Thoughts from Thursday's Child

Thursday's Child has far to go

It’s all about the faith …

Life is busy, the school year is coming to a close and, with three teenagers it means lots of break up parties, Christmas activities and shopping. I volunteered to participate in the planning of a few of these things so I feel like I’m getting lost in the craziness of it all, searching for a quiet place to hide and regroup.

My mornings start in a quiet time with God but sometimes I wonder if He’s made it to our appointment. Do you know that feeling? When my life gets busy, does God check out of the chaos and leave me to it? When disaster hits, I scream out to Him for help, why does He take His time responding?

Isaiah 8 v 17 (GNT) The Lord has hidden Himself ….but I will trust Him.

As a parent of teenagers, I can’t hover over them, wrap them in cotton wool or lock them in their bedrooms until they graduate (that is so going to be another post …lol!) but my presence is there, they know I am there and, when they need me – I am there.

As my parent, God is there, I know He is there (He’s promised to ‘never leave me or forsake me’ – Joshua 1 v 5 NIV ) His heart is still beating with a love for me, my heart can beat with a hope and a trust in Him.

It’s all about the faith …..

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A beating heart that lives …

These 31 days of a beating heart became more than a writing challenge. It became a focus on what my heart is saying with each and every beat, being purposeful in listening to my heart and taking action to live a life with each heartbeat.

Moving forward, I am going to Live my List.

What is my List? It is things I want to accomplish, change, make real in my life as my heart beats with a purpose. Lots of people plan their list as a goal to achieve before they die – place to travel to, adventures and challenges to undertake, dreams to fulfil.

Who inspired me to consider to “Live your List” ? Most people would say the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson but I haven’t seen it yet. (Maybe I should put it on my bucket list – ha, ha!)

No, it was Ryan Eller and Jerrod Murr with their #LYL – Live your List podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-live-your-list-show/id829161251?mt=2 that challenged me to live an intentional life, to encourage others and to make a difference.

How can I stay the same when I know there is so much more out there that I want to do, see, be, accomplish, share, embrace, live and love?

So, here’s the start of my list. It’s a work in progress and a challenge I will daily need to take up if I am to keep listening to my beating heart. The list is in order of when I thought of what I wanted to do, not in the order I am going to accomplish them which makes it all the more exciting, I think.

Here goes …

1. Complete my children’s photo albums.

2. Spend more time at the beach with sand between my toes, the sun on my face and listening to the waves.

3. Start up my card writing business.

4. Exercise for 30 minutes every day so I can get my heart to its best health and stop taking the medications.

5. Host a Neighbour’s Table regularly in my backyard.

6. Learn to sing, enough to be able to perform one song well in public.

7. Be a successful writer whatever form that writing takes.

8. Learn to say ‘no’ when I need to say ‘no’.

9. Hold a Moonlighters silver service dinner with my friends in the middle of a roundabout like I planned when I was in my early 20’s.

10. Visit Russia and Hungary.

11. Visit Egypt and Ethiopia.

12. Finish tracing my family tree.

13. See a movie being filmed on a ‘real’ movie set.

14.

I’ve had to stop writing on this list, I am starting to cry.  There are things my heart is telling me it wants to do but fear is holding me back from even considering putting them on a list. I don’t know if the pounding of my heart is for the desire  in my heart or the fear that stops me from trying to accomplish those things.

How would you write YOUR list?

What would you include?

And what would you leave off?

I want to live with my heart.

 

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Writing on my heart … in pen

Psalm 40:8 “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

I love writing with pen and paper. Something about letting thoughts flow onto a page rather than a computer screen makes me feel connected to the words.

And birthday cards – few people post cards these days because you can send an all singing, all dancing, lights flashing card in an email.

Post-it notes have a special place in our family. I leave messages on the bathroom mirror, in lunch boxes and on the fridge, flourishing my black pen with flair and style.

At least, I did until the children commented that they couldn’t read my writing! Cursive is no longer a style of writing they are taught in school…huh???

With the speed and immediacy of social media and text messages, are we missing out on the intimacy of a handwritten note? And where does that leave my black pen?

Love letters, birthday greetings, my diary, advice to my child, encouragement for a friend, shopping and to-do lists – these flow from my pen onto greeting cards, notepaper, blue lined journals, the back of envelopes.

The permanency of words written with a pen on paper speak to my heart, my mind and my spirit, helping me recall special memories of loved ones, shared celebrations, memorable family gatherings. They don’t fade with time, I can re-read them often and share them with others.

I have kept countless cards and letters sent to me from grandparents, parents and friends over the years as a record of their writing, personal messages that touch my heart and bring me joy.

What joy has been written on your heart in pen? Are you sharing special moments and memories with others that leave an imprint on their hearts?

Allow God to write His instructions on your heart.

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A hidden heart

We lived in a remote area away from family and friends when we had our first child. I struggled learning how to be a wife and a mother without family support while my husband worked shift work.

There was a fabulous Child Health nurse who held a weekly morning tea for new mums. It was the only social event I attended for months. She would make us sandwiches and sweets, hold the babies, chat with us and would always ask “what have you done for yourself this week?”

At that stage, my greatest accomplishment was having a shower and getting to her weekly morning teas but I couldn’t let the others know that – they were all capable, accomplished mothers with perfect children so I hid my heart.

Have you noticed how often people hide their feelings, their pain, their struggles?

Why do we do that?  What does it accomplish aside from isolating us from those who might be able to help?

It took the birth of our second child  two and half years later to highlight the postnatal depression cloud I had been living under. I hid my heart, my struggles, my insecurities. I mistakenly thought it was just me. Everyone else coped with being a new mum, adjusting to parenthood and I was left behind.

It was a lie. I was not alone. I was not a bad mother. When the struggle in my heart was revealed, my world changed. As I learnt about myself and my child, parenthood became manageable and eventually a joy.

Now, when I see the hearts of new mums, I recognise some of my own insecurities. I offer words of encouragement, take time to make them sandwiches and sweets, hold the baby and ask ‘”what have you done for yourself this week?” I also see their hearts when they can’t answer, and I know how to answer that call too.

I will see with my heart.

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Giving words from my heart

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

We chanted this in the playground, walking arm in arm, in a military march style but it wasn’t until I was an adult I acknowledged the impact words had on me.

Words hurt, words wound, words break hearts, words destroy relationships.

My heart has been hurt with words more than any sticks and stones that have broken my bones. Words have hurt you too, I know.

James 3:10 (NIV) says “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

We speak without thinking, we think without speaking – words hurt.

BUT …..

Words can heal, words can soothe, words can calm, words can mend relationships.

Ephesians 4:29 (MSG) says “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

These are the words my heart longs to hear, I chose to speak them from my heart to others who need to hear them too.

I will give with my heart.

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Giving help from my heart

Some people hear what we say by what we do.

My dad’s heart speaks like that.

For over 40 years he went to the same job, dedicating himself to those he served while supporting a wife and four children.

He visits his cousin and his sister regularly, taking them shopping, to the doctor, wherever they need to go. He’ll weed gardens, change lightbulbs and other odd jobs.

My dad is in his 70’s and the ladies are in their 80’s.

He inspires me for the man he is, setting an example as a husband, a brother and a parent.

His actions are an expression of his heart. I am so glad he is my dad.

My prayer as his daughter is that I grow up to be like him.

I will give with my heart.

 

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Giving gifts from my heart

We already know how to give to others.

Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, engagements, weddings – there are many occasions to celebrate and most of us love receiving gifts.

But what about giving to put a smile on someone’s face? LIft their spirit? Just be nice?

An opportunity to say “I’m thinking of you” ; “you are special” ; “you are loved”.

“But it’s not my birthday?!” “What a lovely thought!”

The saying goes ‘it’s the thought that counts” and it is, but the heart has something to say as well.

It can be as a simple as a selection of herbs from the garden or a plate of home baked goods.

Other times it might be a book or a hand crafted card.

The Bible reminds us God loves giving to us.

Matthew 7:11 New International Version (NIV) “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Hang on! Look, over there! That would be perfect for my friend! It”s just what she needs at the moment to cheer her up.

Make every day Valentine’s Day.

I will give with my heart.

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A purposeful heart in relationships … step 2

I want to MAKE a difference.

I want to BE different.

If I won’t change then things won’t change.

The second relationship I wanted to focus on was my time with my family – my husband and children.

We’ve been married for 21 years – don’t applaud, it’s been through stubbornness on both our parts that we’ve got this far!

(He jokes that jail time for a life sentence would mean he would be ‘free’ now. I respond with the comment that I pray for peace because if I pray for strength somebody is going to get hurt – ha, ha!)

I first fell in love with him because he made me laugh (his blue eyes and smile came in second and third…)

There are days when he still sets off butterflies in my stomach but after 21 years our relationship had changed from the twitter-patted spring of first love to a little bit of the old “taken-for-granted” scenario. I am passionate about my husband and how much I love him but I had stopped showing him. I needed to be more purposeful in my marriage if I wanted more ‘butterflies’ and less ‘margarine’. (If that analogy is too much, think about it a little bit longer, I think you’ll get it 🙂 )

My heart for my husband:

The rhythm of life meant we often missed out on quality time together. That needed to change. I am making time to be with him, living, loving, walking and talking. We’re  reuniting our hearts as we plan for our family’s future, reminisce about the past and enjoy the present.

Everything I did and my focus each day had been built around what is best for them, what I can do for them – from getting up in the morning, getting them to school and work, what to feed them, driving them to activities, accommodating their social lives and transport needs… I felt left out of the picture as they don’t necessarily ‘SEE’ what I am doing or that I do it because I love them.

My heart for my children:

By focusing on my actual relationship with them and not what I do for them, I find time to spend with each of them individually and purposefully, giving them quality time and attention. I am loving it and feel closer to them. I am finding that I am learning more about them as well. As they are teenagers it can only be a good thing, right?

I will listen to my heart.

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