Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Shiny kitchen sink

Who knew that I would be encouraged by a shiny, clean kitchen sink? A little while ago, my husband used some CLR  to clean our kitchen sink. CLR is AMA-zing stuff for those looking for something to really effectively remove any markings or stains off ceramic etc- good for kitchens and bathrooms! My kitchen sink was a new shade of shiny white happiness. Everyone was singing and the birds were smiling.

The beloved CLR

 It seems like such a small thing, but every time that I returned to my kitchen to fetch something and the very clean and shiny sink caught my attention, I would smile and feel like everything was going to be okay! hehe! Seriously though, there is something motivating about an orderly area of the house and it creates a desire in you to get other things looking that way too!

I have noticed the same thing about being disciplined to not leave something on a couch or chair because things seem to like gathering together and having a party of their own and before you know it... the house has joined in! :) The same principle applies to dishes... I have also seen how mentally, it seems to help to keep on top of them, so that I can quickly do the few needing cleaning rather than feeling overwhelmed when I see the amount needing my attention and then resolving that it is a bigger project needing a more lengthy slot of my attention later!

What was also cool was to see how something so practical (like cleaning my kitchen sink) could bless me so many times in one day and continue to do so for quite a few days after that.

Well, if you would excuse me, I am inspired to go and let CLR work its magic on our kitchen sink once again! :) 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Words come too easy...

The Lord has done it again! He has used His word to change and mold my heart! It ceases to amaze me to see how His word is alive and active! Nothing pierces to the heart and unveils the truth about the way we think like His precious word to us. I was reading Spurgeon's 'Morning and Evening' devotion this morning and was just struck by a couple of things that he penned. (All this while the rain was so beautifully falling outside- cleaning the earth and the Lord was actively cleaning my heart like only He can do.)

I want to only speak helpful, truthful, kind and up-building things. I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to the Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). I mean, it is often the case where I just speak so freely and don't monitor my motives and reasons for saying things! This should definitely NOT be the case! Only by His grace! 

By His grace may our words count for His glory!
Spurgeon wrote, "Tale-bearing emits a three-fold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer and the person concerning whom the tale is told." ... later, "Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves." and also... "Be this our family rule, and our personal bond- SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN.' And my favourite, "We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren, let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now."

Oh my prayer for myself and for those reading, "May the Lord receive honour for the way that we treat others... May His love be evident in our dealings with one another!" It is a clear reminder to me of how much we need the gospel- there is no way that we can have pure hearts and speak good things apart from the grace of His work in us! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Remember when...

Whenever I feel a little down or when I wonder why it feels like it is taking me so long to get where I would prefer to be, I end up being encouraged by remembering how far the Lord has brought me. He is so faithful and that is so clear when I look back and see all that He has done in me. 

I remember being a little girl and wondering what on earth this life was all about and why we are all here. I literally remember simply wanting to die because life did not add up or make sense to me. I remember when the Lord opened my eyes to see who He was- my Saviour... my Lord. And it was like this marvellous paradigm shift took place right in front of me... and all the puzzle pieces finally fell into place perfectly! It finally made sense! He was the Creator, He had a purpose for this earth, for this life... for me. Despite my obvious sin, He could save me to the uttermost. The guilt and sin that was my heaviest burden was washed away and I was made as white as snow through my capable and gracious Saviour. I finally could enjoy right-standing with the God of perfect holiness through the sacrifice of His Son on my behalf... What a relief! My searching was finally not in vain. 

In reflection I can honestly say that He has brought me from a place of utter hopelessness and confusion and granted me life and purpose. What a testimony! Jesus is not just an idea to me- He is real, a Person and He is my hope. My only true hope.
I love how hopeful this little flower looks! hehe- it looks like it is looking upward and praising the Creator!

In our Bible study yesterday (EWG) our group leader said something that stirred my heart so much, she said that the wonderful thing about getting older is that you have a longer time to look back on and see the Lord's faithfulness. Wow! It excites me to think of a life walked with the King of hope. :)

I love reading Spurgeon's morning and evening devotional book. A few days ago the morning's reading encouraged my heart to the skies! Spurgeon used such a helpful analogy to describe the believer's relationship with the Lord, he wrote, "The delight which a mariner feels, when, after being tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore..." and later he added, "the stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained  a hold fast...". I love these parallel's describing a life of trusting and knowing Him. He is the solid ground in this changing life. He is the anchor that helps us from drifting off into hopelessness. 

He is God and I am man. I am so thankful for this truth. My prayer is that you and I would grow in our amazement of who He is. That we would surrender the ways of earthly hopelessness for the ways of eternal hope in Him.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peace and less clutter

I am so thankful to have a dear friend who happens to also be an older lady who is my mentor. It has been such an encouragement to my life in all areas. I would encourage anyone to seek out that kind of relationship if it hasn't yet materialised. I continually see the fruit of her wisdom play out in my role as a wife, mom and in general life too. We have been working through two books which I have not finished reading through yet but HIGHLY recommend if you have the chance to get hold of them.

The books are written by Donna Otto and are titled:
  1. Finding your purpose as a mom- How to build your home on holy ground http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Purpose-Mom-Ground/dp/0736912975/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351197924&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+your+purpose+as+a+mom
  2. Secrets to getting more done in less time http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Getting-More-Done-Less/dp/0736917152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351198025&sr=1-1&keywords=getting+more+done+in+less+time
I can just tell that they are the sorts of books that I will re-read and discover other very helpful points that I may not have noticed as much in my previous reads.

One of the points that Donna makes in one of the chapters is to try to set your home's thermostat on 'peace'. That everyone living there should feel like home is a refuge and a safe place to be. We have a thermostat in our home here and whenever I glance at it, I remind myself to set our home's thermostat onto the peace setting. :) It is interesting to see how much influence we have as mom's and wives. It is very convicting!

The convicting thermostat!

Also, she made another helpful point about how righteousness and peace go hand in hand- that Scripture in Psalm 85:10 is so vivid,
"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." So, when we are faithful in our management of our home and trust the Lord to enable us by His grace to be righteous in all the areas of our lives, there will be peace. I find this such a helpful truth to ponder on.

Also, it is interesting to see how clutter can get under your skin and cause you to feel overwhelmed and irritable and I began with a home project named, "Operation Declutter" for one week! Well, I soon realised that it is really a weekly project and not something that can be done once off. But a helpful tip that I read on a blog recently was to always try to leave the room with something in hand- it makes me feel more purposeful and sometimes I catch myself smiling at how stream-lined some 'room-to-room' trips can be! 

My dad's mom was lovingly known as Goggo by all the grandkids (it is the Xhosa term for grandpa but my one cousin had thought it was the name for grandma and we all began using it and once we had figured out it was the wrong name for our darling gran, it was too late- she WAS Goggo and there was no turning back!). Well, she taught me something profound too. It is a motto that seems so simple, but if you really manage to implement it into your life, it will change it! It is, "DO IT NOW!" In other words do not procrastinate! It is fascinating to see how things often take less time than I think they will and just getting them done is such a relief.

In conclusion, in one of the chapters I read recently, Donna mentioned that we are more tired from what we don't do than what we do do! Isn't that sooo true?!? I hope this blog post has motivated you as much as it has been motivating me! 

My prayer is that your home's thermostat would be set on peace and you would be diligent workers for His glory!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The little things...

After working through Titus 2 for some time, I thought that I would like to keep track of what the Lord is teaching me through being at home and the various experiences that it affords! This is simply a 'diary' of what He is helping me to think more clearly about through the word, books, blogs etc.

A dear, dear friend commented on how Izak needs tools to be an effective seminary student and in just the same way, I need tools to be a diligent worker at home. It just hit home for me! Every time that I have undertaken a new job, it was necessary to be shown the 'ropes' and to trained up for the position that I needed to fill. In this case, I needed to pursue training to customize our home for our family's needs so training and research to be an effective worker at home was very necessary to avoid wasting time and becoming deflated when I didn't have goals to work towards.

A little beaded heart that my mom-in-law sent me, I hung it in the kitchen to remind me to have a heart that pleases the Lord and worships Him even as I do the little things...
The first thing that I would like to reflect on is how difficult it can be to put Quiet Time first. It fascinates me to no end that it is such a simple truth and yet can be won over by 'urgent' visible duties! So often, I give in to the temptation to do the dishes first or get other things done and before long, Quiet Time in His presence is long forgotten! This typically involves a heart that has not been softened and submitted to His purposes!

It also never ceases to amaze me to see how much more I get done when I do it trusting in His strength! John 15:5 sounds clearly: APART FROM HIM I CAN DO NOTHING! Even if I had a productive day without first coming to the Lord in prayer, (unlikely) it is so sad to think that I would try and tackle it without first asking for His grace and strength and doing it with Him. Hehe- just to think that I would prefer doing it on my own when I could have the Creator of the universe with me throughout the day and have His prerogatives instead of my own!

I was listening to a sermon series on Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp (It is available on Grace Church's website - http://www.gracechurch.org/media/?filter=speaker&id=354) and one of the points he made just arrested my heart , he said something along the lines of, 'our children need to grow up in awe of the God we love'. It just made me think about how by neglecting quiet times, it sets a precedent for our little ones without saying a word.

My prayer for myself and anyone that reads this post is that we will love the Lord more and be devoted to spending time with Him reflecting on His beauty, His word and earnestly praying for things that He places on our hearts.