Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have or Have Not?

We don't get stacks of mail here so when I saw that there was something in our letterbox, I opened it immediately and found a Christmas card that instantly warmed my heart.

I think it's because we're in this day and age of "instant" everything that I found this card so delightful.

Written in a small farm house in an Australian country town named Yackandandah, a very special lady had sat and scribed the words in beautiful old-style cursive handwriting.

In a year when I've found it hard to remember to call, email or even text my friends and family for important occasions, here is this lovely nana, on another side of the world, still thinking and penning out a Christmas message to her grandson and his family despite the fact that they live all the way over in south east Asia!
How precious is that?

Well not only have my emails and calls been few and far between, this year's annual Cross Family Christmas letter…{ummm} never happened!  {sigh} Which brings me to the name of this post, 'Have or Have Not?'

I realise as 2014 draws to a end that I could easily sit here and list all the things the weren't… that haven't happened, that never succeeded, that didn't get finished (or started!!) and have not turned out as I would've liked.

Or, I could finish the year focusing on the 'haves' in my life.
I'm not going to lie, 2014 has been challenging, but through the tears and the questions and the frustrations and the anger, there has also been so much blessing and laughter.
There have been friends that have encouraged me right when I needed it.  There has been answers and healing and joy.  There has been dancing and singing and giggles.
There has been double bouncing on trampolines and pretend wrestles and rollerblading.  There have been birthday celebrations, a surprise party, a ZOE wedding and numerous baptisms.
Swimming and feasting and snuggling with books on the couch.

2014 saw bugs caught, teeth lost, growth spurts, timetables learnt, ears pierced and laces tied.

When I look at our year and I see all God has done I am in awe.  His faithfulness never ceases.
With every sorrow and loss and disappointment and challenge, He has doubled my joy and blessing and thankfulness and mission.

I don't know what 2015 holds, whether it will be "easy" or "hard" but I do know this, that I can be glad for what I have and for what God is doing.

And just like I can trust that God will provide again for me, so too with this bite sized piece of faith do I  trust for my husband and children that He will also be "enough" for them.

From our home to yours, Happy New Year!  {deep breath}
Yep…. I am ready!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Not Through My Eyes...

As I was driving through the city the other day, I was reminiscing about when we used to live there.  
I actually really miss living in the city, more than I thought I would. 
Anyway, I was remembering back to one of the times that some of the ZOE kids had come over to our house.  
This particular time, the youth had an outing but some of them weren’t able to go so they’d arranged to come to our house for pizza and to play the wii. 

We’d sat around on the tile floor laughing and eating.  Once dinner was complete, I was impressed by their initiative to pack up and clean up where we’d been sitting.  After we’d all pitched in, Dave set up the wii and for the next couple of hours we sat around watching and laughing as we all took turns skiing, tight rope walking, hula hooping etc. 
As the night wore on, our usually hyperactive young son began to slowly become weary.  
After his turn, he nestled into the lap of one of the teenage boys and sat there so at ease and comfortable and unusually calm.  I remember looking over and smiling.   
And it was this picture in my mind that I would not forget.  My son was sitting in the lap of one of the boys who I had had in my English class many months earlier.  He had begun in my class not long after coming to ZOE… the one under the table!
What struck me as I remembered back fondly on this time was the way in which my young son, not knowing this teenage boy’s past, saw him for who he really is.  Our little son had no preconceived ideas. He had no concerns about the past and only positive thoughts for the future.  He simply saw a new friend.

And it's like that with God.  We don’t have to work for His acceptance.  He already sees us as acceptable, valuable, lovable, forgivable and capable. 

Sometimes as adults we seem to look through "glasses" of pity, shock, embarrassment, unworthiness, sadness or the world’s standards of success and beauty.  

But I need to be reminded again and again to become just like a child and understand how God sees each one of us.  
Only then can I accept that there's value inside of myself and recognise the value in others.

Last week I had a great time, retrieving things from my "too hard basket".  I went to bed early each night and got up early each morning, I reversed parked and several other things that I had pretty much given up on being able to/ or wanting to do.
This week's challenge, seeing others not through my eyes.  Searching for the good in others and seeing them as God sees them!  
Phew! I'll be honest… It's going to be a challenge!