Be Still – Mummy Meditation Week 13

 

Aannnnnd breathe.

Well that’s what I needed!  Not sure about you guys but I’ve had a humdinger of a week.  Important work meetings, community fall outs, and stress after stress.  But last week I chose this verse as my meditation and I want to tell you all how I have failed (yes you heard me right..).

He says “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.“” Psalm 46:10

Be still.  Sounds simple right?  But I know many of you with kids and jobs and responsibilities (that covers most of us I think!) will find it hard.  One of my friends commented on my post of this verse this week.  She asked me if I could find a way to make my soul and spirit still, even if my body isn’t – basically the verse doesn’t say “sit still”, it doesn’t say “stand still”, it says “be still“.  And that can be on the inside even when you aren’t still on the outside.  So can we be still and calm with God on the inside whilst sorting out dinner for the kids or whilst in a work meeting?  

I have struggled with this this week, and have found it really hard to calm my spirit and find peace in God, but I have tried to push through it.  When I have felt uneasy I have repeated this verse and emphasized different parts of it “Be still and KNOW that I am God”, or “Be still and know that I AM GOD”.   And I have tried to make sure that during my time of devotion to God I take some time to just sit in stillness.  Not to read, not to pray, not to journal, but just to sit in stillness with God and think upon his character.  I wanted to try to REALLY know that he is God.  Why not have a try!

NEXT WEEK
I feel like this week I have had to step up and be a peacemaker in certain situations, and God kept reminding me of the verse below.  I really want to dig deeper into the true meaning of peacemaker this week and what it means to be a child of God, so please join me x

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Matthew 5:9


Refuge – Mummy meditation week 9



So this week I chose a verse that had jumped out at me from a facebook group, one that spoke into a (relatively) dark day that I was having and brought light.  It is one of those “feel good” verses that people often quote when something horrible is happening and they don’t know what to say.  I know – I have been that person.  But this week I wanted to delve into it a bit more, a bit deeper.  I wanted to truly understand it.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1 

Firstly, what is a refuge?  I am not sure any of us have needed a refuge properly.  Perhaps we have heard of local women’s refuges where women running for domestic violence can go, or maybe you think of all the refugee stories hitting the headlines at the moment.  The definition is quite general – “a shelter or protection, from the weather or danger”.  I guess we can all think of times when there has been a heavy rain storm and we have found “refuge” under a bridge, doorway, in a shop etc.  But have we ever needed to REALLY find refuge from danger? 

When it is raining, the refuge keeps all of the rain off you.  Although it might be going crazy outside, in your little refuge it is calm.  You can watch the storm and wait until it is over or we have rested enough to cope to come out again.  What God offers us is a spiritual refuge.  The battles in our lives are sometimes just too much, so God gently calls us to come and take refuge with him.  With him we can still see what is going on and watch, but we get rest and refresh ready to go back out in it all again or we can wait until things have calmed down a little. 

Note: I wrote that first section before receiving the awful news on Thursday morning that our house is in line to be bull dozed to make way for a revised route of the HS2 railway. (Please read “Mum on a mission is devastated” to find out more)

WOW!  God really knows what we need before we need it.  I could sort of sense a storm coming, and was slightly concerned when this verse came to mind, and I guess I was right!  But having spent the time meditating on this earlier in the week, I knew that whenever I felt overwhelmed by this news I could run to God for refuge.  There have been times when the weight of my community’s need to vent/express/find answers has been so overwhelming it has felt like a whirlwind around me.  But luckily I can stand in the calm in the middle with my God.  There have been times when the uncertainty of our future has scared me, but I have tried my best to run to the certainty of my home in heaven instead.

Undoubtedly I will have ups and down’s in this journey, but I can hold on to the FACT that God is “ever-present” in my troubles.  He is not going to leave me to deal with this on my own and his arms are always open if I need to run into them.

I really hope you haven’t had as rough a week as me so please put your musings, meditations and thoughts below.  In the meantime here is a bit of bible journaling I did in response to this news:



NEXT WEEK: I have chosen a verse which I am hoping will encourage and inspire me as I go into this challenging time in my community.

Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with spendour” Isaiah 55:5



Mum on a mission is devastated….


So today our family had some bad news.  A letter through our mailbox first thing this morning.  

Our brand new estate that we moved on to 2 years ago is now in the firing line for the new route of the HS2 railway.  This means that the government can force us out of our homes to make way for it.  This means that the community we have built here, the lives that we have made for ourselves and our sons, all of that is at risk.  

I am devastated.

I am unsure.

I am upset.

When we moved here we had a clear image from God about the location – next to a river/canal.  That our house would be a metaphor of our relationship with him.  At the time I also had the word “roots” given to me and that where we moved next would be the place we would set down roots and grow as a family.  And I have thrown everything into this community trusting God to grow our roots here.  So you can understand why I am upset.   

I don’t know yet all the details or all the information/time lines etc (and of course we would be compensated) but I feel like this is not right.  I guess that might just be my emotion and God might be doing something amazing through this, but I wanted to share how I really truly feel.  Hopefully you will pray with me through this and join me on this journey to see where we end up.

My prayer is that our community is united through this, not divided.  My prayer is that people will come to trust in the security of God’s Kingdom in heaven, and not in property here on earth.  My prayer is that God’s will is done in all this. Amen…. 

“Anchor?”- Mummy Meditation Week Five

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” Hebrews 6:19
 
I started off this week thinking it would be pretty boring and I didn’t really need to think this verse through much at all.  I mean – we all probably get the pretty obvious anchor illustration and what that means don’t we?  Like an anchor holding a ship firm through a storm on the seas, God holds us firm through life (after all this is the wording in various well known Christian songs and hymns).  But then I starting thinking about what it actually is that is likened to an anchor – it is not God himself, it is our HOPE that through Christ Jesus we will be with God in eternity.  
 
It seems a bit crazy in our world that HOPE in something would be described as firm and secure.  You see earthly hopes are quite often disappointing. They cannot live up to our expectations and hope comes coupled with fear as well (we might hope we get the grades in our exam, but we also fear the worst).  In order to fully understand this verse we have to try and break away from this earthly view of hope, as the hope we have in Jesus will definitely not disappoint. 
 
The other odd thing is the our hope/anchor is also in something unseen. In the same way that anchors are thrown in the ocean and drop way down deep in the water beyond where we can see but the sailors still trust that it will grip on to the bottom and hold them secure, we too have to put our anchor into Jesus.  Jesus takes our anchor through the “veil” (the divide between the earthly realm and the spiritual realm) to God and grips on, holding us firm through life’s storms from there.   
 
This metaphor became more and more powerful to me throughout the week that I was meditating on it, so much so that I could feel the pull on my soul of the chain between myself and my hope of being with God in eternity.  It is comforting to know that Jesus took that anchor through to God for me, and that even though I can’t see it he has given me assurance that it is there.  
 
The thing that then struck me was that in order to have an anchor that could hold you during the storm, you also had to maintain the chain whilst it was calm.  If the chain between the boat and the anchor breaks, then the anchor is no use.  This means that I need to maintain my relationship with Jesus when the going is easy, so that when the storms hit I know for sure where my hope is placed.  
 
I am going to finish with a picture that came really clear to me this week, that I have stuck into my journaling bible (excuse the awful drawing….).  This is me choosing to attach myself to Jesus, and allowing myself to be anchored in that hope of eternity with God.  
 
 
 
Anchored: cause to feel attached or secure, to provide a basis for, to have a source of stability or security, to have a rigid point of support.
 
(and if you are wondering how my bible journaling is coming along, take a look as this new page below that I did using washi tape…..)
 
 
Next week’s mummy meditation verse will be back in Philippians:
 
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
 

 

“Because of these chains” – Mummy Meditation Week 4


Here is my disclaimer – I have sucked at mummy meditation this week.  My head has been in the clouds and filled with a million and one things to do (I ran a charity cakeaway for Teenage Cancer Trust on bank holiday monday so that took a lot of brain power, and then it was my birthday on Friday so was wrapped up in celebrations….).  I sat down this morning with nothing to show for a week of contemplation and meditation, but God in all his love and faithfulness has revealed something special to me about this passage that I want to share with you all.  Here’s a quick reminder of it:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

Do you ever feel slightly guilty that you live a cushy christian life?  I mean I know we have worries and troubles, but here in the UK we can hardly call ourselves the persecuted church.  Sometimes I do, and I wonder what I would be like in those situations.  Like the Christians in Syria are currently facing and in many other places across the world.  

But God reminded me today that in this passage, it was only Paul who was in chains.  There were others who weren’t.  And they weren’t having a pity party for themselves or hiding underground because they were scared.  They weren’t crying “oh I wish it was me in chains”.  NO!  They were using what was happening to Paul as motivation to do God’s work – they were proclaiming the gospel fearlessly because Paul’s example gave them courage.  If Paul could share the gospel whilst in chains then they could sure as well do it outside.  

Shouldn’t that be our mindset today?  Lets not make the sacrifice that so many christians make in the persecuted church be for nothing – lets use it as our courage, our inspiration and our challenge to share the gospel where God has put us.  We (currently) are not Paul – we are not in chains.  But how much worse would Paul have felt if the christians outside were just sat around doing naff all whilst he was in chains for the gospel!!!  Lets make it worth something!

Finally, Paul uses the phrase “what has happened to me”.  You know, life just sort of happens around us sometimes – we can’t predict how society will change towards us, what natural disasters might strike and many other things.  But we can control how we react to them.  We can either let it be the becoming of us, where we rise up and overcome like Paul did, or we can let it overcome us and sit moaning about what has happened to us.  Paul did not moan about being in chains, he rejoiced about it!  He knew that without his chains those people in the palace wouldn’t have heard the good news of Jesus Christ.  

So whatever has happened, is happening, or is yet to happen to you, just rejoice in it all.  Rejoice in the good, rejoice in boring and rejoice in the bad, because God can use it all to further his gospel.  

I apologise again as I have no bible journaling artwork to show you this week, but next week I am hoping to get my head back in the game!  So will you join me in pondering the verse below?

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

See you next week and happy meditating!

“New Song” – Mummy Meditation Week 3

Welcome to Mummy Meditation Week 3!  If you missed last weeks ponderings about “longing” then do catch up, as it was a good one.  This week I have been thinking over the following verse, and my thoughts are below.  Join in with your own comments at the bottom….

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

Music – what is it about music that makes it so emotive?!  Why do some songs get your heart beat racing, some get your feet tapping, others bring you to tears and some just bore you to death?  Who can explain why a certain song will stick in your head for weeks and then every time you hear it after that it brings back memories of that time?

Music is powerful, it’s emotive and it’s a key way that we show our worship and adoration to God.   It’s not the only way (worship is a lifestyle of praising God through everything we do), but I don’t think there is any way that we can deny the place of music and songs in our worship of God.  

Last week our church had a huge shock and the congregation as a whole was grieving.  Our worship team led us in a song that we have done a few times before, but in many ways it was a “new song” as it took on a whole different meaning.  


When tragedy strikes we can be all too quick to shrink inside ourselves and ignore God.  But that’s not what David the psalmist did.  He would come to God and God would put a new song in his mouth.  One that verbalised a little bit of how he was feeling but that also praised God throughout it all.  That is powerful stuff. 

Do you find that a particular song etches itself on your heart sometimes?  Or that in a difficult time a particular worship song becomes your anthem that you hold on to to keep going?  I remember when we had moved house for my husband to train at Bible College.  He started in September, but I decided the right thing to do would be to stay in my old job in the midlands until I found a new one in Yorkshire.  I traveled up every Friday night to stay the weekend then back down again to the midlands on Sunday afternoon from September until December when I found a new job.  It was tough being apart but our new church in Yorkshire had just started to sing “never once” by Matt Redman:


This song became the anthem of that time, as I tried to remind myself that God had never let me down or left me before so he wouldn’t this time either.  It reminded me that part of the joy is in the journey, the struggles and the scars along the way.

The most important thing that I have taken away from the verse this week though is what the whole point of this “new song” is.  It is not to make us feel better or for God’s benefit.  It is for those who are watching.  Those who are around us in our lives.  It is so that they can see how we respond and marvel at the mystery of our faith.  It is so that they can want what we have and “abandon themselves to God”.   Wow.   

So keep going, sing your new song and let God give you new songs to sing, but just make sure you are singing them where people can see you and praise God with you.

Do share your thoughts on this week’s verse below, and here is the verse for next week (I am taking a little break from Psalms for something different!):

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

“Longing” – Mummy Meditation Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of my “mummy meditation” series – I hope that you have enjoyed a week pondering, meditating and thinking around the following verse:

“All my longings lie open before you, Lord: my sighing is not hidden from you” Psalm 38:9

A key word that jumped out to me straight away was “longing”.  What differentiates a want or a simple desire from a longing?  I started off looking at the definition of longing, and what it might mean in David, the psalmist’s, life.

Longing: a strong, persistent yearning or desire, especially for something unattainable or distant

Looking into the life of David we know he had some amazing times and some pretty rough times too.  Throughout the Psalms David always tells it how it is to God.  He hides nothing, he shares his sky high praising moments and his really low shouty moments too.  One of David’s big longings and desires was to build a temple for the Lord, a permanent dwelling place for God on earth, and I do wonder if that is what he is writing about here.  

I think what sets apart a longing from a mere want is that you pursue it no matter what.  It says in the definition that it is strong and persistent.  If something is just a mere want, then in a few hours, days or weeks you forget about it.  A longing carries on with you and doesn’t fade.  This is the kind of feeling David had towards the temple.  He even got everything set up and ready for his successor to complete his longing when God told him NO.  So strong was David’s longing for God to have a home on earth that was fitting, he was happy for someone else to fulfill it instead of him.

Later in the Psalm David says this:

Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God“.  Psalm 38:15

David kept bringing his longing before God because he knew God would answer.  He kept petitioning God because it meant so much to him, but I think he also knew that God could answer in various ways.  At the moment we are trying to teach our toddler that just because he asks us politely for something (a question with the word please at the end!) it doesn’t mean the answer is automatically yes!!  We will always answer him, but it could be a yes, no or a not now.  How willing are we to accept this as Christians; that God can answer with a no?  Or a not now, but ask again later?  Are we willing to accept that God might be testing whether we are asking out of want or out of longing, and that if we are strong and persistent in our asking the answer might change?  And are we happy to accept that our longing might remain just that; a longing.

Lots of things to ponder this week – what did you take out of it?  Here is my attempt of bible journaling this verse:



So I hope you have enjoyed looking a bit more into longing with me this week.  The verse I have chosen for my mummy meditation next week is below so please feel free to join me in pondering it (I am working through Psalms at the moment – can you tell?!):

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

“Delight” – mummy meditation week 1

I am hoping to start sharing my weekly “mummy meditation” thoughts here on the blog.  I will summarise what God has been revealing to me in the previous week through my meditation on the verse, and then I will let you know what verse I am going to be looking at over the coming week so you can join me in thinking, studying and discussing it over the week.  I might also be sharing some pictures of any bible journaling that I do in response to the verse too, so if you are joining me on starting off bible journaling you might enjoy following this too!

Last week my verse was:

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who DELIGHTS in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23

It follows on nicely from my verse the week before which was:

“Take DELIGHT in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


I think the thing that has really been jumping out to me over the last few weeks has been this word DELIGHT.  What does it really mean to “delight” in the Lord?

Delight is defined as “great pleasure or joy” and “to take great pleasure and enjoyment in”.  I love the thought that I would be in that place in my relationship with God -that all the time I spend with him and everytime I think about him or talk to him it fills me with great pleasure and joy!  I know I am not always in that place, but I really really want to be.  I mean, look at the things that these verses say are promised to those who do this – they will be given the desires of their heart and they will not fall.  How amazing is that!

Another thing that kept coming back to my mind was that God allows us to stumble, but he doesn’t allow us to fall.  Now what, you might ask, is the difference here?  I think stumbling is what happens to us all in life – circumstances come upon us and sometimes they knock us for six.  It might be a death, a job loss, an emergency of some kind.  God doesn’t stop life happening to us, and he knows that sometimes it is going to affect us and cause us to stumble a little bit.  

But the important thing is that when you delight in the Lord (not just kind of like him, not just occasionally say hi when you remember he is there, but truly DELIGHT in spending time with him and get great enjoyment from being around him) he will not let that be a permanent situation.  He will pick you back up, dust you off and help you start walking again.  That is the amazing God that we have.  And does he let someone else do that for him? NO WAY!  He is right in their with his own, personal hand to pick us up because that is how much he cares.  WOW.



JOURNALING
So here is a bit of bible journaling I have been doing in response to this – it is only half way finished as I have kind of hit a block, but I wanted to be honest and share how I am getting on:

It is all pencil drawing, which I was planning to colour in later once I had got all the design finished.

NEXT WEEK
My mummy meditation for next week will be:

“All my longings lie open before you Lord: my sighing is not hidden from you.” Psalm 38:9 

Why not join the conversation throughout the week at my new facebook page.

Mummy Meditation



So a year or so ago I wrote a reasonably pointed post about “getting your own relationship with God“.  It was sort of my answer back to those who say you HAVE to sit and a have an hour with God every morning where you read your bible and pray specifically or you are not being a good enough Christian….

You see I believe that we have a loving God who wants to know us personally, through every season of life.  I believe that He cannot be put into a box with a recipe on how to open it that you have to religiously follow.  I believe that instead, He is eager and desperate to spend time with us no matter what that time looks like.  Whether it is noisy time, walking time, tired time or stressed out time.  God does not only love those who sit in a quiet room and do their devotionals properly.

However, I hadn’t quite figured out what my relationship with God actually looked like when I wrote that post.  It was more ad hoc than anything, and I hate that feeling of playing “knock a door run” with heaven, where every so often I would remember He was there and run up, knock and ask for things, and then run away again. (I never played knock a door run in real life as I’m too goody two shoes!).  As I have just about settled in to life with two little boys instead of one, a month or so ago I started to contemplate what I would ideally like this relationship to look like, and what was actually manageable given my schedule, tiredness levels and ability to concentrate on anything for longer than the average length of a Mr Tumble episode.  

I came to the conclusion that to read a whole passage of the bible each day would be a challenge.  To remember or actually be able to digest and get something out of a daily passage would be a miracle.  And to remember it the next day would be like pigs flying on the day I won the lottery.  And I became a little depressed.  But then I started doing one of my 30 before 30 tasks – learning Christian Yoga.  And I discovered that meditation was actually really helpful.  I mean, I’m not very good at it, and I can’t quite do the whole sitting quietly for the very long, but the concept of thinking over something in your heart and mind for a while I enjoyed.  

So I developed this sort of “mummy meditation” concept.  Every week (yes I said week, as I wanted it to be acheivable – hopefully at least once a week I should be able to find half an hour of quietness in my schedule) I will sit down with my bible and read a passage.  I will pray and seek God on it and normally a particular verse will speak to me.  I then make this my meditation verse for the week, and pray on it, contemplate it, chew it over in my head and heart for the whole week.  And by the end of that week I have a better understanding of it, I might have read around it a bit if I have extra time, and most of the time I can remember that verse going forward as I have repeated it in my head so many times!!!

My current verse is:

“Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Probably a verse that is often taken out of context, I am enjoying thinking and praying around how when I take delight in the Lord, my desires become the same as His desires, and when your desires are the same as His then He will most certainly want to give you them!  

I find that walking to nursery is a great time to reflect on my meditation verse, as is in the shower, but also in the chaos of dinner time and bathtime.  It is amazing how the different contexts and challenges of our lives might bring out different things in a meditation verse that we would never realise if we just read it once in a morning devotional and then moved on to the next verse. 

So if you are a mum struggling to connect with God, feeling guilty for missing bible studies and prayer times, then give it a try.  I am also finding it ties in well with another new thing I am trying out – bible journalling – as it gives me time to develop a picture or design for my meditation verse that I can draw into my bible.  That way when I look back through I will be able to remember the time that I meditated on that verse and what it meant to me.  Watch this space for more about my bible journalling adventure!!

(p.s. do not type “mummy meditation” into google images – it is scary!)

Mum on a mission : episode two!

So you may have noticed my lack of new posts for a few weeks/months and it is not without reason!  I have been resting during the last few weeks of pregnancy and can now announce that I am a mum of two beautiful boys.  Yes a mum of two.  How scary is that?! 


The past two weeks have been a major adjustment, with all the recovery that is needed after labour, learning how to breastfeed (and coping with bleeding nipples and mastitis!) along with helping my two year old get used to being a big brother and not the centre of attention anymore.  Luckily my husband has had three weeks off to help me, but with one week left and the terror of facing dealing with two kids at the same time ahead I am once again drawn to the amazing provision of our creator.

When I was preparing for labour I had two bible verses that I memorised ready to face the pain physically and spiritually:

When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain.
John 16:21 (the message)

I loved the slightly comedic tone the message version gave this verse, as it reminds me to face labour with humour and not to focus on the pain but instead the joy of my new baby.  The second verse is one that I am taking with me into this next season of my life:

There is nothing too small that you can’t take it to God – as a wise friend told me last week “God is  the healer of everything, including nipples!”.   So when I am overwhelmed with dealing with two small lives then I will remember this.