hours upon hours, days and days planning and organising this event. Its nearly all I have thought about at night because I can't sleep. It has got me out of my comfort zone having to ask people and businesses to help, to support or to donate. I hated doing that but I did it. I forced me to talk 'bras' with complete strangers (some of them men which was very awkward) and why they were needed. Oh so awkward. I know I certainly haven't pulled this off on my own. I owe a lot to other people doing things for me but its been tough going. I enjoyed the day immensely, I enjoyed seeing people have a great time, people dressing up, people giving, people laughing, people eating. I LOVED seeing the kids come through the finish line like they had run a marathon. I loved watching people mingle with each other and talking. I LOVED giving out spot prizes to people and seeing their excitement over winning something. I am blessed. I AM so proud of our generous community of people that captured my vision and saw the importance of what we were raising money for. I cannot wait to present the amount to our recipients and just knowing that this will help many a new mother makes it all worth it. 
But in all that I am tired. I became very emotional this afternoon and cried. I cry all the time I know this but I cried out of frustration and tiredness. Do you know why? Because I looked in the mirror and saw a fat person, because I know that the scales are showing me unfavorable numbers which means we aren't on talking terms. I felt so defeated and worthless. Now I know I aren't obese or even hugely overweight, I know this. But I can do and be better. My doctor told me that I have had seven children and to give myself a break. But my screeching halt, my attack of the 'soul bullies' came in the form of a full force, all out war against the way I saw myself and how worthless I am because I can't lose the 5kg that I want to. The enemy hit me where he knew I would hurt the most. Talk about rude!  I went from the huge high to a huge low in a matter of hours. Not cool.
But God whispered to me "Elijah Syndrome". These words aren't in the bible anywhere but I knew exactly what He meant. Pray and pray hard. Rest and rest hard. Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself. So for the next few days I will rest, and nurture myself. I will immerse myself in His Word and surround myself with good people. And I will heal.
I hope that you too will now recognise your 'soul bullies' and recognise when they come out to play. Your may be different to mine. Recognise when they come out to play, recognise their voices, their words and deal with them. You are worth it.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;" - Ps 23:2-3a


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Run Well, Good is Coming

Well...yep this is me...post a 4km run in the mid-afternoon heat. Red faced, majorly sweaty, frown lines made worse because I think I frown the whole time I am running.  I am NOT a runner by nature. I have mentioned that in the past. I would get a "stomach ache" 3 weeks out from the school cross country just so I wouldn't have to take part because I just knew that I would come last...and seriously who likes to come last. Some people glide down the road...I do not glide....think Clydesdale horse crossed with a elephant. I plod. Slowly. Not slowing down and definitely NOT speeding up. I plod the distance and I do not enjoy it. I constantly ask myself "why?" and I know very well why. I do this because its good for me and there are parts of myself I don't appreciate as much as other parts. And in order for me to appreciate them more...they need to shrink. I can't be friends with them so they need to go. So a long with running three times a week I continually put myself, my body through the ringer...in order for me to feel healthy, confident, strong and less stressed.

Today as I was rounding the corner to a L-O-N-G stretch of road that came with a head on wind, cars were rushing by and the heat...Oh my goodness the heat....I seriously thought of giving up, just stopping and walking the rest of the way. No one would need to know ah?  Walking would be a nice treat. And so the internal battle raged within me..."just walk...no keep going....no just walk your legs are so sore and you can't breathe....no keep going, you can do this,  you have done it before.....no just walk already you have done enough exercise this week....no keep going...SERIOUSLY KEEP GOING! "  And that is about when I get really stroppy with myself......Damn it girl if you can birth 6 out of 7 of your children naturally, including a not quite 10lb upside baby boy at home with no drugs you can run the last damn 1km!...Don't you dare stop!"  And then I stop arguing with myself and shut up and just keep going.   The last stretch is ALWAYS the hardest. ALWAYS.

My point here after I have pulled out the whole "if you can give birth" thing on myself....I start thinking about how running for me is like labour and birth. The reward at the end is AMAZING. The adrenaline rush is something else and the feeling like you have and can conquered the world. You feel strong, determine and powerful. But to get to that feeling...you have to work hard, real hard...there is pain and discomfort and you are tired...you have to get your head right and just get on with it. Side note in no way am I suggesting that being in labour or giving birth is like a mere wee 4km run....labour and birth is WAAAAY harder. All I am saying is there are some parallels.

Just as there are some parallels in our journeys and walk with Christ.  I am sure there are many of you out there reading this that are struggling, some even with a capital 'S'. I get it....please know I get it. I have not only been there...I am there. We all have our own personal struggles that most people wouldn't even have the faintest of clue of. You my friend are not alone. We are all struggling alongside one another...struggling with something. No one is immune. In my journey what I have noticed is that the toughest part, the steepest part, the part where you are most out of breath, the most tired, the most sore is near the end. Its where you want to give up, its where you just want to sleep and for the pain to stop....ITS TOUGH GOING. You think you are never going to make it, the part where you think its just not working and that its beaten you. But my friend hear me now....lean in and get this...YOU ARE NEARLY THERE. You can do it, you will do it and you have to do it. You can do this. Draw into yourself, draw into God, draw into His Word and His Strength, draw into those you can trust to be supportive yet truthful, encouraging yet not worried yet will ply you with chocolate or coffee along the way (You need those types of people in your life...find some).   My friend keep running your race well...run it strong, run it determined not to let it beat you, run it knowing that there is good, no... great things at the end. Don't give up...just don't.  This will not beat you, overcome you or crush you. This will be gloriously amazing but even more it will be ultimately for His glory.

You will be better for it. I promise.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day " - 2 Timothy 4:7-8

"The pain that you have been feeling can't compare to the Joy that is coming" - Romans 8:18






Thursday, January 26, 2017

Strengthening Weakness

I know that this photo is pretty ho-hum. Yes it is my knee, my right knee to be exact well actually I should say its my right set of quadriceps. Thanks Miss Miller.... I remember! (Miss Miller was my 7th form PE teacher and probably isn't even Miss Miller anymore).

My right set of quadriceps are ridiculously weak. I have no idea as I am right-handed and lead with my right leg, but they are weak.  Most days I have been doing workouts and today's one was a tough leg workout. A line up of six exercises 15 times each (or each leg) 5 times, needless to say I was sweating and very red in the face.  This photo here is of me at the beginning of 15 steps up with my right leg leading. EVERY single time I get to this set I pause..I think I can't do it...I feel weak...I feel like my leg won't be able to hold me let alone lift me up on to the chair. I fear that I will fall or trip. I feel like giving up and just not doing it. 
The thing is its a mind game. I have to overcome my thoughts and feelings every single time. The first step is ALWAYS the toughest....I battle with myself to make it.
But you know what I always make it...I have never tripped or fallen. I have always completed the exercise and even though its that much harder on my right leg than my left. I can always do it. I may not look glamorous doing it but I can do it.
One would think I would have learnt not to question anymore and to just do it. One would think that I would know not to listen to my feelings and fears anymore seeing as past experiences tell me that its fine, that I CAN do it.
But no.

I am exactly like that in life too. I have had to do some hard stuff lately...ridiculously hard for me. I have had to put myself out there and ask people for help and sponsorship for Loving Arms upcoming Walk of Fun. For me that is a scary thing to do. A hard thing to do. I stress over making just one phone call all day, my chest is tight and I feel sick and like I can't breath. My head tells me things like "I am a nuisance," "Who do I think I am" "What gives me the right to ring and ask?" "They are just going to say no" "If they say yes its because they feel like they have to" "They are going to get angry at me" "You are just you" "Stop trying to be someone special cos you aren't" "Stop big-noting yourself" and so on and so on.

But you know what...now I can recognize what is happening and just need to counteract all those thoughts with what God thinks of me. That 'Yes - I am someone special', I can do this. So with the strength and the backing of the Almighty I carry on...yes it may take me all day but I do it. And it is always fine...no matter what the outcome of the phone call or of the asking....its fine. I am fine.  
So here I am...God is having me strengthen my muscle that is very weak...the muscle of asking and putting yourself 'out there' and risking rejection. I don't like this strengthening but it feels good afterwards.

I recognize that strengthening of this muscle is only a good thing. It is the thing that will take this Walk of Fun and make it great. Its the only thing that will make me better....make my weak areas stronger. I don't I will ever LOVE doing things like this but I may not hate it. And that can only be a good thing.


"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me." - 2 Cor 12:9



Monday, January 23, 2017

There is Work to be Done.

I love this photo! Love it with every piece of my being. My beautiful niece sent it to me...its of her and my youngest daughter walking together on our bush holiday a few weeks back. Hand in hand..together.  I see so many stories and so many layers to this photo...I don't have the space or the words to do them justice...but I love it. Its simple and pure.

So I now I am thinking .....As the dust begins to settle from protests all around the world, women marching and standing together for women's rights. The right to be seen as valued members of society, for their voices to be heard and their wounds to be recognised in order for them to be healed. Now I feel like.... now what? What do we do with all that? Where do we go? How do we move forward? What does that even look like?

We women, we need to KNOW that we aren't created less than men.... but equal. Equal but different. We each have a part to play in this world and in advancing Gods Kingdom. No part is more important than the other just different. I love this excerpt from just one of the books I am reading at the moment, it was lent to me by our Youth Leader (who happens to be male)...the book is called Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle.

"The Great Commission is the New Covenant expansion of the Creation Mandate given to the human race in Genesis. Initially our job was to fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28). Now there's an additional component: we need to convert and baptize the world (Matt. 28:19). Throw your mind back to Genesis. What critical ingredient was Adam missing when he was first created? He needed a helper. By himself, Adam was incapable of doing this job, incapable of either filling the earth or subduing it. So God created a helper suitable for the job. Woman was NOT an afterthought, or just someone for Adam to talk to, or someone who would make him sandwiches while he did all the filling and subduing of the earth. She was ESSENTIAL to the entire program. When God gave Eve to Adam, he was handing Adam an amplifier. Adam alone is just Adam. Adam WITH Eve...becomes the human race. Adam is the single acorn sitting on the driveway which, no matter how hard he tries, remains an acorn. Eve is the fertile soil which takes all the potential that resides in that acorn and turns it into a tree, which produces million more acorns and millions of trees. Eve IS fruitfulness.
    And if the Great Commission is the expansion of the Creation Mandate, if it is an unpacking of God's command in Genesis, then surely we see that women are integral to this project as well? The job of taking the world for Christ cannot be done by the men while we women sit off to the side and amuse ourselves with tea parties and having the occasional baby. If we take ourselves out of the game, the men cannot possibly accomplish what they are supposed to accomplish any more than Adam could of filled the earth on his own. WE ARE INTEGRAL to the project, and it's absolutely critical to the gospel mission that we recover a sense of our role. (Chapter 1 Pg 25-26) (Emphasis is mine)

Having known or now determined that we have an integral role to play.....what are we going to do with that information? How do we do that? How do we rally together as women so that there are no women left behind...that each know their value and worth? How do we stand with, encourage and enable our sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, neighbours, auntys, grandmothers, granddaughters, colleagues, our woman leaders, our pastors wives...any female we come across in lives no matter the race, social position or age? How do we instill in that she is absolutely integral to this world? Lord knows our world so desperately needs this. We can no longer sit by and let the lines between man and woman be blurred, so blurred in some cases that they are no longer visible. Man and Woman have been created different...physically, emotionally, mentally. Its time for our men to stand up... to be strong Godly men...to lead, live and love well...then and only then can women truly be free to be who God created them to be.....uniquely and beautifully female. Not less, equal but different.

Its time now for us to grow up and show up...for there is work to be done.

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"  - Proverbs 31:26




Friday, January 20, 2017

New Normal - Town Living

I am pretty sure that I have like a billion and one (ok that maybe a little exaggerated) blog topics circling around in my head...and I wonder why I don't sleep very much yet I am tired.  I said to a friend recently that I feel like I need time....time to heal my soul. I had to apologise to her after a night out as I wasn't at all my usual self.....and the thing was I knew I wasn't and I just didn't have it in me to even pretend.

This past week has been a little more on the difficult side....Jamie went back to work and of course we missed him. I missed him the most I think....he and I gel together quite well and I like being around him. We often dream of working together.....in Alaska or somewhere. So this week was a week of adjustments all round. Its been tough.  We are finding living in town...while good, exceptionally good for petrol costs, ease of getting around and the general convenience of living 400m from the town centre....we are finding the closeness of the neighbours a little claustrophobic, the lack of view and privacy and the lack of open space somewhat hard.  My children have grown up using country voices and now need to learn town voices...perhaps we too need town voices.  I am insanely paranoid of the neighbours and them being able to hear the kids screeching, arguing and general kid noises, I believe I have even told them off for laughing too loud. Who does that I ask??!!  I think that it is made worse that we have no children directly around us..well actually I am guessing we don't because I haven't seen nor heard any at all.  I have seen children twice across the street but thats it.  What do town children do with themselves I ask?  Perhaps if I saw some learning to do back flips on the trampoline or flipping on to mattresses I would feel better.  If its like this now...how will I cope in the school term?

I most definitely know without a doubt, with all my heart that God has blessed us with this house....its really perfect for us at this moment in our lives, its what we need.   Its still taking a bit of getting use to and I am missing my old normal.

"But my God shall supply all you need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus"  - Phil 4:19

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 - The Year of New Normal

"I understand in theory the idea that I will have to cross people in this world, especially the people who are not listening to my words, not heeding my decisions, not respecting my space. But for so long I've never called people out on theses things because I was more concerned with being thought well of than protecting my wellness. Then all of a sudden I realized I was tired not because life was full but because life was full of things that were draining the soul right out of me." - 'Brazen'  Leeana Tankersley Pg 122

Firstly Happy New Year everyone! Hands up if you are excited for the coming year.??  Anyone???  I am getting there...although today this has been my view for a large part of the day laid flat on my bed with not feeling the best. I guess I just am needed time, more time for rest and healing.

So 2017.....how are we feeling about it?  I am choosing to look forward into the year as a blank canvas with a raft of possibilities and opportunities. Isn't it exciting??

I am finally reading this book 'Brazen' by Leeana Tankersley, its speaking to my very soul.  I am pretty sure she is writing my story or at the very least spent sometime in my head.  The above is a quote that jumped out and punched me in the face today. I literally had to stop reading and put the book down, catch my breath and think on that for a time.  I know I am a people-pleaser....I have been for years. I can't stand the thought of someone thinking bad things of me even though I know there are probably lots that do. I don't like to disappoint, to anger or to look like a fool. It can send me into a tail spin and frustrates the heck out of my husband. "Who cares what other people think?  I DO I DO I DO!!!

The ability to know how to please people is a gift/knack/heart but when its misused, abused and is sucking the life out of you its a very BAD HABIT. Its tiring and probably much of my problem of feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time......so here I am at the age of 39 (and thats a whole other story) I choose to...need to choose to put boundaries in place and grow up, grow up into myself...into who God has made me to be, not apologize for me.....because He made me in His image.  And He only makes GOOD things.

"So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.........God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. - Genesis 1:27-31