Monday, 20 October 2014

For I know..

Ive been meditating this week on Jeremiah 29:11.. "For I know the thoughts I think towards you says the Lord, thoughts of peace.."

I went to the park yesterday with the kids. One we hardly visit. I took my journal and while they ran, explored and played, I sat on the park bench and pondered the verse Id been meditating on that week. 1 John 14:20 "... and I will reveal myself".

The sun shone down on my back, warming my soul and I quietly marvelled at how the big lingering cloud of grey held back. For a while I glanced over my shoulder and considered how much time we'd have before it hit... and after a while, I stopped looking. It was as if something held it back.

So we went home, an hour or so later, my soul richer.

Today was a full day, busy, and I could feel my body telling me it was tired. The verse Id chosen for meditating this week is Jeremiah 29:11. Its one of those verses where you just kinda think is pretty Christian cliche. But I wanted to allow it to seep into my soul afresh.

Come 4pm I looked at the mess around me. Homeschooling tasks to wrap up, dinner to prep, toys to pop away, tired kids to organize and a thought popped into my mind "why not go back to that park?". I reasoned it away.. no time.. and then Tim came to me "mum, can I earn some money?"... and there was that prompting again "why not go back to the park and then when you get home, get his help to cook dinner?".
I didnt argue with it twice.

We got down to the park and there I spotted it. My journal. Sitting untouched, unharmed, on the park bench where I had unknowingly left it the day before. I hadnt yet missed it...

but God knew...

Suddenly Jeremiah 29:11 came to life "For I know the thoughts I think towards you Fleur".

Have you ever stopped and considered why it doesnt simply say "I think towards you, says the Lord". Why add "For I know the thoughts"?...

Gods thinking towards us is not accidental. That 'knowing' is an intimate knowing. A purposeful, intentional investment of love, time and energy. Not only that, but He purposefully thinks towards us PEACE. His heart towards us is the calm, rested, balanced, healthy, unharried, quiet stillness, in everything we face.

I considered again my journal. I hadnt even known it was missing yet, but God knew and as I considered why He'd even bother to prompt and direct my afternoon to a second visit to a park the Words came to mind "I've got you covered".

He does have us covered, in EVERY situation we face...

That relationship that seems too complicated?
That health problem that wont go away?
That car issue that needs your attention?
That decision that your wondering how to make?
That conversation that you know you need to have? ......

He's there whispering "Peace. Ive got you covered."

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Family Devotions..

Psalm 1 tells us "And on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water".

Can I ask you a personal question? Does your life, does the life of your family, reflect that of a flourishing tree?
That is not a far fetched ideal or a task too hard for anyone. Its a promise God has given us, a joy that is ours to know. Yet I get how hard it is to maintain the discipline.

Our home library shelf boasts all manner of childrens Bibles and Ive invested in some terrific Kids Devotionals too. I own numerous womens devotionals And while theyve been great, its easy to give way to inconsistency.

So one of the ways in which we have worked to keep the Word consistently central to our lives, is to simplify.

Each day we choose the corresponding chapter of Proverbs to match the day of the month. Out of that, I pick one verse to study together with the kids and look at.
Often I read it and then ask them what they think it means, or how it relates to them. It never ceases to be interesting how they will relate scripture to their own lives and things they see around them.
God blesses His Word! And so Ive been amazed how many illustrations and precious nuggets have sprung to mind to share with the kids as we read and meditate on that verse.

Here's a glimpse of how it looks for us..

Yesterday the kids and I were meditating on Proverbs 16:20 "Those who listen to instruction will prosper". We talked about how we can thrive in anything we undertake when we remain teachable and are willing to obey those over us, or to receive counsel from someone even if we think we know better. Of course the kids were able to relate that to being obedient to Dad and Mum.. and I shared how as a grown woman, I can do that with those around me. We looked at the next part of the verse "those who trust in the Lord will be joyful". It raised a neat topic.. we NEVER have a reason not to be joyful if were trusting and obeying God, no matter how impossible the situation seems. We can ALWAYS obey God without question and know He has our best in mind. They discussed that in the light of how we respond to issues around us and I used it to be honest about where Ive failed to exhibit joy in some of the difficulties Ive faced. I shared how Ive learnt to accept the unchangeables issues that come along, and how I can release them into Gods hands knowing Ive done everything.. and that God is a God who relishes the impossible.
And yes, you bet I found it challenging :)

After talking it over, I print the verse out and have the kids write it down in a scrapbook and then illustrate it whatever way they like. The illustrations are often my favourite part as the kids will liken a proverb to an interest, or to something real for them. Its such a great insight into your kids hearts!!

I dont rush them, sometimes this whole process can take an hour. They have decorated the cover of their scrapbooks up with photos of themselves and weve laminated them and we keep them as absolute treasures. It takes time.. but here is the neat part.. God LOVES it when we meditate and learn from His Word and He is faithful to His Word to let it yield a harvest. Sometimes we dont see that fruit straight away.. but take note.. and watch for it.

In the evenings, Sam often reads to the kids out of a story Bible while I clean up the kitchen and get ready for the evening. Sam has a gas lamp that he takes into their room, turns out the lights and lets the room come to life with that camp style feeling of stories around the lantern. The kids LOVE it.
Truth is, I love it. Every now and then I will sneak in and listen and go away so challenged.

Last night Sam was reading to the kids about the first miracle Jesus ever did, turning water into wine at the wedding. Sam stopped to add some details that made the kids grin such as "you know, Jesus didnt turn the water into $6.99 Countdown on special bottles.. he turned in into something expensive". I laughed when I thought that over and then he said something that hit me at the core.. "Mary told the servants, 'do whatever he tells you'". There it was again! Obedience without question. I reminded the kids of the verse this morning and how when we obey, God can do the impossible. And so our hearts burst!

After reading we prayed together for the people in our lives who lack, and we prayed for the amazing and impossible.. restored eyesight, healed spines, new skin and restored relationships... and of course our precious wee boy within.

After kissing the kids goodnight, I lay on my bed and allowed my heart to reflect upon those servants. I wondered how their lives had been forever changed as they watched Jesus turn plain water into wine, because they obeyed. Did they ever forget? Did they ever see life's impossibilities the same? I pondered how Jesus could have placed thousands of dollars in the servants hands instead, and sent them for the local winery.. that would have been great. But He chose to make His first miracle a representation of what was to come.. His life poured out. Expensive. Miraculous.

Its easy to fall in love with Gods Word when we stop and meditate upon the amazing revelations that can be ours to know.

Monday, 13 October 2014

25 weeks

Hey baby boy!
Were somewhere around there.. 25 weeks! Im not rushing those weeks. I love every moment youre in. I stop mid sentence in conversations just to feel you kick and wriggle and dont hesitate to bare my belly for any willing hand that wants to feel you. And I love it.
The other morning I woke up and placed my hand on my stomach. In my dozey wake up mode, I could feel the perfect form of a wee leg sitting up top and I traced my hand gently along it, smiling. Does life get any better than this?
You add something to our family, kind of like a tickle. The anticipation and delight of you sets a sparkle of grins and giggles across our lives.

I guess one of my favourite aspects of this pregnancy is have prior wisdom. I find myself staring in the face of all the consumerism, must have outfits and baby gadgets and thinking "whatever was wrong with simple?". But its more than that. I puzzle that anyone would try to outdress the gorgeousness of newborn baby skin, fresh new lips, the sweetest smell this side of heaven and the most blissful feeling of delight.

I love what you add to our family in terms of preparation too. Not in the stuff sense, but the way lifes routines carve a way for you. Ive had to teach the boys to do more.. help with meal prep, pop away toys, clean up a mess that might be nothing of their own. Were all better for it. Ive also learnt to play more. I make myself stop and ignore time while having a game of Monopoly or Battleships. Who cares if it takes 2 hours? I get that these days go so quick and I want to treasure them.

Its made me a lot more playful. Perhaps caught between the tension of watching the older ones fast grow up, and also knowing that you will soon be here and babyland will strangely be thrust upon us once more. Ive found myself not caring if things arent perfect, or if I havent caught the moment on camera. Instead Im more inclined to stop and breathe in the moment for what it is... and love that its mine to know.

Sweet pea, thank you for all you add to our lives. Thank you for being you!!
The proudest mama ever.