Monday, September 26, 2016

Is it enough?

"Despite more process, privilege and possessions than ever before, we are worried all the time.  The more we have the more we worry. Why, because we have more to lose. We use up much of our lives trying to insulate ourselves against insecurities, We worker harder, buy more, accumulate, set aside, save, hoard, buy locks and security systems and maximise insurance — and much of this activity is driven by worry, anxiety and a relentless discontent" from Contentment: The Secret of a Lasting Calm by Richard Swenson

And money makes us more anxiety than almost anything else. 

A new study shows two million Australians are experiencing high financial stress which prevents them from coping in difficult situations, for example, in paying unexpected expenses such as a big mobile phone bill or the fridge breaking down.  One in two adults have limited to no savings.
Household finances lead to more arguments in marriage than almost anything else and it leads to divorce. 
Almost three-quarters of Americans are experiencing financial stress at least some of the time, and nearly a quarter of us are experiencing extreme financial stress. 92 percent of Americans are financially frazzled.
Most families, at some point in time, will worry about not having enough money to pay bills, to buy food, to cover the rent or mortgage, to pay for school excursions or just to get to the end of the week. This worry escalates when the husband looses his job, gets fewer hours or major items like the car needs to be replaced.  We ask ourselves endless questions and worry about the answers:

Can we afford to have more children?
What if I lose my job?
How will we pay for our children's education, health, clothing?
What happens if the economy goes bad?
What if my spouse gets ill?
What happens if we have a change of government?

We are experts at "what ifs" and God knows this. He knew we would naturally be concerned about these things and gave us many verses about not worrying and how our future needs will be met. Matthew 6 is an excellent example of why we don't need to worry, why we mustn't worry about money.

Regardless, we still go on worrying — why, because we still want to be in control and many of us struggle with relinquishing total control to God. But that is precisely what we need and must do. 

Trusting God in all aspects of our lives — in particular the practical provisions is not small matter. "If we are unwilling to do so, we can expect to be plagued by such things as greed, cheating, worry, covetousness, lack of generosity and al the unsettledness that comes from centring out lives around money" (Nancy Leigh de Moss)

We need to understand that God will "supply all our needs" and we have no reason to worry or have any doubts — NONE AT ALL. But we must understand that what God provides may be very different to what we think we "need".  We might believe that we need to build another room on our home to give us more space or a deck for entertainment — but God may not see these "needs" as necessary and put a stop to them. Nor does God want to see us being wasteful with what He provides and at times may pull us up sharply in regards to our spending habits. We might find times tough and these are often lessons for us to learn from. God doesn't throw money at us, He want us to learn to lean on Him, to put our trust in Him — and if He gave us a million dollars we might not remember to do this as we would be too busy leading the high life. 

So rather than fretting and getting stressed and anxious, remember — no matter what happens in my life or yours—we can rejoice in our Saviour for He gives us strength and joy and everything we need. 

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Habakkuk 3: 17-19

Monday, September 19, 2016


Spring is a miraculous time of year. What appeared dead in winter bursts into life. Suddenly seemed so dull and cold surprises us with colour and perfume. Little did we know that beneath the cold hard ground the plants and trees were preparing for rebirth. Spring gives us hope for rejuvenation in our own lives as well. Spring is a time to renew the excitement and zest for life. It is time to throw off the layers and enjoy the sunshine and re-connect with nature. 

I am away this week, having a long earned rest and spending precious time with my family. I thought I would leave you with some photos from spring. I will be back blogging next Monday (26th).  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wearing bright colours

I LOVE bright colours — reds, pinks, orange, blues.

So I was surprised to find that not all Christian women believe that we should wear bright colours. Why, because some think it draws to much attention to ourselves and makes us noticed in a crowd. We should be only remembered for our smile and kindness and not the colour of our clothes. 

I struggle with this — I don't wear red to be noticed or to draw attention to myself — I wear red because it is a happy colour and it makes others happy. Many people will compliment me when I wear red and tell me that it brightens up their day. I wore a hot pink (modest) skirt to work the other day and everyone loved it— because it was alive and joyful. 

Too many people wear black, particularly in winter — I wear black, but always mix it with something bright. We live in a dark world, we need colour to brighten it up, to cheer others up, to bring joy — this is why I wear colour. It has nothing to do with attention-seeking at all. 

Colour lifts our mood and that is good for our health and well being. However, not everyone loves bright colours and much prefer to wear dark or muted colours and not be noticed. If you are one of those people but would love to wear bright colours, here are a few tips:

* Go shopping and find one or two things (tops are best) that are bright and will go with the skirts or pants you already own. A bright top always goes well with a black skirt. 

 Wear the new clothes around the house just your family or while you're alone. You may feel self-conscious, but the feeling will pass once you begin to get used to it. 

Wear it in public under a jacket, cardigan or a vest. You will feel a little self-conscious at first, but if you wear a comfortable darker coloured jacket over it so that only some of it is visible you can still cling to your darker wardrobe and slowly transition. After a while, slowly expose more of your bright clothing in public, no more than you're comfortable with but build up slowly. 

If you are really nervous, try adding bright scarves to your darker clothes. 

Lose the jacket and go out wearing your bright clothes fully exposed once you're comfortable. 

 Enjoy your new found freedom of having broken out of your shell of dark colours!

It may take some time to wear hot pink or a red dress, but do try to swap the muted colours for bright colours from time to time and I am sure you will find joy in the brighter colours. 

Bright colours will brighten up your day. They aren't about making other people notice you, its about making others and yourself happy with something cheery and pretty. 

For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. (Proverbs 31: 21-22)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Working mothers love their homes too

Some women do not enjoy looking after their homes, that is a fact. Some women live in chaos and mess and avoid cleaning. Others outsource their housework to others. Some women put very little effort into creating a cosy warm environment  — however these are not exclusive to working women. 

Many Christian women who work outside of their homes, love their homes dearly and take great care in creating a sanctuary for their loved ones. 

It isn't about the amount of time one spends at home, it is what a persons does when they are at home. 

I love pottering around my home, I like to create places of warmth and comfort. I like my home to have a feel of welcome to those who enter. I may not be at home all day, but it does not mean I don't love my home as much as a woman who is a stay-at-home wife and mother. 

Working women do not live in hovels. This might surprise you as I have read endless blog posts that remind me that if I am not at home 24/7, my home will not be a haven of peace and tranquility for my family and all those who live within it will suffer. 

Earlier this year I wrote about the concept of Hygge (LINK). Hygge is a Danish  word and Hygge relates to cosiness, togetherness homey, snug, comfortable, family, connectedness. It is about creating the right atmosphere in the home where families and friends come together, leaving the dramas of the world behind, to create a safe, warm place for all. 

Denmark is regularly voted one of the happiest countries in the world and perhaps this is why. Danes grow up with the concept of hygge and feel much more connected to each other than perhaps we do. When feeling connected within one's family, one feels secure, loved and care for and in turn it improves our health  and well-being. Hygge is all about "we" time and not about "me" time and we certainly need far more of that in our society which is strongly driven be "me". 

But, what might surprise you — Denmark has a very high percentage of working women and they are still able to create this wonderful togetherness at home. Why, because it is important to them and it is part of how they think.  Likewise, home is important to many Christian women and even though some of us work outside of the home (because that is what God has decided), it doesn't diminish our love of home and taking up the mantel of keeper of one's home. 

Some women spend hours and hours making they homes look beautiful but the home lacks a heart. Some women spend much less time (due to other responsibilities) and manage to create rooms that you just don't want to leave.

Homemaking is a noble calling that we should feel honoured that we have been given this privilege which allows us to create a beautiful place for our families.  Whether working or at home, whether we like housework or not, we still need to take care of our homes—According to Elizabeth George, we are "on assignment" from God to build up our homes which means our role as keepers of our home is VERY IMPORTANT . . . we do have an essential role to play no matter what our responsibilities are —it means we need to have the right attitude, the right mindset, and the right purpose and many Christian women who work do. 

Once again, please do not assume that working women do not love their homes and live in chaos —most of us don't. What a pity I can't invite you all for afternoon tea, to enjoy that delicious pavlova covered in berries or the cheese and crackers. 

She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27

Blog posts of interest:

Friday, September 9, 2016

Art Friday: Louise Marion

Artist: Louise Marion

Something very bright and cheery for you today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fear and faith cannot coexist

Fear and faith cannot coexist

We cannot confess our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and still be fearful. 

But we do.

As mothers we fear (and worry) way too much.

We are fearful about the world our children are living in, we worry about their health, their education, we fear for their future, we fear for their safety.

In fact many mothers will worry about things that doesn't  even exist.

We are experts at generating our own fears. 

Even though we are told over and over again in the bible to TRUST IN THE LORD, we still worry and remain fearful.

Why . . . because for many mothers, it is very difficult to hand over one's problems to the Lord and let go. But this is what we need to do . . .  MUST do.

Our children might trip and fall. They might even get sick. They might eat things they shouldn't, they might break an arm, they might do things we don't like. But these are all part of growing up.

We cannot wrap our children in cotton-wool. 

In fact not only is this fear unhealthy for us as mothers, we are damaging our children in the long term. Our fear of "what-ifs" can result in restricting our children — not letting them run and play in case something happens. Not letting them form friendships in case they meet someone unsuitable.  Not telling them about the facts-of-life in case they become promiscuous. Not letting them make decisions and learning from them.

I grew up in the 1970s. My mother let my brothers and I run all over our farm. As long as we were back in time for lunch and dinner she was happy for us to explore. We played in the creeks (I loved catching tabpoles), my brothers made dams, we climbed fences and trees and rolled down hills — we were children and life was good.  I sometimes came home with scratches from tumbles, I even saw snakes (almost stepped on a few too) but none of these things were reasons to stop us being children. My mother never dreamed of restricting our outdoor time or making sure we stayed close to the house just in case something happened.

The idea of the helicopter parenting didn't exist in the past. This is a modern phenomenon and one that is not healthy or wise. I am so thankful my parents didn't hover over my every movement and allowed me to trip and fall — those childhood stumbles are what makes us strong and resilient. It teaches us to get up when we fall down and not give up.

As Christians we must not fear — fear is not acceptable because it means we are not trusting in the Lord, Satan has taken hold and weakening our faith. We will face various trails as parents but each one should bring us closer to God and further and further away from fear. 

My son has a motorbike, its big, black and powerful. There are moments when I become fearful of "what might happen" but I keep on reminding myself that God is watching over him and whatever does happens, it is in Gods hands. We must find a "quiet peace" through every situation we face and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding which will guard our heats and minds  through Christ Jesus  (Philippians 4:7).

I have had many fearful moments with my children (I know what panic is when things go pear-shaped), but facing fear head-on (with God) makes us stronger and builds our faith. In fact I think we all need to tackle our fears (rather than hiding) as it is through these trails we grow in Christ and we see Him working in our lives.

When we feel as if fear is taking grip of us, we need to spend time in prayer and quiet worship with our Heavenly Father, as even in the darkest hour, He is ALWAYS with us.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Psalm 56:3


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