Saturday, 30 November 2013
I had to share this letter from our Aunty Pam to all the great neices and nephews here in NZ.. so precious!!! Last night Tim shared with us that he wants to be baptised. This letter seemed so timely and such a wonderful reminder that age has no bearing on a heart genuine for Jesus. ......... I have a question for you. Can anyone guess who Is going to celebrate her 100th Christmas this year? ? ? Yes of course it is Grandad Derek's Mummy, And Uncle Peters and Aunty Pam's too. Just think of it. Great Nanny Kitty has ONE HUNDRED CHRISTMASES TO REMEMBER. Who would love to have one hundred Christmas puddings. ? Or hang up one hundred stockings for Santa ? Or one hundred presents to unwrap? Oh boy, that would be fun wouldn't it. ? Just think now! Jesus was born about two thousand years ago.( that's a lot older than great Nanny Kit ) so how many Christmas presents has He had I wonder! Did you know that Great Nanny Kitty gave Him the VERY BEST present He EVER wanted? Yes she did! So what do you think it was then? Anyone know? I can give you a clue. Sarah and Holly know. Yes you guessed it. It was HERSELF. She had read the Holy Bible , believed it was Gods own inspired WORD and then obeyed Him. She did what it said she was to do. That's how she came to give HERSELF back to her creator God. The first thing she knew she must do is to LOVE God with all her heart, mind , body and soul,AND to love everyone else as much as she loved herself. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if everyone kept that one commandment.eh? ONE of the first things God tells us to do is to make a public statement, TELL OTHERS that we love Him , by being Humbly obedient and being baptised by Emerson just as Jesus showed us. He was humble before His heavenly Father too. That seems a funny thing to have to do, doesn't it? Being baptised.? But you see God wants us to be like Himself, so He showed us how to be . By following Jesus Christ His Sons example and being humbly obedient and full of love for God and for everyone else. Jesus was baptised (in the river Jordan by His cousin John) and when He came up out of the water GOD SPOKE these words." This is my beloved SON in whomever I am we'll pleased." Now when Great Nanny Kitty was baptised God became her heavenly Father and she became His daughter and He was "well pleased". He is well pleased with Sarah and Holly too. So great Nanny has had one hundred Christmases so far and we think that is a lot don't we? Well, guess what. ! She is really only 100 years YOUNG because God has promised her ETERNAL LIFE. yes she has ONLY lived a hundred into it ,the very beginning of forever and ever. As you open your presents this Christmas thank your Heavenly Father for the greatest gift of all. THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST HIS SON. I just want to wish you all a " very happy Christmas " and send this little story for you to remember and remember to thank our Heavenly Father for loving us so much that He wants ALL of us to have eternal life through faith in His Son Jesus . We can all live longer than one hundred If we become children of God.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
I asked my son if I could share this little story with you. Its so easy to want to lecture children. To sit and advise them what they should/ shouldnt do. Its easy to listen to them monologue and answer with semi interested "hmm, oh wow" and its easy to fire out a pile of orders with a pleasant half hearted tone of "Im present, but just". But lately Ive been daring to do something different. Actually, it started after my last post, the post about how the lies we believe affect our behaviour. And in particular it started with a once again, angry little man, and a paddy at the playground. Upon getting him home, I sat for a moment and thought "whats really going on?". I prayed "God give me wisdom".. and then a thought came to me. A God thought: Why not take some time to know. I made him a milo and sat him in the room with me. And then I sat with a piece of paper, and a pen, and I dared to ask him some questions. What were you feeling when you lost your temper? When did you start feeling that way? What upsets you most? What makes you feel loved? Little by little, we unpeeled back the layers to find a hurting wee heart that was feeling left out of his brothers lives. A need to feel accepted, masked by always somehow pushing them away. I wrote down all he said, word for word. He looked at me part way through and asked me "what are you writing?". I told him "all the things you tell me, they are important, I dont want to forget a thing". He beamed at me. I finished off the session with one big question that I dared to ask. I swallowed, took a breath, smiled and said "sweetheart, if you could change anything about mummy, one thing about me, what would it be.. it can be anything you like and I wont be angry, or hurt, I will be glad you are helping me to be a better mummy". He thought for a moment then tenderly replied: "I wish you'd spend more time with me". I thanked him and smiled, wrote it down and let him run off to play. How funny it is, that I spend all day with the kids, I homeschool them, yet what they want is time with me. I didnt have to justify what they meant. They dont want 'teacher' mummy, or 'training' mummy, 'homemaking' mummy, 'listening' mummy... they want the mummy that proves that they are more important than the other things. The mummy that comes alive after 7pm when the house is quiet and the kids are down. The mummy that makes them a priority. The mummy that knows them. Oh gulp! I didnt even have to pray when it came to said hurting little man, where to find that time. God had shown me months ago. He is the only one that wakes up earlier than 6am in our home. All the other 3 will happily sleep gone 7am, and later if I let them.. but he wakes the moment the sun peeks through. And when he wakes, he hums, wriggles and wills the world to wake up too. I get up 5:20am 2 mornings a week for bootcamp, so my sleep in days, 7am.. are treasured. But here I knew God was asking me "would you get up early for him too?". What God really asking me was - Would you get up early for me? Because my time is His time. And He was showing me that I had a precious window of opportunity 3 mornings a week, to make this little man know, he is a priority. To walk around the block with him, to listen to him chat, to affirm to him that he is worth it. To know his heart. Id be lying if I said there isnt a part of me that wants to pull the covers over my head when he appears at the crack of dawn with a "mum, its time for our walk!". I open my eyes and stare bleary eyed up at his little face and see anticipation there. And a fair chunk of "you said". I get up and throw on some layers and gently stroll the block with his flurry of conversation and animated antics. Its not like we have any great deep and meaningfuls, or even great moments of insight and enlightment. It would be easy to miss how significant it is.... except that something in his little spirit is changing. His reserves are far greater, his anger a lot less. He is quick to come climb on my knee and cuddle, telling me how his heart his hurting. He is showing a genuine joy and peacefulness that comes from knowing how loved he is, how vital he is to our family. I see how his heart is reflected in his behaviour. I know the things that will make him hurt, make him smile. I see the little things that others wouldnt.. and as I wrap him up in my arms, or listen to his jabbering talk at the crack of dawn.. I sense Jesus pulling me close too. Whispering to me "I know you Fleur". And I am realising that to be known is all any soul desires. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Friday, 15 November 2013
One week a couple of months back, I was going about my daily stuff, and the Lord spoke to me. At the time, I wasn't praying or seeking Him.. I was simply going about my daily chores. Standing there in the kitchen, the Lord said to me "Im leading you into a new area of ministry that isn't your comfort zone". I didnt allow myself to ponder what that might be.. I more kind of wrestled with whether or not Id heard right. I love children, I know Gods given me a calling for working with children, right now homeschooling and training my own little kiddys, I know Im centre of Gods will. And Ive been happy there. It was only a day or two later that my Pastors wife, came around to see me and she mentioned to me something "Ive been praying and God has put you on my heart to be involved in Womens Ministry". Bingo. I said yes on the spot. I absolutely wondered what God was doing there! For the weeks that followed, I doubted significantly that I was really called. That I had anything to offer. That I had any use for God there and reminded God of all the ways Im disqualified for that kind of ministry. I said "yes" in my spirit, but in my heart, I said "no". I kept in my mind this viewpoint that I would be a quiet and barely there participant of the ministry team. Id take the humble back seat row of presence, but not contributing my ideas or engaging emotionally. I would be cautious. I had good reason to feel that way. My mum had been involved in Womens Ministry. She was a very effective minister of Gods Word to woman around her and a hard act to follow. I also felt wary of letting ministry goals interfere with my calling foremost to my family... or if I were honest, was what was really holding me back, was fear? Fear I would be rejected Fear I would be overlooked Fear that this ministry situation would simply remind me of how many ways I didnt fit. I wasnt consciously aware of those deeper fears. Those were hidden under many little lies I believed. And I wasnt even aware of those lies, till I sat down the other night and casually listened to a message on three things that hold us back from ministry. One of those things was "hidden lies", things we believe that arent true. Suddenly I saw it. I am one of three children, the youngest daughter with two amazing older brothers. Mum said as a little girl, I went through a stage of asking her if I could have a sister. But into my little box, I took with me through life the belief that if you had a sister, you could far better relate to woman. I felt that girls couldn't really be trusted. Id experienced being on the out a lot of times. Rejected because I wasnt 'cool', or 'like them'. Sometimes I would feel the brunt of things said behind my back, or little insinuations on my character. I acted confident and unfazed, but inside, I was hurt. My spirit was wounded. My way of dealing with it, was to feed my pride "youre Godlier than them anyway" and move on. So instead of hanging out with the girls, with whom I didnt fit, I hung out with the boys. I tagged along with my brothers where I could, they were and are so loving, and mostly I just hung out with the brothers of these girls, who were so much safer. In fact, throughout my childhood, my best buddys were often boys. Keith, Danny, David. Boys dont have that vindicative streak, theyre far more accepting and if they do have something to say it's to your face. I believed that was easier to deal with. As the years have passed, I've always struggled to fit in with a group of woman. I've tried many times, and eventually my hurt spirit has come to the surface and I've shyed away, put up my walls and moved on. Getting married to Sam meant it was easier to hang out with guys. We've never had a large group of friends, but of the couples we've related to, I've seemed to find the men less scary to talk to. My anxiety around other woman has been such that I would never have dreamed of attending a Sistas conference. I endured the odd woman's camp and woman's group, but in my heart I just wanted to feel safe. So I acted warm, friendly and untouchable... Though actually I felt anything but. A couple of times I've been told off for having a flirty spirit, and the insinuation cut deeper into my pain. My hurt meant I was unable to see how I lay myself open for failure. I knew I didn't have a flirty spirit,.. But I was unable either to see the wounds I carried that opened me up to compromise. So when God showed me these wounds I was carrying, I asked him to reveal where they had begun. God showed me three specific times that I had been hurt and carried it as lies in my heart. And He ministered to me there.. Reminding me of verses in his Word that are His promises to me. So many of us are held back from ministry by the lies we believe. What holds you back? Since realising this, I have begun to spot behaviour in my children which I see comes out of lies they are believing about themselves. Times their little spirits have been wounded and their behaviour comes out awful. I've asked god to help me see the lies they might be carrying, and to respond gently. Sometimes it's not the behaviour we should've disciplining, but discerning where they're at. So that they, like me, can be free to reach the potential God has for their lives in serving others.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
I sat with my list of things I want to see changed in our life. It was a mental list, but I had it down packed none the same. It had a few recommendations for improvement for myself.. but definately more for Sam. Being the vast woman of wisdom (and experience) I am, cough, I knew better than to attempt such a 'Life Performance Critique' in the hours before work. But more than that, I had that edgy kind of caution... you know... where you just about feel God slapping his Hand over your mouth saying "keep quiet". The Word of God has a lot to say about a word spoken in season, knowing when to hold your tongue, and sometimes, just not saying anything at all. So when I sat yesterday morning, ready to get out of bed, God put a restraint on my heart: Fast and pray. As the day wore on, my growling tummy seemed to be more of a tune of inner groaning, God reckoning my will unto His. And in quietly petitioning God for more of Him, I sensed His promptings as the day wore on. "Why dont you cook Sam his favourite meal tonight"... good idea God, okay, I will do that. "Why dont you tidy the house for him?".. yeah, good idea again God. I will do that. "Fleur, why dont you meditate on all the things you are so grateful for in him, and trust me to change the things which I want to change"... yeah, great idea there God. Youre right, I will do that. "Fleur, what about your heart?".... Ungratefulness stared back at me, from the mirror of Gods Word to my soul. I saw clearly how the enemy wanted to cultivate it there, to build a wall between Sam and I. To distract our focus from Gods work, and onto our human effort. I saw clearly how my ungrateful spirit built a wall that would bring hurt and destruction. God prompted me "what are the things youre grateful for?".. I couldnt stop listing all those things. They came quickly and easily to me, and the more I thought about them, the more a spirit of gentleness and joy grew within me. Sam came home and we greeted each other with a tender smile "how was your day?". His had been hard. Really hard. "Thank you for cooking my favourite meal" he said. I quietly replied "youre welcome" (thank you God for putting it on my heart). As I cleaned up the kitchen quickly (once again thankful for Gods promptings to have the dishwasher emptied and ready to go), I talked to the Lord about the things on my heart. He had already known what this day held for Sam and for I, and He was saying to me this "Keep your eyes fixed on me". Later that evening, Sam and I sat down to talk. I shared with Him what God had been showing me through the day. Tears welled up inside when Sam told me what a joy it was to come home and see the house tidy, see the learning room sparkling, smell his favourite meal cooking and to have a sense in his home, that love reigned there. Instead of words filled with anger and frustration, we expressed to each our gratitude. We even talked about the things that I could see that needed changing, but how small they suddenly seemed in comparison to my heart that morning. Gratefulness builds. Proverbs 14:1 14 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. How easily we can tear down the very thing we want to build, through our harsh words and responses, our unwillingess to restrain the voice of fear. How wise the woman who knows that, and cultivates a spirit of joy and gratitude that functions above what is natural.. because her eyes are fixed upon her maker.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Proverbs 28:13 says that whoever covers his sin will not prosper. I want a prosperity in my life, a prospering in my soul. A flourishing in my spirit. Nothing that dampers the presence of Jesus in my life. These past couple of months, God has been doing a work in my life and revealing areas of compromise, areas of sin that I had allowed, areas of grey. As I have allowed him to shed his light on my life, I've experienced an intimacy with him that is so fresh and rich. And not just him, but Sam too. His love has brought a flourishing in my soul, a song in my heart. For the first time in a long time, I've seen his blessings in things that I'd been missing. My eyes have been lifted above things as they seem in an earthly context, and onto how god sees them. I wonder that we allow so long before we uncover our sin. Why do we hide? Uncovering sin isn't easy. It takes humility and a willingness to put it right no matter the cost. I remember years ago seeking to do that for something I'd been carrying for a long time. In my early teens I had been doing a circular run, delivering pamphlets. But one time I didn't deliver them in time, so I hid them in my wardrobe,..a whole box full of pamphlets!! I did this a couple more times and when I quit, I thought the guilt would go and was glad I had got away with it. But the guilt didn't go and now I had a huge pile of pamphlets to get rid of. I waited one day till my parents went out and then I burned them. But the guilt was still there. Ten years later, God convicted me, and I finally plucked up the courage to phone the employee and confess my sin and put it right. The amount of money I paid was only about $30, my voice trembled the entire phone call but the freedom I had when I got off the phone, was amazing. I learnt such a vital lesson on not letting sin stay hidden. When we walk in the light, no matter how humbling it may be, we allow Gods truth to flow. It's so worth it! Can I encourage you, with me, to let god shine his light into your life and uncover the hidden things. God can prosper a garden that basks in his sun.. But hidden under rocky layers of sin, your life wil never know what riches God has in store.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Notes from session with Rosie Boom: Dont do the same thing every morning. Get gumboots on, go for a walk. Dont miss Gods creation. Read to them by the river, do different things. Combine food wtih a new experience, have hot chocolate and pocorn and read. Create togetherness. Designate a reading day. Read as long as your voice holds out. Give them something to do while reading.. quilting, lego, knitting, french knitting etc. * Take a surprise field trip, a trip to the museum, zoo * Take each kids on a missions trip at 13yrs. Focus on ministries in reading books * Have a cheesemaking day * Stay in your PJS all day * Throw the kids in the car at night and take them to McD's cafe * Make memories, make up a story, get them to act it out. Do a big screening, puppet show, plays * Olympics day with homeschoolers. Bars, trampolines, matresses on grass * Make beds in lounge and stay up late to watch Olympics * Have a chess tournament * Create a big world map picture together * Play games all day.. educational games, scrabble etc * Get another family over to do a project together * Do some baking for someone in need * Sleepout in lounge * Make music together, go see a whale stranding, race to get home in spot light, do trail police detective * Christmas around the world - crafts and food for different nationalities Key: Do your work prior to enable you to enjoy the fun days. Work hard and celebrate!
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Fearlessness. What does that look like? What kind of woman is she? I know what Fear looks like. Fear empties the power of God out of our lives. It has us looking inward, looking at our circumstances. It reckons us silent. It causes us to fall into snares, lies, deceit, cheating. It causes great men and woman to fail in moral character. It paralyses and it all begins with such a small question: What if? I know the 'what if' voice well. The other night, I was looking online at the Cotton on Kids Sale. Kids winter clothing down, long sleeve t's down to $7 and womans down to $5, and then add another %30, and then, you can purchase a super duper cool tent for $20 for your kids and I spent over an hour building up a cart of clothes for next winter.. and all for $180 au! Bargain! I justified to myself that Id only have need of buying the boys a few pair of pants each, and maybe a jersey, and we would be comfortable for the cold season ahead. Yet when I went to go to checkout, I didnt have peace. I reasoned against it. Pffft, thats just the adrenalin rush coming down, and hey, I will have nothing to fear for winter 2014 and keeping warm. But God spoke to me "Fleur, would you trust me for my provision?". I internally wrestled with an answer for that. I wanted to reason "well, maybe if you give me a glimpse of how that provision might look, I might?".. I mean afterall, Id chosen all the muted natural colours I like and what if Gods provision involved gharish colours which just irk me. Or what if His provision were cheap tacky items that fell apart? I reflected back to a conversation Sam had with me earlier that night; "Fleur, did you know God not only provided food and water for the Israelites wandering, but it says right here in Deuteronomy 8:4 that their clothing did not wear out.. for 40 years!!". I shut down my cart. Id been there before. I was about 22yrs at the time and eager to get married, with no known male on the horizon. But the one thing I feared in getting married, was being without the things needed to set up home. I had this fear that I would be living in a cold and damp house, struggling just to get by. So I began buying stuff. Lots of it! I spent hundreds on kitchen items. Pots, utensils, tupperware. I stored them all up in my Glory Box and frequently pulled them out to look them all over and remind myself how secure I was. Oneday a while later, God asked me to sell it. He showed me it was purchases built on fear. So I obeyed. I set up a garage sale, and sold the lot. I think I made $200 on the entire lot! I was poorer and without my stash, but I was also emptied of fear. My Treasure Chest became a place where I purposed to store treasures that reflected Gods faithfulness and provision. For the next few years, it sat almost empty, with a nothing else bar some photos and a special album full of prayers I prayed for the man I would marry, whoever he was. A few years later, God brought Sam onto the scene of my life. During our courtship and engagement, God provided a piece of land for Sam to buy. Sam quietly began purchasing items for our new home, pots, utensils, appliances. He had no idea of my own story of building up and selling my stuff. Oneday he asked me if I minded him buying all these bits, and I nearly burst at the seams with joy to tell him what it meant to me. In the first year of our marriage, we moved into our new built home, with new and gorgeous appliances and a kitchen full of lovely things to make home. What is more, it required nothing of my fretting or planning. He honoured my obedience with His abundant faithfulness, and what is more, fear was not attached to it. The items did not own me, I was free from the burden of them. Our land nearly trebled in value in the first year and our kettle still goes all these years on.. which blows me away as its used relentlessly each day. What a huge lesson in the vast contrast between fear in action and Gods love in action. Proverbs 31: 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Fearlessness is a robe fit for royalty! And if God cared enough to mention that the wife of noble character is clothed in fine linen and the colour purple.. He sure cares about the details. Fearlessness is not the absence of loss or things that can harm. Note "when it snows". Its still going to snow! Its still going to get hard. As the Word of God says John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I know first hand, its still going to get cold, its still going to feel desperate sometimes. My adrenalin will still surge, sometimes the wind will feel knocked out of me. Im still going to react to spiders and turbulance. Fearlessness is not allowing those things to control my decisions. I cant defeat it by setting myself up for a series of perilous situations and hoping for the best,.. its not wrought from me, its wrought from saying to God "YES I WILL OBEY" Yes, God, I will obey You, because I trust Your character. Its a yielding of our will unto His and a decision that comes from repentance and surrender. Its realising that our way has never worked, that the outcome of our self preservation has been torment and paralysis. That what we are in need of, is Jesus Christ. I will never forget a woman who lived that out so real for me. She had suffered with an illness that left paralyzed her and left unable to swallow. It attacked her breathing. She was put into an induced coma and eventually recovered and learnt to eat, walk and talk again. It took years. When I was suffering with anxiety at my worst, she came and sat and talked to me. She told me; "when you feel like you cant breathe, sing". It worked! In January this year, she died suddenly. At her funeral, people spoke of how much a gift her life at been. In baking, in living, in serving, even when she herself had so little. But one thing her son spoke, left tears streaming down my cheeks. He said "my mum gave me the greatest gift ever, she wasnt afraid of dying". If ever there was a woman that could have feared it, it was her. She stared into its depths. She had literally known what it is to be paralysed by something out of her control. Yet she had tasted of Gods grace. She knew that Gods love is bigger still, that His purposes are greater, His ways higher. She knew what Corrie Ten Boom meant when she said "There is no pit so deep, that Gods love is not deeper still". What is God speaking to you today? What are the things that God is convicting you of? That He is saying "sweet child, that in you is of fear, not of me." Obey Him. Lift your eyes on Him and say yes. May God give you courage to stand on His promises!