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.

 

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.

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

Celiac journey – six weeks in

Brain filing cabinet
Image by Laura Lee found at This Illustrated Life

It is only six weeks since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Wow. Seriously, wow! It quite honestly feels like months. I can not believe how much information has been crammed into the part of my brain filing cabinet section labelled ‘food and nutrition’. Obviously, I have also had to start a whole new draw in that filing cabinet called ‘gluten free’.

On the emotional side of things, acceptance is still all good. I’m still happy that it was this diagnosis and not something worse. I do have days where I think how lovely it would be to just grab a sandwich for lunch, or pizza for tea, but I’m learning that these are no longer options in my reality. I have no doubt that the more I do this, the easier it will become.

There have been a few changes that are obvious to me since I became gluten free:

  • I spend a LOT more time thinking about food. Mostly what’s coming up, not like, obsessing over what I can’t have or anything (most of the time!).
  • I no longer wake up with my hands, feet, knees and everything in between aching everyday. This started easing within days of giving up gluten. I’m very happy about this.
  • The kids check ingredients on things for me, like salad dressings to make sure I’m ‘safe’. In reality I’ve checked EVERYTHING at the supermarket but it’s sweet that they’re looking out for me and I love them for it.
  • I take photos of my yummy meals and post them on Instagram now – it’s like I have something to prove. Gluten free can be yummy and beautiful too!
  • We go through up to four dish cloths a day in my kitchen now. I’m getting pretty finicky about cleanliness in there and it’s not like my standards were low to start with. My husband and kids are totally following suit and and mostly being so so so careful.
  • I’m a lot more motivated to get myself out walking and keep myself generally healthy. This is very good.
  • I can now go 2-3 days without a nap. Sometimes. This is huge progress from sleeping every day, up to 2-3 hours a day when I could fit it in.

So as you see, this doesn’t just affect me, my family have to be on board as well. I’m lucky they’re with me in this and willing to do what it takes to keep me healthy.  I read about others in shared accommodation trying to maintain gluten-free-ness – I can imagine that would be more challenging.

One of the biggest upsides, aside from the fact that I’m starting to feel better, is that I’ve really connected with a friend who has recently started on a full auto immune protocol diet, also for health reasons. You think gluten free is brutal? Her road is a lot tougher to walk. Realising we’re both on a similar path we share recipes and ideas and can be very honest with each other about how we’re feeling (physically and mentally) and what’s really going on. This has, and no doubt will continue to be, an incredible sanity saver for me. God is good, He knows what/who we need and has everything/everyone perfectly placed ahead of us.

If you’re a newbie on this journey like me, hang in there and look on the bright side, there will always be a bright side. And find someone else on the same journey to share with (I’m here). We can do this!

Abbie x

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

It’s been so long it’s a new year!

Hello hello hello my lovely blog world. Happy New Year!!!

Me and my rock x
Me and my rock x

I have been so super busy since school finished for the summer on 12 December but I have constantly missed the world of blog. I’ve been away from home (still am) and traveling without a laptop which has forced some serious down time. What can I say, much as I miss blogging, having the persistent online distraction taken away from me has been great. Loads of time spent with the family, I’ve already read a few books and taken a lot (seriously, a LOT) of naps! Still doing lots of writing, my journal has taken a hammering 🙂

In the last four weeks, including the last week before school finished, a lot has happened. I only have a short time on a borrowed computer so here’s some highlights as a reminder of posts I want to write/things I want to reflect on in the new year…

  • We’d been struggling with bullying at Nat’s school, I removed her from school 10 days before the end of the year. After a meeting with the school Principal, who completely denied a problem (don’t get me started!), Nat has been enrolled in a new school for 2015. I’ll reflect more on this later as I think it’s something a lot of parents, unfortunately, go through.
  • RoadtrippingWe’ve already traveled over 1,000km this holidays. We have plans for around another 1,700km yet. Much of it with our caravan. That’s a lot of travel in a pretty small country. Good thing our family loves road trips huh?!
  • We had a lovely weekend mid-December to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday and an early Christmas for that side of our family. These people are so special and I’m so honored to be adopted into their family. Being Aunty Abbie to 10 nieces and nephews is just fabulous! Technically they’re not my in-laws, they are my husband’s in-laws (his late wife’s family) but they have wholeheartedly opened their arms, hearts and lives to me, and I love them all to pieces. AMAZING people.
  • I’ve had a REALLY bumpy lead up to the holiday period, this being the first Christmas and New Year since my Mum died. And still raw as we come to the first anniversary of her passing in a couple of weeks. A lot of reflection and I know that a lot of people will be experiencing similar things. I didn’t expect the grief bug to bite me again so hard, but that was probably just naive (or really hopeful!). Still standing, and still moving forward though 🙂
  • I wrote about feeling strong late in November. I feel like I’ve been pulled through a storm backwards since then, but as a new year dawned this morning, those feelings remained. 2014 has been pretty brutal and a year I’ll never forget. Now I’m looking into 2015 knowing it will be different. There is hope. There is always hope, and I’m going to fight hard to stop smothering mine. My focus is on my faith for my strength. A lot to look back on from 2014 and move forward with in 2015, watch this space.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely, blessed holiday period. I look forward to catching up on blogs in February. I haven’t given up on blogging, despite the long absence, I’m just living the summer in the real world with my family. I will be back!

InstagramIn the meantime, I’m a very regular Instagrammer so head on over to my page @abbiesbabble if you want to see what we’re up to.

 

AbbiesBabble

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

Feeling strong

It came as a bit of a shock to me the other day.

I realised I was okay.

I am actually okay. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I have clarity, peace and calm – my thoughts and feelings aren’t overshadowed by one specific emotion or event. I’m living and I’m doing fine. Better than that, I feel strong!

We’ll ignore the massive head cold which has me taking over-the-counter medication every six hours just to function. Because that’s not a big deal, that’ll be done by the weekend.

I’m talking inner, emotional, I can deal with life right now, strong.

It’s probably a bit sad that this came as a shock but if I look back, well I’ve been through the wringer in the last few years. I’ve dealt with my mum’s illness and passing, moving to a new town where I don’t know anyone, blending a family, watching my daughter struggle so desperately with the changes in our lives, and saying goodbye to my Gran. Oh, and being a newlywed. So yes there have obviously been some extreme highs in that time too!

I am still grieving my mum (10 months) and my Gran (one month) and I know I will, possibly forever. I won’t ever let them go. But I’ve reached a point where my grief no longer controls me. I don’t doubt Christmas will be hard. Very hard – I’ve already swallowed back tears more than once when I’ve heard The Little Drummer Boy playing in stores. My mum used to play this on the piano, I can still see the torn yellow cover of her sheet music. But the things is, I’m able to swallow the tears now. Most of the time.

Life comes and goes in seasons. I hope that I’m approaching a season of ‘normal’ life. Whatever that is?! Something settled perhaps? My husband has only really known me when I’ve been dealing with challenges (bless him, he’s a-m-a-y-z-i-n-g). I’ve leaned on him so hard, I’m so grateful to God for sending me this wonderful man at a time I wouldn’t want to have gone through alone.

Yes I will still face challenges. Nobody ever said life was easy. But I feel more well-equipped emotionally to deal with things at the moment, without spiraling into stress with every little thing. I’ve got this. Actually, God’s got this, He’s got me. He’s had me all along. This has definitely been a year of growth in my spiritual life.

Never Lose HopePhilippians 4:13 became a bit of a mantra for me in this time, I was often muttering it under my breath.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Yeah, sometimes just saying it once wasn’t enough!

I will say, to anyone reading this who is facing tough times please hang in there. Please know that it will get better. This is the first time in 3-4 years I could ever say that I felt strong and calm. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, always hope, always a way through.

What a ramble. Thanks for still reading!

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

 

 

 

That sliding doors moment

Do you ever wonder ‘what might have been’? If you’d just made ‘that’ choice, or if something had just gone ‘the other way’. What could have happened in your life?

A bit like the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors where we see two realities played out based on what happened if the character did, and if she did not, catch the train one day.

Dog walking got us thinking
photo credit: OrangeCounty_Girl cc

My husband and I had an odd little moment like that over the weekend. All the kids were away (which almost never happens!) and on Saturday evening we decided to take the dog for an impromptu walk.

It occurred to me then, this could have been our reality.

It got us to thinking about what might have been if we’d met ‘at the traditional time’ rather than as a second time around couple. Next month will be our second wedding anniversary. So really, a lot of ‘young marrieds’ would be doing just what we were doing – taking the dog for a leisurely stroll on a weekend evening. Sans children, because at that point, children may not even be a reality yet.

We had a few giggles over the possibilities and talked about the early days of our first marriages. Then came to two conclusions:

  • If we had met earlier in life, we wouldn’t have been right for each other. Back then, I was very much a party girl, and very lost. God still had a lot of work to do in me. We wouldn’t have looked twice at each other. Well, actually we agreed, we both would have looked twice, but then dismissed each other as so not right.
  • If we had met and married at any other stage in our lives, we wouldn’t have the depth of relationship that we have now, as boy oh boy have we negotiated some storms and learnt a lot about ourselves and each other in our short time together.

I know we can’t change what’s passed. Nor would I want to. But it was nice to think out the possibilities and to realise that it all came together just as it should have. Thank God for His perfect timing.

AbbiesBabble

 

Scripted Sunday: Overcomer

This is my daughter’s favourite song. Which I love for her – awesome lyrics. Not that I’ve created it, I’m going to print this and put it up on her noticeboard…

Overcomer

AbbiesBabble

To my strong-willed, passionate, very loved, almost-8-year-old daughter

Dear Nat

You have had a rough time lately and I want to encourage you. I want to tell you that you are amazing. I want you to know that even though we do most definitely have our challenges, we are going to work it out. I want to tell you (again and forever) just how loved and special you are to me.

Baby girl in your short life you’ve dealt with a lot. I say that carefully, because I know a lot of other kids have dealt with a lot too. Some of their things bigger. But you know what, in your life, you have dealt with a lot of big loss and change among other things, and I don’t want to take away from that. Nor do I want those things to define who you become in a bad way.

Yes your dad left you, pretty much at birth. I know what it is to be abandoned by your father, not so young, but I understand. I know that it makes it hard for you to trust people, especially Richard. It’s like a part of you, even though you don’t want it, is waiting for him to reject you like your father did. And I know that’s why you are so hot and cold with him. But my darling, you can trust him. He is learning to be your dad as much as you are learning to be his daughter. Please know I chose very carefully, he IS a wonderful husband and father and when you are ready, you will see that. He loves you. He makes mistakes, we all do, but he loves you. He is also sent from God. Harris6 is a family that is meant to be together and nothing will separate us. But know that I understand how you feel, it took me many years to accept my step-father too and you know that I now look at Pop-Pop as my only dad. Hang in there and trust. Trust me, trust Richard but most of all trust God’s plan for our family.

You live your life with so much passion – your emotions are so clearly on the very outside, you feel EVERYTHING so intensely. Good and bad. You are also a VERY strong-willed young lady. More than me and more than your Gee. That’s big, because you know that my mum and I are very strong ladies! These are not bad things. They can be good things if you are willing to learn about them. They definitely challenge me as your mum because at the moment, you want to question and defy pretty much everything I say and ask of you. Some days I feel like I’ve spent the day fighting a battle with you and that’s hard. I have always taught you obedience. How many times do you hear me say ‘obey straight away’? But I’m learning. I’m learning that it’s not your nature. That you need to know the reasons why, that you need to know what’s coming up, that I need to roll with it a little more and the less I fight your fighting back, the more we can get done. I’m trying baby. Every single day I’m trying to be the best mum I can – you hear me pray every night for God to guide me as your parent to help you be the best you can be, and I mean that from the bottom of my big toe.

Even on the days where your yelling and screaming and crying pushes me to the edge of crying myself, I never stop loving you. I never will bubba. I will love you to the end of the world and back. Sometimes I think your behaviour is purely to test this. Especially when I tell you I love you and you say ‘but how can you when I’ve been so naughty’. You will always get the same answer from me. “I will always love you. I might not like your behaviour but I will always love you. Nothing you can do will push me away or make me stop loving you. Same as God”. You don’t need to fear rejection from me baby. I will never do that to you.

Your strong will and passion will see you go far in life. I believe you have leadership inside of you. When you were dedicated Pastor Jack saw and prayed amazing things over your life. NEVER forget that. Sometimes, in the moment, when your emotions are running on super drive, remember that God is always working on us, always teaching us. He didn’t plant these amazing things in you to not use you for greatness in some way. And I will be your biggest cheerleader all the way.

Your Gee was also one of your biggest cheerleaders. One of her biggest sadnesses when she got really sick was that she wasn’t going to see you grow up. Wasn’t going to see you finish school, university, have a family of your own. She loved you so much and I know you loved her too. You are so lucky to have had such a special bond with a grandparent. I know you miss her crazy much, I do too. And that’s okay. You never have to stop missing her. Just know that you always carry her in your heart and she’s watching you from heaven cheering you on in everything you choose to do. Pop Pop is still here and he loves you as much as Gee did. I know it’s hard when he lives in a different town but you still get to see him and we’ll make sure you still get your special weekends with him.

You see beautiful girl, you are loved. So very loved.

Keep living a big life my girl. I think you are learning about friendships now and understanding what it is that makes a good friend. I hope for you to be a good friend and to make good choices about the people in your life. Choose people who make you the best version of you – and do that for them too. Don’t change who you are because of what someone else says or does. Don’t try to be anything other than yourself: an amazing kind and caring person who throws their whole heart into life. You don’t have to be the best at anything. You have to live a happy life and be willing to work hard. Let God direct your path, remain teachable.

Every night before I go to bed I come into your room. I switch your lamp off and kiss your cheek. And in that moment Natty, anything bad we said or did that day has disappeared. My heart grows with a wave of love for you. Together, we can work through anything. I love you so much I can’t even explain. You’ll understand one day.

Be strong, be you.

Blessings

Mummy x

Your than you

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

Scripted Sunday: This I Believe

This morning in church it was so wonderful to be led in worship by the kids worship band. Their young voices (none of them yet at high school) were equally talented and genuine. I have no doubt there are future worship leaders in that group. So great to see friends of our own children up on stage.

The kids sang one of my current favs, a Hillsong Worship song. The Creed. These lyrics just hit me every time I hear them and I want to worship with every part of my being.

This is exactly what I believe.

The Creed. This I Believe

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

Scripted Sunday: Youer than you

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes. I’ve done this today for my daughter who is having challenges at school with a bully. It’s hurting her self-esteem in a big way so we’re really trying to affirm at home that each one of our children is special, wonderful and amazing in their own way. And as the four kids are different, so are they different to every person they meet in the world. And this is ok.

Your than you

It’s always good for me to fall back to my handbook for life as well. The Bible. I love Psalm 139, especially the verse “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful (v14)”. How cool is that?!. Each one of us is unique. Our amazing Creator, took time to make every single of us different. In His eyes we are all special. Cherished. Loved. And as our girl struggles with self-esteem, we’re trying to help her find the things that make her unique that she can stand firm on. And to remind her that no matter what, she is loved and cherished by God and by many people. It’s just unfortunate the attacks of one girl have done so much damage.

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?

 

Scripted Sunday

I love words, words are everywhere. I make a point of hanging on to the words – whether from books, blogs, magazines, pins, lyrics etc – that mean something to and/or inspire me.

So today is the first Scripted Sunday post where I plan to share the words that have jumped out at me through the week.

This week, song lyrics from Chris Tomlin. My daughter had this song on repeat on our car trip last weekend. It’s pretty powerful (and a great one to sing at the top of your lungs).

Whom shall I fear? The God of angel armies has my back, He IS a friend of mine. There’s my confidence right there…

Angel Armies

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