Lessons from Motherhood · Uncategorized

Smile

Little A is now starting to smile, I can see his eyes beginning to focus in on things and when he sees me, he beams. It’s beautiful to see. He’s been looking around for weeks, following our voices and trying to see us.

One of my favourite hymns is written by Fanny Crosby, called my saviour first of all it talks about opening our eyes and seeing Jesus and knowing instantly that it’s Him.

Much like when little A’s eyes focus in on me and I almost see him realise I’m his Mum, the one who has been gently holding him and talking to him since he was conceived.

Seeing the joy in little A’s eyes reminds me of the joy to come when I open my eyes and see Jesus. Right now I see through faith, I hear His voice in His word and see His creation. But one day everything will be clear, I will have understanding, I will be held physically by Him, I will be able to put my head on His chest, like John did at the last supper.

Meanwhile I wait in anticipation while seeking Him, speaking with Him, reading His word and enjoying all the pleasures He has provided including my beautiful boys wonderful smile.

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A Christians guide to the internet

Sharing Online

So far most of the posts in this series have been about avoiding pitfalls on the internet and learning what it actually is. I thought I would move onto something else in this post and that is how we can use the internet as Christians to share, to learn, to connect and deepen our walk with the Lord.

This week I want to share a few ways you can share Christ and your life with Him. We have talked about practicing discernment in what to share in a previous post, so what sites are there available for us to share on?

The most well-known sites are the social networking ones, these are sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, etc. there are many more but these are biggest and most popular right now.
Facebook and Google+ are sites where you have a profile that you can choose what to put on, you can share about yourself, where you work, your education and photos, and also you can go on there and update your profile as many times as you want with a ‘status update’ which will show up in your friends (Facebook) or circles (Google+) newsfeed. You can make your profiles private so only those you accept as friends or into your circles can see them or you can make them all public, or you can do both when you write a status or share a photo you can pick the option of who can see it.

Some ideas of what you can share on these sites are:
Events from church, or publicise anything that is happening in your area and or church. You can share your testimony, both in status updates and or in the info about you on the profiles and you can share photos or pictures. You can share the Bible and any links to other sites that share Christ or have good information on them that you feel would be useful to others. I am sure there are many other things you can share also, it all depends on you and what parts of your life you want to share. Or whether you just want to share the gospel on its own.

Twitter is slightly different as it is basically just status updates, you only get so many characters to say what you wish to and once again you can share this with the public or just those that follow you.
It’s a good site for publicising charities and events and sharing quotes etc. I know people who use it for bible studies and sharing the gospel which is wonderful but be aware that the characters are limited and can very easily take things out of context which can cause confusion.

Instagram is a popular photo sharing site that is just on your phone. This is good for sharing photos of your life and you can write a decent amount under your photo as well, it can be a good place to share the gospel and your testimony and life with Jesus.

If this is something that interests you I would recommend praying about it first. And when thinking about which site suits you best ask yourself, how much time do you have to spend on this? What exactly do you want to share? Some people prefer to not have any information about themselves and just share the gospel, some people want to share about their relationship with Jesus which includes sharing about themselves also.

It can be tempting to jump in on them all but, over the years I have found it is best to concentrate on one or two sites so you have time to actually take notice of the people you share with, some of them may be real life friends and family some of them you might not know that well but it is nice to actually connect with people and show them the love and care of Jesus, don’t just share, but read what others are sharing about their lives, do they need comfort? Do they need prayer? Remember they are human and Jesus died for them also. I feel you get more out of the experience if you don’t just see it as something you go on, share something then switch off, how we treat others online is just as important how we treat them off.  Just because there will be a lot of people who aren’t authentic with what they share and say doesn’t mean we need to follow suit or avoid putting ourselves out there.

I have made some wonderful friends online, not all Christians but all of who I care about deeply, I pray for them and I check in on them if I haven’t heard anything for a while, and they do so for me. I may never have met them but that doesn’t stop me from caring. And when I came to Jesus He gave me more love and compassion for those people and put more into my life whom I care about very much. I am someone with a long term chronic illness who has spent many years unable to get out and meet people and for people like me meeting genuine, caring people on the internet has helped me a lot.  The internet has meant I have been able to connect with family I haven’t been able to see and find out what is happening in their lives, pray for them and with them and, as I can’t get to church often the same goes for my spiritual family as well.

The Lord has put people in my life who have been a great blessing to me so don’t forget to ask Him to guide you and bring others into your life that you can connect with. If you pray this and mean it, He will bless you for it. We live in a fallen world, which is reflected online and, even if those you talk to reject the gospel outright that doesn’t mean we should stop caring about them because God never does.

I hope this series has been of some use and do feel free to share it with anyone you feel may find it useful. ALswo if there is anything else you would like me to talk about just leave a comment.

A Christians guide to the internet

Practicing Discernment Whilst on the Internet

As Christians we are told in Gods word many times to practice discernment, we are to discern spirits and what is the truth as the enemy wishes to lead us astray, many times in very subtle ways so we are focusing on something other than the truth of the gospel.

Unfortunately we have a bit of a reputation in the world as being naive, and we can add to that by believing some things that simply aren’t true, the gospel is true, it is not airy fairy it is truth and it makes a lot of sense when looked at properly with a sober mind.  However we can find ourselves sometimes being lead into believing some things that may sound true but aren’t when we shine the light of Gods word on them.

So our biggest and best tool for discerning truth on the internet is the Bible. Whatever we read, it is always a good idea to go back to the word and ask, is that what it really says?  Just because someone claims to be a bible scholar and is writing things on the internet does not mean they are correct, and just because you have questioned if they are right does not mean you are calling them a liar either we are human and we all make mistakes. I encourage anyone to go back to the word after reading any of these posts to see what the Lord says as His word is final.

There are two sites that I like to use to help me, Blue Letter Bible and Bible Gateway. Both these sites have multiple translations of the bible that you can quickly reference and Blue Letter Bible has the Strongs Concordance so you can read (and hear) the original language. However if you read anything else on these sites that is written by the author of the sites or anyone else other than Our Lord’s word, then practice discernment, I have found Blue Letter bible to be pretty sound so far but I have not read all of it. On the internet you will find a lot of people sharing their lives and their stories and also what they think the Bible is saying on certain subjects, their intents may be good and they may be right but if you use it as a way to go back to Gods word and check then you will find that your relationship with Him will only improve. Plus, it will help you remember what you have read. And as always I would try to do this prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Obviously when looking on the internet we might be looking at other subjects as well, such as science or current events etc. No matter what we are looking at its is always best to question whether it is right. If you go onto Facebook for example you will discover lots of stories and statuses being shared and sometimes we find ourselves going to share it without thinking, it is true? A lot of these things are started by people who wish to deceive and gain likes and clicks in order to boost their own ego or make money. This is called spam, sometimes it is obvious or downright offensive sometimes it is subtle such as a news story or charity that makes you believe that you are doing well to share. I have seen many stories shared by Christians on these sites that are just not true, so how do we know?
When looking at these stories or any site on the web ask yourself some questions:

When was it written? – if its a news site this is easy to find out, sometimes people share very old stories that are no longer relevant and so we find ourselves becoming angry at something that was resolved many years ago. However if you are on a website and are questioning this, go up to the tools section in your menu at the top of your browser and click on page info (for firefox). That will tell you the last date a website was modified, depending on the subject you might find that the content is no longer relevant for what you are looking at.

Why was it written? is it something that will just spread anger? Then make sure it is true, Google it or look for it on a sites such as snopes.com and hoax-slayer.com who debunk these stories when they are discovered as myths.

Who wrote it? Once again if it is a news site then this is easy, is it a reputable news site? Can you trust it? Does it have a governing body to answer to if it spreads lies? Do they share who they are and their intent, or are they hiding themselves and why? (sometimes people need to hide if they live in a country where they would be persecuted.) If it is a site you do not know and its in the UK you can go to this site:  http://www.nominet.org.uk/uk-domain-names and look it up to find out who owns it. (You can also get advice here on reporting a site that is doing criminal activity and get advice on how to complain about a site, if you wish to)

If it is a Christian site, then look around, what kind of things do they talk about? Do they display the fruits the of the spirit (which we are told helps us to discern a Christian from someone who isn’t one) do they share what they believe in a statement of faith? If not why not? And if they do, do they believe anything that isn’t right, once again go back to the beginning and see what Gods word says. I have actually come across sites that people have believed, that have turned out to be satire written by some unbelievers to try to show how gullible they believe Christians to be.

This may all sound like a lot of work but as you get into the habit you will find that you automatically will discern, as you become in tune with Gods will and hear the Holy Spirit, you might find that something doesn’t seem right and so you avoid it then afterwards learn why. It is like a muscle, keep using it and it will get stronger and you will become closer to our Lord. But please do not worry if you do share something, this is just a guide and God does understand that we can and do error. A lot of the time he uses our mistakes to teach us. Also we will find we also learn to discern when it is really important that the truth is told or if its just something is not worth it and we move on.

Once again, this is not about judging, or being paranoid, as we have the Lord on our side. This about making sure what you share and learn is correct, the internet is full of false information and when I was learning how to research on the internet I was taught how to discern a good site site and information from bad. By doing this you are helping make the internet a better and more useful place to be. And, more importantly helping keep the truth in your heart and your armor firmly on. Doing this can really help you in your studies too and to walk closer with our Lord as we learn to keep His truth in our mind and hearts always.

I just wish to make one last point, sometimes we will be following someone and they might err slightly or say something that we do not think is quite right, this doesn’t mean that they have come away from our Lord, and in these cases it is best to pray for them and let Jesus take them in hand as He sees fit. Some errors are more dangerous than others and as we learn to discern and ask for more discernment we will learn what the difference is. It isn’t always best to say something to them, especially on a public forum.

Next time I will share about how we can use social media effectively and why it is important that we watch what we say on there (this will also demonstrate another reason why we need to be careful what we share)

 

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Thankful

I was chasing Little S around to put on his jumper before we left the house, he was not happy with me and protested vigorously.  Finally I was able to distract him and get it on, after many tears once it was on he tearfully and quietly said ‘thankyou Mummy’. I smiled and gave him a hug and said ‘thats ok, sweetheart’.

Gratitude is something that has been on my mind recently, its something that has been bought up in my fellowship group also.

In the Bible it says in 1 Thessalonians 16:18:

16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

It is Gods will for us to give thanks in everything, whether pleasant or not. Little S thanks me and others a lot, weather its because we’ve given him a drink, an ice-cream and sometimes when I’ve done something that’s good for him even if he didn’t want it at the time.

In life we go through different seasons, somethings are just rubbishy and we don’t feel very grateful, but the word doesn’t say we should feel grateful, it says we should give thanks and that’s a different thing entirely. Jesus understands our pain and suffering and He does not enjoy it when we do suffer. However sometimes things are good for us even when we don’t want it. And God is always good, even during those times.

For me, gratitude isn’t an automatic thing but I’ve been thinking about ways I can be grateful and try to look for things to be grateful for, remembering that its the giving of thanks that we are commanded to do. Sometimes it helps to even write things down, then we can revisit when things get tough. We are not to be religious about it we don’t need to force anything, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us and help us have a grateful heart towards Him. Anything that requires us to lean on Him, is a good thing.

I pray I can be like Little S and give thanks even when I feel grumpy and I am very grateful to The Lord for my little boy and the lessons I learn from being his mum. And the fact that he says thank you!

What are you grateful for? Give thanks to God today and remember His goodness in all things.

Lessons from Motherhood · Uncategorized

My Refuge

7 weeks ago the Lord blessed us again with another baby boy, our hearts are full and our home is complete with this little soul. It has been a very different experience than with little S but my love for little A is just as much, he is a very expressive baby and he has bought us all such joy.

One thing I am finding a bit harder this time is that I am unable to hold him as much as I did little S, I hardly put little S down but, this time I have a toddler to look after as well. However, I hold him as much as I can. Like little S he prefers to be in my arms and sleeps so much more soundly there. He doesn’t like being away from me right now as even though he is only a few weeks old, he knows who I am and that I love him deeply. He knows in mine (and his dads) arms is the best place to be as we provide his food, his comfort, his warmth, we hold him close and keep him safe. We are his entire world and he desires to be held by us. He can’t see us clearly but he knows we are there and that we are the ones who provide for him.

This is how it should be with Jesus, we are His children, He is our source of spiritual food, He is our comfort, Our peace, our safety  and He loves us deeply. He is the one who holds us close and loves to have us in His arms more so than I love to have my babies in mine. Go to Him, He is waiting to embrace you and hold you close.

For I both lay down in peace and sleep, for you, Lord, only makest me dwell in peace. Psalm 4:8

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I drew this one night when Little A had fallen asleep on me as I mediated on this blog post.

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith · Scripture

Rollercoaster

Being a Mum is an emotional roller coaster ride. But then so is being a child, one minute little S is happy, giggling shouting ‘tickle Mummy tickle Mummy’ and chasing me. Next minute he can be in floods of tears and I’m not even sure why. I don’t know about other Mum’s but I find it really hard not to ride these emotions with him. It is exhausting.

One day last week little S had a bad day it seemed that no matter how clear the floor was he would trip over, he walked into things fell over himself and he got really fed up. Each time I would scoop him up cuddle him, check him over and try to be positive and encourage him to go and play. When hubby got home I was ready to cry myself, I felt useless and unable to help my little boy who is usually so happy and bouncy.

Bed time came round which he didn’t want to do despite being very tired. He got into bed feeling very sorry for himself, then he banged his head. It was the last straw for him and he cried, and cried. We sat with him feeling awful. Eventually he slept. I sat on the floor stroking his head and sobbed. I felt rung out and like an awful mother who couldn’t protect her baby from falling and getting frustrated at his own body. I wanted so much to remove that day and pretend it never happened.

As I sat I thought of the times I have wept and cried out to Jesus, especially in the early days, the many times I have fallen and how He is always there to pick me up. I thought of all the instances in the bible where He is sorrowful because of peoples pain, how He healed and comforted, and how He still does those things today. I know that He loves my boy more than I ever can and that He can be, and is, there for Him. I felt better knowing that He is on the side of my children as well as me, that He helps me to carry these difficult emotions and teaches me more about His love and compassion for us through them.

I am reminded of Matthew 7:11

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

I love my boy more than I ever thought possible but the Lord loves him more as He does all of us. I am so grateful that I can go to Him and cry and weep over the difficult days and He will sustain me, He helps me to continue to be there for Little S as He understands, He hurts too when Little S is hurting He knows how I feel and He cares about my whole family.

I am definitely beginning to understand what it means in Isaiah 40:11 where it says:

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

 

Thank you Lord.

 

 

Christian growth · Lessons from Motherhood

Moaning

As little S is now in full toddler mode, he is becoming more independent and insisting on his own way. This has so far been a learning curve for me and Im finding it hard not to be frustrated and to practice patience. Being 8 months pregnant does not help with this 😉.

The Lord God also became frustrated with the Israelites after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. They complained about everything despite the Lord providing food and water and shoes that never wore down.

Listening to little S has made me realise how frustrating it is to provide for someone and then they moan at you. He is such a lovely little boy and I love him dearly but this doesn’t mean that as he grows and pushes his boundaries that it isn’t hard some days to communicate to him when I know whats best.

Thinking on this reminded me of the times I have moaned about things and asked for an easier path. I am so grateful that The Lord is gracious and faithful and kind and patient as I struggle to be and I am reminded how I must lean on him and ask him for His strength to be these things towards my little boy.

2 years ago I prayed for something that I now have and I have been moaning about it, I have been ungrateful for this answered prayer simply because it wasn’t answered in my time and it wasn’t what I expected it to be. Oh how I am just like my little toddler! But God continues to bless me, continues to help me grow and learn in the difficult days so I can be more like the Lord Jesus.

Oh what a wonderful God I serve! One who’s mercy is there for me as it was for the Israelites.

Hebrews 13,8 Belper Coppice 22.11.08