The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain. – Author unknown


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‘Quietly Awake’ for Better Sleep

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So many people I talk with are sleep deprived and seldom get a sound nights sleep, if prolonged, lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression and many other poor health factors. For many years I suffered terribly with insomnia nowadays I sleep soundly with minimal waking. Here’s a few tips that work for me and I am sure they will work for you also ;-).

Generally getting to bed before 9pm is ideal, as the quality of sleep is greater; my mum has always said ‘every hour before midnight is equal to two hours sleep’… I use to think this was just her way of having a quite house by early evening but there is a science behind it. The “Sleep Health Foundation” concurs with mum’s advice:

Your best quality of sleep is obtained when your circadian rhythm is at its lowest point (usually between 10 pm – 5 am). Therefore even if you obtain a good amount of sleep (7-9 hours), going to bed late is likely to lead to a large amount of your sleep being highly inefficient. To take advantage of this plan your evening so that you have nothing to do but relax from 9 pm. Then go to bed when you feel the sleep wave: a period where you will feel highly drowsy (for most people this will occur between 9-10 pm).

*http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201309/better-sleep-found-exercising-regular-basis-0

In this case, I must admit… mum really does know best!

On the topic of sleep, I cannot over emphasise the need for good quality & quantity of time in slumberland. While pulling an all-nighter completing work, up with sick kids etc. can bring a feeling of temporary euphoria, running on adrenalin the following day, long-term sleep deprivation is detrimental for the mind and body. On the other hand, balanced circadian rhythms can contribute to good mental health.

Throughout depression I tried many sleep enhancement techniques, herbal teas, deep breathing and listening to soft worship. All were very helpful but the most effective was ‘quite awake time’. Where we live, often we lose power, when this happens we have no artificial light, no screens (computer or television) and no loud disruptive noise (with the exception of a toddler tantrum) . In this quite wakefulness, we will read by candlelight or nightlight, play a board game, watch the storm (often why the power is out) and go to bed much earlier than usual. What would result by morning is a deep peace and calm in our home, somehow the combination of being fully caught up on sleep, as well as quite awake time the  previous evening, tilted our moods towards happiness. Give it a go… no screens, no bright lighting before bed and you’ll be counting zzz’s instead of sheep! x


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A Reputation of Uptight Joylessness

joy in the ordinary

I find as often as the seasons change so to does my reading genre. As Spring is upon us I am drawn to the life in the air… flowers in bloom, bees are buzzing and resurrection life is apparent as buds of life burst forth from the barren winter branch of the old Wattle tree in our front yard.

The thought of new life, of resurrection life, has me seeking a deeper heart revelation of His resurrection… what does it look like to live on the resurrection side of the cross? Why is it that many Christians have a reputation of living their  lives as though He isn’t risen, lives that are joy-less, hope-less, grace-less? Pondering these thoughts has led me to re-read Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace” , in the first chapter I am captivated by a quote that Yancey has cited, rather it is a column written by humourist Erma Bombeck:

In church the other Sunday I was intent on a small child who was turning around smiling at everyone. He wasn’t gurgling, spitting, humming or rummaging through his mother’s handbag. He was just smiling. Finally, his mother jerked him about and in a stage whisper that could be heard in a little theatre off Broadway said, “Stop that grinning! You’re in church!” With that, she gave him a belt and as the tears rolled down his cheeks she added, “That’s better,” and returned to her prayers…

Suddenly I was angry. It occurred to me the entire world is in tears, and if your not, then you’d better get with it. I wanted to grab this child with the tear-stained face close to me and tell him about my God. The happy God. The smiling God. The God who had to have a sense of humor to have created the likes of us… By tradition, one wears faith with solemnity of a mourner, the gravity of a mask of tragedy, and the dedication of a Rotary badge.

What a fool, I thought. Here was a woman sitting next to the only light left in our civilisation – the only hope, our only miracle – our only promise of infinity. If he couldn’t smile in church, where was there left to go?

On that note… time to go be with my children (they leak joy all over the place)! x


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Prayer vs. Long Winded Babble

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Most of us, at some point in our lives, find difficulty in believing our prayers or more so even just making time for prayer. Life is busy, we hurry through our prayers (when we remember to pray), our minds drift to thoughts of what’s for dinner etc. our focus is scattered and everywhere but on God. Prayer is simply conversation with God, no set time or location and minimal effort required and yet so many believers  struggle  with taking time to talk with God.

Lay aside all prayer formulas and simply be yourself with God. He has uniquely created each one of us to interact with Him as individuals and your prayer style should be consistent with the way He designed you.

Be yourself, approach Him with your own personality, your strengths, weaknesses and everything that is you. In the book of  1 Samuel we read a story of Hannah heartbroken and grief stricken as she was childless in a society that considered not having a child the ultimate failure. When Hannah cried out to God I imagine, she wasn’t on her knees with head bowed and whispering her petitions, rather the Word says she was ‘in bitterness of soul and wept in anguish’ (chapter 1:12) . God wants to meet with you, He wants to take you just as you are.

I recall a time of desperate prayer on my knees in the pouring rain as I ‘wept in anguish’, God answered and my journey of healing began in that desperate moment. God loves that we come to Him with our emotions, our hurt, our true self, just as a parent does with his child. I want my children to feel they can come to me with all manner of problems, not hide their emotions under a veil of fear.

When my daughters come to me and show dependence on me as the role of a loving parent, I feel fulfilled, my heart bubbles with love in that they trust me with their deepest hurts.

In similar ways, the parent child relationship defines the attitude we ought to have in prayer an attitude that focuses on God and expresses absolute dependence on Him as Father, the One who gave us life and who loves, cares for, provides for, and protects us.

Sometimes at night I hear my little girl praying, not some mechanical script, but words that flow from a heart of thanksgiving and faith in a Heavenly Father that ‘makes everything okay because He loves me’. God is not manipulated by long-winded, rehearsed babbling, but rather He is moved by our heart attitude, an attitude that seeks His presence… not His presents. Give it a go, He is waiting to chat with you x


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When Sorrow Walked With Me…

Joy is coming

It is of great comfort to rest in the thought that pain, trouble, calamity, in whatever form it may come, brings with it great blessings that we might not ever have had were we not willing to walk a mile with Sorrow. L.B Cowman writes;

” Many of the richest blessing’s which have come down to us from the past  are the fruit of sorrow or pain”

I walked a mile with Pleasure,

She chattered all the way;

But left me none the wiser

For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,

And ne’er a word said she;

But, oh, the things I learned from her

When sorrow walked with me.

(cited from “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman)

May you be encouraged to stand fast on the promises of God that while there may be pain in the night, joy comes in the morning. x


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Thoughts on predestination

beautifulcourageousyou:

God is love and love must choose’…

Originally posted on In My Father's House:

PathwayThere are some deeply entrenched beliefs, or assumptions, that people hold about about God that actually keep them from Him or make them doubt His intentions and even demean His character. In this regard, I would like to share a few thoughts on the biblical idea of predestination, and perhaps dispel some popular myths about this important subject.

But to do so, I will ask you to re-think what you think you know about it and see and hear with new eyes and ears. Otherwise, you’ll likely revert to what you’ve been taught, or have assumed, and reject what I’m saying altogether.  But that’s your choice. So I’ll leave it up to you.

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Overcome with Power That Brings the World to Its Knees

overcomer

There’s no escaping this layer of affliction called ‘life’, there comes a point in time however, when you must decide to either allow the darkness to overtake your life and become a victim of your circumstances or you can choose to courageously move against your fears, face every situation and determine to push on knowing that God is with you, His presence within us is our assurance that we can live in peace.

His peace is not just for getting through the tough times, but He has promised us perfect peace and contentment all the days of our lives. Where do we find this peace, this lasting cure for fear? In his book “The Sheperd’s Rod; Volume XV11”, Bobby Conner puts it like this: “This is the pattern we need to learn: As we turn our inner focus, our will, to Christ and place our affections on Him, adjusting our thoughts to the Word, we will discover abiding peace.” The Sheperds Rod: Volume XVII page 60

Although the scriptures admonish us to keep our minds on that which is Truth, this is easier said than done. In light of birthing our stillborn baby boy , my relationship with God became, fractured, to say the least, I knew I was supposed to face up to my fears with faith but instead of facing up to them I was overtaken by fear about ‘everything’!.

As days and weeks passed I slipped into a deep depression and eventually my faith was all but gone. As I write in view of hindsight I can see where the situation that I thought was going to swallow me up has become my greatest victory, the truth has set my anxious heart free, for indeed Jesus stated that we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32) Let me encourage you, whatever you are facing that threatens to overcome you, you will get through this and be an even more magnificent you… a beautiful, strong reflection of His Glory. YOU are an overcomer The Message version puts it like this:

Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5;5)

Now tune into Mandisa’s smash hit ‘Overcomer’ and start doin some ‘overcoming’ ;-) x

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VoUYtx0kw


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Keep a Grip on Hope

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It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

Lamentations 3; 21-24 (MSG Version)

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