Joy

Recently, I attended a conference and we had the pleasure of having Nikki Fletcher of Worship Central Australia leading worship.    Nikki Fletcher is a little bundle of energy to Worship with….such an encourager, love her passion to see others coming closer to Christ through Worship. She encouraged us to worship constantly and especially to worship in the mundane.   She taught us this song….Nikki called it cheesy, it may be a little, but it captivates such truth….Christ is my JOY.

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What is Love?

I believe true love is loving as Christ first loved us! What an incredible example God gave us in sending his Son to die on the cross at Calvary, so that whoever believed in him may have Eternal Life.  I’m so grateful the cross isn’t the end of the story, but Christ rose again and today he lives, promising Eternal life to all who acknowledge He is the only one who can atone for their sins and accept Him as the Lord and Saviour of their lives.

In Luke 10:27, He Says ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  He wants us to love Him with all of our capacity, whatever level of strength or intellect we may have. One of the best ways of displaying our love for him is living out his example and loving others, as we would want to be loved.

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I need to love Jesus as He loved me.  He loved me with his all, he was wholly committed to loving me.  He loved me to the point of going to the cross before I even knew about him. To truly love him, I need to love as he loved…I need to love others and be a light for Jesus.

Another facet of Jesus’ love is that it is totally unconditional, he expects nothing in return.  However, as a Christian, my hearts desire is to be more and more like Him.  To honour Him is to want to live like him, I need shine a light for Jesus…I need to be Him to those around me who don’t yet know Him.

Do know the love of Jesus in your life?  Are you loving as he would have you love?

An Innocent Question ….

Should we be asking this question,  it’s a question, we ask quite naively and innocently, it’s a question we don’t mean to cause harm with, it’s a question that can stir up so much emotion in the person it is asked of, it’s just a question …. often one we ask this question in a woman to woman situation as we seek to find a point of connection and grow deeper in friendship.   So what is this innocent question …. “How many children do you have?”  When we ask this question, it is to appear interested and show our desire to know someone more. How ever, you answer this question you can feel judged, you may perceive the other party to be wondering why you had just one, or the supposedly ‘perfect two’ or five. Depending of course on the age of the youngest, the question is often followed by a subsequent question “will you have anymore?”. Whatever, you answer to these questions there seems to be questions that follow, sometimes unspoken questions, sometimes these revolve around why that number of children, why the age gap etc.

Last week, an exceptionally precious friend of mine posted on Facebook her battle with this question.  You see she lost her second child in an incredibly tragic accident some five years ago now.  Whenever she meets someone new and they ask how many children she has, she always weighs her answer, can she cope today with the sympathy that immediately arises when she mentions she lost one at age two, or does she simply respond that she has three (the living ones). She really struggles with this one because it’s denying her lost son ever existed. It’s a daily battle in her life and grief process. The unspoken question, she sometimes feels compelled to answer is how did her darling son die?  and further subsequent questions.

My personal story is somewhat different to my dear friends story.  I had two bouncing bundles of joy with an almost minimal age gap. Often I get asked why I stopped at two, I love to fill my home with extras, I always welcome my children’s friends into my home. We may look like the picture perfect family, Mum, Dad and the “perfect’ boy then girl family, however, we would have loved to fill our hearts and home with more children of our own.  Life had other plans and my body performed two unexplainable miracles … I have had major physical health battles and pregnancy issues which meant, after my treasured daughter arrived, it was strongly recommended we do not have anymore. While I outwardly give the impression I am content with just the two, and feel I have come to terms with the situation, there are days when I really struggle with this still, particularly when certain friends who have children of a similar age to mine have produced babies number three and four.  My youngest may be 11 and I may have moved on in my head, but every now and again my heart drags my head back to my dream of having at least three.

Meanwhile, another friend who has not met her life partner and now advanced in years grieves for the fact she will never know the joy of motherhood.  Because of her age, she is sometimes asked if she has any children, she doesn’t but she’s an amazing aunt to two darling little later in life blessings to her brother and sister-in-law. For this precious friend there is the grief of life not panning out the way she dreamed it to be during her younger years, a dream that included a fabulous husband who happily allowed her to be the stay at home mother she dreamt of being to three gorgeous wee children. We have had many conversations about being content with what we have, acknowledging that God’s life plan for us is not our life plan.

For all three of us, the question is a minefield, depending on our circumstances we answer accordingly.  It’s always honest, but the depth of honesty depends on where we are at on the day, where the conversation is headed and whether we believe it to be a one off meeting or the beginning of something deeper.

I firmly believe we should be asking the question, but we need to be sensitive in how we ask it.  We need to be prepared to listen because for many women the number of children they have is firmly rooted in their life story. We also need to be prepared to understand we may not get the full story first time or that it might just all come flooding out.