Friday, 30 October 2015

A husband for a single mom

....And there are days when I feel completely overwhelmed.

Being a parent means there are no days off, being a single parent, however, mean days off are dreams you dare not dream. And using the bathroom uninterrupted? Well, that's something you vaguely remember from a life you can no longer imagine.

I literally have no late mornings this year, not even Saturdays. This week I fell asleep in mid conversation with my daughter; she was not amused the next day when I brought it up. I'm tired. A lot.

I go from school to school, to home, to trying to thaw out from my days, then to listening to everyone competing for my attention. Their life, their day's events are no less important than mine. I admit, my life could be harder, I might be a single mom but I do have help of the grandest kind- grandma...or else- I'd be drowning.

Whoever said that you could have it all - lied.  Something suffers, Someone suffers.

I miss Parent Teachers Meetings. I literally can't be in two places at once. I miss school events, I often have to choose whose event I go to and have to explain why I make that choice. It's a delicate balance and I'm in a glass menagerie.

I was never good with glass.

I was at church. There was a speaker, she planted a seed in my heart. Her question... Are you married? Nope...I said it with a tinge of embarrassment...I should be- with two kids and bordering on that age where I'm more likely to get struck by lightning than to get married. Her words to me:

" Let God be your husband"

In a totally spiritual moment my mind went into overdrive and I had a totally natural reaction... in my head...for I dared not let that out...I thought...

Husband? God? Huh? No.......armmmm....No... in every sense of the could God be my husband?

Her words gave me pause.

Then she said, "just tell him that you love him, that's all he wants to hear"

Single parents, especially with multiple kids need a hand, all the way up to the shoulders. To rest your head, to cry on, to give you a back rub, to play in your hair, to point you in the right direction and to give you all the things you find it so hard to do - on your own. Lest the feminists come to get me, I applaud independence but even Jesus needed a cross bearer, even Jesus needed disciples for His journey.

I have said, and often heard said, that Jesus never asks you to do anything He has never gone through before. He went through it! He had parents that didn't understand Him, a friend that he literally washed his feet that betrayed Him, He was totally misunderstood by the very people that should have understood Him. He died on a cross in shame. 

But................. the other day I was thinking just this............. He never really went through the whole relationship thing; He didn't have a girlfriend, there was no record of Him falling in love.

I understand that He didn't have to go through every gamut of the human existence but we were born into relationships, and Adam, the first man was given a helpmate, for he sat alone, with no kind like himself. Eve,  became the woman that was made for the man. So how come Jesus didn't replicate that in His earthly journey?

So, what does a husband do exactly? How is it that I should make Jesus my husband? How do I prepare for a groom?

A husband is :
 1. A provider
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2. A burden bearer
1 Peter 5 :7 Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you

3. He is a protector
Daniel 6:22 My God has sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouth, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O King, have I done no hurt

3. He is a lover
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

4. He is faithful
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

A husband is, I would imagine, so many of these things, and so much more yet just an earthly flawed version of a God that has no equal. 

Jesus as a husband? 

The more I though about it in the weeks that followed, the more it seemed plausible; a provider, a friend, a problem solver, a potter, a gardener, an inventor, a creator, a lover, a wise one, a fighter, a peacemaker, a way maker, a burden bearer, a great listener, a secret keeper, a righteous judge, someone who will encourage me, a lifter upper, someone who won't hurt me, won't lie or cheat or steal, someone who will carry me - always. Sounds kinna perfect..don't you think?

But if my husband is all these great things - what of me? The bride? What is my role in all this perfection? 

I must trust Him, I must trust all this love and affection. I must trust his truths - completely. I must, open up myself to be vulnerable, for that is the only true way to completely - love. This is the hardest thing for women who have been hurt by the 'earthly example' of a husband. Saying "I love you" to one that is 100% true. 

Take a deep breath, and on the exhale, say - I love you Jesus - it wasn't that easy but when you get it out - it's like letting go of all the bags you've carried around for years. I love you, I trust you and I will allow myself to be loved by you.

Why didn't Jesus have a wife, so we could see that example? He didn't have to, because he left us the example of complete unadulterated love. Just love, God is love. If you know God then you know how to love - that's the only example that you need. 

How do you protect and cherish a partner? Love them
How do you stay married for a lifetime? Love each other
How do you raise a family, when you are stretched to transparency? Love them and yourself

Sound simplistic? 

Love isn't complicated. 

On the days when motherhood makes me feel like a glorified taxi driver and I can't remember the last time it was all about me - just me- all I really need is to feel like I matter, like I'm appreciated. Like I'm loved. 

God's got that.

On the days when your kids might feel like their mom is just too tired to even listen to them talk about what they learnt in school, or how 'today was the worst day ever' because their classmates wouldn't listen to them as they carried out their monitor duties, all they really want is to feel like they matter to you - like they are appreciated by you. Like they are loved by you.

It's all about love. Just love.

And God's got us all covered in love.

1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

All lives matter to the God who created all life

When you make a plan to write on Wednesdays and Fridays, and you are staring on a blank canvas, and watching the sand run out on Wednesday, you wonder. Was my plan to write on these two days His plans or mine?

I usually write when something impacts me or I get something resonating deep within. Something so demanding that if I don't let it out, it would consume me. 

Today.....I had no such conviction. Zilch. Nada...nothing!

Then, today, I learn that I have an event to attend at my daughter's school guessed it..Friday night - another night I said I would write. I thought - well isn't this nice.  

So what's a girl to do? 

John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

It's the hardest thing to obey the simplest things that God asks us to do but if He asks you to do it , it is for your good. The best wine was saved for the last, who does that the master of ceremonies asked the groom. Nobody but my Lord, for His ways are not my ways and if He says write when you have nothing to write about, write anyways and see what happens! I'm preparing you for greater - for the latter rain!

So from 2 days to 19 babies. 19 babies have died in Jamaica recently from a bacterial infection that has been dubbed the 'Dead Babies Scandal'. You can read more about it here. It has become a huge talking point, a political football of  nine day wonder proportion. Nine day wonder is a saying which means you talk about something for a while, then you forget about it soon after. But in an almost election year, this 'scandal' has taken on a life of its own. I usually don't write about controversial issues, but I heard something today that got me thinking.

The babies that died were preemies and the Minister of Health has referred to them as 'not babies- in the real sense' and my head started spinning. 

They are not babies, in the real sense.............sounds a lot like ............. foetuses aren't babies either.

It's funny how in this world, we value things on an hierarchical system, but what makes a life a life? What makes a life more real than another? What makes a foetus a baby? A human being? Is it birth?

So if a live baby is what's worthy, does it's weight matter?  Does the fact that it has under developed lungs puts it lower on the hierarchy? Apparently it does.

Apparently it does, and this is why a human being, once a foetus, could be comfortable enough in their skin to buy body parts of aborted babies, you know those babies that weren't 'real' enough for birth.

I feel like we treat old people the same way we treat babies and foetuses, like they have no voice, no rights, because maybe they have little to contribute in a world that doesn't value to frailty or sanctity of life. A life knitted in a womb by a masterful craftsman.

God values all life. God is life...He is the breath of every human the real sense.

Funny thing as I wrote about hierarchy, a revelation came to me. At bible study, we discussed how we as people view persons' sins in the very same way. We have some sins on a higher level of the totem pole, others lower because they are not deemed as that 'important'. They are small, dare I say 'premature?'

To be  honest, I rate sins...the pastor said I shouldn't. I didn't get it. All sin is SIN but the consequences are greater he said. I knew it in theory but ...I didn't get it, until now. Just now...writing these words on a canvas that was blank.

People, babies, preemies, foetuses, don't have an hierarchy - they are all God's creations and we all started out the same way. A sperm meeting an egg, a seed was planted. And that is as real as it gets. 

Sin too my friends has no has no order of importance and it started with a seed. A seed of deception. Galatians 6, which we are studying at bible study asks us to restore our brothers who are overtaken in sin with gentleness, lest you also be tempted. I want not to condemn our goodly Minister of Health in his pronouncements - just to say- all lives are real, equal and precious in the sight of God.

 If God said it, I will believe it..where He leads, He guides, He provides provision - There was a post in me after all, and it's still my neck of the woods!

All lives matter to God, do you feel the same way? Join the conversation, let me know your views. 

Related readings : Galatians 6; John 2, 1-10.

Friday, 23 October 2015

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry but God's plans never do

I was sitting in a planning meeting, the speaker was talking about making plans, and just how important plans are to daily routines, then a colleague said, I live by this saying "If you fail to plan, then plan to fail." The presenter agreed, then she said..

The bible can't ever be wrong- it teaches us everything! Remember - Nehemiah had a plan!

I scribbled a note on the sticky side of my brain - 'Read Nehemiah' Truth be told, when she said Nehemiah had a plan, I just smiled, I didn't know what his plan had been, I didn't know his story, and I felt a little....deflated. 

A girl on a christian journey that had never read the book of Nehemiah, and that voice that creeps in like the dark horse in a race said - ' you are a fraud and you have no right writing a blog if you don't even know your bible from cover to cover.' I listened. I agreed. 

I'm not a planner. I'm not big on making any kind of plans. I'm that person that makes a list in my head, then forgets the salt- the very thing that was down to the last grain. I'm that person that in an effort not to be saltless makes a list the next time and leaves the list on the table at home, and stands again in the store hapless and leaves, you guessed it - saltless.

Recently, I was likened to one of the 5 foolish virgins - halfway prepared - and I must admit- it just might be the truth about me. I know I need salt, I have the money to buy the salt, I go to where the salt is, I get everything else, then remember the salt when I get home, and either have to go back to get it or well, ask my neighbour for some...neighbours always have salt, and they usually say yes, unlike the wise virgins. 

But in my culture, even though your neighbour will give you a little salt, they'll talk about you after; they'll talk about you being saltless.

In the planning meeting we were challenged to do a look at self, then make a plan - so I decided to stare the dark horse in the face and made a plan to read Nehemiah. I was glad it wasn't a long read, I find the Old Testament belabouring to read, which is probably why I have never read every book thereof! I said it! I admit it! Should I be ashamed of it? Probably, but I'm on a journey to change it and the Master in his wisdom, got me to read Nehemiah, for such a time as this.

I have embarked on a new phase, and I need to plan now more than ever. I need to put it on paper, I need to be consistent and I need to follow through. Nehemiah taught a lot of lessons, he realized there was a grave situation facing his people, he felt sorrowful but he didn't try to fix it himself , like we often do. He simply prayed. His answer wasn't immediate. 4 months. 

Nehemiah was a cup bearer, a pretty snazzy kind of job back in those days, but he decided that he was going to leave the comforts of a palace to build a wall... yes a wall, he was going to chip his nails, get dirty, sweat and deal with all sorts of issues that undoubtedly he wouldn't have encountered in a palace, but he was willing and ready to go. 

Nehemiah made a plan, he didn't plan to fail, he motivated a people and he got them to believe in their God again, he got them to see his vision- the hallmark of a great leader. He faced opposition with wisdom and stood firm on the promises of his God. The people kept building with a sword in hand! 

I am not sure if Nehemiah knew anything about construction, afterall he was tucked away in a palace, I'm not sure if he was a great motivational speaker, but he got a people to rebuild, I'm not sure he was skilled in enemy combat or warfare but he overcame all the plans of his enemies. What I am sure of is - He knew that his God would give him great success and if God said it- he certainly believed it!

  Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

If we pray to God and he answers our prayers in a certain fashion, would we run to it like Nehemiah did? Is it that we would leave our comfort zones and comfortable palaces to go to a city in ruins? Maybe our lives are what lies in ruins, and God is saying, get up from this comfort that you think you have and go forth to rebuild your life, one broken, burnt up brick at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was the wall, so it takes time, it takes effort, it takes sweat, it takes patience but most of all to rebuild it takes putting on the whole armour of God, with a sword in our hand while we rebuild. 

The enemy will come in - he will laugh at your wall, he will say : Nehemiah 4:3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. But be steadfast, unmovvable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ( 1 Cor. 15:58).

Nehemiah proves that with a plan and with unmmovable faith in the face of adversity, much can be accomplished. The wise virgins knew that a plan was important too, and so does God, He always has a plan- always. 

When I considered this lesson that I am now painting on this canvas I think of all who say - we shouldn't make plans, for tomorrow isn't promised to anyone, so planning is a bit presumptuous, I thought about it a lot but I'm going to have to disagree, if your plans are ordered by the Lord, if he leads the way, there will be provision, there will be time, there will be success. If God plans, then I must also plan in Him and through Him.

So I have made a plan, to have a plan, to stand on the promises of God, and when the dark horse neighs, I will swiftly say 'The God of heaven will give me success.' 

My posts have been few this month of October, so I have made a plan, to post every Wednesday and Fridays in spite of the rubble that is at my feet.

What plans have you made lately? Did you apply the Nehemiah principle? Will you from now on?

Reading : Nehemiah , Mathew 25 vs.1-13

Related post: When delay feels like denial

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How not to trade God's perfect for yours, cause yours is useless

Ever so often when bloggers take a hiatus, they come back with a post to say " my life has been so crazy" or "I've been incredibly busy," so posts, which are for the most part, a hobby, gets put on the back burner. Christian bloggers are no different, even though their purpose for posting may be a tad different from other bloggers. So I'm just going to say it - I've been incredibly busy - incredibly!

I started a new job, one that's been waiting on me since I was knitted in my mother's womb and I've been overwhelmed! There is much to do, and as the days drag on, I have been feeling a bit, well incompetent.

It's a challenge.

 Jeremiah 29:11 I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Even though I have been wanting this, I found myself saying- out loud - 'be careful what you wish for' and when it left my mouth, I felt, well, incredibly ungrateful.

I wanted the idea of the job, I invented the perfect setting, a perfect approach from me, and my own expected end- but in reality I got - an imperfect brokeness that I have been trying to fix.

That's the first challenge

I have been trying to fix it. And I have discovered, I am No good at fixing broken. This, I already knew- in theory. We all want to fix things don't we? We all want to fix others, but the only way to fix anything, truly fix anything is giving the brokenness to God, our potter, and stay on our knees while he gives beauty for ashes.

I originally thought that I was instructed to write these posts for others, however, I have discovered that it is God's way to speak His words into my heart- first. It's His way of hiding His word in my heart, so that I do not sin against Him.

Many days that turned into years, I felt that my prayers were laughing at me, they were piercing firey darts into my heart but God was stripping, he was humbling, he was building. I realized that. Now that He has granted the desires of my heart, I was hoping I would be comfortable. I was hoping for a perfectly comfortable situation. But God doesn't do comfort zones. God does stretching. God does growing. God does perfect. His perfect; not mine.

So what do you do in a imperfectly perfect situation? 

Stay close to the source, God's ways are not your ways, and if He has sent you somewhere, it's to accomplish his will for your life, as well as for someone elses.

When I read the story of Jonah, I didn't marvel so much about him being in the belly of the whale as much as to his reaction after the Lord decided to spare the people of Nineveh from destruction. He was sorely upset. God, in His wisdom, had done what He knew was best for 120,000 people, but the 1 was upset. The 1, had no right to be, for THE ONE, had made a decision to use 1 to save many.

I do not know why I am where I am, that's the hard part, that's the trust part, that's that faith walk part- that's the part, I struggle with. I just want to know- it would be easier to know how to 'plan' if only I knew part- but if God is in it, it's bigger, better and more perfect than any plan that I could ever imagine or think. And my imagination doesn't know small.

So now, I leave the fixing to the professional.

Now, I will not allow myself to become overwhelmed because of this-
Now I will not feed the seed of insecurities because of this-
Now I allow myself to grow into my destiny because of this-

Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me. Not some, not most. ALL. 3 letters that pack a powerful punch. 3 letters that says I AM.

Do you have a similar story where your prayers were answered but not in the way you wanted? Share it with us.

Related post: When delay feels like denial and you are just about to give up

You may also like : A bridge to a cross

Friday, 2 October 2015

That moment you realise, He holds the world in the palm of his hand

My daughter was making a planet model for school, and that meant one thing- I had homework! In education circles, we call it 'parental involvement'. Children whose parents are an active participant in their learning process do better in school. It's been proven.

My children always have the best models and projects at school, because their mommy has a creative eye, and has studied Early Childhood Education. My daughter was excited, she already anticipated the best solar system model her classmates had ever seen.

The foam balls were bought, the wires were ready, the base for the sun was firm, the paints were bright and bushy tailed, and the idea to make this model was set. It would be 3d, the sun would rest on wooden stand and the wires would connect the foam balls and then be connect to the sun somehow. We didn't quite work out all the logistics- but we knew it would be epic. My daughter and I.

Turns out our best laid plans went awry. *Queue the wonk wonk soundtrack now*

The sun was painted in gold, and was stuck right down on it's base. The other foam balls were painted and Saturn had its glorious silver and gold rings. We put the wires through all the balls and now it was time for the balls to be assembled for their revolution around the Sun- only that didn't happen. The first ring went around just fine, but as the circles around the Sun got wider, it all started to fall apart; the wire couldn't support the weight, neither could the foam balls and neither could the base. Epic fail.

I was stumped, that has never happened! My daughter was worried. Her project was due the next day. I had no solution. I tried, I really tried.

We had a conversation some days earlier about the planets, I asked,
"Well how do these planets stay up there and not just fall from the sky?"
She laughed at me.
"Mother, she said, in a most pitiful tone, " The gravity of the sun keeps them from falling."
"They spin around so that we can have night and day and seasons too."
I asked her just this- "How come some planets have more than one moon, if the  moon is a reflection of the Sun, and there's only one Sun?"
And how come the Bible says He made 2 great lights, one to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night but we learn the moon doesn't have it's own light?"

Her pre- tween eyes looked puzzled - she engaged her brain, then said " Well I don't know, we haven't learned that yet!"

Oh! The gravity of it all!

In Jamaica we have a saying " Two heads better than one', which means, if two persons come together to solve a problem, it stands a greater chance of getting solved because the two might have different perspectives and outlooks. In this case - My daughter and I, well, as we say again..'didn't even make one.' We consulted grandma, that was three heads- still nothing!

As I looked at my inadequacy through the failed model, all I could think is

"How great thou art!"

Yes, the model had a design flaw, and someone more technically sound in mind probably could have made it all work out with a wider base and heavier wires, but God- oh but God is a masterful craftsman.

The bible tells me He made all things in the earth, seen and unseen - it never said He tried more than once. He just released a Word and it was done. He needed no do-overs, He needed no consultant. He took no advice.

Isaiah 40 vs. 13-14 says, 'Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14. With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

One word answer- nobody!

I needed to write a note to my daughter's teacher, her model would be late while I slept off my disappointment and rethought the concept.

Exactly a week after my daughter's solar model flop, there was a Super moon lunar eclipse; the blood moon, the last on of three this year alone. It just brought everything I had gone through the week before into perspective. I had missed all the other red moons, but this one was spectacular, and the best part, my daughter was actually interested to see it, because she was learning about the planets. Mostly, she was learning what scientists think they know, for much of what is written about the solar system are assumptions. You can read all about what Astronomers think they know here.

As for me and my house, we believe the accounts of Genesis.

The operation of the solar system is fascinating, all the planets orbiting around a gigantic sun, each at their own speed, seemingly held up and around by nothingness. The earth, the third largest of the planets, the only one that supports all life, spins at a tilt, around the Sun, creating night, day and seasons.

The very nature of things reflects the nature of God. He is precise. Orderly. Timely. Methodical. Meticulous. Artistic. Mysterious. Wonderfully Awesome...And at the center of it all. The gravity that holds everything in place. The Son!

 Psalm 24:1 says The earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell within.

One day late, my daughter handed in her solar system model,albeit, totally different from what we both had envisioned. She told me that all her classmates were excited to see her model because they all said, she always brought in the best projects. This time though, it was just okay, but more importantly, we had done it together. My daughter and I.

Our model needed not be perfect, perfection was already done!

Related Scriptures: Genesis 1-2, Deuteronomy 10:14

You may also like: The things I see in Nature Series

Photo credit: The blood moon eclipse stages by : Joel Finnigen Photography and you can find his gorgeous work here

The solar system model- can't you already tell, I took that with a camera attached to a phone! - At least I got some light shinning on the sun! How cool am I?