The problem with comparison…

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You may have come to realise, from my last few posts that I’m finding life quite difficult at the moment. I don’t seem to have a safe haven. Obviously in the spirit realm I have Jesus, but in the natural everything seems void of true joy.

What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?

I think it’s because I’m 40 next year and my life looks nothing like I expected it to. I’m drowning in a sea of disappointment. To the left and to the right there are individuals decades younger than me earning fantastic money, living in fantastic houses, driving fantastic cars and then there’s me; an entry level teacher and single mother who spends her time trying to work out if her and her children should spend the night at her parents because it’s closer to her work and her children’s school or journey to a home which really doesn’t feel like home anymore….

…I’m tired, so tired. Tired of looking at others because I know many of them don’t yet know the love of Jesus, so instead of looking, I should be sharing. Sharing His love, so they will know Him, but instead I wallow. I’m overwhelmed, hurt, exasperated…..hurt….hurting…..

help me Lord.

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Learning how not to faint…

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I’m disappointed that I’m going to have to start this post in this way, but bear with me…..

I’m struggling with disillusionment at the moment. It seems for a long time now I’ve been in a season of testing, testing, testing, testing and more testing. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments of inexplicable joy when I focus on Jesus and all He has done for me, I’ve come so far….but still the day to day is sooo, very, hard.

I love Jesus with all my mind, heart and soul so feeling this way troubles me, but then I’m human. And humans fail. I fail. Daily…

Nothing is easy right now. Nothing. I know life is not meant to be easy. God does not promise an easy life, but being able to share my struggles in this way helps put everything in perspective. Everything feels difficult….My children are challenging, my career is challenging, my home life is challenging…I feel as though I NEVER get a break…..and then I feel so ungrateful for feeling this way…I’m TIRED!

BUT GOD!!

I turn to His word and it pierces the spirit of depression that threatens to overwhelm my soul. I look to The One who calms storms, heals broken hearts and casts out demons and I am reassured that to everything there is a season, even if this difficult season seems never ending. My Saviour tells me that although I am hard pressed on every side I am not crushed because He is with me. I may be perplexed, I may not understand why I am being tested so extensively, but God knows. He has a plan. There is a purpose for my struggle.

Help me to see that I am not alone Lord, help me to stop feeling abandoned and forgotten Lord. Help me to find joy and peace in my portion Jesus.

When friends don’t believe….

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I’m reaching a point in my life where I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find people to do life with. I’ve been saved for almost 6 years now and I’ve yet to find a close knit network of believers to lean on.

In the workplace there’s several Christian women, two of whom I try to pray with on a weekly basis, but our impossible schedules have often made this impossible…sorry Lord.

I have two other close friends at work, one an old school friend who I’ve known for over 27 years. We reconnected after 16 years, at the school we now both work in. Our friendship has not changed from the days when we were 11 years old…we are always mocking one another and finding the smallest things hilarious. She, like me, was a single mother, but that’s where the similarities end…lol, after a few months of singleness, she met her now husband at the school they both worked in at the time and as well as her two boys, they now have a daughter together. Her story gave me much hope in the earlier days of my singleness, but unlike me, she doesn’t have a deep connection with Jesus. From the discussions we’ve had, she seems to view Him as a crutch for the needy. She doesn’t belittle my faith, but since she is in a good place right now, Jesus isn’t on her agenda…from what I gather…

Then there’s my other friend, the one whose Spanish wedding I’m going to (I’m going with my aforementioned friend too, so all three of us will catch up in Spain at some point)….he is funny and a great listener. He also helps me with ‘man stuff’ like checking the oil in my car and pointing me in the right direction for tyres, he has been a God send, but again he doesn’t really believe. His fiancée is a catholic and I believe he’s converting so as to marry her….

I think the point I’m getting at is that I find it hard to do life with people who don’t understand or believe in the things of God…heck I ended a relationship with my children’s father because he threatened to pull me away from The One who saved my soul. Yet here I am going to another country and spending lots of time with people who are looking forward to the ‘all you can drink bar’ at a wedding reception.

After speaking through my concerns to a fellow Christian, she explained that we are called to be the light in the dark, so maybe God can use me in the midst of a situation I deem unfavourable.

To be honest, I find great comfort in being amongst fellow Christians. I have not long overcome some seriously stressful situations in my life that threatened to take me out and I’m still dealing with the aftermath, so when the enemy comes with his lies, I feel at peace knowing that another believer is there to lay hands on me and encourage me to take every thought captive in the name of Jesus…

Maybe I’m being harsh, and my friends aren’t as wild and worldly as I think….

Dear Lord protect me as I navigate these new and unfamiliar waters. You know me, your daughter, You know my hearts desire, You know every need before I even ask. Help me to put all my hope and in trust in You, help me to feel your presence when I am feeling isolated and abandoned. Help me to be the light that You have called me to be for my good and Your glory. Help me to be bold and of good courage. Thank You Father!

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Joshua 1:9 KJV

Busyness

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Guys! 2018 is hectic!! I really don’t know whether I’m coming or going half the time.

My career in teaching is seriously on; Theeee. Next. Level in terms of all the planning, assessing, resourcing, coaching, counselling….(and the list goes on), I am called to do…..I know the Lord must be preparing me for something out of this world, but W.O.W….it’s super tough on this l’il ole single Mum…..

I made the difficult decision to move my son to the school I work at, so I could streamline my days and use time more efficiently. This means my two eldest now walk to and from school on their own *insert loud wailing here.* My babies are growing up and I’m in complete shock and awe at the process….

Anyway back to my frenetic year! My sister is getting married in July, in the same month our brother’s first baby is due, then I have a friend’s wedding in Spain to attend in June, not to mention my second daughter’s birthday and my birthday in May, then my son’s birthday in June, add to that numerous school trips; my eldest daughter is pleading to go to Wales for 5 days in September with the school *insert more hysterical wailing here,* other social events are cropping up at every turn and on and on and and on and on…..I know I’m sounding horribly ungrateful, but it’s hard navigating all of this as a lone parent. My head hurts trying to sort finances, logistics, outfits, praying protection and wisdom over my ever growing children….Lord I know you equip the called, but the journey is still very tough.

In spite of all of this, I am seeking to dwell in His peace. I run to my hiding place in Him. All I have is His word. He tells me to be still and know that He is GOD. He leads me by the still waters. He restores my soul. In Him I do not and will not lack any good thing. Thank You for your promises Lord! You never fail and You never change! Glory!!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Weary

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I almost have no words to describe what I’m going through right now. Still feeling like I’m in limbo, still trudging on day to day….

I’m exhausted. Completely and utterly spent. Juggling so many balls, walking into new territory. Feeling nervous and so alone….

I know I’m strong, but I’m tired of doing this alone.

Lord, in the name of your precious son Jesus, please send help soon….

Waiting….

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Waiting is hard. Even harder when you no longer quite know what it is you’re waiting for or if it will ever come.

I’m in a season where I’m quite uncomfortable, but I know what I want will not take my discomfort away, if anything it’ll just shift to another area of my life. *SIGH*

I’m trying really hard not to throw myself a pity party but I’m growing increasingly frustrated….

And then.…. He speaks to me and says;

‘Where is your faith? Have I not already moved mountains for you? Do not be dismayed, the mountains that you perceive, are my way of building your character in preparation for the places I am about to take you.’

I am floored and the pity party has to end as I rejoice once again in the one whom my soul loves.

Thank You for Your endless kindness and patience towards me Lord. Thank You for speaking to my weary soul and renewing my spirit as I wait in You. You are awesome God. There is none in all of heaven and earth like You.

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:25‬ ‭

Expectant…

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Friends I’m expectant. I am filled with much hope for the future. Jesus has done and continues to do such a powerful work in my life that I am convinced He has anointed me with the spiritual eyes to see what He sees. Hallelujah!!

In the natural, my situation appears unfair, overwhelming, challenging, BUT GOD!! He has given me the wisdom to look beyond my circumstances…don’t get me wrong there are still moments when I grumble and get impatient, but more and more I’m taking my complaints to Jesus. Only He can equip me with the strength and insight to seek peace when my flesh wants to rise up in absolute irritation. Only He can rationalise my irrational, ever changing emotions. Only He can shift the hearts and minds of the hard hearted and so I turn to Him. My one and only true Counsellor, Saviour and Friend.

I’m expectant because after nearly 6 years of singleness, I believe the Lord has transformed the  condition of my broken and battered heart. There is still more work to be done but I am not the woman I used to be. Praises!!!

I am expectant because His word says it is not good for man to be alone. I’ve spent most of my thirties alone and although I know Jesus is more than enough for me, I am convinced He is preparing one of His faithful sons to come and find me. I am convinced He has a plan to draw others to Himself through our testimony. 

Just today, I read a post on a blog which confirmed exactly what the Lord had already spoke to my heart.

I am expectant. 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26

What God has taught me in 2017

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Sorry to begin this post with a cliché, but this year has flooooown by….. 

As I get older the years seem to merge into a blur, but praise be to King Jesus who continues to mould me into His image for His name’s sake. He has taught me so much this year…

1. Hard work, although painful and challenging pays off. 2017 was the year I completed my teacher training and became a qualified teacher. It has not been an easy road and even as I navigate through the early stages of my teaching career I am still often struck at how intense it is and how much is expected of teachers. BUT GOD! Through Him and with Him by my side I am able to take one day at a time because His mercies really are new every morning.

2. I’m way stronger and braver than I think I am. I took my three children to Barbados. On my own. Who but GOD? Enough said.

3. Other people are not always the problem. Most of the time it’s me and the way I’m viewing an issue. Again this is another very hard lesson, but this is about spiritual growth. I was finding I was getting irritated by other people’s actions and attitudes and it was really robbing me of my peace. Then God said, I am no better than those who are annoying me, in fact I am worse because I’m supposed to have Christ within me and allow His spirit to work through me so I am able to stay focused on Him in my times of intense irritation towards others. I should be praying for those people who irk me to be touched by a revelation of God or ask God to reveal the lesson He is trying to teach me. I should be praying for God to work on my character so He can use me to be a light to those He has placed in my sphere of influence…..
…..which follows nicely onto my next learned lesson….

4. I am always being watched. Especially by my children. Do my actions glorify Christ?

5. I always want to blend into the background and go unnoticed, when God has placed gifts and talents within me that must be shared. Being accepted into my church worship team has provided a first step in this direction and I’m certain in 2018 God is going to provide me with many more opportunities to make His name great.
Thank You Jesus!

Christmas without my children…

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Being a single mother is hard for a number of reasons. For me, the main struggle has been having to depend on others for support. We are not this neat, nuclear  unit that  has it all together. Quite often I feel behind, I know this feeling is not of God, because what does ‘behind’ even mean? The Lord has done so much for me and my children and yet still when I take my eyes of Jesus, even for a split second, and look at how the world depicts the ideal family, it doesn’t reflect mine.  

Of course, I realise it is biblical for a man and women to be joined in holy matrimony and then to raise the fruit of that union together within their unit, but what happens when you get it all so terribly, awfully wrong? What happens when you don’t even realise the beautiful plan that God had for your life until you already started doing things your own way, and although you are extremely blessed, there are consequences you need to walk out. 

It’s one of the most painful life lessons I’ve had to learn….

…so today I’m walking out another consequence of my sin. My children are spending Christmas with their Dad and his family. I’m getting ready to go to church, because even though my situation is not what I would have planned for my life, I know God is walking me through this. Strengthening me, upholding me, refreshing me.

It feels strange to be the mother of three children and wake up on Christmas morning to pure silence. I guess I should ask God to renew my mind and change my perspective because there are many single parents, heck even parents, who would relish a moments peace right now.

Lord, help me to see what you see. Help me to see the God in every circumstance that appears to hinder me. Help me to realise I lack no good thing when I am hidden in You.

Have a gloriously blessed Christmas everybody!

When you can’t do it all…

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It’s a strange season I seem to be in. There are lots of opportunities coming my way, lots of decisions to make and things to change and improve, however I feel as though I’m lacking the drive and motivation to get it all done. I’m running out of steam.

Just over a month ago, it was my eldest daughter’s birthday actually, I received the fantastic news that I was successful at my audition to join my church’s worship team. My church is big and my children and I have been attending for nearly a year, but have found it difficult to make connections due to the size of the congregation. Signing up for different ministries and attending church events has helped me to make friends and feel part of a church family. I’ve still a way to go, but I’m confident God will set up the right connections at the right time…..anyway back to the exciting news about being part of the worship team. The team is pretty big, over 70 people, so there’s a rota and when you get selected to sing on a particular Sunday, you have to attend a two and a half hour rehearsal on the previous Wednesday evening. So far so good and I’ve met some great people so far.
With it being the Christmas season, there were a flurry of services the worship team were expected to be a part of, the schedule was quite intense, with those taking part expected to be at church at 8am on Sunday, to rehearse before the 9:30am and then 11:30am services. This is where I began to struggle. My children are not morning people, I struggle to get them up for school and so when I realised the early start for church I began to get anxious. Earlier in the month my daughters and I had successfully executed the routine and they actually loved being at church early and being part of two children’s church services, however getting them up was still painful.

Fast forward two weeks later and this time I would have all three children to contend with *yikes.* I warned them they had to get to bed early the night before, but since it’s the holidays and they’re kind of out of their usual bedtime routines, that fell on deaf ears and quite frankly, I’m tired of continuously nagging my children to do things. Not to mention, hair needed doing, the girls and my own, clothes needed sorting, breakfast needed preparing, this all needed to happen before leaving the house at 7:30am. I admitted defeat, I couldn’t do it. As its Christmas Eve, my children are a part of the 5pm evening nativity service, that would mean all day out of the house and I had no idea on what I was going to do to fill the time between the morning and evening services, plus I have to drop them at their Dad’s this evening after church because they are spending Christmas with him and his family this year *sob*……

In all honesty I’m beginning to feel like a huge failure…here I have these opportunities I’ve been praying for and yet my hands feel tied. I am weary.

BUT GOD

He spoke to my troubled spirit late last night and told me to use wisdom. Expecting my children to attend three church services, when I was feeling so overwhelmed and disorganised was unnecessary. The worship team would do just fine without me, even though I want to make an impact, my time will come. For now I have to focus on organising that which is within my grasp. So here I am this morning, sharing my thoughts in this post and after giving my children a big cooked breakfast, something I haven’t been able to achieve in months, I’m going to finish wrapping the last of the Christmas presents and have a massive tidy up. This evening I will take my children to church to perform in their nativity, then I will drop them off at their Dad’s. On Christmas Day, I will go to church, lift up the mighty name of Jesus and praise Him for all He has done, is doing and continues to do for my family and I. Hallelujah!

Sometimes in life, we want to do it all at the expense of our sanity and peace. I thank God for showing me that it’s OK to say no. It’s OK to be still. Thank You Jesus for being my defender and my peace. Thank You for continuously showing me the beauty that can be found in brokenness. Thank You for giving me a story to tell. Glory to Your name.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

Proverbs 18:10