Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My Belated Bucket List.

My husband says all the best ideas are nicked. I saw this on a few friend's blogs a while ago, thought it was a great idea and then promptly forgot about doing mine. So here is my attempt.

  • Teach myself to Quilt.
  • Visit a Amish Community to see their Quilting.
  • Get over my fear of flying.
  • Fly in a helicopter with my husband our county.
  • Visit Canada, American, Italy.
  • Do some mission work in Eastern Europe.
  • Study for and pass a degree.
  • Learn to surf.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Own a VW Beetle Car.
  • I would love to go skiing again. The last time I tried I wasn't very good at it but it was such great fun.
  • Get to a point in my life where I am happy being me. And not care what others think.
  • Ride a Harley Davidson.
  • Climb Ben Nevis.
  • Be able to play the piano proficiently.
  • Teach my girls the basics of reading music.
  • Train my girls in the way of the Lord.
  • Watch my girls become normal functioning adults who contribute to the world.
  • Meet up with Pam.
  • Meet up with other on-line friends.
  • See my church become a beacon in our town.
  • Read some CS Lewis.
  • Write a poem or two.
  • To become a godly woman.
  • Spend some time in a really expensive hotel.
  • Develop a really fun relationship with my siblings.
  • Learn to pray in a Christ-like way.
  • I would love to go on a top-quality Cookery Course with my girls, in fact my husband could come along as well if he liked.
  • If I had my way (and the money!) I would make a spa/pamper day an annual feature of my life. And when my girls are old enough bring them along as well.
When I read a few bucket lists I thought (in my Eeyore state at the moment!) that I wouldn't have much to put on one but I have surprised myself. I am sure if I thought about it there would be more things I could add.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Lessons from Wilberforce

I listened to a great talk by John Piper the other day. It was an inspiration. He spoke on William Wilberforce (you can find it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Biographies/1492_Peculiar_Doctrines_Public_Morals_and_the_Political_Welfare)

What an amazing man Wilberforce was. He was driven by his love of Jesus to his life work of ridding my country of the slave trade. (The grand object of my parliamentary existence [is the abolition of the slave trade]. . . Before this great cause all others dwindle in my eyes, and I must say that the certainty that I am right here, adds greatly to the complacency with which I exert myself in asserting it. If it please God to honor me so far, may I be the instrument of stopping such a course of wickedness and cruelty as never before disgraced a Christian country.) He never seemed to become despondent by the many times the Bill failed; in fact, it seemed to strengthened him. His life was full of human disappointment: Ill-health, a wife who perhaps didn't have his passion for life, wayward children, constant personal attack, etc etc. This man rested on God and worked for Him.

This quote is just great: My grand objection to the religious system still held by many who declare themselves orthodox Churchmen. . . is, that it tends to render Christianity so much a system of prohibitions rather than of privilege and hopes, and thus the injunction to rejoice, so strongly enforced in the New Testament, is practically neglected, and Religion is made to wear a forbidding and gloomy air and not one of peace and hope and joy.

As Christians we fail so much when we forget the joy of the Lord in our daily walk. If all Christians were as focussed on God as Wilberforce was, it would be phenomenal to see what we could achieve in the 21st Century.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Coffee anyone?

I am beginning to realise that whilst I am waiting for 'Mega-in-the-sky' revelation about what God wants me to do here, then meeting all the ladies at the church for regular coffee isn't a bad thing. I need to pray for opportunities to ask some of the people I am meeting outside of the church around for coffee as well. I love coffee so any excuse to partake is fine by me but this is helping build up relationships. I am realising that I need to stop looking for ways to serve God as they are right in front of me. God will give me the wisdom I need when meeting with these ladies. I don't want to become a gossip or a sounding board for disgruntled folk but it doesn't have to end that way. We can discuss deeper things and I need to pray before each meeting that what is said is for the building up of our faith and not the tearing down of someone else's.

I know deep down this doesn't stop me from gently pushing doors for further opportunities but until I know otherwise I will drink my coffee, chat and you never know I might even eat a cake or two.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The lessons of life.

I was talking to some friends the other day and they said their son was going to write a book entitled 'The Lessons of Life' and I thought it was a good idea. Just living life this summer has taught me some valuable lessons.

According to my brother between us my husband and I have gone through 3 of the most stressful things: A house move (to a completely new area), a new job (for DH) and a bereavement. To be honest we are both tired emotionally but not spiritually. I think we have learnt a lot of lessons this summer about ourselves and the God we serve. The move was uneventful; even if the moving company were not what could be termed helpful. We got here, saw our new home for the first time and we have been truly blessed with a beautiful home. It is larger and altogether more airy than our last place. Having said that we loved that old home and only realised how small it was when we moved here! Already, we have had lots of visitors and plan to keep it that way.

DH is now settling into his new ministry. The church is different from the old one and it is odd being 'an outsider' and having to ask 'Why?' all the time. It will take a while to fit in and get used to the way things happen here. God has a work for both of us and we are excited to find out what that is. I don't want to make any hasty plans that I regret later and find it hard to get out of. We will see and I will keep you posted.

Just after getting here we had a phone call from our previous church to tell us of the tragic death of a friend of ours. He was a little older than DH and had died suddenly and with no warning. He leaves a widow and a small baby. We were saddened and shocked (and still are) by this. DH and myself went back up to our old place for DH to take the funeral. My husband buried a man his age and that takes some doing and only in the strength of God was he able to do it. We don't know why this happened and struggle to see the purpose in it but God is sustaining our friend's widow. She has been a blessing but is taking it day by day.

On top of that we had a long drawn out battle with various big corporations to get the Internet up and running in our home. We both learnt that we had become somewhat dependant on it and hope to put it in the place it deserves and keep it there. We have both learnt that we worry about small things and that we need to rest in the assurance of God a lot more.

A good side of our summer is that DH and I are spending alot more time together. The time taken by the Internet, study and meetings are now filled with us just being together. It is good. Lets hope we don't forget the specialness of this time when life becomes busy.

I have been reading through New Testament books and have come across verses about trials and the strengthening of faith and production of patience. I really want this summer to produce in me a more Christ-like attitude. Life is short. The unpredictable will happen. Life is full of rubbish that others, corporations, etc will throw at us. We can't control that but we can control the way our hearts react to it. We can let it consume us and become overwhelming or we can use it to teach us more about ourselves and God. We can never use these events as an excuse for our bad attitudes. God is in control of all and having a right perspective on things will help.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Lesson wot I learnt!

I came to this church on the trail of my husband and for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture we remained, attached as Pastor (and wife) to the church.

Our time here is coming to an end and I thought I would share some of the many lessons that I have learnt.

  1. Life is pain, Highness. Anyone, who tells you differently is selling you something. Yes that seems a negative one to start with but believe it or not getting that right in my head has helped me. I have struggled both personally and because of the Ministry, but remembering this means things don't come as a shock anymore. I was extremely rose-tinted about life and how mine would pan out but learning that 'stuff happens' puts a different perspective on how you deal with things and people.
  2. God's not dead! He is Alive. The fact that I have been through situations and loss has ultimately made this so much more real in my life (at the time it didn't help). I became a Christian at the age of 12 but have had my faith tested. I praise Him that through the times of suffering God sent along people and friends to help me see that God is very much alive and helping me through life.
  3. It's better with a friend standing by your side. Sharing all the good times. God has really taught me that friends are cool. What a marvellous invention you had there God! Yes, I got through some tough times 'on my own' (with my husband and family of course) but it would have been so much better if I had mellowed and allowed myself to risk getting close to people earlier.
  4. It is not good to die at 35 years but wait till you are 85 to be buried! I laughed out loud when I heard a preacher say this. But wow what a message. As previously mentioned here I have suffered some loss personally and had allowed that to stop me living for anyone, let alone God. I had slipped into a habit of feeling sorry for myself. God in His wisdom and mercy used the death of my MIL to shock me: 'Stop your whining and get out there and do something!' - the message was loud and clear. Praying about what God wanted me to do and taking my eyes off myself has cleared up a lot of bad thinking and attitudes. I am pleased with the qualifications I have gained, the experience of living as a Pastor's wife and am looking forward to how all that fits in with the next chapter of my life.
  5. The Importance of being Earnest. I love this film (sorry to you purists I haven't seen the play) and the name is all important; so much so that the ladies don't want to marry anyone who isn't called Earnest! I have learnt during my time living here that I am a child of God and have been called by name. I learnt that it is not what I am but who I am that is important. I want to seek to serve the one who has called me.
  6. There's a world outside my window, and its a world of dread and fear. During my time in this church I have had the experience of learning a lot about people in great need in other countries; some who are persecuted for their faith. We have a man who assimilates information every week for us to read and pray through. I have come to realise that I live in a cosy bubble and not everyone is as privileged as me. So it has spurred me to pray more for these people.
  7. Sugar and Spice and all things nice. I have had the tremendous blessing and joy of becoming mummy to 2 beautiful girls. Our road to parenthood wasn't easy but it has been worth the wait. There have been times of shear hard work (and I am under no illusion that they are over!) but many happy moments. So thank God for allowing us to parent and giving us the wisdom and strength that we have needed.
  8. Go tell it on the mountain. During the course of being here I have met some great Christian workers. People who are serving the Lord in many different and non-conventional ways and who have been an inspiration to me. By the grace of God it would be great to have the drive they have to serve their God.
  9. Cameron (from Ferris Buellers Day Off) goes to the Art Gallery with Ferris and Sloane. He is looking at a picture by George Seurat (Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte) and sees the child but that soon turns into dots. My interpretation is he uses the painting to work out what his childhood has all been about and that is the start of him dealing with his dad and all the mess. I believe that I could see my time here as dots but I must use it to work out my salvation and the works God has for me.
  10. Rabbit-Proof Fence. This is one of my all-time favourite films (oh yes, I am a bundle of laughs! ). Molly has so much determination to get home and follows the fence across Australia. I want to have that determination; I want to go to home to Heaven. I just have a desire to serve God whilst I am doing it.
So those are a few of the lessons I have learnt and now I have written them I can be excited to see how God will continue to teach me. I know from experience that may be good stuff and it may be bad but I pray that the lessons here are strong enough to know 'All things work together for good'.

Friday, 6 June 2008

What does it mean to be a peacemaker?

A while ago I enthusiastically said I would take a 5 minute slot in our housegroup. We are going to be looking at the Beatitudes (some of the sayings of Jesus in case you were wondering!) and I was asked to look at the one that said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.'

So here are some of my thoughts. I want to start way back where I believe the problem started. In the beginning God had created a beautiful, awesome, spectacular world and everything was peaceful. The whole of creation would have shone with the peace of God; nothing in it had anything chaotic or awkward about it. Then He made man; and that was fine for a while until Adam and Eve decided to listen to Satan instead of God. The relationship they had was broken; they no longer had peace between them and God, just strife and sin. The good news is we can have a peaceful relationship with God again through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The bible tells us that Jesus is our peace and through Him in repentance (saying sorry for our sins/wrongs) we can have a restored relationship with God.

If we are at peace with God than it will have implications for how we live. The way we are as a person and how we treat others should be radically transformed in that renewed relationship - I will seek at all times to be at peace with all men. How will this look to my family, my church family and the outside world? I will not worry and fret about every little detail of my life. I will not be easily offended by people when they say or do daft things; realising that we are all capable of the same stupidity. By the power of the Holy Spirit and grace of God I have been trying to live with this mindset and it is tremendously liberating. Always looking for hurt and malice in what people do/say is incredibly exhausting and a real peace-stealer.

God is a God of peace and part of the outworking of the Holy Spirit is peace in our hearts and minds. The bible wants me to be a peacemaker. That means that when I leave a place it shouldn't be chaotic and stressful; I shouldn't elicit fear and trembling amongst the people I come in contact with, they shouldn't sigh when they hear I am going to be there etc. I should exude a peace and that is what I should leave in my wake. It isn't an ethereal kind of peace but one that will take hard work. I am to foster my relationship with God through pray, reading the bible and spending time with other Christians. I must seek to live well with everyone and set my mind on peace (this is a proactive thing!) by avoiding foolish talk and gossip. How much peace is there after a real juicy gossip session? Not much. This may mean I have to walk away from some conversations but it is part of being a peacemaker. The bible tells me I must practice true religion; helping widows and orphans. I am to look out for the underdog. And another way of being a peacemaker is to spread the good news of Jesus by good works and words with the mind to telling people about a restored relationship with the God of peace.

In my study I have realised that being a peacemaker isn't an optional extra for the super-spiritual Christian, it is a way of life that God wants for all His followers. Will it mean I am a doormat? No but as long as the truth of the gospel is not compromised or the vulnerable aren't being taken advantage of then I must think peace as I go about my daily tasks. Will it mean some of my pet peeves will have to bite the dust? Almost certainly but setting my mind and heart on being a peacemaker will lead to more joy and happiness.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Caribbean Cooking - yummy!

So I passed my College my husband bought me a present of a Caribbean Cookbook. I and my daughters have been having tremendous fun trying out new recipes. So we put a little less chilli in then recommended but so far the dinners have been delicious. We have all decided it is great food for giving when guests come around.

So those of you who read this blog what sort of tasty foods do you serve your families and guests. We are planning on having a lot of folk around during the summer so post your recipes here please.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

So what next?

So now I have passed the next stage of my college work what do I do? First off, I have to pack this house up and move to another one.

We have been in our current place nearly 14 years; the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I have made mistakes; lots of them. I want to take the lessons painfully learnt and build on them in our new church. I still have a lot of working of things out to do and the change is going to spark a lot more analysing I am sure!

Finishing the course has made me realise that a lot of who I am is wound up in my place here. I have become a more confident person and Christian. I am hoping that as we as a family move down South I will have the ability to just be who God is moulding me to be, wife, mother, friend, ???. I am not perfect and am definitely a work in progress but I have learnt a lot whilst living here. What I am going to do when I get there I have no idea but God has it worked out. I have my husband and my children to help me and me to help them. I want to use the training I have received over the last 2 years to serve Him. The details are not clear at all but I have a heart for families, for those who are disadvantaged in some ways. I may even do further study. I want to teach myself to be a better cook and pass on those skills to my daughters (especially my eldest who is showing a great interest.) I would love to teach myself and the girls to quilt. I have many thoughts and plans but at the moment I am content to leave the details in His hands.

So those of you who read this regularly pray if you have a moment that I will grasp this opportunity and run with it as I have a tendency to cave in under change and lack of direction.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Friends and family. What a great invention.

I always think it is amazing that when Jesus was on this earth He chose to have friends. He was God but still needed people to share His life with. When we think of the Church (universal) today we realise that this pattern continues. When we repent of our sins and enter into the family of God; we enter a world-wide community of believers. When this happens it will be like having a family, for wherever we go if we meet other Christians we will have something in common - Jesus, His kingdom and His command that we share the good news with others.

This sometimes blows my mind as I think about the Christians I have met in RL and on-line. This isn't some loose connection; if we take seriously what we have in Jesus we should NEVER feel alone. 1) We have a friendship with Jesus Himself and 2) We have a family that can't be counted.

If this is the case then I wonder why it is that myself and other Christians seem to want to go it alone. Where on earth did we get the idea that we should fly-solo? Why do we often look for what divides us more than what unite us? If friends and community were good enough for Jesus, then they should be good enough for me. Who am I to argue? This should spur us into being friendly and community centred. 'My house as my castle' and all the thinking that goes with that isn't what Jesus had in mind when He thought up His kingdom.

My personality.

Apparently I am a an Attentive Realistist. Not really sure what that means but the blurb they wrote with it seemed pretty accurate. DH thinks it is about right.

Saturday, 19 April 2008


Do you ever have days where you are so ashamed of yourself that you don't want to ever face the world again? Today is that kind of day for me. I have a hard time some days. I know that in the grace of God He forgives and loves.

God spoke to me when I heard a testimony of a Christian who had been brutally attacked for their faith. The things that are a worry to me seem so small in comparison. Oh God, please allow the way that spoke to me to change me. Feelings are no good unless they change our hearts so that we long to serve God more. Read the testimonies of Christians in countries where they face persecution each day and allow them to put things into perspective.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Dreams and the lessons from a tomato.

We were at church last week and some of the chaps were talking about their dreams which involved lots of sun and olive groves. Neither of their wives seemed to be sharing the dreams or enjoyment of their husbands telling them. On asked me 'What are your dreams?'

It got me thinking. Then my husband told me to read the new book by Phil Vischer about the rise and fall of Big Ideas. Wow, that man had a big, tremendous dream. A dream to take on the giants at Hollywood with his own company. It was a good and honourable dream but it becomes clear whilst reading the book that the dream overtook his delight in God. His dream came crashing down in 2003. The last few chapters of his book are the things he learned from that experience. Through Christians speaking to him, sermons he heard and books he read he know that he had spent years being busy for God. He spent a lot of time just read and praying. He learnt through it all that God was enough.

Here is a quote: "At first I was anxiously expecting God to reveal the next 'big thing' - the next mountain He wanted me to climb - the next life-changing story he wanted me to write. But after a few weeks stretched into a few months, I didn't care so much anymore. Eventually it struck me that I no longer felt the need to write anything. I didn't need to have have any impact at all. Whatever needs I had were being met by the Scripture I was reading and by the life of prayer I was developing. My passion was shifting from impact to God.
There is a scene in C.S. Lewis's
Voyage of the Dawn Treader involving Eustace, a boy so selfish, prideful, and greddy that he wakes up one day to find he has literally turned into a dragon. life as a dragon proves so lonely and the dragon skin so uncmfortable that he soon longs to return to his friends, longs to be human again. In this scene, Aslan the lion leads Eustace the dragon to a pool. Eustace enters the pool and tries unsuccessfully to scratch off the aching dragon skin. then Aslan says, "Lie down. This is going to hurt." And with a long, terrible claw, Aslan digs deep into Eustace's skin, ripping it wide open. It is the most painful thing Eustace has ever experienced, but when it is over, he stands up, a boy again. Reborn.

God could have spared me from the pain of Big Idea's collapse. He could have speared me from the consequences of my own mistrakes and missteps. But He didn't. And it
wasn't about "God and Big Idea". I was about "God and Phil". My ambition, my dreams, my misplaced sense of identity and value were dragged kicking and screaming up onto the altar. And now they were dead. Ripped apart like dragon skin.

I realised this when I heard myslef say to my wife one night, "I don't want to write anything". I as ready to be done, if that's what God wanted. To just rest in Him and let everything else fall away. At long last, after a lifetime of striving, God was enough. Not God and impact or God and ministry. Just God."

This just spoke volumes to me. I want my life to be about 'Just God' but am scared at what that might mean. My dreams have to be that I will be in the centre of God's will and do the good works that GOD has prepared for me. He will show me but they are not for me to be concerned about.

So if you get a change read: 'Me, Myself & Bob. A True Story about Dreams, God and Talking Vegetables.' It spoke volumes to me and may God use it to get me living for God and not what I can do for Him.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Where is the love?

James in the Bible says 'Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.' Sometimes when I think about how I am it would say 'Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to listen to me, stop so I can speak and get used to my quick-fire response.' And sometimes I wonder if this is a general response of a lot of Christians! If we were more ready to listen and less ready to talk and become angry we would have fewer communication breakdowns. I have a heavy heart sometimes when I think of how I respond to things people do or say to me and when I think of how other Christians respond to things.

'Where is the love?', The Black Eye Peas sang and the following verse could be applied to my heart, to Christians, to the church:

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm getting older y'all people get colder
Most of us only care about money makin
Selfishness got us followin the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting their young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what the see in the cinema
Whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love, we're spreading anomosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feeling under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feeling down
It's no wonder why sometimes I'm feeling under
I gotta keep my faith alive, until love is found

Furthermore, I was really challenged by reading the book of 1 John in the bible. It is all about love, God's love for us, our love for God and our love for our fellow Christians. Wow, if as Christians we had that love for one another our churches would be such wonderful places to be. I know my heart is quick to see the ulterior motive in people but I have to start looking with the love of Christ and realise that people are just like me; forgetful, busy, tired, lazy, sad, lonely, grumpy, DRS etc and this will make them act in ways that don't look good. Love should be an overriding emotion in my heart and in the church of Christ. His love for us brought Him down from heaven to the cross and an extremely cruel death.

So thanks to the Bible and the Black-Eyed Peas for the inspiration for this post. May I live it and not just type it out.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

I Hate Numbers.

Well I just have to say that my suspicion that I hate numbers has been conformed this week. I need to brush up my numeracy skills to go along with my qualification in Child Care and I am not doing so well. I have done 4 practices papers and only passed one. I really hate numbers, why do I need to know how to work out the volume of something, or the amount of fence I need to go around a lake. OK, I know that if I work in schools then my numeracy skills are not upto par but at the moment I am planning on working with preschool children.

Numbers to me could be a foreign language and I would have as much chance at understanding. But ho hum, as they say, I will keep practising.

Give me words any day; they tell a story, keep me informed of world events, confuse me with poetry, interest me with history, intrigue me with a comment on life, challenge me spiritually, make me laugh with their sheer humour if crafted well, shock me with facts about just how sinful man is, open up the door to friendships, allow me to express myself in speech and on paper (or should that be blog) etc. Oh yes, indeed I love words ...... but once I have got this test passed I don't want numbers invading my life any more!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

A new horizon ahead.

So we are on the move in the summer. I am realising more and more the enormity of what we are doing. Along with that I am excited about a new challenge. We have been where we are for 13 years and have become comfortable; like an old jumper - warm and soft. Where we are going we will be completely new. I am determined by God's grace to become a member of my new community quicker than I did here. I am looking forward to the opportunities to get to know new people, build on things I have learnt here and hopefully not make the same mistakes!

God has shown me over the past few years that I am not 'all-sorted' and that company is good for me. I love people, always have, but I used to want them to be conformed to my image!! I praise God for the work He is doing. People can be wonderful even if they disagree with me. I want to make a difference for God in this world and pray that I will be open.

God-willing by the time I get to our new place I will have more qualifications in Child Care and am excited as to how I can use them in Kingdom work. I feel that my love for children is something that I would like to train in more so perhaps more study is ahead.

I praise God for His leading us to move to a new place and pray that we can work well for Him.