You stand alone, I stand amazed

On this Easter, I want to remember all that Christ has done for us, and never loose that sense of awe.

I especially love this new song, partly because I can see it as being a powerful congregational song – I’d like to be a room filled with voices all raised proclaiming ‘Jesus, only Jesus’…..and partly because I just love the Passion albums and what their ministry does.

So whatever you’re doing this Easter weekend, let’s remember together, that Jesus stood alone, so we can stand amazed.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Broken

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write.  Simply write.  So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

BROKEN.

(words in bold by Jeremy Riddle, ‘Sweetly Broken’)

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of it’s suffering I do drink
Of it’s work I do sing

For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

Today’s prompt is broken.  And tomorrow we remember what Christ did for us.  For all of us.  His body – beaten and broken.  And I – I am whole and healed.

Chorus:
At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What kind of gift can I ever give to the Lord?  How can I ever thank Him?

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled
Chorus:

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

This gift – this is what I can give to Him: an awe of the cross.

A knowledge of His redeeming love.

Remembering His faithfulness.

This gift: my brokenness.  This is what I can give to the Lord, for all that happened on Calgary.  To be wholly surrendered.

To live depending on the cross. Clinging to it.  Desperate for it.

Sweetly broken. The best kind of broken to be.

I owe Him nothing less, for He has done everything for me.

STOP.

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Genuine Wisdom

‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness.  Then it is peace-loving and courteous.  It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds.  It is whole-hearted and straightforward and sincere.  And those that are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness’  – James 3: 17, 18.

 

O boy that James has good things to say.  Those verses are very much one of the cries of my heart.

I long to be full of pure wisdom and quiet gentleness.

Courteous.  Even when I’ve been mistreated.  Even when my insides are screaming out in pain.  Even when the other party is wrong, just plain wrong.

I’d like to yield to others, I would, truly.  I’d like to have  my mind changed on a few things – when I can see God showing the way – pointing out His way.  This discussion thing though….this freak me out a little.  OK, maybe a lot.  So often I come away from reading blogs and I feel out of my depth.  I’m a college educated girl.  I’m reasonably well-read and reasonably learned, but time and time again I read something and I feel like my opinion doesn’t count because I either don’t know how to accurately express it, OR I don’t know what the bible says on this matter and THAT is what matters most.

There are always a few hot topics circling the interwebs.  Some are frustrating, some enlightening, and some a huge blessing to read about.  Before reading this verse I’d been on the fence about discussing really heavy topics.  BUT now I’m thinking…….genuine wisdom, wisdom from heaven DOES allow discussion.  I just need to know my bible inside out.

This is good!

This is right!

I also love that one who has wisdom is full of good deeds and mercy.  The whole putting into practice business.  Words are cheap, but actions show the world where we’re really at.

Wisdom is wholehearted, straightforward and sincere.  Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

I’m all for open books, yeah?  I’ve never been into fake anything. And I want to be planting seeds of peace and reaping a harvest of goodness, leaving a legacy.

These two verses are sooo good……what I need to take away from these is the need to enter into discussions, to be ‘unzipped’ and to be confident in my opinions and know that discussions are good – not something to fear.

What do you take away from these verses?

James.  One of my favourite dudes.

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Five Minute Friday: Remember

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write.  Simply write.  So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

Remember.

I remember when the prophet man asked us to stand.  So stand we did, hand in hand.  He spoke words of life over us, words that gave us hope, words that gave direction.  Truth.  From God’s heart to our ears.

I remember the time in my student flat when I saw my friend’s leg grow before my very eyes.  And then this very month when my friend’s baby was healed in utero of a heart problem.

I remember seeing and hearing people being set free from different spirits.  It wasn’t freaky, weird or spacey.  It was right and good and honoring.  It was freeing.

I remember prayer meetings so loud that not one voice was distinguishable amongst the rumblings, all were raised in agreement, special languages and all.  From our hearts to God’s ears.

I remember the amazing feeling when people remember past conversations with me, when they remember to ask after things. When they want to know progress and results.  I remember that feeling that someone cares.  Someone listens.  I matter to them.

I want to give people the gift of caring.  I want to give people the gift of healing, of being healed and whole.  I want to provide hope and encouragement like no other, with words of prophesy and knowledge.  I want to help people to shift and ease closer to Him, because I remember them, and not because of anything I do – but because of everything He has already done for them.

Let’s always remember that people matter.

Jesus remembers. We have these precious gifts from His helper.  Let’s use them to show people that Jesus remembers them.  Jesus remembers.

Always.

Crossroads

‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’.

We’re a real crossroads in our life at the moment.  Us, my family.  Coming to America was only ever going to be a temporary thing.  Our three year visa was actually extended and we were granted an additional two years.  We have to leave the country by early next year.  Which brings us to now – a crossroads point in our lives where we are exploring options for what to do next, where to go next.

‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’ – those words were casually yet pointedly spoken out to me last week.  A warning of sorts, by someone who cares, but a critical spirit tends to prevail at times.

Yes we may end up in another country, and not back ‘home’.  That may be where God leads us – or the doors may shut.  We’re open to whatever.  What is most important for us is to be where God leads us, where my husband’s skills can be most useful.

Our lives are not our own.  And this is what our children are seeing and learning.  This is what we hope they pick up both intentionally and through the natural process of osmosis, sponges that they are.

And so, to the words spoken as a warning, I rebuke them.

My boys will grow up knowing they are citizens of New Zealand.  Part of the Ngai Tahu tribe.  They are members of a wonderful and large extended family.  But, more importantly, they are children of God.  They have skills and talents and abilities – God given – and it is up to my husband and I to foster in them a love for learning, a love for each other and the wider world, and to develop servant’s hearts.

We are their example.

How we do things in our home, right now, at this crossroads point in our lives, sets the tone.

And so, we talk about the options we have before us.  We talk openly about God’s ability to open and close doors.  We show them that we’re praying.  We remind them of how God has always provided.  We include them in the process.   Not with every, single thing, but with hopefully a bit of wisdom and insight on our part.

And yes we are going to stuff up.  We may have to backtrack on decisions.  We may have to disappoint.  I have no doubt that my children will see me impatient and frustrated.  They will learn that things happen according to God’s timetable and not ours.  As we begin homeschooling to tide us over the transition period, crazy Mummy will no doubt raise her ugly head.

But my prayer, more than anything, is that they won’t remember the frustrations, and the ugly.  My prayer is that they will remember the adventure. They will see what amazing things happen when God takes the reigns, when we let Him lead our lives.  They will see that even in the unknowns of this crossroads time, our faith stands strong and steady.  They will know that as a family unit we are tight.  Unshakeable.  That there is strength in unity.

We are at a crossroads right now, but with God’s help, my kids are always going to know who they are, because they are mine, but more importantly – they are His.

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Permission to Parent

This evening I read a fantastic blog post that is doing ‘the rounds’ at the moment.    Written by Steve Wiens, who happens to be a husband, Dad, pastor and runner, this blog post speaks to parents of small children in a very real and honest way, tinged with a good dose of humour.

I bet Pastor Steve was not expecting this post to create quite the stir it has.  But it has.  Not sure how many tweets today have been talking about it, but the number of facebook shares for this post are well over 3,000 already.

You see this open letter to parents of small children addresses the fact that we’re all bone-weary.  We’re all hopelessly head over heals in love with our little munchkins.  We’re all learning how to handle the very (often) demanding personalities, needs and desires of our offspring.  And we’re all desperately trying to enjoy, yes to even savour every single. blessed. moment.  When not every moment is even slightly enjoyable.  Truth.

What interests me is how well-received this post is turning out to be.  Yes the writer does a fantastic job, I love the humour, I get the honesty, I get it all, I really do.

What stands out for me though is, we’re starving.  We – parents – of all cultural backgrounds, of all walks of life, whatever our socio-economic status – we’re starving for permission.  Permission to just get on and do it.  Permission to parent as best we can.  Permission to feel like we can do this, and in fact we are doing it.  Permission to stop comparing ourselves with others, our bambinos with other bambinos.  Permission to help each other, be the best we can be.

We applaud Steve Wiens for writing such a great piece and we receive it, we embrace it.  We want to know we’re doing an ok job with parenting.  We want to know that others struggle with the very same issues that keep us awake at night, that drive us to create engaging and colourful chore charts/ potty training schemes and help memorize spelling lists/ state capitols and the periodic table….

I look at my facebook list of friends, and I’m thrilled to say that I see each and every parent there is an active and involved parent.  Yes we’re all on a very long and hard journey.  Yes to some of us parenting comes more naturally than others and some of us were blessed with better childhoods than others so we have a few more clues about parenting than others…..but every single parent I know is doing their darndest to do the very best they can.

So why don’t we encourage more?

Why don’t we point out brilliant behaviour when we see it?

Why don’t we thank our neighbours for their kids’ marvellous manners when we hear them (yeah Frosti and Kurtis I’m talking to you!).

Why don’t we tell the other Mum at school pick up time how well their kid is doing with new reading skills?

Why don’t we smile at the exhausted parents of a houdini toddler, and tell them that yes their kid is a ‘busy’ kid, but by golly that’s leadership material?

We’re starving.  Parents of small kids especially but I don’t think it gets much better as the kids get older. We still need permission from each other to get frustrated by the challenges we face, we need to know it is ok to put the clocks forward an hour(stealthily – unseen by the kids who can actually tell time) to hasten bedtime when we need to and we need to celebrate the victories together. Big victories.  Small victories.  We’re in this together.

Let’s try to feed each other’s souls just a little bit more, yes?  After all, one day my three boys are hopefully going to marry……we could be parents in-law one day to your little princess……

Let’s try not to starve, together.

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Five Minute Friday: Home

Five Minute Friday

 

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write.  Simply write.  So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

HOME.

The desire to put down roots is so very strong.

I’d love to be like a tall and solid tree – arms reaching out – giving shelter from the blazing sun come the middle of summer, dropping leaves of all shades of red, orange and brown come fall and standing strong and bare in winter.  With roots down deep.  Ain’t nothing gonna touch that tree.

But as much as my heart longs for a place for call home, to be like that tree, a place where it doesn’t matter if the toddler puts a hole in the door while riding his horse/ mop, a place where we can pen in the heights of the boys as they grow, grow, grow.

The truth is I don’t have a place to call home. And I most likely won’t for some time yet – if ever.

In all honesty home for me isn’t around my parent’s dining table, nor around their fireplace.

It isn’t the student apartments I lived in, with slanted floors and draughts through which the winter wind could freeze a gallon of milk.

Home is not the houses I lived in when first married and then to where we brought home boys one, two and three.

I guess for me, home is a church, being a part of a group of people where I can raise my hands in worship, totally uninhibited.

Home is my friend Rachel’s couch, where we can talk for hours and hours, drink good coffee and eat good food but we’re nourishing more than our bodies.

Home is my friend Lindsay’s kitchen, where a group of us women gather weekly to pray.  To lift up each other, to champion each other and remember who and what we’re all about.

And also, home is in my husband’s arms, with my precious boys all around us. Regardless of the building we’re in, the walls we can or cannot decorate, whatever country we’re in, home is knowing I’m surrounded by love and living by love and loving this adventure called life, no matter where we are called to be.