Saturday, 22 December 2012

One word.... SHINE!

A couple of the blogs that I read and follow have been talking abou the concept of having one word to focus on over the next year - and everything I put on the blog - and I mean everything - needs to reflect it and show my passion. So obviously my word for this year is SHINE! 
To help with this Melanie at Only a Breath has blessed me by making this beautiful button for the blog. Thank you so much Melanie - I love it!!! 

I'm taking a little break to spend Christmas with my boys, but I'll be back in the New Year with more encouragement - but I'll leave you with a little challenge - what is your one word for next year?? 
Thank you so much for the comments and encouragement over this last year - I have loved reading them all! I hope you have a very  blessed Christmas & a wonderful New Year!! 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Teaching moments...

Today my hubby left for a short trip to the US. This isn't something out of the ordinary, as he travels a lot with work, but usually he goes to Poland at this time of year. There is always a certain amount of excitement when he is stuck in the snow and wondering if his flights are going to leave and arrive on time!!

Why am I telling you this? This month our family are trying to focus on giving to others and sharing Christ's love with everyone around us instead of just thinking about ourselves. This week will be a little harder and I am always a little more stressed when he's away, but I am planning to use these feelings to help with our challenge. I want to really help my boys to appreciate what they have and to help them to see how not everyone lives in the same situation as them. 

So this week our acts of kindness will revolve around single parents, orphans and those who don't have as much as we do. I am still drawing up my list, but as I do it I am praying that this will help install a servant-heartedness and an attitude of true thankfulness in my boys, as well as sharing God's love. 

I hope you'll join me in the challenge and please do let me know what you are doing!! In everything, keep shining... 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Christmas Challenge...

In the Good Morning Girls study this week we have been looking at the theme of Hope. At the start of this hectic season, it has been wonderful to think about the hope that we have in the Lord and the hope and light that He brought us in the person of His Son. Friday's verses were Romans 15:12-13.

"And in another place Isaiah said,  “The heir to David’s throne  will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:12, 13

I've been reading over these verses and I am totally overwhelmed by the difference in the hope that we have and the hope that is so lacking in our world today. Three things have touched my heart recently. The first came while talking to a good friend this week. A relative of hers passed away recently, and his wife has really struggled to come to terms with his passing. This week she cried out for help, needing someone to fill the whole left by her husband, not yet realising that only God will be able to fill her heart. She just felt hopeless, now that her beloved had gone. 

The second came as our town Christmas tree lights were turned on. I watched from my car as groups of young people (from about 12 years old and up) decanted alcohol into Pepsi and Sprite bottles and just cringed at the way young girls were dressing and portraying themselves around our town centre (and not just because I am getting old!). To me, as an onlooker, their lives looked hope-less. Life has changed so much that we are growing a generation that has no hope. No hope of jobs, no hope of freedom, and where they are growing up thinking that going onto benefits and just existing is the best they can be. It broke my heart tonight. I don't think I realised exactly how hope-less our own town has even become. 

And the third came when another friend talked to me about a relative who is in hospital at the moment, suffering from addiction and depression. His life is totally without hope and he has nothing to look forward to... So, as far as he is concerned, what is the point?

I have been living in a bubble.  I am so guilty of not seeing whats really going on around me, and just making sure me and mine are ok... I am reminded so much of the chorus in the Casting Crowns song 'Does Anybody Hear Her?'

"Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?"

I love this song so much... I think it hits how sometimes we can be so totally caught up in church and in doing things RIGHT and in slightly looking down at others who don't fit into our circles, that we completely miss the message of the gospel and the people who are right under our noses who need our help. We miss the people who are seeking the one thing that will make them feel complete (yes - that's from a Westlife song) and yet we have that hope deep in our hearts. We need to get out and tell people, show people through our love and compassion and truly turn people's attention back to Christ this Christmas. 

We have the hope - let's get out there and share it!! Imagine how different each of my situations would look if they had the hope of Christ in their hearts, and Is light to guide their way.

This December I will be hoping to challenge you to get out and share the hope, the love and the compassion that God has gifted us with, to bring His love and His gift of salvation to the people right under our noses and down our streets. I hope you will join me to really keep Christ in Christmas. 

Keep shining...