Friday, 26 October 2012

Nailed to His cross

Sometimes I share about being a wife.

Sometimes I share about being a mother.

Sometimes I share about things I love.

Sometimes I share about things I do.

Today, it's all about my sins.

I read these verses today for devotions, and I was so overwhelmed as I was reminded of what they said, that I couldn't neglect sharing.

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses
 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way

nailing it to his cross; 

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." 
Colossians 2:13-15

Oh, how wonderful!!!

I was dead in my sins.  I was separated from God, by my sins.  They consumed me.  They were - and are - many. 




And, yet.....he forgave them all!   He blotted them out!  He made me alive!


What a picture.  Those nails that were through His hands and His feet - those were MY sins nailing Him there.  MY sins that had Him hanging upon the tree, and suffering such agony and pain and torment.  It was the Lord who was taking MY punishment, and triumphing over sin for ME.  

So undeserving.

So amazing.

So inexplicably wonderful. 

That condemnation which declared 

"sinner - punishment by death eternally" 

now reads...

"redeemed - by the blood of the lamb"

Those large, Roman nails - nailing the Lord to the cruel cross - were there for ME.  As atonement for my sin.  Punishing the pure, spotless, Lamb of God, instead of me.  He was willing to suffer this way, and die, so that I could be eternally saved.

What a wonder. 

How can we not have tears in our eyes when we consider such love.

Such sacrifice.

Such selflessness.

To bow our head in wonder and say

"thank you"

And, in reality, we ought to be shouting it loud, and for every moment of the day.  Even still, we would not be able to fully thank Him for the depths He went to when He suffered on the cross.

What victory - my sin conquered by His death.

I finish with some words from hymn writers, who must have similarly felt a gratitude for Christ's work on the cross.  And a video of one of my favourite arrangers of piano music.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:

If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,

The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe!

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones he came to save:

Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain:

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave he rose again!

And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life's first cry to final breath.

Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Complete in Him

I love doing jigsaw puzzles.  I love the challenge of putting one of those big old 1000 piece puzzles together. Finding those edge pieces, getting my outside finished, and then filling in the middle.  Turning those pieces around, puzzling over them, until they slot into the right place. Then, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of finishing it - getting all the pieces fitting together in perfection.  


Every last piece where it belongs, so that it was one, big picture - it is a finished product that has an identity and you can see what the picture should be.

If there is one part missing, it is SO very frustrating, because you can't complete it.  It's not perfect.  It's not done.

It's incomplete.

Our life is a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle.  

Some people think that having certain things will "complete" their life.

Have you ever heard people saying of their husband

"I feel complete with him"?


"He makes me complete"?

Often, when talking about relationships, people talk about finding a spouse who "completes" them.

The same can be said about having children.  That they fill a space you had in your heart and life, and you feel a completion when you have them.  Like your life was missing something that only having your children can fill.

There are many other things that can be the same.

A nice home.

Some kind of pursuit or hobby.

A job.


There are so many things that people think they need in order to be complete.

But these things are only like the main part of the jigsaw.  You build them all up, fitting all the pieces together.    I think the husband is a bit like the outside edge - it's important, but it doesn't "make" the picture.  The children are like so many of the parts in the middle.  They fill up what is missing, and start to make your life's picture something good to look at.

Don't think that my analogy is misplaced because of the size of the puzzle piece.  We're not thinking size here.  We're thinking of value.  Something doesn't need to be big to be the most valuable thing that you possess.  To the value of having a complete puzzle, you NEED the final piece.  It's not a completed puzzle, it's just NEARLY a completed puzzle.  And, that makes all the difference.  Some people's puzzles may just be like a little child's two or three piece puzzle.  It may not be a complicated, big puzzle.  Just yourself, with no husband or children.  Just a husband, and no children.  Maybe it's not complicated, and intricate. 

But, unless you have that final piece, the picture is still NOT complete.  It's looking good, there's a picture to see, but it's not finished.  It's not fully there.  It's not complete.

The only way you can have a complete picture, is if you have the final piece. 

That's the Lord.

We are only complete in HIM.  We can search for satisfaction in so many other things in life.  They may seem like big things, and they may even be important things.  But, they are not what provides the completion in our lives. 

Only Christ makes us complete.

I'm not suggesting that our husband, our children, our pursuits and all the other things in life are not good, right and important.  God has told us in His word of the value of these things, and it was He that created them for our pleasure, enjoyment and humanity.  But, we must never, NEVER get to the place where we think that they are what makes us complete.  That we dwell so much upon them, and hold onto them so tightly, as to forget that we are only complete in Christ.  That HE and He alone is what we need to hold onto, to dwell upon, to savour and seek for, in order to be complete.  

Many, many people in life - Christians, not just the world - work so hard on things that they think to be important.  Their family, their job, their home, their fitness, their hobbies.  It can become so that it is the most important thing in their life, and the Lord gets pushed to the side.  Other things crowd in, and to everyone around the picture looks pretty good.  But, if you look at it through spiritual eyes, it's not complete.  If Christ isn't there, and he is not the most important thing in our lives, we are not complete.  

It is not right to get to the point that we think we cannot possibly function or manage without these other things in our life.  If Christ completes us, then that means we have everything we need.  He is the completion of every part of our life, and our needs are met entirely in Him, and Him alone.  

Oh how my own soul is rebuked.  So many things in life crowd in, and we can put our focus on them for our satisfaction.  When, in fact, that satisfaction will never come unless we put all our focus on pleasing the Lord, and putting Him first.  If it is Him that we are complete in, should we not want to relish that, and enjoy it?  Should we not want to make that the most important pursuit in life - making Him our all and in all?

Let's lay out our lives before us, and make sure that we are putting Christ before all else. 

" are complete in Him."
Colossians 2:10

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

"T" day

Today heralds a day which I neither relish, love or enjoy.

I try very hard to remain upbeat about my mothering, but this is something that I endure with a smile, rather than loving with a passion.

Yes.  It's Toilet Training time.

That time when you spend half of your life asking a small person if they need the toilet.

"Are you sure you don't need to go?"

Words that will end up being spoken repeatedly in the coming days and weeks.

Those days when your ear is tuned in to the potential sound of liquid hitting flooring, and subsequently running like a mad woman with a small child held at arms length, as fast as possible to the nearest toilet.

Throw into the mix a nursing baby, and 4 children seeking your help to get school work done, normal household duties and meals that still need to be prepared, and you have well and truly entered the mad house.

Extremely enthusiastic accolades when the correct "item" is deposited in the correct place will shortly be heralded.

Brothers and sisters cheering and clapping a chuffed little brother.

Lots of anti-bacterial spray, kitchen roll and spare clothes lined up ready.

The thing is, he's had his big boy underwear on for well over an hour, and has done nothing in the toilet, and nothing anywhere else for that matter.

So, with the day stretching ahead, and the words "I can do all things through Christ..." and "do all things without murmuring" ringing in my head, I shall nip off and see where my big boy has gone, and what mischief may have gone on somewhere else in the house.....

To be continued.....

Monday, 22 October 2012

"watch where you're going!...."

Have you ever done this?

I know my children do it on a fairly regular basis.

I can see it about to happen, but usually my pleas to "Look out!" are too late.

Their feet are walking one way, whilst their eyes are looking somewhere else, and...


They bump into something, or trip up, and the tears begin.

"How many times do I have to tell you to look where you are walking?", are usually the words resultant from such an incident.

Door frames, tables, bollards, walls...they have all made impact with some part of my children's body - most often the head!

We were blessed to have a young man preaching in our Church yesterday, who is about to start Theological studies in Grand Rapids, in January.  He was preaching about the incident in I Samuel chapter 12, when the people had asked for a king, and soon realised their error.  Following the prophet Samuel's warnings, they repent of their sin, and Samuel urges them to follow after the Lord.

"yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart;"
I Samuel 12:20

Simon, the preacher,  explained that if we are to fully follow the Lord, then we need to have both of our eyes fixed upon Him.  If we look elsewhere we will stumble and fall.

Immediately, it brought to mind the circumstances I spoke of here.  Of my children, not looking where they are going, and ending up getting hurt.  It was just like the Israelites! They were not wholly following the Lord.  They seemed to be, in some ways, but because their focus had shifted onto their own desires and tempted by other things, they were at risk of stumbling and falling.  They knew that it happened before - that when others in the past had taken their gaze away from the Lord, to follow their sinful desires, the Lord had struck them down.  The grumblers in the wilderness were repeatedly given cause to see that their own ways were not the right way to go. However, these Israelites, by God's grace and Samuel's imploring, were given the chance to fix their eyes, fully, back upon the Lord.

Oh how like us that is.  How easily our gaze shifts to other things, instead of looking at the Lord and fully following Him.  There are so many temptations around us, that would draw our gaze away from the Lord.  

As women, in today's society, we are tempted to think that looking for some other purpose in life, other than being a wife and a mother, is greater and more worthwhile. To believe that, contrary to God's Word, leaving our children to be cared for by others, simply so that we can pursue something that the world tells us is better, is OK.  Christian mothers, not just worldly mothers, that despise and belittle their role - the role that is the perfect one that we were created for.  To hate being a wife, and thinking that we are somehow inferior in our role, rather than realising that is being a wife and mother is a privileged dominion all of its own - to be pursued with as much passion and dedication that women out of the home pursue their careers.  Women like that have taken their eyes away from the Lord - they are not looking to his Word to find out their calling.  They are following after what the world thinks is commendable, rather than that what God's Word teaches us.  I have heard women saying "it's God's will" - but if God's Word teaches us one way, how can any other way  be better? The worst part is that the generation that is following is being harmed by such ways.  It's the children who are being handed over to care outside of the home - to care other than the parents which they were born from and who have the Biblical responsibility to raise them - these are who are being harmed more than anything else.  

As always, I am talking about a principle here, and I know that there are circumstances in which a woman works outside the home which would not be their heart's desire, or ideal.  

But, when it is only, like the Israelites seeking a King like the heathen nations around them, for purposes of following the world and being selfish or self-seeking, then it is going to bring harm.  It may not be seen to start off with, but sooner or later the family unit will be harmed in the process.  We can see it already - children who are rebelling, families torn apart by endless problems, and a worldly culture seeping into the homes of "Christian" families. 

It can happen on a far more personal and subtle level, too.  There is not one of us who is exempt from the danger of taking our eyes off the Lord and His ways.  It can be as simple as letting your daily quiet time slip, because your mis-managed life would rather do other things. It can be in the choices you make when you have free time - always influenced by worldly things, and never choosing "the better part".  It could be looking for worldly counsel in child-rearing, rather than what the Bible teaches.  Listening to worldly friends for marriage advice, rather than looking to see what God says and following Him in every way we can.  Numerous moments in every day, we can let our gaze slip away from the Lord, and onto other things. 

I want to guard my life against a major slip up.  I don't want to go walloping into an obstacle because my eyes were not looking fully upon the Lord.  I don't want to cause hurt to those I love most, because *I* took my eyes off the Lord, and His best for me.

I pray that I will learn from what I heard yesterday, and keep both eyes fixed upon the Lord.

"let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 

  Looking unto Jesus..."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Finishing well

I have a confession to make.  A confession which I am going to pin the blame full and square upon my parents.

I am thinking my children may have a lot which they will pin the blame upon ME, in years to come.


I blame my parents for the fact that I enjoy looking around graveyards.  I have a skewed memory of how my parents used to drag us around graveyards, when we were young, to show us the graves of people that we had no interest in. (In reality, they didn't do it that much....) I wish I had appreciated more at the time, of the significance of some of the graves we visited.  But, when you are 14, and don't know much about Church history, and you have to get out of an air-conditioned vehicle into the hot and humid air in Princeton, New Jersey, to see the grave of one Jonathan Edwards, you are not exactly ecstatic.

HOW I wish I had known more about were I was, and appreciated WHERE I was that day.  Princeton. Wow.

Surprisingly, I now enjoy visiting graveyards.  I think that home educating my children has given me a love of history, and there is so much to soak up in an old graveyard.  Yes.  Must be an old one, otherwise it is just a little strange.

I found an old, ruined Church building with its own old, run-down graveyard.  I got my feet thoroughly soaked as I traipsed through the wet, overgrown grass, gazing with interest at the inscriptions on the grave stones.

I didn't have time to look at them all, but I was pleased to find one that may have been the oldest one there.

This was the back of it.  Most likely the coat of arms for the family buried there, but it was very hard to read some of the inscription.

I digitally remastered some of the inscription, so you could see the date on it.

Well, SORT of see the date on it.

Ok, well maybe it's actually hard to see at all.

Trust me, it says 1750.

That one was not the one that captured my interest, though.  There are two others which did that.

The first one is this.

The inscription reads thus...

"who ended all her troubles and sorrows"

It's a sad inscription to sum up your life.  Undoubtedly, she had warrant for feeling sad.  If you read the earlier portion of the stone, she had 2 children who died in infancy, which was not uncommon in those days. That would be sorrow indeed.  It made ME sad just thinking about it.

The next grave stone was a lot easier to read.

"She was a happy woman"

I am acutely aware that circumstances of life can totally transform how we live our life.  Some have an "easier" life, and some have trial after trial. 

But, we are those who love and belong to the Lord.  Job had the most devastating series of events that I can think of.  He had nearly ALL his possessions torn away from him in a short space of time, including his children.  It was HOW he dealt with these "troubles and sorrows" that summed up his life.  He didn't curse God, he didn't complain.  He calmly accepted what God allowed in his life.  And, God blessed him for his faithfulness.

Ultimately, our response to trials is of great reflection upon the relationship we have with the Lord.  If we are walking close to Him, and trusting Him fully to plan out our lives perfectly, then we will have a response that is characterised by joy and calm acceptance.  I am not suggesting that we do not have sorrow when we have trials.  Tears and sorrow are part of our humanity, and Christ Himself wept at Gethsemane and at the tomb of Lazarus.

It's how it affects our life as a whole - our nature and personality - that counts more than anything else.

A dear friend of ours was tragically killed in a road traffic accident 9 years ago.  The one thing that will remain ingrained in my mind for ever is how his wife dealt with the tragedy.  She said to person after person "God is good ALL the time".  That knowledge gave her a peace that you could almost touch with your very hands.  She had sorrow.  She was utterly devastated to lose her husband, but she was able to see God's hand in it all, in ways that were truly amazing.  She loved the Lord so much, that it was HIM she saw in the trial, instead of looking to the circumstances. 

Reading these inscriptions got me thinking, though.  How will *I* be remembered after I am dead?  Will I be so eaten up by difficult circumstances that people will think only of my troubles and sorrow that have ended, rather than the life of praise to the Lord that I have lived?  Will it be my negative spirit, my moaning words, my impatient snappiness with my children, or my grumpy attitude that is written in stone?  

We should live a life that could be characterised by the  inscription to the woman on the second stone.  She started her life in Australia, married a Scottish Airman who fought in the Second World War, and she died in Scotland.  We don't know of the trials she may have lived through, but whatever her life was, she was so happy that they wrote it on her tomb stone!!!

Now, THAT'S the kind of life I want to live.  I want people to see that I am so satisfied in my Saviour, that I am happy.  Happy when times are good, and joyful when times are tough.  No matter what the Lord allows in my life, I want it to be characterized y a joyful life.  I know that there are some of you that know that I can be far from that.  I get stressy with my children.  I get short with my lovely husband.  I get impatient with other people.  It's an area that needs work, but I do try and be a happy person.  I have so much to be joyful and happy for that I have no excuse whatsoever for NOT being happy. 

Paul, when speaking to the Elders at Ephesus said this...

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy,"
Acts 20:24

He had not had an easy road whilst following the Lord, and he would end his life imprisoned in Rome.  But, he knew that no matter what may lie ahead, he needed to finish his course with joy.  

Pau said, again, in Corinthians 

"I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation."

Not just a teeny bit of joy, but EXCEEDINGLY joyful in ALL tribulation.  That is some confession, that I can certainly not make. 

 "Rejoice evermore." 
1Thessalonians 5:16

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." 
 Philippians 4:4  

You can't get any more specific than THAT!! 


I truly hope, that when my race is over, that it could be written on my grave stone that *I* was a happy woman. A life characterized by my joy in the Lord, and not my circumstances. 

Until then, I will keep smiling. :-)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Hallelujah Anyway!

Yesterday morning in our family worship, we were continuing our lesson for the week about being joyful as we go about our daily tasks.

It's an attitude that we try and teach the children ALL the time.  It especially gained a catchphrase when Robert was preaching in the Church some time ago, on the passage that we read this morning for family worship.

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"
James 1:2

When we come across trials and difficulties, we are still to be joyful.  It doesn't mean that we are happy ABOUT the circumstances, rather that we are joyful IN the circumstances.  We are to praise the Lord at all times, no matter what happens to us.

Hence, the phrase "Hallelujah anyway".

When things get tough, we need to praise the Lord anyway!  We praise Him because He is always good, and there is always something to still praise Him for.  An attitude of praise is always better than an attitude of misery.

So, in our home, and in others now as well, when things are not going well, we shout "Hallelujah anyway"!!  The louder we tend to say it, is usually in direct association with how much of a trial it is! *grin*  Better yet, it's not empty words, or with insincerity.  We truly do find ourselves in an attitude of praise and thanks, when before we would perhaps have been frustrated, sad or cross.

When our spare tyre got stolen whilst we were in Legoland?  "Hallellujah anyway!"

In fact, there's an even better example, and it only happened this week.

I went with the oldest 3 children, and Simeon, to London on Monday.  I had been on the open-topped bus in June, and thought they would really love to go on it as well.  I had parked our car in a car park a little further from the train station than I had planned.  The bonus was it was only £3 for the day, whereas other car parks would have been £7 or £8! Bargain, and a happy, Scottish, tight frugal mother.  So, off we toddled to London, baby on back!  We had a lovely, if not tiring day. We met up with an online, American, friend, and her family.  We saw the sights.  We enjoyed eating out, and seeing Chinatown at night. Fun day had by one and all.

Glad to have got the fast train home (30 minutes from London to Milton Keynes), we headed back to the car.   

Joshua said, "Mum, should the back lights be on?" 

"erm, no......"

I got in, put the keys in the ingition, turned them, and......just a choking, stammering grumble which quickly disappeared to nothing.  The battery was dead.  It was 9.20pm, and we were sitting in a dark car park, virtually alone, and it was cold.  AND, we don't have membership with a recovery service.  

Daniel started to get hysterical   (Despite being the butchest child, he is still quite sensitive at heart.)  But, I quickly told him we DID have a recovery service, and we would phone Daddy!! I felt rather terrible, considering he then had to get the 3 younger ones out of bed, and come and jump start our car.  But, whilst Daniel was upset, and I was sitting in a car going nowhere, I shouted "Hallelujah anyway"!!!!  They all smiled, and realised that things were not all that bad.  We could be thankful that we had a second car for Robert to come and collect us at all.  That he was such a sweet, and lovely man to do it without question, complaint or hesitation.  That we live in a day and age of mobile phones, so we could phone for help from in the car, and not traipse around finding a phone box. (Of which the children noticed many in London, and I didn't notice them at all!!!)  We were thankful that we had a day out that we had enjoyed, even if it ended differently than planned.  There is ALWAYS something to praise the Lord for, even when we are in difficulty.

Do you have days when things don't go the way you had hoped - when you are tempted to feel low and downcast?  

Then, shout "Hallelujah anyway!"

Do you have moments when your patience is running thin and the children are wearing you down?

Shout "Hallelujah anyway!"

Do you have physical pain and emotional struggles?

Shout "Hallelujah anyway!"

There are endless situations where you will now find yourself looking upward, with an attitude of praise, and shouting "Hallelujah anyway!"

Robert also mentioned a dear, sweet Christian man whose name was Ivan Pambakian.  He ran a ministry to the people of Armenia.  Robert had been bringing some donations of clothing from the people in our Church, to send to Armenia.  Ivan was singing a song as he worked.

"Praise Him, you know that you should,
Everything's working together for good,
Praise Him, you can never afford.
to ever stop praising the Lord."

What a great little chorus!  You can never afford to stop praising God.  He deserves our praise.  His way is perfect.

You think of Paul and Silas in jail - they sang at midnight!! They were praising God in prison, and they were wondrously released! 

You think of Job.  He blessed the Lord in His trials - even after so much being taken away from Him.

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1

We are to praise Him CONTINUOUSLY.  That includes the difficult times, as well as the times when our heart is full of joy and gladness. 

When the next trial comes your way - when things don't go the way you hoped or planned - try it.

Say, "Hallelujah anyway"!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The ever changeful "growing" season

I don't know if you remember, but I visited an old stately home and gardens in June. The walled garden was beautiful, and I was particularly captured by the long bed of Alium.

I have yet to get any for my own garden, but it's on the plans for next year!

Well, we returned to Wimpole last week, and once again visited the walled garden. 

However, this is what I was greeted by this time.

Same spot, totally different flowers!!!  The plants had changed to ones that suited the growing season that we were now in.  So, it looked completely different.  Same garden, different plants.

There were some beauties all around, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at it all.

I am so very much loving learning more about flowers and plants, and pondering what I will put in next year!!

However, you may have guessed, the plants got me thinking.

(should I have that as "my line"?  - "it got me thinking".....)

It got me thinking about life as a wife, and more particularly as a mother.  Life is changeable.  It goes through an abundance of different "growing seasons" as a mother, as a wife, and as we cultivate our children   Each season has its own beauties, and its own hard work.  I dare say, as much as I know little about gardening as yet, that different plants require different levels of work to keep them looking beautiful, and to help them reach their full potential.  In order for the garden to have its purpose fulfilled, as something of beauty and interest, there has to be work done.  Some plants may need more trimming and dead heading, some may have more weeds springing up around them than others.  Some may have insects that want to eat them, others may fend them off without much effort.  But, no matter the level of work involved, it ends up with the same result - a garden that is beautiful and that people enjoy.  Also, a garden which the gardener is satisfied and pleased with, after all the effort they put in.  One thing is for VERY sure - if they didn't put the work in, the garden would not be quite the same. It may have flowers, but they wouldn't be as healthy and look as nice if the gardener didn't apply themselves to caring for it.

How like my role of a mother this is!!! There are many season in motherhood.  Some require a lot more care and patience than others.  Many of them involve struggles with problems and issues that appear with the children.  I may need to stake some of them up a bit more, to train them how to behave and stand strong.  Some may need attitudes pruning and removing, in order to for their character to be formed into something that is pleasing and not offensive.  Some of them may have times when they just grow and bloom without many major issues that need to be resolved.  ALL of them include the need for "watering", "feeding" and caring in some way or form.  And, if I neglect them, they will become over-run by "weeds" of bad behaviour and attitudes, and the "blooms" of character will be damaged. Some may show their best blooms in one stage of life, and another child may bloom later.  Some may have their biggest need of "gardening" in the younger years, whist others need more care as they mature. Most plants, I would think, will do best if you care for them whilst they are younger, and more tender.  

As I go through each season of motherhood, I face varying challenges and rewards as well.  I see my children blossom and bloom - they give me immense pleasure, despite the fact that it requires blood, sweat and tears to gain that pleasure.  It's worth it.  Worth it all, to see the beauty.  

And, sometimes it's hard to see the true things of beauty.  We can be taken up with the external, and if we look very hard there are little things of beauty waiting to be seen, if we only look hard enough.

This plant was such a prefect example of this.

These plants gave such a beautiful display, all together like this.  But, do you know, these are only the LEAVES???   It's just a coloured leaf, making it look nice. But the real flower needs a bit of careful examination to find.

Do you see tat tiny little flower?  That pretty, delicate, orchid shaped flower?  THAT'S the flower for the plant.  You need to look carefully, or you might not even notice it is there.

It's the same with children.  There are things about them that we see before anything else.  It's not always something that's very good - it may be something that you just cannot ignore. It may be just something that's "normal" for a child to be. It may be that it's something that's just like every other child around.  But, if you take the time to look beyond the ordinary, the external or what is expected, you will see something blooming and growing - something that is special and unique. All of our children have something special, if you take the time to find it and appreciate it.   

So, I am glad for my different seasons - for the ones that are harder.  The seasons of hard work and the seasons of change.  Why? Because they lead to something that is beautiful and worthwhile. 

In those days when everything is hard, and we can't see the beautiful part of being a mother, take time to stop and look, and find that beauty in your garden.