Breastpumps and Psalms for Restless Nights

Image (11)

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo credit: Amy Green, Photography to Remember)

Its been a long time since I blogged – it looks like with me pregnancy and blogging just don’t go well together. Or maybe just real life gets in the way sometimes.

Our little boy Liam is now four months old – such a chilled and cute little guy – but today was his first day at Daycare. Cue a sleepless night for me. When I did get some sleep I was haunted by dreams of breast pumps and split milk. Whoever said don’t cry over spilt milk was not expressing breast milk!! My anxieties of making sure baby is has enough milk, having no clue as how much milk he will need obviously poured over into my dreams.

My mind turned to a Psalm that was shared in church yesterday:

Psalm 56.8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in your record? 

Or as the ESV says: Psalm 56.8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

And also

Psalm 77 1-3 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.  3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. “Selah” 

It amazes me how many of the Psalms were written on a sleepless night! Today has been better than I thought it would be.

I am thankful that the God who created all things is concerned and cares when I toss and turn in my bed. My tears and anxieties are not trivialized and minimized. I am thankful that when I am afraid there is One bigger than me that I can turn to:

 Psalm 56. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 

Help me to trust you Lord.

 

PS. I have been blown away by the amount of messages I have had today of people asking how I am and saying they are praying for me. God’s care through His people all over the world is just amazing.

Advertisements

Dragons and Truth

I’m not sure if there is something wrong with my brain – songs easily get stuck in there – random songs that I haven’t even heard in ages. Currently my internal sound track is playing a peculiar hymn we had to sing in primary school – a bizarre hymn about dragons and knights. In fact thy hymn was a favourite of one teacher but also a great source of irritation to him trying to get us to sing about Dragons instead of Dragins. As this song has kept me company this week I decided to look up the lyrics to find out what on earth it was all about – was pleasantly surprised to see it has actually a really great message once you get past the dragons and ogres.

When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old
He was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand
For God and for valour he rode through the land

No charger have I and no sword by my side
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride
Though back into storyland giants have fled
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead

So let faith be my shield and let hope be my steed
Against the dragons of anger the ogres of greed
And let me set free with the sword of my youth
From the castle of darkness the power of the truth

We all have dragons and ogres in our life – whether they are real things that scare us or fears that our imagination has conjured up. Dragons of feeling a failure, Ogre of feeling useless, Giants of fear for the future. I’m not sure what the hymns writer has in mind, but I get the feeling that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians gave him some ideas.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So with this old song in my head this week I take courage to fight against Dragons, Giants and Ogres in my mind, exposing them to the light of Christ, whipping them into defeat by the Truth. Now, if only those Ogres could be a bit less scary!

Beholding Glory

Hallow – who do you fear?

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

When I was little I really don’t remember a big deal being made about Halloween – I remember going to a few parties were we bobbed for apples, ate apple tarts looking for the coin and best of all had in-door fireworks. In-door fireworks always promised to be spectacular but were always a spectacular damp squib. My favourite was the snake– a small tablet that you lit and it grew into a big black worm. Now that I am older thinking about Halloween turns my mind towards Satan and fear insteda of fun and games. Every tradition in Halloween – dressing up, trick or treating etc all have their origin in fear of evil. While it is good to have a healthy desire to avoid evil, Halloween is all about appeasing it so that it won’t bother you. Over the years Halloween has turned the opposite of its origins – making fun and light of evil. Both positions are equally dangerous. Evil is real, not a joke, but it is also something as a believer I should not fear.

The Devil is real and dangerous:

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

But if we are walking with God we need not fear evil:

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

The only person we are called to fear, and not in a way that mean to be afraid of, but to be in awe of, is God himself. I was chatting to a friend this week who drew my attention to Isaiah 11 in the message version.

Isaiah 11:1-3 A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump, from his roots a budding Branch. 2 The life-giving Spirit of GOD will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-GOD. 3 Fear-of-GOD will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.

Fear-of-God comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit – to be able to worship God with awe and wonder, to order our lives around God’s desires & will and to recognise the immensity of God’s grace is the appropriate fear for a believer. To fear Satan is to give him more power than he has, but to laugh at him deceives us into believing he is totally powerless. This Halloween time I pray that I would show healthy fear – Fear-of-God.

Keeping God at an arms distance.

 

I had the weirdest dream last night! I dreamt that both of my arms were amputated at the shoulder – nothing gory in the dream, just one day they were not there. The strangest thing for me was my reaction in the dream. I had two distinct worries about this situation – firstly that people could hug me without me stopping them and secondly that when shopping the shop assistant would have to rummage through my hand bag for me. I don’t remember being concerned about anything as practical as feeding myself or getting dressed. I know I’m not a huggy person – I like hugs but I don’t want to hug everyone – but I didn’t think I was so prickly! I guess the root of it is that I don’t like feeling vulnerable and out of control. The thought of someone digging around in my handbag is horrible – I like my privacy.

This made me ask myself the question – Do I keep God at an arms distance, trying to keep control over my own life? Have a set a boundary with God saying you can come this close, but no further? Sometimes it feels like being vulnerable with God is a bit dangerous. It reminds me of the part in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Susan asks the Beavers about Aslan:

Susan: “Ooh, I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
Mrs. Beaver: “That you will, dearie, and no mistake, if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”
Lucy: Is he… safe?
Mr. Beaver: Safe? Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Of course he isn’t safe… but… he’s GOOD… He’s the King.

I certainly don’t doubt that God is good: 

Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

But I also know that His Holiness and Righteousness compels me to do better and to submit to his control – that is the unsafe feeling part. Help me Lord not to keep you at am arms length, knowing that while you are not safe, you are certainly good.

Clothes peg bicycle clips

The other day I was driving home and passed a very old man in a very dapper suit on his bicycle. I had  a small giggle to myself because instead of bicycle clips he had used clothes pegs to keep his trousers from catching in the bicycle chain and becoming dirty. After my little giggle I told myself off and starting thinking about how many things we put off doing because we are too worried about other people opinions. This old guy’s clothes pegs were doing an excellent job and he would certainly arriving looking smart, wherever he was going, even though he wasn’t using the ‘correct’ equipment.

James 2:1 My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. (Message version)

How much of my life do I hold back from living due to fear of other people’s thoughts and reactions? Does the fear of judgement hinder the fullness of the life that Jesus wants us to live?

Galatians 2:6 As for those who seemed to be important–whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance–those men added nothing to my message.

 Help me to not fear the judgement of others are embrace life and God fully.