Going for the King

The reason we find ourselves on the road again this time is simply, the same as before…. God told us to go. So we are going. Once again nothing more than a simple step of obedience.

Positioning the Prophetic

What a privilege it was this weekend to join up with and be a part of a prophetic team. We (the team) spent the weekend encouraging the church on hearing the promises Jesus has for his people. Of course catching up with friends who travel the country too and mom turning a blind eye to the colouring my sister’s face all makes it such fun for our children.

But they are also very much a part of the team – dancing, praying and bringing words. This was a really awesome weekend of seeing people healed and God breaking into the darkest corners of people’s lives with the freedom of the truth.

Our Story Our Song Day 16 – Fish Hoek Beach

Saturday 25 Feb

20170225_095042By the morning I can no longer dwell on or consider the “what if” and what will be of the next few days. Living in the here and now is all that afford ones sanity. So waking early and noting that the tide would be out soon, we worked hard to bustle ourselves off to Fish Hoek beach.

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Oh and what a treat was in store for us! As we arrived a train pulled into the station. Then as we walked onto the beach a team of old school fisherman were bringing in their nets with their great catch of yellow tail fish. What fun we had watching and jumping out the way as they hauled it all ashore.

20170225_094745Opened doors

This time even opened doors for us to speak to various beach goers about the fish, where they lived and their lives.  With some we could even testify to the goodness of Jesus within our lives. After this excitement our children hurried to the sea to splash and dig in the sand.

Before long a siren broke the calm and the white flag of shark alert was hoisted upon the flag pole. What fun it was watching people 20170225_102639who were already 2 meters away from the ocean dash further up off Fish Hoek beach, in case the shark were to jump ashore. So much excitement for one morning was awesome. The girls also made another 9 year old friend upon the beach. This was an answer to prayer for them as they have so missed all their friends at home.

After all this great excitement we were able spend the afternoon catching up with old friends and meeting their 5 and 2 year olds for the first time. Amber-May particularly loved her time in the park with Hannah. The evening was then spend catching up with another friend from way back when. Aaahh the sweet, sweet flavour of friendship and what we learn from each other. We spent a great deal of time discussing identity in Christ – which is something that God has gently been teaching us in the past year. How beautiful to see Jesus knitting the same threads throughout his body. The most profound moment was her statement that “at the age of 6 I gave my life to Jesus but only at 40 did I start living with Jesus.”

Before we knew it we saw that it was 1 am and we hurriedly said our farewells. Meeting old friends from a story that was written here 15 years ago and being able to bring truth and perspective into some very hurt lives is something we seem to be doing without that being part of the plan. It’s a prayer that through us healing will come through God using us here.

Our Story Our Song Day 14

Thursday 23 Feb 
20170223_123525This morning dawned bright and sunny but Neil and my moods were far from reflecting that. I could hear what I always tell the children,  “You can’t let your situation determine your mood,” swirling  around in my mind but yet the reality of not knowing where we would be staying next week was weighing so heavily upon me. My stomach ached and I could feel myself slipping into the panic mode I had lived in and needed to choose to fight off so many times in the past 2 years. At least I can now recognise it but try as I may I could just not fight it. How I miss the sweet fellowship at North Hills Church at home. Someone to go visit and to call and pray with you. We were sinking… All I could say was that I felt like I was on Survivor and was waiting to be voted off and sent home.

It’s not often that I get into such a bad place within my mind but when I do I feel like there is simply no way out or forward. I had begun asking on gumtree and searching Facebook and property sites in all earnestness, we began to talk about Neil maybe needing to get a job while we are here so we can pay for rent….. we were doing, making a plan every minute. Yet deep down I knew none of this would work. I knew it was all wrong but I had to do something. I had to make a plan I had to save us from not having a place to stay!

Then Living Hope called to move our meeting to Monday. So now the questions rage…. Should we be going to Living Hope? Does God want us to work into another area? We have committed to a time of serving how does that look and where will it happen?

After breakfast we called the children together to pray. Such simple prayers they offered. Simply asking God to show us the way forward and where we will stay. Everyone prayed right from Riley and Maisy we all offered up our prayers and requests.

After which they all offer up words of encouragement and what was on their hearts.

Nate shared the words from a song that said: “The mysteries of our God revealed” They are revealed but we don’t know when that will happen… now or a second before when we need them.

Kadin said he kept thinking of the scripture: John 17 – where Jesus is praying for all the believers to be unified. The exact scripture God had given us the week before.

And Lily read Ephesians 3: 14 -21 – A Prayer for the Ephesians: “14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  

All these words so encouraged for us all! It is so amazing having your children on team with you.

The whole time I kept thinking of the name of a friend of ours that we had not seen in the last few years. I know she’s had a tough time so I had only wanted to have fun when we saw her and not burden her by asking if she knew of anywhere we could stay but I kept feeling to contact her…..

So after our prayers I sent out a quick WhatsApp to her to say we were in town and hoped to connect sometime but we didn’t know if or where we’ll be next week.

20170223_074558We then managed to do some school work and Neil met some work deadlines before setting out to explore Simons Town and Boulders beach. On the way we stopped at estate agents and 2 other places to see if we could find accommodation. All fruitless efforts. I was still feeling an absolute melting down panic boiling within my mind and yet somehow since we had prayed my soul was at rest. I am finding so strange how in the last while I find myself often walking in these two different realms at the same time. Maybe someday I’ll learn to trust the kingdom realm to let go and just rest in what I know – deep within my soul – is right and peaceful.

20170223_143324Whilst playing at Boulders beach I checked my phone and there was a message from my friend saying she has two rooms for us to come and stay in. I’m not sure why we are to stay there or how it will work as it is far from Living Hope but God has clearly directed us to her door so it’s with excitement and anticipation that we will enter into the next part of our adventure.

What a better way to end off a miraculous day than to spend the evening with old friends catching up on the past 7 years whilst watching our kids reconnect and watching today close over the sea and mountains below. What an awesome, faithful God we serve!

Our Story Our Song Day 12 – 13

Tuesday 21 Feb – Wednesday 22 Fed

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By 9am we were packed up and on the road again. We knew that we had a long trip ahead of  us and we were all keen to get to Cape Town now so no sight-seeing was planned – just a long haul straight through to Cape Town. These kids are just amazing. They astound me with their ability to travel. Yet I see how the short trips we had to Pretoria last year and our trip to Kruger – where they all happily spent their day in the car looking for game proved to us they were able to do long hours in the car. This along with a prepacked bag of road trip activities, from sticker books to strips of contacts paper with little things to stick onto it, keep them all busy. We have also discovered the joy of audio stories that we are enjoying as a family, but I am constantly surprised that the biggest hit is for me to read while they draw or colour in. So the day quickly passed and suddenly were popped over Sir Lowry’s Pass and there below lay false bay! So much excitement filled our little contained space that I thought the car would explode.

20170221_135117We took a slow drive through the Cape flats – passed all the shacks adorned with satellite dishes and the roads piled with sand from the gale force winds blowing in from the sea.
Eventually we found our way to our friend’s house that we are house sitting and were all so excited to finally be here. Our happy day was topped off by a run on Fish Hoek beach – while the wind pummeled the shore the children chased the gulls before devouring chip rolls in the car and were all so ready to fall asleep as soon as we were back at the house.

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Wednesday was spent surprising old friends and showing the children some of our old favourite spots in and around the Southern Suburbs. The highlight of the day must have been the children’s first sighting of the squirrels as well as having lunch upon a rock Kadin used to love jumping from when he was 3 years old.

Kids were in bed at a decent time – for a change – and we intended on going to bed early. As we were locking up Neil picked up a pillow that was just outside the veranda door. One of the children had spilled something on it so I had placed it there to dry. Suddenly he jumped back as he lifted the pillow and there lay a puff adder snake!

Once the snake collector had come at 10pm to collect it and we had made sure that the fire we could see in the distance – was in fact not going to come any closer – we crept into bed. Only then did we realise how God was and is still so in control of the tiny details of our lives. Had I not put that pillow there the snake would have come into the house and if we had picked up the pillows earlier the snake would not have been so docile and would probably have struck.

Knowing all this I know with all my heart that God is for us and we serve such a mighty God and yet the fear and worry of the unknown place to stay next week is beginning to gnaw at my mind. In this unknown place I ask on Facebook if anyone knows of somewhere we can stay….. A friend messages to ask some details…. And though she can’t help I see that the last time I chatted to her on Facebook was in 2010 and what’s more there it is the link to a website that I have been looking for years. Royal Kids. I have wondered for years now who this group was that brought in untouchable children and raised them as prayer warriors for the nation. As I revisited their website and was reminded of the power of prayer we are realising that tomorrow we really need to pray together as a family! And yet the questions plague and the worry entangles. My stomach aches grow and Neil’s stiff neck makes sleep somewhat unrestful…..  Is this really where God wants us? Have we heard wrong? Should we just go home? I remember Neil’s prayer at supper – God please give us a place to stay compared to Kadin who simply prayed “God show us the next place we are to stay at.” Oh the faith of a child.

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Growing a Great People

So the many days rush by blurring into yet another year… “My how they have grown.” “How old are they now?”, “Look he’s taller than you” – yeh… well… almost!

In the trenches we don’t see or measure these things. We just keep the meals coming and washing folded. Yet truth reigns and another year slips under the radar – hard to measure yet easy to view as friendships deepened, clothes seem to have shrunk as legs have sprouted and confidences have grown.

This Mamma heart swelling with pride as our little troop joined in the Christmas service – violin poised and voices raised. Greeting adults with young manly handshakes and choosing to not take the biggest or be brave enough to say they don’t need yet another slice. Why yes I do see they have grown!

Small army of ours gathered outside on a chilly, windy, Christmas eve dressed as shepherds guarding their little toy flock. Bread poised above a shared pootjie pot of soup. Sparkling eyes, brother banter, voices rising to sing into the Silent Night.

I stand in awe as I survey this festivity our love has created. One Mamma’s heart swollen beyond this created realm.

Sleep evading me I crept out to greet a dark, wet Christmas morn. Enveloped in the predawn the presence of God wrapped around a deep worn heart. Candles flicking Hope into this new season as preparations for the day ahead are being born. One man child emerging from his slumber into the candle light to share his mother’s joy. Unrestrained exuberance digging into his stocking treasure. Full of awe I watch this teetering between unrestrained childishness and embracing the uncharted territory of adulthood as he digs in gleefully, then pauses – looks up grinning, “These were such good ideas for our stockings – Thanks Mom.” Slowly more little souls emerge clutching their loot come join us in the candle light.

Mamma’s heart filled with deep warm oozing love for these great beings from which I daily learn so much. Yet as I survey this my heart breaks. It breaks for my humanity that I carry – how I so easily crumple these precious ones with my careless words and harsh tones. If my Heavenly father spoke and instructed me in the ways I often allow to carelessly slip off my tongue would I want to call him Father? Yet these resilient children of mine look up with eyes brimful of love and endearment. Again my heart breaks. “Father fill me with your wisdom as I raise these souls of yours! Fill me with your thoughts and your words! Fill my well and capacity so deep that my patience expounds all reason and logic.”

As I gingerly reach for each of their gifts they have for me –  from bookmarks to flowers to poems and chubby finger scribbling – each one personally thought of and made just for me, as I watch them thank a sibling for the grapes they have given them or share in the joy of another’s gift – my heart strings pull. Heaven is filled with my prayer – “Oh Father God how did you dare entrust me with these precious children of yours?”

So today as I stand and see the morn of yet another year sprinkling the horizon. As the rays peep over the closing of this chapter and the opening of another new year I cling to the request of Solomon,

“But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people…. So give your servant a discerning  heart to govern your people and to distinguish  between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

“A Great People” – Yes who am I to be entrusted with such as these? Each day this week, month, year – till I begin to get it right – I pray Dear Father help me guard my words and give me wisdom to train these Great People in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it but will instead be ready to do the will of their Father.”  So yes this year they have grown greatly, in all aspects – but above all that they are loved more fiercely by this mamma every day.

 

St Nicholas Celebration

Many years ago when our first son celebrated his first Christmas something just didn’t sit right with us regarding the whole Santa Clause – Father Christmas experience. This was strange as these childhood fantasies were the structure upon which my childhood was build. That aside… we chose a different route for our growing family.

We are in a difficult situation as the rest of the cousins believe in Father Christmas, sleigh , reindeer and elves overseeing their annual behaviour… Therefore in a bid to maintain family relationships and not foster pride in our children (explaining to them that other people choose to celebrate St Nicholas day on Christmas day) we chose to create and celebrate our own St Nicholas day.  This began with us making a pope’s hat – which is looking a bit weathered after 11 years of use. Then on the 6 December, after dinner we sit the children down and using very basic pictures off clipart we tell the wonderful story of how a real pope called Saint Nicholas helped pay for 3 girls to get married, by throwing gold down the chimney into their stockings. During the story Dad leaves the room and as I end the story he reappears in the hat and a big jacket or bathrobe. How funny how the children don’t recognise him! Only at the age of 6 does one of them say, “but it’s dad!” Only for us to hear another whisper, “He just has Dad’s shoes on!” St Nicolas then greets the children and says he’s so glad to hear us telling of how he gave and he then gives each child a tiny gift. This may even be just a small bag of sweets – the one year they got a tub of ice-cream to share with the family. He then reminds them about God and how he gave Jesus and how we must now prepare our hearts to give during the Christmas season.

After a quick photo shoot he leaves and the children head off to bed. This is the beginning of our time of thinking of others. This is out played in that each child is to personally make gifts for other family members. Another activity is that when we put up the nativity set Jesus manger is empty and we have a small tub of straw. Every time someone helps another or silently serves someone they get to put a piece of straw in the manger. It’s the hope that on Christmas morning there will be a soft bed for Jesus to lie in.

St Nicholas day has become a much loved family celebration that lasts maybe 45 minutes and yet speaks volumes to not only the children, but our hearts too.

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Christmas – Our Way

Christmas has always been an interesting time in our home. And in the homeschool circles you come across many families who no longer celebrate this holiday. I have always been so grateful that during our first years of marriage we lived in a town far from family so that we could work through some tough thought processes and decisions. On our return to living amongst the family we had managed to establish our own traditions, beliefs and who we were.

The most obvious of these was Christmas. We came to realise that this season has so many roots and evokes huge emotion within people. We could spend hours discussing the different world views and the pros and cons to various views. Instead I’ll simply share how we as a family spend this special season. We have spent a great deal of time learning about the different Jewish festivals and how these link to Christianity. From this study we have begun to celebrate Hanukkah which celebrates the miracle of light. This we find is an awesome introduction to Christmas as it keeps us focused on Jesus, the Light of the world. The 6 December then finds us celebrating St Nicolas Day. This we found fundamental as all the cousins have father Christmas arrive on Christmas day and whilst we chose to move away from this we found it important to honour them and not teach our children to be filled with pride by saying “we right and they are wrong,” – we simply do things differently. So by us celebrating a ST Nicolas day we could simply explain they celebrate St Nicolas day on Christmas day.

The the decision as to whether we should celebrate Christmas at all… After much deliberation we decided to continue celebrating it, for a number of reasons. Firstly the rest of our family does – many of whom are not saved so we saw this as an excellent chance to witness to them. We found it was an entire month of celebrating our savior and focusing on him. Christ himself recognised and celebrated Hanukkah which was not a God ordained holiday but rather a man made one. Therefore if our hearts are right we too are free to celebrate man made holidays and traditions.

So as a family Christmas is an exciting, much anticipated time of year. It does require much preparation and heart searching but that is what makes this time so special to us all.

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Just Waiting…

Mother with Children [front]

Recently, during worship at church, I wandered to the back with baby on my arm. Soon I noticed one of the twins had followed me. Catching up she complained how sore her tummy was. Knowing there were people all around, I had no medicine or snack to help and it was freezing outside, there was little I could do. Gently reassuring her I explained that if she waited just a little longer I may be able to help her after worship. Nodding she wandered off for a bit then quietly came back and lay on the carpet and curled up on my feet. And there she lay in a little ball and waited.

She still felt uncomfortable and sore but yet she chose to lay down, curled up on my feet. Waiting for me to take control. Waiting for me, in my time, to reach down, pick her up and use my huge “Mommy Power” to make all things right again. And all the while she simply curled up and waited, occasionally looking up from way own there, giving me a huge grin or whispering, “I love you, Mom.”

What a lesson for me today. How often to I beseech my heavenly father and hound Him to answer me here and now. How often do I hammer His chest and yell and cry and try to force his hand to fulfill my ever urgent “NOW.” Yet in Mathew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Like a little child let me learn today to bring my requests to Him. Then too, like my little daughter, lay at his feet and in expectant, anticipation simply quietly, rest and wait.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

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Walking in a Land of Hope

Well to say the least 2013 has been one adventure followed by the next… Besides losing our internet connection for 7 months – and hence the lack of blogging, we have started a new business Cedar Wood – an education facilitation center, changed jobs, had a baby and all got a year older all whilst continuing with the realities of daily life.

Our theme for Christmas last year was Hope. Hope in Christ, Hope in new beginnings, Hope in friendships, Hope in meeting a healthy baby soon, Hope in the starting of a new business, Hope in anticipated family days blooming ahead and often just plain Hope in the fact that we do in fact have the joy of Hoping.

Many times the clouds have gathered, pressure has surmounted, jobs have toppled, relationships have been strained, parenting stretched and one has lost every glimmer of hope. Yet the promise has still stood. The promise of a future, the promise of a tomorrow, the promise of God, saving grace and the promised Hope of forever. Yet the simple small word of “Hope” has been the anchor. The anchor that holds, the anchor that binds, the anchor that bridges us upon the wandering, often storming waves, to the firm unwavering rock below.

As we have walked this uncharted land and forged where we have not been before the sturdy rock of Hope, that sure foundation of all time, has allowed us to hold fast to keep looking ahead and to know tomorrow will come.

As we enter the last months of 2013 our Hope still stands firm, today we stand looking toward the horizon and instead of seeing the endless storming sea of What Next, we are viewing the firm land of tomorrow. Where exactly that tomorrow is or what that land holds we will not know until we step upon its soil. One thing we do however know is that tomorrow is no longer a Hope of a future but rather a sure foundation upon which we are headed, a solid land to which we have been promised.

To live without Hope is to live forever upon the stormy sea of doubt and panic. To live without Hope is to wander aimlessly upon uncharted seas without a compass or the sun to guide one. To live without Hope is to forever swim in darkness with knowing the morning will never come.

Hope is however the light, compass and surety of tomorrow that keeps one moving solidly forward through the darkest, most stormy seas. It’s this Hope upon which we have learned, during this year, to cling and live. And it’s this Hope, the Hope that sends a double rainbow after the most epic storms – that has offered us not only a solace and comfort but fed us with Joy and excitement as we’ve traveled upon this crazy, uncharted path called Our Life!

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Hanukkah Celebration

As a family we have been exploring the Hebrew festivals and celebrations. What a blessing and insight this has given us!

This year, for the first time, during our year-end celebrations, we’ve celebrated Hanukkah. This is not a “biblical holiday” – in that God didn’t instruct His people to follow it but it was created by the Jewish people in a time between the testaments. We do therefore see Jesus go up to Jerusalem to celebrate this Jewish Festival of Lights – John 10:22-23.

The story goes that after Alexander the Great died his kingdom was divided and Antiochus Epiphanes took over Jerusalem in 176 BCE Judaism was outlawed and the temple was desecrated. An image of Zeus was erected and a pig was slaughtered on the alter. Any Jew who did not bow down and worship Zeus or continued to practice Judaism was murdered. A small band led by Judas Maccabeus conducted gorilla warfare upon the Greeks until they were able to reclaim the temple. They then spent time restoring the temple and building a new alter. Once everything was ready for the re-dedication of the temple – exactly 1000 years after the first temple was dedicated – it was found that there was not enough oil to light the menorah, which was to burn day and night. There was only enough oil for one day and it would take another eight days to produce more oil. However they lit the menorah with the oil they had and it miraculously stayed burning for the full eight days! Hence the Jews spend this time celebrating the miracle of God’s provision and they rededicated themselves to Him. It is also thought that this festival maybe where Christmas derived it’s date from as the Jews celebrate Hanukkah on 25 Kislev, and Kislev is the closest month they have to December. Therefore the early Greek or Roman church may have used this date to create their own festival to celebrate the birth of Christ.
I’ve just stumbled across this great review on some books to read to your child during Hanukkah – you’ll find these book for sale in our store.

As Christians however this time has a far deeper significance. Firstly Jesus is the light of our lives, the word is the lamp to our feet and we are the light to the world – so this celebration reminds us as we rededicate ourselves to the Light that we too are to keep burning for him. Looking at when Jesus and John the baptist were born, it is suggested by some that Jesus, the light of the world, was in fact conceived during the festival of Hanukkah.

As we didn’t have a  menorah to light we’ve created our own one with tea-light candles and a bigger “servant candle.” Before supper each night we light our candles, says the blessings and then read through Psalms 114 -118, which often results in us wanting to sing songs of praise! We then enjoy dinner together – which we are adding a special pudding to every night as a treat. Hanukkah is a family holiday that is celebrated with joy and love. As we have said the blessings – knowing that thousands of people are saying the same blessings at the same time and that in fact thousands of years ago on this day Jesus too said these blessings – we have stood in awe as to how partaking in this festival has deepened our own and our children’s understanding of how Jesus is the light of the world.

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