Tag Archives: family

Washing dishes

My daughter’s dishwasher has broken. The technician said replacement parts are no longer available and she’s lucky she got more than ten years’ years use out of it. That dishwasher worked constantly – sometimes three times a day.

The children have all been assigned chores. The youngest, a six-year-old girl, had the task of emptying the dishwasher when needed – usually before online school. Yesterday, when I went over to help with their online lessons, I found her washing mounds of dishes, happily singing to herself. Many adults, me included, would not be singing when faced with a mountain of unexpected dishes. However, this little girl was very happy, singing as she worked (somewhat inexpertly.) As I listened, I realised she was singing her own made-up song and the repeated words were something along the lines of “I don’t know what to do when I go to school.”

The grandchildren are due to go back to school in just over a week. I thought my granddaughter was feeling anxious about going back to school and how things would be different after lockdown. I explained to her that she needn’t worry, her teacher would explain everything to her and help her adapt to the new way of doing things.

However, it turned out I was wrong. What was concerning her was how she would be able to wash the dishes and get ready for school in time. How would her Mom do without her? I did my best to reassure her that her Mom would make a plan and sort it out. However it set me to thinking.

I often wonder why God needs us to fulfill His mission of saving the world. He is so powerful, He could do a much better job than us bumbling human beings.

Yet the Bible tells us,

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)

I think our loving heavenly Father chose to operate the way He has for our benefit and not for His necessity.

My granddaughter was so happy to be washing dishes because it made her feel an important part of the family. As the youngest of three children, she always tries to be able to do the things her older siblings do. She was helping the family in their time of crisis.

I think God chooses us to help in furthering His kingdom so that we may feel secure in His family and happy that we have been counted worthy of being given a task to do, no matter how insignificant or small.

Today I gave a Gideon’s pocket testament to a car guard. It won’t cause the long awaited revival; It won’t be something that will be shared with a thousand people; It won’t be anything I will remember in five years’ time. Nevertheless, it contributed in a tiny way to the family mission.

My Prayer:

Father God, Thank You that I am part of Your family. Please open my eyes to any ways I can further the family mission. Thank you. Amen.

A Loving Father

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

My husband and I went out for breakfast last Saturday morning to a nearby supermarket that offers a breakfast special.

At the table next to us was a family of four. They had finished their breakfast and were just spending time together. The mother had her back to us. Opposite her, a little girl of about seven sat on her father’s lap with her arms around his neck. A little boy, perhaps two years older, sat on our left opposite the chair that his sister had vacated.

We watched their interactions while tucking into our bacon and egg. The children were well behaved and respected by their parents. When they spoke, they were listened to. At one stage the boy rested his head on his father’s free arm which was resting on the table. The father gently admonished his daughter for using her hand instead of a serviette and leaned over to get one for her.

It came to me that this is the kind of relationship our heavenly Father longs to have with us and treasures. He’d love us to sit on his lap and enjoy him. He’s interested in listening to our prayers and is never in a rush to get on with business.

I’d love to have such an intimate relationship with God. Perhaps I should rename my quiet time, “Lap Time” and picture myself sitting on my Daddy’s lap, talking to Him in an easy and relaxed way, luxuriating in His love and attention.

Jesus taught us to regard God as our Father. The love we have for our children and grandchildren is just a pale two dimensional image of the powerful paternal love God has for us. Our Heavenly Father wants to lavish His love upon us!

Whose flag are you flying?

We are in Port Elizabeth at the moment, spending time with my mother. On Tuesday our grandchildren and their parents joined us. Like all holiday makers who visit the sea, the children wanted to go to the beach, despite windy and cloudy weather. Preparations for the Iron Man Competition, which takes place in Port Elizabeth tomorrow were underway. Areas of the parking were closed off and temporary structures were springing up. The pier was adorned with flags fluttering in the wind.

Flags

Clusters of foreigners in wet suits were taking photos, running down to the water or emerging and we saw groups of swimmers training far out to sea. Two approached us and asked whether we would keep an eye on their bags for twenty minutes while they did their swim. They told us they were Austrians. One had participated in another event last year and had so enjoyed South Africa that he had jumped at the chance to come again and take part in the Iron Man, bringing his friend over with him. My husband noted that we hadn’t seen the Austrian flag in the array but they assured us it would be there on the day. They asked if we would be watching but the thought of all the crowds and the road closures and traffic congestion discourages us. Much better watch on TV.

Those athletes are competing for their country. Crowds will judge Austria based on their performance. If they show unsportsmanlike behaviour or dishonesty, they will disgrace their country.

Likewise people are watching us. If we “compete” under the Christian flag, our Saviour and His Kingdom will be judged on our actions.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ( Hebrews 12:1)

X rays and Conditions

When I was in my early forties, my mother’s doctor suggested that I go for a bone scan to see if I had osteoporosis like she did. What a ridiculous idea! I was still young. I couldn’t possibly have an old peoples’ disease! Nevertheless the scan showed that I had, indeed, suffered from loss of bone density. I have a condition that I didn’t know I had and would have staunchly denied while I laughed.

person holding x ray film

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

My daughter also has a condition. A different condition. Last week she took her three children to check if they had inherited it. They had.

We probably all have conditions. Or syndromes. Or illnesses. Or weaknesses. Many of them we inherited. Although they are many and varied, we all suffer from one hereditary condition. We will refuse to believe that we have this condition although it is usually obvious in others. The global expert will tell us we have this condition but because we don’t think we have it, we might not accept his opinion.

This condition is called Human Nature. God calls it SIN. We inherited it. It is in our DNA. None of us in immune. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned – every one- to his own way.” (Isiah 53:6a ESV)

Those of us who go to church and maybe read our bibles think we are immune. We are not. God’s X ray of our heart will reveal it. I was reminded again of my condition this morning. I had slept very badly and, twenty minutes before my alarm was due to go off, I was woken by my husband’s footsteps. He asked if I wanted coffee then of after seven. I felt grumpy and irritable. had not slept well. My sleep had been interrupted.  needed my sleep. A couple of minutes later when I did wake up, he brought me cappuccino and a rusk. He could not have coffee with me because he had to leave to do a Gideon Bible placement at a school. Later I found his coffee cup with a spoon of coffee powder.

burst

I had not thought of him, had I? Only of me, me, me. This is a symptom of my condition. Total self focus.

Fortunately, God has provided a therapy for this condition we all suffer from (or ignore.) Isiah goes on to say in verse 6b, “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus had paid the consequences for our condition and, if we are willing, will give us a transfusion of divine nature that will slowly change us to the image of Jesus if we submit to his regime. That does not mean that our human nature disappears. It is still alive and kicking and only with God’s help can we tame it to some degree. I long for the day when my first waking thought can be Good morning , Lord rather than Good Lord, it’s morning.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you died for me. By your Spirit, please transform me into your image. I submit myself to Your authority. Amen.

Bunnies don’t purr

My grandchildren have got baby bunnies in the garden as well as kittens in the house. Bunnies are very soft and cuddly and the kids enjoy holding them and snuggling them.

baby bunny 2

However, my grandchildren spend longer cuddling the kittens. Both kittens are also soft and cuddly but they purr when they are picked up and cuddled. There is something very special about a cat’s purr. It warms the cockles of my heart. It tells me the cat is happy and is enjoying being with me. (I also cuddle the kittens whenever I get the chance.)

Psalm 9 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all Your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in You,” (ESV)

I think the kittens are exulting in being cuddled. They make their pleasure known. I am sure that our Father loves to hear our thanks and our happiness in him, just as I enjoy a cat purring.

As grandparents we always try to choose presents that our grandchildren will like. We don’t always get it right. I know of a number of neglected dolls that I thought my granddaughter would love. Last Christmas we gave our grandson a Cat Boy Watch. Just before he went to bed that night he came downstairs just to tell us, “Granny and Grampa, I love my watch.” It made us feel wonderful. We felt like good grandparents who know how to give good gifts.

I am sure God loves to hear our thanks and appreciation for all His wonderful gifts to us. I am sure he revels in our happiness. Maybe we should purr a little more often.

Worry, worry, worry, worry

“Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray,” ended the old Sunday school song.

Paul put it more maturely, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV.)

Notice what Paul does not say. He does not say all your requests will be granted. Rather, he says you will have peace. Is peace the opposite of anxiety?

Jesus also had something to say about anxiety and worry. In Matthew 6:31-33 he says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Seeking God’s kingdom is no light thing. It means putting yourself under God’s kingship, letting Him reign in your life. As I have discovered from my attempts to be a servant, it is not easy and it does not come naturally.  Jesus emphasizes that God is our Father and he knows what we need.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a journey home at night in our little car, one of my parents would say, “I think we are lost.” Being lost is a terrifying thing for a child, yet my brother and I didn’t worry. We knew Mom and Dad would find the way. We just went to sleep in the car. I think that is how our Father would like us to trust Him. Sure, bumps come along in life and sometimes we seem lost. But our Father has enough power, wisdom and love to get us home safely. So let’s not worry, worry, worry, worry when we can pray.

sleeping girl

Sonnet – my last Poetry assignment.

Today’s assignment, and the last one (sigh) is a sonnet about pleasure, including Apostrophe, which is not what I thought it was.

Unearthly Joy

You are, O God, my Father, all my Joy,merle-552070_640

My everlasting fount of all delight,

You give me gifts, like birdsong to enjoy,

And music makes my burdened soul take flight.

When Earth’s great bounty overflows in Spring,

And Jasmine, roses, blossoms strew my way,bee-104628_640

Your overwhelming beauty pleasure brings,

Like fiery sunsets at the close of day.

 

Yet best of all the love of family and kin,

Those sticky grandchild kisses on my cheek,generations-462134_640

My husband’s warm embrace upon my skin,

My children’s love and interest in my week.

Yet life itself is knowing You, my God,

And Jesus Christ, your Son, my only Lord.

star-437519_1280