Devotionals, Blogs, Encouragement

Building Strength in the Family Home

 

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Strength, something we all need! The Lord will bring us strength in many ways through his word. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve needed to pray for strength, but that’s the beauty of it, we can pray for anything as many times as we need to and God will show us, guide us and give us our strength in which ever way he knows best. He loves us, he wants us to come to him, he wants us to tell him that we need him and his help. I believe we should be praying for strength always, praying for strength through protection, ensuring that we are prepared, that we haven’t let our guard down, that we have our armour in place, scripture placed securely in our hearts. The helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This will bring us strength. Keeping God’s word in our hearts and souls, binding them on our hands and as frontlets between the eyes will bring us strength (Deuteronomy 11:18).

 

 

We should be specific to our needs in relation to the strength and protection we need. We can do this by using scripture in our prayers. I am not an expert in this department that’s for sure, particularly being a ‘new’ Christian, but it’s something that I am working on.

 

 

‘By wisdom a house is built; it is made secure through understanding.’ (Proverbs 24:3)

 

 

When I first came to faith, living a Christ centred life was what I knew I had to focus on, and I realised through the word of God, doing so meant making changes in my home. Building my house with the Lord firmly in it,

 

 

‘The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.’ (Proverbs 14:1)

 

 

This spoke to me massively when I first came to faith, basically, because I was being the foolish woman in this verse, allowing my house to fall apart around me. It was this verse that one morning, made me realise exactly what I needed to do, which was to build my house with God in it! So that’s what I began to do. With this I needed protection from anything that got in my way, anything that tried to break the family home down, anything that subtly, and oh yes it can be so subtle, tried to stick a thorn between me and my relationship with God, my husband, my children, anything that tried to convince me that my decisions about my home and the way I set out to bring up my children were absurd, and anything that brought me darkness where there should be light.

 

 

If we seek earnestly to follow God’s word in how we should live out our relationships in the truth, we are sure to receive the wisdom we need to gain strength, security and protection within our lives.

 

 

If we look at Ephesians 5:22-25, God tells us – Christ is the head of the church, HIS body, he is the saviour.

 

 

Before we can build our homes with our loved ones, we must be sure that our relationship is firm with the Lord first. If we understand that our security in our lives comes from the Lord – everything else will flow from it. Without that security, (we should remember that all of our security comes from him,) our protection against situations and trials that appear in ALL of our lives in very different circumstances will be like a broken shield, a blunt sword, a wall made of straw…………..

 

 

‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.’ (Matthew: 7:24-25)

 

 

Once we have that foundation of truth built in the home, we can then begin to look at ourselves, our roles, our responsibilities according to the word. We are told that the husband is the head of the house, and I can freely admit that God has spoken to me quite clearly about this a number of times! ‘Listen to your husband’ – love each other deeply as Christ has loved us, discipline our children with love, just as God disciplines us. Encourage each other always.

 

 

It can be difficult when one of you is perhaps feeling ‘heavy’, particularly if it is the man of the house who would normally be leading. Encourage one another and be proactive in your approach to resolving the situation, and most of all, PRAY!

 

 

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LOVE

 

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Love flows deep down into the core of your heart,

Intertwines within your mind,

Shines out through the eyes,

Becomes visible in actions,

Heard in words,

Love can be held in a look,

Felt in a touch,

Read from a word,

Love is captured within,

Seeks to encourage,

Sings in praise,

Doesn’t expect return,

Wants for the other more than for themselves,

Love draws one another closer to God,

Wants one another to love God more,

Binds one another to the beauty of the word,

Is sung through hymns,

Love takes one another to the true meaning of love,

The Cross. ❤️

 

Healing Worship

Devout christian worshipping with cross in hand

 

 

Last night I went to my first worship evening. I didn’t really know what the night held for me other than knowing that I was going to be singing and worshiping the Lord. What I didn’t expect was to experience something that quite literally left me feeling so close to God I could almost touch him.

 

The room was lit with candles and there were a small number of people waiting to worship our saviour, our King, our comforter, our all in all. There was a lead vocalist playing the guitar and another vocalist to the side.

 

The evening began with the beautiful Psalm 100 then went straight into worship. The music was much like the worship music I like to listen to in my car – but I can never truly let go in my car because,

 

1. I have two children in the car with me, and

 

2. When I let go I like to close my eyes, and obviously that’s not something that would be recommended whilst driving!

 

Don’t get me wrong, if I have no kids with me, yes, the music is up full and if I could dance in the car seat I would, but there is also the safety aspect when driving!

 

What I saw in worship was that there was no rule. You could dance, stand, sit on the chair, or the floor, lay down, whatever you felt you wanted to do.

 

My night of worship took me to my chair and prayerfully listening to the words. After some time, God began to speak to me, he knew I’d been grieving recently and tonight I could hear him so clearly and I was ready to be healed. He reassured me my baby was safe. The tears flowed down my cheeks. I could hear the word ‘healing’. At that point I knew that I was in a place of healing.

 

 

After this I stood with my eyes closed and again prayerfully listened to the words, but this time singing my heart out, joyfully praising the Lord and thanking him for all that he has done for us. In that moment I was lifted, I felt as light a a feather, I held out my hands and could almost touch Jesus. The experience was one that I had never felt before, since becoming a Christian.

 

Being a busy mum, running a house and looking after my family, this was a place that I had been longing for. I always find opportunities throughout the business of the day to hear God, reach out to him, draw near to him, seek him, and each of those moments have been uniquely perfect. Going to church on Sunday is uniquely perfect and I look forward to every single service. The preaching that has a level of teaching, real emotion and passion that draws me near to God and inspires me every time. The music, (not just because my husband plays the drums in the band!) the fellowship, my beautiful friends and family, hearing the children pray and run around joyfully together after the service, but tonight’s worship was something different.

 

I was able to escape from everything. It was just me and the Lord! No distractions, even though there were others in the room, I was on my own, I could meditate, I could move into a place that filled my soul right up to the brim. Feed my soul, satisfy my thirst and be in a place where I could open my mind completely and hear God.

 

Praise the Lord ❤️

Inside Out

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As a mother of two young children just 14 months apart, I sometimes feel like a ping pong ball! Can anyone relate? My husband works full time, running his own business, so really, it’s more hours than a 9-5 job. I am a nurse, but taking some time out of practice to bring up our children. Most definitely the best decision for us – one made by God of course.

 

So yes, some days I’m like a ping pong ball!

 

‘Mummy’ my daughter will say…….

 

‘Yes’ I respond …….

 

‘Can you…….’ She replies

 

Then the minute I’ve attended to her needs,

 

My son begins with

 

‘Mum’

 

Sometimes it can be like this for much of the day, back and forth, ‘mummy’, ‘mum’, ‘mummy’, ‘mum’ and so it goes on!

 

I do feel blessed that I am right there when they need me, although I am also fully aware of the times when they are just trying to gain attention over one another! It’s not always this way. However, today was most definitely one of those days!

 

Firstly, I began the day by realising I had put my dress on back to front (to be fair there wasn’t that much difference between each side apart from the obvious seam that ran down the middle of the dress!!) I noticed this AFTER I stepped outside, and after I dropped my son off at nursery!

 

Did I learn from this, uhhhh, noooooo, of course not – this is me we are talking about after all. Believe me, I have had many many ‘Franisms’ in my time and the ones I share with you today are nothing in comparison! The second ‘Franism’ of the day was to put on my jumper inside out. I look down and again, there it is, that dreaded seam. I think to myself, ‘now my jumper is inside out, today – I am inside out!’

 

It’s one of those rainy days. After nursery the kids and I decide to watch a film – Jungle Book, this was my favourite when I was a little girl, along with Labyrinth, and the kids absolutely LOVE jumping around to balou bear singing ‘The Bare Necessities’. I just love to submerse myself into moments like this, seeing their happy little faces acting out the characters, dancing around and singing with no care in the world. Oh, how beautiful!

 

I’ve had a lot going on through my mind today – I’m fully aware each day that I need to find opportunities amongst looking after the kids to hear God. Today, the minute I reached out I suddenly found myself taking the children’s hands and saying the Lord’s Prayer with them. Something I started with my son recently, but today, almost spontaneously involving both children and encouraging them to say it with me. Well, it makes sense, I remember this being the first prayer I ever heard when I was a child, in school. After all, this is the prayer that Jesus told his disciples to pray. What an amazing starting point for a child, then as we grow we can expand on this, using The Lord’s Prayer to guide us. What a blessing that prayer can be at anytime, any place by anyone and we can say anything and God will hear us!

 

There is nothing better than knowing you’ve managed to spend time with God in prayer during a day full of distractions, particularly when the kids have been involved, wow!

 

Towards the end of the day, I’m beginning to lose my patience a little. The tiredness is starting to kick in, and what do I find? my prayer card called ‘A Prayer for Patience’ drowning by the side of the sink, having fallen from the shelf above. I pick it up to stick it on the radiator and see another opportunity. I read the prayer and am reminded of the things that will draw me away from the spiral of negativity and help me focus once again on the time when I was watching the kids dancing around and singing joyfully. I must remember the importance of making time for listening, love and laughter. I sometimes wonder – why do we need reminding of these things – but then I remember, it’s another way that we can draw near to God.

 

Singing joyfully – there seems to be a theme of singing joyfully that has been running through my day.

 

It comes to the end of the day, my little girl is tucked up in bed, after story time, a cuddle, our song and prayer, plus of course her coming back out of her room 3 times after this before finally falling asleep!

 

My son is quite happily playing in his room for a time, and I take a moment. I love taking a moment!! I’m stood in the kitchen and all of a sudden – there is peace. Then, I am drawn to the perfect sound of birds singing outside. I smile, and walk towards my window. It looks miserable outside, but that doesn’t matter, because I can hear the beautiful sound of the birds. I am reminded of God’s creation and of the singing of God’s praises. I am then taken to the Song of Solomon.

 

‘The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land’ (Song of Songs 2:12)

 

How wonderful!

 

I end the day by making a car with my son in his bedroom and having that one to one time with him, seeing his joyful face as mummy ATTEMPTS to put the pieces together!!! I’d much rather NOT be able to make the perfect car for him, just so I can see that smile on his face, than to quickly put the pieces together.

 

 

The Daffodil

 

 

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I picked up a bunch of daffodils today to pass on to my friend for being there when my children and I needed her. Last minute – (literally 15 minutes notice!) I knocked on her door and asked her to take my kids off me for a few hours so that I could deal with a situation. My husband was busy working, my mother and father in law who live near by were away and my parents live a good 5 hours away. What a blessing to have friends, really good friends who you know you can rely on to drop everything to help you out. Praise the Lord for friends!

 

Going back to the daffodils – aside from roses – daffodils are my favourite flowers, and the friend I bought them for told me exactly the same thing today!

 

Later, as I drove to collect the kids, the flowers lay down on the passenger seat beside me, closed up and ready to be dunked in a vase of water to replenish their thirst! Soon enough they will flourish and bloom into beautiful yellow flowers. How lovely they look – particularly when you see them all together brightly displayed along the grassy banks.

 

This afternoon I asked myself – why do I like daffodils so much? Apart from the colour. I realised that rather than the sole reason being to look at how beautiful they are once they have bloomed, it’s more about the way they flourish.

 

When you buy them, they are all closed up, hidden away waiting to be set free and opened up into a new, bright, colourful, flourishing flower.
What I love about them is watching them change. Watching each one open up, all individual and all growing at individual times, when you spot that little bit of yellow through the gap where the bud has started to open, then the next one and the next, until before you know it, they are all in full bloom!

 

When I was thinking about this, it took me to my relationship with Jesus. It reminded me of how we all grow as Christians individually, in different ways at different times according to God’s will. How wonderful that God created us all to be different! Before I became a Christian I had my eyes closed – I didn’t realise this until I began to search for God and understand more about Jesus, but – they were definitely closed! Just like the buds on the daffodils. Then, the more I drew near to God the more my thirst for him and I grew, like the daffodils being dunked in a vase full of water!

 

‘My soul thirsts for God’ (Psalm 42:2)

 

Gradually, my eyes opened up more, and more, and more…….. I began to flourish with God’s direction, and in HIS way. Until, eventually I came to be a new creation, and I am now set free, and continue to grow, to flourish, to see the world with my eyes opened, instead of closed up like a daffodil in a bud longing to bloom.

 

I will continue each day to pray for our children to flourish and bloom in Christ, to open their minds to hear the Lord, to look at the world around them with their eyes opened and for opportunities to show them how God works in our lives. I pray that God teaches my husband and me more and more the ways in which we can lead them to Christ and love them as Christ loves us. I pray that their minds are not closed to distractions but to recognise them and to take them captive to our Lord. I pray that God draws near to them and shows them their path as he is showing my husband and me ours. I pray that our children are filled with laughter and joy and peace and filled with the knowledge that they too can be set free because of the sacrifice that has been made. I pray that they see the beautiful creations around them with their minds open to our Lord, I pray that they can look ‘outside’ of this world and see how much more there is to experience and learn and love. I pray for our children each day and begin with ‘Our Father in Heaven’ Amen.

 

Bind us in LOVE

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This morning I was driving home after taking the kids to nursery – following a conversation with a friend – I pray. I have a sudden urgency to begin my prayer not just with thankfulness for the sacrifice made for us, but, to put some force behind my prayer and in a loud, conscious, RAISED voice, say exactly what that sacrifice was! Saying these words aloud, partnered with a vision in my head of Jesus on the cross drew me into the reality of who we are in Christ, or who we should be……

 

The more I hear my raised voice speaking of this truth, the more passion that is emphasised in my prayer. Not because I like the sound of my own voice! It’s the words I am saying that lead me to express my prayer with even more passion and, well, frustration really – because when you understand and deeply feel in your heart what Jesus has done for you – you can’t help but want to do more to please God. When you understand the sacrifice that has been made – you can’t help but think about all the conversations and things that we do and talk about that to us seem important at the time – and yes, they obviously can be, in that they effect the circumstances in our lives – but really, it only matters if it’s God that is working in those circumstances.

 

Let’s just say for example, two friends fall out – they argue about something that may seem like a ‘big’ issue in their lives, one is more opinionated than the other, one is proud, the other is lacking in the ability to show affection – you see the pattern – there is something very BIG that seems to be missing here. Forgiveness, grace, understanding, love, the ability to communicate and lower one’s pride. All of the things that we can receive from our father in heaven. You see, without God, I just can’t see how we can be united – God brings us together, gels us, glues us, binds us, knits us – just like he did in our mothers womb (Psalm 139:13). We don’t need to seek worldly things to make us ‘feel’ better, we don’t need to crave love and affection from others, we don’t need to argue with our friends or our loved ones, we just need God in our lives. He will unite our families, our relationships, our friendships, but we need to learn that we must be willing to reach out, willing to make ourselves vulnerable, willing to take a step out of ‘our world’ and picture where we are placed, in the middle of the universe on this amazing planet that God has created doing whatever it is that we are led to do. How ridiculously incredible is that!!?
We now have a choice, yes, we do have a choice – but will we be making that choice with or without God in the forefront of our minds?

Grief Trigger

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For the last couple of weeks I’ve been grieving.

 

It doesn’t seem to be getting much better.

 

My stomach churns inside, everyday, every situation that I see or come across that relates to babies I am trying to hold it together so that I can push through positively. Tell myself that ‘it’s ok’.

 

The more I dwell the more it hurts, but then, at the same time I don’t want to bottle it up.

 

I just feel angry and sad – because I’m not pregnant, because I’m not going to have the baby we could have had, because it’s breaking my heart right now – and that’s ok.

 

I know what happened, happened ‘for the right reasons’, I know that if it hadn’t of happened I wouldn’t have grown closer to God in the way that I have, I know that ‘it’s very common’ – I really don’t like that one, and I know that ‘it’s ok to feel the emotions I have’. I also know that I’m not the only one going through this, and that I need to ask God to show me how to work through my pain.

 

I was angry with God recently, I can’t deny it, but now, I’m thinking more clearly. I know he does everything for good.
At one stage I was so positive about the situation, the good things that came out of the trial we faced, and all of this still applies, but I almost feel like I’m taking a step back, in the way I am dealing with the situation and becoming bitter about the whole thing.

 

Thankfully I’m blessed with two beautiful children and a supportive husband who really help me through. My world.

 

Just 6 more weeks and our bundle of joy would have come into this world! I need to remind myself that I don’t need to fear when this time approaches, God WILL get me through. He is our God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) and is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and will draw near to us (James 4:8) – we just need to draw near to him. God doesn’t want us to get by thinking we can do it on our own. Make ourselves vulnerable and let him take our hand (Isaiah 41:13) and wipe away our tears (Revelation 21:4). He is right here and never leaves.

He is our rock (Psalm 18:2).

His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136)…………..

An angel came and took you away, but you will be in our hearts forever.

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸