Thursday, 27 June 2013

'Man of Steel' Parenting Tips...


This afternoon I took my son and a few of his friends to watch 'Man of Steel'. It is a fantastic film which made me laugh and cry, and I loved the action in it. But there were a couple of quotes I really loved that made me think of my parenting journey - strange I know but true  :)
Near the start of the movie Clark is starting to figure it his 'powers' and can't cope with it at all. He locks himself in a closet in school and won't talk to anyone, but when his mum arrives he tells her that 'The world's too big, Mom.' She tells him to focus in on her voice and hers alone. 

How many times do we think this? That nothing I can do will ever make a difference? Or that there is too much to do and how will you ever get it all done? And yet we are reminded -

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. 
Today’s trouble is enough for today."
Matthew 6:34

God is in total control and at those times when we feel that the world is too big we need to focus on His voice - block out all other thoughts or feelings and focus on Him alone.

The second quote from the film that really touched me was this. Clark and his father are having a discussion on growing up and making the right decisions - like whether or not to hit someone who's bullying you and pushing you to your limit. His father says this to him -

"You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he's going to change the world."

Now we all know that he's going to change the world because he's an alien who we adopt as a superhero, but have you ever thought about what type of woman YOU are growing up to be - because YOU are going to change the world too. It might not be saving the whole world dressed in a skirt and cape, but I guarantee that how you react when you wake up late, burn the toast and then find out your favourite blouse is still wet, will have an amazing effect on the world around you, especially on whoever shares your house/work space. Or your reaction whenever your child spills a glass of juice beside your phone which just happens to be sitting on the table... Or your reaction when you are trying to run out the door to an important meeting and your husband picks that very moment to remind you (or nag you) about something you haven't done yet.... 

We all need to make sure that our reactions to the things around us show people who we belong to, and who we serve. It's exceedingly hard to always be bright and cheerful in the morning, but isn't it so much nicer when your reaction to people encourages them to react well in turn? And lets face it - our kids are really clued in to our moods and how we act them out. I know that my eldest son always knows when I am upset or annoyed, and makes an extra special effort to give me a wee hug or say 'I love you, Mum' on his way past. Our actions can influence the world around us in so many different ways and the following few verses are always good to remember.

"Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up." 
Proverbs 12:25

"Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." 
Proverbs 16:24

"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."
Proverbs 15:1

Lets focus on God's voice and make the choice to become someone who changes the world because its noticable that we love the Lord. 

The last quote really got to me as I watched the whole of the movie. Again Clark and his dad are chatting about whether or not he should reveal his abilities to those around him, and he is questioning why he was the was he was. His dad says this -

"I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason. And even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is."

As I journey through my parenting mess I really struggle with why I am here and what I'm doing - or more importantly - what a mess I am making of everything. But you know what - I am here for a reason. I am here because my Father in heaven created me to be here, at this very time, with this particular family, to be the only mother of these 4 wonderful boys. And He picked me not because I am perfect and can do it all - but because He wants me to rely totally on Him, and through my mess and His strength, bring Him untold glory and praise. And do you know what - I can do that!! I can totally praise Him in the mess of my kitchen as I try not to burn the dinner and I can totally praise Him and bring Him glory when I'm faced with a pile of laundry that's bigger than me. Why? Because for the first time in my life I know that it doesn't matter if I mess up or can't cope, because He can always cope and He doesn't EVER make mistakes. 

Superman just needs to be Presbyterian for a wee minute and learn the first catechism. I should add that this is the only one I know (not being Presbyterian myself) but its also very fitting for his questioning. 

"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever"

Our focus needs to be on Him alone. We need to be the kind of women that shine Gods love for everyone to see - including our husbands and children first thing in the morning! And we need to know that our goal and purpose is to bring glory to God - and when we put it like that, it makes sense of everything else! 

Who knew a trip to the cinema to watch one of the best Superman movies ever - yep it's that good!!! - could make my wee mind go so haywire!! I love it when God uses everyday things to remind us of the things we know but aren't focusing on. Hope this doesn't put you off seeing 'Man of Steel' but I also hope it does make you think about your focus and what kind of person you are, right where God out you. 

Keep shining.... 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Porcelain heart...



This is another song that truly touched my heart and soul this year. Several times I found myself feeling as if my heart had been broken into a million pieces and there was just no way anyone could put them back together. I know there are lots of reasons why people feel like this - broken relationships or bad situations - and I think the song does really reflect these, but for me it was different. 

I have a problem with my identity and my self-worth. I am bad at a lot of things - and funny enough they are all the things that I am supposed to do as my 'job'. I am a useless housewife and I cook the same things every week. I am so far behind in my laundry that our clothes think they live in the garage and get out for a vacation to be worn once in a blue moon... The problem is that this stuff is pretty simple - especially when you think of the modern appliances that we have - so when I find myself struggling I take it out on those I love most - those around me - and slowly being a bad mum and a bad wife get added to the list. And although its different for everyone, when these lies started swimming through my head I felt like tiny little chips were being chopped off my heart until my heart was totally broken and in million of tiny pieces. 

When I got like this - and yes it happened again and again because I had chosen to repeatedly listen to the lies rather than God's truth - I listened to this song on repeat.... and I really mean on repeat!! Let's just say that my 6 year old can song along to it and knows all the words!! The song itself is beautiful but these two lines touched me and reminded me of a very important truth in my life...

"Creator only You take brokenness
And create it into beauty once again"



In Jeremiah 18 we read about the potter and the clay. The Lord tells Israel that He is the potter and that they are the clay - and that He has the power to build up or tear down a nation based on how they react to His Word. And in Isaiah 64:8 we read



"And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand."

We are the clay - God forms us and when we make a mistake or when we break He can mould us and reform us, building us up to be a new creation. God alone can take my brokenness and my self-doubt and my lack of identity and He can turn them into something to glorify His name. He holds me, moulds me and sometimes He may even have to start all over again when I am too chipped or broken, but He does so in infinite patience and love. He doesn't leave me in the state of brokenness. He helps me become something beautiful, and helps me to realise that I am loved by the King of Kings and Creator of the Universe. 


Psalm 100:3 says

"Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."


We are His.  He made us. And when we are broken, He can fix us. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Never Alone - BarlowGirl


Have you ever felt like no matter how many people where around you, you were all on your own? Have you ever had a day so bad that even when you called out to God, He wasn't there? Or at least thats how you felt?  

Over the past 6 months I have had plenty of days like that. Days when I woke up feeling alone, surrounded by the chattering of my boys and my husband, all of whom had no idea how alone I felt sitting right beside them. I've had days where I felt that God had deserted me. That I had pushed Him too far away and that He had walked away and said 'No more..'

But today's song was one that filled me with hope - the hope that no matter how far I'd gone, there was no-where I could go that would separate me from my Father. It gave me hope that I have a connection to my God that goes deeper than just going to church (which I wasn't doing) and touched my very soul. The words of this song penetrated my walls to remind me that even though I can't see Him, my God is very real and right there. 

"I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I"m never alone
We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
And though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen"

It hit me that these words were so true. My faith is so real that its part of me. I mean when you think about it, when I asked Jesus into my head all those ears ago I asked Him to send the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in me - to actually come and live in me - helping to guide me and counsel me and live for God - to come and be that integral part of me that helps me communicate with my Father. I don't have to see Him or feel Him to know He is there. 

Galatians 2:20 tells us -

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

So thank you to BarlowGirl for the one song that reminded me totally that when I have God in my life I am never ever alone. 



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Music....


Over the past few months I have been a bit quiet - ok so it's more like I've been missing in action!! - on here but in real life I have been on a journey. I wrote a while back that I had felt burnt out, trying to do everything in my own strength and not in His. But added to this I have been struggling to find my way back to the kind of relationship with God that I yearn for. One that's real - in the good times and the bad. One that can take me questioning my very faith and bounce back with abundant grace and love. One that can comfort me through sleepless nights of soul-searching. 

One thing that struck me during this journey is that God uses anything and everything to remind us that we are His. For months I couldn't read or pray. I couldn't find the words to confess my sin. I couldn't find the words to ask for help to get my life back the way I wanted it. All I could do was cry and scream and shout at my Father. I lost my way and couldn't seem to find it again in the midst of a sea of pride, control issues and lack of identity. And the scary thing was that this had happened at a relatively quiet time in my life. I didn't have anything to blame it on - no loss of a husband or loved one; no financial problems crippling us; no betrayal or hurtful situation pulling at me. There was no outward reason for my battle - just an inward fight for control and an inward battle for my soul. 

But what I could do in the midst of crying, was listen to music. I tried to shun all the Christian music at the start, listening to all the 'secular' tunes on my iPad, but that ended up with me finding messages in tunes like 'Firework' by Katy Perry or 'We made it' by Busta Rhymes (feat. Linkin Park).... So I reopened myself to whatever music came on and just listened as God talked to me, reminded me of exactly what He'd done for me and how much He loved me.



Over the next few weeks I'm going to share some of the music that I listened to, hoping that even if you are at a stage where you can't read, pray or don't even want to think about going to church, that you can start by hearing His words in song, and remembering that the King of Kings and Lord of all creation loves you. 

Personally for me, the journey is still ongoing and while some parts of my life are going well - I'm reading and praying again - some need a little more time - like going back to church and opening myself up to true fellowship with other believers. But it's getting there in His strength and I pray that the music will encourage us all.