A Need or Greed?

It was Wednesday morning--the only morning of the week I have only one child at home. I was feeling very behind with jobs, so I was going to use the time to catch up.
But since it is much easier to go shopping with only one child, I first of all dropped into the 2 second hand shops in our town to look for something I needed to get for our son. Neither of them had what I needed, but I got sidetracked and ended up coming out with 3 tops and 2 necklaces for me.
Although I knew I should be at home and that I didn't need any of those things, I convinced myself that I need to go shopping sometimes and buy clothes etc for myself. Don't all women? Since I didn't spend much, I felt justified.
That afternoon I had to travel for an hour to my daughter's appointment, so I listened to a sermon on the way. It was all about giving and how we are to lose our lives instead of trying to save our lives. I listened to the incredible story of the widow woman that you can read here
I was convicted and realized that my need was actually greed!
What I needed was to be content and thankful for what I had.
All ladies do need to buy clothes sometimes--that is true! And it wasn't wrong for me to buy a few new clothes when I didn't necessarily need them. But my greed was wrong--my desire for more and more. My discontent with what I had. It was wrong to believe the lie that I needed those things.
Sometimes I convince myself that I need more 'me time', more time free from children, more money, or that my husband needs to be or do more this or that. When most of the time all I really need is to be content and thankful.
Sometimes we justify sin by thinking it's a need!
We can justify greed, envy and in some cases even adultery by thinking that we need something that we don't have or don't have enough of.  (You know...I need more affirmation, more love, more understanding, more help, more quality time etc.)
What we need is to be content with everything we have--our house, our children, our money, our husband, our clothes, our possession etc.
It is not wrong to go shopping or to buy something new, but greed and discontent is wrong.
So the next time you find yourself thinking "But I need...", stop and ask yourself if it is really a need or simply greed and discontent.
Hebrews13:5  Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Luke 12:15  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.


Gifts You Can Give Your Children

There are many priceless gifts you can give your children that don't cost money. Instead they cost time and effort. Your children may not think of them all as gifts right now, but one day they will and they will thank you for them!
This is my list.

1) Read to them
2) Teach them to be thankful and content with what they have.
        A thankful child is a happy child!
3) Let them help you in the kitchen
4) Teach them to work and be responsible
        They'll thank you one day!
5) Play games together
6) Have some "one on one" time
7) Listen to them
8) Teach them to love God and His Word
        That's the best gift you can give them!
9) Teach them to be well-behaved and well mannered
10) Protect them
11) Teach them to obey and respect authority
12) Teach them to pray
13) Teach them what they should do, not only what they shouldn't do
     Be a proactive parent.
14) Use kind words
15) Pray for wisdom to be a good mother
16) Go for a walk together
17) Give them a hug
18) Kiss them goodnight
19) Keep calm
20) Teach them basic skills to prepare them for life
21) Pray for them
22) Teach them to be kind and unselfish
22) Resolve conflicts with your husband quietly without nastiness
       Parents don't like to hear kids fighting and bickering and children don't like to hear parents fighting!
23) Respect and love their daddy
         Give them a happy and stable home.
25) Be cheerful and relaxed
26) Teach your children to have a servant's heart
         There is a satisfaction and joy is helping others.
27) Look after yourself 
         Keep yourself from getting worn out and stressed.
28) Look after your marriage
          Have alone time with your husband. Don't put your children before your husband.
All kids love to unwrap gifts, but these gifts are much more worthwhile and you don't need to be rich to give them every one on this list!

Spaghetti Cupcakes

This is a easy fun recipe for kids to make. Hannah made some for dinner tonight.

We added some salami for extra flavour


When I am weak...

'...When I am weak, then am i strong."  2 Cor 12:10
Sometime back I read a devotional about this Bible verse. At the time I was in despair. I read it at the end of a very difficult day and I hadn't coped very well. In two days time I knew it was going to be the same kind of difficult day again, and I was dreading it because I knew that once again I would not cope well. It was just too difficult and I know my limitations!
So when I read this devotional, I was very weak. And I thought 'What does this mean? Am I strong right now? No way! That verse doesn't even make sense anyway! It's a contradiction of itself! How can you be strong when you feel so weak?"
The night before the next difficult day, I was still despairing. I prayed, "It will take a miracle for me to cope well tomorrow."
The next day I was amazed because I coped perfectly. I thought of ways to make it easier and at the end of the day I was still happy.
Then I understood what that verse meant.
When I am weak, I learn to completely depend upon God. So in myself I am weak, but I am strong because God is helping me.
Then I take no credit myself because I know it definitely didn't come from me!
This song sums it up.


Thankfulness Game

This week I played a game with my children that they enjoyed and got them thinking. I am trying to teach them to have a thankful heart so this game was good. We went through each letter of the alphabet and found something to be thankful about starting with that letter. We discussed some of them,and really thought about what it would be like if we didn't have those things.
For example...
 C--car. (Our neighbours have no car and have to walk everywhere.)
D--Daddy. (Not everyone has a Daddy.)
 F--fireplace. (Our house is warm in the winter because of our fire.)
 G--Grandma and Grandpa.
I--icecream etc.
After we finished, they kept coming up with new things they were thankful for!
Counting our blessings is a good way to make us thankful.


When a Little Goes a Long Way

One of my favourite stories is the miracle of the five loaves and two fish. When Jesus takes a little boy's lunch and makes it into more than enough to feed 5,000+ people.
When I was a teenager, I loved this story because I could see an application to my life. I had a big desire to see people saved and I prayed that God would take my 'little' life and use it to spiritually feed/help many people.
That is still my prayer, but recently I have learned another application.
A while back I was preparing for our plane trip to Holland. Since we live on the other side of the world, it is a very long way to go with four small children. I was unsure how flying would go. I prepared and brought lots of activities for them to do on the plane. But anything I packed, we would need to carry on the airports, so I couldn't take too much.
Usually I can't sleep when I am flying, so the thought of going so far with so little sleep and so many hours of looking after children in a small space was very overwhelming.
So little sleep and so few activities for the children for so many hours of flying.
Then I saw a new application in this story.
I prayed that God would take the little sleep I would get and the few activities we could carry and make them go a long way!
And He did. Our flights were far better than I had thought possible. The children slept for about half of each flight, and I got some sleep at a motel at our stopover. The children used a few activities on the plane, but between eating, sleeping and watching videos or playing games, they hardly needed them. I expected to be completely exhausted by the time we got to Holland, but I hardly felt sleepy at all in spite of my lack of sleep. The same kind of thing happened on our way home again. I was amazed! I still have a box of activities to find a place for!
I applied this same principle in another way this week. I was very organized with my shopping and got everything ticked off my list. Our child also had a birthday which I did shopping for. But afterwards, I realized there were other urgent expenses and things we needed that I had either forgotten about or simply hadn't realized. By now, I had spent the majority of my shopping money. Uh oh! Feeling a little stressed, I wrote down all the needs/expenses in my prayer journal. I prayed that God would do the same thing again. That he would use the 'little' money I had left to go a long way.
The next morning I got two emails. The first one said that one 'expense' was postphoned for another month. The second one said that something I had put on Trademe the night before had sold for the full 'buy now' price.
 Wow! One less expense and enough money for the other expenses!
He did it again!
What overwhelms you?
God can take the little resources you have and make them go a long way. The key is to give them to Him for His blessing.
Praise God!


All Things Work Together for Good

All Things Work Together for Good
Nearly two years ago I wondered how any good could come out of our situation. Our baby was about a week old. She was in the intensive care unit and we had no idea how long she would be there for. (She has Down Syndrome, she was very fragile and she needed heart surgery). Our children were staying with my parents 5 hours away.
Before this I had always looked after my children myself. So it was hard to have to give that job/responsibility to someone else. All the uncertainties didn’t help and my youngest was only 1 1/2yrs.
I remember one day I was very upset. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work for the children to come and visit and I had no idea how long it would be before I saw them again.
In tears I asked God, “How is this good? How can any good come from our family being separated? Isn’t a mother supposed to be able to look after her own children? Isn’t this going to affect our children?”
I believed God’s promise that all things work together for good to them that love God, but I couldn’t understand how.
God didn’t show me the answer right then. But he gave me the grace to give my children and my family to God and trust Him to help us.

This week I have been reflecting on the last two years with all its difficulties and I can now see some of the good that has come out of it. In fact, there is quite a list! I hope there are more that I don’t even know about.

Here is the list I made…
1. I have gained faith that God can help me through any trial
2. Much experience
3. Growth (spiritual and social)
(I have learned many lessons spiritually and also learned that I can live surrounded by an audience! That was a good experience for a ‘not very social’, shy, home lover like myself!)
4. The sweetest happiest little girl that brightens up our home and makes many people smile
5. A stronger bond with my husband
6. A special bond with any family with DS or health problems
7. Empathy---to know what it’s like
(Now I know how devastating it feels to be told your child has a disability. I know what it’s like to be ‘trapped’ inside a hospital for a long time. I know what’s it’s like to have your world turned upside down…)
8. Meeting many new people we wouldn’t have met otherwise
9. My book of encouragement
(Before Lydia was born, I started to fill a small notebook with encouraging verses, hymns, poems, quotes etc. that would help me while Lydia was in hospital. Since then I have continually added to it, and I often go back to it when I’m finding things difficult. I’m thankful I got the idea as it’s been a huge help.)
10. Losing my fear of disabilities
(Before Lydia was born, I was scared of people with intellectual disabilities. And I was not at all attracted to people with Down Syndrome. It took having my own child with DS to cure that!)
11. More opportunities
(For example… at the airport a few weeks ago, an old couple stopped and talked to us for a while. They had a ‘big downie’, as they called their daughter with DS! If we hadn’t of had Lydia, they wouldn’t have talked to us.)
12. More perseverance
(I think I have learned some patience and perseverance through our experiences with Lydia.)

13. Other people have been encouraged
(Some people have told us that they have being encouraged by seeing God help us through our trials.)
14. I am more thankful for simple things
(like seeing my family each day, being at home, being able to do housework…)
15. We value each other more
16. Time alone with Johan
(Johan likes to have time away together without the children sometimes, but I find that more difficult and don’t like to ask people to take them. But this situation was completely out of my control, and since Lydia was in intensive care a lot, we were able to have special times together with just the two of us that we never would have had otherwise.)
17. Some verses and hymns have a much deeper meaning to me now

One time while waiting for an x-ray for Lydia I was chatting to Lydia's nurse about our situation. At that time, Lydia has been in hospital for around 7 weeks with a complication after her heart surgery. The nurse was saying how difficult it must have been for us. I said, “Yes, but it has been a really good experience.”
She looked at me as if I was crazy!

But I was right! Or should I say, God’s promise is right.
“All things do work together for good to them that love God…”
Romans 8:28