Thursday, 11 June 2009

Summer, water and getting out of the boat.

After what seemed like months of rain we have been blessed with a good amount of sunshine. We are reminded each year to wear hats, drink plenty of water and put on large amounts of sun cream. Sunny days invoke memories of lazy times on beaches building sandcastles, eating ice-creams, cream teas, Wimbledon, athletics etc.

I often think of beautiful calm seas with a very slight ripple of a wave; although surfers around the coast here will be wishing for something a little larger. I have recently read a book by John Ortberg called ‘If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat’ which is based on the story of the disciples on a fishing expedition when they get caught in a storm. Jesus is not with them in the boat but He walks on the water to them. Peter, one of the disciples, is so full of confidence in Jesus that he gets out of the boat and walks towards Him. Somehow, he takes his eyes off Jesus and starts looking at the storm and then begins to sink. It would be easy to criticise Peter for not trusting Jesus but he did have the courage to get out of the boat; he took that risk. How would many of us fare in this situation? I wonder if I would be one of the disciples who stayed in the boat. I have heard many times that it is better to try and fail than not try at all.

Sometimes, it seems like the life of a Christian should be easy. ‘Come to Jesus and all your problems will go away!’ is the message of some. The story of Jesus walking on water teaches us that life, will in fact, have its storms and difficulties. Those who have faith in Jesus and choose to serve Him will not be immune from living in a sinful world. The problems we encounter may be of our making; the results of poor decisions, but they may be the result of ‘life happenings’. God will also call us to take risks for Him in ways that we cannot imagine. We may have to do things in our lives that are way out of our Comfort Zone.

God is a good God. If He wants us to do something that we find difficult then He will equip us for that task. A verse from Ephesians says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We may not feel able to do anything for God but He is able to be trusted to help us.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Children are funny.

but I shouldn't really laugh. Tonight, in response to putting one of my daughters in time out for throwing something she sat on the stairs wailing: 'I have lost my memory. I don't know who I am. I don't know where I am. You top is green (it is red) and your trousers are blue (they are black). The rest of us had to suppress our giggles because it sounded so hilarious. Thankfully, she calmed down very quickly and her memory has now been fully restored. Once the temper calmed down she joined in and laughed with the rest of us.

I tried very hard not to laugh, I promise.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Stop the world, I want to get off.

My family and I have had a whirl of a time over the past 2 years. We are ready for life to be a little ordinary.

In that time we have:
  • Spent 6 months deciding to move; all that time keeping it from our friends.
  • Spent 8 months living with those friends knowing we were moving.
  • We have moved 6 hours from the place that was home for nearly 14 years.
  • I have finished a College course.
  • Started in a new Church which is very different from our old one; and the shock was bigger than we thought.
  • Grieved the loss of a friend who was only our age (38 years old).
  • My husband took his Nan's funeral.
  • Started our girls at a new School.
  • Tried to make links with a new community.
  • My DH is Chairman of Directors for a local Charity; and is finding out that not all the information was given to him at the time of making that decision. And he is spending a lot of time putting out fires started by others!
  • I have started work which involves planning daily activities for 4 year olds. I feel inadequate for the job.
  • We have started to be a family that gives more hospitality.
  • We have had to come up with some inventive ways of parenting one of our girls who can have periods of explosive tempers which can last for weeks.
  • We have suffered disappointment from friends.
  • We have not had proper rest or holiday in that time.
  • We have major decisions to make about our children.
  • We are beginning to realise that we need the power of God to get us through the things life throws at us.
  • My husband and I have come to a better understanding of each other.
  • We are working through the rubbish from previous years of marriage.
  • We have the privilege of living near my brother and his family, and the joy that has brought us.
  • We are able to see our parents more often.
  • We live in a beautiful part of the country.
  • We have real and wonderful friendships in many parts of our country.
  • We have learnt that when God changes us to make us more like Christ it isn't all pink and fluffy.
  • We have been blessed with financial gain via a bequest.
  • A 20-year long-distance friendship hasn't imploded because we now live in the same town and my husband is their pastor.
  • I have been blessed by Internet-friendships and deepening of Real Life ones.
Life is full of pluses and minuses. I am learning that God made rest for a reason; we can't function endlessly without taking 'time out' like Jesus did. I have also learnt that life needs an element of pure silliness for its own sake. All serious stuff is not good for the soul. I am tired but am realising that some of that is I don't rest even in the storm. I look at the storm and not at Jesus. A garden needs cultivating, right? Well, so does the need to be a calm person. I need to spend time with God, time with friends, time by myself, my way of thinking in tough times needs to change as well. God is able though and nothing is a surprise to Him.