Understanding new life

I have never been in any life or death situations, so I can’t fully comprehend the feeling that comes with news of a potential death sentence that is at the last minute revoked.

A friend of mine and her family have been facing this very thing. Their beautiful daughter, diagnosed with leukaemia in August last year, have now been given the news that there are no more leukaemia cells. Their daughter is well on the road to recovery.

Their joy is palpable – their daughter has been given new life! I think I can speak on behalf of all their friends when I say that we share that joy.

On Easter Sunday, we remember and are joyful that through the resurrection of Jesus, we too, have been given new life. Just as my friend’s daughter can now embrace this new lease on life she has been given, we, who call Jesus our Saviour, can too.

When in Thailand, I was struck by the rescued girls level of gratitude and sheer joy for the new life they have been given. Those who have lived through hell on earth, as my friend and her family have, as these girls have, are highly aware of exactly what they have been saved from. There is a depth to their thankfulness that those of us who have not had such experiences would do well to emulate.

It’s easy to dismiss the resurrection as just another Sunday, even easy to recognise that we have been given new life and acknowledge it, easy to accept the new life and….easy to live with not much thanks for that.

The enormity of being given new life is real to those who fully understand it.

One of the problems with the Western church is we don’t fully understand what we have been saved from. We haven’t grasped the fact that we needed saving.

We say “I got saved” instead of “Jesus saved me”.

We still think we have a part to play in our own salvation.

My friend would not say that it was her who gave her daughter new life, she would give all the credit to the donor, and the doctors – her job was to trust they would do what needed to be done. The rescued girls don’t credit themselves for the new life they now live, they credit the Destiny Rescue staff and God – all they needed to do was trust that what was offered was true.

Likewise, we need to understand the situation we are in, and then trust that the new life we are offered by the resurrection is true.

It’s nothing to do with us. It’s not our efforts that give us new life but the wonder of resurrection.

 

 

A very Good Friday

When I was little, I could never understand why Good Friday was called ‘good’, after all, to my six year old brain, it wasn’t good at all. It was rather awful and sad and distressing.

Somewhere along the way, I came to understand the ‘good’ side of it and with that understanding, came an even greater appreciation of it – Someone died, bearing the full brunt of all my failings and shortcomings. Yes, a very Good Friday indeed.

I’m sure you all know the message of Easter, have heard it repeatedly, so I’m not going to write a whole post telling you what you already know.

But, I would encourage you to watch this clip. It will only take seven minutes but it could change your whole life.

 

Are you consistent?

Recently, Charli and I went to a meeting for advocates with Destiny Rescue. It was fabulous to meet more DR staff and to meet other advocates who share the same passion for the cause as we do.

One of the speakers spoke about congruency and the absolute need for it in our lives.

Essentially, what that looks like is alignment – meaning that all the parts of us line up. So, in other words, what we say, what we do and who we are, are all in one accord.

That can be a challenge, as to live a congruent life means we live an authentic life, a life where the same thread runs through every aspect of our days.

Have you ever seen someone you know from a distance in a setting where you don’t normally see them and been surprised by their behaviour or attitude? I have. And I have probably been seen by other people too!

And we have all met and even been at some stage, the ‘gonna’ person – I’m gonna get a degree and do_______! I’m gonna give more to worthy causes. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that. All talk and no action equals non congruency.

For me, having this blog and my column in our publications helps keep me congruent. I can’t write about love, grace and forgiveness and then not live that way. Or make statements about actions I’m going to take and then not follow through on them.

I can’t allow my online presence and my real life to not be in sync.

I think there comes a time, dare I say, as we get older, when living congruently comes more easily. Maybe it’s a mixture of feeling like you don’t have as much time as you did before, being more aware of our mortality and the uncertainty of life, coupled with less care for what other people think of us.

Coming back from Thailand has definitely caused me to not ‘beat around the bush’ any more. I don’t have time to waste on things that don’t line up with the centre of my life. I want to say what I mean and mean what I say.

And I want my heart to rule every other thing in my life. And right now, my heart is constantly aware that every 26 seconds another child somewhere in the world is sold into the sex slave industry.

So in the 42 minutes it’s been since I sat down to write this blog post, 96 children have been sold.

96

96 children just like yours and mine

5 year olds, 6 year olds, teenagers…all robbed of a normal childhood.

So, yes, I will try to live congruently because these precious children deserve a new life.

And if my actions match up with my words, I might just help some of them.

There are so many many ways we can help. Ways that don’t take too much time or too much money…but even if it did – how much would you give to rescue your child, your sister, your niece?

Snowpeas and strawberries

I am sooooo glad all that rain is finally over but one thing it has been good for is the garden. Our veggie patch is currently empty, with lots of lovely fertilizer that has been getting very soggy and breaking down nicely due to the copious amount of water.

Last year we had two of my favourite things growing – snowpeas and strawberries. Both these plants could be picked by anyone at will and eaten right there in the garden.

When I looked out my kitchen window, I could often see a lovely red strawberry, bright against the deep green leaves, just waiting to be plucked and consumed. It was so easy to see the fruit that they often didn’t last long!

Snowpeas, on the other hand, we had to search for, being the same colour as the leaves and stems of the vine. Often I found this frustrating, and sometimes, a snowpea would grow huge and fat because we had missed seeing it for quite awhile.

It’s a bit like people and situations, isn’t it? Some people are like strawberries, bright and flashy and hard to miss. Others are like snowpeas, blending in amongst their circumstances, people who have to be sought to be enjoyed.

Both strawberries and snowpeas are good to eat, just as the bright, colourful person and the shyer, more reserved person are both of equal value.

It’s easy to see the goodness of a strawberry, not so easy with the snowpea. We need to remember to actively look for the goodness in people too. It won’t always be on show, like the vibrant colour of a strawberry, sometimes it’s hidden and camoflauged and we have to really look hard to see the goodness. It’s usually there though, hidden amongst the leaves, it just requires a bit of effort on our part to find it.

We can be easily fooled by a quick glance out our kitchen window. It’s easy to not spend any time actively looking for the good in others, it’s easy to give them a quick glance and make a judgement based on the lack of ‘goodness’ we see.

If we took some time to really look for the snowpeas in life and search out their goodness, we might just find that our world is a better place.

Doing the right thing

I read a little quote the other day by good ole anonymous that I absolutely love. I wish I had thought of it first!

There is no right way to do the wrong thing.

It reminded me of a situation our son was in just recently. He needed to leave work early to attend an information session on becoming a fire fighter. Now, obviously, the intent here is that he would ultimately leave the job he is in, to be able to join the fire service.

He was unsure as to how to get an early mark at work without putting his job in jeopardy. The risk, of course, being that once they got wind of his aspirations to join the fire service, he would be dismissed. And as the start date for the fire service, should he be selected, isn’t until June, that would mean quite some weeks with no pay.

We talked around it, under it and over it; we talked about ways to kind of tell the truth but not really, of being evasive and hoping they didn’t ask questions. And yet, we kept coming back to the same conclusion: he had to be honest with his boss and tell him his plans.

I knew that he shouldn’t lie to get the time off – and it turns out, so did he.

He wasn’t willing to compromise his integrity. He wasn’t willing to compromise on his beliefs. If he is wanting to move forward in life with God at the centre, as I know he is, then he needed to stay true to that.

He realised that there is no right way to do the wrong thing.

So often in life we think it’s okay to lie or bend the truth for the ultimate good. And it’s not. It never is.

We excuse our behaviour and our actions because we think that the ends justify the means. They don’t.

Ultimately, the wrong thing is the wrong thing, no matter how much we try to do it the right way.

And you know what? Our son was honest about what he wanted the time off for and he got it. And he still got to keep his job, too. Because more often than not, God honours our uncompromising stance on even the smallest issue, when the world would tell us it is okay to compromise. God sees our hearts, and in this case, He saw the heart of an upright young man who was willing to do the right thing, no matter the consequences.

There is no right way to do the wrong thing.

A little bit of clarity

I turned the big 4-0 mid last year. And then somewhere between May and December my arms seemed to get shorter. I couldn’t seem to hold anything far enough away to be able to read the words properly.

Yes, you guessed it, I needed reading glasses 🙂

Once I had them, I couldn’t believe how much clearer things were. The words on the screen and on the pages of a book were actually sharp and clear and not some crazy new font where each letter had a fuzzy outline after all!

All it took to see more clearly was one visit to somebody who knew how to fix the fuzziness.

Sometimes in life, we can’t see clearly either – we are too close to situations to see a way out of them; we are too emotionally involved to think logically; or we are too caught up trying to fix things that we can miss obvious solutions.

Sometimes, we need someone else to bring clarity, just like a simple visit to the optometrist did for me.

Sometimes, we need something, or someone, outside of ourselves to bring things into focus.

When life gets fuzzy, we all have ways we try to regain focus. From crazy exercise regimes, overeating, undereating, overworking to alcohol, drugs, psychics, star signs – we have a myriad of ways to try and ‘fix’ the lack of clarity in our lives.

To me that’s a bit like putting on someone else’s glasses. Usually, it makes things look a whole lot worse. So we are right in that we need glasses but wrong in where we are seeking the clarity.

When life gets fuzzy for me, there is only One who can bring my life back into perfect focus.

How about you? Are you putting on someone else’s glasses and expecting them to make it all clear?

Why not go to the greatest optometrist of all? The One who is actually the only one qualified to make it all clear.

Ten fantastic things about the rain.

Normally, I love the rain but even a diehard nature loving, optimistic, romantic has their limits.

The Great Southeast has been pummelled lately, and quite frankly, I think I can speak for everyone and say we’ve had enough.

Everything feels damp. The sky is dull. Mud keeps getting tracked through the house. Tempers are frayed with too much ‘inside’ time (and that’s just us parents!). The dogs won’t pee outside lest their little puds get wet and muddy, which means lots of *beeped out* cries from unsuspecting family members who unwittingly step in a warm puddle.

Ah, yes. I am quite ready for the sun to come out, thank you very much.

But, because I do always try to look on the bright side, here are ten FANTASTIC things about unending rain:

  1. Drying clothes via the dryer becomes a necessity rather than a luxury ie I save time by not having to hang the clothes out PLUS they don’t need ironing. Double bonus.Dryer
  2. My newly fertilized veggie patches are getting a nice soaking.Veggie boxes
  3. The grass is growing. (This might be a downside for those who have to mow it, but for me, I like seeing the lush green carpet outside.)grass
  4. Catching up on blog reading.catch up
  5. Sunday morning sleep-ins are nice and cosy.bed
  6. Copious amounts of hot tea and coffee are pretty much obligatory in this weather.coffee
  7. Children get creative and make ‘stuff’.craft
  8. Games get dusted off and played.UNO
  9. Blog posts get written 🙂blog
  10. Books get read. (and snacks are allowed to be eaten in the lounge room!)reading

This was surprisingly hard…I thought once I started I would get on a roll and be fine. I couldn’t get past number two for about half an hour.

What’s your favourite thing about the rain? I clearly need some help!