Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Stand Up and Receive Your Diploma!

Today I want to share something that the Lord showed me a little while ago.

It was about four in the morning, and I crawled back into bed after tending to DD3 who wanted me for some reason - I can't remember what it was.
Anyway, I was lying there half-asleep thinking about some health or medical issue that was bothering me (once my brain wakes up that's it), and smiled when I heard what God had spoken to me.

He showed me that every trial, every hardship experienced - no matter how big or small - is a reason to celebrate.
Because we are then qualified to help somebody else going through a similar situation.
Our experience gives us the qualification to help others.

Think about it.
When you know someone who is going through a tough time, what do you say?
You can't say "I understand" if you yourself have never endured the same hardship.
At best we can listen, be there, and offer some sort of practical help.

However, when you have experienced difficulties, you do know what it's like - you do understand a little of how they're feeling because you've been there yourself.
I praise God that because of the hard things I've gone through, I am able to reach out to others with understanding.
I can comfort those who are being treated for depression.
I can relate to others who have come from a broken home.
I can encourage somebody struggling with identity issues.

One of the things I love most about God is that nothing is ever in vain.
He redeems the pain you've felt, the loneliness you've experienced, the hurt you've received by then turning it around and allowing you the honour of helping someone else.

So, if you are going through a tough time, take heart!
God is there to comfort you through it, and then if you are willing, He will bring someone along who you can nurture and make their life a little brighter.

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Corinthians 1:3,4  NLT)

A bientot mes amis,
X Rebecca

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

What Do You Turn To?

My husband and I went to a concert recently, and as we were listening to the band I noticed the lady sitting in front of me.
She was...big.
Not obese, but big enough that she needed her seat and the one next to it in order for her to be seated comfortably.
I'm ashamed to confess that I had judgemental thoughts about her size.
I'm sure you never do anything like that, but I did.

Anyway, as soon as I had those thoughts, the Holy Spirit pricked my conscience, reminding me that I am no different.
I don't know that lady personally, but unless she has a medical condition she probably got that way because she found that eating makes her feel better.
About herself, about her life, about her losses.

You see, we all turn to something to make ourselves feel better.
We all have something we turn to instead of turning to God.
That thing we turn to when we're feeling bad is the thing we have chosen to replace God.

What do you do when life gets tough?
Perhaps you shop.
Perhaps you drink.
Perhaps you eat...or refuse to eat.
Maybe you run or read romance novels or watch too much tv.

We were created to take care of ourselves - we listen to our body and respond with giving it the thing it needs.
When we're hungry, we eat.
When we're thirsty we drink.
When we're tired, we sleep.

But what about when we are feeling other stuff?
What do we do when we feel rejected?
What do we do when we are feeling unloved?
What do we do when we feel like a failure?

It's not so easy to satisfy those feelings, is it?
Living in the fallen world that we do, these are the issues we have to deal with.

It's natural for us to want to stop feeling discomfort, but these negative feelings aren't so easy to deal with.
There are reasons why you may feel rejected and unloved.
Perhaps it stems from something that happened when you were little, or just recently.
Maybe you were unloved as a child, and the pattern of rejection occured all through your life, still affecting you today?

We learn, sometimes quite early in life, that certain behaviours or activities can lessen the pain we feel inside. Administering those behaviours doesn't heal the pain, but it certainly relieves it...at least for a little while.
We realise that we can stifle the voices of the past.

The problem is that those behaviours won't ever make you better.
God won't allow them to.
He wants to use the pain you are feeling to drive you to Him.
It's only in relationship with Him that you will find healing, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Coming to God and making Jesus your Saviour isn't about losing your life...it's about finding life.
Jesus didn't just die and rise again so you can have eternal life...He did it so you can live in freedom here on earth too.

A bientot,

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Dear Father,
This new day is a gift.
I accept this gift from You.
As I open this gift, I choose to remember that it was given to me by Someone who loves me.
The One who chose this gift did so because He knows me well.

As I open this beautifully packaged gift, I see what is carefully placed inside.
A fresh, new day.
Full of possibility and hope.
Untainted by harsh words, as yet unblemished from problems and sadness.

Because of the purity of this day, because of its pure and peaceful beauty, I am tempted to set it aside and not make use of it.
If I use it, it might get ruined by my human nature...my failings...my sinfulness.

However, as with any gift, there are three things I could do with this present you have given me:
  • Hide it away in a cupboard, stuffing it out of sight and forgetting all about it - it's beauty and it's possibilities,
  • Set it aside, looking at it and thinking, "One of these days I'm going to use it", or
  • Understand and embrace it's beauty and function, choosing to use it and enjoy it.
Father, as the Giver of this gift of today, the third option is the one that would give You the most pleasure.
You have given me today, You chose today for me because You know me and You know what's best for me.
(An excerpt from my book of quiet time jounalling - dated Sunday, January 23rd 2011)

 There's a quote that goes along these lines,
"Yesterday is gone,
Tomorrow is yet to come,
Today is a gift, that's why it's called the 'present'"

That's true isn't it?

Yesterday is gone...forever.
The things you said or didn't say, did or didn't do yesterday are gone.
All that remains of yesterday are the consequences of our reactions - whether positive or hurtful.
You can't change what you did or said, you can't take back words once they've left your mouth.

Are you resting on your laurels from yesterday - or yesteryear?
Is it time to move on and create new memories, new relationships, a new definition of YOU?

And what about tomorrow?
Tomorrow doesn't exist...yet.
It's not here, it never has been, yet we put so much hope in it.

"I'll do it tomorrow."
"I'll ring and apologise tomorrow."
"I'll give up drinking tomorrow."
"I'll apply for that course tomorrow."

We may as well replace tomorrow with someday, because sometimes that can be what we're really saying.

All we have is today.
This day.
And to take it one step further, all we really have is this moment.
In reality, this single, split-second moment is all we have to work with.

You have the choice, I have the choice, whether we use this moment, this hour, this day, this life - or if we choose to sit by and allow opportunities to slip through our fingers.

I know that life can be hard.
I know that sometimes it just seems too much.
But you can do it.
You deserve a great life, doing the things you've always dreamed of.
You deserve to live.

A bientot,

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Hello again!
Years ago (when Darling Daughter #2 was only a few months old) a rather large, rotund pastor (whom I had only just met mind you) said to me, "Have you got a bun in the oven - or are you just fat?"

Now, how would you handle that situation? How would you respond to this person?

The nerve of this guy sent me into some kind of verbal paralysis.
I was so stunned by his comment I just stood there and laughed along with all the ladies around him who were saying, "Teehee, oh you shouldn't say such things! Teehee!"

That happened 8 years ago, and to this day I still lie in bed thinking up clever comebacks I could have said to him!

Just between you and me, I wish I could let people have it sometimes, don't you?
Letting loose with a flurry of verbal karate chops - "Hi-ya! Have you looked in the mirror lately?!"
But, of course, that would never do.

We all say and do dumb thoughtless things now and again. After all, we are human.
I guess there will always be those who need to practice using that filter inside their head that can prevent the bad stuff from coming out.

It's really important to handle offenses in the right way.
Our natural reaction is usually to lash out and hurt the offender back, but that is never in your best interests, or what's best for your relationship with that person.
I try and think about why the person may have said or done something offensive toward me.
If there's no obvious cause as to why the offense came, I make sure it wasn't something I unintentionally said or didn't say.
Perhaps the person is going through a difficult time and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sometimes there just isn't any logical reason why that person may have hurt you.

The important thing is where do you go from there?
Here are some tips to help you out:
  1. Don't let your knee-jerk reaction be to lash out verbally or physically - take some time out away from the other person to think and preferably pray about the situation.
  2. If appropriate, approach the person and share your feelings. Keep in mind that the health of the relationship needs to be your motive, not to hurt them back.
  3. Forgive them. This is harder than it sounds isn't it? Forgiveness is so important to your emotional health, and it's actually to benefit YOU more than the other person.
  4. Move on - whether the offender is understanding of you or not. You can't change others, but you can change and grow yourself. And despite your pain, try not to let a negative outcome deter you from reaching out to others.
A crucial part to handling offense is this: pray that the offender will be blessed.
I know, I know - that's the last thing you feel like doing at the time.

I have found that doing this really helps me get over the hurt, and it's comforting because I know I'm responding in the way Jesus wants me to.

What have your experiences been? I'm interested to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions.
Thanks for calling by, come again soon!

A bientot!
X Rebecca

PS - I need to add that you must never condone any sort of physical or sexual violence toward you or your children. Please seek professional help - don't try and handle it on your own.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

So This is Blogging...

I wonder how long I could stare at this blank screen before the words come?
It's not that I have nothing to say, but that I feel I have SO much to say and share with you I'm not quite sure where to start.

I guess the beginning is always a great place to start something.

There are two reasons I wanted to start a blog.
The first reason is that I love to write.
Not that I'm an author or anything, but I enjoy composing sentences and paragraphs using words that come together to create something meaningful.

To convey an idea.
To encourage a friend.
To bring hope to the hurting.
To show others that they can create something beautiful in their life.

I want the posts I write to be meaningful, encouraging, and to brighten your day.

I think I enjoy communicating through the written word because I can choose what to say, and how to say it.
Writing gives me the luxury of thinking before I "speak" - not only to prevent me from saying something that could be offensive, but quite often when I'm speaking with someone face to face I find it hard to speak cohesively, and I scream inside my head "spit it out!!"
Do you ever struggle with that?

The other reason I wanted to start a blog was that I wanted a platform to showcase the things I make.
God made me creative, and if I don't use that gift I feel very, very blah.
I confess that I haven't made good use of His gift to me, for one reason or another, but I'll talk about that another day.

Before I go, I want to explain the reason for the rather unusual title for my blog.
"Une Vie Florissante" is french for "A Flourishing Life" (isn't french beautiful?).
When I was setting up the blog I wanted to incorporate the word "flourish" in the title somewhere, because it speaks of growth and health, AND one of my favourite stamps to use when crafting is a flourish (a swirly fancy curlicue thing).

Why french?
Well, because in english it was taken.
As simple as that.

X Rebecca