Blessed to Be a Blessing

There is one thing my parents taught me and my siblings that I am so thankful for!
They taught us that we are blessed to be a blessing. They taught us to use our talents and time to bless others. They taught us to serve others. They taught us to be givers. They taught us to be others- focused instead of self-focused.
For example, we are a very musical family. Instead of using our talents to win awards and things like that, they took us to resthomes every Easter and Christmas. We learned to use our talents to share the gospel and bless others. 
We had a very large home with outside flats, and my parents used these to have tourists stay with us, to reach out to them and try to share with them the blessings of the gospel that someone shared with us.
These are just two examples.
A year ago, my husband brought a little shop to make into an outreach center as a way to bless others and share the gospel with them. Straight away my family jumped on board and have done everything they can to support us in it. During the school holidays one of my sisters had some time off her job, so she offered to travel down here and use her holiday time to paint the shop!
My parents have done us a huge favor by teaching us to serve others! Life lived for ourselves is so empty and not worth living. But a life lived first of all for God and then for others, is the most fulfilling life there is. What is the greatest commandments? To love God first and then to love others as ourselves. This is what my parents taught us.
So the first challenge to you and me is...Are we servants? Do we look for ways to bless others with what God has blessed us with? Are we others-focused? Do we use our talents, time, money, energy etc. to bless others and honor God?
And the second challenge is...Are we teaching this to our children? Are we teaching them to be servants or to be selfish and self-centered? Are we teaching them to live for themselves or for God and others? Are we teaching them to be givers or grabbers?

Are you teaching your children how to be fulfilled and satisfied?
Are you doing your children a favor by the way you are raising them?


Are you sure you're not...

I heard a question the other day which has made me think a lot. Somebody asked another person, "Are you sure you're not making it more difficult than it is?"
An interesting question! Is it possible to make something more difficult than it is?
I think so. Especially if you are a perfectionist or if you are proud! In many areas of life it is easy to over complicate things.
If my life or my faith is getting too complicated or overwhelming, I should stop and ask, "Am I making this harder than it really is?"
Am I making 'keeping my house clean' harder than it is? Am I trying to make my home perfect instead of clean?
Am I making 'looking after my children' more difficult than it really is? Am I trying to be super mum instead of a good mum?
Am I making 'menu planning and shopping' harder than it is?
Am I making 'being a Christian' harder than it really is?

If I am trying to be perfect, I am making it harder than it is.
If I am trying to do something without God's help, I am making it harder than it is.
If I don't simply take God at His Word and believe what He has said, I am making things way harder than they really are.


When it Gets Too Hard

Do you ever feel that something is too hard for you? Something you know you are supposed to do, and yet it seems too hard?
Just being a mother is sometimes too hard for me! To know what to do sometimes is beyond me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the wrong kind of person to be a mum. I can't tolerate a certain amount of noise, I get exhausted quickly and I love alone time.
And then being the mother of a child with Down Syndrome is definitely too hard for me. I am naturally very impatient and like instant results. Having a special needs child takes a huge amount of patience and it can take a very long time to see results. I know other woman who would be much better at it! I like to be relaxed, but it's very busy and sometimes stressful keeping up with Lydia's needs.
BUT... it is good when life gets too hard for me. Well, it's not good when I just grumble and complain and say "I can't do it." But it's good when I realize how much I need God's help. With His help, I can do whatever He wants me to do. When I realize my own weakness and ask God for His strength, I experience God's help.
God gave Moses a job to do that completely overwhelmed him. Moses said, " I can't do it. I'm not the right one for the job. I'm not good at that." And yet, He is the one God chose. Naturally, he couldn't do it. But with God's help, He did it!
Is there something in your life that you feel you just can't do, and yet you are sure it is what you are supposed to do?
Be encouraged! Naturally you can't do it. But if you are dependent on God for His help, you CAN do it!



Contentment is an area of my life that needs a lot of growth, which is why I chose this sermon to listen to. I have been given a lot of food for thought for this week, and it has challenged my perspective. I might need to listen to it regularly! So, in case you are like me, I'm sharing the link! It's worth listening to.
 To listen click Here


A Touching Prayer

Lately my girls had a book out from the library about sleepovers. So I think this is where the idea came from. They asked me if Esther could stay the night in Hannah's room. I said they could do it once it was the holidays, as Esther needs her sleep. So tonight I blew up the air mattress so Esther could have a 'sleepover' in Hannah's room.
Joseph and Esther can't both fit in Hannah's room at once, so this time it was Esther's turn and Jo can do it another time.
But as the kids said their bedtime prayers, I was touched to hear Joseph pray in his simple childish way,"Please help me not to be jealous!"
I realized he was struggling with feelings of jealousy that he was not part of the sleepover.
I think this touched me so much because I was struggling with my own feelings at the time. I wasn't struggling with jealousy, but I was having difficulty having a good attitude about something else. 
Later on before bed, he came to me with a sad look on his face, so we read a story together to try to cheer him up. I was also not feeling so happy, and it really made me realize that my children are just like me. They are not perfect just as I am not perfect. They struggle with all the things that I struggle with--greed, discontent, jealousy, self pity, etc. The struggle is no less real for them than it is for me.
Although I need to teach them the right way to act, it helps to keep this in mind. It helps us to have more patience and love.
And just as I know my children are not perfect and have their struggles, so God knows that I am not perfect and have my weaknesses and struggles.
Psalm 103:13-14
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
We can learn from Joseph to pray about the things we struggle with. We need God's help! We can have more patience, knowing that our children are just like us, and that while God expects obedience from us, He remembers that we are imperfect humans. That is why we need Him so much.


A Loss or a Gain?

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:8
My mum sent me a devotion based on these verses during our second 21/2 month stint in hospital after Lydia's heart surgery.
It helped me understand these verses better.
At that time we were suffering the loss of home, being all together as a family, and just everything that is usually 'normal' in our life. But, through it all, we got to know God better. What gain!
I pray that I can say the same as Paul honestly "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:..." To be able to have the mindset that knowing and obeying God is the most important thing in the world no matter the cost. This is not naturally my mindset!
When the losses come and when we have to make sacrifices, it's not so easy.
Lydia has mostly stayed out of hospital for two years now. But she still has Down Syndrome. In a way, I have the loss of 'time.' A child with special needs is very time consuming. 
As we go through different stages and circumstances in life, there are losses that come. There are different sacrifices we have to make. And if we are serious about serving and knowing God, the losses will be many, but the gain will be GREAT! The gain of truly knowing God. The gain of the peace of God. The gain of being close to God. The gain of seeing God answer prayer. The gain of becoming more like Christ. The gain of God being so real.


God Can Make a Way When There is No Way

In my last post I shared a few quotes about thanking God for trials from a sermon I had listened too. Now I would like to share that sermon with you. The most touching thing in this sermon is that the pastor learned all these lessons from watching his mother who became very sick with polio. It shows the power we have as mothers to make a difference in our children's life.
To listen click this link
God Can Make a Way When There is No Way