Gifts from God · My Faith

Hope in the midst of depression and anxiety

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I had no intention of taking a couple of weeks off in the gifts of God study but as it is February, winter is still here (though we have had some sunshine!) I want to keep going with this to encourage myself and anyone else who may struggle in the winter months.

Despite being very tired I am actually not feeling too bad. I have been spending more time in the Lords presence and He has guided me to make some changes which have helped my fellowship with Him so much. This really does help me in my difficult days.

I have thought about the next gift and prayed about it and want to talk about hope. Something that the Lord gives to all who have repented, follow and love Him.

Vines Expositor Dictionary says:

Hope (Noun and Verb), Hope (For):

in the NT, “favorable and confident expectation” (contrast the Sept. in Isa 28:19, “an evil hope”). It has to do with the unseen and the future, Rom 8:24, 25. “Hope” describes

(a) the happy anticipation of good (the most frequent significance), e.g., Tts 1:2; 1Pe 1:21;

(b) the ground upon which “hope” is based, Act 16:19; Col 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory;”

(c) the object upon which the “hope” is fixed, e.g., 1Ti 1:1.

In Rom 15:13 God is spoken of as “the God of hope,” i.e., He is the author, not the subject; of it. “Hope” is a factor in salvation, Rom 8:24; it finds its expression in endurance under trial, which is the effect of waiting for the coming of Christ, 1Th 1:3; it is “an anchor of the soul,” staying it amidst the storms of this life, Hbr 6:18, 19; it is a purifying power, “every one that hath this hope set on Him (Christ) purifieth himself, even as He is pure,” 1Jo 3:3, RV (the Apostle John’s one mention of “hope”).

I love the fact that the hope we have is a happy anticipation. It is going to happen! The Lord is coming back and we will be with Him!

It also says that in Romans 15:13 that God is the God of hope. He is the author of it. So this means that when we repent and turn to Him then He gives us hope. Hope in our salvation and hope in the Lord Jesus, that one day we will be with Him in glory.

I don’t know about anyone else but it’s this hope that keeps me going, it’s this hope that gives me joy as it means that I am saved! No more searching, no more looking for answers as Jesus is the answer!

This gift is the reason I get up in the mornings, the reason why I keep going through the tough times, because I know one day it will be over and I wont be dizzy, anxious or depressed anymore. It also means that I can live joyfully now in this wonderful anticipation of being with Jesus in glory. It means that I need not worry (though I still do sometimes), I can be grateful and see all the wonderful things in this life that Jesus has given me. It means that I can lift up my voice in praise to my God, the author of my Hope! I can look to Him with love and follow Him, knowing that He is leading me home. That everything I face in this life is ultimately so I can grow, become more like Him as He desires to spend eternity with me.

I have heard it said that we shouldn’t just focus on ‘this bus ticket to heaven’. And while we must remember that our life for Jesus starts now, for those of us who find life really hard, who struggle to face some days, this bus ticket is  what we hold onto tightly as we look to Jesus. Don’t ever let go of your ticket and don’t let anyone tell you that your hope is not important, we are there a lot longer than we are here. Gods word is what matters and this is what it says:

 

   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1Thessalonians 4:18)
Sweet brethren, are you depressed? Is your anxiety gripping you so tightly that you can’t breathe? Are you worried? Tired? Don’t want to be here anymore? Be comforted be these words as I am, just hold on, don’t let go for He is coming and then:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

 

 

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Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Thankful

Psalm 100:4I 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 · My Faith · Scripture

Rollercoaster

Isaiah 40:15Being 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.

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Temptation

Being a Mum has taught me a lot about my walk with the Lord, it has shined a light on many things I do that I had no idea that I was doing.

Little S is now a full on running about, into everything toddler, we have found ourselves moving things higher and higher until even we can’t reach it.

We have a cupboard that had DVDs in it, once little S realised how to open the cupboard he was finding it loads of fun to pull them out, take of the covers and run around with them. So obviously I had to tell him to stop, a few times but eventually he got the picture. One day I watched him slowly move over to the cupboard, open it, and stand in front of the DVDs jumping up and down and getting upset because he knew he couldn’t touch them. I was right behind him telling him it was OK and showing him all his toys that he could play with but he wouldn’t acknowledge me. He got himself in such a state that I decided to move them elsewhere and put his toys in the cupboard instead.

It made me think… How many times have I been faced with temptation and refused to look around to my father who is waiting to help me?

The word says: 1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

I was right behind little S ready to help him he was surrounded by his toys all of which he was allowed to have but he still stood in front of the DVDs getting very stressed. How many times has my Father been waiting to help me? How many times have I forgotten all the wonderful gifts and joys knowing Him has brought me because I was so focused on something that I shouldn’t have or do, something that would cause me harm. Forgetting all I had to do was turn to Him?

I ultimately ended up moving the DVDs and I know there are times that The Lord has removed something from my life that was interfering with my relationship with Him and if we do fall The Lord is so gracious and merciful as:

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Treasure

Little S has a small money box where he puts his pocket money from his Mama. He has learned that if you give him a coin, to wait until you get his money box and then he will put in into the slot.

The other day he found my purse and in it where some coins, he sat and waited so I let him put some into his money box, he turned it over and discovered that he can open it, take them out and put them back in, which was a very fun game. While he was doing this he found a note in there which he pulled out, examined then threw it behind him.

This got me thinking. Because little S doesn’t understand money yet he had no idea that the note was worth more than the 20ps he was taking out and putting back, but they where shiny and more interesting to look at, so, in his mind, they must be more important of his attention. I have been thinking about all the things that I am drawn to in life, things that take me away from the more valuable time I should be spending with Jesus. Unlike Little S I should know better, but I still find myself logging into Facebook or putting on the TV instead of going to my Bible.

In Gods word it says:

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 13:44-46

It may be shiny and endearing and even make me feel a bit better in that moment, but it does not last, unlike the peace and joy of knowing Jesus. The Lord has promised so much to those of us that accept Him as their savior and that should be where my focus is, that should be my treasure, He should be what I desire more than anything.

It is hard, because I am a Mum and I am very tired, and when I get a moment I do tend to fall asleep. But I think  thinking about him, focusing on Him in daily life is seeking Him above all else. At the moment I have been guilty of focusing on problems, meetings, housework, crafts, social media, news events, my weight and what I eat. God  desires a deep relationship that involves all aspects of life, I can talk to him no matter where I am or what I am doing I can read and meditate on His word one verse at a time and its OK if I forget what I have read in the brain fog of changing nappies and dealing with tantrums. He understands that I have to deal with Little S, I have to cook meals etc but its where I point my heart that matters, that’s where my treasure lies and, like Little S’s notes that treasure is worth so much more that what I do focus on.

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Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Newborn

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When I came home with Little S, I was so shocked by how deeply I had the need to hold him. In fact his Dad and I hardly put him down for the first few months of his life. I held him all day and it felt wonderful, some days were very hard as I struggled to calm him down, not knowing why he was crying. I was exhausted from it and had a relapse of my dizzyness, but he was so worth it. I just wanted to look at him all the time hold him close as I was amazed by this little precious life I’d been given to take care of. In my eyes he was perfect and I’ve never felt love like it. The need to take care of Him was so deep.

It reminded me of when I first turned to Jesus. I felt so elated but also overwhelmed as I was still very ill and at the beginning of a long journey. The Lord held me close the whole time, He never put me down and as Little S slept in my arms most of the time, I rested in the Lords arms, like Little S would cry when he needed something I cried often (daily in fact) turning to Jesus for comfort. He fed me (1 peter 2:2) and He held me, He did everything for me and really made His presence felt for the first few years. The difference is, He never grew weary or tired as I did, He never became frustrated from not knowing what I needed as He always knew. Much like how a new Mum holds their baby, comforts them, feeds them God does this with all His newborns and His love is so deep for us, even more so than mine is for Little S. When We first come to Him we hold a special place in His heart and He desires to hold us close and protect us.

Like Little S has done we do grow and we need less reassurance but we will always need our Father to guide us and comfort us, we will mature in Him and grow in Him as we study His word, talk to Him, walk closely with Him our relationship with Him changes as mine has with Little S, he still needs lots of cuddles and lots of help but I stand back a little now and only step in when he gets in a mess. Like little S I don’t cry as much now and I am learning new ways to communicate my needs and desires.  But even though our relationship with Him changes, He never changes and the loving caring Father who held me so tightly for the first few years of my life with Him still loves me just as deeply and always will.  As he does for all us.

and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

 

Christian growth · My Faith

Cleaning up

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Like all toddlers Little S is messy. He likes to stick his hands in his food and smear it everywhere, he likes to pour his water all over the carpet and down himself, I have to keep crayons and such out of reach because I know he will use anything he can find as a canvas. He loves to play in mud and soil and has attempted to eat various creatures such as snails and slugs. I know this is very normal and He is just exploring and learning about the world around him. I actually enjoy watching it and I love to see him learning and exploring. It does mean more work for me however and I have discovered that if I don’t clean up straightaway I am in for a lot more work later on.

Food goes hard and crusty, clothes covered in water if left in the basket go moldy and well if your little boy has slug guts on his hands and face you just need to get that wiped up I don’t need to explain that one.

As I was trying to scrub up some weetabix off the table from little S’s breakfast I thought to myself how if we don’t deal with sin as soon as it crops up then that too gets harder to deal with later.

In 1 John 1:9 it says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Isn’t that amazing? with the verses before and after it reads this: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.

To know God and His word is to know that we are sinners so there’s no point in trying to hide it or deny it, just confess it all to God and He will forgive us. God will not be shocked by anything you say.

But if we don’t confess it and let it fester, it disrupts our relationship with him, just like Little S’s weetabix your heart gets harder to Him and to His word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We move away from Him and old habits and things we had been healed from such as bitterness and resentment start to set back in, in essence we go moldy like unwashed clothes. Instead of just going to him to be cleaned and cleaned straightaway we mess it right up and make it harder on ourselves than we need to.

As I clean little S’s messes up that he makes because I’m his Mum, God will cleanse me when I go to him as He is my Father, all I have to do is ask.  He wont get mad He will just help me to turn from it and teach me a better way. And He will not give up on me. He will forgive me and we can move on. I don’t remind Little S of his messes and God will not remind us of ours. Don’t let unrepentant sin come between you and your Father, you don’t have to confess to anyone else, just Him. He has promised to forgive and He does not lie.