Walking out of the wilderness together-YES we can!

What happens when we find our self in the wilderness? 

The place where life seems barren and dry and without…Hope

It’s a Tuesday afternoon here in sunny Sydney. I have my hair thrown up in a messy bun, have nothing on my feet, and I pack boxes for our move North. I pick up baking tins and robotically place them in old cartons, praying they wont give way and fall on my toes. I find myself listening to a sermon, and from the very first sentence dissolve into tears. Conviction. This year, on reflection, I think I’ve allowed myself to feel a sense of hopelessness in the exact area that God has promised hope in.

Sounds confusing doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not that confusing, as we know the old story of the relentless snake who does his best to infect our purposes with poison, his intention is to destroy and derail all that God intends for us as Servant Girls. The serpent will slither his way into our dreams, and across our path, so we trip and lose focus of the race that we are running.

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His ways are conniving, cunning and dare I say subtle.

At times we wont recognise the part he’s playing, as he dresses himself in disguises that can be so appealing, he comes dripping in honey that will seem so tempting to taste.

He blinds us in lies which can lead us down a slippery path of destruction.

We justify our actions by building up our case that we have control, and dabbling isn’t going to bring much harm.

So we find ourselves, flirting with danger, pushing perimeter’s and dancing on the edge of boundaries, thinking that our choices wont impact our lives or those around us.

Yet, when we listen to the lies of the enemy (instead of giving them back to Jesus) we allow them to become thoughts, unharnessed thoughts become our way of thinking, our way of thinking settles into our heart, and out of the heart flows our actions and words…

It then becomes important, no vital, that we recognise what comes from God and what does not, so we don’t stray from the course that is set before us.

Life is filled with “crossroad moments” which is why our navigational system must be reset daily. Our decisions must point us in the right direction-heaven bound.

For when we take a wrong turn, then that’s the beginning of taking a small step away from innocence.

This journey, should it not be rectified, will take all sorts of twists and turns, which will eventually lead us into a desert. For a desert place, is known where we feel distant from God, alone, angry, isolated, filled with self-doubt or self loathing. The place where our words are not harnessed, and we react to life rather than living life in its fullness.

So I beg you friend, stop and listen to the thoughts that swirl around in your mind, get insight into what’s going on, pay attention to what you’re dwelling on and ask… Does this thought bring life or death?

(FROM ME TO YOU) Hi Friend, I know its been a while since I’ve penned words. The trouble is, I’ve believed that my blog has had no significance or impact which is why I’ve shied away from writing, but guess what, it’s not about ME-PHEW!!! It’s about God and he has whispered and commanded SO here I am, back on the horse and excited to keep on keeping on. Thanks for your patience as I’ve walked a dry season which will now bring fruit!

If I could offer you any daily encouragement to stay the course for Jesus, then I’d love to so. You can also meet my family and friends. I’m on instagram Hannah00Bryant or simply follow this link threerivers.ihubapp.org

EXTRA FOOD

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Which Way?

“God, I need your help.” The prayer is silent as lay quietly next to my sleeping husband who is in a deep slumber. I can see the silhouette of his body, his chest rises and falls rhythmically as he breathes gently. I lay awake, blinking into darkness trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. Trying to figure out Heavenly intentions over personal desires.

Opportunities which have been unexpected, turn up in my inbox in black, bolded letters, filled with promise and hope, highlighting a new path that could be taken. Exciting and thrilling, but have I pushed for something and received it, as I’ve pursued out of fear? Or are doors opening because there are other intentions for me? Answers to questions about where I’m headed.

I must seek, open my heart with a willingness to hear. Yet this is the place where I need to be daring, as when I ask God for his answers, then there must be a willingness to lay my self down a little more each time, as his ways may not be my ways, and I must recognise not all opportunities are the best options.

I must be willing to face disappointment, as the journey I have imagined just might take a twist and turn and head in a completely different direction, as Heavenly intent is much more valuable and crucial than self gratification.

We have all be formed and etched with dreams, passions, and desires, but the importance of matching them up with God’s plans is extremely vital, as He will lead us into the most satisfying place, he will make the adventure worth pursuing, where we encounter scenery that is completely unexpected, yet beautifully rich, as He has been the one guiding our path to the place where we need to be.

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There’s a release, a pressure taken off our soul when we hand over control to Christ. As His plans are never to harm us, but only enhance this crazy journey we are all on called- life.

For hanging onto control is usually stemmed by fear.

We want a particular outcome because of certain reasons, we are bent with a bias, and giving that over can be plain scary. The fear can grip our heart and dominate our decisions, which breeds a certain behaviour that can trap us into a cycle which can spiral us into chaos.

All of a sudden, our decision making process is governed by a particular feeling, and we are white knuckled, fists clenched as the reigns of life are being held tightly, because at the end of the day…we don’t trust in God enough to let go.

So we endure the ride, living in our decisions and wondering why we live with such anxiety and angst as we stare down the barrel into our future. We are in constant problem solving mode, analysing, and coming up with solutions so we can find some internal ease.

We find peace momentarily, but that’s all it is, as life throws us curve balls constantly, balls which are unpredicted and obviously not anticipated. So we enter back into the spinning, as we are living in a whirlwind which is created by our lack of willingness, to let go and let God do what he needs to do.

It’s when we get to a place, when quiet moments call us to reflect, or being woken in the still of night to think further, or we react in an unexpectant way in a situation because of stress, that we realise, that.we.may.not.have.all.the.answers.- as peace has been robbed and lived without.

That’s when questions require answers, satisfying answers, that will keep us poised and calm regardless of our current situation.

Answers that equate to a peace that nourishes our soul in good times, dark times and all that is in-between.

Answers that can water our parched souls when life is enduring a draught.

Answers that can reset our compass so we are traveling ‘truth north’ again.

You see Jesus, patient, gentle, loving Jesus, who’s eyes light up at the sound of your name, who can number the hair on your head, who understands you better than yourself, who adores you exactly as you are, wants and knows the best intentions for your life. He can see what we cannot, and gives clarity and will set our path straight. He gives solutions and answers that are the very best for you, should you ask.

But, that’s just it…

Are you willing to ask?

And if so,

Are you prepared to listen to the answer and act?

Pastor’s Wives need a Friend too…

“Yeah, but who cares for you, cares for AB?” I was struck by this question as it is the first time in thirteen years of ministry that I can remember someone asking such a specific question, a question which held such insight, such gentleness and care.

Over the years of being in ministry, I’ve had conversations with other Pastor’s wives about the way they journey through life, normally it’s a hard conversation to pry open to get a heartfelt response, as any person who has walked the ministry path has typically been burnt by multiple people within the church walls, which leaves a battle scar on her heart as a reminder, not to fully trust. To go to a certain stage in a relationship and then play it safe.

For we Pastors wives, seem to be at the brunt of many conversations while women sip coffee and talk about their opinions on how we are performing in our role. It’s not always negative feedback, but regardless, the matter still stands, our name is attached to how we are perceived and words are – with other people’s personal thoughts and perspective of who we are.

It’s like we are a product that can be consumed and passed around for everyone to taste and evaluate.

It can be forgotten that we are girls, with real hearts, real feelings and No we are not bullet proof.

 

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We can be dissected in many ways, by our character, what commitments we have made to ministry roles-over committed or not committed enough, we are too vulnerable or not authentic enough, we should be doing this, instead of doing that, the clothes that we choose to wear, how we spend our money, the way we parent, do marriage…do life.

All because of the man that we chose to marry.

Saying “Yes” to marrying a man who works inside the church is saying “Yes” to a life where a wife lives in a fishbowl where she is automatically scrutinized and judged.  I often believe that this is done subconsciously by parishioners and not with ill intention, however she isn’t a possession, she is a person and must be treated so.

If you’re feeling let down by your Pastors wife, then reality is, she hasn’t met your expectations and you feel disappointed, but she too is just like you- a woman on a journey, a wife navigating marriage, possibly a mother raising children. Her life may be filled with other commitments that demand her time, and then the church which I’ve called a vortex at times, places its needs upon her shoulders, which come in many ways which are typically demanding, heavy and often lonely.

So as a friend, a sister, a servant girl, ask the question of how you can serve your Pastors wife(s) as that question is rarely asked.

 Allow her to be a woman, on her journey where she can be real, and nut out life the way you are doing. Give her permission to be vulnerable, but treat her honesty with grace and respect like you would any other friend. For she too was built with purpose and intention and maybe, just maybe- children’s ministry isn’t for her!

 If she gives you a gift of being transparent, where she takes a risk and lets you in to her life, then you have to guard it with your whole heart.  It is very rare to find someone, who understands how to keep conversations completely confidential (and that means not talking to your husband and best friend, about what she has shared with you).

Pastor’s wives, need friends to be vaults and to see them as girls figuring out their life, just as much as anyone else. Their hearts can bruised and battered and in need of nurturing, but sometimes it’s scary to talk about these issues, because they have taken a risk before and been burnt badly by gossip or being judged or they have a knowing within their heart, that they have been placed in a box which is neat and tidy.

And don’t ever put her on a pedestal as she will come crashing off it at some point, because she is human and may disappoint you. Pedestals don’t interest women who love Jesus anyway, as their life is about Him- not accolades.

So friends, don’t be scared in loving the woman who partners with her husband in ministry, give her the gift of being trustworthy, and a mate who sees the best in her, as she will fall over and scrape her knees just like you do.

Give her grace and provide a safe place where she is seen as a person, not married to a man with a title, pick her up and dust her down when she’s fallen over and love her, for she needs that to last the distance.

I HOPE THIS GIVES YOU A GIGGLE– 60 seconds of fun with the Pastor I call Husband. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VWqTicxv

OR Here is my story with my girlfriend on how we got to start Three Rivers http://vimeo.com/107988432

 

Responding to Adversity

 

She wore it like a tattoo, a reminder, a mantra.

On the top of each hand she wrote-

Be the light.

Be the church.

Six words which stirred my heart, as she was about to be bold and brave in a time of adversity.

My eight year old had written in black pen, two deeply profound, yet simple statements to give her strength for the day.For she knew that remembering God in the midst of chaos, calms any storms, calms any raging heart when its wild with anxiety and being flooded with emotion.

For remembering His promises and His ways, brings a silent peace, stillness, a centeredness, that only comes when meditating on His truth.

For His goodness, realigns our mind when thoughts have spiraled out of control, bringing turmoil and angst to a standstill.

His peace stops our crazy world from spinning into chaos, the type of chaos that leaves us trying to find something, anything to grip on to. Old habits, people, money, career, our children, for these things seem tangible, but a servant girl who whispers to God in time of need, knows that she is not ignored and His presence is felt gently and powerfully.

Yes, the Father leans in, and provides something that this world cannot.

And she knew that she needed a visual reminder that caught her eyes so her thoughts turned to Christ so she could look different to this world, to stand out, to be the light-even when her enemies struck.

The previous day, she had wandered across the school yard towards the gate to where I was standing. She was carrying her backpack and wearing her blue brimmed hat like all the other children, and as I gazed upon her from a distance, I could see that her face was downcast and her shoulders were slightly hunched. Something had made her upset.

She launched into my arms as we greeted, and wrapped her long, lean, eight year arms around my body. She needed a safe a place, a protector, for her heart had been wounded. Her body shook and I could hear her sobbing, feel it with every breath she took.

After a moment I pulled back and looked into blue watery eyes and saw her tear stained cheeks, which broke my mama’s heart.

She had learnt that the world can be cruel at times, because of the people who live in it.

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Yet the very next day, when I drove her to school, she said she wasn’t scared of the girls because she had been “Thinking about God that morning and now feels better.”

I’m sure there was a part of her that wanted to stay in bed, and not face the reality of other people’s feelings towards her, which isn’t reality at all, as if she retracted like I know I would have wanted to do, then she wouldn’t be learning the skills or tools to handle conflict which can follow us into womanhood, as even grown women can be cruel to one another -not just grade three girls.

So instead of focusing on fear or the feeling of abandonment, she focused on Him.

Her eyes stayed on Jesus.

And isn’t that when the miracles occur?

The types of miracles, that saw Peter walk on water,

Or the miracle of being renewed and filled up with hope, after we’ve encountered hopelessness,

Or to have our battered and bruised hearts healed,

Nothing is impossible when our eyes stay locked on Jesus.

Not even the miracle of being light in the dark place when faced with adversity.

For this world is screaming out for someone, please someone be…different.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples — not if you label one another, but if you love one another.” (John 13:35).

Go on servant girl, be the miracle that this world is looking for, and allow Him, our amazing God, to use you in the very place you find your self today.

YOU ARE ENOUGH

The helpless moment tugged at my mother’s heart, stirring intense emotion within. The second you realise that Sunny (my Intellectually Disabled son-for those of you new to our community) looked around at his peers, and for the first time had a veil taken off his eyes to realise that he is…different. Not quite the same, behind and not able to keep up.

That has been the journey I’ve been on these past few weeks. Almost every time I’ve changed his soiled diaper, he reminds me, as he lays sprawled out, that he is “Not a baby.”

“No you’re not mate, you’re a big boy.” I hear myself say. He will normally finish the simple conversation, by telling me that I am beautiful.

What I hear him saying, but just hasn’t got the ability to do so, is Thank you Mom for changing me, because I sorta get that other kids my height wear big boy underwear and I do not. He is embarrassed that he wears diapers as a six years old.

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So here I was, at the school where my children attend, and the Kindergarter’s begin spilling out from backstage to do their performance. Eager mothers take photos and nudge one another in pure delight, as their little darlings are dressed up as cats and have begun skipping to the beat of the music. Sunny came out and my mammas heart burst with pride, wishing those in Canada who traveled so closely with us, could see just how much he’s progressed in seven months.

He sees me and waves, while smiling big. He remembers the first few moves, but all of a sudden stops, paralyzed by fear and was unable to communicate to his dance partner that he’s forgotten the pre-rehearsed moves. He looks around dismayed and fear filled and is unable to follow the simple promptings by the other children. He looked completely overwhelmed and ashamed which split my heart in two.

He tries to continue, but ends up looking down embarrassed and begins to silently weep. He uses his thumb and index finger to wipe away tears which splash onto his flushed cheeks. He is so upset that he needs to shut the world out, and does so, by putting his face in hands and stands there while the others keep skipping and twirling around.

The world kept going, but his fear stopped him from moving forward.

Can you relate?

He was heartbroken, confused and had no way of articulating or communicating what was going on in his mind. Teachers ran on stage to comfort him. Other mothers around me wept.

It was a dreadful situation.

I had insight as his mom to what I was seeing. He knew for the first time in his life, that he didn’t quite belong. I just knew it in my heart of hearts.

He had a moment which we’ve all faced, when we’ve been somewhere, at some point, and we have walked away from the situation feeling completely deflated and inadequate, as we felt like we were not quite.good.enough.

Didn’t have the same amount of money as those in the social circles that were blessed by your company,

Didn’t ‘wear the right clothes’ as the other ladies and felt uncomfortable,

Didn’t feel like you were quite as beautiful as the other girls who posed for the photo to flash on facebook,

Didn’t keep up with the conversation that had taken place over coffee, and your quiet thoughts told you that your weren’t intelligent enough.

Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough.

How many times do we undervalue our womanhood because we believe that harsh lie?

We’ve place unrealistic expectations on ourselves to maintain a certain image, shortcutting the actual woman God has made us to be.

We’ve chased ‘things’ that we have believed will make us fulfilled, which subtly breaks a little piece off our heart each time.

That’s because we are looking into a broken mirror. A mirror shaped by culture which tells us we are never enough which in turn reflects a broken image which we have chosen to accept.

You, I, we, have sold ourselves short and damaged our self-esteem along the way as we’ve swallowed the lie, the pill which says we are not enough because we don’t have…

This forms feelings of unworthiness, which can imprison us to lies deflating our worth. This breaks the Father’s heart, as He built us, you, with a particular purpose, fashioned us uniquely and with great intention.

Are we not insulting His handcraftsmanship when we live in a place of discontentment and strive to be someone we are not meant to be?

There is only one you and YOU should not be ashamed of the curves of your body, the freckles on your face, the wrinkles that dignify you, the colour of your skin, the type of sweaters that keep you warm, the car that you drive, the house where you live, the gifts that have been entrusted to You, for He, the Maker, has given them to you to use for His glory.

Friends, never ever, play the comparison game, the game that poisons our soul and keeps us on a journey which will destroy our heart and joy.

For You are one of a kind and the world needs you to be…YOU.

Bless you Servant Girls and know that I pray for you. I feel honored and privileged that you are here with me on the road, which leads home.

You ARE Beautiful.
Hannah

Worlds Collide

“That’s the way the cookie crumbled.” We sat in the gutter, leaves and a small amount of rubbish were under our feet, I shifted around trying to get comfortable on the hard cement. The pigeons which frequent the alleyway left a distinct smell as they flew in and out, feeding themselves on leftover crumbs. The Sunday morning sun, kissed our shoulders as we talked about his life. I could smell the BBQ cooking eggs and bacon, I looked in its direction momentarily and saw my church family being the hands and feet of Jesus practically and felt my heart skip a beat.

Fathers had their sons behind the hot grill, teaching them more about life than about cooking lunch. Women, teenagers, and small children grabbed cold drinks and handed them out to grateful people. Others mingled to pour love onto strangers who sleep on the streets at night. Humility and gentleness were seen as I looked in from the curb.

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His voice grabbed my attention again, and for a moment he smiled big, giggled even, as he introduced me to his two daughters through story telling. He talked about their hair colour, and how one girl had auburn hair like his, while the other had a head of brown hair. His eyes looked off into the distance and filled with pain, as he described them as little girls- for he has hasn’t seen them in thirty-four years. Unexpected tears splashed down my cheeks, I apologised red and embarrassed. He looked down towards his dirty hands which held tobacco in a carefully rolled cigarette. Beside us sitting in the gutter, was a gentle stream of music playing out of his navy blue bag which housed his entire collection of belongings. The radio which brings him company, provided an atmosphere, and all I wanted to do was ask him to dance with me there and then under the Winters sun…

The luncheon came to an end, and the Pastor I call Husband, and I, fond ourselves pensive and reflective on the car trip home. We were seriously digesting what it actually means to act justly, love mercy while walking humbly with our God.

The challenge for me, is that time passes quickly and I forget about my experiences (like yesterday). I get caught up in my small world of wanting to achieve my goals, my dreams and focus on satisfying my own desires without giving social justice a serious thought. Oh you will hear me talking about it and what I’d like to do, but empty words fall to the ground creating dust.

How many mounds of dirt sit around the earth because dust has been accumulated by ideas and thoughts, mounds that were great ideas of reaching others who require a lending hand, but they never got done because they were all too hard and we are all too busy or we don’t have enough money, yet we raise the ideas again and again as we sit in cafes drinking coffee trying to figure out more solutions

…more dust falls….

“But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.”
― Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Jesus. Beautiful Jesus who demonstrated the character of God as he walked here on earth for thirty-three years, showed us through perfection, what it is to serve those who are disadvantaged. He cloaked himself in humility, compassion and dignity while pouring love on those who found themselves in an unfortunate positions.(His magnificent life can be read about in the Gospels).

As I contemplate further about yesterday, there is one decision that’s been made-I do not want that which was reawakened yesterday, to fall asleep ever again. For I have an obligation to fulfill which starts with making a commitment to put love into action today.

Goodbye Self-Criticism

The Pastor I call Husband, sits on the side of our bed sipping his coffee, and me, mine. I’ve been ordered by my eight year old to stay in bed as “breakfast will be served shortly.” I hear Sunny in a neighbouring room practising his words “Appy, Appy, Appy Birfday Mom” as these days a stutter slows him down somewhat. My mama brings joy to our home as she blows balloons and makes my precious children laugh. Cards are gathered and a pajama party is about to take place in my bedroom.

Its my thirty-third birthday today, and the Pastor I call Husband takes the opportunity to speak goodness straight into my soul. We steal an intimate moment and he quietly compliments my character and fills my heart with his belief birthing new courage for my future. I look at him and for a split second, want to push back all his words of praise, as they are hard to receive. I actually had to make a conscious decision not to reject the words he was saying.

When people speak goodness into your heart, do you have the ability to receive their words by allowing them to strengthen your soul which helps you flourish into all you can be?

Or is your automatic response to shut them down so they fall like dust to the ground because you’re highly critical of yourself?

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If we harness the attitude of constantly being self-critical, than we are imprisoning our emotions, feelings and potential by limiting who we can be in Christ. Our eyes are focusing on what we haven’t achieved or accomplished rather than rejoicing in the wins we have gained in life. We find ways to see our own faults and weaknesses which become highlighted in our mind.

This in turn, sends detrimental messages to our self, saying “We are never enough,” when the truth is, we actually are enough. We’ve just become blind sighted by the lies rather than allowing the truth to pierce through the darkness.

The enemy wants to keep us stagnant in becoming all we can be as Daughter’s in Christ. So he will pounce hungrily on our weaknesses and strike at any opportunity given, and what better way then starting with our internal thoughts.

Take every thought captive Servant Girl and give then to Jesus, for you are worth so much more the then words you use to beat yourself up with. The quiet thoughts which hold you back and mold your behaviour will stifle your God-given freedom should you allow it. Rise and take courage in the woman who is delighted in by her Heavenly Father.

For a problem arises when we don’t practise self kindness- “We can’t give people what we don’t have. Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.” Brene Brown

If we aren’t practising self kindness, then how in the world can we offer authentic kindness to others?

There is a gap in our understanding, which will hinder us from knowing how to truly express deep compassion when others need it, the block in our own life prevents us from showing a depth of kindness as we haven’t experienced it our self.

For what we don’t have, we can’t give…

Self kindness, starts with self compassion, harnessing the understanding that we all have inadequacies but that doesn’t lessen the person that Christ has created us to be.

The words we choose to use in our thinking, will shape the outcome of our action and behaviour which is why its crucial to understand and plant ourselves in God’s love.

This will abolish any self shame which breeds self-criticism…

“There is no room in love for fear. Well formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgement – is one not yet fully formed in love.” The Message 1 John 4:18

Deepen yourself by forming your identity in Christ and take on the way He sees you and watch what happens…

So I finish by asking a simple question- Is your self esteem consistent with the way God sees you?

EXTRA FOOD.
http://www.threerivers.org.au/using-the-ordinary-for-the-extraordinary-part-7-samuel-when-the-simpler-the-better

15 Minutes in the Chair

Life has been a beautiful mess since returning back from Canada eight months ago. The journey has required much of me as I’ve established new roles as a working mom, responsibilities I’ve never had to fulfill before but wouldn’t change for the world. Entering Australia and resettling has been quite a seamless task on many levels and I truly see that God has gone before us in every way.

My children are easy-going, barefoot, Aussie kids who cope with change easily. I had to make sure I talked, talked and talked some more about our changes as a family and then be highly aware to their emotional needs which worked in my favour, as the Bryant household is now the busiest it’s ever been. And there are days, not all days, but days when this Servant Girl doesn’t cope as well as she should.

I’ve heard my voice raised impatiently at children who should have been piling in the car for school ten minutes ago, a sigh of heaviness when the washing stacks and the floors need vacuuming again, when deadlines come and I’ve struggled to meet them-or haven’t. I’ve let people down as their expectations haven’t been met, chapters of my book haven’t been written as quickly as I’d like (stay tuned on that one my friends), guilt felt as I haven’t played with my toddler like I did my previous two children, sex…well…

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The list is endless, constant and always replenishing itself.

So the out of balance life which has snuck in these past few months, has come to a place where God has intervened beautifully and gently whispered “slow down.”

Bill Hybels asked a simple, but profound question last week at the conference I attended.

Who do you want to become?”

He then encouraged us to grab our calendars and clearly write out our schedule as a means to seek clarity and to stay accountable to what we’ve written.

So what I recommend, is to sit with a blank piece of paper and ask God what commitments you need to fulfill and how often. As you write the list, keep seeking clarity about what can be dropped and what must be kept. The process might take some time, but what goes on that calendar will shape your future.

How much time are you spending with your family?

What friendships need your investment and which one’s do not?

Do you need to place exercise regularly in your week?

Study and work?

Time for you?

Your list will be unique as we are all on different paths, but we must remain intentional with our time to fulfill the daily tasks that need our investment, and to stay the course for the calling that God has placed on our life.

What do you want to achieve in the coming weeks, months and even year?

Pray, seek, write and commit.

The process will sort out what type of person you are.

But the next step that Bill suggested made me breathe deep and exhale with relief.

The 15 minute chair.

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Find a place where you wont be interrupted, a spot where you can be still in this busy world that demands so much of you and meet with Jesus. A warm, inviting environment where you eagerly come to read your bible, journal, pray and find rest in your soul. Carve out time where you can centre yourself, realign your heart with His heart, pour your worries out and meet your Creator.

If you feel you want to create an environment that calms you then please do so. Light a candle, grab a blanket, sip coffee. Make it special and unique as time with Christ is vital to feeding your soul.

Discipline will keep you coming back along with routine. Set your alarm clock if need be, turn the television off a few minutes earlier at night, eat lunch alone when at work or school- find a way to meet with our precious Lord.

15 minutes a day in the chair with Jesus.

EXTRA FOOD
http://www.threerivers.org.au/using-the-ordinary-for-the-extraordinary-part-6-samson-when-we-push-the-friendship

Silent Words

I was gob smacked. “That just isn’t true” I exclaimed both shocked and agitated. “Why would someone make that lie up? There is no truth in those words!”

I looked at the gentle face of the man who spoke, his eyes tender, caring, but at a loss also, he shakes his head in confusion, he didn’t comprehend the situation either. I search his eyes, but find no answer, silence fills the space. “Why do people take it upon themselves to tell me these sorts of things anyway? It doesn’t help” I keep my thoughts silent.

I wrap my cold hands around the hot cup of tea and sip slowly, allowing the warmth to comfort me. The fire flickers, crackles, as logs burn to heat up the living room, the air outside cold as June brings a new season. Winters sun, peers through the living room window, casting shadows on white walls. I hear a feminine voice speak and I turn my downward face to find hers.

Brown eyes meet mine and she begins to bring healing to a grazed soul. She shepherds my heart back to the Cross. She replaces lies with truth and restoration begins immediately. I feel my head slowly nodding in agreement, she continues, speaking words over me which are strong and filled with goodness and accuracy.

My heart which had potential to become wild with emotion, returns to a state of calm, the wrestling for justice subsides and I exhale long, for I know the truth and the truth will set any Servant Girl free.

I linger in the moment and turn what was a feeling of anger, into thankfulness, as the Lord goes before and protects. I whisper my private thoughts to my Father and then release the situation instantly, as I know too well, that un-forgiveness turns to poisonous venom which will eventually kill any soul.

We’ve all been there, and for some reason, people within the Bride, God’s church, are not exempt. We tear down that which should be edified, strong and rock solid, yet we don’t. We chose to whisper wounding words, harming the hearts of other brothers and sisters.

“Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships.” Proverbs 16:28 (The Message)

The intention is to damage and ruin reputation, which has potential to break the heart of the one being targeted. Fracturing another daughter who is being effective for Christ. The words which have been spat out of another’s sisters mouth, might be the catalyst for undoing the Servant Girl who is being spoken about. For she might throw her hands in the air and walk away from her Heavenly purposes because the load, the disunity, all becomes too much. She may shut down, walk away and carry wounds into her journey, shaking her head with disappointment and anger at God, who wasn’t the reason for the hurt.

It was us!

Years in ministry has seen me watch other Servant Girls hang their boots up and leave ‘church buildings’ feeling disheveled and bewildered, as the ones who have hurt the most, are those who raise hands in worship before their very eyes and gossip over cups of coffee afterwards. Those who claim to be love riddled and grace flowing, yet harsh words have winded and now she is walking out…for good.

“If a person thinks he is religious, but does not keep his tongue from speaking bad things, he is fooling himself. His religion is worth nothing.” James 1:26 (NLV)

There is an urgency to keep, to bring and maintain unity within the body, to protect it with a fierce love where understanding and grace flows freely for one another. To make a decision to see the best in the other person and choose words wisely before forming and speaking them out. For the person we are speaking against, is a cherished daughter of the most High God. She is our sister in Christ, who has a soul, and a heart which feels emotion.

We have a moral obligation to silence ourselves if we are about to cut down another Servant Girl, and to disengage from conversations which are fruitless and harmful.

Let’s be an example next time we are confronted with this type of situation.

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EXTRA FOOD

http://www.threerivers.org.au/using-the-ordinary-for-the-extraordinary-part-4-gideon-when-there-s-no-more-boulders-in-your-marbles

Test your Courage

Conversations take place amongst family members creating a hum, my mother in-law quietly works in her humble kitchen. Two of her sons busy themselves, helping her as she prepares a dinner for almost thirty. An apron hugs her body, covering the pink floral blouse that gently shapes her figure. She limps silently, and I know from watching, that her hip is creating intense pain-yet she will never complain.
Seventeen grandchildren, ranging from their early twenties to just nineteen months old, play, laugh, rough house and interact happily with one another. I have moments throughout the afternoon, where my heart almost bursts with gratitude.
Meat is placed in the oven, vegetables are seasoned with fresh herbs, gravy stirred and the woman who bore six sons, just keeps on silently giving to those around her.

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June 17

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There’s no performance here, no accolades sought, or attention demanded- just a woman quietly loving.

It’s so easy for us to celebrate the loud, those under the bright lights and in front of audiences, forgetting about those who swirl toilets and vacuum the floors.

The unsung hero’s.

You know, the Servant Girl who embraces humility and meekness while doing the “least” in order to display the heart of Jesus. She’s the one who doesn’t shy away from her commitment because it goes unnoticed by those around her, for she knows it’s not about self-gratification.

In maturity she comprehends that serving is helpful, but it’s ultimately done for God who sits on His throne.

She’s the daughter who is steadfast and predictable, remaining on the path that God has placed her on. She can be trusted with His intention as she doesn’t back down or give in when it all gets too hard.

No, she understands in the depth of her spirit, that there is something larger going on, a greater picture being fulfilled, then the tiredness she is currently feeling, or the emotion that is trying to govern her decisions to say “No more.”

She’s the Servant Girl who finds fight deep within, to finish what has been asked of her- even when the easiest thing to do, is to hang up her boots and walk away…

Yet Servant Girls often walk away from the unfinished because they have made themselves too busy, committing to unfruitful things that sidetrack them from staying ‘true North’- to the convictions placed on their heart.

She begins to complain that it’s all too hard, all too overwhelming. She begins to rely on her own logic and strength, which spirals her into a chaotic way of thinking. And then there is a search for excuses, so she can give up on what God has asked of her to do. She seeks others to validate her decision. Building a case and justifying her self, forgetting the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

The process will test her courage

Living for the Kingdom wholeheartedly takes discipline and sacrifice as it requires much. There is a need to lay down self in order to pick up the Cross.

It’s messy and hard at times, yet the reward is great.

Servant Girl’s must rise when He speaks. God calls her out, sets her apart for a greater purpose. She mustn’t bail on her mission, but finish it with integrity.

Be that girl, who stands with confidence when Jesus beckons you, finish what He has asked you to do, even if it seems crazy. He knows what He’s doing. And smile along the way-there are only a few who day that you know.

And whatever you do, do it for Jesus and in the strength that He gives.

Bless you, as you pursue your higher calling.