Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, faith, health and wellness, Life, Love, prayer, Uncategorized

Dance Like No-one Is Watching You – Know that He is Watching You!

Dancing – the activity of dancing for pleasure or in order to entertain others. Recently a Facebook memory came up of my grandson doing his crazy little dances he would do as he underwent Leukemia treatment. He liked to “Move it move it” to the music from “Madagascar” and kept us all smiling among the many struggles and caused lots of pleasure, entertaining us with his very different moves!

He taught me a valuable lesson at the time, “You can laugh, or you can cry! You can sit down and mope or get up and crack a few good moves!” We all learned to do some “butt dances” each time we finished a project, saw a good result, or had just had enough of hospital monotony!

Our boy showed us the moves!

At the same time of this memory another Facebook video came up of a little champion, Molly Jane, who has faced incredible challenges in her little life, outliving every prediction of death from doctors. The joy in her face as she danced to some buskers on the street was wonderful! If only they knew who was dancing and entertaining their fellow humans!

https://www.facebook.com/jessica.louises/videos/10213132765293046/?t=14 see her dance to the beat here.

The two videos sparked a memory of a scripture in me which says, “Rejoice always and again I say rejoice!” There are so many scriptures that refer to leaping for joy. Not just doing a shuffle but leaping for joy and in great excitement.

I remember over the years there were times of trouble or dark times that I was encouraged by God to praise Him and to leap for joy. Sometimes it felt like I was a “little ridiculous” but I would praise Him with my voice and by dancing my moves for His entertainment! I was doing my “butt dances” or my victory dances before they had actually come to pass!

King David was mocked by his wife for dancing with joy, in his undergarments no less, as he headed up a procession towards the now Jerusalem! Good enough for a king – good enough for me to dance to my King in my home!

So recently amidst some challenging moments, I started to dance (or rather leap around). Let me tell you the first day it was a challenge – for the flesh and also for the knees and feet! However, the next day, it was truly a time of leaping in victory!

So lesson relearned! Rejoice ALWAYS and again I say rejoice! So I am following some young people’s lead, and doing a few moves to shake off the negativity and praise the God who gives us the victory and causes us to overcome!

Blessings and great joy

Until next time!

Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, communication, faith, health and wellness, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized

Love Doesn’t Insist on Its Own Way

Love doesn’t insist on its on way!

What is love? I will tell you what it is not!  It isn’t seeking to be self-satisfied by gaining its own way. You can choose to demand your rights, or you can chose to walk in love which is self-denying! In one translation it says, “Does not keep a record of wrongs done to it!” Ouch!

How many times do we maintain a list of wrongs? It may not appear you are holding on to someone’s “wrongs” until a situation arises and all of a sudden all those previous irritations, wrongs, abuses, offenses come rushing back and enter into the argument or situation. It creeps in making us feel and appear very ugly – as the southerners here say.

Ugly – unpleasantnastydisagreeablealarmingtensechargedseriousgrave; a good word to describe what it looks like to continually insist on our own way! Yet the world tells us we should be seeking to do what makes us happy or satisfies us and our own desires.

This word is contrary to that thought and not easy to fulfill. As a young wife I followed my mother’s example of holding wrongs or pain in until like Vesuvius an explosion would ensue, and all manner of “stuff” would come spewing out!

I followed suit and would retain and retain until finally it would all come out when the toothpaste was squeezed the wrong way! No wonder poor Paul would wonder what he had done. Of course it wasn’t the toothpaste – but it was the last thing on top of all other “wrongs”.

Thankfully the years have taught me not to allow perceived wrongs to fester until a weeping sore oozes out rubbish that is completely unrelated to an incident! Now I communicate what I am feeling without the emotion of anger attached. It is much more painless and usually results in a resolution. It also gives me time to assess.

What exactly am I reacting to? Am I responding to something that has more to do with my own self then the other person really wronging me? Is it really something that needs to be addressed to the other person or something I need to work out between myself and God? Is it something that is best left blowing in the wind?

So as I learn to walk in love I will not insist on my own way or keep a list of wrongs. I can let a lot of useless emotions go or confront in love something without the festering! Only in His Grace!

Until next time

Blessings and Love

Narelle

 

 

Praying in Power

Prayer definition: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. An earnest hope or wish.

Oh! I think of prayer in so many more terms than this! Supplication – the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Petitioning: make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause. Other words that spring to mind are desperate, faith-filled, answered, persistent, connection, love, hope, and faith.

I have always understood prayer from my early years when I cried desperately to “God” to help me before I actually met Him. I cried out often as a young believer for His wisdom for situations; His guidance in my life; for the man I was to marry: for the children He blessed me with and those who don’t know Him personally; for situations of deliverance and healing for many around me who needed miracles! It is the breath of my life as a believer.

However, it is not easy.  I have struggled with regular prayer times or with praying consistently or even knowing how to pray in situations.

This isn’t a study in prayer: That is for a book or indeed many books! This is just an encouragement to pray; to cry out to our Creator, Father, Friend, Lord; to communicate with the Maker of Heaven and Earth! With the One who knows you and those around you so intimately. It is my heart communicating with His Heart! I have seen so many testimonies and answers from the power of prayer!

As a child I was what I would call persistent, others would call it petulant! Either way I was determined to get my own way! It was an unpleasant quality in many ways but as I have grown older that persistence and inability to accept certain things is something I am thankful for. There are certain things I will not give up on!

My family; my friends; those who have been under our ministry and in our lives; the many issues I see surrounding me that cause me to grieve as it does the Father; for leaders of our nations; for fellow believers; for non-believers; for harvesters for the harvest field; and the list goes on! We have so many things to pray and believe for.

Some question that we even need to pray saying everything is preordained by God anyway. However, He tells me that we are co-workers with Him! That working together comes together as we believe the promises of God and pray for those things He has instructed us to: Like Abraham believing for what he couldn’t see!

I see how prayer has saved the lives of my daughter and grandchild facing severe illnesses, and other tragic situations within our family. Not everything goes as I think it will or I think it should, but ultimately, I believe it will all work together for good!!!

I call and He says He hears and answers! I never speak to the Universe! I speak to the Creator of the Universe! Much more powerful!

However, as I said I have struggled at various times with not being regular or consistent enough in my “prayer times”. So hear are a few tips to staying in an attitude of prayer ALL the TIME!

  1. FINDING TIME  AND A PLACE -There are definite times of seeking God including fasting and devouring the Word of God but we shouldn’t be under condemnation if that time includes walking along the beach, sitting in your car (take care driving with this one), under your breath even in the shopping mall (they just think you might be on your phone or from another country as you pray in tongues!) and the list goes on! We should not be legalistic enough believing that there is a certain time or place that HAS to occur. However, finding a “war room or space” in your home and a time that works for you, is still an important aspect of prayer. Don’t get bogged down in details of where and when, just start and start again when life overwhelms you!
  2. WHAT TO PRAY FOR – Recently I heard a young woman speak of how her mother has been an inspiration to her as a young mum in the area of prayer and explained how she prays. She sets aside each day particularly to pray for certain things – e.g. as she is home doing house work she prays. At work she will pray for her colleagues and those around her etc. So she covers a lot of spiritual ground in her week! A prayer journal will help with this and also help you keep track as you see God working situations out before your eyes. It will also help you maintain focus and faith as time works those answers out! There are so many words in the Scripture we are told to pray for: boldness; the labourers to go into the harvest field; leaders etc that we will rarely have trouble filling time in! This doesn’t include the times of prayer reflection where we are not petitioning God for anything other than just to bask in the  presence of the Father – a wonderful place to be.
  3. HOW SHOULD I PRAY?  So many think of praying as the “Lord’s prayer” only. That was just a format not necessarily a chant we need to recite and then walk away feeling as though we have down our “bit”. Prayer is a much more intimate moment than that. The Lord’s Prayer is powerful and does set the form work for pouring in to it amazing prayer times. But there are so many forms of prayer including prayers of warfare, intercessory, supplication, thankfulness, laments, forgiveness prayers; praying the Word and Promises of God and the list goes on. There is also the power of praying in tongues which sometimes will leave you groaning with such deep sorrow in your spirit. There are many types so don’t become religious in form, but let it come out of relationship with our Lord and Saviour! Be honest to Him and yourself! He is your Heavenly Father and longs for relationship with you!
  4. HOW LONG SHOULD I KEEP ASKING – As long as it takes and then some! I have been waiting over 20 years to see the fulfillment of promises I have been praying and believing for. Pray without ceasing! Persistence in a situation will see a resolution one way or the other. Never give up! You shouldn’t see what you see – You need to see what God sees! This is not denial – It is speaking faith! Don’t let the enemy take from you. He comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus came to give you abundant life! Never give him ground that belongs to you! You are a mother a grandmother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister – so many need you to stand with them as a warrior woman. You need to find your place of peace in so many situations. Never give up! Be like the might man of David, whose hand, while fighting for a lentil field became frozen to his sword! Don’t give up until you see the victory come to pass! Be like the persistent woman and the unrighteous judge! Keep calling until that door comes open!
  5. PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – I was blessed as a new believer to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues just days after I became a born again believer. This was His power flowing through me; rivers of living water, compelling me to pray at different times when I didn’t know who or what I was actually praying for at the time. Some of these were life saving events that I eventually found out about! You just need to ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit – the Comforter, the Promise; The same Power that Raised Christ from the Dead!

Lord I pray over this article, that the many who read will become so enthused to seek Your face through prayer, and see the power of God unleashed into situations they are facing and may they see the victory come to pass. That they will see you as Abba (Daddy) Father – In Jesus Name – Amen!

Enjoy your prayer adventure about to unfold before you as you look to the Lover of your Soul and begin to commune with Him in a new way!

Blessings Until next time

Narelle

PS I would love to hear from you: your struggles; your answers; your praise points. Your testimony could help others!father cradling a child

Posted in Christian living, communication, grief, health and wellness, Life, Love, Parenthood, Uncategorized

A Time to Move – A Time for Change

While undergoing missionary training I will never forget the comment by our lecturer who said the life of a missionary is one of good-byes. Never a truer word was spoken!

We said goodbye to elderly parents, siblings, our older children and in time our grandchildren as we moved across nations. I said goodbye to my father not knowing it would be the last time I saw him alive.

Goodbyes and change are never easy. As “third culture kids” missionary children are quite adept at change but nevertheless it is still a major grief process for them as well.

Grief is the word I use because ultimately no matter how “exciting” a new venture is whether it is leaving country, town or house, there is always going to be elements of grief associated. Here is a quick overview of what you leave behind.

  1. Family and friends – You are almost certainly leaving behind many you love, in some cases never to see them again or perhaps with an interlude of many years.
  2. Familiar places – Familiarity breeds contempt but mostly it breeds a sense of comfort. We like to know what the packaging says on what we eat. We like to go to our favourite hairdresser, car mechanic, business operator, or any of the many other connections we make when settling in to a place.
  3. Church family – We know these people. We have journeyed with them for perhaps many years. We know what to expect in a worship service or at least be able to understand what is being said and sung!
  4. Our precious things – Sadly we all are attached to the “Things” in our lives. When they are packed away and we don’t know when or if we will ever see them again there is an element of grief attached to that also.
  5. Work and school – Leaving behind familiar work and school situations, friends and colleagues. Also leaving again the comfort of familiarity as we move on to the unknown.  Encourage them to stay in touch with old friends as I do myself. You will of course drift away from certain friendships but I do try to stay connected with friends and families as well as old work mates.
  6. Memories – We accumulate just as many memories as we do “stuff”. To leave these behind can be heart wrenching.

Allowing ourselves to walk through the process of grief is imperative and to each of us this will look different.

I remember one of my little girls I taught, going about the classroom just before she and her family were due to leave the country. She was touching each book, special place, saying out loud this would be the last time for…  She also talked frequently about her last experiences; sleep over, concert here, etc etc. It went on for a few weeks and towards the end of the school year she wanted to have a farewell party for her little friends. Her mother eventually came in very concerned.

I asked why?

“Because when I leave a place I don’t say goodbye. I just leave without looking back or really having a farewell anything.”

To me, her daughter had the better coping mechanism! She was finalizing her memories, and giving healthy closure to her relationships! You must give yourself and your family time to grieve and process. We each do that differently!

Grief comes in many shapes and forms but if not dealt with well, can leave lasting negative impacts, particularly on children. Here are some practical helps I have learned over the past 30 years of traveling and change.

  1. Family and friends – Set them up for the farewells. Give them time to process and also try to be as cheerful as possible. I remember crying myself to sleep each night before we left country as I faced the prospect I might never see my parents again. I had a tape that I was playing and after the tears it brought peace to my soul. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow!” None of us knows what tomorrow will hold whether we stay or leave but we know that He does know and we can trust in Him. He will take care of those we leave behind. Grieve certainly, but then find your peace in Him.
  2. Familiar places – When we go overseas it is always a challenge to establish new connections but we face it positively and with anticipation of finding new friends. Someone said to me just the other day about Paul, “He doesn’t know a stranger does he.” I think that is a key. We embrace the challenges of finding the new! If you complain and whine and harp back to the “old place” you will definitely feel the negative affects of change. Embrace positively. Talk to new friends about their best people they have found for tasks until you set up your own network of the familiar.
  3. Church Family – I thank God I am part of an amazing world wide family! It is not just one denomination or people group. It is “church” the body of Christ and in our many years of travels we have been blessed by many different church family. It is good to get rooted in one family but not always possible. Keep your arms and heart open to the family.
  4. Our precious things – We always take just a couple of precious things with us, including photos (now more easily transported with digital photos). This is really important for children and I don’t recommend leaving behind their favourite toy. I remember one woman who said each time they moved as a Navy brat, she had to leave her toys behind! They don’t need to take it all but the really precious ones for sure. I also made sure we took a couple of familiar Christmas decorations, to make it feel like home. Naomi has one donkey made from a wooden peg in first grade that has traveled the world and is still placed on her tree each Christmas!
  5. Work and school – For adults it will require time to adjust to new work place routines and colleagues, and so it is with children – but on steroids! They are already facing daily challenges, particularly teenagers, but to uproot them at that age creates a whole different set of emotions and issues. I remember in my 5th or 6th grade Janice left town! I couldn’t believe how it made me feel to think I would never see her again! Encourage your children regularly! Naomi found her strength and peace as she left school, family and even country with two scriptures. Psalm 91 and Joshua 1. Be strong and of good courage. You can encourage them to grow through the time rather then succumb to the pain of grief.
  6. Memories – These you will always have. But you are pressing on, moving forward into new memories. Take the time to talk with children and encourage them to start to believe for new memories.

Change is inevitable no matter where you are or what stage of life you are at. Paul gives the analogy of a boxer. If you resist a punch it will hurt but if you move with it, it won’t hurt as much. The more resistant you are to change the more it will hurt. A positive, respectful attitude towards each other will help you all move through the process and enjoy the journey.

You have a choice on how you handle change – Choose life or death. Choose to live in a positive, embracing mode or resist and fight with a negative attitude. It is up to you. There are so many wonderful new adventures you can enjoy.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

Posted in Christian living, gardening, health and wellness, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized

Cruising Alaska – Prostitutes and Marriage

In December 2015 we celebrated our 40th Wedding anniversary and part of our 12 month celebration apart from walking the Camino,  included setting sail in May the following year for a cruise in Alaska.

It was a cruise Paul has always wanted to do and the weather, and cruise liner did not disappoint. It was very different to walking across Spain carrying a pack and almost felt indulgent! It was our first cruise for longer than an over night trip and I really wasn’t sure how I would handle living for 10 days  with thousands of other fellow travellers, eating and doing other “stuff” that I don’t particularly like doing eg drinking or cabarets etc.

But away we sailed! Firstly we spent a few days in Victoria. We would be passing that way later but we really wanted to see the Butchart Gardens without sharing with two thousand other people and for only a few hours. So we walked from the “Waddling Dog” a very quaint British feeling hotel that we fell in love with, including the resident British hound dog – 5th version of the Waddling Dog.

It was a small walk, only about 20 kilometers, but we enjoyed seeing the homes, paths through forests and meeting locals along the way. Walking really lets you see a place from a different perspective.

 

It was a comforting feeling to get the walking sticks back out.

We spent the day walking the amazing paths of flower gardens blooming with tulips and other spring beauties. I absolutely adore gardens and exploring them but the work required to nurture and grown them is colossal. Every sense soaked up the beauty and hard work created by Jennie Butchart and her team.

The next day a great friend of ours from the Camino caught up with us for a little while dropping us off to the ferry to take us to the mainland, with a promise to catch up when we came back with the cruise in a couple of weeks time.

We spent a week exploring British Columbia, staying at our time share in St Ives at Shuswap Lake.  The drive across and the surrounding country were magnificent and just how I always imagined Canada to be.

Returning to Vancouver a week later we then set sail up the Inland Passage.  The weather was amazing each day unveiling breathtaking scenery. Stellar was the word the staff and rangers used often!

One stop was Ketchikan. As we walked around the small town snuggled against the mountains, we discovered Creek Street. Creek Street is a great viewing spot to watch the salmon run although we were a bit early. There was a particular place though that saddened me. It is called Married Man’s Trail. This was the muddy path married men took to visit one of the 20 “houses of ill repute” found on Creek Street in ages gone by. Trust me the street isn’t that long or deep so they must have been falling over themselves!

There is a bridge that crosses over from the main township but the married men followed the trail to the “houses” so they wouldn’t be seen. I watched as many laughed and took photos with “girls” dressed for photo opportunities and all thought it was a good laugh. I didn’t. I thought of the many young girls who would have found themselves possibly trafficked but definitely abused by the men and as well ostracized by the “normal” women of the community.

I found it sad that men felt the need to visit the ladies of the night! The Street was also the place for liquor to be smuggled to in the era of prohibition! So it was definitely a party street.

What I find sad is how men relinquished their vows to visit prostitutes and still do. The Bible says that the marriage bed is not to be defiled. Having to look outside of marriage to be fulfilled is destructive on so many levels. There is of course the physical side of sleeping around which can attract any number of diseases. Then there is the emotional drain of secret keeping as well as becoming emotionally involved with someone else. Finally the spiritual aspect is the most dangerous. Jesus said even to look on a woman with lust was considered adultery! So bottom line looking outside of marriage for sexual satisfaction will lead down the path of destruction!  It will destroy your marriage, possibly your physical life and definitely your spiritual life.

I think of the Butchart Garden and the effort it took to create such a place of beauty out of an old quarry and I stand in awe of that work. Yet similar effort must be given to the marriage relationship to cause it to grow beautiful things. Nurture the relationship, plant good seeds, and keep it fed and watered with love. Also keep the marriage bed fun and faithful!

Don’t find yourself walking down a married man’s lane and heading to a Creek Street – either figuratively or in your imagination.  Marriage is too precious!

Blessings for now

Until next time

NarelleIMG_095020160512_105853IMG_0952

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Uncategorized

Keeping on Top of Attitudes

How often are we let down by our poor attitude, or those of others around us. Every day we meet someone who challenges our attitudes! It can be as simple as being challenged by our children or spouse before we have left the house. Then as we drive to work or shopping, the person who cuts us off on the highway. Then there is the stand in line or waiting on line for service!

This is not to mention traumatic situations that occur behind closed doors. These are severe stress situations that I won’t broach here too much as they create deeper issues that need to be addressed. However, every day in many ways we are confronted with how we handle testing situations.

Most of us can feel we are alright emotionally and spiritually until we are confronted by our own attitudes towards a situation! Its all good until it isn’t!

The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. So many don’t love themselves and are incapable of  loving others in a healthy manner. So we need to start there by loving ourselves and who we are.

Recently I posted about turning 60 and having felt pretty much invisible during my 50’s. It was interesting to see some of the comments. I think women particularly who don’t have an established career which carries them through that period, find themselves once children leave home, redefining themselves and who they are at this stage. When we don’t know who we are or it is in a bit of chaos, we can find our attitudes start to get smelly. We must understand our identity is not found in what we do but whose we are!

When we forget whose we are and loose our identity at any stage of our life, when we are tired, stressed, have financial worries or health issues, we can find ourselves coming out with some pretty poor attitudes.

It’s then we have to fall back in to the arms of our Saviour and say, “Lord help me put off this stench and put on your fragrance!” The stench of the flesh is sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies.  His is the fragrance of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, kindness.

When I place the mirror of His word up to gaze in to, I see that I must constantly move back into the Spirit. This is hard when you are confronted with situations that make you angry, hurt or offend. When we loose our peace and feel that churn within our gut towards someone we think about who has offended or hurt us, we need to forgive and begin to put on that fragrance again! 20151025_115756.jpg

It is our choice. We chose life or death every day when we are confronted with situations. Taking a deep breath and not allowing the overwhelming anger to envelope ourselves, is the first step.  Count to 10 wasn’t such a silly idea! Don’t confront at that moment in anger. Take time to calm down.

There is a lot more to talk about this but suffice to say for the moment is just breathe!

B – Back away, r – resist, e – emotional, a- action, t – think, h- healthy, e – emotions!

Until next time

Let it go – Let it go – (Frozen theme running through your head now?)

Blessings Narelle

Posted in Christian living, communication, grief, health and wellness, Life, Love, Uncategorized

Re-living the Pain of Tragedy – Grief revisited

crying lady

With all the blogs, posts and comments regarding the latest mass shooting of people in the United States, it is tempting to enter the debate on why? but I will not get into that. Evil is evil! The tools to deliver evil intent will always be found.

My thoughts run to those who have walked this path before – too many of them. The LA shooting, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, the list goes on. So many have lost so many!  Can you imagine the pain each of them feels when something like the Valentine’s Day tragedy occurs again?

It would be like an almost healed wound being torn open again with fresh bleeding gushing out.

The reliving of dread as you hear through social media or friends or television that there is a shooting. The pain of the wait to know if your child or loved one is among the injured or dead. The agony of having to identify the shattered body of those who you saw only that morning wave their last farewell or kissed you on the cheek. The perpetual internal and external screams as you realize the finality of the outcome. Then the ongoing daily pain of grief flowing over you, only to be followed by anger and bitterness toward whoever is to blame for your loss.

Walking the path of the broken as you buried ones whose lives were cut short: Comforting others as you yourself struggle for answers and the what-ifs: Struggling with the knife of grief cutting through your heart every day as you struggle with survivor guilt and the pain of loss: The pain of obscurity as the focus shifts to the next group of victims and your pain is shelved with the faces of the quickly forgotten: These emotions are all that you have to look forward to in the aftermath.

There are few words to say at a time like this for those who are re-living all of those emotions. I have not walked in your shoes. I can not offer wisdom into a situation I don’t understand. I can offer the professional advice for grief management and these are helpful but your journey is your journey.

All I can offer are the words of the wonderful and truthfilled Psalm 23:

Yea though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil because You are with me.

Evil can try to crush but love will prevail! He is with you at this time.

There is also the truth of His name – The Comforter, the Healer, the Prince of Peace.

Nothing can prepare us for the separation of death – It was not what we were created for. It is part of the death sentence of sin, but we can be assured that Jesus said, “He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The Devil comes to steal and destroy but He comes to bring us Life. He is Peace and although it may not feel like it right now, Peace and life will come. He is with you during this time of loss. It is times like this where your faith can bloom or shrivel. Faith is comfort.

Know that although I don’t understand your pain completely, myself and many others stand in prayer with you and those around you as you grieve again. We stand with you as you remember your loved ones and their loss. I may not know your name or who your loved one was but I still stand with you to offer you love, and prayer for strength as you face the tragedy again.

In love

Narelle until next time.