Even though we only have two little girls, dinner time at our house is chaotic. The banging of furniture starts the meal as the girls try drag their plastic table to the center of the kitchen. (It is easier for my husband and I to sit on the little plastic chairs with our knees next to our ears than it is for the girls to try and reach the dining room table in the room next door.)
Even prayer time is chaotic as they both try and compete with who is going to say their prayer first. Our youngest daughter is the strong willed child, our oldest is gentle and compliant and as a result it is usually the youngest who starts praying by shouting out her simple prayer that she has been taught at school. My husband and I often look at one another in despair, not wanting to curb her enthusiasm but at the same time wanting her to understand the reverence of prayer.
But as my oldest daughter starts the gentle (and lengthy) prayer that she says at school, it is the most beautiful thing to witness my youngest daughter close her eyes and bow her little head. It is so difficult to know how much she understands, and judging by the way she sings her own prayer she does not really grasp the words she is saying. But as she listens to her older sister pray, her little head is bowed in the reverence God deserves.
1 Samuel 12 vs 24
“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
My husband and I often reflect on where we have come from, where we are now and then dream together of what we are going to do next. We like to speak about things that have changed for the better and things that we would still like to see change. The older we get, the more responsibilities that come our way, it seems as though our choices become less and we find ourselves rather restricted due to our commitments to our jobs and our children.
Romans 12 vs 2
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I used to pray continually that God would show me His Will for my life. His plan for what to study and where to work, His plan for who to marry and His plan for all the big dreams that were in my hearts.
Currently when I read this passage I am still praying that He will show me His Will but it is now in the finer details of my day. I am praying He will show me His will in who I speak to today and what I say. I am praying that He will show me His will just for today. I am praying that He will daily renew my mind and that I will not conform so easily to the pattern of this world.
Romans 8 vs 31
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
I used to struggle with this verse in Scripture. For the longest time when I read it I would almost skim over the first five words and focus on the last five. Who can be against us? I used to think that the answer was so clear, because surely if God was for us, that would mean that the devil was against us. In my head there was an image of a battle, and it felt as though believing in God came with a guaranteed war against evil. I would worry about the pending trials that would come my way.
The longer that I walk daily with God my perspective changes on many things as He opens my eyes to His truth. I now read this verse and I focus on the first five words. If God is for us. The thought that He is for me is an overwhelming truth that has me at a loss for words. The more I get to know His character and the more He leads and guides me through His still small voice, the more I realize His Power and His Might and am reminded afresh that He is God.
I can no longer focus on the thought that there would be evil against me due to believing in God, because I realize how big He is, how mighty, and how if my big, powerful, majestic, loving God is for me then there is nothing that could possibly stand in the way of that love.
Romans 8 vs 35
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
God is for me. He has created me with a plan and a purpose and He will equip me to go where He leads me. Life may still be filled with trials and challenges, but He is for me and He loves me.
Romans 8 vs 32
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
We had the most wonderful weekend away as a little family. The pubic holiday on Friday gave us an extra day to be together and we set off on our adventure to a little farm in the mountains that we had never been to before.
It was an incredibly beautiful setting with palm trees lining the driveway and the setting sun shining its golden light on the mountains behind the farm. The girls enjoyed the animals and the playground, and my husband and I enjoyed walking hand in hand as we watched them play.
We awoke on Saturday with our little girls telling us it was morning, despite the pitch black winter darkness outside. The gentle falling rain attributed to a long night as the sun struggled to light up the new day. The majestic mountains of the night before were hidden in the swirling clouds and had we not seen them the night before we would not have known they were there.
Often when I see mountains I am filled with a deep love for the Lord as one of the songs of my childhood dances its way through my head about God’s love being like a mountain. As I stood staring into the blackness towards where I knew the mountains were, I could not help but hum the tune to the song about God’s love because even though I could not see the mountains. I still knew they were there.
May the trials of my day ahead not tempt me to forget the knowledge of His Loving Presence.
Psalm 36 vs 5-6
“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.”
Yesterday involved a trip to the doctor after a terrible night with a sick baby girl. It was such a special day for me to be at home with my baby girl instead of at work.
From the doctor to the library, shopping, baking, reading, napping and a DVD it was a wonderful day.
As I sat administering the medication through the nebuliser last night before she went to sleep, I asked my daughter the highlight of her day.
“Sitting on your lap reading books.” was the reply.
It reminded me of the Father’s longing for us to spend time with Him, and the amazing promise that comes with it.
Psalm 16 vs 11
“In your presence is fullness of joy.”
I woke up this morning with one of the lines from one of our children’s books in my head. The book speaks about a giraffe learning to dance to his own tune after being mocked and ridiculed by the other jungle animals. The line I was thinking of says,
“Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.”
This gave me so much encouragement as I woke up today and remembered that I was created with a specific plan and purpose.
Psalm 139 vs 3
“You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”
We try and keep our girls in the main church service for as long as possible, as do several other parents. But when the squirming and talking becomes louder and louder, and the heads start swinging and the faces start frowning, it is like a mass exodus and all the toddlers seem to arrive in the cry room at once. The stored up energy from being on mom or dad’s lap is unleashed in a room designed for noise. There seems to be balls and toys and children everywhere, with a few moms and dads scattered on the couches trying desperately to hear snatches of a sermon.
Sometimes I feel as though it would be more beneficial to stay at home, and yesterday was no exception. As my daughter climbed all over me I managed to catch one little phrase of the whole sermon. But it was one phrase that made the whole morning worthwhile.
Pastor was speaking on discipline (I think!) and the importance of spending time with God. And the piece I heard was referring to the one minute devotionals that we are tempted to settle for and how lacking they are in what should be a full out pursuit for a intimate relationship with God. That reference to a one minute devotional was all I heard all morning, and therefore it remained with me as my daughter continued to climb and clamber all over me.
She had spent the whole day with me the day before, the whole morning with me leading up to church, the whole worship service on my hip as I sang, and now in a room filled with toys she still chose me as her jungle room.
I couldn’t help but compare her desperate attempts to spend more and more time with me as her mom, to the sometimes halfhearted five minute devotionals that I have with God.
Mark 1 vs 35
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. ”
As I searched for verses on time spent with God I was encouraged as I read this verse in Mark. Encouraged to see how Jesus rose early in the morning to find time on His own to go and pray.
My prayer for this coming week is that I will have the same desire to spend time with my Heavenly Father as my daughter’s desire to spend with me.