“What have you been up to Mama?” my eldest ‘super-son’ asked. “I’ve been blogging with Judah on a sunny Saturday morning and I feel like God has taken my blog and ran away with it” I smiled! I won’t even relay my 16 year old’s sarcastic humour back to me but here it is anyway – the message I never intended to write!
I learnt a long time ago that what I didn’t need was another ‘To Do List’. It was endless and binding. What I needed was a ‘To Be List’. It was liberating….
I found my “To Be List’ in ‘being fruitful’…and no, I’m not just referring to my 5 children, bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this. You see, fruit doesn’t struggle or strive to produce itself, it does so naturally as it is healthily connected to the tree and rooted in good ground. My life is rooted in Jesus Christ, I say that unashamedly, and as my source and supply, my ‘To Be’ list can be summed up succinctly: “To simply be more like Jesus”. Strife free living right there. It’s time to breathe easy again friends.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
I don’t need more things to do, all I need is the help of the Holy Spirit to be all God desires me to be. You see out of that state of being the doing will flow freely, easily and naturally.
When we concentrate on ‘being’ more, the less we do will be more effective! Let’s make being more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good natured, committed and faithful, gentle, faith’filled’ not fear’full’, gentler and gracious in our dealings with others and self-controlled instead of out of control, our goal.
As my life is filled with love there is nothing I won’t do and no lengths I won’t go to for my family and others.
I love my children. I will willingly go without sleep for them, pray all night watching over them in a hospital bed when I have had to, spend three hours a day driving them to and from school and wherever else they need to be. Watch agonisingly through the harshest (and coldest) of rugby matches. Meet their every need and desire when it is in my power to do so. Love compels me. Love compels us. It turns the task into a privilege and high calling! Oh how our Heavenly Father loves us – there’s no lengths He wouldn’t go to for us. It was love and not nails that held Jesus to the cross. That’s the power of love.
On Friday night, snuggled with my daughter in one arm and son in the other watching Children in Need, Liella-Grace began to cry as she saw the suffering in Africa. She saw children struggling without parents to care for them, sleeping rough on a dangerous beach or on the streets, going hungry and dying from malnutrition. It broke her heart and I felt sure she would now understand what we are part of as a family – why God’s heart draws me to Africa and other countries when God calls ‘us’. I say ‘us’ as we are in this together – family and business – all make equal sacrifice to release me to be the one that goes.
Suddenly her tears changed from selfless to a reaction I wasn’t expecting. She clung to me crying, Mummy, please don’t go back, I don’t want you in danger, I don’t want you to die, what if you don’t return from a trip”.
Love is spelt R.I.S.K. In that moment I was reminded that real love risks it’s own comfort and life on behalf of others. Love is spelt S.A.C.R.I.F.I.C.E. It doesn’t seek its own good but the good of others. It goes beyond feelings. My own momma always tells me love is spelt T.I.M.E. What and who you love you will give your time to. Investing time into your marriage, family and people will give a way better eternal gain than money that is temporary. Love is spelt S.E.L.F.L.E.S.S.
It is not true that love knows no fear but the harsh reality is that love, real love, goes beyond fear! I held my daughter a little closer and tighter reassuring her and knowing too she was learning one of love’s hardest lessons – real love always let’s go!
Oh and one more for the mix – life is short so do what you love and love what you do!
As my life is full of joy I find increased strength for the task.
“The joy of the Lord is my strength”.
I think the funniest description someone gave me for my life was a ‘Chihuahua on caffeine”! Didn’t quite know what to make of that one but “offence is a choice, I choose not to be offended”! 😉 There’s enough sadness around – let’s go out with joy and be led forth with……peace!
No fear here!
“I will fear no evil for you are with me”! Psalm 23.
Feelings of being overwhelmed, worrying about what others think, the terrors that assail our world are all rooted in fear! The fear of failure stalks everyone of us seeking to rob us of God’s good success for our lives. I say ‘good success’ because did you know there is ‘bad success’? Money, titles, position and popularity are not a prerequisite for peace and success. True peace and success are rooted in contentment and living out the life God purposed and planned for us to live! Miss it and miss out! All the money and fame won’t compensate! It is in differentiating between good success and bad success that we will live life from a position of peace! Daily I am reminded to work from a position of rest! Ahh peace, the missing piece the world is striving to find!
Fear cripples us and holds us back – the peace of God propels us forward, keeps us going and protects us – even in the eye of the storm and terror, we can “keep calm and carry on”! Our world needs peace today! Real peace is power for living and is found only in knowing and trusting the Prince of peace – His name is Jesus!
As I come away from all the demands, pressures and strains of life daily, straining only to hear my Father’s voice, He speaks to my restless heart over and over again:
“Be still and know that I am God!”
In this place of peace, prayer & praise – in God’s presence I receive all that I need! It is here that the things I need, I receive by faith and faith becomes my reality! I read in my journal this week, on the day of the terrible terrorist attack that hit Westminster, London, an extract from three years ago: “Tell my children, those who learn to hide in my presence now will be safe when the time of trouble comes”!
We live in a microwave, fast food world but there’s no way to fast track the work of patience in our lives and characters. Let that car out in front of you. Be patient with others and be patient with the process – none of us are the finished article but a work in progress! Though sometimes the night seasons seem long, let patience complete its perfect work in our lives – the outcome will be worth it all, just allow patience to keep you strong and hold on!
KINDNESS & GOODNESS
God uses creative ways everyday to flood our lives with His kindness and goodness. Let’s get creative too. Drop seeds of kindness and goodness into the lives of others everywhere you go AND WATCH KINDNESS AND GOODNESS GROW! We hear too much today about extremist acts of hate and evil. How about shaking the world around us with extreme acts of kindness. Goodness knows the world needs it! Be the bigger person and do to others as you would have others do to you, regardless of how they treat you. Goodness knows it takes courage to be kind!
Can we be counted on? When we say we are going to do something do we do it? Are we reliable? Commitment and faithfulness are uncomfortable words in our world today but we need to get good at wearing them well again! On another vein, be full of faith and emptied of doubt! Faith will cause you to achieve – only believe – share your faith with everyone you meet!
“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves and their lives are crooked. But the righteous shall live by their faithfulness to God.” Habbakuk 2:4
When we could laud it over others, act cruelly and harshly, yet choose instead to move only with gentleness, we exercise true humility and power. I could yank my baby out of the cot, speak harshly to him but instead what does love compel me to do but to slip my hand tenderly under his head, whisper softly “Mummy’s here’ and draw him to me…. gently. I acknowledge his fragility and handle him with care accordingly. Everyone of us could do with more gentleness in our lives – it’s not only babies that wear an unseen sign “Handle With Care” – fragility is there in the hearts of everyone of us! Gentleness and humility are not weakness in our lives but demonstrate true strength and greatness.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare”. Proverbs 25:1
As my brother told me the other week,
“Discipline is not doing what you want to do, so you can do what you want to do”!
Just think about it. Discipline and self control in our lives are essential to our health, safety and well being. I was laughing with a good friend this afternoon at a party about my daughter’s outburst this morning. I explained to her the way she speaks can either make Mummy and others happy or unhappy. She stopped and said “I want to make others happy but sometimes they are SO ANNOYING AND I CAN’T DO IT” [with a shout]! I came down and hugged her explaining “that’s why we need self control!” None of us can do it on our own – self control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given to us to protect us from ourselves!
THIS SAVED MY LIFE
There was a time, a couple of years ago now, when I literally came to the end of myself. There was nothing I could do but be God’s child and the power contained within the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ became my lifeline that set me free. God’s living Word is effective in our lives and every situation!
They say life is in the blood, as my life blood and all my energy with it drained from my body – it was the words of this verse that came to me! I tried to speak and although my lips moved; to the shock of my husband and children rushing me to hospital, no words or sound came out. David, my husband knew from his Air Force medical training my organs were shutting down fast. Fear and terror came to consume me but this verse washed over me. I applied it to my life and rested in the truth: perfect love, (God himself), was with me and perfect love drives out all fear! In an instant, all fear was gone. As my strength faded and my body haemorrhaged, I declared in my heart “the joy of the Lord is my strength”…. and so it went on. I received peace that went beyond all human understanding and bathed in it. Long suffering and patience reminded me to hold on, don’t give up, God will not and cannot fail me. Kindness, my heavenly Father’s kindness, goodness and gentleness was beautiful in those moments beyond all words. This world with it’s sickness, disasters and tragedies that sometimes touch us have no hold on us when we know that God is good and kind ALL THE TIME! It was enough for me to rest in knowing God Himself was with me – the rest was insignificant. God had me – he had this!
Sometimes, as I shared at a meeting this week “we are a miracle in waiting – a miracle in the making”! ALL things will work together for good to those who love God.
“No actual evil, misfortune or calamity shall come upon the righteous.’ Proverbs 12:21
The faithfulness of my Father was so real to me. He promises that even through the times when we are unfaithful to Him He will remain faithful to us! Amazing grace gives me continually what I could never earn and do not deserve. Faithful God! Whatever I face His faithfulness to me has taught me to ‘faith it until I make it’!
Self control came into its own as the battle raged around me and I drifted in and out of consciousness. I heard the panic in the voices of the Doctors and their concerns it was too late. Physically weak my spirit was strong and very much engaged. All of this was going on inside me beyond where my family’s or anyone’s eyes could see. The fruits of the Holy Spirit were such a gift to me, strife free, it was as though they battled for me! I had never realised the full power packed force they were in our lives. When fear and terror sought to come upon me God showed me to exercise the Holy Spirit’s gift of self control. As I made God my choice and rested in being His child, I exercised control over myself and wouldn’t permit doubt or fear in. Allow the fruits of the Holy Spirit to grow in your life in every circumstance and win!
We are not called human’doings’ but human’beings’ for a reason. Out of knowing the power of being free to be me – a child of God – the doing comes stress free and naturally.
On Mothers Day and everyday may I remind myself I don’t need to do more for God or my children but to be more for them and the people God has graced my world with! It’s time to be the children of God and see His miraculous works in, through and around us, naturally-supernaturally! Anyone with me?
Heavenly Father, through your beautiful Holy Spirit please let me bear fruit for you in everything I say and everything I do. In Jesus precious name. Amen.