Thursday, 24 August 2017

Being Mum

I love to read, although I most definitely do not have time to read as I used to! Once upon a time I would stay up to the early hours of the morning to finish a book. Nowadays, I find myself re-reading the first few chapters as I am unable to remember what I have previously read - either because I have left it too long to pick up the book again or I fall asleep as I read! 

However, I read what I can and because there is not so much time to read, I try to read what is helpful and useful. Sometimes I find that I am not really reading the words in front of me as my mind has wondered off to another place or is distracted by something else that I feel I need to do. There are times, though, when the words I read almost jump off the page as they have really hit home. These words stay with me all day and are words that I really hope to hold on to. 

Today was one of those times. I was reading an email from Proverbs 31 Ministries which had the title, 'When You Feel Like a Bad Mum'. I took a lot of encouragement from what was written, yet what really stood out was that I am meant to be mum to my 3 children. Within me there is the ability to raise my children. Within me there is everything I need to be mum in the way that my children need me to be their mum. 

Being mum is the biggest responsibility that I will ever be given. I mess up, I say and do the wrong thing, the choices that I make are not always great and patience and kindness are not always part of my parenting.  Yet when I read those words this morning, I felt so encouraged as I am able to find within me, all that I need to take on my role of being mum with boldness and a new determination. 

Often, being mum can be a huge challenge and I feel as if I have run out of words, skills, and strategies. However, if I am able to pause and remind myself that 'I can do this and I have all that I need to do this'; if I am able to take courage knowing that I was purposed to be mum to my 3, then challenges and difficulties can be met, head on, with positivity. 

With every sun comes a new day and the choice to speak this encouragement over who I am as a mum. I can choose to stand strong in the knowledge that I am where I should be, I have been created in just the right way to raise my lovely children in the ways that they need. 

As I write these words, I feel a bit big headed! However I am just saying that, who I am and all that I will be, simply goes together, rather wonderfully, with all my children are and all that they will be. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Be Kind

I found myself in a situation where I was really struggling to know what advice to give my beautiful daughter. And in the first instance I don't think I did the best job!! However in the middle of the night it shouted out to me. The answer was simply to 'be kind'. 

Whatever situation I'm in... I can be kind. Regardless of how others treat me...I can be kind. Wherever I find myself...I can be kind. 

Another lovely lady, who I have the privilege to know, also reminded me recently that it doesn't cost anything to be kind. 

Kindness costs nothing, however it brings great rewards. Showing kindness is a strength and a quality that I am capable of when I decide to put the needs of others before my own.

In choosing kindness, I believe we create a ripple effect that touches the lives of others, especially if, that kindness is unexpected or unusual.

If I choose kindness then hopefully this will bring positivity into the lives of those around me. Maybe I might even be bold enough to seek those opportunities where I can show unexpected, unusual or extraordinary kindness. By making the effort to respond with kindness, even when this is not the easiest or natural choice, I hope to be able to make a difference. If I am saying and showing I choose kindness, in spite of the situation I find myself in, then this may encourage my daughter to find the strength to also choose to be kind.

If I am to live what I believe then kindness should be part of who I am. To be honest, though, kindness is not always easy. Yet, I should persevere and find the strength to pause and respond with kindness rather than in kind, and repeat this response. Hopefully the impact of such actions will be positive and possibly even transforming.

So as I reflect on being kind regardless of others, I can see it will take time and effort to make that choice. It will take practise. I do not believe it will be my natural reaction and I may have a battle with my will. However, as I choose to be kind, my daughter may also see this is a good choice. It's a choice that has a positive knock on effect. Choosing kindness may bring change, there is always the hope that all things can be made new.  

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Life Is What You Make It

Today, when I turned over my calendar this is what I read, "Life is what you make it, always has been, always will be." As I read the quote, I smiled to myself as it was exactly the reminder I needed.

My life may not be where I would have liked it to be, however it is where it is! So instead of dwelling on the why and the what if's, I choose to learn how to embrace this season I find myself in.

How exciting could each day be, if I live knowing that my day will be what I make it?!

It is not possible to go back and make alterations to what has already been. However, I can make a difference today. Instead of looking to others to make a day good, bad or somewhere in between, I should be looking to myself to make something of each new day.

That something could be seeing new opportunities in the day ahead - committing to speaking kindness, love and encouragement over the people in my life, committing to putting someone else's needs before my own. Seeking to make the most and the best out of all this new day brings. Opening my eyes to living life differently and choosing to have hope in this brand new day.

Choosing to accept that 'life is what I make it', let's go of expectation. No-one, other than me, can knock my day down when I accept that I am the one who is making my life what it is. When the knock downs come, I can take a deep breath, let it all go and remind myself that I am 'making' this new day.

For me, the best part is that I do not have to do all this on my own. Each day brings along moments which are new and bright, I believe that I just need to open my eyes wider to see and to not believe that I already know it all.
The One who encourages me to see each day as new, is One who is trustworthy and good - my God who walks right beside me as I discover more and more that, "life is what you make it, always has been, always will be."

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

100 Days of Thankfulness

I think I am a cup half full sort of person. Most of the time I do try to see the positive in a situation or person.

Just over a week ago, at Church, we were challenged to spend the next one hundred days being thankful - to find one thing from the day that we could be thankful about. We decided to take up the challenge and have begun to include 'thankfulness' into our day.

As a family, we often think about being thankful, however making a point of going over the day and then writing down our thanks for that day has made such a difference. For me, looking back over the day in a thankful way has really changed my mind set. It brings the opportunity to consider every new day through brighter, more positive eyes. As the day comes to a close the challenge to look back with a thankful heart really lifts my spirit as I see so much to say thank you for.

Tomorrow is #10 and I am excited about what the next ninety might bring. I hope that I will become a person whose cup is full to overflowing with thankfulness.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

It's OK Not To Be OK

Honestly, of late, there have been a lot of times when I am not OK. Life has taken me down a very different path to what I had expected and it feels like there have been far too many moments that have not been OK.
At times, life hurts or it can feel just so unreal or it is simply just really hard work!

However, overtime I am realising that it really is OK to not be OK. 

There are times when something hurts and my immediate response is to push it aside whilst putting on a brave face. Or, I find the strength, in that moment, to be still - to breathe in and out and then let it go. 
Yet there are times when I am not able to hide the pain and the hurt and I know I am not OK. I may be alone or I may with be others and the 'not being OK' is about to spill out...
What I am beginning to appreciate is whilst it is OK for me to not be OK, no-one else should have to bear the reaction to my hurting.
Yes, I might get frustrated, however if I overstep the mark with my words or my tone then I must apologise. I should also consider how I would like to be spoken to and speak to others in this way. I may feel overwhelmed and even though I pause, I am unable to find the strength to let it go, so instead I can try to show gentleness in my response. 
The day may be a tough one, yet I must remind myself not to take that out on the people around me. However if I am honest and admit I am struggling they may well respond by supporting me through a hug, a prayer, a kind word or a smile. 

In choosing to be open about not being OK, I am choosing to be real and true. I am choosing to accept that in that moment, there is pain, however I also choose to hope that in the moments to come there will be things that are brighter and new. 

There is vulnerability in standing up and saying, "in this moment, I am not OK." I guess I would rather people thought I had it all together, yet the truth is I do not! I wobble, I stumble, I hurt, I cry, I shout and I despair. 

Through it all, I am so grateful that I have discovered the beauty in knowing that with every sun comes a new day. For I know even though this day may be one that is not OK, tomorrow is a brand new day, full of opportunity for things to be more than OK. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

What Takes Up My Space?

I think Pinterest is fab! A search on Pinterest can lead to the discovery of all sorts of wonderful things. Pins that help in so many ways - being mum, my job, and even what nail colour I might have next! What I find particularly helpful is, that as I scroll through the home page, the quotes and verses I come across can really lift my gaze or bring a smile or even make me laugh out loud!

Just this week I realised that sometimes I really do not do myself any favours. I have given too much space and time to negative words and thoughts even to the point where I had started to believe them. Setting off from a negative place where insecurity had begun to guide me, was not proving useful and my steps were not very productive.

So as I was scrolling through Pinterest I suddenly realised that I am the one who allows this negativity room in my thoughts. Each of these positive quotes and verses should be the truth I give space to. Instead of being discouraged, I would like to be encouraged - then I am able to encourage others. Rather than allow myself to feel that I am not good enough, I shall stand on the truth that tells me 'I am loved' - then I am able to love others.

With every sun comes a new day and what I find exciting is that there is opportunity to keep discovering something new. The negative thoughts and words are still likely to come, however when they do, I hope to run from them and instead run toward truth along the brighter path.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Take The First Step...

Over the last few days I have been reading the story of a man called Joshua, who was the guy who took over from Moses. Joshua was given a task to do and not only was this task absolutely huge, it may also have sounded a little bit crazy!

God asked Joshua, along with his army, to march around the city of Jericho for seven days and then the walls would fall down and Joshua and his men would take the city. These walls were between four and five metres high and almost two metres thick.
I wonder if I was asked to do the same whether I might have just laughed out loud?!?!

Yet, Joshua did as he was instructed. They marched around the city once a day for six days and then on the seventh day they marched round seven times and at the sound of the trumpet and at the shouts of the men, the city walls collapsed! WOW!

Joshua faced a monumental task yet he doesn't appear to argue, instead he simply follows the instructions he has been given and also inspires others to do the same.

I would like to find the courage to follow Joshua's example. I believe he saw with eyes that were wider than the situation he found in front of him. Joshua had a faith and a trust that was steadfast because, when faced with what seems a crazy solution to the situation he and his men were facing, they still marched on out.

As they stepped out to take new ground, they went boldly because within them, they had confidence in what they knew about God and what they had seen Him do - deep inside of them must have been the courage to trust. This gives me confidence as I step out into a new chapter of my life.

Sometimes thoughts overwhelm me as do my feelings of fear and insecurity. I can get caught up with feeling that I cannot possible take on this huge task in front of me because I feel that I am not good enough.
However, deep within me, I am able to find the strength to trust and to know that is simply not true. I am able to step out and collapse my wall.
With every sun my faith and trust grows and my eyes see further than the situation I find myself in. My heart has hope and I feel able to march on believing and experiencing that I am held.

I do not know where my marching will take me, yet I will continue on because I know that the One who marches alongside me has also gone before me. I will bravely step out into the newness with expectation and with hope because He makes all things good!