Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Shoes for the journey......Do you love journeys? Hate them? And what kind?? There are so many ways we use this word that it leaves this question so hard to answer with a simple yes or no right? Maybe its a holiday journey, or maybe its more obscure like 'lifes' seasons....... for me its all of them! I love love love holidays and adventures (apart from the ones where I'm in a car of 'how much further Mum's? or fighting siblings on board!!)..... but journeys to discover new things or explore new places.....journeys that mean I have hours of uninterupted time to talk......... but sometimes the hardest of life's journeys are the seasons which are difficult and yet prove to be the best kind once you've come through the other side! 

This morning I took this picture...... I was doing some sorting of the house and was putting some of Trae's shoes in a bag to pass onto a friend when it dawned on me that as I do its the end of a season, the end of our journey of having 'baby babies'...... and it prompted me to capture this significant moment in a picture.

But as I looked at the photo I was reminded of all that these shoes from each person signified. Of my own journey with each up and down that has come my way, but now for which I am truly grateful for as I wouldn't be who I am right now if I'd not walked each part. And today as a Mum I can't help but sometimes allow myself to dream dreams of the journeys ahead of each of my kids - not specific dreams but more dreams of the values I'd love them to have, to live out of and the the things I want them to know in their heart that the circumstances of the world couldn't change......

That'd they'd never doubt I believe in them.  That they'd know without a shadow of doubt that my love for them is true and steadfast without condition (my dream is I could do this too!). That they'd dream huge dreams. Run life with passion and never hold back from going all out for the things that are in their heart. That they wouldn't be scared to break out of the mold, but love God so much they'd trust Him with every tiny and big step they ever take.  That they'd know I'll always be in the shadows of whatever they do cheering them on like a raving loony to be all that God intended them to be!  That they'd be able to be themselves and not the version they want me to see......BUT.....Most of all my dream is that they'd fall madly in love with Jesus and that everything they do would come from wanting to be like Him......

But there's a weird double parallel of emotion that goes inside me as I dream. A catalytic sense of joy at being witness to the unfolding and yet a intense awareness of just how much deeper and stronger my levels of trust in God have to yet to go to not hinder or hold back the fullness of all that could be. As their Mum I can remember the day that each of them were born, each of them took their first steps, ran, jumped, laughed and giggled. I can remember some of their hardest tear filled moments, the sobbing, frustrations and heartaches....... and I've loved celebrating milestones and everyday joys..... I've loved being their to bring them comfort and protect them and stand up for them.....and so sometimes if I'm honest its hard to take captive the fears that try to sneak their way in as I think about the whats and maybe of what could be ahead of each of them..... and isn't fear is so like that.... it sneaky, its gradual, its deceitful and before we know it its taken so much ground its hard to break free from it. I know I can't fuly grasp it but I know as their Mum I have a very delicate balance of role ahead which I cannot get right on my own.  If I'm to ever be able to vaguely get close to doing this well I need to get down on my knees (metaphorically maybe!) before our Creator and amazing father and commit each of us daily into His hands - to remember I can't do it, that my kids aren't mine for the keeping, but have just been entrusted to me for a season to help them take flight..... to find their place.... and learn in the safety of family to be who they are in the world they live in.

So this picture is not just a photo..... its not just a picture.... its a stake in the ground for me, a reminder whenever I look at it that I'm taking a stand to commit myself to getting to know God better so I can trust Him at deeper levels, to dream the biggest dreams and believe them to come true for myself and for my little people. To remmeber that each of us is on a journey. That each step is significant and important no matter how small. And there is so much potential before us if we'll just jump and run and go for life with all we've been given. God help me please!! Would you help us all!!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays......

Have you ever had one of those moments that turned your perspective on life around? 

A few years back I was sat on a random Tuesday playing with my girls who at the time were aged two.  I was knackered, exhausted and feeling pretty blah about life in general. Steve and I had just stepped back from being in YWAM full time after God laid a new direction on our hearts. During our time in YWAM I had been to amazon Jungle and had the privilege of sharing Jesus with tribal communities who literally never heard the name of Jesus, lead mission teams to Europe, discipled many students on DTS, got married and been part of the team to pioneer YWAM York. It had been action packed, challenging, exciting - and I'd loved every minute! It had all been stuff that meet my desire to take risks and face challenges head on.

And now here I was a full time mum of twins - given they were incredible and there were many parts of being a mum I loved if I'm honest I felt a bit disillusioned. Suddenly my life seemed as though all it involved was changing nappies, washing, cleaning, cooking, singing nursery rhymes, more washing, nappies - seven days a week. Boom. 

What had happened? I guess in this moment I realized I had resigned myself to the fact that life was different and I needed to get over it.

But on this Tuesday it was like God caught my attention to remind me.......

' Clare remember how I called you to be like an Esther? That I called you to be someone who takes risks, to be someone who sees how important it is to invest and prepare, to speak up in truth when the world around you tells you not to, to know when to speak and when to be silent. Have I not called you for such a position as this for such a time as this? Do you not trust me that I know what makes you tick and what you need to set you on fire? Look at whats in your hands. Why do you sit here thinking others lives are more exciting and that you are being less fruitful today than in the past? Whats changed??!'

It was like an obnoxious alarm clock going off in the room and I couldn't stop it. WAKE UP CLARE, WAKE UP HAVE I NOT CALLED YOU FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?

God challenged me to the core. I sat there in tears knowing I had a choice.

I could live for a new season and be disillusioned with the one I was in or I could be faithful to Him who had made me and believe the truth that He knew everything about who I was, my personality and make up, my frustrations, my hurts and yet today had brought me to be where I now sat....... How could I ignore God in this moment? How could I ignore our God who is the same every day, in every single moment wherever we are in the world? Our incredible unchangeable God?

I couldn't.

And everyday since the challenge remains the same....

To live in the reality of God's perspective and 
purposes for my life for the very season I am in each day.

So what does this look like for me on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays......??

Well it means that I now choose to embrace and aim for excellence in being the way God made me. Right now that involves being the best mum I can be to my four beautiful kids. It means that I have started to take captive more often of the excuses I make for not being disciplined in prioritizing Jesus daily.

It still means I do alot of washing, a lot of nappies, cleaning, running my kids around, school runs and more. It still involves alot of the seemingly monotonous. But now I do these with an underlying intentionality that stops everything being just being repetitive.

It means that now I stand in the shower in the morning and ask God to fill me up daily with His spirit so that I can.... cry out to Him when I've all out of ideas about how to parent, or I've lost my patience and I've shouted at my kids and found myself in the wrong - that in those moments I can show them I'm not perfect, neither are they but Jesus is and that altogether we can love, forgive and move on.

It means I refuse to accept what the culture around me tells me about being a stay at home mum and instead press in to walking out the truth about who God says I am and the opportunity He has given me right in the four walls of my home to disciple four little people, who with Jesus can I believe change the world.

It means I run passionately with my call to be a leader and women of God, knowing that in every single season of my life, from when I was 18 to now till old age that this will look different but that the call and caller have not changed.

It means when I walk on to my kids school playground I no longer naively walk into the latest gossip but I know that sometimes God requires me to to be bold to speak up to say the hard thing, or controversial thing and that at other times He calls me to remain silent. To be aware of what He's doing - His agenda, His timing - knowing they aren't always the same as mine and that sometimes he's calling me to just be me and to live my life with integrity and that by the way I live people would capture something of Jesus. To keep sowing. Keep investing. Knowing it's God who saves and my job is to be faithful and true in communicating my love and passion to Him. To show people that Jesus is normal and down to earth and yet goes beyond the most incredible and beyond anything we can imagine and is essential to our everyday walk.

It means we need to be bold. We need to be silent. But more than anything we need to listen. We need to be ready and listening constantly. We need to be constantly cultivating such an incredible trust in Him that I'll listen and be obedient to do what He asks even when it doesn't make sense -in the little things - in the life changing moments. Its about being faithful to use what God has given us in our hands today and not let another day pass without it counting.

For each of us the challenge is the same. You might work at MacDonald's or be the MD of a huge multinational company, you might be a student or professor, a full time stay at home parent or a professional working 80 hours a week. You might be on cloud nine with the season you are in or wishing for a season that has been or you hope is yet to come?

But you know what God says to you right here right now?

Stop making excuses. Stop running away from your reality. Stop looking ahead and behind. Stop wishing for someone elses life.

Because God says just as Esther was challenged in a moment when her silence would have meant the Jews would have been killed, or to speak up looked to ensure certain death...

Have I not called you for such a time as this? Have I not placed you where you are on Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays, Thursday's, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays..... because I know you, I know the gifts I have uniquely given you and I have a specific purpose in putting where you are right now. 

Will you rise up? Will you accept the challenge to live the most exciting adventure that has been designed just for you?

I dare you! I dare you to rise up and start listening..... start listening to the whispers, the nudges and the loud reminders of God and your everyday 'ordinary' will become so extraordinarily incredible that you will fall madly in love with your creator and see Him at work in ways you could never have imagined. 

I dare you.