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


The Troubles That Never Came

In my devotional last night I read a story about a lady who had to learn to overcome anxiety and worry. Before she learned not to worry, this is how she was described. "...She was like the old lady who once said she had suffered so much, especially from the troubles that never came..."
I couldn't help chuckling as it sounds so ridiculous put this way. But I can relate! 
May God help us all not to suffer from the troubles that never come!



In two weeks we are traveling to the other side of the world with our little daughter who was in hospital a lot last year. Today I found out that the travel insurance we brought doesn't cover her because she has preexisting medical conditions. She is the reason we got insurance! But it looks like the rest of us will be covered but maybe not her.
Although she has stayed out of hospital this year and is now doing well, there is a fear that she could end up in hospital while we are overseas. 
I was feeling rather anxious about this today while I was working in my kitchen.
I have verses on a little holder above my sink. I put the front verse at the back and the new verse looking at me was "Give us today our daily bread." Matthew 6:11
The word today hit me.
I don't need to worry about tomorrow. Today is what I need to focus on. Most of tomorrow's worries never happen and if they do, God has more than enough grace to help us through. We can only do our best and then leave the rest to God.


The Way to Greatness

Do you ever wish for a life with no troubles and difficulties? The last two years have been more crazy than ever before, and I often find myself longing for a life that is easy, and relaxed with no pressures. These words from my favorite devotional were a great encouragement to me.


What Does a Christlike Women Look Like?

Do you ever wonder what a Christlike mum and wife looks like? Have you ever had the thought, 'If Jesus was a mother and wife, what He be like?'
I wondering about this the other day, but then I realized that God has showed us in the Bible what a Christlike women should be. I started writing a list and this is what I came up with. I'm sure there are many more, but these are some of the obvious ones. This list is taken from Proverbs 31, the story of Mary and Martha and a few other passages in the NT that talks about women.

1) She puts God first.
She makes it a priority to spend time with God and get to know Him. She fears God. He comes first.

2)She loves her husband.
She respects him and submits to him. She fills his physical needs and is pure and faithful to him. She does him good--she's a blessing to him. He can trust her.

3)She loves her children.

4)She is hardworking.
She is not lazy and idle. She works willingly, plans ahead and is not a gossip.

5)She looks after her home.
She takes good care of her house and her household. She builds her home.

6)She cares about those in need.
She does what she can to help and is hospitable.

7)She dresses well.
She is elegant, but isn't focused on her appearance. She is modest and pure in the way she dresses.

 Are you a Christlike woman?


2 Little Black Books

I heard of a man who carried a little black book in his pocket where he kept a record of all the unloving and insensitive things his wife had done to him over the years.
Yesterday I realized that I also have a little black book where I keep a record of things.
This little black book is called "Blessings".
I got the idea from someone a few years ago, and it has helped me with having a better perspective.
I so easily focus on the negative.
Jotting down your blessings helps you to look for them and helps you to realize just how many you have.
I especially find this helpful in my marriage.
My husband is very different to me and its super easy to get offended or have unrealistic expectations.
It sometimes hits me that my husband must simply find me impossible to please!
But when I write down all his positive points and the many ways he shows love.... I realize just how blessed I am. I can be more appreciative and thankful instead of being critical and ungrateful.
It completely changes my perspective!
This week has been a challenge since I was knocked off my feet with a nasty flu. I was reminded again just how important it is to count my blessings. Its amazing the difference it makes! When I remembered to start making the list, it didn't seem so bad after all.
A little black book can be a bad thing or a very good thing.


A Few Money Saving Tips

Life is not about making money or saving money. But I always love to learn new tips that are helpful. Here are six tips that I've tried out lately.

1) Have a date night at home.
My husband loves to go out to restaurants which is nice. We do it every once in a while and get a babysitter. But it is expensive! Last month I planned a date night at home. I fed the children early and my husband got them into bed while I got everything ready. A tablecloth, a candle, our best dishes and wine glasses made the table look attractive. We dressed ourselves up a little and then enjoyed a three course meal by candlelight. Mushroom Soup and warm buns, Bami Goreng (an Indonesian dish) and a Pineapple pudding for desert.
After the dishes were done, we watched a movie together. All up (with using a few ingredients I already had) it only cost about $20 counting the hired movie! Usually $20 would only pay the babysitter! :) And there were enough leftovers for dinner the next night!  So it doesn't always have to cost a lot to be nice and fun. 

2)Make your own sauces etc.
I have learned to make satay sauce, pasta sauce and carbonera sauce. I used to always buy tins of pasta and carbonera sauce. But it is cheaper to make. The satay sauce only takes a few minutes, only has a few ingredients and is delicious! Hummus is also easy to make if you have a food processor.
Butter chicken and korma chicken sauce is next on my list to try!

3) Sell on Trademe
I have started to sell some things on trademe instead of putting them in the opp shop.This doesn't work well for everyone, but I only live a few minutes from the post shop.
 A few years ago, with the best of intentions I brought a second hand exercycle! I have hardly used it, and the children cut one of the wires so the mechanical part of  it didn't work anymore. We talked about taking it to the dump, but I decided to try selling it on trademe for $1 reserve. I explained that part of it was broken but there were many people who wanted it, and it sold for more than I had paid for it!

4) Use up what's in the freezer/pantry/fridge.
This week I tried to only buy the basics and then use up what is in the freezer. It's easy to freeze leftovers etc. and then forget about them!

5)Make the most of leftovers.
Leftover chicken sauce, bacon, sausages etc. make nice pizzas. And so on.

6)Conquer impulsive spending.
I am sometimes afraid to go shopping, because I know I will usually come home with things I never planned on getting. I am impulsive, which is not helpful most of the time! So I am learning how to deal with that. But that is a whole new post in itself! So I'll save that for another time.