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.