In HER Shoes – Rachel and Leah (Week 9)

in her shoes

Good Evening Mummy Meditators!!  We are on the home straight with this crazy story about two sisters.  I hope you have enjoyed discovering more about them over the last few weeks.  Don’t forget to catch up on Naomi’s summary post from last week if you missed it.  Our meditation verse from this week was:

“He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear.” Genesis 33:2

What’s going on here then?

Just for a quick bit of context, in this verse the whole family are moving back to where Jacob came from originally after having lived a long time with Laban, Rachel and Leah’s Father.  This is no ordinary house move, and the mix of emotions flying around would have been very intense.  Mainly because when Jacob left, it was under a cloud.  His brother Esau wanted to murder him for tricking him out of his father’s blessing.  So for Jacob, he probably didn’t really want to go back and was expecting there to be hostility on his arrival, not a warm family welcome.

Knowing that, Jacob orders his family as they approach arriving.  Given that he thinks there will be hostility (and whoever is at the front will bear the brunt of that!), the order he puts the women and their children in here is quite telling about where his affections still lie!

In Rachel’s Shoes

I am sure Rachel would be jumping for joy that she was in the safety at the back of the line.  There was no chance she would get hurt if Esau and his family were in an angry mood.  Even with the difficulty in conceiving and not trusting God fully, Rachel receives love, care and protection.  I am sure she would be extra happy too that her only child, Joseph, would be safe as well.

In Leah’s Shoes

This was a bit more a risky place to be in the line.  If you were Leah, it would probably serve as another punch in the gut that you aren’t as loved as Rachel.  You are more dispensable if things go wrong, although some comfort may have been had that she was further up in the line than the servants.  I can’t help but feel sorry for Leah, that this life that her Father deceived Jacob to get has been awful for her.  The what if’s start to creep in.  What if Rachel had been Jacob’s first wife – maybe Leah would have been married off to someone who actually loved her and she would have thrived.  Their sisterly relationship would have been one of support (or maybe they wouldn’t have lived close enough to each other) rather than constantly trying to undermine each other.   To me its all a bit sad that it turned out this way, but I know that despite some awful decisions made by people in this story that God uses it to bring 12 amazing boys (and at least one amazing girl!) into this world who He has an important job for.

what now?

I love that despite the reason that Jacob ordered his family (to protect the ones he card most about in case of attack), the welcome he received from Esau was one of warmth and love.  When Jacob goes to introduce his family, it is in that order that they get to meet Esau.  The servants who were mixed up in all this were exalted as they got to meet Esau and be introduced first, whilst the two sisters were last (V6-7).  Isn’t this always the way with God?  Those who exalt themselves and look for gain, will be humbled, and those who humble themselves and serve will be exalted.  It was certainly the way with His own son, Jesus.

Next week

In our final week with Rachel and Leah (before we start our new exciting series!!!), we will be meditating on this verse:

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” Genesis 35:16-17

Naomi will be leading the discussion in our Facebook Community, so please do join in the conversation!  Why not invite another mum friend to join us ready for the new series next week, and don’t forget to check out the NEW MUMMY MEDITATIONS SHOP and stock up on some resources to help you get deeper into the bible with us.

10ofthose review

Mum on a Mission Reviews Goodies from 10ofthose.com

10ofthose review

I was so over the moon when 10ofthose.com got in touch with me to ask if you would like to review some of their products! I love that their heart is to get resources out to as many people as they can and as affordably as they can, and there are often some great bargains to be found on their website.  Today I am reviewing three products, so check out what I think below:

Raising Kids in a screen-Saturated world

raising kids bookThis is one of the books that 10ofthose.com have published in a series called “raising kids”.  They aim to be quick and easy to read, whilst equipping us as parents to deal with some pretty big topics in the parenting world right now.  I was able to read this book in a few days of snatched 10 minutes.  The chapters are really short so you can read it in chunks, so if you read it cover to cover it would probably only take half an hour or so.  The aim of the book is not to tell you exactly what you should do in regards to the issue, but to discuss it within a biblical context, get you thinking about it and provide you with a few tips and principles on how to deal with it.  I love that it hasn’t gone for the “ALL TECHNOLOGY IS EVIL” approach, but has accepted we are in a changing world, where we are parenting kids who are digital natives.

Definitely worth a read, and at only £2.99 (with heavy discounts if you order more for your mum friends at church!) it won’t cost you much either (buy it online here).  For those of you with babies or toddler, read it and prepare yourself for the future.  For those of you with older children or teenagers who feel like they are already failing in this arena, then read it as it will help you figure out a plan to get back in charge.  Other books in the series include Raising Kids in the way of grace, in a you can do it world, and in a hyper-sexualised world.  

Devotional Dippers

devotional dippersLots of you mums got REALLY excited out there when I showed you the Devotional Dippers!  This little tube brings lots of fun and will help to initiate bible related discussions with your kids.  There are little cardboard sticks inside it with a big idea, a bible verse to read, a question to think about and something to pray about too.  They are idea for younger kids who want to explore things but don’t have a great attention span!  Also great for family discussions, and for those with kids who have just got their first “proper” bible to help them start looking up passages and verses in them.

There are three different packs – Prayer, God and Key Bible Words.  They are £5.99 each or £12.00 for all three packs (buy them here).  Each contain 40 sticks, so if you did a weekly family devotional it would last you almost a whole year!!

I recorded a video review of this product too, so if you want to see the it up close then do watch that here.

ESV Scripture Journals

love joy peace journalsMy final lovely product to review was less parenting based, and more bible journaling themed.  This set of three scripture journals are really lovely.  They have a bible verse at the top of each page on the theme – either love, joy or peace.  The pages are a lovely thickness and cream coloured with lines in them for writing.  I actually sent one of these as a present to a friend and she loved it.  If you want somewhere to use as a prayer diary, to explore these three themes, or just to start doing some bible journaling before getting yourself a proper journaling bible then these are perfect.

The RRP is £14.97 for the pack of three, but you can get them all for just a fiver over at 10ofthose.com!!!  What a bargain!! Why not buy a pack and give a couple away to friends who might like them?

In HER Shoes – Rachel and Leah (Week 7)

in her shoes

Welcome back to another week delving into the story of Rachel and Leah (you can catch up last week’s summary post here).  We’ve been following the whole crazy, mixed up situation these two women find themselves in, and this week things start to get desperate (for both of them).  We spent the week meditating on this verse:

“But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” Genesis 30:15

what on earth is going on here?!

Ok, so I have to admit that my first thought was “What on earth?!!”.  This seems such an odd story, that I knew there must be more to it than just a very strange bartering exchange for a night of sex.  We see this scene where Reuben, one of Leah’s sons, comes home one day having found some mandrakes.

Firstly, it is possible that Reuben is only 4 or 5 years old at this time and might have no clue what these plants are .  Maybe he just thought they were pretty and brought them home to bless his mother (my five year old often presents me with a bouquet of daisies!), or perhaps his mum had been telling him to look out for them.  Whatever the case, Reuben brings them home and it starts up another spat between the two women.

At this point in the story, both women aren’t conceiving.  Now what makes this more interesting is what mandrakes were known for in the middle east at that time.  Mandrake plants, although very pretty, had a carrot style root that contains certain chemicals.  At the time they were linked to fertility (although there were also lots of witchcraft and other uses for them as well).  So as soon as both women saw this plant they obviously wanted them to help with their fertility and win that war of who was the best wife.

Rachel’s shoes

When you step into Rachel’s shoes you can totally understand her desire to have these plants.  When you have been childless for a long time, you start grasping at straws, anything at all, that might help you conceive and have the child you so desperately want.  But once again, we see her turning to something powerless and superstitious rather than relying on God to help her.  Rachel is willing to trade her husband for them (which is obviously complicated given that he is also Leah’s husband), showing just how desperate she is.  She is willing to temporarily lay down her place as the favoured wife to win this war.  I feel so sad for Rachel that she feels she has no other options, whilst also shouting at her to turn to God!!!  But then, how many times do we try to solve our own problems in the worlds ways, trying every possible option before we FINALLY turn to prayer??

Leah’s Shoes

Stepping into Leah’s shoes, you can feel her desperation too.  As she is the unloved and unfavoured wife, she probably doesn’t get much time with her husband.  And now that she has given him children, he probably feels he has done his duty to her so he can now enjoy the wife that he loves without needing to spend time with Leah.  She is probably ignored and left to deal with her kids on her own.  So when she sees a chance to get a night with him, she jumps at it!  Even at the expense of hurting her sons feelings (if I traded my son’s daisies for chocolate cake I’m pretty sure he would be mortified).  Leah is so fixated on still being on top in terms of kids that she is willing to trade her way there.  I feel sad for Leah too that she feels this is the way to get the best out of a life she didn’t really want and that her father’s deception led her into.

What’s the lesson here?

The lesson I am taking for this verse is to try to remember to turn to God in the first place.  The more we get wrapped up in doing things the worlds way, the bigger a mess we make, the more people get dragged into our mess and nothing really gets solved.  Instead of trying to win the war, lay your needs and desires down and see what outcome God wants instead.

next week

I am loving digging deeper into this story (even if some of the verses aren’t particularly quotable!!!) and the verse for next week is:

“Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.” Genesis 31:35

There is a whole story surrounding this verse, and the lovely Naomi will be leading us through it over in our Facebook Community – do join us!

 

prayer experiment notebook

Mum on a Mission Reviews “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”


prayer experiment notebook

I won a copy of “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”, and after asking my followers if they would like a review of it, the overwhelming answer was YES!!!  So here is my honest opinion as to what the book is like.

first impressions

prayer experiment notebookMy first impression of the book from the cover was that it looked fun and engaging for kids.  Even the title is quite engaging, with the idea that prayer can be experimental.  The designers have done a great job on this and it certainly made me want to read more.

Who’s It by then?

Inside the front cover is a section that probably only parents will read – the “about the authors” section!  But I wanted to read it to see what experience and background the authors were coming from as they wrote this book.  It was fascinating to read part of the story of it coming together, and the co-authors have a wealth of knowledge that they have put together, both in their full time jobs and in their blogging and writing. All in all, I felt in very safe hands reading the rest of the book and knew it would come from a great place of wanting to help children connect with God more.

what’s good about it?

After the “about the author” section there is also a little section explaining how the book works.  Following on from that are 14 prayer experiments to try out, as well a 6 group prayer experiments.  What’s good about it is:

  • the variety of prayer experiments that are included.  There are some that will appeal to boys, girls, different types of learners and different age groups too.  With such a variety you are sure to find something that your child will connect with that you can carry forward into their normal devotional time.
  • the book provides space for your kids to make their own notes about that experiment.inside the book  I really like the way that this book lets the kids take ownership of their own relationship with God.  Far too often we as parents buy resources and we use them, but never let the kids touch them or be involved in the planning.  This has the kids involved from the beginning, and lets them decide how to do it and have space to write about how it went.
  • children have been used in the creation of it. At the end of every prayer experiment are some reviews from other kids who have tried it out.  I think this is really great, as it shows the authors have really done their research, and the reviews are all very mixed, which gives your own kids permission to love or hate different experiments.
what’s not so good

As a mother of a five year old and a two year old, my children aren’t quite at the age where they can own their relationship with God completely.  This book is ideally aimed at 8-11 year olds, those who can write independently and want a bit more freedom to do their own thing.  I will definitely be stashing this away for when mine are a bit bigger.

inside the bookI honestly can’t think of anything else bad to say about this book!  The design of the pages inside is engaging and interesting.  There are drawing and pictures of how to do the experiments so they are easy to follow.  Everything about it is brilliant!

You can buy the book here.

In HER Shoes – Rachel and Leah (Week 5)

in her shoes

Welcome back to another week meditating on this unfolding story of two sisters – Rachel and Leah.  We have entered the childbearing part of this story, and Naomi kicked us off last week over on her blog.

Drama, drama, drama.  That is what comes to mind initially when pondering on this week’s verse.  People always say that women are great at emotional blackmail, and clearly Rachel is trying her luck with it her – join me as I ponder some more over this week’s verse:

“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” ” Genesis 30:1

A sister on the edge

So the past few years have clearly been very stressful and odd for these sisters.  Falling in love, betrayal by family members, being newlywed, sibling rivalry kicking in.  I wonder how long after getting married and waiting to get pregnant that this verse happens?  It doesn’t really give us a time frame, but we know from last week that Leah has had children by now, and so the logical time for things to happen naturally (if they were going to) has passed.  Maybe you’ve been there or know friends who have.  The point when that question starts to form in your head – “what if there’s something wrong with me?  What if I can’t have kids?”.

It’s a heart breaking question for any woman desperate to conceive.  It’s something that others are scared to bring up and ask, or a really awkward question to be asked when you are the woman in question.  The impact of having this question going round in your head is huge, and must have affected Rachel’s mental health.  The fact that the verse says she is jealous means that she is dwelling on this.  As a woman, being childless would have been one of the biggest things that defined her, outweighing her status as “beautiful”.  Rachel would truly have been a sister on the edge.

how do we react when things don’t go our way?

Rachel has found herself in an awful situation.  One that I hope no-one does.  Unable to conceive and surrounded by her sister’s babies.  So I guess we can give her some allowances!! But the way that she reacts is nothing short of drama-queen in my opinion!  She marches up to her husband and basically DEMANDS children from him!!  I can picture this scene and the voice of her saying “or I’ll die!” is just so over the top.  Whether you see this as blackmail to try to get more time in bed with her husband and increase her chances, or as just down right over reaction, this is not the beautiful Rachel we were first told about.

Rachel may have been pretty on the outside, but under-pressure she is showing her true colours.  Nothing is prettier than a spirit that relies on God and finds peace in that, but Rachel here seems to have no grasp of that and have flipped the other way.  We can contrast her reaction to that of Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel.  Hannah experienced the same anguish, watching a rival produce children and being mocked for it.  But instead of this drama-queen attitude in which she expected it was her right to have children, she turned to the Lord and prayed (1 Samuel 1:10-11).

Life is tough.  Things don’t always go our way.  There are going to be times of disappointment and hardship.  But if we can learn but one  thing from Rachel this week it is that our reactions are vitally important to the way things turn out.  We can control our reaction and who we rely upon.  Rachel tried to rely upon her own persuasiveness and blackmail to get a child.  Hannah relied upon the Lord.   When things don’t go our way, let our first reaction be to pray and leave it with God, rather than to over-react and try to twist the situation for our own good.

next week

Join us next week as we start to see the consequences of Rachel’s decision to react this way and take things into her own hands.

” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.” Genesis 30:4-6

Naomi will be leading our discussion over on the Facebook Group so come and take part!

summer holiday ideas

20 Ideas to Grow Your Child’s Faith During the Summer Holidays

summer holiday ideas

As the school year comes to a close today, many of us are now thinking about the vast expanse of the six weeks summer holidays.  If you are a geeky organised mum like me, then you might have put together a list of trip and activities you want to do with your kids, or maybe even a calendar planning out your every move!!  Or maybe you’re the opposite and like to just go with the flow.  Whatever your style ,why not try to use this summer holidays to be intentional with your children and grow their faith.  I’m not talking about family church services every morning, but there are lots of fun ways in which we can act out our faith and teach our kids a bit more during this period of extra time with them.

So here are just a few ideas that you might want to try:

  1. Order a Treasure Box to try out and explore a new bible story
  2. Buy a Godventure Sticker Book and work through it together
  3. Learn a new worship song each week and have a praise/dance party in your lounge
  4. Try out “chat and catch” from the Parenting for Faith Course
  5. Visit a Cathedral or Minister and chat about the different areas in it and what they are used for
  6. Find a Messy Church or Holiday Club that your kids can go along to (even if its not run by your normal church)
  7. Buy Bake Through The Bible and explore the bible through food
  8. Spend a day making or baking gifts for your neighbours and go and pass them out door to door.
  9. Have an open garden afternoon and invite children from your street
  10. Pick a charity and fundraise for them over the summer, seeing how much you can raise in total (perhaps pick out 3 or 4 mission related charities for your kids to choose from)
  11. Set up a new child sponsorship account with Compassion and write a letter to them
  12. Visit activities in your local community and make new friends (try your library, children’s centre and local parks for what is already going on and support them)
  13. Recreate your favourite bible story through dress up/puppets/lego/playdough
  14. Make your own flags to wave during worship at church
  15. Make a bible themed assault course in the garden – go through “the den of lions”, across the sea of Galilee, roll the rock away from the Jesus’ tomb, etc!
  16. Commit to pray for their new class teacher and class mates over the summer and make a “we’ve been praying for you” gift to give to the teacher on the first day back
  17. Make parent survival kits for the new reception class parents to hand out in September or welcome to school gifts for the new pupils themselves
  18. Offer to have their friends over for the afternoon to give another mum a break
  19. Make bible bunting and add a triangle everyday with a picture of a bible story you have read
  20. Try out the new Devotional Dippers from 10ofthose.com

Happy Summer Holidays!! 

P.S.  Do share how it goes, and if you have any more ideas on how to grow your child’s faith during the summer holidays then post them in the comments below…

parenting for faith website

Should you do the Parenting For Faith course?


parenting for faith

Have you heard about the Parenting for Faith Course?  Maybe you are involved in a mum’s bible study group or lifegroup at your church and think it might be a good resource to use?  Then have a read below of my own experiences running and taking part in a Parenting for Faith Course.

what is the parenting for faith course?

You might think its just a parenting course for Christians, but you would be completely wrong.  I went into it thinking it would teach me normal parenting skills, things that will be useful to make sure I have “good Christian kids”, but that is the wrong idea entirely.  The truth is that this course will teach you how to help your kids have an authentic faith of their own in the future.  This course will help them to not just hang off your faith as the parents, but to truly get to know God for themselves.  And if our kids know God and can manage that relationship with Him on their own, then when they reach the teenage years maybe they will just carry that on and turn to God when they go through the rough times.  Doesn’t that sound like one of the most amazing things that we as Christian parents can do??!

how does it work?

parenting for faith websiteThe Parenting for Faith course is a free video based online course.  This means that you can do it anytime, anywhere.  You can do it on your own, or with a group of other parents, and you don’t really need to wait for church to organise it – just get on and do it!!!  I have run this as part of our parents lifegroup that meets on a Wednesday morning in our church building.  There are usually between 6 and 12 mums and the accompanying tots in attendance, so it can get a bit loud.  We agreed to watch the videos in our own time before coming, and we then printed off the accompanying workbooks to go through together.  There is a leaders workbook, but in my opinion it doesn’t add much than the participants workbooks, so we just go through the questions in their together.  There is space to write if you want, and also some questions to think over at home after the session.

Are THE VIDEOS ANY GOOD?!

OK, so lets not beat around the bush.   There are lots of resources out there we could use, and you don’t want to waste your time on things that aren’t going to work!  But I can honestly say that the videos, as well as being free, are some of the most engaging Christian course videos I have ever seen.  Rachel Turner speaks in a really easy way, and the videos have a good mix of visuals and filmed scenes to keep you interested.  They are all around 25 minutes long, which makes them the perfect length for watching during midnight feeding sessions with babies (this has been road tested by some of our group!) or during nap time.  So yes – they are pretty good!

Here is a little snippet of a video that shows you what they are like and a bit more about the concept:

how has it gone in our group?

Well we are currently on session 6 out of 8, so not quite at the end yet.  But what has amazed me is how much I have learnt and how common sense it all is!!  Sometimes you don’t see things until they are pointed out to you.  There are lots of really practical ideas for different aged children, and most weeks there has been a technique that we have taken away to try with our kids at home.  Even our kids pastor said that she hadn’t thought of things in that way before, and that it would be helpful for all the parents to be able to go through the course!

why should you do it?

I would highly recommend every parent, whether their child is a baby or older, to spend the time and do this course.  If nothing else, it opens your eyes to the fact that we have to be intentional about teaching our children our faith, we cannot just leave it up to Sunday School to do that or else a real relationship will not flourish and when it comes to being their decision they will not know God for themselves.  I pray that as I use the techniques I am learning from this, that my two boys will get to know God and be equipped to stand firm with Him in every situation they find themselves in.  If that is your prayers for your kids too, then make sure you do this course.  You can find all the information over on their website.  Happy Parenting for Faith!

(p.s. if you need to persuade anyone at church about it or need some more persuasion yourself then check out the promo video here.)

 

In HER shoes – Rachel and Leah (week 3)

in her shoes

What was the day after your wedding like? Did you wake up in blissful peace, finally sharing a bed with the love of your life? Was there a special breakfast? Perhaps you opened wedding presents or were whisked off on a romantic honeymoon somewhere warm? For most of us, the day after our wedding is a happy day, reflecting on the huge day before it and revelling in our new spouse. It’s a lot less stressful the day AFTER the wedding!!! Or so you would think. But not in this week’s verse:

“When morning came, there was Leah!  So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Genesis 29:25

a family in disarray

Did anyone else get a hint of “The Jeremy Kyle Show” in this week’s verse? I can almost picture the tagline on the TV screen “tricked into marrying the wrong sister“, and in this day and age an almighty row would break out on screen as they interviewed all the parties involved.  Whenever I’ve read this verse I’ve always sympathised with Jacob (although he is no stranger to deceiving those he loves – remember when we looked at Rebekah and her helping him to steal his brother’s blessing?!).   He did the honourable thing.  He worked for SEVEN YEARS to get the woman he loved, and just as the happy ending is in sight he receives this curveball.

But this series isn’t called “in HIS shoes”!!!  We know what the men are doing and thinking and feeling in this verse, but there are more than just Jacob and Laban involved in these antics.  The whole family would have been in disarray after this situation.

LeaH in the know

The first sister who’s shoes I tried to step into was Leah’s.   We have already seen that despite being the older sister, she is looked upon as less desirable than Rachel.  Imagine being the third wheel for seven years as a man devotes himself to your younger sister, but no-one cares about you.  They would have lived in close proximity, shared food and time together.  I’m sure Leah would have gotten to know Jacob just as well as the rest of them.

And so when her father, the light of her life and protector, comes to her with a plan, she was probably all ears.  Nothing could be worse than watching her sister have her dreams come true and her being the spectator surely?  And Jacob was part of the family now really anyway – as good a man as any.

We don’t know for sure if Leah was a willing participant in the wedding, if she did it out of duty to her father or if she was blackmailed/coerced into doing it, but one thing we know for sure is that she was there.   Weddings were probably a very different state of affairs in those times – we cannot say for sure if there was a ceremony as such (if so Leah would have had to have been heavily veiled!) or if the act of consummation was taken as a sign they were married (it could have just been very dark in there!!), but Leah would have at least have had to keep quiet so Jacob didn’t suspect anything.

Leah was in the know.

I was torn when reading this between seeing Leah as a jealous sister who was happy to take part and steal her right to a husband and kids rather than waiting, and seeing her as a pawn in a game her Father wanted to play, being forced into having sex with her potential brother-in-law just to please her Father.  Definitely a Jeremy Kyle worthy story.

Rachel in the dark

The next big question on my lips is – WHERE IS RACHEL???!!  You couldn’t get through a wedding ceremony nowadays with a missing family member without someone asking where they were.  If it was supposed to be Rachel’s wedding, then why did no one ask where Leah was?  Why were no suspicions aroused?  Or if it was just Jacob and his new wife in a tent left to their own devices, why did Rachel not kick up a fuss?  She must have know the time was coming when the 7 years were up and she was supposed to become Jacob’s wife.

This lead me to believe that Laban must have had a hand in hiding her.  Whether Rachel was willing to hide, or again felt obligation to her Father or forced to hide, we just don’t know.  But she wasn’t around to stop Jacob making a mistake or arouse anyone else’s suspicions that is for sure!

In the morning, when the light revealed what had truly happened, Rachel must have felt awful.  Cheated out of the husband she was supposed to have.  Alone.  Betrayed by her sister and father.  And much much more.

what does it all mean?

Well, we stepped into both sisters shoes, and neither situation seems pretty.  This story reminds me of how ugly and complicated we can make things sometimes.  I found myself asking this week – why is this story in the bible???  Its so messed up and horrible why would God approve of this being in his word?  And God whispered to me “Just because it is in my word doesn’t mean I approve of it.”.  The bible is full of broken people, just like you and me, who make stupid choices and take matters into their own hands, just like you and me!  But the reason God leaves these stories in is to show us what he can do despite these stupid choices, what he can do through our brokenness, and how he can redeem even the most Jeremy Kyle worthy situations.  You’ll have to keep following the series to see what happens next…..

Next week

The lovely Naomi from The Organised Life Project will be leading our discussion as we plunge into the next part of the story:

“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”” Genesis 29:31-32

You can join us over in our Facebook Group as we discuss this during the week.

 

moving house with kids

10 Tips for Moving House with Kids

moving house with kids

We are now over a month past moving house and I have had time to reflect about the things we did right and wrong with our 5 year old and 2 year old sons during this hectic time.

  • Take them on house viewings with you.   The best thing you can do to prepare your kids for moving house to involve them in as much of the process as possible.  The first step will be to take them on some viewings with you.  Whether it be first viewings, or second viewings, make sure you get to see them running around your potential new home.  It will help you to visualise it on as your family home, and your kids will love seeing what could be their new bedroom.
  • Try to explain the process to them.  Even little ones as young as five can start to understand how the house buying process works.  I tried to explain in simple terms all the little steps that we had to make, so my eldest son could see how far we had come from the first viewing.  It can be months after viewings until you actually move in so this was helpful (it was around 5 months for us).  I was able to talk about signing papers and them having to be swapped before we can move, as well as having to book a van and why we needed to pack boxes.
  • Find ways to fill the waiting.  Yup moving house is very very stressful!!  So try to find some ways to fill the periods of waiting for news.  Day trips, holidays, treat days.  These will take both yours and your kids minds off what is happening with the house move.  And if you end up taking on a project that needs lots of DIY when you get moved you won’t have as much time to do this afterwards.  Enjoy what is most important – your family.
  • Start buying things for the new house.  I wanted to keep the boys excited about the new house as well as taking their mind off it, so I tried to keep buying things to go in their new bedroom.  Name signs for the door.  New duvet covers.  Whatever little things you need to invest in anyway and a few things you don’t!  The boys were so excited about these when we got them and then when they saw them in the new room.
  • Go and explore the new area.  With my littlest boy it was important to know where the local park, library and other exciting places were.  So when he was off nursery we drove over to the new house and wandered around the area.  This meant we could hit the ground running when we finally got there and know where some of the best places to go are.
  • Find a new school and tell their old school as soon as you can.  As soon as we knew we were going to move house, we told the school my son was at.  This meant they could be aware of any changes in behaviour that might come with it.  We’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster with this one, but at least the school are aware of why it is happening and can support him.  I have made sure to find him a great new school to move to and have talked to him about his new uniform, but this will always a scary thing for a child.
  • Let them play in the moving van.  Ok so a fun one this time – let the kids enjoy the excitement as moving day gets closer!  We even let ours run up and down the big moving van before they started packing it.  Let them play with bubble wrap, hide in boxes and just be kids!
  • Sort out childcare for moving week.  This might seem obvious, but as you try to deal with solicitors, removal men and all the stress that comes with the last few days of moving, its best not to have kids in that mix too.  If you can, get grandparents or other family/friends to have them for a couple of days.  That way you can enjoy the last few days in your old house and focus on moving day.  We were lucky that it was half term when we moved so we didn’t have to worry about school.  Grandma brought the boys back at 4pm on moving day when the worst parts were over.
  • Have their room ready first.  Make sure you’ve marked the boxes, packed a bag with everything they will need for the first night (monitor, pyjamas, favourite teddy) and get their room ready as soon as you can.  We had an amazing Grandad working to build their new bunkbeds as soon as we got the keys, and then we had most of the things we need right to hand (I somehow managed to not pack any fitted sheets for the bottom of their beds and had a crazy ten minutes scrabbling in boxes to find some!!!!).   That way the second they walk into their new house it will feel like home.
  • Plan something exciting for the first day there.  Yes there will be plenty of boxes to unpack, but make sure you spend time with your kids on your first day in the new house.  Do something special to remember it.  Maybe a special breakfast or dinner out to the local restaurant.  Celebrate that the stressful period of moving house is over (yippee!!!!)

In HER Shoes – Rachel and Leah (week 1)

in her shoes

Welcome to another Mummy Meditations first – this week we are looking at TWO women and putting ourselves into both of their shoes!!!  I for one am excited.  Not only is one of them my namesake, but I don’t actually know that much about either of them.  So it is a great chance to get to know this story better and the characters within it.

Maybe you know about the nation of Israel.  Maybe you know about Joseph and his 11 brothers who make up the tribes of Israel.  But do you know the mothers of those boys and the circumstances into which they were brought?

This was our first meditation verse concerning Rachel and Leah, and introduces them to us:

“Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, the name of the younger was Rachel.  Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.” Genesis 29:16-17

daughters first

To be completely honest, this week I have focussed on the way that these two women were kind of pitted against each other – the comparison at the end of the verse seems so nasty that I couldn’t quite believe it was in the bible, and so I focussed on that and trying to understand it more.  But in doing that I missed something important.  That the first thing we learn about these two women, is that before anything else they are Laban’s daughters.  If you’ve read ahead in the story you will know things start to get very messed up after this verse, but here all we see is a Dad who loves his little girls very much and wants the best for both of them.  They are both special and loved in his eyes, they are both cherished.  Yes there were different concerns for a dad in those times than now, but he still loved them both and looked after them in the ways a father should.  His main priority, with his daughters now growing up, would be to secure them both a great future with a good husband.

sisters second

Only after we learn they are daughters do we then think about them being sisters.  Now, for anyone who has a sister I am sure you know how complicated those relationships can be!!  A few lovely ladies shared over on our Facebook Group about relationships between sisters or with sister-in-laws.  When there are differences in character and personality that strain can become even bigger.  With same sex siblings there will always be an element of competition that enters in, and that is no exception with Leah and Rachel.

how comparison hurts

The final part of the verse seems particularly cruel.  In my head it seems to put Rachel as the better sister, the better option for any potential husband, and Leah as this sort of weak consolation prize.  But I found that the word “weak” isn’t a particularly great translation of the original text.  In the Message version it says “Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful” which is slightly less mean towards Leah!  Others say that weak can be translated as tender, others mention that perhaps her eyes were tearful and not weak as she was in love with someone she couldn’t have.  All these are possibilities, but they don’t take away from the fact that a comparison has been made.  Leah has been deemed lower than Rachel.  I am sure that must have been painful for Leah.  There are no circumstances in which comparing people brings benefit – all it brings is pain and hurt.  Why are we so fixated on comparing ourselves to others?

I wonder how Rachel felt in all this (its easy to step into Leah’s shoes and feel the hurt of those comments).  Would she be happy she was deemed beautiful. or perhaps defensive of her sister?  We don’t really get any context here other than just the plain hard facts – Leah and Rachel were compared to each other.  This is perhaps the seed that grew into a rivalry like no other – one that will unfold over the next few weeks.

next week

Our focus turns mostly to Rachel this week as we meditate on the following verse:

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20

Naomi will be leading the discussion over in our Facebook group so head over there and let us know your thoughts on the verse.