Learning to recognise Him in the big and the small

A timeless existence

Another busy week has passed us by. My week ended especially busy with having the entire day and night out and getting home at 930 last night. The boys are still asleep thank goodness!

You know every week I write this blog I keep on thinking, wow God revealed himself to me in a big way this week, that must be it now…but he keeps right on blowing me away.

This week it was all about time. I feel like more than anything else, I am always fighting time. I have often been heard to say “I wish there were more hours in the day!” Countless conversations have been had by all of us about how time seems to be speeding up, we seem busier…and it’s true!

It seems like modern technology allows us more time as we can get more done, but at the end of the day we just fill up those gained hours with more stuff!

This week was no exception to the rule for being short on time. I had to finish a 3,000 word assignment, work, help run playgroup, do reading groups at school, go to the local farmers market and do the normal shopping… fit in visits with friends and family, play with my son, cook, clean (I managed to avoid that one like the plague this week!) and then cook for a church lunch this weekend. Don’t get me wrong all of this was enjoyable, and I love my life, just that it gets really busy! On top of that finding my bit of peace with God was an important thing that I only managed a couple of times this week. Also, I slept crap! So time intruded in my sleep even as I lay there a couple of nights knowing it was getting later and later, cutting my sleep time down and I just COULDN’T SLEEP! Meaning I was wiped out and partly useless the next day.

Then, mid week, my husband and I did some bible study together. We were reading about Judas Iscariot, and somehow the topic went from there to Psalms 90, which is a psalm by Moses- this was new to me. My husband is a chaplain and bible teacher and sometimes gets really passionate about what he has been teaching the kids and this night was no exception, as he told me how the kids had struggled with the idea the to God time is such a different thing.

I wish I could remember what he said that all of a sudden led me to that AHA moment, but unfortunately I can’t! I just know that as he was discussing time, I suddenly realised that timelessness is truly the single most significant thing I am looking forward to about heaven!

“For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4

Imagine not having to know how old you are because your expiry date doesn’t exist…not having to ration time between the many important things in life because you have time for all of them…

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere hand breadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each mans life is but a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5

I wonder how differently we would live if we really could recognise the fleeting nature of our life. How much would we change? I want to be able to live a good life with God as the beating heart and soul of it all, so that when I get to the end of it (or he comes back to pick us up!) I can feel satisfied that I lived the best I could in the breath that was my life.

What a joy it will be to live out eternity in timelessness. I can’t wait. Now, back to my lists and deadlines….boooo!

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An unconscious life?

Another week has passed, filled with a lot of study for my uni assignments. I am studying professional health education and have been finding it exceptionally interesting. This week I read something that really got me thinking. In an article I am using for an assignment I read this:

If nurses are not taught the skill of critical thinking at university, we are graduating professionals who form habits rather than competent skill sets.

This may not seem like it applies to anything with god, but follow along as a show you how god managed to use my crazy assignment filled week to reveal himself to me a little more…

I once had an experience at work where I was drawing up an antibiotic, I had read and checked again the injectables handbook and knew I was doing everything correctly. However, when another nurse came in to check and co sign the medication sticker she didn’t like what I had done. When I showed her the instructions in the injectables handbook, she said to me, well look, I still don’t think that’s right, we ALWAYS do it this way and since you are new to the job, you should do it that way too. I said, Why? And she couldn’t answer other than to say that is just how we do it…
It is so easy as a nurse to start doing things in certain ways because our peers do, living a career unconsciously aware that we are just following along with the status quo rather than making the best clinical decisions (I must say I work with a group of people who always challenge me to be more and think more and are amazing critical thinkers on the whole).

So, are we living our daily life with Christ unconsciously or are we making conscious choices to make sure we are following His direction? This little insight didn’t happen right away when I read the above quote, it happened the day after my ‘hump’ day. Once again this week I failed as I tried to fit in family time, uni assignment time, work, husband time, God time. And just like the order i have written them, God time was the one that lost out. I couldn’t quite work out how to sit down quietly for a little while with god when I knew on top of everything else I needed to spew out a 3,000 word assignment!

However, in the quiet moment I made on Thursday, while my son watched a little show on my iPad, all of a sudden that quote jumped out into the wide open spaces of my brain, like it had legs and was jumping around in there saying ‘PICK ME!!!’ So I looked at it. And I realised that all I need to do is start living a CONSCIOUS life.

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So what is a conscious life?
Well, for me personally, this Thursday and Friday it was the awakening that I could use a little of my morning in devotional reading while my son played. Then, I recognised that I could weave my devotional into his morning by focussing on creation together or reading his devotional book and talking it through with him. Praying with him. On Thursday I think we prayed 5 or 6 times, about little things and big things. On our walk to the park, we said an open eyed prayer thanking him for all the fun things we did that day. And my son loves it! I guess living consciously has made me realise that I can fit more god time into my life without having to ‘give up’ other things.
Just being aware of His presence more has reminded me to pray more, and that it doesn’t always have to be a half hour on my knees going deep kind of prayer (although those are fantastic too and I’m not saying we should miss them out, just that we can do the other open ended short ones everywhere).

I think there is more value is stooping low to breathe in the aroma of a god given rose, or recognising that the drop of dew on the early morning garden was sent by Him…he wants to be with us always, not just in the private 45 minute slot we allocate him. The trouble was I was feeling like if I couldn’t do that ‘slot’ I couldn’t spend time with him that day because my private quiet time had been missed.
At the end of the day, I think living consciously gives me the opportunity to make God real and tangible in every moment of my life, it gives me permission to get personal with him in the mundane and beautiful, and it lets him become close and real rather than impersonal and distant.

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Thanks God for this revelation in week two, loving it…
Thanks also once again to Kirri Hardy photography for providing these lovely images which remind me to stop and look closer for His little delights!

7 Days and counting…

So I wrote this post last night (Sunday), but then fell asleep before actually posting it oops!

Also in other exciting news, I’m going to be using some pretty amazing pictures in this blog today. I am a really bad photographer, but I love blogging. However, I have an amazing friend who has a gift of being able to capture Gods creation with her camera. She sent me through some pictures to use and I cant choose which one i love the most so I think I’ll just use them all! Thank you Kirri Hardy for sharing your gift with us. I hope she inspires you to remember God in every sunrise…

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What can I say, it’s been a crazy week as usual. Except this week I was even busier than usual as I tried to keep up with my commitment to 77 days. So far I have gotten through the first 2 chapters of Hosea, and found them confronting, edgy and comforting all at once. I had a bad day on Thursday, I didn’t manage to get my god time in and being the high achiever I am I felt totally like a failure. Lucky I could talk it out with my man and then the big man upstairs and realise that my experience just shows my humanness, and my need for God. I have decided to mix it up a bit too, Hosea some days, but on others, going back and reading a book called the Messiah. All about Jesus life and ministry. It’s lighter reading and very compelling. The very next morning I got up and read a chapter, and found an incredible quote which I have since been mulling over all weekend.

Jesus, the Son of righteousness, did not burst upon the world to dazzle the senses with His glory. Quietly and gently, like the dawn of a new day, he worked to push back the darkness and wake the world to a new life. (The Messiah, page 190)

Wow.

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Incredible. So this morning we met up with a friend and watched that quiet, gentle transition from night to day, dark to light. It was an exceptional way to start the day and I have been on a high ever since. I think already God has spoken to me so much. There is much to say but I don’t have the time to share it all here. He is working in wonderful ways. I just love the comparison with the sunrise though. God used this sentence to remind me that while I am committing to this 77days, I might just be looking for fireworks, when really I need to stop and enjoy the sunrise. I don’t think the dawn of a new day will ever quite be the same for me from now on!

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So one week into this odyssey of faith, things are happening. A new week has begun. I prayed over everything in my garden one day this week. The magpies are still eating the capsicums though haha! The garden does look fantastic though. April is the best month in the year. The air is fresh and new, its cool but warm and things just grow and grow.
April is a little bit like this I think…

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For God’s word is solid to the core, everything he makes is sound inside and out,he loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb line true. Earth is drenched in Gods affectionate satisfaction. (Psalms 33:4-5, The Message)

Don’t forget you can click on the “follow” link to get direct emails with my new blogs if you are interested. I just wish I knew how to use this thing better myself haha!<

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77 Days; the details…

The day has arrived, I am officially 30!!
I have been blessed with a sleep in, waffles in bed with my boys and now some time out while they tidy up…how lucky am I!

So this is the post to nut out some specifics about 77 days.

I have picked the first book of the bible that I am going to study: HOSEA. It’s a story I have kind of always known, but I figured it was a good place to go to get a better concept of what Gods love is like. So that’s my first commitment. To study Hosea, daily.

I am going to stop and pray morning noon and night.
To begin with I am gong to pray for 3 people.

I have been having trouble getting to sleep at night, so I thought I might try to use my nighttime prayer as a time to listen more than talk, try to just have a short “prayer” followed by a bit of time to reflect on what God has done today, listen to some quiet music, or just lie still and listen.

I guess for now that’s a good start, as the time goes on I’ll see how it’s all going. I’ll keep you updated. I really need to post my journal from Cambodia too haha! I’ll get to it eventually!

77 Days

We had the party for turning 30 and being married for 10 years just last week, as you can see from these pics

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It was amazing fun!

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My official turning 30 doesn’t happen until Sunday. I’ve been challenged lately to see God in other ways than the ones I have him “boxed” into. God has used a couple of specific conversations with people to really clarify a few things for me…
1. God doesn’t fit my religiosity or traditions. He does not fit any definition I have of Him.
2. True change can only happen when I search my self rather than passing the buck on to someone or something else (ie church, work, uni)
3. If i continue life swimming along with the current, I will miss out. I will be happy, but I will have a mediocre life at best. Defined by jobs and small milestones instead of crazy faith building moments.

So. I have decided to start an experiment. I’m calling it 77 days. They say a good point of reference for forming a habit is 66 days. But I like 77 better. Plus 77 days is 11 weeks exactly, plus if I start on my birthday, April 21, 77 days ends the day before my oldest son’s birthday, the 7th of July. That made it a no brainier, 77days it is!

I want to start 30 with a commitment to my 18 year old self, to look back to who I hoped I would be at 30 and what I thought I might have done by now. And I realised that all of these things come back to God for me. I left school at 18 deciding to follow wherever he lead me, have faith to step out into the unknown and rely on him fully.
I know lately I haven’t been as faithful to god or my 18 year old self, I’ve become comfortable and somewhat predictable. So, for the next 77 days I am going to do a little experiment.
For 77 days, I am going to:
Pray like my life depended on it
Spend time in his word like I am trying to obtain a masters in it
Listen more than hear
Act on his prompting

That all sounds pretty vague. Before Sunday I plan to have some more specifics on what this looks like. Right now I just know I desperately want to put something into action, and since being back at uni I have realised how well I function when I have an assessment task clearly laid out, fully understanding what is required of me. If I know what I need to do, I can make small steps to accomplish the task. I guess I’m kind of scheduling God…but I really want to put myself out there for god in a big way and see what happens.

I think that’s all for now. More later when I think more.
God I want to start my 30th year with you front row and centre stage. I hope that 77 days changes my relationship status with your from being habitual to committed, from part time to full time, and from mediocre to intimate…

You Can Do It Sam!

Well, as a second instalement to my previous post, An Irresistable Revolution, I am here to share something exciting that happened at our place last night. I actually didnt think it had anything to do with anything other than a favorite story of my boys, but there you go…i am getting ahead of myself though…

Here is the little book that got us started:

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A book about a little bear who bakes some cakes with his Mum, and delivers them to his neighbours houses in the new snow. Sam is very proud to realise that he can drop the little cakes in little red bags at everyones door, all by himself. Its a great story and has been loved by both my 6 and 3 year olds.
Yesterday was the start of the school holidays and it was pretty miserable weather, so we had stayed inside and in the afternoon I thought maybe it would be fun to bring the book to life. So we trundled off to the supermarket for some cheap cake mix, red cellophane, and ribbon, oh, and of course, cherries, the boys said the cakes definatley needed cherries!

So they mixed, poured, sprinkled, and baked. 28 little cakes (and somehow we “accidentally” managed to have 2 left over?!) All the while quoting lines from the book (especially my 3 year old)
“Come on cakes, I cant wait, I cant wait!”
Until finally they were cooked!

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Once the cakes were cool the boys wrapped them in the red cellophane and tied a little note to them with red ribbon. On the note it explained the idea of bringing the story to life and said thank you for being a part of our moment. The last thing I wrote on the note was “We hope that this little treat brings a smile to your face and reminds you that there are still simple, fun and joyful moments in the world today.”

With that, we set off with a basket full of goodies for our 28 neighbors (we live in a small gated community), and the boys had the most fun stealthily creeping up to peoples front doors, putting the cake down, knocking (rather loudly i might add!) and running back to us with shrieks of joy and laughter. They had a ball.
And of course there were two extra cakes at the end (just like in the book), so the boys put thick socks on, admired the “snow” (aka clouds!) and ate their cake with a lovely cocoa too…

At the end of the day, we met someone we hadn’t met before and she made a point of coming right out of her house and introducing herself. About an hour later, another couple from down the way knocked on the door with a thank you card and some cookies for our boys. They were thrilled with their surprise visit.

Just this morning, as i was coming home from my run, another neighbor stopped on his way to work and asked if i was the Mum of the two boys who left something at his door. What he said put the dots together for me. He was blown away by the little gift, and totally surprised (he said) to realize that he had got a really big smile from our little act of service. Not only that, he said to me, “you know your right, we should do this kind of thing more often, its nice to know this stuff does still happen today…”

At the end of the day, God used the rainy weather as a powerful illustration of what community is. I said before that we live in a gated community. But its not where we live that makes us community. Its who we rub shoulders with. Maybe the Irresistible Revolution begins at our house simply by taking a little cake to someones door. Its a small start I know, and maybe my neighbors aren’t homeless…but it served as a little window into what could be if we choose to live in a world where we truly chase Gods heart and desire to do His will…

Hmmm…..I think there will be more to come….!

An Irresisable Revolution?

So, here it comes, my thinking out loud blog!

Rockmellon not long ago gave me a book, which has, since being gifted my way, been sitting rather comfortably on my bedside table. Its called The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical.
Well. I have to admit, it looked like a pretty average book. its brown…even the text lol!
Finally I realised that i needed to read it, because….just because! So I opened it up one day about a week ago…and now…I’m immersed in it! However, it is challenging me deeply, so much so that part of me keeps thinking I should put the book down and somehow try to forget what I have been reading.

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Hummmm, how could I even begin to give you a brief synopsis of the book. How about I’ll just hit some big points and maybe that will give you a glimpse enough…
The author dares to suggest that in the biblical story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27), when Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give it to the poor, he ACTUALLY MEANS IT! Anyone reading this who has a Christian background will probably agree with me that they have heard a sermon on this text, and it usually goes something like “this text doesn’t actually mean we need to sell everything we have and give it to the poor, it just means we should stop being so attached to our worldly possessions…” right? Shane Claiborne jumps out early in the book and actually dares to suggest that maybe Jesus does want us to sell our stuff, and give it so those in need. That seems like some kind of chocolate covered cutesy thing to say until you actually think about it….

He also puts it out there that when we give monetarily to charities and causes, we help ourselves feel better about all those texts in the bible that speak about equality and taking care of the oppressed…and in doing so, we become completely disconnected with the heart of our hurting community. YIKES! OUCH! This part was like having a glass window smashed over my head! Because its true for me. I see myself as a fairly compassionate and sensitive person, and sometimes I think I even hide behind that excuse, in order to not have to face the reality of my neighbours pain and suffering, or really wade into the cause of social justice too deeply…it might hurt, or make me sad.

I guess I’m not finished the book yet and thats kind of scary. But the reason I wanted to post this is because it has really got me thinking about what it would mean to live in a reality where I actually did connect the dots and decided I wanted to fall in love with the lepers and the lonely and the outcast people in the world. What would it look like for me is one question, but what would it look like for my family? Woah, that is CRAZY! I have a lot to think about, as I rediscover all these texts in the bible where God instructs us to get in love with people and community, get in touch with the hurt, and just help. I keep thinking, God are you telling me I can never buy a house? Are we meant to pack up and just move to the slums of India, or Palestine, or Kings Cross?

But somehow (though I admit, this is early days in what I would label a massive fundamental life changing thought crunching process) I hear a still small voice telling me to calm down lol. Before I go out and join the Justice League and attempt to save the world, I hear God’s little voice telling me to look at my garden.
Far out, are you thinking I am a Byron hippy or what? (Never mind that I do come from Byron!)

But truthfully, what would it look like if we had a community who pooled their time and resources into a garden project, one that produced in abundance, so that we could give stuff away…and one that in itself created a community of people who purely wanted to connect with one another, and do whatever followed. What if I started to rub shoulders with people whose class is different to mine? Whose ethnicity is different? Whose problems I cant even fully comprehend because I haven’t had to live them? What if? Just what if?

I have decided tonight, right now, above all, to stop it with the competition. That IS one thing I can do RIGHT NOW. I live just out of the Gold Coast. We are rich. My son attends a private school. We never seem to have enough (and honestly, I have until now thought I’m not too entrenched in all of this)…what I can do, is stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. WHO CARES.

Help me Jesus, as I seek to work this out and be the change you want to see…

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