It Will Be Beautiful In The End.

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This is what a friend said to me the other day.

It will be beautiful in the end.

We were talking about the blog I wrote last week (if you missed it, you can read it here) and we were saying how hard the journey is sometimes. We weren’t whinging or whining, but just being honest with each other. Some days are tough. Some days are so tough all you want to do is crawl in bed and watch netflix for the rest of your life. But when that isn’t an option, you need to put on your big girl pants and face life head on.

And then she said this “It will be beautiful in the end”

Now most people say, it will all work out in the end, or it will be fine, or even, it will all come out in the wash, but none of these is inspiring or motivational to me. They just paint a picture of someone struggling through to the end and then just breathing a great big sigh of relief. But the thought of everything being beautiful in the end, well that gave me hope!

Hope that this journey is not just about enduring. Hope that there is more than what we can see in the here and now. Hope in the things to come. But not just hope friends, a beautiful, faith-filled hope.

I have no idea what my beautiful end will be! There are so many things I dream of and so many lives I dream of changing. There are thoughts, emotions and plans that swirl through my head on a daily basis. Big dreams, little dreams, crazy out of this world dreams and dreams that I can’t even dare to believe just yet.

At conception none of these things seem “beautiful” They seem like blood, sweat, tears and heartache, oh my goodness, so much heartache when I see the hurting people around me. How this is beautiful I don’t know! But the thought of it all being beautiful in the end is enough to spur me on.

It reminds me to take my eyes off of me and what I can or cannot achieve, and focus them on Jesus, because really, he is the only one who can make everything beautiful. He is the one who will turn our sorrow into joy. He is the one who will turn our mourning into dancing. And he is the one who will turn our mess into a message. A message of hope, determination and overcoming for the people who are watching our journey, and believe me friends, there are people watching!

So this week, no matter what you are facing in your world, hold on to hope. Hold on to the fact that Jesus will make things beautiful in the end! Rest assured knowing that he will get you through what you are facing. But more than just get you through, he will make it beautiful!

 

 


The Death of a Dream.

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It is never easy saying goodbye.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a temporary goodbye or a permanent one, they are hard.

I have had a couple of goodbyes this week, and neither of them was particularly fun! The first one was when I dropped Phil at the airport. He has flown off to India and Indonesia for 10 days. Thankfully this goodbye is only temporary and I get to pick him up again in another 5 sleeps…..yay!

The other goodbye was a permanent one and this one was not so easy.
You see, a few years ago I had a dream. Now, to be honest, I don’t know if this was a God dream or just something that I pursued on my own accord, but either way it was definitely something I wanted.

I held on to this dream in the hopes that one day it would become a reality. And funnily enough, it did! Just recently I was offered an opportunity that a couple of years ago I would have jumped at. It was something I truly wanted. But as with everything I prayed about it to make sure it was right, and I got a no! A big fat resounding NO! Not even a maybe, it was a flat out no!

Really God?
But what if this is a really good thing?
What if it was what I was meant to be doing?
Why would it come up if it wasn’t right?
But God, I really want to do this!

So many questions flooded my mind, but even though none of them were answered, I still knew it was a no!

And so I spoke to the person who had asked me and said that I had prayed about it, and it just wasn’t right. She was completely understanding and thanked me for even considering the opportunity.

Door closed.

I knew I had done the right thing, but then it hit me…..the doubts, fears and insecurity that I had made the wrong choice:

Maybe I should have said yes?
Maybe I will never be asked again?
What if this was my only chance?
What if I had just missed out on something amazing?

FOMO (fear of missing out) had hit me big time and I suddenly doubted everything I knew I had heard from God.
As Phil was away I knew I had to talk to someone about this before I changed my mind again and made a wrong decision or worse, let this FOMO take over completely!

I am so super blessed with good friends and so I chatted to 2 of them about it (one in NZ and one in the USA, cause you know, it’s good to get international opinions right?)
I am so thankful to both of them for talking sense into me and showing me the things I couldn’t see…or chose not to see.

One friend said to me “It’s ok to grieve” and with that, the tears started flowing. It was like this huge release and all of a sudden it was ok that I was sad. It was ok that I was struggling, and it was ok to feel disappointed. Just because we make the right decision, doesn’t always mean it is the easy one!

So I have processed it all this week, I have chatted with God, and let Him know (like He didn’t already!!) that I was sad.  He reassured me I would be ok, and He reminded me that He has plenty of opportunities out there for me when the time is right.

So friends, it’s ok to grieve! It’s ok to say goodbye to a dream. It’s ok to feel sad when things don’t go as you think they should. And it’s ok to feel disappointed. But let’s not stay there! Grieve and move on. Don’t dwell on what might have been, focus instead on the open doors ahead of you, knowing God is always a good God, and His plans are way better than what any of us could dream up!


Snakes & Ladders

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I love board games!
My family will attest to this. Ever since I was a kid I have loved playing games. And as the kids have grown, we have always played games as a family. Now I am not a competitive person (well, not all the time!) and I am not a strategic player, but I love to sit round the table with friends or family and spend time together….and most of the time this is accompanied with eating chocolate!

There is a great feeling when you have reached world domination, brought every property on the board or won all the cards in a hand. Yep, winning is definitely a good feeling! (I did say I wasn’t competitive didn’t I?)

But, there are a couple of games which I refuse to play. Last card is one of these. I really (really) can’t stand this game. I am not a mean player and so I hate making people pick up cards or changing direction when they are about to win. I also dislike when someone does that to me. The other game which I can’t stand is snakes and ladders! Again, I think this game is just mean and sliding down a snake when you are two squares away from winning is not my idea of a good time. And I have learned over the years, there are some people I won’t play games with. I don’t mind if they are strategic or out to win, but I can’t play with people who are sneaky, nasty or vindictive…..not that I have many friends like that!!

As I was thinking about all this game playing, and pondering life as I often do, I couldn’t help but think how much my life is like a game of snakes and ladders. So often I feel like I am winning at life! I feel like things are going on track and I am making progress, and then BAM! I land on a snake and somehow I end up where I was weeks ago, and I need to push forward again, covering ground I have already covered.

And so I pick myself up and I carry on…..only to find that just when I feel like I am winning again, somehow I have landed on a snake, and there I go, down that curly wurly tail to a place that is so familiar, but so frustrating.

It is a roller coaster ride of highs when we get to climb that ladder, and lows when we hit that snake.

Sometimes I look around at people I am doing life with or people I admire, and they seem to avoid the snakes, their life seems to be one ladder after another, climbing higher and higher while I seem to be heading in the opposite direction! Really God? Why is my life filled with so many snakes and theirs is so full of ladders? Can’t you just roll the dice so I can avoid the snakes and hit all the ladders? Why can’t my life be more like a game of candyland?

You know, all sweet and sticky with beautiful bright colours, and where it is easy to win? But even as I ask that question, I already know the answer……Who ever said life was going to be easy? Who told us that life was like a game of candyland where life is sweet and easy? Where is the growth in that? Where is the stretching where we grow in God and learn to trust in Him, when we fall down yet another snake?

How else will I learn perseverance, stamina, and grow my resilience? How will appreciate the good times if I don’t fall down a snake every once in a while?
And how will I learn to trust in God if I get to climb every ladder I come across?

So I am not sure where you are this week, I hope you are climbing a ladder, but if by some chance you feel like you are sliding down a snake, hang in there? There are seasons of snakes and there are seasons of ladders, but at the end of the day we will all end up at the finish line, where we will long to hear those words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


What’s Your Best Feature?

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That’s a tough question.
Well, it is for me and for some other women I know!

We had a women’s event at Church the other night, and as you do at women’s events, we had some ice breaker questions. You know, those questions that we all love to hate! We had the usual ones, who would you like to have dinner with (Easy, Johnny Depp) who would you like to be for a day (Again, easy….Johnny Depp’s dog) and if you could be in a movie, which one would it be (easy-peasy….any movie with Johnny Depp in it!)

But then this was this one question that stumped all of us….what is your best feature?
As we went around our table each one of us took a deep breath and thought long and hard. In my head, I was going through all the things I can’t stand about myself…..This is too big, that’s too small, this is too long, and that’s not long enough. I worked my way down and could only come up with the negatives. Come on Kathy, this is not that hard! You don’t hate EVERY part of your body, surely there is something you love? Surely?

As I looked at the other women, I could see that I was not the only one struggling. When it came turn for us to speak out our best feature, all of us fumbled and struggled to speak out loud what we loved about ourselves!

Why?
Why is it so hard?
Why is it so hard to speak positive words about ourselves out loud?

Earlier that day I had been in a Pastors meeting and we talked about how each and every one of us is God’s masterpiece. We had to say it out loud, and to be honest, I had no trouble with this…..maybe it was because I didn’t fully believe it and maybe because I wasn’t being specific. But that night at the women’s event I struggled. This wasn’t a self-pity thing, for me it was just fact!

As we went around the group we shared what we loved about each person and what we thought their best feature was, and then we moved on with the night!

But I couldn’t let it go! If I am God’s masterpiece, and God does not make mistakes, then why do I struggle so much with the way he made me! Surely if I am a masterpiece I should be able to ramble on about my best features and be confident in the way I am made!

This is not a conceited thing, it’s about being ok with who you are, and for me, this is a constant battle. Some weeks I am like “I am awesome! I can conquer the world, God has great plans for me, I am fearfully and wonderfully made (as I tell my Daughters of the King girls every chance I get) but then there are other weeks when I look in the mirror and I just don’t get what other people see! I stand there and all I can say is “Really God?”

When did we start believing the lies of the enemy?
When did we lose the self-confidence and assurance we had as little girls?

And so this week I am trying hard to look in the mirror and not focus on all the bits I don’t like. I am trying to look through God’s lens and to be ok with all the bits that I wish were different. I am being ok with this outer shell, because ultimately I know, it really is whats on the inside that is the true beauty.


Kick Boxing, Sugar Free, Juicing & Other Fun Things!

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I know, I know!

It’s been a while since you have seen or heard from me. Life got a little crazy towards the end of last year and I just needed a bit of space to breathe and get things back into perspective. I love living a full life, but things kinda got out of kilter, and I needed some time to just figure it all out!

So I have started this new year with the intention of getting things back on track! And for me, that starts with my body! I know from past experiences that if I feel better about myself, so many other things just seem to fall into place. It’s not about weight or the way I look, but more of the way I feel about myself. Jackson has decided to go sugar-free this whole year, and so I thought I would join him for January. To be honest, it wasn’t that hard, but it also wasn’t that helpful! I didn’t really feel any different or notice a huge change in my health, and so now it’s February I am back on sugar (although I haven’t had any as of yet as I am not sure what I should break my fast with!)

So if being sugar-free wasn’t the answer, maybe juicing would be! I watched a documentary called “Fat, sick and nearly dead” and it really inspired me to give juicing a go to increase my micro-nutrients, along with various other health benefits.
I went and bought myself a juicer and away I went…..Now some juices were delicious, but those ones with kale, ginger, and everything green in them, were pretty yukky! But I persevered for 7 days and had nothing but micro-nutrient filled juices. Now, this time I did notice a difference! I felt less hungry, I had less cravings and generally felt healthier and happier! But let’s be realistic, I can’t live on a diet of just juice, so keeping everything in balance like you are meant to do, I am doing one day a week of just juicing. The good thing about doing this is that Gracie and Phil have joined me and I am also getting micro-nutrients into them as well!

So if I am being kinder to my body by fuelling it right, then I might as well go the full hog and exercise as well right? I am still running…..admittedly it is spasmodic but I am still doing it! So I decided I needed something else! For the last couple of years, I have always wanted to do kickboxing. But for one reason or another, I have never gotten around to it. But this year, this year it is different…..this year I am determined to do more of those things I normally just talk about, and kickboxing is one of those!

I managed to drag Gracie along with me and you know what? We had a blast! It was such hard work, but just so much fun and I cannot wait for next week! I have been online looking at getting gloves and some gear, but think I will wait a month or two to see how we go!

I have also started taking ACV (apple cider vinegar) twice a day to aid with digestion and overall wellness! That stuff is seriously foul but I am discovering that most things that are good for you are!

So my January may sound like a mish-mash of healthy fads and realistically who knows how long I will last with each thing. But what I am hoping to find at the start of 2017 is a healthy balance that will sustain me for the whole year. I am not wanting to burn out and I am not wanting to end 2017 like 2016 ended….wishing I could quit my life!

I am putting boundaries around my time and who I spend it with. I am exercising and I am eating better. I am making room for fun and I am being realistic about my goals. But most of all, I am setting my eyes on Jesus, and seeking Him as together we tackle another year!

Bring it on I say…..


Just Be Kind, People!

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There’s a saying that goes “Be kind, everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.”

The other day I was scrolling through facebook on my phone. I was in a bit of a hurry, and so I was scrolling through pretty fast! Gracie saw me and she said “Mum, aren’t you even going to “like” anything?”

Part of me was like, well no, I don’t really have time. And the other part of me got to thinking…..

And so, I slowed down and started to really look at what was going on on facebook.
There were people celebrating birthday’s, celebrating kids achievements, friends in hospital, others fighting battles and others having lost loved ones. And then there were the ones that I thought personally were just words for the sake of it, attention seeking even!

But regardless of what was being posted, these people obviously felt it was worthy enough to share with the world. Whether it was heartfelt, trivial or a desperate cry for attention, all of these friends needed something. Validation, sympathy or simple kindness.

And then I felt bad for scrolling through so fast and not liking or commenting on anything! Now, I am not going to go through and like absolutely everything, because the simple fact is I don’t! I don’t get into political debates, I don’t like or comment when people are being rude or inappropriate and I don’t condone putting people down on facebook.

But the majority of my friends are putting genuine things up about their life, whether good or bad and so if I am on facebook, then I need to participate. I know some people do it, but I am not into the whole facebook stalking thing! If I am on there, I will let you know I am on there.

And so I am making a conscience effort to be kind! I am liking things, commenting and participating in this whole social media world. I am not liking out of pity or obligation, but when friends share their world with me, I think it is rude of me to not acknowledge it. Now, I am not on social media all day every day, not everyone shows up on my newsfeed and so there are things I miss but when I am on there, you will see me!

Part of me was thinking, well why should I like their stuff when they never like any of mine, they didn’t wish me happy birthday and they didn’t even like my favourite photo! But again, this is not all about me, and it is super petty to only like for a like! I am bigger than that, and hopefully, I am kinder than that!

So, I am going to be kind this week! How about you?
I am going to get over whatever issues I am personally dealing with and make an effort to be kind. As the saying goes “Everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.”

If you are on social media, take the time to hit the like button, which takes all of 2 seconds. Take time to comment on the things you see, and take the time to really see what is going on with your friends, you never know what it could mean to that person!

You will never regret being kind!

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Getting My Brave On…..

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This week I did something brave!

I didn’t save the world from famine, I didn’t rescue a kitten from a tree or save a drowning child. I didn’t skydive from a plane and I didn’t swim with sharks. But even though I did none of these things, I was still brave.

What I did do this week was be honest!
Now that is not something new to me! I do try and be honest in all I do, but this week my honesty was put out there for all the world to see!

I made a confession on social media that I don’t like cooking! I know, shocking right?

Now technically this is the truth, but it’s not something I generally go around telling everyone. In this day and age of Pinterest, facebook, and Instagram, it is easy to look at what everyone else is doing and try and keep up! To try hard at excelling at absolutely everything, and then feel like a failure when your souffle doesn’t quite look like it did on Pinterest!

And so I put myself out there, and I showed everyone that I am not the perfect housewife! I made my confession that actually, I don’t enjoy cooking and the less time I can spend in the kitchen, the happier I become! Just because my organized, beautifully labeled kitchen looks like it came out of the page in a magazine, doesn’t mean I know how to use everything in it!

But what I loved most about what came from my honesty, is the freedom it gave others to confess, that actually, it’s not their thing either! Now, I am not condoning that we women, never have to cook ever again, but it is freeing to know you are in the same boat as others. That you are not the only one who dislikes the kitchen, and it’s nice to know you are “normal” and you don’t have to be a Martha Stewart.

I had texts and messages from women thanking me for allowing them to feel ok about themselves. Thanking me for giving them permission to lose the high expectations they have placed on themselves. I also had women confessing that they too order food bags, and there is no shame in that! Just because you get some help, doesn’t make you any less of a housekeeper. I mean, we seek help in lots of other area’s of our lives, why not in the kitchen as well?

But the very reason I decided to try the food bag was not so I could avoid cooking but so I could give my family nutritional, wholesome meals, with a wider variety than we have had. I am not negating my responsibilities, just trying to make life a little easier on myself, and if a food bag can do that for me, then I am all for it? It just gives me more time to plan my Christmas theme and do the things I know I am good at and really enjoy!

And so as I look forward to getting another food bag this weekend (I get one every other week) with 5 new recipes and everything I need to cook them, I know my family is excited for meal times and I can rest easy knowing I am not failing in the kitchen but just finding ways to make life more enjoyable. And if along the way, I can help others to be brave as well, then I think I am winning all round!

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Fiercely Independant…..Or Am I?

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I am quite an independent person really!
I don’t really like being told what to do and I can look after myself. I am fiercely strong-willed and would rather work things out on my own than ask for help……or so I thought?

I had lunch with a good friend yesterday and boy, did he turn my world upside down….in a good way……I think!

You see, this friend has a way of speaking right to my soul. Bypassing what my lips (and body language) are saying and getting straight to the heart of things! There are not many people in my life who can do that, or that I would even allow to do that! But with him, there is never condemnation, put downs or extreme reactions to what my heart is saying and there is always, always love and acceptance.

And so this is a safe place for me to explore who I really am. For me to figure out the crazy dreams and plans God has placed in my heart. For me to be honest about my fear of failure and to talk at length about the struggles I have living in my own skin.

Our friendship has grown over the years and I still blame (yes, I use the word blame!) him for who I am today. Many (many) years ago he spoke into my life and it honestly changed the direction I was taking and confirmed the plans God has for me. He see’s things in me that I am yet to see, and encourages me to not just be me, but the best version of me that I can be!

I use to get nervous meeting with him as I didn’t know where our conversations would take us, but now, well now I just get excited as I think I am finally embracing who God has called me to be, and he helps me to explore that. Sure, I still need a good kick every now and then, and a reminder to get rid of my negative self talk, but I welcome the challenge and encouragement to become the best me!

To be honest there are just some things that Phil can’t help me with. Bless his heart, he has tried! Boy, has he tried, but for various reasons, it takes someone outside our marriage to unlock certain things within me. Phil is very aware of our conversations and everything is out in the open. Be assured, everything is completely above board and I do share everything with Phil….once I have processed it through my internal processing mind! And you know what?  It is making me a better wife and Mum along the way, so Phil is fully supportive! I mean what guy wouldn’t be if he was getting a better version of his wife?

My mind was swirling a million miles an hour as I went to bed last night, processing everything we had talked about at lunch. As I spent time in prayer, again I was excited at where I am headed. Now I am under no illusions that this will be a cruisy ride. I know there will be ups and downs and I know it will require hard work, but when excitement takes over from fear, it changes your mindset and all things seem possible!

So as I ponder my path this week, I want to leave you with this question…….who is speaking into your life?

Who is it that you trust so explicitly that you would completely open up to? Who is it that you would let your guard down with, become vunerable with and dream bigger dreams than you ever thought possible?

Go and find that person, and become all God has called you to be! Go. Now. What are you waiting for? Seriously…..go!

 

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Getting My Big Girl Panties On…..

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Boy, what a week!

It has been one of those weeks where life just seems to get crazy. Phil was off in India and Indonesia, Tuesday night saw me at the hospital with a friend for over 5 hours, ending with me getting 3 hours of sleep that night! The rest of the week was a combination of being taxi driver, meal maker, house tidy upper’er, sermon writer, assignment finisher, counselor, encourager, cheerleader, sermon preacher, event planner and not to mention, solo parent!

But you know what? I nailed it!
Now, I don’t often blow my own trumpet, in fact, I am the first person to put myself down and point out all my faults, but this week I was awesome! I don’t know what it is with Phil away but I just turn into superwoman! My house is even tidier than usual, meals are planned, washing up to date and my pantry is labeled and all the cans are in even rows! Yep, this week I have been awesome!

To be honest, it could have easily gone in the other direction! Any one of the above could have sent me off the rails, and made me crawl into bed with Netflix and a bag of chippies, never to surface again! If someone had warned me of all the things that would happen last week, I would have said “No way, there is no way I have the capacity to cope with all of that” but the thing is….I did! And I coped with dignity & grace and didn’t even yelled at the kids once!

God has me on a journey at the moment that I am (finally) ready and willing to embrace!

As most of you know, this whole “Pastor’s Wife” thing has been a struggle for me. If I was going to be honest, I have not embraced it and I have fought God a lot over the last year. But a couple of weeks ago something happened. I was in Church like I am every week, but this week God decided that He wanted to speak to me (loudly) during one of the services and I spent the whole service blubbering like a baby. I couldn’t stop the tears, and I don’t think I would have even if I could have. There’s something about humbling yourself and being real in front of your Church family!

God said to me VERY clearly that He has given me grace over the last year, but now, now it is time to get off my butt and lead the women like He has called me to do.

Now, this wasn’t a bad telling off, it was more of a gentle reminder of who He has called me to be!

He said to me “You need to teach my girls how to fight. You know what it’s like to fight for your life, fight for your marriage and to fight for your kids……so teach my girls.”

WOW!

I guess I do know all those things, and I guess I can teach that to other women. Gosh, maybe this “Pastor’s Wife” thing doesn’t need to be as hard as I thought it would be. I can do those things and by golly, I will do them the best that I can.

And so as I head into this week, it’s another week without Phil, and still, so many things to do. But after last week, this week honestly feels like a walk in the park!

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# Love My Life.

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If you follow me on Instagram…..wait, what? You don’t? Well, you are missing out on a whole lot of my crazy life, so if you would like to, you can follow me here!

Anyway, if you do follow me on Instagram or even facebook, you will notice that I finish a lot of my posts with #lovemylife.
Now if you didn’t know me, you could think that I am bragging about my life. It could make you look at my life and wish you had it, and you could think that I am not genuine, I mean really, who loves their life….all the time? Well, actually, I do! But the reason is, I do it as a reminder to myself that I am blessed.

Like I have told you a thousand times, my life is not perfect! Oh my goodness friends, it is far from it! There are so many ups and downs in my life that I’m sure I am constantly living on a roller coaster. Some days I wish it was more of a steady, even keel ride, you know like “It’s a small world” in Disneyland. Where you sit in this cute wee boat and you meander through the river on a slow peaceful ride through different countries of the world, listening to the ever soothing “It’s a small world” being sung to you while you do nothing but sit and relax. But no, that is not the way God has called me to live! He thinks I am better suited for a ride like Space Mountain, a roller coaster which is completely in the dark where there are so many twists and turns, you have no idea what is coming next. All you can do is pray and hold on for dear life.

And so I live this crazy life and every day, just like you, I have 2 choices. I can face life head on and accept willingly the path God has me on, or I can fight God every step of the way and whinge and whine my way through life.

I could complain about how busy full my life is, I could whinge that my to-do list is never ending, I could whine about how tough life is, but really, how is that going to help? Honestly, that way of looking at life is certainly not going to bring the joy I am searching for or bring joy to anyone that comes into contact with me.

But many years ago after an extremely hard season in my life, I made the decision to not be a victim but to be victorious in the way I live my life. Every morning I wake up and choose to love this life God has given me.

Now I am not trying to paint an unrealistic picture of my life on the internet. I like to keep things real, but I also don’t think the whole world needs to know all my struggles and problems, like I have said before, that privilege is saved for family and a few good friends!

And so I will continue to #lovemylife and I will continue to love it and live it to the fullest. So next time you see me #lovemylife, please don’t think I am bragging, but remember I am being thankful for all that I have. And hopefully, it is a reminder to you, that you too can choose to love your life!

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