24/06/2017

A Difficulty or an Opportunity?

What difficulties are you facing at the moment?
Marriage difficulties,
Financial stress,
A health problem,
A change to adjust to,
Sick children,
or what about the everyday difficulties of looking after your children,
 being a good wife and trying to keep order in your home?

Every difficulty is an opportunity to grow and to experience God's faithfulness as you see Him provide.

If you know me well, you will know that I don't usually have that bright perspective! If you've heard me talk about our upcoming trip to Holland, you will know that I am a bit of an Eeyore! A while back someone asked me if I was excited about our trip. Excited?? "Dreading it is more like it!" was my gloomy answer.
I see hours and hours of sitting in a plane with 4 little children and no sleep to help me cope, 5 weeks of language barriers with a child who could easily end up in hospital, then a long plane trip to get back home.
Usually what I share on this blog is what I am learning, not what I have been practicing for years!
I am praying for a positive perspective and I want a positive perspective!
I can choose to see this trip as an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to see God answer my prayers to help me cope each day. Or I can just do what I naturally do and only see the difficulties.

I am reading a book at the moment of testimonies of missionary people who saw God provide their physical needs, like food, money, etc. It is exciting to see the amazing ways that God provides and God seems far more real when we have those experiences.
But there are other needs we can trust God for too. And it is just as rewarding seeing God answer. It's up to us to pray for His help and watch for His answers.


22/06/2017

Priorities

I love this priority list from the book 'A Woman After God's Own Heart.' I am a pro at getting them all the wrong way around in my life! Which is why I have put them on my fridge.

Helping Someone Through a Trial

Do you wonder how to help a friend who is going through a trial? I still do, but I thought I would share what helped me the most during my biggest trial (A year and a half ago our baby was born with heart problems and Down Syndrome. She spent a good six months of her first year in hospital.) I know everyone is different and different things help different people. But I hope these are helpful.
1)Encourage them
I always felt encouraged when someone told me I was doing well. Because I often felt like I wasn’t! I found it difficult, I cried sometimes, I questioned God sometimes and often just wanted out. So being told I was doing well helped me to keep my chin up and keep going.
2)Sympathy is often enough
Be careful not to be too preachy! There were times that a verse/quote/poem etc. someone shared with me was helpful. But most of the time, sympathy helped the most. To be able to share how you are really doing without feeling judged. Words can sound empty if you are not also going through/have been through a similar thing. It’s easy to think “You try it then!” It is nice to hear, “I would find that difficult too.”
3)Don’t judge
I know there have been times when I have judged someone who was going through a tough time. But I had no clue what it was like. You don’t know what you would do or how you would react until you are faced with it yourself.
4)Let them know you’re thinking of them.
Unless you let them know, they don’t know you are thinking of them! They may be on your mind a lot but unless you make some kind of contact with them, they don’t know.
And it means a lot to know someone is thinking of you!
5)Don’t get offended.
Before our baby was born, I didn’t send many texts. So, when I started texting people after she was born, I quickly ran out of texts. I had to get a different deal on my phone so I could send more texts without it costing too much. But until I got it sorted, I just couldn’t answer some people. Also, there were times when I would receive five texts all at once, or sometimes I was feeling too upset at the time to answer. There were times that I had a lot of internet, and other times when I had hardly any. There were days I was super busy when our children were visiting. (But in general, I loved 
keeping in contact with people that way!) So, don’t get offended if that person doesn’t answer or even if they don’t want a visit.
6)Spoil them
When you are going through a tough time, all you want is for it to be over. But getting spoiled helps make it all more bearable and pleasant. We got spoiled majorly! One week we were taken out for dinner three times! I spent my birthday in hospital and I have never gotten so many cards and presents! Being spoiled truly helps.
7)Pray for them
You may feel helpless, but if you are praying you are doing something. I really wonder what it all would have been like for us if no one had been praying for us. It sometimes seemed like I could feel the prayers.
But don’t just pray for the trial to be over, pray for them to learn and grow through it all. Because that is what’s most important.
8)Don’t only focus on their problems
It was so nice the way people cared about what we were going through. It’s nice to be asked how it’s going. But sometimes I needed to focus on something other than our problems. I remember having a difficult week in hospital when some friends came to visit. Afterwards I felt so much better, because most of the time they had talked about general things and it had taken my mind off the trials of that week.
We knew before our baby was born that she had heart problems. Every Sunday people would ask how it was going with our baby. While I appreciated people’s concern and care, I started to dread going to church. Because I would usually have to explain over and over what was going on and it would get me focused on it all again. So be concerned, but talk about general happy things aswell!
9)Answer Their Questions
There were times people would contact me asking how it was going. (I am thinking now of the 3 months when we were in Starship hospital, a long way from home, and too far away for most people to visit). I would share what was happening, then I would ask how they were doing. Sometimes I would get no answer. While I understand completely, I sometimes felt very disconnected from people. I asked because I wanted to know! I felt like everyone knew how I was doing, but I didn’t know how anybody else was!
So if you’re asked how you’re doing, answer even though you feel it can’t be important to them!
10) Don't forget about them afterwards
When things settled down at home after hospital stays, life was still hard! We were home and all together as a family again (and very thankful for that!), but some days were just as difficult as when we were in hospital. When life got back to 'normal' I had to come to term with Down syndrome again. I had to face the fact that life wasn't 'normal' anymore.Lydia was tube fed for her first year and it was a difficult, frustrating and time consuming challenge to get her off that. Even tube feeding was scary. There were all the medicines to keep up with. I so missed a life without all the hospital appointments, complications and just the fear of Lydia going back to hospital. I came very close to being depressed. Thankfully Lydia has steadily improved and it has gotten better and easier with a long stretch of good health.
But remember when the worst is 'over', they may still need support, prayers and encouragement!

12/06/2017

"Don't Worry" Craft

This is another easy flower related craft. I told the story in the Bible in Luke 12 about God looking after the birds and the lilies. It's basically cardboard, colored card/paper scraps cut into petals, stalks and leaves. We made white stripes on the liles using glue and salt. And we used some bird stickers and little rhinestone flowers.




09/06/2017

Choose Joy

We often can't choose our circumstances, but we CAN choose contentment, thankfulness and joy!

29/05/2017

2 Fun Activities

It's been a while since I posted a Kids Activity or a Recipe. So here is two in one go.
They are both very inexpensive just using up what's in your cupboards.

Be Thankful Craft
You just need paper/cardboard preferably coloured. Cut petals, circles and stalks. Make flowers and write on the petals what the children are thankful for.
My 3 year old boy who doesn't like crafts found this fun!

Marble Cake




3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup white flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g melted butter
2 tblsp boiling water
1 tblsp cocoa
2-3 drops of red food colouring

Beat eggs until thick. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture is very thick and white. Sift flour and baking powder together. Fold into egg mixture. Fold in butter and boiling water. Divide mixture into three equal parts. Into one-third stir the cocoa, and to another third add enough red food colouring to make a pink mixture. Leave the last third plain. Spoon the three mixtures in diagonal stripes into a greased and lined 20 cm square cake tin. Using a knife twirl together the three mixtures. Bake at 190C for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes springs back when lightly touched.
Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

22/05/2017

Be Patient

Thismorning I was plaiting Hannah's hair before she went to school. She was building with Lego while I worked on her hair. I was half way through an inside out French plait when Hannah decided she had had enough.
"Can you stop it now, Mummy?" she complained.
I thought, If I stop now, your hair will be a mess again.
Hannah couldn't see the beautiful plait I was making. She was impatient because she thought it was taking too long.
Are you like Hannah? Are there things in your life that make you say, 'I'm over it. I've had enough. This has gone on long enough?'
Do you ask God to 'stop it?' To put an end to your problems?
Maybe God is working something beautiful in your life through your trials. Maybe He is working the beauty of patience, perseverance, love, joy, peace, self control etc.Be patient and trust Him. Just let Him do what He is trying to do.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4