Sunday, February 27, 2011

on the privilege of being a parent

I posted a bunch of B's baby/toddler pictures on Flickr; I managed to find them after a good deal of hunting, and I thought I'd better post them on there just in case. Looking at them, I'm just amazed at how much my baby has grown in just 5 years. In the picture above, she was just 1, and I could still carry her and walk about without any problem. I couldn't lift her for more than 20 seconds now without worrying about my back!

Just look at that! Those chubby little arms, that round baby face... and now! I'm so so blessed to be a fulltime Mom -- it's a privilege I truly thank God (and my husband) for! I love being with my kids, I hate doing stuff without them; I'm so glad I can be present at, be a part of, every stage of my children's growing up.

I know families where both parents work and are so caught up with their own desires, their own money-making plans, that they don't have any time for their kids at all, or they don't put aside any time for them, don't give them any priority. Of course it is an excellent thing to provide for our children, to make sure they have good futures and are well taken care of, but don't miss out on their childhood. It really does go by so fast. You wouldn't want to be like some people I know who are now, as adults, far closer to their nanny or some aunt or friend, because their parents were too busy for them when they were growing up. And there's so much we can learn from little children, it would be a terrible shame to let it just pass us by.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt 19:14).

Do appreciate, enjoy, cherish, downright savour your kids! Do stuff with them -- whether it's going to a movie, playing a game, reading a book together, doing a craft, chatting over tea, whatever -- don't just leave them somewhere with one of those idiotic handheld games.

As Richard Evans said, "Children will not remember you for the material things you provided, but for the feeling that you cherished them". And as Oscar Wilde said, "Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them". There's nothing quite like a child's love -- let's make sure we deserve it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I am blessed!!!!!!!

Today I went for a checkup, and God be praised, I am perfectly fine and all is well. The miraculous fact is -- I was not surprised. Why? Because God had filled me with a holy expectancy, and the wonderful, blessed assurance that all is well with me because I wait on Him and I AM in His good hands.

Now I certainly do not pretend to be Ms Super Christian -- powerful, fearless and incorruptible -- for I am far far from it. But as Joyce Meyer would say, while I may not yet be where I need to be in my Christian walk, I thank God that I'm not where I used to be. For God has taught me -- slowly but surely -- to not worry, to cast my cares on Him, and to trust Him to heal and deliver me in every area of my life. And YES -- again I say -- He IS faithful! He is, He is, He IS!

It is such a wonderful, wonderful thing to walk with God, to be in a close, personal relationship with Him. One hears His voice, feels His promptings, and it is so uplifting. When I got into the cab going home, almost the first thing I saw was a luminescent crucifix the driver had affixed to his dashboard. It was like a sign! And I just declared to him, "God is really great!" And he replied, "Yes, He really is!".

We were quiet for some time after that, but after awhile I just felt compelled to tell him how faithful God is, how He had reassured me about my checkup, and that indeed, I AM FINE! And I added, "I honestly would not be able to function without God". And this fellow, he must be at least 70, must have felt really encouraged, because then he started telling me how he had been through many trials and tribulations in his own life, but God had seen him through them all. He kept talking and talking, virtually non-stop, telling me story after story, the entire length of the journey (and that's a good half hour). And he also said, "Life is fragile. We shouldn't live what I call 'an imitation life', placing all our emphasis on externals, on being glamourous, on the superficial. Everything God blesses us with, we should use to bless others". How true! It's wonderful, reaching out to people. You can learn a lot!

Me, I just want to say, if you're going through a challenging time, hold fast to your faith and keep praying, keep praying, keep praying. God cares about you affectionately and watchfully, and He IS faithful to deliver.

Some time ago, I wrote my thoughts on this to a dear friend of mine:

I think everyone's way of walking with God is personal and unique, but what I have found very helpful is setting aside specific time every morning and evening to wait on God and talk to Him. I find these times of prayer very uplifting. They help me to get back on the right path as it were -- to remember and thank God for all my blessings (so easy for me to forget in self-pity and negativity), to repent of my sins (and that includes self-pity and negativity), and to reassert such blessed truths as -- God is always with me, God loves me, and God is faithful to deliver me. Waiting on God in the morning helps me to start my day right -- because have you noticed how sometimes you can just wake up feeling negative and depressed? And then you let that drag you down the rest of the day? I find it does wonders to immediately acknowledge God, to align my spirit, my thoughts and feelings with Him, and to get into agreement with Him, not the devil.

For me, praying through my day is very helpful too. Like before I eat, or basically whenever I want to acknowledge Him, or thank Him, or ask Him to keep me from that pit! The more I let God into my life, the more I let Him be in control, the more peace and joy I have. I ask for His help to "shake off the junk". And I keep asking Him to give me the grace to press on through the "interval".

Have I told you about this "interval"? In case I haven't, it's what one might call the crappy in-between part one sometimes has to go through. In Mark, ch4, you can read:

35On that same day [when] evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].

36And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, [just] as He was, in the boat [in which He was sitting]. And other boats were with Him.

37And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.

38But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?

39And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).

40He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?

41And they were filled with great awe and feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?

And then -- after the stormy "interval" -- "They came to the other side of the sea". Well, I think you know what I'm trying to say with this right? God is always with us, He WILL see us safely through, and we WILL come out on the other side. We just have to have faith and press on with a good, bold attitude. I need God's grace to do so, and so I ask Him for it. Sometimes it seems like God is "asleep in the boat" and we start panicking, but we have to remember HE IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL and though we are not, it is enough that we know the One who is.

In order to enjoy God's wonderful blessings and plans for us, WE have to do our part -- consciously staying positive and peaceful, not being complainy, envious and negative -- trusting to God's timing and deliverance -- and ensuring that the thoughts in our head and the words coming out from our mouths are in agreement with Him. Cliched as it may sound -- we really must count our blessings!

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Wake up every day declaring "GOD LOVES ME!!!!!!! I AM BLESSED!!!!!!! I AM EXPECTING GOD'S FAVOUR EVERYWHERE I GO!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tips for a happy life...

... from my 6-year-old:

Be kind, care for someone.
Be helpful, help someone.
Sing the happiest song you know out loud all day.
Be free, sing aloud while walking in the park all day.


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