Swapping my HOPE

The fabulous ladies at (in)courage are looking at HOPE this month, and are putting the spotlight on what it means to each and every one of us.

What does HOPE look like in my life?  What things am I hopeful for?  How do I ‘wear’ HOPE?

I imagine that my HOPE chest of thoughts is a lot like yours.

My HOPE is in God.  It is in Him I make my decisions, around Him I centre my dreams and visions.

So what does this really mean in day to day life for me?

I HOPE that I am mothering children who are going to grow up knowing who they are in God, and that they will become Historymakers in their own right.

I HOPE that my relationship with my husband is a living and breathing example of a relationship where God is shown as our guide and thus we respect and love each other fully.

I HOPE that I can always make time for my friends, and can be there for their times of joy and victory, and times of trial and despair.

I HOPE that one day I will be able to wear clothes from a bag of maternity clothes that made its way into our luggage when we moved, that we will have a third and final addition to our family.

How fortunate are the things I hope for!  How blessed am I that these are all things that are about enriching my life and others.

I don’t have to HOPE that my children won’t die of malaria today. FACT A child dies of malaria every thirty seconds.

I don’t have to HOPE that we may be able to find fresh drinking water today.  FACT One in every eight people lacks access to clean water.

I don’t have to HOPE that my sons won’t be taken from me to join violent and oppressive child armies. FACT In over twenty countries around the world, children are direct participants in war. Denied a childhood and often subjected to horrific violence, an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children are serving as soldiers for both rebel groups and government forces in current armed conflicts.

I don’t have to HOPE that we won’t get harmed from fellow-shipping with other Christians, for declaring our faith together.  FACT over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.

I don’t have to HOPE that we won’t catch some dreadful, awful disease.  FACT In 2007, it was estimated that 33.2 million people lived with the AIDS disease worldwide, and that AIDS killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children

I don’t have to HOPE just to make it through the day.

But I do need to remember Proverbs 3 : 27 ‘Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act’.

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I wonder how my faith would be different if I had to swap out all my HOPE thoughts for a vastly different life?  I’m not about to sit here and talk about what we all should or shouldn’t be doing for those less fortunate.  But I am thinking about what I can do more of to help those less fortunate than me.  It starts with me.  And fortunately I have HOPE, for I know Him.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Some people would call me nosey.  Others would say I have an inquiring mind.  I just think I am a little curious – about people mostly.  Everyone has a story. ( I want to know yours).  And by the way, my curiosity wants to know why some neighbors chose to move into their house between the hours 3am and 6 am.  Methinks it was part of a police protection service…..see….I am curious (and my imagination is sometimes on overdrive!).

We live just a hop, skip and a jump away from a major highway – an interstate that can take you all the way from Mexico to Canada.  By hop, skip and a jump I mean, we can watch the traffic go by and the sound of the traffic lulls us to sleep.  Its amazing how you get used to that.

Sometimes we sit and watch the traffic go by.  My boys count the trucks and point out any unusual vehicles going along their merry way.  I wonder about the people in these cars.

Are they happy?  Are they sad?  Are they on vacation?  Are they working hard?  Will they reach their destination safely?  Do they have families?  Do they know Jesus?  What is their story?

Airports are my other favourite place for people watching.  Don’t get me started on that…..  I love love love watching people re-unite, rejoicing and then you see tearful goodbyes, stressed out families, kanoodling couples.  Everyone is on a mission to get somewhere.  Each has a goal and a destination in mind.  You see all races, all ages of people.

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I get so curious about these people.  And I get curious about me, and my destinations in life.

Last night my husband and I were imagining where we will be in ten years time.  The truth is – we have no idea.  We have no idea where we will be in three years time.  According to ‘Uncle Sam’ we will be in America for three years.  This could be extended…we don’t know.

But I am not anxious about it.  Curious yes.  Anxious no.  Curious about what work we will be doing in the future.  Curious about our kids and what they will be doing in the future.  Curious about how we fit into God’s big grand scheme.  For now we know we are doing His will and we have His peace about it.  And for now, even with my curious mind, that is enough.  And that is a miracle in itself!

‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. Philippians 4:7

The Hurricane

It is said that a picture paints a thousand words…….well here are about 18 pictures to save me screeds of writing….

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Meet my second son, The Hurricane.  Also known as Luka (bringer of light).  Luka arrived with a real bang (notice I am still wearing normal clothes and not a hospital gown!), and has been letting off fireworks ever since.

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I wanted you to meet The Hurricane as he is the child that was never supposed to be.  He was the child that the experts said we could not conceive.  God won that battle.  God 1 – Experts 0.  And we will forever be grateful and thankful, fireworks and all.

It’s weird how infertility can strike at any time, to anyone.  We already had a dear son, The Thinker (Nathanael), but then ‘infertility’ struck.  With no cause, no reason, no answers.  At the time.  Now we know I was suffering from an undiagnosed condition, but more on that another day.

There is someone I am praying for now, who has had the experts write ‘infertile’ all across her charts.  I just want her to know that I am praying for her.  I don’t know any particular details in her life but I do know what that roller coaster ride is like, and I also know what can happen when God steps in and creates a miracle.
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Right from his earliest days The Hurricane seemed to have a twinkle in his massive brown eyes.  He showed clownish ambition very early on.

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The Hurricane has always been a very ‘busy’ boy (what I call it if I am in the good mood, if in a bad frustrated mood, it is commonly known as ‘full on’).  He started crawling at 5 months and has been on the go since.  Yes that is a whole packet of crackers he was ‘busted’ sampling.  And yes the cupboard did have a kiddy-lock on it.

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And yes he does plonk himself in water fully clothed without batting an eyelid.
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And yes he is VERY independent.  There was no reason in his eyes why he couldn’t man that kayak all by himself.

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Yet even with his raw energy and in his passion for just getting on and doing things, there is also a gentle and sweet side to him.  He loves animals, and he loves his friends.

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And he used to take a nap and give me some down time.

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He also loves his technology and is very good at that.  Which means I don’t have to play card games ALL day long with him.

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But yes, he does have a tendency to sneak foods.  This time it was the brown sugar that he was ‘busted’ with.

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Giving his friend Phoebe a nice hug.

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Have I mentioned his stroppy independence?  ‘I’ll do it myself’ is kinda a trademark mantra, whether it be pulling his own luggage or pouring his own milk.  By the way did you know that ‘Water is yuck, milk is good for me’.

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My most embarrassing moment EVER!!  I was doing a reading at my brother’s wedding and The Hurricane breaks ranks to come over to me, take a big swipe at me and then stands beside me, pleased as punch.  I wanted to die on the spot.   He NEVER lashes out – well he did then – but it was most unusual behaviour.  I’d like to think of it as a once -off event that I will never ever forget.

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Yes he is an adrenaline junkie.  The higher the slide, the bigger the wave, the taller the tree…you got it.  The above photo was taken at a waterpark in Australia and to this day he still talks about it as being his favourite place, his favourite person, his favourite everything….

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However – what is surprising is that The Hurricane can and will sit still when he needs to and has to.  Like for a twelve hour flight for example.  No drugs were necessary.

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The Hurricane really embraced the hot weather this summer.  The day this photo was taken it was 108 degrees and we were trying to fry an egg outside.  He insisted in a woolly hat, for no particular reason.

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We have also realized that The Hurricane loves our adventures and loves the Great Outdoors.

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And it is not a real day without a bit of a boogie in the kitchen.

I love that The Hurricane knows how to have fun.  He creates fun out of nothing and brings us such joy.  Yes there are times when I do pull my hair out and wonder how and why on earth he does certain things, and his big brother looks at him in amazement because he would never ever dream of doing some of the things that The Hurricane does….I read recently about how a hurricane has a very calm and serene center – and that made me think of my Hurricane.  As crazy and as full on as he can be, he still have a serene heart and a calmness to him.

His prayer tonight was ‘Thank you God for Mum’s hair (he has a hair fetish!) and thank you God for hot dogs for dinner’.

He is our miracle boy.  And I am praying that my friend HG will have her own little Hurricane one day soon.

God’s goal is not our comfort…..

From today’s ‘Word for Today’ Daily Devotional written by Bob Gass (the loveliest Irish man in the world!!)….

‘The Gospel does two things: It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.  The truth that sets us free will make us feel bad before it makes us feel good.  God’s goal is not our comfort; it’s producing in us the character of Christ so the world will be drawn to Him’

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Oooooooohh I like that.

Really like that.

I am ashamed to say that I’ve got someone in my life who I’m finding a bit of hard work.  She is in need of friends like me, yet we’re quite different in our parenting styles, in where we are at with God stuff and being with her is quite honestly hard work.  It is draining.

God’s goal is not my comfort.

I would prefer to spend my time with someone a bit more uplifting, someone a bit more fun, someone who is going to challenge me.

God’s goal is not my comfort.

I may just be the right person to lead this person to a right relationship with Christ.  I may just be the right person to share a little of what I know to make her life a little easier with her kids.  I may be just the right person to elevate her self -esteem.

In all honesty I wish I wasn’t that person.  I’m going to have to establish a few boundaries in this relationship, but I’ll do it because God’s goal is not our comfort, but it’s producing in us the character of Christ so the world will be drawn to Him.

How do you deal with the ‘extra grace required’ people in your life?  Any tips for me?

Three little words

I would love for you to meet my friend Janine.  I would love for the three of us to sit down, hot tea or coffee in hand and for us to spend some together.  By the end of that time together I know for sure that you would have made a new friend and you would feel loved and valued.

My friend Janine is glamorous without even trying to be.  She is tall, and beautiful and has a calmness and a serenity that only comes from knowing who you are in God.  She and her husband are in fulltime Christian Ministry and her life is full of airports, speaking engagements, church commitments, extended family life and looking after her own kids.  Yet when she is speaking one on one with you, you feel like you are the only person in the world who matters to her right now.

Janine has an amazing memory and even if you haven’t seen her for months she will know what your trials and joys are.

That’s the kind of woman she is.  She cares, and it is such a genuine and sincere thing.

Janine is the real deal.  These three little words are never far from her mouth; ‘how are you?’.  Said with a smile on her face and piercing blue eyes gazing deep.

I miss those three words.

I can think of only one new friend here in America who has said those three words to me, said with genuine interest and love.  Maybe it is a cultural thing in NZ to say it more, and maybe we have all said it as something to be said, without really wanting to stop and hear, really hear the answer.

But sometimes you just want someone to say ‘how  are you?’  Not because you want to bare your soul.  Not because you would even maybe even tell them ANYTHING or EVERYTHING.  You just want to know that someone is actually thinking about how you are feeling.

Nobody cares about how much you know, until they know how much you care.

I want to be the friend that stops to ask, ‘how are you?’.  I want to have time to stop for a moment and hear out your answer.  I never want to be too busy for a soul that needs to be heard, or a person that needs vent or laugh or cry.

Janine has taught me how to ask questions in such a way to show I really care.  But it all starts with those three little words.

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So tell me my friends……are people too busy these days to say those words?  Is life too hectic because they know that if they really want to hear the answer to that question then that requires time and patience to hear the answer out?  Is it a cultural difference? I am really curious.  Let me know 🙂

Nothing can separate us from His love

‘For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.

Death can’t and life can’t.

The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away.

Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are –

High above the sky, or in the deepest ocean – nothing will ever

be able to separate us from the love of God

demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us’

Romans 8: 38,39