Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year

As I approach the New Year I feel as though I am holding my breath. A bit like when you jump into water. I feel 2014 is going to be a big year.

I usually get apprehensive about a new year. One year went so badly that I was too upset to even think about facing another year the same as the one I had just been through.

A new year brings with it the unknown and challenges we are not yet prepared to face. But this season we are all going into is not about what challenges we are going to face or about what demands will be placed upon us but rather about our attitude going into it.

When my husband and I moved to New Zealand despite all that was said to us and the way we were treated we were determined to look at that new season as an exciting adventure. We were positive about going out and making friends and not waiting for people to invite us out.
We went with expectation to make the most of it. God had a plan for sending us here and we were going to take it and go in with both feet.

And here I am today standing on the very tail end of the year. Ready. To take that leap into 2014. Fully aware that I will be made to grow and that growing isn't comfortable but knowing that as I surrender to God's will for this year and make room for Him in my life I will not be the same person I am today. Already I am not the same person I was 7 years ago nor the same person I was at the beginning of 2013.

I cannot wait to see what 2014 will have instore for me and my family.  It is going to big, massive and at times nerve-wracking but I know God is with me. I am thankful that He is not finished with me yet.

What is God saying to you today? Maybe it is to turn from certain ways of thinking. Acknowledging that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are blessed of God and are able to do all things through Christ who gives you strength. That we are more than conquerors and God is for us and who then can be against us.

What I have learnt in 2013 is that I am more than able to do what God has called me to do. That I may not see the bigger picture but that finding where some of the pieces I have in my hand go is so exciting and simple. Just start with what you have in your hands today and do it all to His glory.
I have learnt about true forgiveness. It has taken me a few years but I have a better understanding now. People can change. Misunderstandings happen all the time. It is our attitude and how we handle it that matters.
There are a lot of lonely people right next door to us. We don't have to go very far or do anything dramatic to encourage and comfort someone.

May 2014 be a blessed and amazing year for you all. Thank you for reading this year and I look forward to writing and sharing with you next year.

Happy New Year and God bless.

P.S. Please excuse any spelling and grammar errors I wrote this on my phone in the car in between cleaning up a car sick toddler and handing back dropped toys.

Friday, December 27, 2013

When things take time

Have you ever noticed that most things in life take time. When you cook food, it takes time. Boiling the kettle for a cup of tea takes time. Waiting in line takes time and instant although pretty quick still has it's limits as to how quick and instant it can be. Even the drive through, although quick, you still wait.

Planting an apple seed does not mean that you get an instant apple tree full of apples. It takes years before you even see the fruit. Some plants take longer than others before you see fruit or flower but the point is it still takes time.

Sometimes we feel like the things we are doing or trying to achieve seem to take forever. We feel all we are doing is waiting. When we are in that place of waiting we get so uncomfortable and edgy. We cannot sit still and we feel we must do something or we will burst. In the Bible we are told many times to wait.
Romans 8:24-25 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Wait with perseverance. We do not hope for the things we see but for things we do not see and we wait for it. It should be an exciting time. A bit like waiting for a really cool surprise but instead we get all twisted in knots because we are not in control anymore. That is exactly where God wants us. He knows that when we are out of control we rely on Him and we see how much He was always in control. In our weakness He is strong. In our turmoil He is the peace. When we rely on Him more and less on our own selves that is when He works miracles through us. That is when He true power and majesty is manifested through us. If we hold on to our own way of thinking and doing things we use our own knowledge and strength to do things in. We have no need for God. When we hand over full control to Him and become available to Him and open to what He is doing in our lives we are filled with peace and strength and words to pray. The Holy Spirit has been with me through so much. He comforts me and strengthens me. He helps me to say the right words to encourage others and equips me with ways to cope. When there is nothing left for me to give He is there to make sure I don't feel empty and hollow.

If you are battling today and feel like you have lost control of your situations and that you feel as though you have waited forever for the right man or woman to come into your life, the right job, home or dream to be fulfilled I feel today you need to write these things down and talk to God about them and surrender the situation to God and leave it with Him. Tell Him you are handing it over to Him to do as He wills. Then in a few months time read back on what you wrote. It has been really encouraging and amazing when I have done this even after a year. Looking back on the year and seeing answered prayer and the great things God has done has done in my life when I have let go of the reigns.
When I have made God my navigator instead of my co-pilot. 

Wait on Him today because He is good to those who wait on Him. Everything comes to pass in His time and His timing is always the best timing. I can attest to that.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chosen Vessels

Acts 9
Acts is such an amazing book in the Bible. It is packed with awesome. Reading through the book you realise just how important we are to God. That we are not just numbers but individuals He has chosen. He knows each of us by name and He knows where we are. He knows what we need when we need it. He fills us with the Holy Spirit so we can have help to do all we have been chosen to do.

I am drawn to the conversion of Saul (Paul) and how God chose him to preach the Gospel to Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel.
I think it is amazing how Jesus came to Saul while Saul was still threatening to murder Jesus' people. Jesus chose Saul right where he was. He didn't wait for him to get right and stop his murderous ways first before He chose him.
In the same way Jesus has chosen us right where we are. He has chosen us to do many things in His name but He has chosen us while we were still sinners. While we are still messed up.
I have been a Christian for many years but I still make mistakes and mess up. I don't know everything yet and I know I never will. I do what I have been equipped to do by God. He is the one that makes me capable. The things I do in my own strength are worth very little but when I rely on God and what He is doing in my life He takes what I have and uses it to His glory and adds to it in ways I could never have imagined.

When He takes us out of our filth He doesn't just leave us but He transforms us so that we can never go back. We are His chosen vessels. He doesn't clean us out and then leave us empty. He fills us with the Holy Spirit. Not half full, not just a drop but full to the top.

If you are feeling of little worth and that God couldn't possibly use you just remember God sees who you are today but He also sees who you will become. He says the things you will do in His name will overshadow the things you have done in the past.

Saul was a bad man and everyone knew what he did but God chose him and transformed him so that people were amazed and confused that this was the same man. When God calls your name and you answer 'Lord what do You want me to do?' the Lord will tell you to arise and shine. We need to be willing to open our hearts and our hands to whatever God has chosen and called us to do. There must be no room for fear or apprehension. Saul was struck blind and he could not see the way to go but he still did what Jesus told him to do and that was to go into the city. He sat and he waited and prayed in the dark for 3 days.
Most often we are called to sit in the unknown but it isn't about how dark things are but what we do in that time. We may be in the dark but God still hears our prayers just as He told Ananias to go to Saul because he was there, without sight, and praying.

Paul suffered many things after he came to Christ and it says that Jesus showed him the things he would suffer in His name. That is true for us too. Suffering is awful and something we never want to go through but we have never been promised to have it easy. In Acts 5 we read about all the disciples suffered and yet we get to verse 41 and we see them rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Wow how can this be? How is it that they are holding the fact that they suffered in such high regard? They have seen that when they suffer they suffer not for themselves but for the Almighty Saviour Jesus. It is an honour to do this for Christ because we can never ever suffer as much as Jesus did for us. If we do not suffer are we doing God's will for us? Not everyone we meet loves us. In fact there are plenty who hate us and who even kill our brothers and sisters everyday. Are you willing to suffer the same for the name of Christ or do you play it safe for fear of offending someone with the Truth?

Sometimes it is just better to sit in my little house and do what every other person is doing but I don't want to blend in. I don't want for my life to pass by where I have done nothing even close to significant. Where I have suffered nothing and brought no glory to His great and all powerful name. Because of my comfort and my selfishness, I suffer nothing. I may offend a few people here and there with my opinion because they don't agree with me but I just keep my mouth shut when things get a bit heated. I don't mean we should argue with people and get angry but we should speak the Truth and not tie it up in a cutesie ribbon with some pretty theme music so it won't offend.

I am so sorry that things are they way they are but I cannot change the way the world is going but I can open my mouth and preach Jesus. Jesus who suffered on the cross. Taking on Himself the sin of the world so that you and I may be put back in right standing with God that we will not go to the place all those who reject God are destined to go.

Chosen Vessels. Each of us. Vessels do nothing when empty. We have the Holy Spirit that wants to fill us and use us for awesome things that will bring glory to Him throughout all the Earth. Will you be willing to be filled and poured out for whatever God is calling you to do? No matter the cost?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bearing Fruit

John 15:1-8  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

I am currently trying to put the Christmas tree up. First the base went missing. We found that and assembled the tree. Then it was time for the lights to go on. Fortunately I went against tradition and tested to see if the lights worked after I had them on the tree. And. Nothing. Not even a little spark of life. This is rather frustrating as I just want to put the tree up. I haven't had a chance to do it in the last 2 weeks because things have been crazy busy.

As I type this my husband is going through each light to see which one isn't working and causing the rest of the string to go on strike. So far they all seem fine. The test meter is coming out to check which part of the string of lights is failing.

It got me thinking about our own lives. We are like those strings of lights. Sometimes there is something in our life that God needs to be pulled out an examine or throw out. 
In John 15:1-8 Jesus tells us that He is the true Vine and the Father is the Vinedresser. We are the branches. Every branch is examined to see if they are bearing fruit. If we do not bear fruit what good are we to the Vine, Vinedresser, ourselves? We are the body of Christ and we need to be bearing fruit. When fruit is evident in our lives the Father sees it but does not leave us producing the same amount of fruit. He prunes us and allows us to go through suffering, trials and difficult times so that we may bear more fruit.

The good news is that Jesus goes on to say that if we continue to abide in Him we bear much fruit. This tells me that when I go through these tough times I need to be closer to Christ. That when I press in to Him and abide or live in Him then I bear much fruit for without Him I can do nothing. Those that do not stay close to Christ will wither. They will have no strength to draw from and they will dry up and become like kindling.

If we stay plugged in and have the broken lights replaced and we are wired correctly we will shine brightly.

If you are going through some tough times, struggles or suffering today know that Jesus is with you. You are a branch that needs the True Vine and He is right there for you while you go through this. He also knows that if you don't go through this time you will still be you but no different. Going through these things makes you stronger not weaker. It grows you and does not stunt you. That in your current weakness you are made strong in Christ and that in this time you may feel like you need to climb a tree to be able to see what is happening but God sees and will raise you up out of that tree and give you stature in your work and in all of your life.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What is Your Plan?

Luke 10:38-42  38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

This week has only started to get busy. The end of year is filled with commitments and things that need to be done. Children in school and church productions (though I shouldn't complain one of them was my idea). Prize Giving ceremonies and Parent/Teacher Interviews and loads of baking. Everyone has something on to celebrate and wrap up the end of a long year. So much attention to detail and making sure things run smoothly
Planning, lists and checking them twice and most of the kids are naughty not nice because they too are tired of the hectic schedule.

All these things are really wonderful and I love spending time celebrating with friends and family and seeing how my children have grown and watching them take the stage. A lot of our time can be invested in these areas this time of year that we tend to neglect our time with God.

We become too busy to read our Bible's or pray and if we do pray it is a quick 'Dear Lord please can I get out of this chaos in one piece, thank you Amen' But this can be said for most of the year. Life gets busy and we allow our busyness to shelve the greatest gift we could ever receive... a relationship with Jesus.

I love making or buying gifts, wrapping them and giving them to people and watching them open them. It is my favorite part of Christmas and all the other events that involve giving. I like to remember too the greatest Gift we will ever receive is Jesus and the wonder of His saving power in our lives.

It blows my mind every year to ponder the Saviour's birth and that God came to us in the form of a baby and lay in a manger. What greater gift can we receive than this. That the Father sent His only Son to die for our sins, for our wrongdoing and selfishness that we might be saved and called His sons and daughters.

I know this time is busy. It is inevitable no matter how well you plan. But it is in our busyness that we need to we focused on God. We need to be drawing on His strength and making time for Him first and then all the busyness will not be too crazy.

I know many times when I have looked at what I have to do and gotten so overwhelmed that I did not feel like doing anything. I just wanted to quit before it all started but when I have gone to God first and asked Him for help with getting through the day and reading His word and being refreshed I feel I can do things and it will all be ok. God is with me and is strengthening me so that I can do this work of wife, mother, leader and all the other hats I wear. Our plan for the day must firstly involve spending time in the Word and in Prayer. We need to order our private world within ourselves before we can be effective in out outer public world. While we are being like Martha to everyone we must not neglect being like Mary and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

My heart goes out to all those around me who feel the loss of a loved one this time of the year. Christmas is just not the same without them. A lot of people are depressed and lonely and in need of some hope, friendship and family. This is something we can pray about and ask the Holy Spirit how best we can bless our friends. We can give out Christmas cards and gifts but we need to bring them a message to encourage them and comfort them. Who best knows how to comfort than the great Comforter we have in the Holy Spirit.

My blog posts on a Wednesday may be published a bit later in the day during the holidays because I would have to wait until kids are in bed but I still plan on writing every Wednesday. After schools are closed for the year we plan to take day trips to our favourite places and watch a movie (The Hobbit) and spend time with family and friends. Mainly just veg and enjoy not having to race to school. Ah I love Summer.

 Tell me what your plans are for the Holidays?

 If you need prayer please either email me or comment below.

Until next week :)
xx Tamryn

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Everywhere dry bones and death lie on the ground. No life comes from them. They do not arise and sing. They do not let out a cry. Silent and barren. No flesh cover them. No sinew connect. No skin covers. No breath comes from them.
They do not know. They have not heard and they have not perceived.

Ezekiel 37:11b "Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!"

This is true of things in life. Dry, hopeless and lost souls who need the good news prophesied over them.

Look and see what my King has done. See He has overcome the world. Come and see. Open your eyes, lean in close to hear the voice that spoke you and all creation into being.

He was born to a virgin and lay in a manger. He did not enter with ceremony as some would expect from a King. He did not come for fame. He came for me and you. He had nothing to prove because He is God.
He healed, He spoke life and truth. Lead to the cross like a common criminal. Though having done no wrong they nailed Him there. Body broken, blood spilled. Wounded. For us. Not to prove a point but to put an end to an ancient disease that had caused too much death, disease and destruction for so many.
He breathed His last with a loud cry. It is finished! The sky grew dark and the way to the Father torn open by this amazing act of love. Gasps and sobs. 'Our Christ is dead.'
Women come and care for Him. Anoint His body and prepare Him for the tomb.

What a dark time to be in. What a hopeless place they faced. What happens now?
A return to the tomb on the Sunday reveals an Angel there. "He whom you seek is not here."

Christ had risen from the dead. Can this be that the Christ who died is no longer dead but lives?

He lives! He lives!

Oh Lord Jesus Christ am I just so in awe and amazed and thankful for all you have done for me. You have saved me. You live in me and You breathe life into my weary soul. Your Spirit fills every inch of me.

Arise and Shine and Speak the Good News of what Christ has done for you. It is a message that does not grow old and one that will change the lives of many. The Gospel needs to be spoken and heard.

This Christmas lets share the love of Christ with others and let them know the Good News that brings life to dry bones and breathes into their souls and awakens them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

He Will Provide

Matthew 14:13-21 and Matthew 15:32-39

In these passages we read how Jesus feeds the 5000 and then the 4000. In the first case He takes 5 loaves and 2 fish and the second He takes 7 loaves and a few fish and blesses them and breaks them and gave the loaves and fish to the disciples to feed the multitudes.
What is fascinating is that Jesus does this not once but twice and that when everyone is full there are baskets full left over. 12 baskets and 7 large baskets full.

I woke up this morning pondering this. We all worry about things and about what we will wear or what we will eat but here is a case where not only did Jesus provide for everyone until they were full but there was enough left over to feed dozens more. Yes things are getting more and more expensive and the fridge and pantry are looking a little empty but God will provide for you. He is the great provider. I have never seen a bird sitting about on the ground saying 'I am so worried that there will be nothing for me to eat and that it will rain tomorrow and I will get wet and have nowhere to sleep'

We do enjoy worrying about things so much that we forget to trust and rely on Christ for our needs. Not just food but finances, clothing and others areas of our lives.
Matthew 6:25-34 25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble

Give God your few loaves and fish today and don't try and think up ways you can possibly do something in your own strength when all you need to do is let go and let God do it.

Not only does God provide for all your needs today but He also provides for your needs and then gives you something to take home. I gather that the baskets of food where then shared out and were then taken home by those that were there those two days. This reminds be of when 1 Kings 17:8-16 where God sends Elijah to the house of a widow and asks her for a cup of water and some bread. She says to him that she has no bread only a little flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar and that she is about to make up a loaf of bread as her last meal for herself and her son and that they prepare to die. Elijah then tells her to bake the loaf and to bring him some but that her flour bin would not be used up and her jar of oil would not run dry until the Lord send rain on the earth. She went and did as he told her and she and her household ate for many days.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7 another widow is in trouble and owes money to some creditors and 2 of her children are about to be taken away to work as slaves to pay off the debt. Elisha asks her what she has left in her house and she says she has nothing but a jar of oil. He tells her to borrow empty vessels from her neighbours and not just a few and to shut herself in her house with her sons and pour the oil into each of the vessels until full. She fills each of them until full and when she asks her sons for another vessel  they say there are no more and the oil stopped. Elisha then tells her to take the oil and sell what she needs to pay for her debts and then that her and her sons can live off the rest.

We need to come with what little we have and offer it to God and He will work a miracle and He will provide but not only does he provide but He provides for our future. He provides for more than just the hear and now and exceedingly more than what we require.

If you feel today that you are in need of a miracle and you are in need of provision ask God. He will and does provide for your every need. Just as we provide well for our own children God wants to provide for us as well but so much more.

Matthew 7:9-11 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 

Father we thank You for the provision in our lives today and Lord Jesus we pray for those around us in need that their cries will be met today and in abundance will they receive from You all that they require. Amen

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

What does it mean to be salt and light? 
We all know that when we add salt to food it brings out the flavour. Without salt a meal is rather bland and tasteless. Now the very nature of salt is that it is salty. If you lose the salty flavour what do you have left? Nothing. It serves no purpose.
Light expels darkness. It can be seen from billions of (light) years away. Lighthouses are designed to protect ships from crashing into the reef but also to find land at night. If we cover light up what purpose does it serve? Why is it even there? You may as well be blowing it out or switching it off. It serves no purpose. A light is meant illuminate. 

You are the salt of the earth and light to the world. Are you salty or has compromise made you bland and tasteless? Is your light shining or is your shame covering it up?

We need to know what we believe, and we need to know what we stand for. God's Word, the Bible, is God breathed. It is the words coming direct from God. Jesus died on the cross for my sins and was victorious. He rose from the dead. I want others to know Jesus and be saved from eternal suffering. 

People think that doing good deeds can make you good enough. That doing the right things can make you good enough. But hear this nothing is good enough if you aren't salt and light. If what we believe is being compromised by worldly thinking then I fear we are in danger of being bland and dark. 

Are we ready to step out in our faith and declare out loud the Glory of our God despite what redicule, shame and trouble may befall us? 
We all rejoice at the verse the Harvest is Plenty but we don't read the next part But the workers are few.
We need to change our thinking and stop worrying about trivial matters and press into what God has for us so that we can be salt and light and reach people for Christ. You would think that with the many professing to be Christian that there would be many workers. Alas compromise and idleness has made many Christians purposeless. Yes it is harsh to say this but if we do not stand for something we will fall for anything, if we do not have a purpose and we don't live in it, what are we doing here then? 
Yes being a Christian in word only will still get you to Heaven but what will it do for your fellow man going to Hell?

Now I can numb down this blog post to make it nice, pretty and happy and as unoffensive to as many people as possible but I am not here to please people because you can never ever please everyone. I am here to please God. I have to answer back to Him one day and pleasing Him is what I aim for so if I die pleasing Christ then I die but I do not cease to exist I will fall before His throne and will worship Him for all eternity.

Church. Do you go or did you get hurt by something someone said or did you used to go but don't anymore because it wasn't for you? I suggest you find a church and join it and serve in it. It is so good to meet with others and be grown and challenged in Church. I know church is not just a building but the people and you could sit there at tell me that you have church at home in your living room in front of the TeleEvangelist or TV Pastors because church is the people and not about the building you go to. In the Bible it says we are to meet together. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
Are you in the habit of not going to church? People in church are there to encourage you and spur you on toward love and good deeds. You see church is not about you it is about God and the unsaved and we have been put on earth to serve a purpose to be salty and to be light. I cannot stress how important this is. I have been serving in church for over half my life and as those who are serving alongside me can tell you it is hard work. It feels as if there never is enough people on our team to carry the load. As if some people are missing. Are you missing from Church? God has a place for you in His family. 
When we have guests come over we serve them and we make sure their needs are cared for. When you are family you get given a job to do and you serve each other. Family is about serving, giving and spending time together and loving each other so that we can go out and love and serve others who are not yet our family.
Don't miss out and don't be missing. You are family and we need you, God needs you and the unsaved need you.

Stand up Church! Stand up and worship your God together. For He is worthy of all praise and worship. Spread the good news without shame or reserve. We do not have the time to wait for one day when. Time is short. Far too short to wait for when we are good enough. 

Ignite the passion and flame within you. Read the Word and become salty. Do this and you will impact many for Christ so that none may suffer but have eternal life.

Shine your light, be faithful, be salty.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Praising in the Storm

         Psalm 121
I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.  The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore

There were so many things I could write about today but every time I hear this song I feel I need to write something about it. Everyday I hear about a storm someone is going through in their lives.

Life can be one big tornado. I felt many a time like there was just chaos everywhere. Nothing made sense and I was stuck in this relentless tornado that threatened to tear me apart or destroy me. 
I think we can all relate to being in this place. Maybe you are going through something now that just seems like it will never end and life is just going crazy around you.
In the center of a tornado is the calm of the storm. When we make Jesus our center and we draw near to Him we find peace and strength. The more we move away from the center the closer we get to the fringe of the tornado and our outlook becomes unclear and frightening. 
Sometimes we are put in the tornado because that is the safest place for us. It is a place where we will find Christ in the center and praise Him.

I just want to encourage anyone who is facing a storm in their lives to praise God. Lift your hands and come before Him and know that no matter what the storm is, no matter where you are God is right there in the center of it all. He isn't sleeping, He is waiting for you to draw in close to Him for your strength.

We cannot do this alone. A lot of the time we do do things alone. We try in our own strength to cope and put on a brave face and dust ourselves off and carry on. In reality though we burn out and we realise that we have done it on our own but at great cost to our health, well-being and the relationships with others.
Worry, anxiety and stress all damage our health. Christ heals our hearts. Plants our feet firmly and lifts our heads.

Fear not the storm that rages but turn your eyes to the Lord. That is where your help comes from. Not from mortal things and not by your own effort.

Don't tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big, mighty, awesome and great your God is.

Dear Lord
I pray for all who are hurting today. I pray you will give them courage and strength to praise you through the storms in their lives. We lift our hands to you Lord and praise your name forYou are our all Lord. You are so awesome Father and so Holy and worthy to be praised.
Thank you Father for always being there in the storm and for saving us when we cry out to you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Stand Amazed

You know how you live your life day to day and it seems rather boring? Like groundhog day. Didn't care much for the movie mainly because it was just the same day over and over.

Some days I don't care for my life. It is so boring. Get up feed kids, take some to school, come home, clean, feed kids, put them down for a nap, clean, fetch kids, come home, feed kids some snacks, homework, cook dinner, put kids in bed, clean, sleep, repeat. It has been like that for a few years now and I must admit that as my kids get older and I am doing more things outside the home with them and without them, I feel as though I have achieved so much in this time of presumed mundanity.

In the over 7 years of being a mother and devoting and sacrificing my life for my little ones I realise it has been in this time that I have grown the most. Not only as a mother but as a wife and as me as an individual.

I have gotten to know who I am. But not only that, I have gotten to know who I am in God. How God sees me.
To be pretty much stripped of my identity while I have been everything to 5 people and so depended on for everything for so long, I had to lean on God. I had to learn to talk to Him throughout my day. To come to Him with all my needs and worries. I haven't always remembered to do this and sometimes I have gotten cross and had a tantrum and decided that I wasn't going to read my Bible or talk to God because of how I was feeling.
For a busy and tired mum it is really difficult to find the time and energy to have a quiet time alone with God to pray and read our Bible. But doing things like praying while driving the car, putting worship music on while you clean the kitchen and make beds or fold laundry, Bible apps on your phone while you breastfeed and things like this all help to put your focus on God. You might not see this time as very worthy or even glamorous but it is the most amazing job you will ever do. Mums you are leaving a legacy for generations to come. For the first 3 years of a child's life are spent with their mother, nuturing them, teaching them and growing them. It is time consuming and stretching but it is so so rewarding.

My eldest is now 7 and I can see the fruit come out of her that has been sown in her life when she was little. My second child turns 5 less than 2 weeks and my 3rd child turns 3. My baby is so close to starting to walk that I am starting to feel like I really don't want her to grow up just yet. I have gotten so used to having little children around me and in 18 months time I will have all 4 my children at pre-school or primary school for 3 days of the week.

I am excited about the new chapter of my life I am going in to. I turned 30 on Saturday and it was such a beautiful weekend and I felt so blessed. I have been looking back and seeing all the amazing and yet trying and hard times in my life and all that I have gone through but now I look ahead to the new things that this time has molded me to be and I stand amazed. I am so in awe and so in love with my Heavenly Father and all He has done, is doing and is yet to do in my life and in the lives of my family.

I am feeling strongly that I would like to take this blog to a new place and making it more. I am going to commit to writing once a week for the next while and see how that goes and maybe extending it to twice a week in the New Year if I can. I will also be moving my whole blog to something more user friendly and easier to read.
I have had so much on my heart in the last few years and it is only now that things are starting to come clear and I am being stirred up. The Holy Spirit seems to be calling me and I have to cross over into this new thing.

I want to speak into people's lives and bring them hope. I want to see people set free and changed and I want to see people equipped and on fire for what God has called them to do.

This is A Walk of Faith and Trust and I would so love it if you would join me on this journey that has been placed before me and that you will be encouraged by my testimonies and the words God gives me for you every Wednesday.

Until next Wednesday, please remember that you are worth more than the words in your head tell you you are. You matter to somebody and you are made for greatness and that greatness to exalt your Creator through all that you are.

Praise God for His awesome splendour, 
Praise the Lord for He cares for the poor in spirit 
and the brokenhearted. 
He lifts them out of the depths
and sets them on the Rock of Salvation.
He lifts their heads and 
creates a new heart within them.
He guides them and leads them
in truth and righteousness.
He never leaves nor forsakes them
and in troubled times He is forever near.
His Grace, everlasting and His love,
Never Ending
Stand in awe and be 
For your God is Mighty
and in His might He will save
He will care for 
and He will always
be there for
and near to 
Be still and know
Hold on to His promises.
Stand and be Amazed.
by Tamryn de Laborde

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Heart for the Broken-Hearted

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

I am sure we have all been through a time in our lives where our hearts were broken. A time in our lives where something has not gone to plan. Hurtful things said to us or overheard about us. Loss of a loved one. Someone in your life leaving you whether it being a parent, friend or a significant person in your life. Miscarriage. Losing your Job. Disappointments.

I love the verse above. I can imagine God being there in my times of heartbreak. When my heart feels like it is being wrenched from my chest. The sobs build up and I hold my breath and I feel as though my head or chest will burst if I keep it in any longer. I take a breath and the tears fall.
God heals our heartbreak. He sees what we go through and He bandages our wounds. He takes us into His arms and he carefully heals our hearts and wraps a bandage around our wounds. There is something so nurturing and caring about this verse. God doesn't just heal our hearts and send us on our merry way. He heals our hearts and then binds our wounds which to me suggests ongoing care.

I think this illustration shows us the Heart we are to have for others in our lives. We are to have a Heart for the brokenhearted because we know what it is like to be broken and hurting. We know what it is like to be poor in spirit.

I am reminded of when Matthew 26:6-13 About the woman who anoints Jesus with fragrant oil. In verse 11 Jesus says "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me." I know Jesus is talking about His death on the cross here but re-reading the first half this verse He says you will always have the poor among you. There will always be those who are poor, be it financially or spiritually. Jesus told His disciples that they would not always have Him because soon after this Jesus was lead to the cross and died and was made alive on the 3rd day and was taken up to be with the Father 40 days later not before promising to send them a Helper.
Jesus shines through us and we have been given the Holy Spirit who stirs within us a Heart for the Brokenhearted and poor in spirit. The ones in bondage who do not know what it is like to be free.

Do you know of anyone who is hurting today and needing a friend to comfort them and pray for them?
We usually go through our week and are so busy with what we are doing that we can forget to look around us and notice those who need help and encouragement.

I think that is what makes time with God during our day so important. It helps us to stop and focus off of ourselves and back onto God. In this time we can ask God to bring a name of someone who needs encouragement and prayer. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or an invitation for coffee.
Stay at Home Mums are the perfect people to go and visit others and encourage them. Take your babies and toddlers with you and go and help an elderly lady. The young are such a joy to them. I have done this. I have taken my kids to funerals and hospitals and people's homes who have needed a cuddle and the laughter of a child to heal their hearts.
I feel sometimes God speaks to my daughter's and often when we are in the car driving from having just dropped either one or both of my older girls off at school/kindy my 3rd daughter will say to me "I don't want to go home lets go visit that lady" Yes I would make my way over unannounced or if I know they will not be home we say a prayer for them that their day will go well. But the times we have gone to visit our friends have been greatly blessed and encouraged.

My encouragement for this week is to take time to find out who needs your love and understanding this week. I will be doing this too.

Enjoy the rest of your week and I pray that if you are hurting that you will be comforted and your heart will be healed from someone close to you.

I am thinking about putting up a way for you all to contact me if there is anything you need to ask or if you have something you want to talk about. So maybe a Facebook page and an email account. Comment below if you would like me to do this.

God's richest blessing for you all.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who You Are!

Women how amazing we are and yet how much we put ourselves down. The scale we stand on tells us we are not good enough. Magazines and TV tell us we are not good enough. When we stand and look in the mirror what is the lie we tell ourselves?

I read some of the comments on YouTube about this video and most women are really touched and set free by this video but then there are a few guys on there that say it has to much 'You Are' in it and not enough 'He Is' and that it is an evil message. But I do not feel this. I think it points to the Creator in every way. God made us strong and capable and awesome. He created us to fulfill His good purpose. He created us to nurture and love. We were created with large hearts to open up to others and meet their needs. Don't let the enemy tell you are not good enough to make a difference and to serve your God.

I watched the movie One Night with the King which is the story of Esther. Hadassah the Jewish girl who was taken from her home with other virgins in the kingdom. She hides her identity as per her uncle's instruction and take on the name Esther.
One by one, after a year of beauty preparations, they come before the King and present themselves to him. When it is Esther's turn comes the Bible says Esther 2:17 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Vashti was the Queen but when summoned by the King to come to a banquet she refuses and so the King sent her away and decided to find for himself a new Queen.

Esther wins favour with the King, not with her outward adornment but with her inward adornment. God loves you and has found grace and favour in you and has set a royal crown on your head and you are His daughter.

If you read through Esther you will read how she hears of a plot by a man named Haman to kill all the Jews. This greatly upsets Esther and her people plead for her to reach the King and ask Him to spare them. In order for Esther to do this she has to go before the King unsummoned. To do this was death to anyone who the King does not hold out His golden scepter to.
Esther had to step out and do an amazing and courageous thing to save her people. To do what God has called her to do. He put Esther in that time and place for such a purpose.

We have all been put where we are now for a purpose. We are all called to do something great for God. I believe that we are all equipped for more than to just live and die. We are called to rise up and gather up our skirts and run in to what God has for us.

You are good enough and capable. You are so much more than you tell yourself. Do not let words of society or your thoughts that pull you down tell you any different.

In Christ I am so much more. I love what God sees in me. I love that He sees all my faults and all my wrong and all the really stupid things I say and do and He lifts me up out of the dust and decay and sets my feet on the Rock. He doesn't just put me on the sand He puts me on a sturdy Rock that will not shift with the changing winds or move with the crashing of the waves.

Ladies do not sell yourself short with the lies that you have to what men can do in order to be something in this world. We were not created to be men. God created men first and saw that it was not good that they be alone and that they would need someone to complete them. We were created to COMPLETE not COMPETE. This is not a competition. We are all unique and special and are created for the very purpose of serving God and glorifying Him with the gifts He has given us.

Men, you are awesome. Look at you. You were created to lead your family. You were created to stir up nations for Christ. Take up the mantle of authority and lead. You can do it because it is what you were created for. You were created for outer strength and gumption. You were created with the ability to seek out purpose and walk in it. You are the back bone of our nations. The protective structure for our hearts.

Women, you are awesome. Look at you. Look at the uniqueness of your body and of your soul. You nurture within you the smallest of all humanity. You birth the new. You are discerning. You are the only one that has your husband's heart. You cry, laugh and smile with ease and beauty and grace. So special are you to God. You are doing an amazing job. Don't strive to be who you are not. No river flows uphill and against it's natural course. If it does it only causes destruction. When humans try and change the course of a river the river will always try and get back to it's natural course. You were meant to flow with ease, grace and beauty.

So go be who God created you to be and don't listen to lies telling you anything different. Shoulders back, stand up straight and take that step into all that God has called you to be.

Until next week, have an awesome weekend and be blessed.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Passion, Perseverance, Price and the Prize

What are you passionate about? What lights up your eyes when you talk about it. What gets you really fired up? Are the desires and passions of your heart active in your life or are they just a dream for one day when you are old enough, rich enough, worthy enough, ready enough or just enough?

I rode an 8km bike ride yesterday for the opening of one of the sections of the rail trail. All the way to the start I was thinking if I should go and what business I had riding 8km. I was not fit enough. I am pretty new to riding a bike. What if I crash or look silly.
Well I registered and received my little brochure with a number on it and got ready to ride 8km. It started to rain and it was really windy. I was getting wet, I was cold and I was uncomfortable but I was determined to start and see it through to ride for my family.
Well the ribbon was cut and there was no turning back. My husband and my girls had headed back to the car and would be waiting for me at the finish and I thought riding 8km was the same as walking 4km and I have done that pushing a stroller with 2 kids in.

I prayed for good weather and that the sun would come out and dry me and that the wind would calm down.
I found a gap and off I pedaled. I couldn't tell how far I had gone after 20 mins so could not gauge how long I had left. 30 minutes passed and I had no clue even if I was half way. It rained on and off and there was a rather discouraging head wind and at one time a wind that blew from the side. I pushed up two hills and free wheeled where I could. By this time my seat was feeling decidedly painful and numb in parts all at the same time and I just couldn't find a nice spot to get comfortable on on my narrow saddle. My legs were burning and with every head wind I had to pedal harder. There were so many people passing me I was sure I was stone last. I saw the train chugging passed and was thinking that possibly I had about 1km to go to the finish. By now 40 mins had passed and I was wondering if I should stop for some water and raisins but figured that it should all be over soon and I should just press on. There weren't that many hills left and it seemed to be all downhill from there on.

I clicked up a gear and that made pedaling less of an effort. After 50 minutes I could hear music and I started to smile I was almost there at the finish. I had done it. My very first 8km ride and I had done it on my own despite the weather and not being very fit. I came over the last little rise and saw my 4 daughters and my husband waiting for me. I couldn't stop grinning.

We went off to have a little bit of lunch before the prize giving. All those who had participated were given a brochure that had a unique number on it and if your number was called then you won the prize. There were two big prizes. One for a night away in one of the local Bed and Breakfasts that also included a 5 course meal and wine. The other was a mountain bike. As the numbers for the vouchers were being called I half hope that my number would be called but also that it would not until the two big prizes were to be drawn. I stood and waited and glanced around the stage to see what the bike looked like and the only thing I could see was this little turquoise and blue ladies bike with this sweet little pannier on the back similar to one I had seen earlier in the day and though wow what a neat idea and wondered about getting one for myself. I really hoped a woman would win it. It would be so wasted on a guy. My number didn't get called for any of the vouchers, phew, aww.
Finally the Night away prize was drawn and it wasn't my number but my nephew's!

Drum roll.... who would win the bike? Would my number get drawn?

154... come again? The microphones cut out and no one could hear the number being called again. But I heard it again 154 and I went up and showed them my number and I had won this wonderful bike. I was so excited! I shook that hand of the man that had donated the bike. It was amazing. My number out of over 400 others.

I had had a really down day the day before. It was my 10th Wedding Anniversary and we didn't have anything planned and I wasn't feeling to good and my father-in-law was in hospital with a serious health problem so I was unsure whether to cancel our picnic the next day and not going riding either but instead drive an hour and a half to the hospital.
But one of my husband's brothers was with his Mom and the other went to visit his Dad and we decided that there wasn't very much we could do at the hospital and that we should support my husband's brother with the opening of the last leg of what has been a long project for him with the rail trail.

You see when God puts something in our hearts, be it a desire or a passion, we can let negative thoughts from the enemy discourage us. We can allow fear to creep in and dampen our passion. This reminds me of a documentary I flicked through to on TV about a team of guys who were climbing up a high mountain. One guy said, 'We climb up at night in the dark because if we went up in the day we would see how far it is and how high up it is and we would become discouraged and give up'
When we make that step into doing what we are passionate about we will be met with situations that will call for perseverance. The way is going to be tough and it may even be dark but maybe God has made the way unclear so that you don't back out when you see the bigger picture.
The price is your comfort. It is not going to be comfortable. It is going to be difficult. Sometimes you will not find a nice soft warm place to rest and you will need to gather up all your strength and lean on and trust God to get you through.

At the end there will be a prize. The prize is Jesus and eternity with Him. The prize is achieving a goal. Taking a risk with your talents and seeing the fruit there of. Take a number and get in line and start the race. If you don't start you will never feel the joy of the finish.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

All I Long For

All I Long For

My soul will sing
My heart will cry out
My mouth will praise You
O Lord

You keep me safe
In the shelter of Your wings
Your voice
Is as soft as a whisper
And as loud as the raging seas

You take me by the hand
You guide me safely through
the dark times
And Your light shines upon the straight paths

Again my soul will sing
If only to know You
My heart will cry out
If only to hear Your voice
My mouth will praise You
For I desire to see your face

With everything within me
My very soul, my hearts cry.
My mouth full of praise
I need You
I really need You
I desire to do Your will
My heart longs for You
My every being
My whole existence
Depends on You

You are all I have got
All I need
And ultimately...
All I long for.

Poem by: Tamryn de Laborde

This is a poem I wrote over 10 years ago. I meant it for lyrics to a song but upon reading it yesterday I felt that it may just stay a poem.

There are so many times in life where we become discouraged in our lives. Be it crime, the world getting out of control, endless demands, stresses, housework and the list goes on. We feel that it is all meaningless and futile and why should we bother. We should just quit while we are ahead or just let the world carry on in the state it is in. If we let it this internal dialogue can really squeeze the last drops of joy out of even the most righteous.

Psalm 43 puts it so nicely.

1Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
2 For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

The enemy gets us down. He loves it when we wallow in self-doubt and pity. When we become discouraged with the task at hand and when we feel we should quit.
What are we to do in times where it seems as if we are in a dark hole with lions surrounding us and no where to go? What will happen if we never get out again?

I am so claustrophobic. See I even know how to spell it correctly.
I went on an outing with my family to the Karangahake Gorge. At the time it was darling hubby, myself and 3 of our kids. Two of the girls walked and I had the third (then a baby) in the front pack. And off we went to look at the remains of what was a really busy gold mine way back. The scenery was lovely. We had our torches ready and we went through some areas that were dark but I could still see the end of the tunnel we were in and that was ok. As long as I knew there was an exit and I could see the light I knew I would be fine. Then we came to the entrance of tunnel that had no windows and no end. Ugh. There was just no way I was going in there. My head started to ache at the thought of entering it and I started to feel queasy. My husband and my two daughters went in and loved it.

This is how things can be in our lives as we walk on this journey. God calls us to go into areas that aren't clearly lit. Places that are dark but the important thing to remember is that we do not go alone. God is never too far away that we cannot reach out to Him and call on Him in times of trouble.

Psalm 43 gives a clue as to how we can get out of these holes of depression and how we can soldier on in the hard times. He is praying to God and speaking to his soul saying God send me your light and your truth. Light shows us what is around us and truth uncovers lies and falsehoods. Our thoughts take us down a road. It blinds us and binds us in untruth. So focus on the fact that if you can see a way out then there is light and no darkness can hide in the light. When lies come and tell you that you are not good enough and not worthy enough and send you down a road of despair and discouragement remember that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. He does not come to discourage you He comes to help you. So if He is truth then where are the lies coming from? Do not entertain them.

Next he says that when the light and truth come may they lead him and bring him to God, to the very feet of God where he finds his joy and where he will praise God and make music to Him. He then speaks to his soul having realised the truth about his despair, Why are you cast down, why are you so discouraged, sad and restless. Come on! Hope in God! Praise Him, He will help you.

At a ladies group last night we were asked what keeps us believing in God. I really feel that the poem I wrote sums it up. God has always been with me. He has always been there for me and has never let me fail. I am still here today because of Him. He directs my paths. He encourages me and loves me. And in return the relationship I have with Him is such that I cannot remember a time without Him in the past nor can I imagine a life without Him in my future. I feel that should God not exist I would cease to aswell. I may just unravel because He is what keeps this frail world together. He is the one who knit me together and saw my little body form in the dark hidden places that no man has seen or will ever fully understand.
Father God is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Though my body may grow old and weak He will always be the strength I need to go on. If all things passed away and it was only me left, He will still be there. He is all I will ever need and all I will ever long for in this way.

God showed me something yesterday morning as I was returning from my walk. I had just come up a small hill and looking down the valley onto where my house was and I felt Him say, Stop and Look. I stopped and took a deep breath and looked out over the houses around my house, further up the hill and all around. I thought about all those people in the houses and how they live around me and have their own lives and go about their day. That is their space. The place where they live and breath. In their homes is warmth and family, happiness and sadness. They sleep and then rise maybe with a coffee to get them awake in the morning just like I do.
Then I imagined what this scene would be like in Heaven. If I took what I saw and placed it in Heaven. Would those houses be empty?
My relationship with Christ is so real to me and so precious and I just cannot imagine a life without Him. Yet there are so many who do live without Him and it saddens me because I want to so badly for everyone to have what I have. I can only pray that when I do meet people that do not know Him that I will be an ambassador of Heaven. That is my true home. I live here but I am not from here and I would like everyone to be going to the same home I will someday. Where my Saviour lives. Because a world without The Creator is just too awful to imagine.

Encouragement for today: If you know Christ and are going through some troubled times, Praise and seek His face and call to Him. He is never too far away from His children Psalm 55
If you do not yet know Christ, you may not understand this blog post or it has spoken to you in a way that you can not fully understand. Can I encourage you to ask God to reveal Himself to you. He will hear you and see you trying to find your way to Him. I pray that he will send light and truth to you so that you may see the path you are on and see Him more clearly. That you will find where He lives and that you will make His home yours. Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

Monday, September 2, 2013


This week my eldest daughter turns 7. I cannot believe that it has been over 7 years since I saw the 2 lines on 3 different tests which I didn't trust until the scan at 14 weeks when I saw my little wriggly baby doing summersaults on the ultrasound screen. Motherhood. Such an amazing event and yet so under valued in society today.
In a little more than 3 weeks time my husband and I will be married for 10 years. I was a month short of my 20th birthday when I got married and my husband was 23. Marriage this young is frowned upon because those who do are deemed immature and doomed to fail. To have found someone to love so early on in my life has been such a blessing. I married my best friend. We have grown into mature adulthood together and have shared in some really difficult times together and had some really great and wonderful adventures together.

Not everything we have done has been looked on with approval but we had firm belief that we were being obedient to God and the plan He had for and still has for us.
We dated for a short while as teenagers. I was 16 and he, 19, only just out of school. I broke it off as I didn't feel the timing was right. It was a hard decision one that was very hard on him and one that I was really confused about in my own heart. His comment to me was that if God wanted us together He would bring us back together.
We didn't speak much for 2 years but had mutual friends. In that time we dated other people. In 2002 he was hi-jacked by gunpoint, lost his job (not his fault) and his girlfriend at the time broke up with him. Hearing from others who knew him around this time, they all commented on how he was sure all this would be restored to him. I had finished school at the end of 2001 and was enjoying a gap year and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Then one day in July 2002 I was sitting thinking to myself that his birthday was soon and I was wondering why we never kept a friendship over those 2 years. (I know I broke up with him so really silly question)I sent him a txt for his birthday on the Friday and by the Monday I had a reply. We chatted like old friends and got a lot of things out in the air and cleared things up. He invited me to the youth group he attended and was a youth leader at. It was at a friend's house so when I walked up the stairs and saw him there I could honestly say my heart skipped a beat and I kicked myself in the butt for having broken up with him. Reflecting back though I realise God's plan for us was there it was just not the right timing. We were different people. We had grown a fair bit and weren't looking for any relationships. As it is I had to wait a whole month for him to realise he felt the same hahaha. I prayed and prayed that if it was God's will for us to be together that he would come to me and initiate a relationship. I was also willing that if this was not God's plan for either of us that any feelings I would have would fade and I would just go on with my life.
It was so amazing the hand God had on us. We decided to become friends first as we had both dated before and been hurt and felt that the next time we dated it would be for the purpose of getting married. On my 19th Birthday he asked my Dad if he could court me and on the 12th December he asked my dad for my hand in marriage. On Friday 13th December 2002 he asked me to marry him. And I said yes!
We were married 9 months later on a beautiful September afternoon.

We had rented a cute little cottage and stayed in it for a year before buying a 3 bedroom house. New Years Eve 2005 I felt really ill and suspected I was pregnant. There is just something about your first child that is just so new and exciting. I did not know what to expect but I couldn't wait to fulfill the desire God had put on my heart to be both a wife and mother.
5 months into my pregnancy we made the decision to move to New Zealand. It was a very hard decision to make and yet when we thought about our baby and the life we wanted our children to have it was very simple. I kept coming back to how God told Abraham to gather up his stuff and go to a land that He would show him. That is what it felt like for us.

The week after our beautiful daughter was born our house went onto the market and just after her first Christmas when she was 3 months old the house was sold and we made preparations to stay with family until all the paperwork was organised for us to go to our new home in New Zealand. When she was 7 months old we said goodbye to the only place we had known as home and boarded a plane to a country we never thought we would ever go to.

We have lived in 3 other rentals since then and have just bought our own home again 7 years after selling our first home. We have 4 daughters and most of our family live within a few minutes from us. In our lives we have served in 5 churches and learned much through these experiences.

10 years seems like a long time for people as young as us but we have had so much happen and I thank God for every experience we have had, good and bad, that has helped us grow in Him and our relationship with each other becoming stronger. Between these lines are struggles and victories, sad times and happy times, new things and old things, life and death, despair and hope, joy, increased faith and abounding love.

What makes a good marriage? Devotion, foundation, and seeking God's best and not what we perceive to be best for us. Being humble enough to admit when we are wrong and not to hold a grudge but be the first to apologise and make up. Prayer, steadfast Love that goes beyond how you feel.

So here is to the next 10 to 50+years of marriage to my best friend. With God for us who can stand against us :)

Now before I end up writing a book I must go off to bed. More next week when I have more thoughts written down.