Friday, 22 December 2017

Low batteries this Christmas......

You know when the battery on your phone is starting to go and it just doesn't have the power it used to have.  You continue to charge it but it doesn't last the day, it seems to lose its power much quicker as each day goes on.  I have heard people say that’s when you need a new phone or new battery, the old one just doesn't work the same anymore.  Many people have no problem with throwing away the old and getting the new, latest one. I grew up with a dad who always lived in such a way that he held onto things and used them right up until they didn't work anymore. He would revive and refresh and re-fix everything over and over again. But what if it can’t be fixed? What if there are some things that have to die and new things that must be made new?

This year I limp into Christmas, with a broken heart that just doesn't seem able to re-charge. It is 8 weeks since my dad suddenly died and left me with a very big hole in my life. Right now, no amount of work, cheer, distraction, friends, family and even food seems to fill the hole for very long. The battery is low and as Christmas day looms, my “charge” grows weaker.

I think so many of us run so hard all year, that we limp into Christmas Holidays with a low battery. Sometimes that is self-inflicted and then other times it is due to circumstances and events that are beyond our control. And yet as a Pastor/Minister it is up to me to put a smile on my face and lead others in the message of Christmas. The message of love, joy, peace and hope. 

I can’t help but wonder if God’s plan for love and peace and joy and hope was thwarted so many times that His battery got so low that he decided the world needed something new, that something had to die for new hope to be birthed.

Jesus coming to this earth as a baby was such a new story, one the world had never seen. God in the form of a human, living and giving in the most extraordinary ways, until He chose to die on a cross and rise again for our us, in order to bring love, joy, peace and hope. And this new thing all began that very first Christmas.

Some things cannot be revived, refreshed or re-fixed. The batteries will just not charge like they used to and sometimes we do need something new. My dad is gone and he will not come back. I miss him every day, all the things that he fixed, remade, refreshed, revived over the years are now being thrown away and eventually the traces of my dad will be only in our memories. I know I am blessed to have such beautiful ones. It is a painful process saying “goodbye”. I believe that Dad is already refreshed, revived, renewed … but we have to go on.

So where does that leave me? I choose joy, love, hope and peace. I choose to be reminded this Christmas of the wonderful story where God came into this world to do a new thing, so that we might leave the old and step into the new. I choose to believe that God’s plan has never changed and that, like my father’s faith, I hold onto it, even when I am limping. If Dad were here he would be pragmatic enough to accept that God has it all in hand and that we have to simply do the best we can for the time we are here in these mortal bodies. I am not sure if he would be able to throw the phone out. I am sure he would try to fix it, but, hey, maybe 2018 it will be time for a new phone. Or at least I certainly hope it will be a year where HIS joy, peace and love will sustain me and help my batteries to re-charge.

I pray if you are limping into Christmas and your batteries are low, that the message of Christmas will re-charge and revive you. There is hope, joy peace and love to be found in the birth of Jesus.  You simply have to choose it.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017 honour a life well lived.

Time …you can’t slow it down, you can’t speed it up, you can't make it, you can’t get it back. There is a time where it matters and times that it really doesn't matter.

Time is fleeting and yet time can feel like it is never going to stop.

There are moments that you forget and there are moments that can never be taken away.

I will never forget the moment in time, 3 weeks ago when my husband walked into the house to tell me that my father had a motorcycle accident and had died instantly. There are times when you feel like you are in slow motion, when time does not feel real…when time doesn't make sense. There are moments for us when a time means that life will never be the same.

You can’t change time, but you can waste it.

I have always tried to live as if every moment matters and have never wanted to waste any of it.

I learned this from my dad.

Dad could achieve 10 hours worth of work in one hour. With his speed, his passion, his skill, he could make anything happen when it needed to and he did it in record time.

And yet when he was talking to someone, giving to someone, sharing something, helping someone, time was never an issue. He took the moments to listen, to impress, to share his views, to make you feel special.

It doesn't mean he didn't ever waste time. Oh, my gosh could he do that. Just try and go buy something with him and see how much time it took for him to make a decision. Every option must be explored, every possibility uncovered and then after thinking about it for a time he would finally buy it. But you knew it would be the best deal, the best option and the best saving of money around. And then he would say “that is never a waste of time”.

I am so thankful for all the time we had. Each time I saw him he would hug me and say, “love you real big”. His squeeze would almost hurt it was so strong, no-one will ever hug me like that again.

I am so thankful for all the times in “Shadrack”, his speedboat. My favourite place was sitting beside him in the front seat, the motor so loud that we couldn't talk, but he would smile at me, wink and rub my leg and I knew there was no greater place on earth. He would drive that boat and take people skiing all day if he could, as long as he could stop for a cup of tea every now and then.

I am so thankful for the times when I would come to him and explain a crazy idea. His first response was to take the time to tell me all the ways it would not work and then he would make it a reality. I don't know who will help me make my crazy ideas a reality now he is gone.

I am thankful that he would never let a time go by to speak his mind. I was always amazed how he could be so cranky, politically incorrect and many times rude, yet still people loved him wherever he went and remembered the things that he said to them. I know how he felt about me, what he thought all the time. I will never be left wondering.

I am so thankful that, as hard-nosed as he could be, if you stuck with him you quickly learned that he was also the biggest softy out. As children we will never forget the times we would all watch “Little House on the Prairie” and as each episode ended, my brother and I would look at Dad and wait for the tears to roll down his cheeks… and then we would laugh at him.

I am so thankful that in the lowest time in my life, he was the one who dropped everything to be there, hold me, cry with me and tell me that everything was going to be alright and I always felt if he was there it would be okay.

I am thankful that even though he could have simply showered his grandchildren with things, he always chose TIME over things, and always spent quality time and quantity time with each of them. My kids will carry those memories, experiences and words with them wherever they go.

I am so thankful that for the past 12 years in particular, we have truly done life together in a faith community, where we worshiped, learned, laughed, gave and served together side by side. I was proud to share my father with so many children at SCKC (a camp for children of neglect), for whom he was their “poppy”.

I am so thankful that he lived out his faith.  Every day for him was a TIME to live out what he believed. Colossians 3:6-7 describes the faithfulness of my dad.

 “You received Christ, the master: now live HIM. You’re deeply rooted in him, You're well constructed upon him, you know your way around the faith. Now do what you have been taught and start living it…and let your living spill over into thanksgiving”

Such was the faith of my father.

Although this time for him on this earth has passed, I don't regret one moment of it.

There are some people that time cannot contain, there are some people like my dad where there is simply not enough time to share all the funny, inspiring, challenging ways that he impacted my life.

As I am my father’s daughter I never want to miss a TIME to say…time is precious, don’t waste time, live it to the full and live without regrets, take the time to let those you love know it.

Thank you Dad, for all the TIME you gave me and what you have taught me about how to use my TIME. I miss you every day and think about you all the TIME and I will endeavour to not waste a moment of time until we are together again.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The air that I breath….when running on empty

I wake up on the eve of a really big weekend that I know I’m am not ready for, a marriage retreat I am  co-leading and I am not as ready as I would like to be and am feeling like "Who am I to be leading this ?" ……..

But the day begins......
My morning view......thank you Lord.

My husband is stressed about some big decisions and jobs hanging over his head today…so I comfort him and encourage him, kiss him and say I believe in him.

My son is wondering around the house stressed because he has lost his car keys and he is late for work  …….I am feeling cold, only in my pjs, no shoes on the cold floor, I have just walked into the lounge and I drop what I was doing and wander around looking for his keys……I find the keys hidden in some clothes in the corner of the room…..he grabs them, says thanks and leaves.

I wake my daughter….who opens one eye and says  “ I don't want to do this monologue at school, I am not ready” ..I sympathise with her ….knowing exactly how she feels, because of the weekend ahead…..knowing that I am partly not ready, because it was her 17th birthday yesterday and the whole day was spent with her (my desire and choice of course) and the house still is left with the aftermath of the party we had last night for her……but I know this moment is about her……so I hold in my own thoughts and say “I know it is tough, but up you get and lets get you ready, I know you will do your best…..thats all you need to do”.   

I kiss my husband as he leaves out the door….thats two gone. 

My smelly dog follows me around, wanting breakfast. She is smelly because she is way overdue for a bath, but I haven't had time to do that lately, and lets be honest if I don’t, no one will. 

My daughter calls out, because she needs an assignment to be printed out on the computer and it is not working. SO, I drop what I am doing again and go and fix that ……okay fixed……..I get her lunch ready ….and then drop her off to school with all her props for her presentation for the day……I just grabbed my shoes and put them on….my hair is wet and a mess, I am not dressed probably, but that is okay I am just dropping her off. 

We get to school and she has no one to help and there is so much for her to carry. So I get out, grab some stuff and help her.  I look a mess as I run into the main school office….but who cares……I kiss her goodbye and tell her she will be wonderful. 

Thats three gone……..I begin to drive home… car is on “empty”, I know I will get home…….just….It is 8:32am, I am running on empty already and the day has only just begun. 

I walk in the door, to find the dog sitting, waiting for me …….patiently sitting…..waiting…….I feed her and put the jug on for a cup of tea, that will be nice to start my day…….I receive a text from the RTA….your car’s rego runs out in 2 days ……just a friendly reminder……

Great…..I am supposed to leave sometime today in my car, full of gear to lead a two day marriage  retreat, upon which when I leave on the Sunday at the end of the retreat….my car will be out of rego and I will not be able to legally drive it home.

I sit in silence….with my cup of tea……in a messy house, with messy hair, running on empty and just BREATHE. 


……..and everything is alright….I know it will be. I love my life, my family, the opportunities to serve. This is the life of a mum, a wife, a person of faith. It is what we do…..most days it is not always this full on….but many days it is……I know I am loved and valued by my father in heaven and my family here on earth. There are days when it feels like everything I do goes unnoticed and yet I don't do it for that. There are special times when they stop and say thanks…I mean really say thanks. In fact my daughter gave me a card this past mothers day that said all I needed to hear ……it is days like these that I get it out and read it over and over again:

“I love the little things you do….It’s in the small everyday things that I receive your love and it means more than anything. It’s how you make me pizza for school, drive me to the bus stop, wake me up every morning when I could just have an alarm, want to spend time with me, wait for me in the car at singing, love my friends and always willing to listen to me whether it’s about my day at school or ranting about people. You are always there, doing the little things that could be taken for granted, and I’m taking this opportunity to thank you for them all. Not only do I love the little things you do but that’s one of the ways that I feel you love strongly”

AS I breathe that in….I am ready for the day. What do you need to breathe in to get you through you day?