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Fi mum23

Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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godly marriage

Keeping the mountain in sight

So, who else can go through times of losing sight of God’s plan for them?

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During one of my lectures last week, there was a great visual illustration discussed that really nails this topic on the head.  The story goes that a missionary went to speak in a remote location in India.  When he was picked up by his host, he noticed that they were heading straight towards the biggest, most majestic mountain he’d ever laid eyes on.  He was surprised to see how close they were actually getting to the mountain as they drove along, and was quite pleased when they arrived at his hosts home and found that the bedroom that was allocated to him had a balcony that looked directly onto the mountain.

That afternoon, the missionary thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset splash brilliant yellows, reds & oranges over the mountain as it went down behind him.  A full moon then came up and lit up the towering beauty for the evening.  He spent quite a bit of time out on his balcony (is anyone else thinking that maybe this was kinda rude to his host??  Just sayin) that afternoon & evening and certainly by the morning, he’d made up his mind… He wanted to trek to the base of the mountain that day.  He went to his host and put the suggestion forward, saying the surely he could make it to the base by lunchtime and then head back to return by dark.  His host smiled and said to him “It is a very rugged 4 day trek to the base of that mountain.”  His host went on to explain that the mountain’s sheer size made it appear far closer than it actually was, but also, out of sight between the host’s home and the base of the mountain, were several smaller mountains, and of course valleys between.

This was used as the analogy to depict what our spiritual life can often be like.  When things are going fantastically, and we’re up on a peak… we have a clear view of God’s ultimate plan for us… the majestic mountain…  but when we head toward it, we must travel down into the valleys, through hard times etc.  It’s at those times that we may not be able to see God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  We inadvertently come back up out of our particular valley, having learnt much, and once again get a birds eye view of our ‘mountain’.

Many would say “I just wish God would chopper me into the base of the mountain, that way I can skip over the heartache.”  It would seem much simpler wouldn’t it, but I firmly believe that if we were able to do that, we’d arrive and find that we were ill-equipped for what God has for us there.

It’s in those valleys, and in particular, making out way out of them, that we learn our greatest lessons, strengthening & equipping us for what’s ahead.  God’s not silly…. he knows we’re limited by out ‘humanness’.  He only equips us for the next mountain peak and no further.  This was highlighted in today’s message at church, entitled Worry vs Thankfulness.  Matthew 6:34 tells us therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.  I believe that we can allow worry to get in the way of growth.  We know that we will have struggle ahead of us, seeing as we know that’s how we learn (and of course the obvious point that we live in a very broken world), but if we spend our time worrying about what the NEXT valley, or even the next part of the valley, will be like, we risk missing our lesson… and having to do it all over again.

This illustration reminded me so much of a previous one that was in Old Testament Survey.  Talking about Cycles (lots of focus on the book of Judges…  the Israelites experience a cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance & restoration) and how God can be bringing us through a growth stage, but if we fight against it, not learning what it is He has for us in that particular season, we can end up going back to the beginning of the ‘lesson’ so to speak.    Just like the Israelites, who managed to turn an 11 day journey into a 40yr journey.  We may not have too many ‘valleys’ between us and God’s ultimate for us, but we can be stubborn and not learn what it is He has for us, therefore ‘cycling’ around the same valley over and over again.

I know for a fact that I did this within my marriage for many many years.  Oh my goodness, there were so many things  I was doing wrong… trying to achieve things in in ‘my timeline’ and using ‘my methods’.  I thought I needed to change DH, or convince him to change.  I wasn’t drawing on God’s strength within me and I certainly wasn’t doing anything about the enemies schemes.  I would give The Lord a cursory thank you if I believed I’d achieved some victory, or beat myself up harshly when a particular valley seemed excessively deep.  It wasn’t until I fully learnt & accepted who I AM in Christ, as well as learning to incorporate spiritual warfare in my daily prayer routine, that I felt equipped to ride through those valleys, as hard as they were, learning much along the way.

Believe me, I certainly don’t think I have it down-pat… NO WAY …..  but I have ridden through enough valleys now to know that I WILL get to the next peak if I keep in fellowship with The Holy Spirit and His leading.  When I reach that particular peak, I’ll be refreshed and rejuvenated by taking in the view of ‘my mountain’.  Each time it gets that little bit closer.  I’ve also learnt the hard way that it’s no fun to realise you’re back on the peak you started on because you didn’t learn what you needed for that season.  It’s not a fun feeling knowing you need to ride through that valley again, so that’s just more encouragement to stay the course & learn through struggle.

I can rarely get though a blog without highlighting the benefit of doing life with fellow Lionesses (& Lions for you guys reading). We are ALL walking this road with The Lord.  Our peaks & valleys can be really similar, or vastly different, but we lean on God’s word that tells that us in Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Our sisters (& brothers) in Christ can often be the ones that can highlight to us that maybe we’re not learning all we can be in this particular valley.  It can get tough ‘down in the trenches’ and sometimes we get weak, drop out shields a little… and it’s then that we need our Godly friends .  We need to make ourselves accountable to trusted Godly friends in order to travel our journey WELL !!

Earlier this year, I followed a particular leading of The Holy Spirt in relation to a dear friendship.  I really really didn’t want to & it broke my heart to do what He asked of me.  The common sense side of me knew that there would be heartache ahead, for me and the person involved.  I didn’t understand His leading…  it didn’t look like a cut & dry lesson…  I wanted to challenge Him on it, as I had before on this same issue.  But, you know what… last time, when I challenged Him.. when I thought I knew better, it didn’t end well.  It might have seemed like it went well temporarily, but in the end, I was back on the original peak… and that’s not fun !!   So, right now I’m riding through a journey .. and it’s been tough….  it’s been tortuous at times…. but I’ve been through a few valleys now and I have absolute confidence that this lesson will be well worth it.  I think I’m seeing some light up on the peak, and I CAN’T WAIT to see what God has for me next.

And no, I also can’t get through a blog without tying in a fitness element… and do you know why…  these same cycles get us in our fitness journey too.  I know, because I’ve been on that particular peak before.  Four years ago, I decided to get fit, and did a very good job of it… reached my goals etc etc.  But I didn’t learn the lessons GOD had for me… I just learnt the ‘logical’ lessons.  Eat well, exercise, hydrate… you know, all the stuff a good PT will tell you.  I didn’t, however, learn the lesson that my body is a temple and that I’m worshipping God when I look after my body and make good decisions in regard to it.  I got the ‘physical satisfaction’ last time I travelled the course… I lost weight, I was happy with how I looked etc etc, but God wasn’t a part of my journey in earnest.. and I thoroughly believe I’m now walking this journey again because I didn’t learn HIS lessons last time.

This is why I’m determined to walk it WELL this time, learning from HIM !! I have a great PT & I love her, but my ultimate PT is Jesus !!  I’ve said it before… He’s with me through every workout, He’s with me through every thought process around food etc etc.

So peeps, if I can tell you anything… stay the course with HIM !!!  Even when it seems unbearable and you think you won’t make it.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to ride through it now, even when it feels like you can’t survive it, than to go back to the beginning and start the lesson over.

Much love to you all.

Blessings  xox

 

Awaken, sleeping Lionesses

“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world can come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind.. it will be a force such as the world has never known.”  Matthew Arnold,  British Poet & Philosopher.

(Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.)

I included that little bit of basic info on Matthew Arnold to make the point that I think he was in a very good position to have made the above statement.  And it quite frankly blows me away to think that he made that comment well over 150yrs ago.  I must say that I do tend to think that we’re predominantly in the mess we’re in since the 1960 or 70’s, as I use the rationale that when my parents grew up, there was far more respect shown to adults/elders/those in authority than there is now.  There was more modest dress, stronger family bonds & commitments, and just more consideration shown for others across the board.  So, with this in mind, it’s interesting to read his statement and note how long ago he would have made it.  Clearly, a very intuitive man.  G. W. E. Russell wrote of Arnold, “He is a man of the world entirely free from worldliness.”

This statement by Matthew Arnold has been quoted by Lisa Bevere at the beginning of her messages since beginning her ‘Lioness Arising’ teachings in 2009.

I went through the Lioness Arising teaching series in January 2012 with the lovely ladies from LifeHouse church.  I found it to be such an informative and enlightening teaching, but it’s very interesting to reflect on how I’ve continued to learn from it in these 4yrs between, and I imagine I will continue to learn from it going forward also.

The cover of the book says ‘Lioness Arising… Wake up and change your world”.  Well, wake up I certainly did that year and I’ve never looked back.

Chapter one of the Safari guide (the workbook that goes alongside the book & message series) begins with these words, “Welcome to the pride, my lovely Lioness sister.”  Now, this right here was an eye-opener for me in that lounge room that night in Jan 2012, surrounded by 12-14 relatively new friends as I’d only joined the church the previous October.  Those beautiful women became my pride for the next 3yrs and I learnt so much with and from them.  God had further plans for our family, leading us away from LIfeHouse and to the church family we now call HOME!  As a result, I have a different ‘pride’ now.  The eye-opening point though had little to do with the small group that is your pride, but realising that we, as women of God, are all in the one pride.   We support each other in our day to day within our smaller ‘prides’, but as a whole, we support the entire pride in prayer also.

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My pride today is stunning… stunning and dangerously wide awake !!  To say I love them and are grateful to do life with them is a huge understatement.   What’s fascinating about our pride is that all five of us have known each other for years…  approx 13yrs is the longest I’ve known one of my Lioness sisters, but some are a little longer, and some a little shorter.  We haven’t always been this pride…. it’s actually come together in solidarity just this year.  In these many years leading up, there’s been weddings (actually, just one, mine.  LOL), pregnancies, miscarriages, births, dedications, relationship tensions, job changes, many a school activity or awards night, family tragedy, mind-blowing blessings, and so so much more.  It continues to amaze me that God’s timing is ALWAYS spot on !  We’ve all known each other for a good amount of years, and have always gotten along, but God has seen fit to bring us together as a pride for THIS time in our lives.  All of us are riding through something at present, whether it be health, relationship, parenting, or something else.. and we’re all there for each other and in most cases can well relate to our Lioness sister’s struggles.

Another thing the 5 of us have in common… we all have a Lioness cub that has been entrusted to our care.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return, and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  Luke 12:48 NLt

Our ‘cubs’ range from 10yrs up to nearly 16 (so yes, we need prayer right now peeps.. ha ha).  There is so so much to be aware of when parenting a daughter and I know it’s been said time and time again, but seriously, the biggest keys are being in a Godly marriage (don’t worry if you’re a single Mum, or your husband isn’t walking with The Lord as in those situations, The Lord is the other parent when needed) The Word of God, and having open communication with your daughter.  The next biggest asset after those is being in a Pride of fellow Lionesses also mothering a cub.

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It’s so important to instil into our girls that while they have no choice but to be IN the world, they most certainly don’t need to be OF the world.  This can be crazy hard with the influence of tv, movies, magazines, books, music lyrics & videos etc etc.  To give an example, my daughter is 15, is homeschooled, goes to dance once a week, attends a life-group with girls her age at our church, and attends youth group and church on the weekends.  She also works part-time at a coffee shop twice a week.  Now, while she is free from a huge amount of negative influences that she used to be greatly effected by when she was in mainstream school, she still comes in contact with those of different beliefs, moral standards etc etc and needs to know how to respond in those situations.  Recently there was a situation at her workplace where someone was upset and resigned.  What followed was very adult conversation topics, bad language and a lack of consideration shown by some in the situation.  I need to know that I am doing the absolute best job to equip Miss 15 to best handle herself in these situations.  I’m pleased to say that she did very well, recognising where it would have been easy to slip into the gossiping with others, but refrained from it.  #proudmummamoment .  We can tend to think that if we just have our girls in youth group/life group at our church, all will be fine, or at least better than ‘out there in the world’.  This quite often isn’t the place.  Probably better, yes, but not smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination.  Youth group and life group usually involves community kids, so therefore worldly issues, swearing, lower moral standards etc etc.  While we would love to just keep our daughters from these, they need to experience them in these years in order to learn and effectively navigate the big world when they in fact delve into it themselves, whether that be via University, the workplace, or social settings.  Not to mention… how are we to save the lost if we don’t interact with those not walking with The Lord.

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You know another important thing to do with your Lioness sisters….. LAUGH…. Laugh until your stomach and sides ache !!  I’m pleased to say that we satisfy this unwritten pride prerequisite quite well….  especially with this one here….  Oh my goodness we laugh a LOT !!  If I’m a little down, my DH will say to me.. “You need a get together with your bestie… go belly laugh together like you always do.” :0)

Through not only the benefit of laughter, but also friendship and prayer support, we are able to journey together in our walk with The Lord, becoming best equipped to help others.  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

In her book ‘Lioness Arising’, Lisa Bevere writes..  We live in a world filled with ever-increasing opportunities.  We are not limited like our sisters in the 1800s.  We have the ability to stretch forth and reach out to others to do this well.  We must look back and ahead.

 

In Luke 4:18-19 we read God’s Spirit is on me, he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”   In my humble opinion, to most effectively do this, we women NEED to be in a fully awakened and dangerous pride.

To be able to confidently know not only that I would state the following, but my fellow Lionesses would too…  So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.  Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away.  I will tear out your heart.  I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.  Hosea 13:7-8 NLT.  So, who didn’t know that stuff like that was in the bible??  ha ha !!

There is so much we need to shield and protect our daughters from in this current day, but at the same time, prepare them for when they go out into the world and encounter those same things.  Matthew 10:16 says Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be as cunning as a snake, un-offensive as a dove.  

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Take this beauty on the right here….  Doesn’t she look all gorgeous, sweet and lovely??  well, she totally is :0)… but she’s also one of the fiercest prayer warriors I know, and she can be counted on to go to war for one of her Lioness Sisters at a moments notice if needed.

There is so so much more I could include in this blog, but the best I can do is suggest that if you haven’t read Lioness arising, or done the study within a group, GET ONTO IT GIRLFRIEND !!!  There’s simply too much at stake in our world right now, far too many sleeping Lionesses who need to be awakened.  We need to be Proverbs 31:10-31 women, standing by our men, honouring them so they in turn can be equiped to do their part in The Kingdom.  But as we all know, marriage is tough…  so we need our Pride in order to stay strong, weather storms, and not buy into the ways of the world.   I can personally testify to the fact that if you are surrounded by like minded, Godly women as your close friends and support system, your marriage is 1000% better.

I’ll finish with a list of Prayers Roars from the Lioness Arising Safari Guide.  Why not make it a new nightly routine to declare one of these.  I’ll include 7 so that you have one for each day of the week.  These really will set you on a fantastic path to discovering what you actually have in your hand, and how effective you can be in & for the Kingdom.

  1.  I realise I have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems.  Lord, lead me as I embark on this journey !!
  2. I am ready to give expression to lovely, virtuous, capable, inoffensive, cunning, harmless, shrewd, trustworthy, faithful lioness daughters who enrich the lives of those around me and gather to strategise how to ‘do good’.  I am willing to take on this challenge !!
  3. This day, regardless of how I look or feel, I choose to echo the declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”God’s work in me is marvellous.  I am stunning; but more than just looking good, I choose to develop the strength to do good, I am ready to bear some weight and carry my load, because rather than being busy, I will build, I will shift my focus to gain strength and allow hardship to re-make me invincible in Him.  I embrace my strength and choose to run to win, train hard, give it my all, stay alert and not get sloppy with the Word of God, or the seasons of my life.
  4. I present my strength for you service.  God, I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a position of status.  I choose to serve and lift others by asking “How can I help?”.  I will change the way I look at my life of worship.  It is a banquet of refreshing and strength, not a draining burden.  Show me how to be a lioness among Lions and in the process, raise up others in their strength and encourage them to dream again.  I know acts of honour are never lost in translation, so I look to my future with hope because talking less now doesn’t mean having less in my future.  I am a guide, not a guard.  I live to bring people in, not to keep them out, and enlarge my life.
  5. I pray my release means release for others.  Male and female, help me to always remember that marriage is a union, not a battle.  Let me recognise the gender difference as the affirmation of our need for each other.  I need the men in my world to be all that you created them to be.  God bless the dwellings of unity in my life.  We all need redemption and you alone are worthy of my worship. I will stop being contentious and reading too much into gender differences, because you have ultimate preeminence, may you have your say in my life.
  6. Jesus, we are ready to do something impressive and significant. For your body, show me who I am so I know how to both greet and groom my sisters and brothers.  I want to refresh and restore others.
  7. I am ready to be excellently formed and marvellously functioning.  Teach me to hunt, I am ready to grow up, give me the energy and insight of heaven.  Restore all of my healthy maternal affection that fear has twisted.  I am ready to hunt with my sisters.

Many blessings my Lioness Sisters (& any dedicated blog loving Lions still reading)

Let’s stand together and be POWERFUL !!   (Note I haven’t said anything today about who we’re standing against …. coz I refuse to give him more credit than is due.  It’s like a mozzie to a T-Rex….  We are fully armed peeps with the Word of God.)

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xox

 

 

 

 

Being in good company

I’m gonna be honest. .  I’m struggling tonight. 
I want to be walking the right path.. I NEED to be walking the right path as I have little eyes watching me and little ears listening to me.  (and some big eyes & ears too)
However these very encouraging facts don’t make the path any easier.  The bumps are still there,  the ‘stones’ are still thrown, the misconceptions of me by others are still there. 
I solidly believe that I not only witness to my children through things that I say,  but possibly even more so by things that I DON’T.  When I’m abused by a family member and I don’t respond in like tone or with harsh words.  When I’m treated like a ‘goodie-two-shoes’ but choose to stay silent and not ‘defend myself’.
When I’m outright verbally attacked,  but refuse to take the bait and retaliate. .. they see that.   & you know what else they see… the frustration on the person’s face when I won’t lower myself to their level. 
Isn’t it interesting (& frustrating) that we can KNOW that God’s opinion is the only one that matters and yet the darts fired by others still hurt.  I often wish that I was impervious to these comments etc but I also know that I am taught a lesson through everything single dig at me,  every single comment made. .. and every single not-so-subtle insult on Facebook. 
I actually started this blog last night but the fact that I stopped part way through turned out to be a blessing in itself as I actually needed to be reminded of my own words when dealing with someone today.  
Praise The Lord it was actually a really great day today spent at the beach with Miss 14 & niece 17 (well great day except for the sunburnt back of the legs. .. what on earth).  Lots of time to think and talk to Jesus while the girls were out paddle boarding.  Something about being at the beach (I think it’s actually in any natural setting) that gets me closer to God.

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I am constantly blown away of late with the relevance of each mornings devotion and how it has been speaking directly into current situations & struggles. If you don’t do a morning devotion,  I’d really encourage you to as it is just the BEST way to start the day. 
So, getting back to my title. .. with all that I’ve been dealing with in days of late… I am comforted knowing that Jesus was hated,  he was ridiculed,  he was treated as a fool… so when I feel treated like this. . I know I’m in good company. 
Blessings peeps xox

Godly friends help me to be my Husbands greatest supporter !!

Seriously, the school holidays just draaaaaaag on so much.  I’m sure if I could drive, we’d be here there and everywhere during every school hols, but being stuck at home just makes you feel like you may as well be doing schoolwork.  surprise surprise, the kiddos don’t feel the same way.

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We’ve certainly been enjoying the catchups with friends though.  We spent the day with some lovely friends yesterday who have recently moved house, so it was lots of fun to explore their new property etc.  We came home with a few spoils from their garden…  some cuttings and fruit etc.

We have similar age kiddos, with an extra youngster thrown in in their family, so everybody loves being together.. and has a buddy to pair off with.

And then today we’ve had another great family come to visit with us at our place.  Similar situation where there’s lots of kids to buddy up with… the kids just love it… and the Mums do too.

These great times with great friends really brings it home to me that I am hugely blessed in the sisters in Christ department.  It really blows me away when you look back over the years and see how God brings people into your lives at particular times and those friends help you in ways that you just wouldn’t have ever expected or anticipated.  Actually both of these friends I have seen today and yesturday have actually been my friends for probably 10yrs-ish but we’ve really only become very close in the last two years or so.  It’s amazing how God works things in your life in the exact way that you need it.

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With so much negativity around us these days, it’s beyond a blessing to have such Godly women surrounding me.  I know I probably say these types of things all the time in my blog entries, but it really is a HUGE thing in my life.  To be able to navigate the world as it is today, make Godly decisions, be accountable and stay humble… these types of friends are IMPERATIVE as far as I’m concerned.

It think it requires a maturity too that I didn’t have years ago, in order to make yourself accountable to these good friends.  Just KNOWING that you ARE answerable to others, that you’ve ASKED others to pull you up if needed.  It does take a strong friendship to have someone tell you you’re heading down a bad path.. and take on that advice and heed it.

I big one for me that I know I’ve mentioned before is how much I dislike wives dissing their husband amongst other girlfriends.  Even when I lacked the spiritual maturity I’m still working to improve today, it never sat well with me when women would do this.  Way back then, I didn’t even have a grasp of the spiritual implications & responsibilities of our role as a wife (pretty embarrassing to admit it, but I know I need to focus on the positive that at least I have that understanding now and can move forward in that understanding).

I definitely benefit from like minded female friends (wives) around me, and by the same token, struggle a little when around women that do put their husbands down.  It’s not just the obvious of ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” but the realisation (& then constant reminder) that we are to be our Husband’s greatest supporter.  (even when they’re being a total Jackass.)  I think what maybe others don’t understand about it is that they assume that we just ‘condone’ rubbish behaviour from our husbands when we refuse to bad-mouth them, but our responsibility goes so much deeper than they imagine.  We need to be the one our husband will go to if he is struggling with an issue (possibly that issues is being a Jackass.. LOL)… and he’s not going to do that unless we have a great relationship in the first place.

From what I’ve seen over the years of broken relationships… so much infidelity comes about because someone took something they were struggling with to someone of the opposite sex, OTHER than their spouse.  Seeing this over the years has certainly brought it home to DH & I that we need to be able to go to each other when needed, coz if we don’t keep up that open comfortable rapport between each other, we may be tempted to take it to others … and that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

So … to sum up… I am extremely grateful for the women that God has put in my life, because they are instrumental in helping me to be a Godly wife, Mother & Friend.

Blessings peeps !!!  xox

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