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.