Let the holiday come to you

“I need a Holiday!” Is a phrase I hear people say ALL the time. That, and “I’m sooo tired!”… and the thing is, most of the time, it’s probably true.

I hear you; I’ve been tired. I’m a nurse, so I’ve done back to back night shifts. I’m an English woman living in Australia, so I’ve done 24hr flights. I’m a Mum, so I’ve stayed up all night feeding a baby. And the next night too, and the next… so sure, I’ve been tired, but some of those tired moments have been the best of my life!

I can lead a life that is FULL. Full of things, stuff, expectations and events. I can often be busy, hard working, stressed, frantic, coming and going, here and there. It’s hectic! Things demand my attention and I split my mind going crazy trying to do 6 things at once and failing at all of them! It’s so easy to be caught up in all those things I think I “should” be doing and wrapped up in my own (and others) expectations.

But Jesus, he said:

“the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.

John 10v10

So He promises that we can have a life that is full… but it’s up to me what my life is full of. I see this thief coming and it doesn’t steal people’s time or money, those things we are often wishing for more of. The thief actually steals our joy, our peace, our contentment, our hope. This is a real theft, for what do we have if not peace or joy?

What does my life look like if I am always discontent, always wanting an escape? We long for Friday but when it comes we are too tired to enjoy it! Why do we feel a need to push ourselves so hard and then collapse in a heap at the end? Why are we seeking others approval instead of what’s right for us, what’s good for our hearts, souls and minds? Have we lost ourselves so much that we don’t know what is truely good for us anymore?

“Do what you love and everyday is like a holiday”

I don’t think God created us to only live life fully during our annual leave, I think he created us to live life fully, every day.

What do I need to do less of in my life to get back my balance? What do I need to do more of to feel joy and contentment again? What dreams need to be opened so I can feel hope again? What expectations and schedules do I need to let go of?

I’m not saying that life isn’t hard sometimes, but I don’t think Jesus wanted us to live in a constant struggle. There is always hard things to be done but I choose to be thankful in every moment. Perhaps instead of waiting to be less tired or more prepared I can just start living now. Instead of wishing I was like someone else or I was somewhere else, I can embrace my life more fully and let the holiday come to me. What can you do, to let the holiday come to you?

 

 

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The hope you hold is a gift

There is something so special about stopping, recognising a need and helping to fulfil that need in whatever capacity you have. Helping someone is one of the most precious things you can do. I love how it not only blesses the person you help, but blesses the helper.

It is more blessed to give than to receive – Acts 20:35

I volunteer for a charity who support women in crisis pregnancy, and journey with them until their baby is one year old. At first I thought this would just be something I would enjoy doing, something to occupy some time. It has become so much more than that. What started out as a few hours a fortnight has transformed into a living, breathing, transforming dream. And since I met Jesus, I have been a No.1 dream seeker…

Volunteering is gateway to my dream.
It shapes my compassionate heart,
makes me one of the team.
It teaches me how to do my part,
How to both give, and receive.

It shows me how we are all connected,
How to encourage those who are rejected.
It makes me see what love is, and what it is not,
It helps me to love, and love no matter what.

It challenges me to both follow and lead.
It’s like fresh air opening up my eyes,
As I discovered what I really believed.
It brings together many different lives,
Helping to reach one goal, one need.

Do you know the hope that you hold is a gift?
As even life’s Mountains, you will shift.
So, start; although you can’t help everyone,
You can join in, and help someone.

The “World” tells me I’m “nice” for volunteering, but really shouldn’t I be earning money? What about my “real job”, what about my future? The “World” thinks it’s great, but does it have to take up so much time? What about my family or holidays or buying a house?

My passion chose me, abides me and is part of me. I allowed hope to be birthed inside of me, for the passion to consume me, and now I can share that. I am so rich in every way from volunteering, and I wouldn’t give that up for the world.

What do you do to help people around you? How do you share hope? What small things do you do to brighten someone else’s day?

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. – Andy, Shawshank Redemption

What is the hope you have for a better world?

You are the butterfly

Have you ever been looking so hard for something, that you just can’t see it, even if it’s right in front of your eyes? I’ve even searched for my glasses, while they were on my face! It’s like people say…

“you can’t see the wood from the trees”

Life can be a puzzle, confusing, and overwhelming. For me, sometimes I am so busy hunting around on the ground, surviving. It’s like I am a caterpillar just searching for food for the day, attempting to grow, trying to get by.

Yet, this Blog is my place to start to make sense of my world. I am curious. I am inspired by God. I am learning how to truly cherish and love those around me. I am learning to see a more beautiful reflection of myself. I am learning to see hope, joy and thankfulness rise, like butterflies in the sky.

This Blog is a place where I am no longer the caterpillar, surviving, I am becoming the butterfly, thriving. I am free, full of joy and beautiful in His eyes. And I invite you, like me, to open your eyes and to stop looking for the caterpillar, you are the butterfly.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!” –  2 Corinthians 5:1

 

Your heart’s rate or your heart’s fate?

The view of the beach as I run

The view of the beach as I run

I can feel the pavement pounding beneath my trainers, as the light warm breeze brushes my pink cheeks. It’s been a few months now since my last fitness assessment, and here I am again, running. It’s summer, so the air is warm, but a fluffy layer of cloud thankfully shields me from the sun’s scorching heat. As I run, I am trying to push on, to beat my best time… am I fitter than I was then? Probably not, I think, seeing my tummy filled with Christmas deserts, chocolate and chilled wine on balmy nights.

But what about spiritually? Am I spiritually fitter than I was then? Do I feel more loved and can love others more? Am I closer to God than before? Yes, yes and yes! I am discovering that health is a wonderful thing, and it should be pursued. But above all else we should pursue God. Draw near to him, and he will draw near to you. The most important relationship you will have in your whole life is not the one with your gym membership, your best mate or even your spouse, but with the one who loved us first; Jesus. He is not someone we go to in times of need, but someone who is with us always. He is not someone we say thanks to when life goes our way, but someone who is always on our side. He is not someone who fulfils our to do list, but someone that lives inside of us; our hopes, our dreams and our hearts. Jesus is at the centre of it all. If I can wake up early to exercise for an hour a morning, why not sacrifice my sleep and time also to “spiritually exercise”… pray, worship, soak in his presence?

There are so many distractions in the world. I often feel like there is such a thick culture we live in, that sometimes just doing our daily life is like walking through thick tar. I find it so easy to slip into worrying, doing things or getting busy. We strategize and plan what we eat, what to wear or even which roads to drive to our destination. Do we also strategize with Jesus how to bring the Kingdom of God to earth, do we seek how to unleash our dreams or desires, or intentionally cultivate our relationship with God?

I am discovering how to focus on what really matters. We recently completed a week of healing ministry; Restoring the Foundations. And honestly, it was probably the biggest work-out of our lives. We trampled down generational curses, we threw out ungodly thinking and welcomed godly beliefs. We healed some hurts and cut free from any oppression. And we came out on the other side. I’m not sure how to explain it except like this…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians5v17 (NIV)

Therefore, when you first believe in Jesus you do become a new creation. A whole new you, ready to go. Except the “old” you still has it’s grip on your being. And you might be a new creation, but we still choose to do things the old way. But here, on the other side of this ministry, it’s like I’ve discovered now where the old still had it’s grip, and I’ve realised who I am in God’s eyes. Next, it’s time for me to step into that, and journey with God. So for the next month my Husband and I are “Walking it out”, declaring our godly beliefs, receiving blessings, reading the bible, praying and above all else CHOOSING the new “us” that God made. We have a heart that beats, but we are not simply alive, we are alive in him. We are alive because of him, alive for him. Whether we feel it or not, we are loved, and we are Sons and Daughters of God.

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” 2 Corinthians6v18 (NIV)

But it’s up to us to realise we are a Son or Daughter, and receive the love that God our Daddy in heaven has for us. And then, from that overflow, we can love those around us. Ephesians 3 encourages us to be “rooted and established in love” and I know that is what we are doing at the moment, digging down into our roots and watering them with a love so abundant and full of life, that we can feel at ease being ourselves. I am learning how God delights in us, just as we are. If God wanted me to be smarter, or taller, or skinnier or with an extra half a toe he would have make me that way. But he didn’t, he made me, like this, and I am learning to love who I am and also love others for who they are. More love, less judgement, and allow God to change us, as he sees fit. And if I can love more fully, then I feel that is a true assessment of my heart. To be loved and to love, that is my heart’s fate.

For which is more important, my heart’s rate or my heart’s fate? I am not merely alive, but alive in His love. I know that no matter what the weather, wherever I run, I am secure in His house. Do you?

I pray for myself, and for you, from Ephesians 3v14-21:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

 

 

 

Flaws

I can feel the pavement pounding beneath my trainers, as the cold wind whips my bare arms and flings my hair into a wild frenzy. As I run I spur myself on, and have to hold that inner voice closer to my ears; “yes you can”. Despite my legs wanting to stop, I don’t. Music drifts through my ear phones and as I rhythmically jog on I find myself pondering as I hear the lyrics…

“When all of your flaws and all of my flaws, are laid out one by one. A wonderful part of the mess that we made, we pick ourselves undone.” ( Flaws – Bastille)

I am not perfect and never will be. I have “flaws” and although I’ve never met you, I’m sure you do too. This may be a difficult reality to face in a world where apparent perfection is praised and strived for. 

But do our imperfections make us who we are, wonderful unique beings? Should we embrace all the flaws we have and love ourselves despite them?

Yes absolutely. We will never be perfect because the only person who fulfilled that ideal was Jesus. Yet we are made in the image of God who loves us completely and formed us in our mother’s womb. God loves us just the way we are. But I believe he loves us too much to keep us the way we are. Yet unlike the song, I don’t think God wants us to pick ourselves until we are undone. He is not requesting perfection; all He asks of us is love and faith as small as a mustard seed.

Sounds simple? But it doesn’t always feel simple I find. As I go through life, facing my flaws is an ongoing battle. All around me I often feel like the world is telling me I am not good enough. I am probably the same as many other twenty something women… Worrying about my weight, finances, career, marriage… It is great we all have this desire within ourselves to want to do better, be better, but it can be dangerously unending. Am I doing enough? Am I good enough?

The song carried on…”All of your flaws and all of my flaws, they lie there hand in hand. Ones we’ve inherited, ones that we learn. They pass from man to man.” (Flaws – Bastille).

I know I have inherited my mother’s thick thighs! I am impatient in a fast flowing world. I talk before I listen, or even think sometimes. The world tries to teach me how to be successful or happy in money. I have learnt how to worry and not how to trust. I want to put my own needs before others. Experiences in my life have shaped me; fear has driven me to react in certain ways.

The Bible (NIV) tells us a different way in Hebrews 12, 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

In my heart, I see a battlefield of people who are brave, powerful and loved. They know who they are; handcrafted by a loving God, sons and daughters to the one true king. They don’t focus on their sin or their flaws, but focus on Jesus, and allow Him to change them. Their goal is to be loved and to love others as an overflow of that love. They receive his unconditional love and life as a gift, because he endured the cross for them. They are a new creation. And with the help of the Holy Spirit to teach them, throughout their lives they realise this transformation and step into everything He has for them. They come alive and make the world better by being in it, by feeling alive. These people, they could be you, could be me if we chose it.

As I run, I think about why I am doing this. Yes my weight bothers me but ultimately my body is only part of me, and my goal should be to be healthy and fit, rather than lighter. I’ve had hurtful comments or negative words spoke over me about my size or shape, but they are not the truth and they don’t change who I really am. As I run, despite the spitting rain, I realise I do actually enjoy this. I love the elation afterwards, the pounding heart, being focused on my body and what it can do. I want to live long and feel good. I don’t want to be running away from negative comments or be pushed by society’s views, I want to be running into a God who loves me, and wants the best for me, including my health. The world wants me to see my weight as a flaw; God wants me to just be looking to Him.

One of the more recent shocking things I’ve been told was “you don’t care for my child and you are not maternal at all”. This hurt me more deeply than comments on my weight because it touched a part of me that was a fragile dream, a part of me that was my inner being and it shattered. My truth was I did care very much and to be viewed as otherwise was totally undermining. But after stepping away from the moment, you can see how hurt people, want to hurt people. The mother that spoke that to me was frustrated, confused and overwhelmed by her situation, her child ill in hospital. So do I listen to her and never care for children again? Of course not, I listen to my Daddy God and gain his approval alone. Maybe in that moment to that mother I came across as not maternal, but the truth is my God has a dream for me that I can raise up mothers and children to be who they were made to be. One flawed moment won’t taint me forever.

Past hurts and fear drive reactions that lead me into destruction. Sin allows the devil a foothold in our life, allows a voice to enter our head that fills us with dread, shame and powerlessness, which is why Jesus wants us to be free from those chains. Some things may seem harmless but overtime can damage our mind, hearts, and souls. Hurts, fear and sin or flaws laid bare make us feel empty, useless and alone. These next lyrics in the song describe them well…

“There’s a hole in my soul. I can’t fill it, I can’t fill it. There’s a hole in my soul. Can you fill it? Can you fill it?” (Flaws – Bastille)

Who do you turn to for comfort? What do you do in a time of trouble or need? Whose approval do you gain to feel good? Who do you compare yourself to, to feel successful? Here are some suggestions… alcohol, food, shopping, friends, partners, sport? But the truth I realised, is that the only thing able to fill that hole in my soul is God, because it is a God shaped hole. Only He can give me hope, a purpose. Only he can truly give me unconditional, unending love. When I see myself as the media, the community or individuals reflecting who I am, I am seeing a lie. A snap shot of who I am from people’s perspective, even my own, is likely it be incomplete. Seeking approval of the world will leave me dry and empty, but receiving the approval from my God, will complete me forever. I can strive and try to do things in my own strength and never make the mark, or I can ask the creator of the universe for His help. If I can fix my eyes on Jesus and hear what he thinks about me more often, I will continue to change into the awesome person God has made me to be. God is in the business of healing past hurts, redemption and restoration. He has a future planned for us, a “race marked out for us”. I am learning to shift my mind from worldly, life-taking distractions to Godly vision.  But how do we do we unearth our flaws and move forward?

“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground, Dig them up – let’s finish what we started, Dig them up – so nothing’s left unturned” (Flaws – Bastille)

Some people are marked by their flaws. They choose to be defined by them, clothed in them, overwhelmed by them rather than defined by who God created them to be (which is flawless). I see that there is a part of us that does need to open up about our flaws, to be vulnerable to others and God, allowing them to help us when we need help. This vulnerability does require us to share our flaws in safe place, but we don’t need to wear them upon our sleeve for all to see all the time. Our flaws don’t need to become a fashion statement about our lives. But with no vulnerability, with no self discovery or sharing of flaws at all we live inside our own trap. I agree that we should dig up our flaws and let God deal with them, not bury our head in the sand and ignore them. So what next?

“All of your flaws and all of my flaws, when they have been exhumed, we’ll see that we need them to be who we are without them we’d be doomed.” (Flaws – Bastille)

These words I find conflicting, but here’s how I see it. When we allow our flaws to be dealt with by God, allow our self to transform and to learn, we become closer to Jesus. But I am not me without my past, and the things I have been through and overcome, are now my most powerful testimony. My dream for women and children is stronger, perhaps, because it had been shaken; its foundations had to be stronger. Its foundation has to be the strongest thing there is; Jesus as my rock. Some things we see as flaws in our life, but really they are not, they are parts of our unique character. How I see it is that God created every good thing, and he created you. And He turns all things to good and makes good come out of all things. God didn’t want me to be hurt, but from my hurt he can make good flow again.

“We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” MSG Bible, Romans 8v28

As I finish my run, that quiet voice inside me that compelled me on, “yes you can” is now elated, with “Yes you did!” I have flaws but if I waited for them all to fall off me, I would be here until eternity. So, breathless, I thank God for who he is, all he is done, all he is doing and all he will do. Love and faith entwine as my prayer lifts up to God who hears me. I feel him cheering me on. Because I have God, no matter what my flaws, I will never loose heart.

The complete song lyrics to Flaws by Bastille 

All of your flaws and all of my flaws, they lie there hand in hand. Ones we’ve inherited, ones that we learn. They pass from man to man.

There’s a hole in my soul. I can’t fill it, I can’t fill it. There’s a hole in my soul.Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up – let’s finish what we started
Dig them up – so nothing’s left unturned

All of your flaws and all of my flaws, when they have been exhumed
We’ll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we’d be doomed

There’s a hole in my soul
I can’t fill it, I can’t fill it
There’s a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up – let’s finish what we started
Dig them up – so nothing’s left unturned

When all of your flaws and all of my flaws are counted
When all of your flaws and all of my flaws are counted

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up – let’s finish what we started
Dig them up – so nothing’s left unturned

All of your flaws and all of my flaws are laid out one by one
Look at the wonderful mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

Declaration

What you believe about yourself can empower you or trap you; what you say about yourself can influence who are, and who you become.

Who are you listening to? Do you hear the lies of a thief, the overflow from a chaotic world, your own critical nature or the endless thoughts from a loving Father in heaven? What are you saying to others about who you are? Do you bring yourself down or cheer yourself up? Do you repeat the worries and mistaken priorities of the world or do you talk from a Kingdom perspective?

I lived as a child without knowing there was a God who loved me unconditionally. As a teenage I experienced some depression, with self hating, shameful thoughts, and became lost, not knowing where to go. Life was hard and I couldn’t do it on my own, but that’s because I was never made to do it alone! I listened for too long to the negative lies from our enemy, the devil. I spun so many confusing cobwebs in my mind from my own destructive thoughts. I thought I was useless, not good enough and that all I did was cause hurt and pain to those around me, and said so! I’m sure this is what all of us have thought at some point, but actually we have our redeemer, Jesus. I just hadn’t met him yet.

I finally discovered God (that’s another story) and then had a penny-drop moment when I realised the true meaning of this verse:

“God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 6vs8

At first I thought being a Christian was about being good and kind and wonderful. So I went to church but didn’t think of myself as a Christian, as I was still trying to be better, be more perfect in my own way so God would accept me. Then I realised that whilst I was still in my own stinking mess, God loved me already! We do cause pain and feel pain but God loves us just as we are, and it’s Him that can soothe our wounds, not our own striving efforts. And since then I have been on a journey into the love of God and haven’t regretted one moment of it. His love binds together my very being.

This week my Husband and I organised and taught the kids church for our local church family. And I loved it, because we showed them this verse that changed my life, and I could see the love of God seeping into their skin in a tangible way. As they pinned their sins to the cross and they saw them left in the grave as Jesus rose, they saw their true value, even when God knew all their bad things. If even one child caught a glimmer of love from our Daddy God I have succeeded because it was something I desperately needed but never knew back then. God’s love, mercy and grace is a beautiful gift they can know already, as a child. We personified that message, as they played pass the parcel and inside was literally mercy and grace; Jesus took what we deserve and then He gives us what He deserves (and they got some marshmallows too!) They had written all the good things they knew about Jesus, and after Jesus died on the cross and their sins were in the Grave, they took back their list about Jesus but this time it was about them!

If we accept what Jesus did for us, we can receive so much love, freedom and blessings we won’t know what to do with it all! And so this love must be alive in our hearts. We are the only ones that set limits on our greatness, but if we knew how great God made us we would never hesitate! We can encourage the greatness inside of us to overflow by knowing the truth of God’s love in our heart.

“But the things that come out of the mouth, come from the heart, and these defile him” Mathew 15v18

Therefore what we say affects our heart, so when you are complaining, self critiquing or focusing on the negatives you are destroying the love God placed in you. But what if we declared life over ourselves? If you do, you claim the ground for Jesus to live in you, because he is the way, the truth and the life. Declare your future and you will encounter more brilliance than you thought possible, as you stomp over anything that tries to stop you. If God is for you, who could be against you? Only our own doubt, avoidance or choice turns us away from God. It’s not just about knowing bibles verses or hearing compliments, it’s about them being a living testimony in your heart so you can live from them.

So I’m going to share my own declaration that I wrote in friendship with God. I challenge you to write your own declaration. Write a story of son-ship, love and hope and how you can change the world, and if you can believe it then you can go for it! How would your heart change if you spoke this over yourself every week, every day? Because even if you don’t believe in Him, or believe in your awesomeness, God already believes in you.

I declare…

Jesus, your death on the cross is enough for me. Because of your redeeming grace I am not a failure.

I am created by the master builder. I am daughter to the most high King. I am valued, I am like a Golden tree. I am chosen. I am accepted as I am, and can be myself. I am loved by my Daddy God, unconditionally, and I love God who first loved me. Nothing can separate me from this love. I am beautiful, inside and out.

I am good enough. I have more than enough. I am powerful, and take care to control myself and not others. My aim is connection and relationship with others and with God. I seek to understand, encourage and love those around me. I can respond with super-love, with God’s perfect love that casts out all fear. I radiate His love.

I can trust God, completely, my plans are in his hands. Nothing is impossible. I can open my heart to Him and He will hear. I will hear God’s voice, I will listen to the song he sings over me. I can dream, prophesy and heal because of the Holy Spirit that dwells in me.

I am free. I am thankful. I choose to have a good day. Wherever I go God is with me, he dwells in me. I choose to walk in my destiny.

Women longing to be Mothers

It is so strange in our society how differently women face motherhood. And for this I will say “motherhood” because this is from a women’s perspective.

Sometimes it is seen as the greatest thing a woman could do, requiring supernatural strength or selflessness, yet is also seen as the most rewarding and worthwhile thing you could do.

Other times it is seen as an inconvenience, something that takes over your individuality, independence and your life as you know it, something that people want to delay until later.

Many of my friends use birth control, as if pregnancy is the last thing in the world they are seeking. Some are married, such as myself, and despite the secure relationship choose to wait to have children. Others may or may not be in relationships, but they long for the joys of sex and intimacy with someone else, without any responsibility.

Yet, this year has been dubbed year-of-the-babies by my Husband and I as so many of our friends have (seemingly) suddenly embraced pregnancy eagerly. What is it that makes us change from self-focused, life-living, people into live-giving parents, willing to focus everything on someone else, a baby.

Although motherhood is supposedly the most natural thing in the world, it is becoming less natural and more controlled. Worldly standards are being embossed into our minds… That we need to have enough money, have a house, have security, and need to have reached this almost unobtainable phase of “readiness”. Whilst I do agree that security in a physical way is biologically engrained into us as a safe time to reproduce, it is so much more than that. The thing I need most in the world, aside from the most basic of needs (air, water and food) is love. And that is what I see amongst my friends and family who have taken a ticket to motherhood… They have an overwhelming love for someone and choose to welcome someone else into that love.

Motherhood is so precious, fragile almost. I have seen the elation of discovering a new little person is made, as many of my good friends and family have shared new exciting news. Three pregnancy’s chosen and given easily. One pregnancy after a year of trying to conceive, and another after IVF treatment. But I have also witnessed the trauma of that dream, that baby being crushed.

One couple I know had two healthy girls, yet the third child was stillborn. Another couple I know had a stillborn child last year, closely followed by a child born premature and lost the fight of life after a few days. How do we as humans cope with so much loss? How do we hold onto hope? Although they have no living children to show- this couple are in my heart, still parents, but ones that have experienced more than their portion of grief.

A couple I know have had children already, but after discovering their new unborn baby has a disabling, life-limiting syndrome, decided to end the life of the baby before it was born. I know another couple with no children is still waiting to conceive. There are so many mothers I know with a child in paediatric intensive care, the children aged from hours old to teenagers who are all fighting to stay alive. One child I cared for has a disabling and life-limiting syndrome, but is given opportunity, hope and love- as well hardship and many obstacles to overcome.

If survival or health symbolise success, if money, a house or a career are the best achievements then so many will never win in life. But what is if love was the greatest thing? Then, every women, every mother-to-be and every mother already, can succeed.

That’s why we should all cherish the good things we have and be thankful. That’s why I believe that every person has a unique purpose and destiny, no matter how short it is. That’s why I trust in Jesus, who shares our pain, cheers our triumph, and walks through life with us. That’s why I don’t make my own agenda or follow ‘worldly ways’, but let the Holy Spirit guide me as I learn to listen to God’s heartbeat. That is why I believe in a Father in heaven who gathers his little ones to Him, who frees us from pain and overwhelms us with unending faith, hope and love, “the greatest of these being love”.