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.