Peace and Quiet

Today I am having a “mental health” day. The oldest child is working and my dear husband has taken the noisy boys on a very long hike.
I have been looking forward to having a quiet day for a while. (Well, it could be quieter but the dishwasher and the washing machine are doing their thing and as I look up from my laptop, I realise I really should have hidden the ironing pile behind the couch.)
Sometimes, we need time out from our ridiculously busy lives and have some peace and quiet. If you should have one of these rare days (rare for me anyway), do not fritter it away. Do not squander the time you have been given. Time is a gift. A never to be repeated one. Once time is used up, it is gone. Forever.
So last night in preparation for today, I wrote a to-do list of things I wanted to do and some things I needed to get done (like the washing and the dishes).
Although there were several creative things on my list (like writing and making jewellery), first and foremost I wanted to spend some quiet time with the Lord.
I have been convicted over the last week or so of how I spend my time. David preached two sermons on it and it has come up in my daily devotional reading as well. I think the Lord is trying to tell me something!
So 2015 is the year I pray I will become more organised. I suspect it will be a bit like the year I prayed that the Lord would help me off the couch and make me busy for him. Phew. Now that was prayer that has been answered!
Now I need to be more organised so that I can fit everything into my life that I want in there and still have time and energy to spend with my husband and family.
So let me encourage you to:
(a) spend some quiet time with the Lord, away from noise and hustle and bustle of ordinary life and routines and seek the Lord about what it is that He wants you to be focussing on for this coming year.
(b) Use your time wisely (note to self: no more games of Spider Solitaire before the work is done, and checking newspapers and Facebook only once a day!)
(c ) Do these 10 things: (someone posted this on Facebook recently from http://www.mindbodygreen.com)
1. Plan each day the night before.
2. Have, and keep, only one to-do list.
3. Spend at 15-30mins each day going through deleting, answering and sorting emails.
4. Clear my desk of paper piles. File it. Junk it. Add specific letters to be dealt with to the to-do list.
5. Have a morning and evening routine. Start and close the day consistently.
6. Spend 10 minutes at the end of the day tidying up.
7. Put the dirty clothing in the laundry bin.
8. Never leave dishes in the sink!
9. Carve time out for lunch. Stay well nourished.
10. Open up the mail and deal with it.
Some of these things I already do, some I really need to work on (like my inbox) but I found the list helpful.
So, as I continue through my peaceful and quiet day, I will be, God helping me, making the most of my time.

Advertisements

Be Forgiving This Christmas

Forgiveness:

People talk about the “Reason for the Season” and “It not being about the presents” (though ask any child what Christmas is about they will probably think, if not actually say, The Presents). What it is it all about? Many things really, and I could talk about Jesus coming to earth, about making memories with our families but I want to talk about forgiveness.

I have been married (before marrying my dear husband, long story) and this story is about that time.

At 18, I met my future mother in law. She took an instant dislike to me and when she found out that I was pregnant and marrying her son (in that order) she became a little unhinged.

Our wedding day dawned bright and clear, as they say, but my fiancé’s mother (and grandmother; he lived with both of them and they were his only relatives in NZ) never came to the church service. He was deeply, deeply hurt by it but not overly surprised.

Over the next 4 1/2 years, she would ring and abuse me over the phone, she would come around to our flat and harass me, and would yell and scream at me on a regular basis. Her stance on having nothing to do with this baby “of dubious heritage from this dreadful relationship” soon changed when our baby, all cuteness and pink and ribbons won her heart. However, her attitude to me did not change.

She (and her mother) moved to Brisbane, Australia. We followed 6 months later. And the abuse continued, albeit not as frequently but still often enough. I continued to encourage my husband to take our daughter to their place frequently and yet there was little or no relenting in her stance.

Christmas time in particular, was a difficult time. I had no family over there and the first year I really missed my family and our traditions. My husband and daughter went to his mother and grandmothers house and I was left alone. This happened 4 Christmases in a row.

By the time the 5th Christmas came around, my husband had left me earlier in the year for another woman, had filed for divorce and I was on my own caring for our daughter.

To my utter amazement and surprise, my daughter and I were invited to go to my now ex mother-in-law’s house for Christmas lunch. You can imagine the trepidation and sheer fright I was in when we walked up to their door!

I knocked on the door and was greeted with a kiss and a hug, from both my mother-in-law and her mother! I didn’t know where to put myself. To say that we had a fantastic time would be overstating the situation a little but, by the end of the day, she was reconciled to thinking very kindly towards me and actually gave me a present.

This present was the most hideous dressing gown I had ever seen! Dusty pink with flowers in nylon! I was running various schemes in my head but in the end decided that honesty was the best policy. I, very politely, told her it wasn’t really my style. Well, she couldn’t have been more helpful. She even came with me to the department store to return it and exchange it for something for suitable for a 24 year old.

All the previous years I was not able to do anything about the relationship, although, as far as it depended on me, I tried to be friendly, kind and peaceable. I encouraged my husband and daughter to see her as often as possible. But until she was ready to make the first move, I was unable to show forgiveness to her I had already worked out in my heart and to establish a relationship with her. Admitting she was wrong, especially after all those years, must have been incredibly difficult. So much pride to swallow. So much bitterness and anger to put down. At the end of the day, if someone doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, it is up to them to make the first move. But if they do make that move, be quick to show forgiveness to them.  So, on your part, if you have this sort of thing happen to you, forgive, love and be peaceable.

At Christmas time it is often a time we think about family and friends who are estranged from us. I would encourage you, regardless of what they have done or said to be willing to give those hurts over to the Lord and to, as far as it depends on you, restore the relationship. It may be with a card, a phone call or email. You may have the opportunity to invite them over during the Christmas period. Use this season to show the forgiveness that has been shown to you by Jesus Christ.

We talk about Jesus being the reason for the season. Well, He really is! At Christmas time we celebrate that He left heaven came to earth as a human to do the impossible and pave the way for us to be forgiven and to enable us to have a relationship with our loving Father in Heaven. We have been forgiven so much, so let’s forgive others for the hurt they have done to us. So this Christmas, think about forgiveness. Think about someone who has done you wrong, and work towards restoring your relationship with them, just as Jesus has done his work to restore our relationship with God.

Please Don’t Judge But Please Come Visit

Do not judge that the dirty dishes are all over the bench.
I am teaching my teenager to take responsibility for her chores.
I will not be helping her by doing them myself.

Do not judge that the lounge is awash with books.
My children read (for which I am grateful) and we have just been to the library
And everyone has spent the afternoon reading.

Do not judge that the vacuuming hasn’t been done.
I was up all night with a sick child, and I am exhausted.

Do not judge that I haven’t folded the washing yet.
I had to run a vomiting child to the hospital and at least the washing is clean.

Do not judge that my bed is unmade.
I had cuddles and giggles with my children in there this morning.

Do not judge that the windows aren’t clean.
My son was giving me “window kisses” when he was outside.

Do not judge that the toilet isn’t very clean.
My toddler is learning to go all by himself and he is so proud of himself (and I of him).

Do not judge that the garden isn’t weeded.
I made daisy-chains with my daughter and did roly-polys with the children.

Do not judge that the fridge is in disarray.
I spent the time cuddling my teething baby.

Do not judge that I have no baking to offer you.
The teenagers ate it all yesterday.

Do not judge that the floors aren’t mopped.
I have Chronic Fatigue and have been on the couch all day.

But please, come round for a coffee and a chat.
I would love to see you.
If you want to visit my house (and judge) you had better give me a week’s notice,
But I don’t want my children to learn we only tidy for visitors
So why not come right round.

By Jenny Waldron