Reintroduction: Faith

Reintroduction: Faith

In tough times, we all need something or someone to hold us up. In my challenges I was provided with everything I needed, although I couldn’t always see it at the time. I needed hope, strength, bravery, and shelter to find peace. It is my strong faith in the promises of the bible that provided all of these things in abundance.

My faith in my Lord and saviour is the reason I’m still here today, and the means by which I have been able to grow rather than wither in my trials. I simply can not imagine what it would have been like to travel the last few years without having everything I know and believe to lean on.

As a Christian, I believe in God. I believe He created the earth and all in it. I believe He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sin. And I believe in eternal life. I can’t explain my faith, even to myself. I completely understand that on the outside, it may sounds crazy. But there is  a knowing, deep inside me, that God is with me. He’s given us all a portion of faith, we just need to find it. And honestly, the peace joy and hope that comes from surrendering completely to something so much bigger than ourselves in incomparable. (As an aside, by ‘surrender’ I don’t mean that we don’t have choice, we do have free will, but that’s an conversational topic all of its own!)

So I’ve made it through the first year of marriage, a blended family no less. I’ve watched my mum (my best friend) and my Gran, pass to the next life and worked through immense grief. Grief I didn’t think was possible – grief that will be with me forever but through the passage of time, and leaning on God’s promises, grief that I can endure. I’ve had health struggles which persist, identity crisis as I tried to find the real me in the absence of the woman who shaped me, and I struggle daily as a mum (don’t we all?!).

But I’m here. And I’m strong. I’ve been wrapped up by my Lord and I know that no matter what, He will sustain me. My faith is everything.

Here are some verses which are important to me. There are more, many more. But these are the promises I lean on daily. Phillipians 4:13 has become something of a mantra when even taking the next breath seems daunting.

Hope

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Courage

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Strength

I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
Phillipians 4:13

Refuge

You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

Peace

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Hope. Courage. Refuge. Peace.

Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favour.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.
Job 11:13-20

|||||This post was prefaced by: Let Me Reintroduce Myself, which you can read here.

 

My one thing

My one thing

The other day I wrote about intentionally living in the moment. Every day.

I can, and do, live here and now because I know where I’m from, where my strength comes from, and where I’m going.

I’m really enjoying the new Hillsong worship album: Open Heaven River Wild. I actually love pretty much everything any of the Hillsong bands release and love that there’s always something to lift me up, carry me through, bring me back to earth, send me into a worship party or whatever my day needs. Yep, they really do it all!

Anyway, a lyric jumped out and hit me in the face this weekend.

all I know is
everything I have
means nothing
Jesus,
if You’re not
my one thing

It’s so true. There have been times when I’ve been less than intentional about my faith and it’s not pretty – and I’m not talking about just stopping going to church (I’ll write on that another time). Jesus is my rock. When He’s my focus, my ONE THING, I have everything.

I can remember when I was a really new christian, I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand how a pastor could ask me to put my relationship with God ahead of my family – ahead of my daughter. Like what?! I was a single mum at that time and my girl was my world. I actually thought I would never be able to do that.

But I grew.

And as I got to know God and have a personal relationship with Him, I finally understood that putting Him first, makes me a better mum. A better person. A better everything. If you could see the difference on my inside – the forgiveness, the peace and true joy experience I now have, you would never be in any doubt that what I say is true.

Jesus is my ONE THING.

Here and Now

Here and Now

Life is such a journey – and every day I learn, and yearn, to live in the journey, savouring each step of the way. The good steps, the big steps, the painful steps … all the while, admiring the beautiful view. The view around me, and view that is me.

Yes I did say that: admiring me. Living in the moment, marvelling who I am, who I am growing to be, and most of all, admiring my most masterful Creator who knows and is with me on every step of this journey.

My journey has seen happy and sad, good and bad, high and low, and probably everything in between.

In the joy I offer gratitude for all of my blessings, it keeps me grounded, remembering where it all comes from.

Here and NowIn the darker times I also offer gratitude for all of my blessings, for I always have things to be grateful for which is so important to remember when the going gets rough. In those times I also ask my Lord to carry me, to take my burdens, to keep me on steady ground. He hasn’t failed me yet.

He is my rock.

Intentionally living in every moment, knowing with complete certainty where I came from, in fact where everything came from, and where I’m going for all eternity, is the greatest joy and hope for my soul.

Touch the sky

I’m just loving this song at the moment. Actually, the whole new Hillsong United album, Empires, is working pretty well for me.

These lyrics, such a truth!

Touch the sky Hillsong United

My hope

Hope found in God

This quote speaks for itself but can I just say, if you’re looking for a great devotional resource, visit She Reads Truth, which is where I found these words. These study plans are written by a variety of authors – they are so genuine and heartfelt. I have the free app on my phone and am using it daily to help me delve into the Word in a new way. I’m loving it!

Abbie x

Sinking Deep: Hillsong Y&F

Music moves me. No question. There are lyrics, songs, albums and artists that define periods of my life.

I have no doubt that Hillsong Young & Free is going to be the music I look back and identify with this early part of 2015. My entire adult life has been about trying to control everything. And worrying what people might think about me. But this is the time when I’m (finally) throwing myself with complete surrender into my relationship with my Lord. Now, without fear, I am His and I am letting Him lead my life.

I am so undeserving of his love, mercy and grace yet He continues to offer that to me. To all of us.

I’m grateful. I’m humbled. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Y&F We are young and freeI want and need my music to express that.

Which is why I can’t get enough of Hillsong Young and Free at the moment. We were lucky enough to worship with Y&F live at Cloud Festival in January. That was a truly awesome experience. I might not quite be their target demographic (I’m, um *cough* a decade or so older than they probably pitch at) but I got in there and loved every second of the worship.

This album offers me the opportunity to praise and worship. It goes fast and takes me to a happy, shout it out and dance worship, then it drops slow and and reaches deep into my heart pulling out genuine love.  You will often find me dancing around the house while doing housework, or ‘wunning’ (walk/run – I walk really fast) down the river tracks in the morning with Y&F in my ears. It’s equally likely I’ll have it plugged in for a quiet journal session in the evening.

The song that speaks to me most is Sinking Deep. The melody and the lyrics just tug my soul. This is what I yearn for, this is how I’m being called at the moment. It’s beautiful and I love it.

Standing here in your presence
In a grace so relentless
I am won by perfect love
Wrapped within arms of heaven
In a peace that last forever
Sinking deep in mercy’s sea

I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace
And all my heart is yours
All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into Your love

Your love so deep, Is washing over me
Your face is all I seek, you are my everything
Jesus Christ, You are my one desire
Lord hear my only cry, to know you all my life

I’m also listening to a lot of Jesus Culture, Lauren Diagle, Julia Grace and Newsboys.

Abbie x

Prowess – I am / You are ENOUGH

Yesterday I posted about being enough. I am enough. You are enough. Even on the days when we feel like we don’t measure up WE ARE ENOUGH.

This morning a friend posted this story on her Facebook feed. This friend has the most amazingly beautiful heart and I’m almost always inspired by what she posts. She is such an encourager (as you can see). Today her words just tied in perfectly with what’s in my head and heart, and what I wrote yesterday.

Tracey Prowess

Here was this amazing woman, a life saver, carer, nurturer, who felt like she wasn’t enough because she wasn’t a great baker. Honestly, if that’s not getting tied up in society’s standards for us, I don’t know what is?! I love that my friend encouraged her so, a complete stranger, but she spoke to this woman’s heart. We should all encourage each other, these opportunities probably pass us by every day.

The word ‘prowess’ really hit me. It means “exceptional or superior ability, skill, or strength”. Yes! We’re all good at something, we can’t be good at everything. And that right there, is probably why we so often think we don’t measure up. We’re trying to be everything to everyone. Which I wrote about yesterday. Don’t do that. Be true to you and who you are. For me, that is my identity in Christ first, everything else second. I can focus on ONE thing and ONE set of standards – especially when I know those standards won’t change.

Remember – you are enough. Now go find someone else to tell that they are enough too!

Abbie x

I’m not enough

I’m not enough

I can’t be all things to all people. I’m always letting someone down. I know that. On some level, I know that trying to be what everyone else wants/needs is a pursuit that will never end well. I also know that I probably place more of those pressures on myself than anyone else.

But don’t we all have days where, in our own heads, we just don’t measure up?

The days I run non stop after the kids so that by the time I get to sit down with my husband in the evening I don’t have anything left to give him. I’ve let him down. The fact that I’m not the uncomplicated daughter/sister my family would like, the woman who will accept anything they say or do. To them, I’m a Jesus freak. I let them down all the time because I’m ‘different’. The days my body lets me down and then I barely function outside of the bathroom or lying on my bed. Those days I let everyone down.

I’m learning something though.

Even though I might fail to my own standards, or even to someone else’s standards, I am enough. Continue reading “I’m not enough”

Reading your own blog

Do you ever go back and read over your old blog posts – wander through the past and take a look at where you’ve come from in the last few weeks/months/years?

In my head, I had that as a reason to start blogging, a way to chronicle these days of my life. I’m so glad I wrote so much down last year! A LOT happened and wow, as a person, I have changed so much.

Psalm 27:7I just spent some time flicking through my archives and looking at my journey since last May. I’m proud of what I’ve come through, and how I’ve come through it. I’m so grateful to my God for never leaving me and for always strengthening me, even if He did have to drag me through some of those stormy days kicking and screaming.

And I’m so excited.

I am now full of peace, joy and calm. I’m excited about the future (not forgetting the NOW of course). But looking back and seeing that much growth in such a short time, and knowing that now, I am actively and intentionally seeking to be on this journey with Him, I just have to be excited about where my Creator is going to take me next. I can see doors that I know will start to open. At last. Bring it!

Abbie Signature

Just a thought

As I’m jounaling these are the words that come to me:

I live in my identity as a daughter of the Almighty King. I  am a princess. His love, grace and mercy cover me as I walk in the plan He has for my life. I follow His will, not that of the world.

It’s summer holidays here and our end of term was bumpy. I haven’t been near a computer in weeks (on phone now, very tedious!) but oh I miss writing posts.  Hopefully I will be able to catch you all up on happenings here before Christmas.

I hope your holiday season is truly blessed where ever you are.

Ax

Thankful Thursday (December 4)

Be thankful in all thingsOops, I just realised it’s Friday and I forgot to post my Thursday post. Well, I’m sure it’s still Thursday for some of my readers!

This past weekend I was reminded to be thankful in ALL things – I was given this little prompt while doing chores and it was most definitely the recurring theme over the next few days.

Yes, I was getting grumpy as I put ANOTHER load of togs and towels through the washing machine. But hang on, why was I washing their togs and towels again.

Because the kids had a water fight inducing a great amount of fun, laughter and squealing. I am thankful for that.

As I spent three hours reorganising a child’s bedroom I started to feel annoyed. Why was I doing this, there are plenty of other things I could be doing. Then I looked around and realised how blessed we are – we have a lovely home, our children have what they need and then some (a lot more ‘some’!). And I have children, I know something not everyone is able to be so thankful for.

While vacuuming the dog hair off the rug I thought about our dog and how much joy he brings to our family. He’s just so cute and loving, quite often a balm when things are stressful.

I dusted the bookshelves and was so grateful for the fact that I can read, I am educated, and the same goes for my children.

So you get the picture. What started as me going along doing my usual chores and feeling grumpy, turned into me looking forward to the next thing so I could find another blessing to be grateful for.

AbbiesBabble

This is my story #testimony

Last week I wrote about how, for the longest time, I didn’t think I had a testimony to share. I was ordinary. God hadn’t changed my life in big, jaw dropping ways. Or so it seemed. And wasn’t that the point of people who shared their testimony at church – the high impact, spectacular stories, the near death and life altering interventions by God.

Yeah … nah.

We DO all have a story and we should all share it. If we have God in our lives, then our story has started. The way I see it, our testimony is quite simply, how God came into our lives, and the changes he has made since. By telling our story, we can glorify Him and His work in us. It doesn’t have to be attention grabbing, I think it’s more important that it’s real. And it doesn’t have to be full of biblical jargon. Keep it simple, keep it real and make it about God.

We all have a #story #testimony abbiesbabble.wordpress.com

So here’s my story…

I grew up with parents who didn’t want to believe in God. My mum grew up with extremely religious parents and unfortunately, after a life of having religion shoved down her throat, she rejected all things to do with Christianity (as far as I could see) until the last months of her life. I, however, was completely open-minded and quite curious about God. My brother and I spent part of most school holidays with our grandparents who took us to church and ensured we were exposed to the bible – which I loved. It was one school holidays, when I was seven, that I responded to an altar call at their church. I can still remember pulling on my Nan’s arm, looking up at her and saying “Nan, that’s me, I want that, I want to give my heart to Jesus”. And I did.

I didn’t do a lot with that decision growing up. Sure I went to youth group as a teen but that was more of a social thing than anything else. I always believed in God, I always defended never denied that faith, but never did I seek out a relationship with Him. Then came my 20’s, leaving home, going to University, then moving on to a bigger city. Life was busy establishing a career and partying far too hard. On the outside I was living a great big life. I was empty inside and totally dissatisfied, but never did I think to call on God.

God started tapping on my shoulder when I was married in my late 20’s. I pushed Him away saying ‘some day I will listen’. A few years after this (yes, I’m still ignoring the gentle, yet persistent reminders saying ‘Abbie I am here for you’) my first husband left me. Our daughter was six weeks old at the time. My life was thrown into turmoil. This time I responded to God. Over the next few months I talked to Him. I learnt to trust Him. I found a church – ironically my mum, who didn’t want anything to do with religion was instrumental in getting me there. The first time I walked through those doors and the worship started my heart melted. I’d never felt anything quite like that before. I was home. And I haven’t looked back.

Since then (seven years now) I have actively worked on my relationship with my heavenly father. He has changed me from the inside out in ways I didn’t know were possible. He doesn’t stop working on me – I screw up and he’s still there. And that right there is the beauty, the spectacular, the amazing and most definitely the life-altering in my story.

The emptiness I endured in my 20’s has been replaced by peace and confidence in who I am (in Him). The fears and insecurities I faced are melting away as I learn to see myself as God sees me.

He has taught me about forgiveness. I have been able to genuinely forgive people in my past – people I thought I had forgiven but until I had been truly forgiven myself, I didn’t understand what this meant.

I have been able to lean on God through the most stressful periods of my life, and retain a sense of knowing, that in spite of everything else, He will carry me through. Life hurts, but I am never alone and there is always hope.

I was sustained through five years of being single, holding on to the promise that there is a greater plan for my life – that promise is the most amazing thing. Now I am being shown what it is to be a wife within a christian marriage which is truly blessed.

I am grateful for everything I have, which I know comes from God. I also strive daily to actually live a Christian life. It doesn’t always come naturally to me (especially patience!) but as each day passes, I find the things I need coming to me more and more. I know that this is the work of my amazing God. I slip up. Often. And I am forgiven. Always.

My faith and my relationship with God are making me strive to be a better person – to positively impact my world where before, I was all about me. To Him be the glory. I’m just following the steps He places in front of me, and listening to the whispers of His voice.

I still consider myself a ‘baby christian’ and I’m okay with that. But in light of that, and the many and amazing ways my life has been changed, it’s pretty awesome to think of the possibilities as I get to know my heavenly father more and more.

Will you tell me your story?

AbbiesBabble

We all have a story

I used to think that I didn’t have a testimony. I am so ordinary and I didn’t have a big ‘ah-ha’ moment or life changing interaction with God. “I don’t have anything to say” I used to tell myself. How can anything I say make a difference to anyone else? I mean, we’ve all heard those amazing powerful testimonies.

  • The now successful businessman who used to be an alcoholic.
  • The local boutique owner who used to practice witchcraft.
  • The band member who was addicted to drugs.
  • The suicidal teenager, who was planning to end his life.

All now saved by the grace and mercy of God. These are actually testimonies that I have heard – in full, these stories made me weep. They are powerful. So when I hear amazing things like that, I’m even more convinced that my boring, ordinary life and faith is best kept to myself. Right?

Wrong.

We all have a story

I don’t know when, where or how I managed to change my thinking, but I now realise that we ALL have something to share. Something we should be sharing. We all have a testimony – which is, after all, simply our story of how God came into our life, and the changes He has made within us. Our opportunity to glorify the work he has done in us.

Yes, some people have one distinct moment, where they are aware God entered their lives and started to change them. Others, like myself, were more of a slow burn. I gave my heart to Christ as a seven-year old, but I didn’t develop a relationship with Christ until I was 30 years old. Either which way, once we have God in our lives, we ALL have a testimony that we should share.

I’m thinking that most people probably fall into the ‘ordinary’ category like me. Which is of course NOT to put the ‘ordinary’ tag on us, our story, or God! More to say, perhaps we fall into the majority with simple, rather than spectacular stories. So perhaps people need to hear more ‘ordinary’ testimonies to be confident to share their own.

Here’s my testimony.

If you have your story on your blog, please feel free to add the link in the comments below so we can all read of each other’s amazing journey.

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (November 27)

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA so to all of you celebrating this day:

Happy Thanksgiving

For me here in little old New Zealand, it’s just another day. But every day is for gratitude and as it’s Thursday, here’s what I’m especially thankful for this week.

This week it is most definitely family.

Last Wednesday I was able to fly to Auckland for a few days away. Just me, no children, for three days complete break. It was bliss. It would not have been possible without a big pile of my extended family (it really does take a village to raise a family it seems!).

  • My husband who not only supported me in taking off, but encouraged me to take the break and negotiated reduced hours at work for a few days to look after the boys. He also drove Nat two hours up to…
  • …My dad who looked after Nat while I was away. She’s not great at being at home while I’m not there so my dad stepped in and looked after (spoilt!) her. She probably really needed that time with him anyway.
  • My cousin and her husband who looked after Nat while my dad was at work – the highlight being the frozen coke they treated her to!
  • My great-aunt and great-uncle who picked me up from the airport, had me stay, showed me the sights and spoiled me quite completely. It was a joy to spend time with them, with family who know me, who knew my mum. I can talk about my mum with lots of people, but those who knew her aren’t really in my life on a regular basis. My husband only knew her since she got sick, my dad has a new partner so that’s a bit awkward and my Gran passed away recently. To share stories of my mum, especially with my great-aunt who my mum adored, with all that history, was really special. Because sometimes I do want to talk about her. A lot. I miss her and she feels more alive when I know she’s in the hearts of other people too.
  • In memoryMy super talented cousins who conducted 500 children in an amazing choral performance. It was amazing to see them in action. They also dedicated the evening to my mum, Lynley. One of the songs in the line up was the song they sang so beautifully at my mum’s funeral. There were tears – it was really special.
  • My cousin who I met for the first time who is in NZ on a gap year – how cool is that to meet a new cousin at the age of 37?! Such a lovely person and I so enjoyed her company.

So wow, in three short days, look at all those family members who had a part in me being away! Yes, I definitely have a lot to be grateful for.

AbbiesBabble

 

 

 

Where do you get your nourishment?

Imagine if you tried to eat only once a week.

I think for most of us, that would be something of a disaster right? Our body needs nourishment, it needs food daily for us to thrive.

As my pastor pointed out the other week, we also need to nourish our souls daily – we need God’s Word. Yes, we go to church on Sunday for teaching – but that might only sustain us. If we’re to flourish we need to seek the Word throughout the week as well.

It’s such a simple analogy, I can’t believe I’d never heard, or thought of it before!

It got me thinking where and how I have the Word in my life. I’m terrible at sitting down and reading the bible for a set time each day. Which bugs me no end. I could justify it and say that I’m just too busy. But why justify it? It is what it is. But I’m not avoiding God. Nor am I saying I’m right by the way – I’d love to carve that time out, I know I should make my Lord priority. Hmm, that sounds bad, He is priority, I just need to shake things up to make more time to deeply study with Him.

The way I see it, the Bible is our most awesome handbook for how to live our best life. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking this life thing one day at a time. I do not have it sorted. The fact that there is a handbook, a best practice, guidelines, rules even, right there to help us get the most out of it, well that’s pretty awesome in my eyes.

I am better off when I spend more time with the Word and I know it.

In the tough times, there’s advice and comfort.

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 51:4

In all times there’s the one thing I know at the core of my being, I need and want the Word to direct my path that I live my best life for God.

“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart”. Psalm 40:8

As I said, I’m not good at finding a specific time each day to sit down and study, so I’ve got to be creative about how I do this.

At the moment these are the various ways I spend time with God during the day:

  • Prayer – I pray all the time. I have an ongoing conversation with God. If someone pops into my head, I pray for them. My driving time (I do a lot of that!) is also good prayer time for me. I always end my day with prayer too.
  • Life FM – we listen to Christian radio which delivers a lot of fun, especially in the breakfast show, but the messages are great as well. I know it’s prompted some really interesting conversations with the children, and I’ve been deeply touched many times.
  • Music – I have playlist upon playlist of great worship music and christian artists on my Spotify account. My iPod travels with me everywhere and I’m all about filling my head with positive, mainly faith-based messages.
  • The Word For Today – a short daily devotional that I keep beside my toilet. Well um, sometimes that’s the only time you get a couple of minutes to yourself when you have four children!
  • Blogging – I often blog about matters of faith and this writing time in itself becomes a time with God. Not to mention reading, commenting on, and encouraging other blogs/bloggers in their faith journey.
  • My bible – yes, I do actually sit down and read my bible too. Like I said, I don’t set a specific time for this or necessarily do it daily, but I do read it. I still have the NIV Study bible I bought as a 16-year-old but The Bible is one book I prefer to read on the iPad. My favourite app is Tecarta where I’ve purchased a few bible versions and devotional books as well.
  • Devotionals – I have a few of these (books) beside my bed and on my iPad which I use from time to time for a quick dip into the Word.
  • Online Bible Studies – I’m a great one for signing up to online studies, then running out of time to follow through properly. So I label the incoming emails and file them together, then,  when I feel like tackling a particular topic, or know I have a few hours to myself, I’ll take on a few of the emails at a time. Joyce Meyer and Proverbs 31 Ministry are two of my favourite sources for these devotionals and online studies.
  • Conversation – the dinner table is a great one with the kids, or in the car.

What’s your favourite way to spend time with God?

Your word is a lamp to my feet

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (November 13)

Dr Seuss on Thankful

I don’t think there is a single person who is living a perfect life. I mean, we all have problems, challenges, issues, trials, tribulations. Whatever you want to call them. There are a lot of us walking through this life hiding the bad stuff, I know I do.

So this is probably a good reminder to us all, that while whatever we are facing seems tough, sometimes impossible, like it will never pass, everybody else has something hard that they are facing. And there’s a good chance that somebody else is in a worse place than we are.

So let’s be grateful for what we DO have.

Let’s be grateful for the storms we have already made it through – that they have passed, that they have shaped our character, taught us lessons and made us who we are today.

Let’s also be grateful for our current storms, knowing that this too shall pass, and out the other side, we will be stronger and wiser.

AbbiesBabble

Thankful Thursday (November 5)

Thankful Thursday

I LOVE:

  • Being a mum – this is a privilege for me. I love looking after my family, teaching and nurturing, providing a safe and loving home for them. Meeting their needs, while definitely challenging, is enjoyable for me. Yes, sometimes when I collapse on the couch at the end of the day, when the washing machine has stopped beeping at me and the kids have finally all fallen asleep I don’t feel it so much, but overall, being a mum is cool and this time, having children at home, is a part of my life I know I will always cherish.
  • My kids – I do love these four little people. I have a different bond with each of them, especially given that one is biologically mine and the other three I have met later in life. But honestly, I see them all as ‘ours‘ and I’m so proud to call myself their mum/step-mum.
  • My husband – well obviously! But seriously, when my first husband left me with a newborn I learnt a lot. About life and about me. I made a decision, for myself and my daughter, that I would not casually date ‘just because’. That I would not settle for just anyone. It was also this time that I entered into a genuine relationship with God. So I waited five years (five long years single!) for this man to walk into my life and it was worth every lonely second. My husband is honest, genuine, loving, patient, caring, loyal …. and I could just keep going. Just know that God blessed me with a man who has all the characteristics to be the perfect husband to me (especially the patience bit, I’m prone to stroppiness). Oh and did I mention tall, dark and handsome 😉
  • Good food – yes I love good food. Fresh food. Healthy food. I love preparing good meals for my family and it’s so nice that they really appreciate the effort I put in.
  • Grace and mercy – God’s unrelenting love, offered regardless of what we’ve done, whether we think we deserve it or not, has changed my life no end. The person I am now is so different to the person I was 10 years ago. I am thankful daily for the work God has done, and I know will keep doing, in me.
  • Our new caravan – roll on summer, can’t wait for some fantastic trips away. SO excited!
  • My pets – I’m one of those people who truly loves cats AND dogs. Which is why I have one of each. They hate each other, but I love them both! Polly is a rescued tabby cat who is the most smoochy loyal little thing ever. Moe is a border terrier who we are caring for while friends are overseas for a few years. He is loyal and super affectionate. I am never alone when my pets are in the house, their affection is unreserved and without conditions. Polly lives upstairs (with a litter tray after we established she had peed in the Lego many times!) and Moe lives downstairs. They make it work 🙂

This is a list of things in my life that I love – it’s not a complete list, not even close, just a small sample. These are of course, all things that I am extremely thankful for.

AbbiesBabble

On death and dying: Brittany Maynard made us all think

Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard. Image from cnn.com

Brittany Maynard was a 29 year woman who left this earth over the weekend. Her story made media headlines worldwide. Why? Because she made a choice for medically assisted suicide (legal where she lived) before the cancer in her brain could ravage her mentally and physically before killing her. You can read her story here.

There are a lot of people talking about, and writing about Brittany, and the choice that she very publicly made. Last night when her name flashed through the news headlines my husband turned to me and said ‘what do you think about all that?’. My honest answer was:

“I don’t know”.

When it comes to medically assisted suicide/euthanasia or whatever you what to call it:

On the one hand, I think Brittany made a brave and informed decision. She knew what she could be facing, and she chose to spare herself, and her loved ones from an inevitably grisly death. It’s really important that she was clinically ‘sane’ (clear in judgement) when she made this decision. I don’t judge, it’s not my place. Brittany made an impossibly hard decision in a really awful circumstance. Honestly, I’m not scared of death because I know death in this life, means the beginning of my eternal life, but if I were in Brittany’s shoes, could I say I’m not scared of dying?

On the other hand, I know that as humans, we don’t determine our days on this earth. “Mortals have a limited life span. You’ve already decided how long we’ll live—you set the boundary and no one can cross it” (Job 14:5 MSG). This is, for me, a matter of faith, and my fears have to surrender to that faith. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2Tim 1:7 NLT).

So there is my decision. It would not be the right thing for me.

It’s a murky water generally and a much bigger argument that what is right or wrong depending on the beliefs of each individual. What about the elderly who have come too far to make a ‘sane’ choice? What about children who can’t make the choice for themselves? What about the intellectually challenged without the capacity to make the decision? What about caregivers/family members with selfish motives (caring for a long-term ill loved one is taxing)? If this becomes legal, who makes the decisions, who stands up for the weak, the young, the challenged? Who makes sure this isn’t abused?

This is big. I’m not here to solve the issue.  I make the decisions for myself.  I don’t judge others. I pray.  And I pray that I never have to apply this in my life.

I will come back to Brittany to end this. I think Brittany was brave. At the end of her life, she opened herself to criticism, judgement and contempt. But she stood up and fought for what she believed was right. And she got a lot of people talking openly about a big scary controversial subject. So whether we agree with her decisions or not, I think she did good.

Brittany Maynard Words

AbbiesBabble

 

Thankful Thursday (October 16)

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for. Always. But especially when I haven’t written it here for a few weeks. So here goes, in no particular order, just bullet points today…

  • Two weeks school holidays with my family, only a couple of days where I had all four kids to myself but we made the most of them. Lots of lovely moments with each of the children, and my gorgeous husband who was on leave for part of the time as well.
  • Being able to help friends in ways big and small.
  • Friends who reach out to me when I need them.
  • Nature/creation, and being able to spend time in it.
  • Spring (and the anticipation of summer).
  • Amazingly supportive in-laws.
  • Booking summer holidays – can already feel the memories we are creating with our family!
  • Naps. I love naps. There was time for a few of those over the holidays.
  • That my Gran is in heaven now. Sad she’s not here, but thankful she is in a better place with our Lord.
  • My new fridge which is as tall as I am (1.78m) and that I can fill it once a fortnight.
  • Sunshine. Did I say that? I love sunshine!
  • People who are willing to teach and lead our children (youth pastors, teachers, Brownie leaders etc).
  • A tidy garage and for the day in the holidays where my husband and I could get together and attack it to make it so – we really to make a good team. Messy generally does my head in, it’s awesome having this sorted out.

What are you thankful for?

 

Thankful Thursday (September 25)

I have happiness on the brain at the moment. I’m getting intentional about finding my happy. I do think that being grateful and being happy are intertwined – well, for me, I actually know it. Since I started my gratitude journal, I have on some levels, been happier. Definitely more aware of the blessings in my life.

So here’s a thought on Thankful Thursday from Joyce Meyer who I happen to think is pretty awesome…

Thankful Thursday 1

 

Thankful Thursday (September 18)

Thankful Thursday

It amazes me how complex we humans are – that I can feel so many conflicting emotions all at once but somehow, manage to compartmentalize, so that the bad does not overcome the good. I have so much to be thankful for, I’m walking in a state of perpetual gratitude at the moment. With that, comes joy. It’s a beautiful place. But then there are struggles with family, watching friends go through rough times, and spontaneously crying as I think of my mum (although this is happening less these days).

There are things I give thanks for EVERY day: family, safety, provision, food, being loved, health and God’s grace.

Highlights from my gratitude journal this week:

  • A lunch date with my husband – a blissful two hours to ourselves. Moments always to be treasured as we intentionally work on our husband & wife relationship in the midst of raising four children in a very busy family environment.
  • That my children are healthy, active and motivated – especially after Sam and Tom did so well at our school sports prize-giving last night (check out the haul of awards).
  • Looking forward to the weekend with my beautiful girl. A mother daughter night away as we go to a show in the city.
  • The ability to help a friend in need – editing a thesis. Believe it or not, that’s totally enjoyable for me and I love that I can help her out.
  • That my children have dreams (I will post more on what prompted this later).

What are you thankful for?