Thursday, 27 February 2014

He makes all things beautiful in His time........

Twenty six years.......the words that left a moments silence, as we gave a knowing look of a 'thousand words' during my skype call with my Dad this morning......  how is this ever possible? You could hear it although it wasn't spoken. But it is. Its mind boggling honestly and so hard to put it on into words. 'I miss her' doesn't come close. If you're reading this, then I need you know I write because I love her and want to share a little something of her with the people in my today......and by whom I know I'm loved, and who will allow me to process what this means at this point in my mark this day. The vivid memories leading up and on this date even tho I was just shy of five at the time, are still crystal clear. 

I sit here in this moment pondering over the my journey to this day. It's kinda actually amazing to look at the trail and way it interweaves.... Years pass between all the events that make up life but because they were walked by one particular set of feet they instantly become linked.  This last year, the most recent season of the journey, has been one where all that I had known up to this point in my life, was shaken up and turned upside down!!! Kinda like a snow globe when you shake it! Some things stay in place but almost every tiny thing has felt and looked different. What I've come to realise, it's not dissimilar to what happens when someone was there one day and not the next, just like the journey I was thrown onto as a cheeky five year old girl. Only this time, it's not like someone died, or some shocking trauma occurred, no, but the process of my mind and heart, as I've moved through the days and months has been kinda like grieving. Moving across the atlantic, there were certain expectations I held, knowing full well that things would be very different on this side of the Atlantic ocean. It has shocked me, as I had never imagined, not even for a second, the heart wounds that would be opened, over things I thought were unrelated.  I had had no expectation for the longing, the ache of missing Mum deeply on a daily basis, and how it would strike so strong again or that I would dig through the deepest parts of my heart and be forced to allow my heart to ache, to let the lid off the pot and cry like I've not cried in a long time. I had no idea that this distance I've walked in the physical, from all the things I've known, would once again highlight the depth of the loss that day we said goodbye to her and our lives were changed forever. 

It brings a slight smerk to my face as I write, how so often we can know theories in our heads and yet when things actually outplay in our own lives,  its not until you look at it with the gift of hindsight, that we actually recognise whats happened. Like walking through loss in one area of your life, causes your body and emotions to respond in certain ways because sub-consciously they recognise this place because they've been there before. It's not foreign. It's actually familiar and your body almost goes into auto pilot, taking lead off the triggers that have been set off somewhere in your past. And yet it wasn't till a couple months ago that I could name this and identify what was going on internally for me. This moment was kinda awesome actually because at this point I could give myself permission to embrace it and accept that I wasn't actually loosing my mind!!!!!! (seriously people I actually started to wonder!) But getting to this place, that its ok, that this move across the atlantic, would translate into something very different in my heart. The fruit, of this journey, however painful or joyful any part of it would be, would bring further transformation of my heart, and in turn be multiplied into so many areas of my life. And thats a good thing, and something I wouldn't trade.

Someone recently said to me 'at least time is a healer', just as many have said, to people they know who are hurting. And I kinda get it, and why its said, I do. However, recently whilst reading a book, a friend wrote, something she wrote hit the nail on the head and helped me understand, why this phrase has so often left me feeling annoyed.  She wrote so eloquently that 'time doesn't mean it hurts less, it just hurts differently'. The truth is that God is our healer. However His healing doesn't mean that in one second, that at the snap of His fingers, everything is perfect and 'thats that' - sorted. No. NO! He cries with us as we tread through the trenches of these place in our hearts. He doesn't get bored, or try to speed us up, or tell us to get over it. His heart breaks. He walks beside, gently nudging, compassionately empathising, loving on us, teaching us to trust Him more so we will let Him in, with invitation, even further. He wants more for us. He wants restoration in the things we can't see a way through. He promises love. In fact, He is Love. And His 'more than enough love' is lavish enough to fill and flood all the places that there are no words for. To carry us when the ache of loneliness is to much. To be tangible in the very real moments in any ordinary day, like when I wish I could just call her, like I see friends doing or when things are hard or there's something to celebrate or I just need a good ol' cup of tea and the sound of her voice. In these very 'pang' moments as I call them....... He's there. AND He gets it. And because of this, He not asking me to get over it, rather He knows asks me to trust Him because He has the perfect navigation for each moment and longs for me to trust Him enough, to give Him my hand, so He can lift my foot and help me step down my path of healing.  Trusting isn't easy. I guess I've come to see it as an action...... its takes effort and tears and sweat and guts and sometimes repeating words that I'm honestly finding hard to believe are truth, but I know from the faithfulness of God are..... it words and action and believing when you can't see through the cloud. And right there in that place, He a resounding peace mixing into our ugliest messes..... and eventually if we let Him this peace is whats sounds above all else.  He is the One who wants to turn whats been stolen from us, and in return find a way to orchestrate a redeeming path to lead us onwards in our journeys. He loves us too much to leave us stranded, not moving. His love for us, mixed with our pain, allows Him to shape us to be more like Him, when we allow Him into those very places that no one has ever seen before. And I absolutely love, like LOVE Him for that. I simple could not imagine how to walk any part of this life without Him in it. 

So all this to say, despite the fact I would honestly give anything for just one more day with Mum, there is comfort in knowing that she loved this same amazing God deeply. She walked her journey in His hands. She gave her whole heart to Him.  And even if I try to imagine what she faced in the last months of her life, as she contemplated leaving us here on earth, I know that the only way she did that, was to bury herself into Gods arms, to find peace in the fact that He was in control and had the world, her world, in His hands.  That she was His and He was hers. And today, nothing changed on this front, because this is true for me too -  I am His and He is mine.  Peering over photos and lingering over the memories, I am beyond grateful knowing that the same God I wrestle with, the same God that shows an unimaginable, unconditional, lavish love and is my rock of strength, the same One who carries me on the hard days and celebrates on the good, is the very same God that mum got to run her race with. On both her care free days, and in the days marked by pure heartache, she never veered away from loving God with all her heart, mind and soul....... even as a small child I saw such a quiet strength of character and a deep steadfastness, that now I know only comes from knowing Jesus. And as an adult today, I cherish the journals she wrote, her own penmanship, where she wrote her talks/sermons that God inspired her and empowered to give because it just confirms and highlights the passion she had for loving Jesus so much, and she heart of wanting nothing more than people to love Him too!  Believe me I've no doubt she struggled, had her bad days, will have doubted at times and life certainly wasn't always easy and she wasn't perfect - non of us are (!) but this legacy, this heritage that is mine, the example of how she choose to live, is one that inspires me to keep going, to run after, never give up on, running after all that God has me to be. 

So in fact I am thankful today.  I miss her. My heart aches. The tears still flow. My Understanding of all this isn't something I'll ever achieve because how can the whys ever be fully understood. I have to leave them in the hands of the only One who does. And yes I'd give anything for another day, to hear her voice and see her smile. Ugh.... I truly would. But one thing that is in my that I can choose today, to not be robbed of thankfulness........thankfulness for everyday I was given to be with my beautiful mum here on earth, thankfulness for the amazing heritage I have in being her daughter and thankfulness for the faithfulness and passion of her walk with Jesus, that still has an impact today. 

What a lady. One I'm lucky enough to call my mum!

Friday, 8 November 2013


Its been a week of reflection in this house. I was reading over this blog I wrote a year ago. Taking stock. If you take a read you'll see its called 'I'm not a superhuman!'. It was just some honest reflections in the last few days before we sold our house in England and made our move across the ocean....... as I read it again I realised that every single one of the fears I laid out in the blog post has in reality come true in some form or another.......well almost.......'all' except one! It was the last one - that I wasn't strong enough..... That I was afraid of 'not being strong enough' to make it through all the fears I had in my heart for the year ahead.....

BUT actually I was! I have been.......strong enough that is! Not on my own strength. Not without people to walk beside us. Not without a big and loving detailed God who cares enough to be our Strength when we are in fact utterly weak and have nothing left.

Sometimes its just good for the soul to take stock of these simple facts.......makes me wanna shout from the rooftops just how thankful I am for knowing Jesus...... so so so thankful......... because without Him I wonder how we would have weathered this last year........And sometimes its good to just to lay it out..... and say it as it truly is. Thankful.

Thats all.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

One year on....

Its here..... November 6th. For most its just a regular day but this date changed for us last year....and as I woke today I wondered if one day I will actually forget the significance of this date? Would a day come when life will be so 'normal' that it wouldn't resonate anymore? ......but...... somehow deep down I don't think it will ever loose its significance.

If you haven't guessed, today marks one year since we touched down on US soil. To live. Indefinitely. Reflecting on the last 18 months of our life, a strong image came to my mind - like a mind movie playing out, a pictorial reflection that touches on some the vastness of 'everything' - putting it all into some sort of concise place - a creative expression of the story. For some it might seem a weird way to write about it,  but for me, whether or not I can depict it in words, it captured my heart to put the realness of adventure and hardship, celebration and grief, encouragement and comfort in one place and acts as a strong reminder that we are still right where we are suppose to be - and actually theres no greater place to be!

We're walking.... on a winding trail through a mountain range -  - its rocky and yet green, dry and hot, cold and wet, forest clusters, open expanses and deep ravines flowing with clear waters. The sun is strong, warm and radiant.......and today the sun is shining in  perfect circle against the crystal blue sky backdrop. Its vast and bigger than anything we've seen before....this expanse before us has snapped our breath away more than once.......The trail we've followed winds up and down and round and through all kinds of terrain - some bits were super tricky to navigate,  having to fight to find the path and some bits where the path widened, brought sweet relief.

But today we are stood still for a moment -we've reached a high plateau and are struck to silence - its the six of us - hand in hand - a team - a stronger one - in silenced awe - just taking where we are in......

Out ahead of us there a beautiful horizon, a blue sky painted with some colour interspersed b the strength of the sunlight, theres the shadows cast by mountains and trees - its beautiful... like a panoramic thats too big to even put into words to even closely give it justice. As we stand we are still - really still - all six of us - mainly just in awe of the creator of ALL of this landscape, this journey - both of whats behind and in front of us. Its good to be stopped for a moment and to be reflecting - to take in and feel, to see afresh that, with the amount of time we've been walking on this trail, we've gained some stamina which enables us to now be better prepared for new challenges that might pop up around the next blind corner. Theres a sense of learning in our spirits, gained, that means even the unknown 'bears' that have come out of the dark to scare us, somehow now, no longer have quite so much of a shock factor. In fact now, we are posed to expect them, standing firmer on this path, and more
determined to keep walking because our feet have become a little more accustom to the ground and our hearts closer to the One who leads us on, the One who keeps pointing out which direction on the trail we need to take next. Steve and I are stood here now with hands held tighter together than they've ever been before.......and theres a warm silence that speaks louder than words - a silence of a stronger love, a deeper togetherness, a selflessness for each other that has only come from walking the valleys, fighting the dark of the night, doing the time, crying with sorrow, crying with joy, celebrating the ground taken to see the mountain tops...... its a journey thats left its marks, that can never be revoked but these marks now become part of who we are, they've sharpened us, matured us - and just as a sculptor works on their sculpture, chipping at it, moulding it to make it a clearer version of what they had envisioned, we are aware that the weather, the seasons we've passed through are shaping us. And it is good.

I take a glance back over our shoulders -  the backdrop of huge mountains we've made it through now bring a sweet laugh to my lips, because as I catch the memories - the exciting venture of new things and even those of the thick dark forests and the ravines we've crossed, the load is lighter because we've somehow learned we no longer need some of our bags - they were just making the trek harder. The darkness of the night is still pin-pointedly vivid but the light of each new day took the coldness, the loneliness, the fears and displaced them. That somehow each time, the light of a new day helped us to gain a new breath, stopping us from getting stuck in those long hours, days and weeks. I smile as I can see each of the rock faces that gave us shelter from the winds, that were just too strong to walk through. In each of those unique clefs we discovered, big enough for us all to hide in, I can distinctly remember the precious life giving moments, the kind that take you from deep desperation to life, where we just held each other, bringing warmth, so that through tangible touch, we brought restoration when it felt like there was nothing left ......I can still see and feel the really rocky parts where as we climbed the rocks just kept slipping under our feet. We grazed our knees,  twisted our ankles and cried in pain and for which even now, some of the scars are still healing, but we can't help today as we stare and stand awhile, but hold a smile - the kind where your eyes tell a story that no words could. The warmth of the sun is an ever present reminder as it beats upon us now, that it was always there, that it was there Every...Single.....Day. Sometimes we could feel it, sometimes we couldn't, but it never left the sky.....and with its warmth on our shoulders, and our eyes drawn back to the expanse of the view ahead, theres a sense of rest in how far we've come.....a sense of achievement. Whew!! Like a moment when you squeeze someones hand because words cant say it! But we've done it..... we've made it a long way...... Yet I would be lying if I was totally peaceful with where we are - theres a stirring to keep pressing on - to enjoy this moment, to breath, but all in the knowledge that theres so much further to go.... its a peaceful passionate stirring. As we stand looking I reach to hold the little pendant around my neck that reminds me 'We don't give up' in this family of ours, we were made for this, that we made a promise a long time ago now.... to go where He leads, to be obedient to His voice - not matter what it costs, how hard it feels, because just as we've known on this road (one of the hardest trails we've walked) theres so many little surprises and mind blowing explosions of torrential rain to dance in as well as countless moments of joy that leave you SO thankful. Just SO thankful..... and for these little signs of life, like the little flowers that glistened in the sun reminded us and caught our attention along the way  - for these we will never forget.

In this very moment now I feel a rock through the sole of one of my shoes, whilst the other sits snug in the smooth dirt. Theres sweat on my brow, a tear dropping off my chin, a deep chuckle inside, a stitch in my side thats been there a while, possibly from the sheer endurance required to make it to this place. Theres still a little vague ache inside because even as we stand together taking in the distance I can feel the very real touch of little hands cupped in my own and the sound of little voices starting to whisper again  'I cant walk any further mom' ..... a bitter sweet reminder that we have to continue to daily receive the ever present sustenance to help us rallying our troops for this next part of the journey. 

Its then, that I turn and look Steve straight in the eyes and as I do, I'm so aware our hearts are singing the same song. Grateful. The look that says 'we know this is where we are suppose to be, we know this journey is refining us in ways we didn't even realise were possible, moulding us and our children and our children's children and the generations that will come after be all that God would have us be and to do the things that God has had in His plan right from the beginning. We know we are putting our footprint in the dirt of this trail, and it will change the trail even though we can't always see it on the surface immediately. We stand stronger in the knowledge our lives our in the hands of our Creator, that He's strong enough when we aren't and He's more than enough for ever single day thats ahead'. He's rejoicing over us. He's rallying us on.  He's our joy in every step. 
And so we breathe.... shut our eyes and breathe......We breathe the fresh air of these mountains that we walk, with a deep sense of joy arising even in the presence of aches of the heart and we hear the birds that have been singing and surrounding us, whose song is louder with the passing of time because they are becoming familiar..... like a cheering squad of fans who knows so much of the journey, takes us just as we are and who've witnessed much of the winding path.... who we can even give feed now because they started to trust and whose song encourages us and reminds us of how deeply we are loved. 

And so we start to walk again and my image ends to the sound of feet on the path...... We will keep walking this adventure..... Hope-full. Joy-full. Faith-full. Keep pursuing fiercely and passionately the maker of this universe..... because we are blessed to be a blessing and nothing else on earth matters. Its not about us..... its actually about Him. With our eyes fixed on our Creator, with our faces tilted to the sun, we know we are empowered to keep walking and never loose the sense of awe for the One who walks each and every step with us. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013


If you read the bible I'm sure you've probably read this verse before because its one of those ones that gets talked about..... but maybe take a second to re read it right now before reading on.......s-l-o-w-l-y! 

I've been thinking on it a lot lately as we have walked through one of the cloud-ier seasons in our trans-atlantic move, calling out to God to keep me going! And isn't God so faithful to do so......

whatever is TRUE....... dwell on these things....

It was like God seemed to catch my attention with something about the order of things listed in this verse... the first thing on the list of things we are urged to dwell on is what is true. But how often do we do this 'first'? I guess its our natural instinct combined with the things we've been taught through the culture we live in, the people that surround us, our upbringings and the huge number of influences that constantly cry for attention, that so often our first response is to actually dwell on something other than this - like the way we feel about 'it' or the injustice or wrong, or the difficulty we face - and to clarify I'm not saying that these things are all bad (I know we need to get honest before God, I do, and we definitely need the freedom to be able to express this before Him and sometimes .....a good friend and cup of tea to process is more than helpful!) BUT I think more often than not, we get stuck in the place where we make excuses for why we feel or do the things we do. I can recall so many times when I've heard people say (me included!) 'I'm a angry person' or 'I just worry a lot', or 'I struggle with this so I can't help it' or 'well things just can't or wont change'..... and I think these are valid because its good to know how we struggle or what our weakness's are but I think this verse is calling us to something 

beyond the naturalness of being a human

What we are being called or compelled to I believe is making the choice in the moments we face struggle, anxiety, stress, difficulty, feelings, to dwell on the truth (and I think its helpful to do this  pretty first!) because if we don't these things will strangle us, strip the life from inside us and we will become stagnant. The other parts listed in this verse definitely truly help us to keep our thoughts and actions in the right place us (and I'm sure you could write endlessly about them all!)...... but what God seemed to highlight to me whilst meditating this time was that 'truth' was listed first and as I thought about why I realised that I can often think of things that are lovely for example but then easily be lead into feelings of jealously or sadness because I don't/can't have them (just being honest!!). However if I dwell on the truth first then I can also dwell on these other things in the light of truth and suddenly my perspective changes - suddenly I start to get a little insight into how God might be seeing things. 

I don't want to be stagnant, or drained or entangled or pulled low by what this world offers or by the natural responses I've been taught along my journey....... I want to walk the journey that is designed for me -  That God ordained for me. I want the things that make up my life - the hard, the good, and everything in between to be the very things that help me learn and enable me to be a better 'dweller'.... that this would be the label I live under instead of the ones I've otherwise put on myself.

My prayer for myself and for you today is that we could all learn this - that we all become people who learn to walk out in the Truth , by keeping our eyes, and hearts and minds in a place of dwelling......... of dwelling on and with the One who is Truth and Grace and who empowers us and is cheering us on (maybe he's even doing a little crazy dance for you?!) to do this everyday, in each and every single moment of life that we walk.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Walking in blind

Last week as I was running out the door to go to the small group I've joined here in our church, when I noticed an envelop on the side that had arrived in the post/mail (oh language dilemma I dislike you lots) with my name on it........ I started opening it whilst talking to someone else, not paying much attention because my mind was actually thinking ' its probably some boring bill, but better check real quick'..... and so I obliviously opened the unassuming envelope. What came next blew my mind - inside this little plain white envelop was a cheque/check from our church here for a large amount of money with a simple note that said someone had felt God lead them to to give this money to us anomalously. However this (although in of itself was incredible) wasn't the crazy part that blew my mind - it was the fact that it matched the same figure we had felt God asked us to give someone the week before?!

Literally. The. Exact. Same. Amount.

Now to put this in perspective the week before Steve and I had been out looking for stuff for our new house and as we are driving around I had really felt God speak out of the blue (this seems to be becoming a regular occurrence at the moment - not sure if to be excited or afraid (; )..... 'you guys need to give $x amount to 'said person'....... I then proceeded to enter a bit of  discussion (or maybe argument would be a better description) as I started to think 'we can't do that, we need that, we wont be able to do this if we do that, are we suppose to starve the kids for a month? Must have heard you wrong God, wouldn't half the amount help them out? there is bound to be someone else who could do this?' and on and on it went. The bottom line was that what He was asking required some sacrifice and I wanted to be selfish. The discussion continued for some time. You get the picture! BUT the more I argued the more it was clear that no, in actual fact I had heard clearly. Yes to give and yes 'that' amount. When I told Steve his immediate willingness and sense of peace not only surprised him but me too and it was pretty clear  that it would simply be disobedient not too. So we committed it to God and said if this is what we are to do then God all our concerns are in your hands...... We'll be obedient because YOU promise to look after us - and even though in our human minds right now this makes no sense and it doesn't seem wise honestly - we'll do it (some reluctance noted!!!). It was one of those moments when our minds were telling us - WHAT this is crazy..... but our hearts and spirits were saying 'its ok'.

So we wrote the cheque/check. 
( Oh and sent an email whilst in the car so that we wouldn't back out!).

We re-adjusted our financial plans accordingly (our human minds wanting to ensure we sorted plan B just in case) and thought nothing else of it............

But then that unappealing white envelop got opened and we are left blown away.

You see opening the envelop hasn't really been about the money and what we can or cant do with it. No its been an incredible reminder of God's amazing love for us, about a faith journey of trust in Him that when He speaks, when He asks us to do something we have a choice because He doesn't force us to obedience, but that if we choose to listen and choose obedience  He's always got our back. He always has a bigger plan and that sometimes we won't be able to see that plan in the moment we have to make the choice but that actually He wants to know we trust Him.........and only Him. He wants to overcome our humanness and our minds. He wants to teach us to go to deeper depth and higher heights in Him and know there is nothing that brings greater joy than knowing him and living life's adventures with Him. This is just a little story that makes up our story with Him but its a story that's been repeated over and over throughout history and my only desire to share it is as an encouragement that God is still writing these stories today as He always has...... not always with provisions of money........ but stories of trust in Him, stories of blind obedience.... from Abraham taking his son Isaac to the alter or the women whose jar had run dry but when told to make bread found suddenly there was enough flour and oil, to Jesus ultimate obedience to death on a cross, to Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water (or sink as I'm sure he thought!) ...... to thousands and thousands of daily stories like these happening right now all around the world. And in everyone God was in control. God had the bigger picture. God had a way. God allowed freedom and choice. It was God who brought blessing and joy and a richness to life that could only be had by people making the choice to be obedient to Him.

Today is Good Friday - the day we remember the incredible example of blind obedience - Jesus dying on the cross having done nothing wrong, being punished for the sins of the whole world but that through His obedience and choice that day to listen to His Father to go to the cross brought freedom for the whole world - including you and me today.

The fruit of His obedience is mind boggling. Seriously. Mind. Boggling.

And it strikes me that we have this same choice daily - its simple but sometimes it requires so much to overcome our humanness to listen to the One who us asking....Will you be obedient? And often its almost 'blind' with no guarantees.......... Often without any solid knowledge of the fruit or repercussions.

The only knowledge we do have is that when we are relationship in Jesus we have every guarantee we could ever need!!!! His promises aren't watery or failing. We know He is good, He has good things for us and He delights in our gift back to Him - obedience.

So I encourage you to listen and to do it. Listen out for the nudge or leading..... don't ignore it! Although God doesn't 'need' you to always listen to fulfil His plan He's giving you the choice to be part of the adventure......because He loves you and wants you on board. As a family we are learning more and more everyday to surrender ourselves to this place too, sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't........ but I dare you to get involved in the wild adventure of obedience, the adventure of going it blind in the big and small - whether that's moving continents or stopping to ask someone how they are today, or blessing someone financially or choosing to make time for something or someone...... for each of us it will be different - I know if you do you'll never regret it!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

This day comes every year...

Its the 27th February.....again.........and I am just going to re-post this post from last year...... it says it all!

Its the date my beautiful Mum took her last very peaceful breathe of oxygen lying in her bed of our home. She was gone. She was at peace. I remember being a bit surprised. Even though I had been told it might happen I remember being surprised. I can't now believe its been so many years since this day........

I remember some days later sitting in a little country chapel with a navy corderoy dress covered in beautiful tiny lemons and oranges printed all over it.... I sat with my Dad, my big brother Mark and sister Helen..... I remember looking at the front of the church where we had come every week since I could remember but knowing this time was different. In my young mind I knew this was the moment we had to say goodbye. We had to let mummy go.... I remember looking at the coffin knowing she was inside but confused about what had happened. I remember singing songs and looking at lots of people but constantly looking back to my dress at the endless numbers of lemons and oranges. I remember lots of people saying stuff, talking about my mummy. I remember walking to her grave side. I remember the beautiful flowers that lay on top of this wooden box that she lay in.... and watching little bits of earth tumble in. I remember feeling a bit lost, a bit confused and yet feeling peace in my mind too.....Dad had said she'd be in heaven. So that meant she would be happy and at peace. She wouldn't be poorly anymore.
But today although I remember bits of this day vividly in my mind its not what I think of most when I think of my Mum...... I may only have been just shy of 5 when we said goodbye that day but as a Mum myself now there is something that strikes such a strong cord in me about what has remained so vivid to me about her......

- the way her fingers looked because I had stared at them so much when walked with my hand in hers
- what it felt like to be sat on her lap and be hugged tightly
- the sound of her voice
- what her hair felt like
- what she smelt like

I also know she was a good speaker, that she loved to sing, that she loved being outside, that she loved chickens (why!) and that she had had plans to go to cookery school but had sacrificed this for the love of her family. I know she was a peace maker, was generous with her time and love for others and that she loved God sincerely. I remember playing make believe in the kitchen with her, eating bowls of raisins as she cooked and her walking with me up the school play ground. I don't remember stuff..... I couldn't tell you her favourite food or colour, what she liked to read or many other everyday things... facts....

And even though I know these facts and remember specific moments..... what I 'know know'...... was what it felt to be loved by her as my mummy. Maybe because she knew her time was short she made more time to leave this legacy with me.... to leave these tangible memories of what it felt like to touch her hair, to sit in her arms and feel her face against mine, to hold hands....... its the things that embraced my senses.....

So whats this legacy mean for me now.... it makes me strive to be more like this. I have four beautiful children and so many of our days are fast paced, running here, doing this and that...... but what would my kids remember of me if I was suddenly gone tomorrow? I'm not saying I want to live like tomorrow I'll die but it does make me want to take time to give them one extra hug, to make the good choice more often between just sitting with them enjoying them over getting another thing ticked off my 'to do' list. To hug them. To take time. To make time. I want my kids to know the kind of security that comes from knowing they are loved like I knew.

I'm so thankful to God everyday for my Mum, who brought me into this world and gave me such an incredible start in this world and I'm so thankful for the legacy that she left to this day......

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Simplicity.....light in the darkness

This past weekend I got the privelge of going away to the East Coast Vineyard Youth Retreat - a gathering of around 700 13-18 yr olds. It was packed and loud and crazy and yet there is something incredibly beautiful about being able to take a step back and just look and marvel at the potential, the hunger, the desire in these incredible kids to rock the Kingdom for God as they walk today and into the future.

The theme was 'No Longer Bound'..... over the weekend we thrashed out how God's light is stronger than any darkness - doesn't matter how dark the dark is, God's light can break through - that no one is beyond it - that no power or scheme of the enemy to steal, to destroy can ever conquer our God if we surrender to Him and allow His Spirit to invade our hearts and minds. Ove the three days there were moments when my heart broke. When I would get a tap on the shoulder or a hand went up next to me asking for someone to pray and the heart of a broken kid unravelled. The trauma, the lies, the bondage holders that stopped them from living in the freedom of the path God had designed for them. The slow subtleness of todays culture taking it toll so that their lives had cloudy parts not the brilliance of light and clarity....... not intentionally ....but true to the schemes of the One who hates had crept in and taken ground that did not belong to him. I cried with heartache. I was furious. I was angry that these beautiful creations were now dealing with such turmoil. How did it happen...... how are we looking at this group with so much hunger and potential and yet at the same time they are trying to overcome thoughts of wanting to kill themselves, or mind and body battles around eating, or they find they cant stop sitting in the secret places cutting themselves or being over obsessive with social media, sexuality, depression...... how did we get here?? They definitely didn't set out to be in these places dealing with this stuff and yet they are....... And YET amid my tears and anger at the devastation I was overwhelmed by the immensity of our awesome incredible huge God to whom all things are possible and whose light will always shine brighter...... He can break through..... He does.... and with so much JOY HE DID!!!

So glad of the truth that....
God is light, God is  truth, God is love 

and we never have to fear how bad this dark stuff seems because with God, the overcomer we have nothing to fear ..right?!!!

The thing that struck me tho and I have been thinking about since is just how complicated we as adults particularly make things. We all have places in our hearts that aren't surrendered, where if we were to be honest, completely honest we are allowing darkness to take its place. We make excuses for our actions and habits. We rationalise. We don't make time. We are kind of comfortable and scared of what actual surrender would mean. Sometimes we see stuff and we actually do want change and yet we don't know how to actually make change happen. We get worn down by the culture around us. Its not all bad, but it has a subtlety to make us a little more dull than sharp.....a little more tolerant that consistent to the truth and I wonder if we took a moment to examine our lives, to ask God what things are not in His best plan for our lives, what He would bring to mind..... which parts He would LOVE to invade with his light?.... What things are we putting up with in our marriages/friendships/relationships that you know aren't Gods best for you both? What habits (even the little ones - you know you have them!) do you have that need shaking up, that need you to say 'thats it, thats enough' that need action today? No more excuses. No more well in time it could be's..... What areas need us to get real, to say we've got it wrong and we can't do it on our own?......What areas need us to walk out in the authority given to us through God, to make a declaration of faith for change and be in constant surrender before God to see a permanent walking in the light from right now.

 Maybe it can be even as simple as asking as a start ......

 Is this 'thing/relationship/habit' Gods best plan for me? 
 Is this not? Is it actually designed to steal and destroy the best for me? 

 I know life isn't always black and white but I think more than not we can easily ignore the simplicity that God who created us, who made us and knows us intimately actually has a ultimate best plan for his creation in you and it breaks His heart when we aren't walking in the way he made us to. Not because he's controlling but simply because He's furiously in love with us.

Furiously, unconditionally, captivated - in love with us. 

And He will fight for us to not be held down by the weight of darkness - if we'll just be honest and let Him in.