social spark Aisling Beatha: July 2007

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Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Peter Pan - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 45

I GIVE IN, It's 12:45, I managed just short of 20 hours which is amazing after how badly i slept last night, AND the tiredeness stuff I battle on a daily basis.
Just posting now the last one or two that I had pre prepared.




I just watched Robin Williams in Hook, and YES I cried! And God moments? In Hook? OH YES!

When Robin Williams finally realised he really WAS Peter Pan and learnt to fly again, and Roofio, who had been leading the lost boys in his absence came to him, with the sword, and offered it to him. WOH! Roofio had been fighting against him being the real Pan until this point, but at this point of submission, as he acknowledged who and what Peter really was, there is a restoration. Roofio is restored to his proper position, he is a BOY, nothing more, just one of the lost boys, yes probably the oldest, yes probably the best fighter, but just one of the boys, he isn't carrying the weight of being in charge any more, he isn't weighed down by a responsibility that was never meant to be his.

And then, the end of the movie, when Peter is fighting Hook, and the children are cheering him on as peter Pan, but then realise he is their daddy, and that moment of recognition in their eyes? THIS! This man, come to save me, THIS is MY DADDY! And it so reminds me of our relationship to God as father and that moment of truly recognising that, truly understanding that this might great and powerful God is MY DADDY! WOH!

And then they go to fly home, and Peter stays behind to appoint a new leader to the lost boys. That is so moving, and then the children get home, to their mother. And this is no fairy tale where the children have been gone but not even missed, because no time has passed at home, OH NO! They have been missing, and she has been up all night in their room, wishing and hoping and praying, and they sneak into their beds, and she wakes up, and looks at them in their beds but doesn't believe it. She speaks to her grandmother and says something about her dreams being so real that she still sees them in their beds when she awakes. But then they do, and there is this reunion, and I just cried for all those mothers who have missing children, who never know if they will see that day. Who can't allow themselves to grieve that missing child yet, because to grieve would be to acknowledge that the child is gone for good, so grief is postponed in the hope of return! HEARTBREAKING!

and there is still MORE! Then Peter wakes up, in the snow at the foot of the peter Pan statue in the park, and makes his way home, where he finds his mobile phone ringing in the snow in the garden. This man, who before he went to never Land to rescue his children, had been too busy with work, been too busy for his own children, is babbling down the phone to this work contact about pixie dust and flying, and tells the person on the other end of the phone to experience flying himself and throws the phone out of the window! And you know that this is one daddy who has learnt the lesson, who, never again will put his work before his children. Who has learnt to laugh and learnt to play and learnt to think happy thoughts! And my heart breaks for all those children who fathers are not absent physically, but who are absent emotionally, for whatever reason whether it be a genuine physical need for the money he brings in, in order to survive or whether it be for his own self esteem and his own misunderstanding of what it means to be a father.

Yep, another movie for the God Moment list!

Write a Book? Me? - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 39

IF I write a book, this would be the foreword.

I want to start with a few words to explain why I’m writing this book.
It all started a few years ago when I went to see ‘The Grinch’ with my children, the Christmas it was released at the cinemas. You will read about exactly what happened that day in the pages of this book, but let me tell you, God met me, right there in the cinema, at a point of great pain in my life and through that event continued the process of healing He had already started.
At that time I assumed it was a one off experience, but I continued to meet with God during the movies, having moments where I understand something of god much more clearly through the story being played out on screen, or moments where He brings healing to my heart.
My children are currently 11 and 14 and are now both well used to their mom crying her way through whatever movie they have persuaded her to take them to see. To the extent that they have been known to lean over to each other and ask “Is she crying yet?”
As I have shared some of these experiences with friends, they have encouraged me to record them and share them. And so, here I am, and her you are, reading of my adventures at the movies.
Most of these experiences have happened during children’s movies, probably as that is what I end up viewing at the cinema most often. But more recently I have begun to have similar experiences through TV, so look out for those in amongst the children’s stuff.
Much of what I write is not new, others have made similar observations about each of these movies or shows, I do not intend for this book to claim anything unique about these ideas, I merely want to share honestly of my experiences. Some, you will find, connect with something in your heart and others may make no sense to you at all. I know that and I hope that everyone who reads this book, finds at least one thing that blesses them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Big brothers and Sisters in the Lord - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 36

There was a possibility I might do this talk last night, at our bimonthly youth event, but they're saving it for another time.
Imagine you are one of a group of primarily youth (bot other ages as well) and listen, as I talk.



You ARE Big brothers and Sisters in God.

Can everyone under the age of about 25 stand up please.

OK, can everyone who is over the age of 11 please sit down.

Those of you that were stood up just now need to take a good look at the ones that are sill standing. Make sure you know who they are.
Ok, you can all sit down.

Those of you who are from Springfield, I already know, but I don’t know most of our visitors. You might have actual brothers and sisters, you might have none. You might come from churches with lots of younger children, you might come from churches with none. But each and every one of YOU are big brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God.


These younger children, the under 11’s, they look up to you.
They want to be like you.
I don’t have under 11’s at home any more, but I’m sure C can vouch for this fact, with her boys.
You might think that your influence in this world is nothing, you might think that you do little for God, but it’s not true.
These kids want to be LIKE YOU, and they watch you, they imitate you, good or bad, they do it because you are you. Because to them, being an adult, being a “grown up” is just too far away to comprehend. They might want to be like their parents on some levels, but on so many levels, they just can’t relate to that, and who they want to be , who they want to follow is you.


I’ve been thinking of some examples in the Bible to share with you, of people who were like Big brothers or Sisters to those around them. I think you’ll recognise most of these stories.


Moses and Joshua.
Moses, was this mighty man of God, leading god’s people, a whole nation, out of captivity in Egypt. And by his side was his “aide” Joshua. Moses was surely training Joshua. Every morning while they were out in the desert, Moses would walk from the tent where he slept, to the tent where he would meet with God, and the people would all stand at the doors of their tents and watch him go until he stepped out of their sight. That’s how much respect they had for him.
Who knows where Joshua was?
I’m presuming one of the older ones at least should get this

Yes,
Exodus 33:11 says
11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Moses went back to his sleep tent and left the presence of God, every night, but Joshua, STAYED in the presence of God. He experienced more of God than the man who went before him. Moses got to take the people to the river on the opposite shore to the promised land, and then he died. It was Joshua, who took the people in, Joshua who led them as a victorious people and went on to do many things for God.


What about Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah was a mighty prophet of God, bringing God’s word to a people who didn’t always want to hear it. Confronting King Ahab, Queen Jezebel and their prophets of baal. Miraculous provision for him during a famine. Many years of drought, then God tells Elijah to pray for rain, and it rains! And it rains and rains and rains!

And he had an assistant too, Elisha.
He travelled with Elijah, learnt form him, and so on.
THEN, one day God decides it is time for Elijah to die, and Elisha is warned by other prophets, and by Elijah himself, to go home, because today he would be no more.
Each and every time he heard that warning, he said “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” He continued to walk on with Elijah and with God.

Finally the time came, they crossed over the river and Elijah asked an important question.
2 kings 2:9-12a
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?"
"Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.
10 "You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not."
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more.
Elisha even had the guts to ASK for more than his predecessor had received.

I want each and every one of you to far surpass and outdo me!
I want to see each of you do more and be more and see more in God than I could ever imagine, and I believe that is possible!
And at the same time, I want you to understand that that is also true for those who come after you, they will see more and do more and be more than you ever could.
ESPECIALLY if you are willing to take your place as their spiritual big brothers and sisters.
Love them, talk to them, spend time with them, get to know them, work with them, be a good role model.

I’m not touting for helpers for the kids work here AT ALL.
Because you could NEVER step into an “official” kids session in your whole life and it would not change the fact that you are called to model for them what is possible in the Kingdom, that you are called to lead them into greater things than even you can do. Of course, if you feel like maybe God is calling you into that kind of area in church, speak to your youth team or one of the adults involved with the children, but please don’t think that is the only way to be an influence on them.
You ALREADY ARE an influence, you will continue to be as long as you are around them and they see and hear far more than you think they do.
Be careful role models, but be Impressive ones!

My vows - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 33

From a couple of years ago when hubby and I renewed our vows.



Andrew, I love you. I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals and your dreams. I pray that you dream big dreams and I promise to be here by your side, to see them come true.
I want you, Andrew, as my life’s mate. The love you have given me has reached into my heart and taken my soul captive. I have known no other love like yours outside of God and I joyously recommit myself to you, as I did 11 years ago.
I will share with you all the good and all the bad of life, all the laughter and the tears. I will rejoice in your strengths and help you develop them and I will encourage you and love you in spite of any weaknesses you may have. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and I love you. I will love you the rest of my life, because it is my choice to do so. This is the covenant I make with you."

2001 letter to self for 20 years in the future - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 30

Interesting, reading this post, because it predates the time when I was challenged over my relationship with my husband at church camp, that I truly believe began a new level of healing in our marriage. It's interesting to find myself writing things like "is he still around?" regarding my husband because we are now more in love than we have ever been.


If you wrote a letter to yourself that you would read in twenty years, what would you want to tell yourself? I know some things that I would include in my letter would be: where I was today in my spiritual walk and where I wish, at this point, I would be in my walk. It is neat to think that twenty years from now, I could be reading something that I wrote to myself. It kind of reminds me about Back to the Future 2 when Doc Brown writes himself a letter telling himself that he would be shot at a specific time which made Doc Brown wear a bullet proof vest to protect himself. This could be our chance to tell ourselves some things for the future.
Right, first let's work out how old I will be. I will be 50. Andrew will be 50. Matthew will be 30 (arrgghh!) and Michael will be almost 27! Well, here goes nothing……

Dear Zoë,
I don't really know what I want to say to you. Do I want to tell you things about me as I am now, or do I want to remind you of things? I think I have many many questions for you, more questions than things I want to tell you. But that's not what this is about.

Remember that night at the end of the first catch the fire? What was it God said to you as you lay on the floor twiddling your wedding ring? "I put that there for a purpose." I do hope that Andrew is still around and still with you, but if not, God's word still stands. HE had a purpose, maybe you can't see that right now, but one day you will. And if he is still around, remember to hug him and kiss him extra today, just for me. He might not be the easiest man to live with at times, but he is the one God gave you.

I do hope you are happy Zoë, you deserve to be you know. Your father God never intended for all the yuck that other people dealt you in life, just as he didn't intend for the yuck you dealt out to others. He loved you from the moment you were first thought of. He loves you, and he cares for you still. His ever-loving arms are just a cry away. Call on him and he will answer you.

I find myself wondering if you have seen all the things you wanted to see. Have you been to the places you wanted to go? Have you done the things you wanted to do? How much of that is still to come for you? Let's look at things, you are only 50, your life is not over, no matter how old you feel, or how little life you think you have left. Have you been to Australia yet, and worked for God with Kids out there? Well, you always said you thought it would be a retirement project from God didn't you. Better start planning now, I say.

ZOË, never forget that God called you to KIDS. You cannot run away from it, and no-one can take it away from you. I have no idea what has happened in the last 20 years, no idea if you are still involved, or if all that is past for you now. It doesn't matter if you're not still "doing the stuff", if God called you to KIDS then you need to find ways of being involved and supporting what is happening now, even if that is just through prayer.

Somehow I would guess that you are still at the thick of things, still in there working away, winning souls for the Lord. Yes you heard me. You wouldn't think that from the 30 year old me that is writing this would you? God called you to Kids, to love them, to be their friend, to lead them to Him, introduce them to Him. Are you still able to see things from their point of view? Learn from them, listen to them, and be creative.

What am I like now (the writing this now)? Am I very different from how you now (the reading this now) remember me?

I am 5 foot 6 inches tall. I weigh 14 stone 6.5 pounds, and I am losing weight on weight watchers. I started at 17 stone 1 pound, and I am aiming to reach 11 stone. I have short red hair, and freckles galore.
I work one day a week in the church office, and I lead the Energizer (fun & games) session of Sunday School every week. I teach a Sunday School class every other week, and often end up doing something with one or other of the kids on the weeks that I am not teaching. This means I very rarely get to be in the main hall for the "sermon", and get (presently) very little opportunity for prayer. I have been trying to stand up for myself on that one, and make something happen, but only you will know if that worked.

I am today extremely excited and hopeful about the possibility of doing a Christian nationally accredited course for leaders of Children's work. Trouble is it's £275. Well, if I don't do it this year, I'll do it next, so you will be a woman of qualification if all goes well with that.

Where do I hope you'll be spiritually? I do hope that this prayer journaling thing sticks for you. I hope that 20 years from now, you are still going strong with that, but also learning that moment by moment communication with Father as well. I hope that you know your bible a lot better than I do, and are remembering more of it too. I hope that God is using you to reach out to kids and to their parents, whether that be through a Sunday thing, a non church kids thing, or just day by day with the people around you. Gosh, maybe you even have grandchildren by now, what a scary thought. Me a grandparent, when I don't even feel that I make much of a good parent.

Did I do okay with the boys, have they turned out alright. If they went through school more or less the normal way they will both be well out of university now and established in careers maybe. Remember one thing and one thing only. It really doesn't matter what they choose to do with their lives, as long as they are okay with God, and they are relatively happy with their lives. Do they make good parents, or will they one day? Are they fine upstanding young men? Oh ZOË if they are not, don't despair. Despair is a horrible place to live, and it helps no-one. No-one else has the right to say this to you, but me, and I am telling it to you straight, if you are in that place you have to do everything that is possible to get yourself out of it. No, it's probably not your fault, but that doesn't matter right now, take control. Don't let the enemy win.

KIDZ KLUB? Did you reach the kids out there? Did you manage to find a way? Did Jabez really work? Oh the whole idea sounds so exciting, so big, so huge, so scary. But our God is a great God, and we should ask him for great things.

I could go on and on and on, for a very long time, without running out of things to say, but I have to stop somewhere, and here it will be.

ZOË enjoy the rest of your life. Enjoy the challenges God sends, Have Fun with God, Get to know him even better tomorrow than you do today. LOVE YOU!
ZOË

Photo Recipe - Cheat's Fish Pie - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 29

Cheats Fish Pie
4 packets (1 box) of boil in the bag fish in sauce
Frozen peas
Tin of Sweetcorn
Tin or two of tuna
Instant Mashed potato, made up with butter and milk added.
1 packet dry stuffing mix

1. Cook the boil in the bag fish and the peas in a large pan of water.

2. Take each packet of fish from the pan, one at a time.

3. Cut the packet with scissors and pour the contents into the dish.


4. Flake the fish with a fork.

5. Open and drain a tin of sweetcorn.

6. Mix the sweetcorn into the fish and sauce mixture.

7. Drain the peas.

8. Add the peas to the fish and sauce mixture and mix in.

9. Open and drain the tins of tuna.

10. Flake the tuna with a fork over the top of the fish in sauce mixture.

11. Season well with freshly ground salt and pepper.

12. make up enough instant mash to cover your dish, according to the instructions on the packet, using milk and butter for creaminess.

13. Top the fish mixture with the mash.


14. Dot with tiny pieces of butter.

15. Take a packet of dry stuffing mix.


16. And sprinkle over the top of the mash.

17. Pop this into the oven . . .

18. . . . Until it looks like this.
EDITED TO ADD: Nope, Anna, the three photo recipes that are on here, I did with my eldest son a few weeks ago and the photos have been sitting on the computer ever since. Haven't got around to making the posts. Figured today was an ideal opportunity. If you look back through today's posts you will find the other two.

Mark 10, Jesus heals a Blind Man - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 27

I wrote this quite a few years ago. I had been reading the particular passage of scripture and thinking about seeing it from particular people's point of view and this is what came out.


Mark 10:46 - 52

Here I am, sitting here, just like I do every day, in my allotted place, waiting, hoping, hoping that someone will take pity on me and put something in my bowl.

It sounds like there's a lot more people about than normal, and it's getting louder. Then I start to feel people brushing past me, crowding, rushing.
"What is it?"
"What's going on?" I ask.
But no-one answers, they're all too busy, in a hurry to see, to see … well, whatever it is.

Then I overhear, manage to pick out one voice from among the hundreds that are crowding my ears for attention.
"Jesus, of Nazareth, Rabbi."
Oh! The rabbi that has healed …. I have heard so many stories. But me, would he heal me? I'm not so good, would he do that for me? I suppose I'll never forgive myself unless I find out.

"Jesus of Nazareth have mercy on me!"
No-one hears, so I shout louder "Jesus, son of David, I NEED YOU!"
This time I am heard, but by the crowd. They tell me to be quiet and stop making a fuss.
"What would he want with a dirty, smelly beggar?" they say.

But I won't listen to them. The healer is here. This could be my only chance. I shout and I carry on shouting.

Then someone grabs my arm. Ouch!
"Hey there's no need to be rough," I yell " I just want to speak to the rabbi."
"You don't get it mate, that's where we're taking you."
"Yeah, he's calling for YOU, asking for you to be brought to him."
"Don't be scared, come on, there's no time to waste."

And then, there I am, standing in a clear space in the middle of the crowd, and I can feel someone standing in front of me. I just know it is HIM! What do I do? What do I say? So many thoughts running through my head.

But before I have a chance to make sense of anything, he speaks to me.
"What do you want from me?"
What do I want! Can't he see, doesn't he know? Well, of course he does, so why is he asking? Oh who cares!
"Rabbi, I want to see."
There, I've said it, no going back now, no matter what happens I've tried, at least I've asked. It seems like an eternity before he speaks again, but it's probably only moments.
"You are healed. Your faith has healed you."

Dare I? Dare I open my eye lids? But he has spoken so I must.

WOW! So much, Oh my goodness! Look at that! And that! What? Oh …… Wow …. Where's Jesus? I must say thank you.
"Jesus, Stop, Wait!"
But what does he need to wait for me for, now I can see.

So I join the crowd and I follow him. Where to, I don't know, but he has changed my life forever, I just have to find out what it's all about!


Star Wars and men in church - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 24

Wrote this sometime last year.


I have just sat through an episode of Deep Space nine, one of the ones with Warf in it, which was kind of weird, because we're used to seeing him on the other series, but anyway!

Series 5 episode 7.

A group of them go on holiday to a planet called Risa.

I just sat through someone (who actually turned out to be a kind of bad guy, meant well, but went wrong, but anyway) sit and tell them that because the whole point of this planet was pleasure and enjoying yourself and having a good time that he saw them all as children who couldn't defend themselves! And if he saw them like that then how did their enemies see them?
Risa is one of those planets the federation has set up with all sorts of things to control it's natural environment. They control the weather, to make it always lovely and wonderful, they control the seismic activity to make sure there are never any earthquakes (and BTW therefore never any tsunami waves), and so on. He turns off the weather control and all of a sudden the people start to leave, they're not enjoying themselves any more, they complain about everything.

Was talking to M on Friday about we as a church don't really know how to fight, then on Sunday got that revelation that some of what happened in that beach dream was about our children not knowing how to fight, even for themselves.
And I sat there and watched this, kind of open mouthed really, like "OK, now I understand what T's been on about".

WOW!

There was also some stuff in this episode about Warf and his romantic relationship with one of the female characters.
And how she confronts him on the fact that he is so restrained, so locked in, never really knowing how to enjoy stuff, never really being truly himself, who he was made to be.
And he talks about how in the heat of the moment of a football match when he was a kid he killed a boy, not meaning to and realized that . . . .
here it comes . . . . .
"I realized how much more fragile humans are and that if I was going to live among them I would have to hold back for the rest of my life!"
Then there was some stuff about the relationship with her, and he didn't want her as someone he loved to get hurt, because of him being himself.
But in the end he got so angry at what this bad guy was doing that he did let rip, did let the real Warf out.

Doesn't that have something to say to our men, to where a lot of them have found themselves in the past, and for sure some of them still are, but also what you said about the young men in youth as well. That maybe some of the holding back has been out of fear for what would happen to those around them, those they love.

But also something more general than that, something about the angels we've seen as well, something about them holding back, because we would get hurt.
Not sure I understand all of it, but it was incredibly powerful.


Washing the Wedding Dress - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 21

This is another piece that came initially as a picture. We were in worship one Sunday, and I could vividly see the beginning of the following scene play out before me in my head. As I began to write down what I saw, the rest of this came flowing out.
What I did NOT know at that point was that a friend of mine was going to stand up at the front during the announcements section of the meeting and her and husband were to publically recommit. She had not told me she was going to do that, hadn't hinted at it or anything of the sort. I had NO IDEA! And so, when she did, we knew this was a God thing.
I've shared this in a number of places in a number of ways and truly want to get it "out there". I've been told over and over that it is a powerful piece.


I can see a woman standing over a huge washtub, desperately rubbing this fabric up and down a washboard.
“I MUST get it clean”, she’s crying, “I have to.”
She’s desperate, helpless, the stains won’t come out, there’s nothing she can do.
“I can’t wear it like THIS!” she says as she falls in a heap on the floor.

What’s in the washtub? Her wedding dress. Soiled, damaged, ripped and dirty.

How could she ever hope to get it clean, to get it ready, to make it “good enough”. It had been many years, and many stains, she had no hope of ever making it right.

In hopelessness she cried out to the only one who could make it clean.

“Lord,
Take this dress,
Take this mess
That was our marriage.
Lord, You’ve done so much already.
Dare I ask this one thing more?
Make me clean.
Take away this stain.”

Gently, lovingly, He took her hand.

“I’ve been waiting.
Waiting for this moment of desperation.
Waiting for you to know that I am the only one who can remove this stain, take away this hurt.”

He took her hand and lifted her to stand.

“Come look again.”

He lifted out the gown.
Still, there were the stains, but now they were changing. They joined, they merged as He touched them. As He ran his hand over this filthy rotten gown, it became a pattern on the fabric.
A beautiful pattern that even the greatest designer could not have come up with.

“I cannot take away what has already happened,
But I can treat the stain, heal the hurt, take the pain.”

“Take it!" He said, holding the dress out to her "Go, try it on."

She grasped the dress out of His hands, she ran to the next room and put on that dress.

When she returned, she was truly beautiful. She twirled about the room, radiant, beautiful, clothed in God’s love, His forgiveness, His healing.

"Now Go!
Now you are ready.
Ready to change hearts and lives.
Change whole cities, whole nations,
Because now you walk in a gown that is clean,
Truly clothed in my righteousness.
You have a job to do out there my dear child."

"But, I’ll get it dirty again!"

"Yes, I know, but now you know, now you are learning, how to get it clean again."

Photo Recipe - Stir Fry - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 20

Here we have another of our photo recipes!

PORK STIR FRY
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (we used garlic in a jar, 1tsp for each clove)
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger (we used ginger in a jar, 1 tsp)
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped. (Either wear gloves when you do this, or cover your hands with veg oil before and wash off afterwards. These methods prevent you being left with chilli on your hands, which you can then get in your eyes or whatever.)
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into strips.
3 carrots, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
250g pork, cut into cubes
1 courgettes, sliced
1 small broccoli head, divided into florets

Sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp orange juice
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar.

1. Prepare your vegetables.


2. Here you can see some extra leaves. That's because I decided to add Pak Choi as well, because there was some reduced in the supermarket.

3. If you can get it, just chop the root end off, cut the firm part into smaller pieces and leave the green leafy parts fairly whole.

4. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.

5. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. I also added the pak choi firmer pieces here. You only want to soften and warm these, not brown them.

6. Add in the pepper, carrots, onion and pork.

7. Stir fry over a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes.

8. Then add the courgettes and the broccoli. We also added the leaves of the pak choi here.

9. Mix the sauce ingredients together and stir into the stir fry. Allow to bubble a little and toss the vegetables in the sauce to coat.

10. Serve with noodles or rice. We use microwave rice. Not the cheapest option at supermarket prices, at all, but very reasonable in stores such as home bargains.

Do you believe in Co-Incidences? - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 18

This is LONG! Wrote it Spring a few years ao, just a week or so before we went on vacation.

Do you believe in co-incidences?
I don't.
Do you believe that when God repeats Himself or speaks repeatedly on the same subject, we should listen attentively?
I do!
This is going to be VERY long, because I'm going to quote some quite long passages. Don't let that put you off; they are passages that most of you will know. I'm just quoting them so that you can see their relationship to each other.
Let me walk you through the last 2 hours of my life. I had fallen behind on a bible study I am doing with the ladies over at Women at Home, Believing God by Beth Moore. I had also fallen behind on a 21 day reading and prayer focus put out by Chuck Pierce, over the Elijah List.
So tonight I didn't join my hubby and my boys down at scouts, I stayed home to play catch up.
First I did day 3's homework from week 5 of Believing God. It talks about Moses' mention in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith. It talks about the first Passover and how much faith it would have taken for Moses to step out and do what god was asking. It talks about how that was looking forward to the blood Jesus would shed on our behalf as the ultimate Lamb of God.

Exodus 12
The Passover

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,
2 This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.
6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs.
8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire— head, legs and inner parts.
10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.
12 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn— both men and animals— and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD— a lasting ordinance.
15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat— that is all you may do.
17 Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.
19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.
20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. Not one of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
24 Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.
25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.
26 And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?'
27 then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.' Then the people bowed down and worshipped.
28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.
30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus
31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.
32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. For otherwise, they said, we will all die!
34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.
35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.
36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

Then I went to the 21 day focus. Today I needed to do day 20. The first reading was Joshua 3

Joshua 3

Crossing the Jordan
1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.
2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp,
3 giving orders to the people: When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.
4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.
5 Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.
6 Joshua said to the priests, Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people. So they took it up and went ahead of them.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.
10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.
11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.
12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.
13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD— the Lord of all the earth— set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.
15 Now the Jordan is in flood all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge,
16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

The instructions for prayer today were two fold. Firstly "Do not fear crossing over." Secondly "Ask the Lord to Sanctify you."
WOH! Do not fear Crossing over into your promised Land? What is there to fear for me? I was afraid because I still do not know what my promised land looks like, what it is that God has for me, I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid that I would not hear God and that I would be 'being still', 'waiting' for a long time. I was afraid that I would not hear God and that I would step out without hearing Him, because I wanted to DO. I was afraid of what people might think, both if I waited much longer and when I cross over into the promised land. I was afraid, and this is one that just echoes Beth Moore from the week 5 video... I was afraid that I WOULD FAIL GOD, that I would not be ENOUGH.
I put my hand to my chest and it was as if I held all that fear in my hand, in a tightly clenched fist. I pictured myself before the cross, looked up into Jesus' face and there was still something stopping me letting go, stopping me laying this fear down. Then I remembered that it says in the word that god has not given us a spirit of fear, so I bound the spirits and demons of fear that have been harassing me, I commanded them to leave and go where Jesus told them to go and lay that bundle of fear down at the foot of the cross, backed away quickly, turned and walked away.
Does that mean those fears will never surface again? I doubt it. But I know who is on the winning side; I know I have the authority.
Then, I asked the Lord to Sanctify me, I looked up sanctify in the KJV with strongs numbers. Consecrate, Set apart, Prepare, Dedicate, Be holy. Tall order? NO! Ask GOD to sanctify YOU. HE DOES IT! NOT US. We don't have to work anything up, God does it! And at that moment I saw in my spirit a waterfall, pouring down, right there in the middle of my kitchen. And I was cleansed and I was washed, and I stepped forward into the father's embrace.
I still had time left so I moved on to Day 4's homework for Believing God.
Day 4 talks about Joshua. About how the walls of Jericho fell BY FAITH.

Joshua 6

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No-one went out and no-one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.
4 Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and make seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.
7 And he ordered the people, Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD's covenant followed them.
9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding.
10 But Joshua had commanded the people, Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!
11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.
12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding.
14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.
16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!
17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.
18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.
19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.
20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.

I like to read the bible out loud when I can. It takes longer, but it is worth it.
I got to verse 4, part way through verse 5 and I stopped.
OH LORD! How could I have forgotten? How could I have lost something like that?
THIS PLACE! THIS PLACE that I wrote about in my last blog, this place that I am living, THIS IS MY JERICHO! This estate is circular (well, more or less), the point is it has a perimeter road, a 'wall' if you like, a defence. And our house stands right on the perimeter, looking out, a house in the wall (remember rahab's house was in the wall). And I remembered someone speaking over our house that it would be a gate house in a walled city that it would be a WAY IN.
OH LORD forgive me, how could I have forgotten? THIS IS MY JERICHO.
Then I read on, worked my way (in awe) through Beth Moore's notes on this and other passages. Overwhelmed by God's goodness. Here we are, we've gone from the first Passover and the escape from Egypt, through the Jordan at the other end of their journey 40 years later, and finally into Jericho! And you know, it didn't make sense to Joshua? He was a master warrior, a MIGHTY MAN, he KNEW how to fight a battle to win. This walking business, this shouting, it didn't make sense. But you see, Joshua was a worshipper as well as a warrior and he knew, from past experience that it was God who fought for them, that it was God who won the battles, and he knew that God's strategies were the best.
This battle will not be won with muscle, Mighty Warrior, this battle will be won by faith!
Do you hear that? THIS battle, THIS Jericho, YOUR JERICHO, whatever that is, will not depend on strength of numbers, will not depend on our ideas, our plans, our strategies, it will depend on our ability to believe what God is telling us to do even if it seems like the worst idea in the world. And we can believe Him in those circumstances because he has shown us before. And because, PRAISE GOD....
Glory to His name, victory is NOT about what we deserve, it's about about WHO we follow!

What were our youth up to last night & Some FUNNY videos - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 14

WHAT IS FUZE?
Fuze is an incredible Christian event where both music and multi-media meet a desire and a passion for a central youth event where upon youth from the nations can come and worship and have a blast. We are always looking for new and fresh ideas and people to be involved. The event birthed from a few young people with a desire and passion to see this through, for the youth of Telford and beyond, ie. The nations. The vision is to see this event grow and take off. If you like what you hear come and check us out.

Heehee, and now, because this is such a short post, some funny videos! Let's face it if we're going to stay up this long we might as well have fun doing it.





Oooh to answer a question, what sort of tattoo? Something small and meaningful. I did think about the whoel wedding ring tattoo, BUT Dana says it's supposed to be the most painful tattoo to get done (according to the guy who did hers anyway).










And now, my HERO!








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Your Wound - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 15

Gosh, I wrote this piece a couple of years ago now, when a group of us were working through "captivating". I still have to read it again!

I am currently involved in a study at church with a small group of women. We are working through some seminar cd's from a conference run by Stasi Eldredge, joint author of
Captivating : Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul
And another lady whose name eludes me right now.
The details of the conference can be found at
Ransomed Heart
The last session was a tough one. Facing our wound. Facing the place in our lives at which the enemy attacks in order to make us question that which makes us most deeply feminine. It may be something that was done to us it may be something we did, it may be something that just happened.
Some of us might know immediately what that is, some of us may have no idea.
We were challenged to go to God with our journals in hand and make a courageous choice, to ask Him "What is the place of my wound?" To ask Him "Where have I known shame?"
I had a pretty good idea of what mine would be and of where this would take me, but I wasn't certain, but the images of places involved in that, that I had long forgotten made it so clear that I was correct. Thinking over this event and the events surrounding it doesn't fill me with the fear it once did.
We were asked to consider where and how we had chosen to hide as result of this wound or others.
First and foremost I hid by forgetting! Truly, I forgot the incident had even taken place until last year when praying through some things with a friend. At the time I was promised that the person involved would be dealt with but I had to promise never to speak of it again, and I didn't, my child's mind made it go away, made it to me as if it had never happened.
But I had to admit in my journaling that I also had hidden over the years behind my weight. I have subconsciously, and, at times, consciously hidden my femininity behind layers of fat. Yes, I HAVE hidden! I have buried my femininity behind 'fat lady's clothes', behind not caring about my appearance, behind "If I look like this, no one will look at me, no one will see me". Behind the idea that fat is not attractive, fat is not feminine. (If you are struggling with your weight or are fat and happy, BTW that is NOT true, it is a LIE I was hiding behind.)
But this, even this, was not the most deeply moving part of my journaling from this session.
A harder question to answer, although still not the hardest was, oh and it is hard to write about it now, hard to think on it. "What desires have I jettisoned along the way?" What dreams have I pushed aside, ignored, refused to even acknowledge because the enemy had me convinced in the shame of that and other events? Not that I was conscious that the shame was why I was jettisoning them, Oh No, I had very good reasons, at the time.
I sat and I struggled, I said I couldn't answer it, said I didn't know, and then suddenly, There it was. The thought just came as if from nowhere, TEACHING! I had pushed out of my life, fought against, the desire, the call, the longing to teach. And just writing it down on the page was a BIG step for me. Typing it now, reading it over, is a moving experience.
But the hardest question of them all was this:
"What is so ALIVE and UNIQUE in me that if the enemy can stop it in me, the kingdom will do without it?"
WOW! Ladies, this is why I am writing this piece, this is why I had to sit at this computer and get this done.
What is so alive and unique in YOU that if the enemy can stop it in you, the kingdom will do without it?
We are not used to thinking of ourselves as special, or as talented. We LEARN mediocrity, we learn that to be special is to stand out and all that comes from standing out. We're even taught that it is bad to think of ourselves more highly than others, while at the same time being taught by these same people to achieve, to do our best, to win in life.
Is it any wonder we are confused when it comes to this question? Is it any wonder that many of us keep that wound shut away and our femininity with it?
Friends, hear me when I say, "I understand." I know those feelings of mediocrity that the enemy tries to keep us convinced in. I know that feeling of needing to put yourself down when someone compliments something about you or something you have done. I Know it so well.
But let me say as gently as I can.
THAT IS NOT THE TRUE YOU!
You are beautiful, you are powerful, you are deeply feminine. YOU are a princess in the kingdom, you are more, far more than you have ever been able to imagine. And yes, you are those things because of God, but that doesn't stop you being them. YOU ARE!
So, what is it about me? I'm not sure I can put that into words quite yet. But I am sure that God put me on this earth, at this time, in this place for a reason, because there is something I can do, that no one else can do, there are people I can reach that no one else can reach in just the same way. That IS the same for you. God believes in you, I believe in you.
Find out what it is, don't let the enemy win, I don't want to miss out on what you have to give.

Oh, in case you're interested, I MIGHT be taking a WHOLE Sunday service, other than the worship, and doing it all about Christmas Child.

Oh and if TAM is reading, yes you are now allowed to say "I told you so".

10 years - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 12

Heeheee, I wanted to write a how and why on each of these pieces of writing, but this one really does speak for itself! This is a direct transcription from my journal. Wonder if I can persuade the boys to pop down there next week so i can get some more time with my journal and the vending machines.


What is a parent to do when their older children want to come to the hands on science museum for the umpteenth time and really don’t need that parent to go around with them? Why, write of course.

They are busy running around like mad things and I get to sit here by the vending machines, all by myself, writing away.

What shall I write?

It’s Tuesday 17th February 2004. That means that in 2 days time I will have been married for 10 years. 10 whole years. There were many many times that I never thought I would see this day. Many times I thought he would drive me so mad I would have to leave, many many times I thought I just could not take any more.

There were even times I thought he might do something silly and hurt me, or even himself for that matter, at times.

There were times when if he was late home I would be wondering where he was, what he was doing, thinking he must be with someone else, rather than just blaming traffic as I would now.

Even as recently as last summer at church camp at church camp I was bawling to M and T saying I didn’t feel anything for him any more and didn’t know how much more I could take.

Then, last week, at the ladies meeting at T’s we were talking about Andrew’s job situation and A mentioned what her husband had said about Andrew’s many skills. I responded that he doesn’t see himself that way, that his self esteem is low and I think he’s even afraid to look for something new. T said something like “but he is an amazing man”. I told her I knew that and that I thought he was absolutely amazing and that I really loved him. Then I laughed and commented that that was such a change from last summer. T just sat there grinning.

You see, even for someone who has suffered with a low self esteem for much of her life, I find it difficult to see how someone who is so wonderful and gives of himself so much, both to family and to the community through scouts, can think of himself SO lowly.

I love that man so much, far more than I could ever have imagined when we were going through all that ‘stuff’.

Last summer with M and T, I repented of all the threats to leave and committed myself to stay out of love. I never imagined, then, that I would feel so strongly for him now. Never imagined this love would be so strong in my heart.

I love him so much that it makes me cry. Not tears of pain, or fear, but tears of love and joy and thankfulness and yes, even tears of regret.

Regrets for all the times I could have loved and supported him and didn’t. Those are the acts, the sins of omission, the things I could have done, should have done, that I didn’t. But there are times I sinned against Andrew by active sins of commission, and those hurt me, now, supremely. I cannot believe some of the things I did, cannot begin to imagine how they would have made him feel and how I, his wife, the one who should build him up more than any person on this earth, probably contributed to his low opinion of himself.

Here is a man whom I love, adore and desire. Here is a man who I am so thankful for, so proud of.

I am thankful to God for bringing us together, so thankful for his amazing ability to love, so thankful for his willingness to change and desire to be a better husband and father. I am so thankful for his strength, his physical strength, clambering up into that loft whenever I need stuff fetching down of putting back up, his emotional strength, the way he comes along side me when I am down and lifts me up and tried to protect me.

I am so thankful for his spiritual strength. That is something that he doesn’t see in himself, but I know that it is there, KNOW that this is an amazing man who can achieve mighty things With God, who can lead this family through everything the world and the enemy would try to throw at us, and he can lead us out the other side, stronger as a family, stronger in our spiritual lives and more ready to achieve what god has for this family.

You know I am even thankful for his past, for the things that happened to him and the things in our past that sought to drive us apart. Why? Those things sometimes still affect us, they are certainly partly responsible for some of the problems we struggle with now, particularly in the communication area. They are things that I hate that they happened, would NEVER wish on anyone else, and yet I can say I am now thankful for them. Why? Because without those things, he wouldn’t be the person he now is, without those things, we would not have the future that we have, and without those things god would not be in line to get a might great victory when the enemy discovers that his plans backfired and Andrew overcame all of that to become the might man of God he already is.

I am so proud of him, proud for how hard he works to provide for us, proud of the changes he has already made in his life, proud of the hard work he puts in with the scouts. He is so amazing. I love him so much and I am so thankful that I decided to marry him, despite the problems.

10 years. There are a lot of people who didn’t think we would make it this far, but we did, and here we are. And although we’re not going to get as long away as we would like to celebrate that, I am so looking forward to this time together on our own. Yes, the renewing of the vows, with all the trimmings would have been nice, and that would have announced to the world, “We made it”, but somehow I don’t need that now, I don’t need to tell them, it’s enough that we know and that we love each other.

Who Was Crechemom - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 9

THANK YOU to my sponsors so far!
MichelleD, Andy Deano and an Anonymous Donor!
Your donations will make a difference!

I was going to write a whole piece about how and why I came to write this, but I think it stands on it's own. Those of you who have known me for a while might remember it, but all should find something in it, I think. Does it make you think about your own life? About the labels you have claimed for yourself?


CRECHEMOM?
Who is she?
Why do I want to leave her behind?

Crechemom came about over 7 years ago. I had young children who were both under 5 and so took my turn on the rota in our church nursery, or crèche as we call it.

Then, one day I was asked to take over leading the crèche, a task which I took on with great enthusiasm, even being in there most weeks at times. For our church children’s Sunday School, and therefore crèche time, happen during the sermon part of the adults meeting, so that meant I gave up a lot of input to be with these children.

I sometimes wonder how much of that was right and how much of it was over enthusiasm on my part. I had my reasons, and they were good ones, or so I thought, but was I right? That doesn’t matter any more.

At that time I began to have more access to the Internet and was looking for a screen name and so, Crechemom was born. My new identity. It described some of what I did and it also described something of my calling, my destiny in God.

I was only just, at that stage, beginning to understand what a calling was and in the early stages of understanding that God was calling me to children. Looking back over my life I can say that God was surely calling me to children long before that, long before I even knew God. I even chose Primary teaching (5 – 11 year olds) as a career, although subsequent events meant I never made it through college.

Then, after both of my children had moved up out of the crèche and I was still happily working away in there, the leadership of our church approached me and asked me to move up to the 5 – 11 year old age group. Not just to take my turn on the rota, but to take over as leader of Sunday School. That was a big step for me and one I took with some trepidation. I didn’t believe I had the skills and I certainly had no training, but I learnt fast, or should I say, we learnt fast together, the children and I.

I was eager in searching out new ideas, new songs and activities even new ways of doing Sunday School. Some of these were great successes and some of them were plain and simple MISTAKES. A result of my enthusiasm for all things new and different. Quite right for the churches implementing them successfully, but not God’s plan for OUR fellowship.

I don’t recall having particularly been dwelling on these past mistakes, but last year was a tough year for me that brought it own tests, it’s own mistakes. Towards the late autumn and early preparations for Christmas I began to become keenly aware of the need to be doing what was God’s idea for me, not just what was good idea that I found.

This unsettled feeling even spread over into the rest of my life, seriously affecting my plans and preparations for Christmas.

I had been quite open about feeling this way on my Blog, and may have mentioned it on an internet message board I became part of last year, Women @ Home. One of the women I had come to know through the message board commented that I had been through a lot during the months she had known me and suggested it might be time to take a break from my work with the children in church. I don’t know if she knew she was speaking a direct word from God, but it surely was. Thank you Jamie, I owe you one.

My first reaction to this suggestion was not positive. I was adamant that there was no way I could leave the children’s work, I didn’t want to, and anyway, what would they do without me? However, I began to se that I had allowed what I did to define who I was in the eyes of others around me and myself.

So, late last year I approached a friend at church, who happens to be on the leadership team and was, at the time my small group leader. I asked her what she thought of the possibility of me taking a break from the children for a while to wait on God for clarification.

Her first reaction was a guarded one. She said there is nothing wrong in principal, but asked for time to pray. I am so glad she did. She came back to me to say that, yes, she thought it was a good idea. That God had given her a picture of a ship, going into dry dock, for a complete overhaul and refit, and then being released into deeper waters.

I remember not being so sure that I liked the sound of deeper waters, but being so clear that I wanted to do what God wanted. So I took the next step. I approached the lady on the leadership team who was responsible for my work with the children.

Her response was astounding. Well, it was to me anyway. She said that God had been talking to her THAT MORNING about giving me a break from the children and that yes, it was okay with her and they would work something out for the children. The next person to approach was the other main member of the team, to let him know what was happening. I was even more amazed when he said that he had noticed I hadn’t been myself lately and he was going to say something soon if I hadn’t.

So, you see, God had all of this planned and prepared for before I had the slightest idea what was happening. And, at the end of last year, I stepped into what I thought was a sabbatical from the work with the children at church.

The first couple of weeks were quite hard. Especially when what the children were doing prophetically in play was recognised and focussed on in the Sunday morning meeting. That was something I had fought for the whole time I was leading them.

I even admit to getting angry at God. I told him that I knew he had called me to children, that I had prophetic word after prophetic word to prove it and I probably questioned his sanity in pulling me out. However, at this time I was also prompted, by another prophetic word, to go back through all of mine, particularly those from between 1996 and 1998.

And there they were. Children. All over these words, Children. But I noticed something I had known before but had forgotten.

God NEVER actually spoke about children within the church. And I am continually reminded by that same friend who is on the leadership team that my calling and destiny is actually far bigger and wider than children. That God has said that in the past, the evidence is in my prophetic words. I think that I am finally, beginning to believe it.

It has been a roller coaster 2 months for me since then. God has been giving me pictures and words that I am assured by others are vitally important for our church at this time. Not all the time. I don’t mean to give the impression that they are pouring out, but I am seeing and hearing far more clearly than I have ever done before.

Just a few weeks ago that friend, pulled me together with 2 other women, saying that she thought God was making some sort of extra connection between the 4 of us and has asked me to pass on to each of them anything I get that I think might be from God.

One of these women I hardly knew a few months ago, but I have grown to know her quite well in that time. We have some amazing times on MSN, where God is speaking and revealing stuff to us and we have a great time too.

That brings me up to right now.

Who is Crechemom?
She is an identity I allowed to be created for myself that kept my vision limited, my destiny capped capped at a certain level and allowed the enemy to kept my head down, not looking to the sky.

Why do I want to leave her behind?
I am no longer that woman. My identity is NOT in what I do, it’s in who I am in God. And God has shown me I have a future that does indeed include ministering to some really hurting and broken children OUTSIDE the church, but that there is so much more for me than that.

I am no longer that woman who believed that all she was good for was children’s Sunday School and didn’t even believe she was very good at that.

I have a new vision, a new hope.

Goodbye Crechemom. It was nice knowing you, but I need to throw you off and let a new me emerge.

Zoë

Plain and simple. Just me. All out for what God wants to do in my life. Just ME!

Dedication to Women at home - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 8

I want to dedicate my blogging today, not just to raising funds for Samaritans Purse, but also I want to dedicate it to the women I have grown to know through Women at Home.

I have been around the Women at home Message board since it was first opened, being the first non Admin member, because they opened it in the middle of the night for them, and me, being over here, in England, was first up and onto the board! But Women at home has been around a lot longer than that, starting as a Yahoo Group way back.

It is now a message board of 150 members, Christian women from mainly America, but all over the world. We come from all different backgrounds, all sorts of political leanings, all sorts of church environments. We have single women, married women without children, married women with children, married women whose children have grown up and left home, separated and divorced women, grandmas etc. I don't think we have any great grandmas although I could be wrong. The point is we're all at different stages in our lives, we are all VERY different people, but we have one thing in common.
We all LOVE the Lord Jesus and want to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Some may post multiple times a day, some might only get online once a week or even less, but we all have somethign to give, all have something that we bring to make the group what it is, a caring, loving environment, that is SAFE to be yourself.

Thank you ladies, without you, each and every one of you I wouldn't be the woman I am today. wouldn't be the mother I am today, the wife I am today or even the child of God that I am today.


And here is a very special dedication to a very special member of Women at home who sadly went to be with the Lord this year.


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