Thoughts from Thursday's Child

Thursday's Child has far to go

Give thanks with a grateful heart ….

It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well.

It’s easy to be grateful when things are going great.

But what if they are not?

Can we still be thankful & grateful for the season we are in? For what we do or don’t have? For what is going on in our lives?

Maybe it’s what our heart sees at these times that can stop us being grateful.

If I look down all I will see is dirt, if I look up I can see the horizon and its potential.

If I want to have a grateful heart I need to be seeing things I can be thankful for.

Some days being grateful that I’m breathing is all I can manage …

At other times, my heart shows me simple things to be grateful for – a hug, a smile, a flower, a bird song, food in the pantry, a roof over my head, tissues, glue, a book, a friend … you get the idea 🙂

I am sure my heart would be grateful if there was a Lotto win coming my way some time soon but, you know what?  Even if I never win, I can be thankful for those who do (and be grateful I don’t have to worry about what to spend all that money on … ha, ha!).

We all have struggles (sometimes daily) of things that would try to steal away our hope and our gratitude for life.

Let’s change what we see ….

I will see with a grateful heart.

 

 

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A happy heart

Proverbs 17:22 Amplified Bible (AMP)  A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,

but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

The Bible also describes the heart as ‘cheerful’, ‘glad’ or ‘merry’. Suffice to say, it’s when we feel good – better than good, we feel great!

Do you recognise when your heart is happy? Does your heart forget to find joy within itself? Is your body struggling with a heart being pulled under by heaviness?

What does your heart need to see for you to feel glad?

Reading ‘A Thousand Gifts’ by Ann Voskamp was a gentle reminder to me to find joy in the journey, live a life of thanksgiving, let my heart beat with gladness and joy.

To see myself with new eyes, to see others from a new perspective, to see life as a gift to cherish and celebrate –  to have a happy heart.

I will see with my 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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A fearful heart

Fear takes hold of my heart and stops me from living.

Do you ever feel that way?

I’ve been afraid of what others might think.

I’ve been afraid of what others would say.

I’ve been afraid of how others will react.

Fear can make me stop, stand still, never start.

And then I’m afraid of what I will think, of what I will say, of how I will react if I my heart continues to live a life of hesitation, fear and regret.

Jon Acuff’s book START and a group called 30 Days of Hustle helped me to define the passion in my heart, START to overcome the fear, START to dare to dream, START to dare to live a life with purpose, START to dare to move forward.

I am slowly overcoming the fears that I have lived with for so long.

I DARE you to START.

I will see with my heart.

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A soft heart

(This is not the post I expected to write today but it is the lesson I learnt instead)

It was my privilege today to volunteer at my youngest son’s School Spring Fair. His class was selling helium filled balloons and temporary tattoos. We were expecting excellent sales and running a successful fundraising stall for the school. BUT another stall set up and offered face painting, a local vet clinic came and gave away free balloons  – and my heart started to complain.

I took a few minutes away from the stall and started to cry. “God, we prayed this morning for a good day, for a fun day, what is going on? Why is this happening? How can we be successful with all this competition?”

A voice in my heart said “I still love you”. And my heart softened.

Earlier this morning I read Psalm 136. It has 26 verses, each verse ending with ‘His loving kindness endures forever’. (NIV) The Message translation reads ‘His love never quits.’ That’s 26 times we are reminded ‘His love never quits’.

God had to remind me 27 times!

By the end of the day, sales had picked up a little, and plans were made to make use of the helium balloons and tattoos at a later date so all is not lost. The children showed up on time for their rostered slots, were enthusiastic sales people and had a ball. BUT  I think the greatest moment of the day was when the teachers said “Today was a great day. Last fair was so stressful, and we made very little money. This year we got to chat with parents, relax and enjoy the day.” And my heart softened.

I could have allowed the circumstances of the day to see only what was going awry and I would have missed out on what went right.

I will see with my heart.

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A willing heart

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart – John Heywood.

The Collins English Dictionary defines ‘willing’ as ‘done, given, accepted, etc, freely or voluntarily’.

The Thesaurus states ‘willing – the act of making a choice’.

Is my heart willing? What am I willing to do? What am I willing to give? What am I willing to see? What am I willing to feel?

I often think I don’t have a choice. My thoughts, my actions, my feelings are dictated to me by my circumstances, the people around me, my daily routine.

BUT if I was willing, what would I do differently? How would today be different for those around me? How would today be different for me?

How would it be different for you?

As John Heywood said – ‘Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.’

I will see with my heart.

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A hard heart

It would be easy sometimes to bundle up the pain and the hurt, build a wall around my heart and never let anyone in.

Words thrown around like darts, striking sharp pain in my heart. I don’t want to feel the hurt anymore so I “keep a stiff upper lip, develop a thick skin, turn the other cheek”. Before you know it, my heart is hard, immovable, unable to share or experience love and I am alone.

Being alone is different from being lonely. One is where you push others away, the other is when you feel pushed away by others. Both can bring a hardness to the heart. People with hard hearts don’t want to be reached, who don’t want to be loved. They’ve been hurt so much they can’t bear to let anyone else into their heart anymore.

Hard hearts are not always easy to see. It can be disguised as apathy, aloofness, arrogance – just to name a few examples.

People with hard hearts need love the most, need much love – a love with grace, a love with hope, a love with truth.

What I can do, I will try to do.

I will see with my heart.

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A wounded heart

“The heart is the only broken instrument that still works”.

I don’t know where I first read that quote but I memorised it. It was a salve when my heart was broken and brought a hope that I would recover from the pain.

I did recover and went on to love again even though my heart bears the scars.

Medical miracles can stop a heart beat or relax a body to stop it from feeling pain but what can we do when our hearts feel beyond repair? Hearts can be broken or wounded by thoughtless words, misunderstood expressions, silence. Few hearts remain unscathed.

You can see their hearts, the pain, the grief, the hurt, the rejection. It all hurts. When you hear of a heart that bleeds, you don’t always see it happening with your eyes but you can see it with your own heart.

These wounds can take a long time to heal but we keep on loving others while we wait. That’s just the way it goes.

Is there anything that can be done to mend a wounded heart?  There is no special cream or even a band-aid you can use on a broken heart.

Again, a quote I memorised “Time heals all wounds” is probably the truth of the situation but what I can do, I will do. There are so many people needing a gentle word, a smile, a friendly ear to listen or a heart to feel what they are feeling.

I will see with my heart.

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What does my heart see?

My husband is away with work, meaning my responsibilities at home increase as I become a single parent for a time. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed I want to shut myself away from all that is going on around me. (I have been known to throw the occasional ‘pity party for one’ – lol!)

I have two friends who have been in and out of hospital, juggling family, work commitments and their health. For both these ladies, their health issues have been long-term and ongoing.  They ARE single mums, their selflessness and love constantly inspire me.

My temporary situation pales into insignificance when I see all they do, all they are, all they are achieving for their families and my heart swells with admiration for them. I wonder how they do it!

What I see is a motivation that comes from their heart. They choose what’s best for their children, their situation, their lives and they pursue it. They are unwavering in their pursuit of the best they can be, the best they can provide and the best for those they love.

I count only one parent in these two families and yet I see an abundance of love, goodness, patience and faithfulness, greater than I see in my own home.

I need to see with new eyes – re-focus, re-prioritise, re-new my mind, my spirit and my heart.

I want to see with my heart.

 

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Opening my wallet with my heart

I dream of winning the Lotto. Unfortunately, I don’t buy tickets so my chances are very slim.

I dream about what I would do with the money – how I would spend it, what I would spend it on, who I could help out.

What would you do? Think about it, listen to your heart. How much of it would you REALLY give away?

When I am down to the last $2-00 in my wallet before pay day, I can thrown it in a hat for a busker without thinking twice. After all, it’s only $2, right?

BUT …

Would I give him a $200 tip if I’d just won $2 million? Why would I hesitate? What would make me give money away without thinking about it?

A random act of kindness I read about was taping dollar bills on vending machines, phone boxes or even leaving them on the shelves in supermarkets for others to find. That actually sounds like it would be fun and is something my children and I would enjoy. I could do it with $20 but would I do it with $2000?

Why is it harder to give money away when you have more than you need but those who can afford little are willing to give from their heart?

Where do you sit / stand with giving away money? Do you have your own personal set of guidelines of who you’ll give to and why you give?

2 Corinthians 9 v 7 (NIV) says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I will give with my heart.

 

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