Sunday, 28 July 2013

Running with Giants - Rahab

It's been a while since I shared any sermons, I've been pretty slack. But today's sermon had huge impact on me.

Lately, Pieter and I have been doing a course through the church called Cleansing Streams. It's a tough course to describe, I guess you could say that it's an extremely intense foundational course. So far we have covered Walking in the Spirit, Committing everything to God and Speaking words of Life. Even though it has been almost overwhelmingly challenging I'm loving it, because not only does it explain the 'whys and whats' but it also explains the 'hows.' How to walk in the spirit, how to commit everything to God.

Now, I don't know just who has been praying for me while I'm on this course, but heck they're doing a good job! Each session has brought unexpected areas in my life to mind, highlighting aspects of my walk and my history that need work.

Honestly? I didn't realise I was this messed up! I didn't realise I carried this much baggage...

What does this have to do with Rahab, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya!

The biggest area that I've been having difficulty with is just how badly I've stuffed up in my past and a desperately hopeless feeling regarding my future. Apparently, this was not an area that I had fully committed to God. Now, I know all the awesome promises in scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favourites. Often I'll quote it to myself and feel a temporary sense of peace, but deep down?

Deep down I feel as though I have failed. I haven't lived up to the promise and potential that I felt was evident in my teens. I look at my life now and get this horrible feeling that I've wasted it. That I've accomplished nothing...

When I walked in the church doors this morning and saw on the sermon notes that we would be hearing about Rahab, I thought: Oh good! I love Rahab! Her story is one of redemption and hope. But I had never actually stopped to consider what her journey through life actually looked like.

Rahab was known as 'Rahab the prostitute.' Can you imagine a name like that following you throughout your life? Throughout the ages, for eons to come? A name like that immortalised in a book with the longevity of the Bible? And yet, when Joshua 2 picks up her story, she kinda wasn't. At that point in her life she had moved on. Two things in the bible tell us this: there was a significant amount of flax on her roof and she had a long length of scarlet rope.

Rahab was a cloth-maker. She had changed careers. The flax that she had stored on her roof was processed in such a way that it could be woven into cloth, and she had enough of it to hide two grown men. She also had a scarlet rope, which I am told was used to dye cloth. Dye merchants would soak rope in the dye and then sell it to cloth-makers who would then cut off sections and use it to dye cloth. I imagine that rope signified a major investment in her business. I don't think that dye was cheap back then. And she used it to lower a couple of spies who were there to take the land she lived in. She used it to save her family. It seems to me that she sacrificed her livelihood for the faith that the bible tells us she had in Joshua 2:11. A faith the went against her culture, everything that she had been raised to believe.

And for what? The slim chance that she wouldn't be killed in the sacking of her city? Can you imagine that? Sacrificing your here and now in the hope that your faith in God will provide security for your future? Tough stuff.

But Rahab put her faith into action. She didn't sit around whining about how awful her past was and how she would never amount to anything. She did something about her circumstances.

And look at what God gave her in the end. A hope and a future. And a place in the genealogy of Christ. Is there any greater honour?

If you want to run with giants, don't let your past determine your future.

Is your perspective and attitude holding you back from the purpose God has for your life? Do you have unresolved emotional issues that are keeping you from the freedom that Christ promises?

I do.

There are aspects to my life that are stagnating because I have not believed that there was anything better. Areas that I have 'swept under the carpet' because they are too painful and raw, so it's easier to just ignore them. But if I want to live an effective life for Christ I can't let His purposes be limited by my lack of faith and trust.

By choosing to not lay down all my failures at the cross and, instead, carrying them around, am I not negating what was done for me? By telling Jesus: No, I'll take that - You can have only this much... By not trusting Him I'm devaluing what He did for me on the cross.

His word to us is: Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

What is stopping us?

You can find and listen to the sermons here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Jelly Baby Bribery

The end is in sight!

Since this didn't happen, apparently I'm nearing the end of the mothering-small-children stage of my life and I'm starting to realise just how much good can come of the closing of this chapter.

I could study. Figure out who I actually am and not base it on what I am to everyone else...

The future is starting to blossom with possibility!

However there is one thing that needs to be done before I can say that I have released all my chicks in to the world - or at least into some form of daycare...

I have to toilet train Blossom.

Now, some of you might remember my attempts at toilet training The Frog and the hilarity that ensued. I have actually come to the conclusion that only one thing will actually get the minions to start paying attention to what is happening in their pants and contemplating just where it should be going: Jelly Babies. (or jelly beans, or chocolate drops, or yogurt raisins as SimaJ suggests)

Now, I realise that this falls under the category of bribery and corruption and that, in some circles, this is considered bad parenting. But honestly, I don't aim for "good' parenting, just effective parenting. And this happens to be very, very effective.

My kids don't get tons of junk. It's rare that they get lunchboxes with stuff like yogurt or muesli bars, packets of chips or fruit rolls (aka sweets/lollies). Not because I have anything against food like that, but because sandwiches and fruit are more cost effective. And so any form of sweet, lolly etc. etc. is a huge treat.

The promise of one jelly bean will effect great deeds. Like peeing on the toilet. It encourages certain little minions to remember their bladders and other minions to run down the hall with them to make sure they get onto the toilet without falling in.

Bonus. It's a win-win situation. And all it cost was a $4 bag of Jelly Babies.

I predict that day nappies will be a thing of the past by the end of the school holidays.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Alone in the Wasteland

Pieter is away tonight.

He is down in Auckland overnight doing stuff to do with work. He is a very hard worker. Have I mentioned that before? Pieter is one of the most diligent workers that Mainfreight has, they don't realise just how awesome he is, I'm sure...

But anyway, I was just thinking while handwashing the dishes (because that is when my best thinking happens) that, tonight, the ratio of kids to adults is 3:1. I'm going to be outnumbered by a higher number than usual.

And normally that isn't a problem. It's the ratio that I deal with most days, but today is different. There is no promise of rescue, no light at the end of the tunnel. My husband is not coming home at the end of the day to even up the odds, or at least make them even-er.

And it occurred to me that I'm not alone in this. Being a stay-at-home mom is like living in a mental wasteland. There is very little by way of intellectual stimulation and I know that I am not the only mom out there who is grateful for a husband who comes home at the end of the day.

When Pieter walks in the door he is my knight in shining armour. He is my rescuer and I am the damsel in distress. His arrival heralds the return of sanity to my world. The return of adult conversation and the ability to contemplate intellectual concepts without interruption. I am not the only adult in the house and therefore I can relax, just a little.

I don't have to listen to the repetitive songs of Playhouse Disney or Nick Jr. I don't have to get up every two minutes to get an updated progress report on Blossoms systematic destruction of my house. I don't have to wonder if my makeup is safe from her pudgy little hands. I don't have to be the only one worrying whether watching his brother play Minecraft is going to give The Frog nightmares tonight. I'm not the only one wondering why The Jord feels that a webcam on his laptop is essential. I'm not the only short-order cook fielding requests for juice and peanut butter 'sammiches.'

Get it?

I'm so grateful that someone is coming to save me. Someone is coming home to let me be me, whoever that is, and not have to be everything to everyone else.

I don't know how single parents do this.

But it's not happening tonight. Tonight I am it. The only adult.

Pray for me please?

UPDATED: And pray for my brother and sister-in-law too. Andrew has just gone down to Christchurch to be a part of the big rebuild happening down there. Sherri is still up here and will stay until Andrew can find them a house. As you can imagine, with the massive earthquake damage, housing is in very short supply and what there is, is very expensive. She may be alone in the wasteland for a long while yet. Lift them in your prayers too, please?

Monday, 8 July 2013

What We've Been Up To

We moved house... And then the unthinkable happened - we lost The Jord's little kitty, Cocoa. After a suitable period of mourning we got another kitty for him, which he then named Cola.

Get it?

Cocoa.... Cola?

Of course, when we got to the house that was in desperately need of new homes for the fruits of their rather productive kitten season, there were two left, and do you think I could say no to either one of them?

We went home with both.

Meet Cola and Autumn.

And no, I didn't have anything to do with their names!

Blossom has been up to a lot as well, some cute and some not-so-cute:

This is one of the not-so-cutes. She has demolished several of my lipsticks! 


And then you see something like that, a random nap after playing dressup. Cute!
Speaking of cute... How adorable are these:

Is there anything more precious than a Daddy who cherishes his daughter???
Otherwise we are still growing, life is still moving along. How is everyone in the blogosphere?


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