cuppa with martha moger

A Cuppa with Gidsy and Jo

gidsy and jo

IT’S BACK!!!  Yes, your favourite tea time interview series is returning, and this time with a creative theme.  I have been speaking to lots of creative Christians to find out what inspires and motivates them.  So snuggle up on the sofa with your favourite mug as we chat with our first cuppa with our first suspect…..

1. Introduce yourself to us in one sentence ….

I’m Martha – I design embroidery and sewing projects for mums to do with and for their kids, then write all about it on my blog ‘Gidsy and Jo’.

2. What is it that you make?handmade dolls

Although I started out making soft toys for my sons and their friends, I realised that so many mums I knew wanted to make and craft for themselves, it might be better to turn the toys into beautiful, high quality kits that mums could afford. Making bespoke soft toys can be a pretty expensive product! At the moment I sell on Etsy and Not on the High Street, but my big passion is writing about creativity and creating projects for the web. I do this on my blog and guest post on some others too. Basically, if I can enable you to make something you’ll be proud of, then that’s what I want to do!

3. Tell us the story of how it all started.

embroidery mermaidI’ve got a degree in textiles and embroidery and worked sourcing shoes for the high street after I finished uni. At that time I was travelling quite a bit and learnt a lot about how products are sourced and developed overseas, then brought back to the UK high street to sell. After I had my first son the place I was working at told me I could go back full time or not at all. Faced with that choice I chose the latter. My boys are quite close in age (18 months apart) and by the time the little one was about eight months old and I was up to my eyes in nappies and sleepless nights, I found I was desperate for a creative outlet. I couldn’t get my head round making anything – I was just too tired! Somehow I stumbled on a blog from a link out of Etsy and thought I’d like to have a go at it. My husband set up my first blog. I had no idea how to use WordPress, take good photos, or what to write about, but over the space of about three years I just kept posting, really for myself, and had also started an Etsy shop. When my youngest son went to school last September, I decided to really concentrate on growing my products and my blog and write for other people, to solve their problems, rather than for myself. Although there are quite a lot of ups and downs, I feel incredibly fortunate to have that opportunity.

4. How do you include your faith into your work and what you make?

I think we’re made to glorify God and enjoy Him and be satisfied and reliant on Him, and I don’t think that having a faith means you have to make creative work specifically about what you believe to do that. God’s nature is as the most wonderful creator there ever was, so making things is in His likeness. When we do that to serve and help other people, and do it as beautifully and excellently as we can in the world, I think that’s an expression of being like Jesus. I talk to Him every day and ask for the wisdom to take my business forward and to hold it lightly and not let it become more important than He is.

5. Do you have anything to encourage us?!

My encouragement would be that nothing, not even doing what you love (because it’s always fraught with uncertainty, doubt, highs and lows!) can give you satisfaction or security like knowing Jesus will. Also, something I’m learning is to trust Him more, so that when my plans don’t come out the way I thought, I know He’s still in charge and it’s still all good.

6. Please share a photo of your favourite mug! 

This is a mug my sister bought for me and I love it. You can’t beat a bit of pattern and colour in my book!Martha Mogers favourite mug

Thank you so much for taking the time to have a cuppa with us Martha!  If you would like to find out more about Martha’s awesome materials, and her free online course to get your making more, then you can find her:

Blog: Gidsy and Jo
Free Course: A short, free email course to help mums make more of what they love.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gidsyandjo/
Facebook: Gidsy and Jo

a cup of tea with cathy thomson

A Cuppa With Cathy Thomson

a cup of tea with cathy thomson

I got the chance to catch up with Premier Digitals “Up and Coming” award winning blogger Cathy Thomson from Gospel Centred Parenting!  I can’t wait to share our conversation with you all, so make sure you have your cuppa and find a nice snuggly corner for 10 minutes….

It’s really nice to meet you – please introduce yourself to us all!

Hi I’m Cathy. I’m wife to lovely Scott, my childhood friend, and stay-at-home-mum to two cheeky chaps – Reuben who is two and a half years old, and Boaz who is 6 months old. They keep me on my toes and thoroughly reliant on caffeine and chocolate! I have future aspirations to embrace an extreme sports lifestyle with my boy-clan, but in reality I love nothing better than drinking a glass of red wine in front of our wood-burner! Scott and I blog together at www.gospelcentredparenting.com

Where do you live and what do you like/loathe about it?

We live in Hartlepool in the mighty North East of England! Scott and I met at a little Baptist Church here when my family moved to hartlepool years ago – Scott was 13 and I was 9. Little did we know that we would be getting married 12 years down the line! We love Hartlepool, there’s gorgeous coastline, a beautiful nature reserve and friendly people here. After living away for several years, we moved back to Hartlepool to plant Grace Church.

How many kids do you have?

I’ve already mentioned them, but I could talk about them all day – they’re ace! One of our most popular blogs gives you a little insight into the craziness of life with two tinies, and it gives you a flavour of the vivacious personality of our toddler! It’s a good read if you’d like to feel better about your own parenting! 😉 You can read it here.

What is the best thing about motherhood for you?

It’s so hard to pick one! I love cuddling my little ones when they’re sleepy. I love it when Reu has just woken from his nap and be nuzzles his nose into my neck! Or when baby Boaz falls asleep in my arms – it’s just the best feeling.

And what is the worst thing?!

Also hard to pick one…. I think the horror of seeing your child’s sinfulness for the first time. I remember when Reuben purposefully scratched his brother’s head out of jealously, it drew blood and we were all horrified! All three of us cried!

How do you try to help your children connect with God and the bible?

It’s really hard to do with tiny children I think. Reuben is starting to get to the age where you can have proper conversations that sort of make sense, but before this developmental stage it’s really hard to chat about God, because you’re just not sure what they’re computing – it feels a bit like talking to yourself! We’re trying to get more purposeful with our speech in ordinary life though, and we’re beginning to chat to the boys about Jesus in ordinary situations. We’ve written a series on our blog “Gospel in the Everyday” which seeks to help us think about how the everyday things of life can point us as parents to gospel, and then how we might communicate this with our children.

Scott reads a children’s Bible with Reu on a night and they pray together before bed (I eavesdrop next door as I feed baby Boaz to sleep). During advent we did some family devotions as a family of four (which was more about trying to form a habit of doing this, rather than because any of us particularly got much out of it!) But we think it’s really important to set the precedent now, as there’s probably no easy time to start these things.

We’re really grateful for Grace Kids at our church. We have some really gifted people who help teach the little ones the same things that we as adults are learning during the Sunday sermon – this is intentional so that we are able to chat to our children about what they’ve been learning about (which is hopefully the same thing as us!) We also have weekly “life groups” where we meet in someone’s home and have a meal together (all the children come for that part) and then we have a bible study once the children are in bed. This is a great way of helping the kids to feel like they are an integral part of the church, for them to see Christian community lived out and for other adults to disciple our children too.

What is your “mission-field” at the moment?

Being a parent to young children is such a gift evangelistically! It’s great getting to know other parents at play groups – there are few other scenarios where you are free to meet the same people multiple times in the week and chat about whatever you want (even though the conversation is often interrupted to wipe noses/ clean bums/ break up fights etc!). We’re blessed that we have several families in our church with young children which means that as a group of Christian mums we’ve been able to get to know other mums at play groups. Excitingly two of the mums that we’ve met are now regular attenders at our church and are participating in a Christianity Explored course! Praise God. It’s so much easier doing mission in community.

What causes or activities are you particularly passionate about and why?

If I’m totally honest, I would feel like a bit of a fraud to say I’m an activist for a particular cause – most days I feel like I’m doing well if I manage to keep both boys alive and brushed my teeth before leaving the house. In this season I’m investing in our church plant and our tiny kids. Scott is just about to start working a day a week for Grace Church and part of his role will be thinking through how we as a church community can bless Hartlepool. We’re not sure what this will look like yet – perhaps getting involved with the food bank, setting up a Christians Against Poverty debt centre or running a parenting course at a local primary school. When God makes it clear what cause he wants us to champion in our town then that will be our passion. Having said that I care a lot about pro-life issues and we like to promote adoption and fostering on our blog whenever possible.(

Thanks so much for having a cuppa with me!

Thanks for the opportunity Rachel. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you through your blog. Keep up the great work!

captivated conference surrender

Captivated Conference – what I learnt and why you should totally go next year!

captivated conference surrender

You know God is going to move when you plan on not going somewhere and last minute end up going!  Well that was the Captivated conference for me. I had rationalised why I shouldn’t go (I was too busy, it would be too difficult to get there and cost too much) but then a good friend gave me one final prod and I caved.

what is captivated conference???

As a mum, we often think we the kids are solely our responsibility, that life will stop if we’re not there, that our husbands can’t cope without us for even a day.  Well you know what – THEY AREN’T, IT WON’T and THEY CAN!  Don’t we owe it to ourselves to recharge spiritually every once in a while?  To be able to actually spend time worshiping and being taught, instead of always having one eye on the kids.  I think we do.  I think that every mum should be able to have one day off (at least!) to spend a day with God and others in the same position as them.  We will be better mothers and wives for doing so.

That is what Captivated is.  It is a day conference especially for christian mums (their slogan is “Mums journeying with Jesus”), where we get teaching into our specific needs.  This year the fabulous Anne Calver was the speaker, and she was powerful!  The biggest thing I learnt from her was to stop putting things in the way of acting on what God has called us to do.  We can far too often say “I am only a mum, I am tired, I am not as good as them” but we forget that God called US to do it.  He didn’t call someone else, and he doesn’t ask us to do something that we are not gifted or equipped to do (or that he won’t equip us to do on the way!).

what did God challenge me on?

For me, the challenge was about a particular ministry I feel called to – using creative arts to reach i am not an artist, i just have a creative heartpeople, especially teenage girls.   I have always used the excuses of not enough time, too tired, being a mum gets in the way (I closed down my wedding stationery and craft business when I had Sam) and lately just that I’m not as talented as others in creative arts.  But God really challenged me on that this weekend.  Because my calling isn’t to be a Christian Artist with a beautiful etsy shop (there are others who are doing that amazingly well!) but it is to be a facilitator to help others discover their creativity and to connect with their creator through that.

The lady who I ended up sat next to on Saturday had also come on her own.  And as we were chatting in one of the breakout sessions, she said that she was getting excited when I was talking because she could feel the passion there for what I wanted to do.  I am now praying that my fears (of rejection, not enough money to do it and energy) are knocked over one by one and that I am able to move forward in my desire to run creative art workshops.

are you Interested?!

So if you came to Captivated, what did God do in you on Saturday?  I’d love to share in some of your hopes and dream and stand with you in those.  And for anyone who didn’t make it, would you like to join me next year?!  It is only one day, and for a conference it is very affordable (this year’s early bird tickets were around £17 – and that included doughnuts!!).  One day to invest in yourself as a mother and a child of God, whats not to love?

If you want to find out more about captivated, you can join their facebook group here or find more info on the website.

cup of tea with annie willmot

A Cuppa With Annie Willmot

cup of tea with annie willmot

Grab your favourite mug and get all snuggled up, its time to have a natter with another amazing Christian mum.  Annie is a fellow blogger and was the first recipient of Joy on her journey across the UK during 2017!  So sit back and have a bit of time to yourself whilst we get to know Annie…..

It’s really nice to meet you – please introduce yourself to us all!

I’m Annie, I’m 28 and I’m married to Pete. I trained as a social worker at Uni then worked coaching unemployed young people, before being a Children and Families Pastor at a church in London (where my husband was Worship Pastor). Then, I became a mummy and I’m now working part-time for Parenting for Faith at The Bible Reading Fellowship.

Where do you live and what do you like/loathe about it?

The countryside is my happy place; I am my most content when I can see grass and trees. So, moving out of London to Berkshire recently has made me really happy! I miss being able to walk everywhere/hop on a bus like I could in London but there’s nothing I loathe yet; the traffic is pretty bad but compared to London it’s a breeze!

How many kids do you have?

Just the one little guy for now, he’s 15 months old. He started properly walking at 10 months old (cruising along furniture at 7 months) and he is on the go ALL the time so he keeps me on my toes! He’s such a character, super determined and often giggles to himself as if he’s made some sort of secret, hilarious joke.

What is the best thing about motherhood for you?

Everyday I absolutely love getting to know my little boy more, seeing his character, watching his sense of humour develop, seeing what he is fascinated by and what brings him joy. I love that I get to watch him develop and grow daily and that I get the privilege

And what is the worst thing?!

We’ve had a horrible season of sickness in our house over the last few months including, three tummy bugs, multiple fevers, colds and chickenpox. Now, we’re almost healthy but my little one is teething and unfortunately when he gets new teeth he generally vomits or has pretty explosive nappies for a few days. However, it’s not cleaning up the mess or even being sick myself that are the worst things, it’s seeing my little one in pain and not being able to help him. It’s having him cling to me for hours of an afternoon and sob because his gums are so sore or he’s just feeling poorly. That’s the worst, when all you want to do is make them feel better and all you can do is rub their back and hope you’re helping to make it just a little bit better for them.

How do you try to help your children connect with God and the bible?

For me, teaching my kid about faith is about sharing my faith with him in the every day moments. So, that means those moments when I’d normally be praying in my head I’m chatting to God out-loud. When he gets to be asking questions I don’t want to be explaining my relationship with God and for him not to have seen what it looks like, it shouldn’t be a surprise to him that I chat to God all day, or that I pray for people.

We read the Beginner’s Bible at teatime with a sticker book after tea at the moment. My little guy is sticker obsessed so it’s a really great point of connection at the moment. We used to pray at bedtime but he is just so excited it didn’t work! So, we chat to God about our day but we don’t structure the time or feel we have to do it. We have a selection of Bibles on the bookshelf (one of the benefits of having been a Children and Families Pastor and now working for a publisher) so it’s often what he chooses before bedtime but equally more often than not we end up reading some ridiculous repetitive animal book!

I spend a lot of time framing times when we connect with God, I love bringing him back into church early during the worship and talking through what we’re singing and how people might be meeting with God. As parents, my husband and I are always looking for moments to create windows into our connection with God and into church life, for my little one.

What is your “mission-field” at the moment?

I feel like my whole life is sort of my “mission-field”, in that I hope that anyone I meet will experience God’s love through me, so that includes other parents, work colleagues, my neighbours, local shop owners and anyone else who I happen to chat to!

What causes or activities are you particularly passionate about and why?

Everything I’m passionate about comes from my desire for real honesty. I blog about parenthood because I had a lot of conversations with Mums who were frustrated with not hearing the honest, messy version of motherhood. The same goes for marriage and mental health. Marriage is hard, the more we talk about it, the more we are honest about how we need to communicate well and work to cherish one another, the better it will be. I heard someone on a podcast recently who said, “no one got better from a mental health issue by not talking about it.” Mental health issues are a taboo and they shouldn’t be, it’s ok not to be ok and it’s ok to talk about not being ok.

I want to raise a kid who is emotionally healthy. I know so many adults who aren’t and if they are then (in my experience) it’s quite likely they’ve had to work hard as an adult to become so. I want my kid to be completely prepared for whatever life throws at him and to be able to talk about it all, process his emotions and know that it’s ok to feel them.

I’ll stop there before I ramble on any further! Lovely to chat 🙂

Thanks so much for having a cuppa with me!

You can find Annie over on her blog, or follow her on twitter @mamawillmot or instagram @mamawillmot.

mummy meditations - tree with patience

Mummy Meditations – Patience (Week 1)

mummy meditations - tree with patience

Week one of patience, whoop whoop!  Well maybe not whoop whoop.  We all know patience is a tough thing and probably one of the most challenge fruit of the spirit.  So as we begin this fresh month looking at patience I am praying for us all.  Deciding to look at this means we are going to be pushed to our limits, and if we want to grow in patience we must be willing to accept situations where we need to show patience.  We will be learning how to do it/not do it from some of our favourite bible characters.  This week we looked at Hannah….

hannah bible verse 1 samuelpatience in the waiting

The story of Hannah is one of waiting, and not knowing if anything will happen.  Hannah desperately wanted a child, but was barren.  Her husband’s other wife at the time was very fruitful, so you can imagine her pain.  We read in our verse that this wasn’t just a short term thing, but that it went on “year after year”.  Poor Hannah was childless and she didn’t know if or when it would end.

Sometimes we have awful situations and we don’t know when they are likely to end.  But through the Spirit living inside us, we can keep going knowing that the Lord will sustain us through it, and that our prayers will be answered at just the right time.  Patience is being willing to wait for as long as necessary.  

Patience when provoked

The second thing we learn in this verse is that Hannah didn’t just have her own thoughts and disappointment to deal with, but that she also had a rival provoking her to make matters worse.  Our own thoughts can be tough enough to deal with, without adding judgment from others when we are going through tough times.  But when we have the Spirit living inside us we can have the strength to keep waiting and keep going through that.  Patience is being wiling to wait even when the world ridicules you for it. 

Patience alongside God

When we read the next couple of verses, we find that Hannah doesn’t suffer in silence.  No.  She knows that  in order to carry on being patience and to seek a way out of her situation she has to turn to God.  And she pleads with God in prayer for the child she so desperately wants.  So much is her desire to have a child coupled with her trust in God to fulfill that, that she promises to give the child up to serve God if he answers that prayer.  God faithfully answers, and Hannah faithfully follows through on her end of the promise.  Samuel is given to the temple when he is weaned.  Patience is knowing who to turn to in the waiting. 

Turning patience into praise

Hannah waited patiently and saw her answer to prayer.  Was she sad that she then had to give up her child to God?  No!  In 1 Samuel 2 we see Hannah praising God for all she has been through, for his power in the situation.  There is no mention of how long she had to wait.  No moaning that she had to be patient in it.  The time it took to answer her prayer doesn’t matter because it was answered!

How often do we moan all the way through situations, and then even when the prayer is answered we moan about how long it took?  Patience is accepting the wait and being thankful for it. Patience is knowing that God works in the waiting and praising him for that.  

NExt week!

The lovely Naomi from Life by Naomi will be writing up next week’s verse over her blog (where you can also catch last weeks final look at peace).  We will be moving on to look at the character of Abraham and how he did/did not display patience, focusing on this verse:

“Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Genesis 17:17

I hope you will join us in meditating on this.  If you would like to have access to more resources to help you study this, including free lock screens and worksheets, then sign up below to our Mummy Meditations Community:

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 

 

a cuppa with nicola woods

A Cuppa With Nicola Woods for Join in January

a cuppa with nicola woods

 

I am super excited to see my cuppa with series return.  This time it is part of Join in January, a guest posting event hosted by Christian Bloggers UK to promote Christian bloggers working together and hopefully introduce you to some lovely new bloggers.  I loved chatting to women last summer through this series, so if you would like to take part in a cuppa with interview do fill in the contact form at the bottom.  For now, I will leave you to get to know Nicola Woods (I hope you have your cuppa in hand!)

It’s really nice to meet you – please introduce yourself to us all!

Hi there! I’m Nicola Woods and I’m 32 years old (I honestly have to double check my age these days!) and have been married to my husband Colin for almost 9 years now. I love doing those ‘interesting facts about you’ icebreakers as I’ve met and spoken to the Queen back in 1995 when she opened a motorway bridge and I’ve been on the Weakest Link where I got to the 6th round so got a personalised insult from Anne Robinson! I’m a qualified accountant but I am a stay at home mum these days. I love coffee, chocolate, journaling and when winter turns into spring.

Where do you live and what do you like/loathe about it?

I live in Belfast in Northern Ireland. It’s the most fantastic city in many ways as it’s small, but has plenty going on, we live less than 10 minutes drive from a beach, my husband has a short commute to work and the whole of beautiful Northern Ireland (and the South) is easily accessible. Sometimes I get frustrated living here as it’s where we both grew up and feels very uninteresting to live a few streets away from my husband’s childhood home and a few miles from mine. I think neither of us ever imagined settling down here!

How many kids do you have?

I have two boys – Daniel is 4 and Rory is 19 months. Daniel loves ice cream, reading books, counting, playing i-spy, going on trains and visiting the farm. He also has Down Syndrome. Rory loves climbing, spinning, building towers, watching planes and running around after his brother. He also has crazy curly hair.

What is the best thing about motherhood for you?

I love watching the two boys playing together and the cuddles and wet kisses from them! Rory still has that lovely soft skin and smells so good, while Daniel melts into you when he cuddles up on the sofa and you just don’t want to be anywhere else at those moments!

And what is the worst thing?!

The relentless nature of it. I frequently feel overwhelmed as we’re often still up at night (with both boys) and they need supervised constantly when they’re awake. Daniel, because of some of his developmental delays, is like another toddler but he also has different needs to Rory so there’s a lot going on,

How do you try to help your children connect with God and the bible?

We have started having a faith anchor in our day. When my husband is on the bus home from work, he texts us and the boys and I do a quick tidy up of the toys, we light a candle on the kitchen table and then sit down on the sofa with their devotional book (we use Everything A Child Should Know About God) and we talk about God. Daniel struggles with his understanding of intangible concepts so I just pray that God makes Himself real to him as he grows up. He loves talking about baby Jesus and the stable and donkeys, so I know he has got the nativity story, except for the fact he thinks I’m Mary after I acted her in a church drama at Christmas!

We also pray at bedtime and when we’re out and about and something comes up that we need to pray about. I’m a big fan of sticking some worship music on and having a dance to music that declares Biblical truths as they often stick better in our head than many a talk or devotional.

It is definitely a challenge trying to help a child with a learning disability connect with God and the Bible as many concepts are so abstract and the vocabulary is very hard to teach. And it’s hard not to look forward to Daniel’s teens and adulthood and see the parts of church that will be a real struggle for him.

What is your “mission-field” at the moment?

My mission-field should probably be the school-gate but I’m always a bit frazzled at the school gate and don’t think I do a good job at all at representing God there. And at tots groups I’ve always got to have an eye on Rory, who would escape at the first opportunity so I often feel like I’m not paying full attention to people I’m talking to. I should pray about both those places!

I think my blog – www.happyisherhome.com – has provided me with a place to share with people how my faith has helped us through some difficult times and how circumstances the world sees as difficult can still bring joy. Our lives are ultimately lived with an audience of one, so we don’t live trying to please others and there is such happiness and hope that comes from living a life with God.

I’ve also had the blessing of speaking with many mums with a baby with Down Syndrome and encouraging them that this is a very precious baby that will surprise and delight them as they grow up. I actually think this is a really important mission-field for me.

What causes or activities are you particularly passionate about and why?

Daniel has transformed my understanding of disability. Pity is not what people with disabilities and their families need or want, and I believe that the church could do a much better job of ministering to people with learning disabilities in particular. Our church family has a number of children with Down Syndrome in it and most people have made a real effort, for example, learning Makaton signs and telling us what’s going on in Sunday Club so we can talk to Daniel about what he’s learning.

Outside of the church arena, I am really passionate about changing attitudes to Down Syndrome which unfortunately are really negative and outdated due to fear around pregnancy testing and poor reporting in the media. Our lives are truly better BECAUSE of Daniel’s Down Syndrome, not in spite of it. He is emotionally intelligent, sociable, loving, bright, engaging and I believe that our home is happier because of Down Syndrome.

Thanks so much for having a cuppa with me!

Thank you so much for having me!

if you would like to be the next person to have a cuppa with me then please fill in your details below and I will be in touch…

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’cuppa with series enquiry’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’/][/contact-form]

Precious time with my youngest boy

 

This week has been an unusual one.  It has been the first half term when my eldest son hasn’t been in nursery, as he has now gone term time only to help us save a bit of money!  Because of this, he has gone over to Grandma’s for a week of fun with her, and I have only had my littlest boy with me.  

It has been so lovely to spend some quality time with him, to play with him and give him my full attention all the time and to get to know him in a way that isn’t possible when Sam is around.  I have loved it!!

It got me to thinking about how much that alone time with a child is really worth, and how valuable it must be to God for him to have alone time with us too.  God loves spending time with us in the midst of our busy days and hectic lifestyles, but it is completely different when he gets that quality one-on-one time to just sit and chill with us.  In a world of multi-tasking, giving someone your full attention is rare, but so so valuable.    I need to strive to carve out that time with each of my boys in the future, but also to do the same with God.

Here is a very small and blurry picture of my littlest one for you all to enjoy!

 

Heritage – Mummy Meditation Week 19

Welcome to week 19 of Mummy Meditation!  If you didn’t catch last weeks on the first part of this psalm then do check it out, but if not here is the verse I have been looking at this week:

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” Psalm 127:3

Now lets get this out of the way – children can be down right tiring and pains in the bottom sometimes.  There done!  I said what most of us are thinking!  But most parents would agree that the hard and challenging times are worth it for the joy that children bring.  In seeing your little ones grow and learn.  Nowadays, having children is a choice for most us – we can afford contraception and decide when we want to have children and how many.  There are even many options for those who struggle to conceive – IVF has made huge leaps forward to allow previously “barren” women to be able to have their own children.  Science really is amazing! (If you are going through your own troubles with conceiving a child then I really am praying for a miracle for you). So children are more an option, a choice and a decision than a blessing.  

But in bible times, it wasn’t like this at all.

Children were a huge blessing.  Children meant that you had someone to pass on your business, your wealth, the protection of your family to in a world where you didn’t know how long you might live.  Children (and especially sons) meant that you had security for the future.  This is what the word “heritage” implies.   I think we have lost the value of this word, as it is now just connected with really old dusty castles (English Heritage members may not like me saying that!) or with trying to make old things sound cool (we have a “heritage” logo at work, which is just basically our old logo that we don’t like or use anymore but don’t want to get rid of all together!).  Heritage actually refers to inheritance, it refers to kinship and it means that there is someone to pass all your goods, qualities and possessions to when we die.  

David, the psalmist, knew the pain of losing children (his first child born to Bathsheba died in early life) but also knew how important and blessed he was to have other children to be able to carry on his royal line.  He also understood his adoption as a child of God. You see, we are God’s heritage – we have been adopted into his family and as sons and daughters of the living God we will be in line to get his goods and qualities.  Have we forgotten how amazing that is? 

So I want to challenge us all to think of our children in a different way this week – to not just think of them as something we decided to have because we wanted a cute baby or a “mini me”, but to really see the value in them, the value that God sees in them and to cherish and nurture their potential.  Lets make sure that they see as well that we are God’s heritage, that they too will inherit the Kingdom of God and that they understand how important that relationship with God is to us, so that they can carry that on into their own future.

NEXT WEEK:

Just for something different I have chosen this verse for next week!

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” 1 Timothy 1:19

Choosing a school – am I a proper mum now!

 
The letter arrived last week – a slightly more exciting letter than others I have received lately!  The one where they say your little baby son (or daughter) is now old enough to apply for a place at school.  A place in Reception Class.  I am filled with a mixture of excitement that my son is growing up and gets the chance to learn and grow even more, and dread about making the wrong choice.
 
How do you make a choice like that?  Maybe I am making this too big a deal.  I feel like it is something that takes me from the ranks of baby and toddler wrestler into the ranks of proper parent.  You know – one of those mums at the school gate.  It will bring with it amazing opportunities but also new challenges, as I learn to support my little man through all the ups and downs of school life.  
 
So what I would like to ask all you school mums out there is this – what advice would you give me now?  What things should I take into account when choosing a school?  And what should I take advantage of whilst I still have my little boy at home with me?  Tell me now so I don’t miss out or mess up! PLEASE!!!