Saturday, August 15, 2015

In His waiting room.

I have been wanting to put pen back to paper for a while now and get back into writing but it has never felt like it was the right time and what I wanted to say was the right thing.  Its true, everyone knows I have plenty of things to say but when it came down to publishing it just didn't seem right.  But really I am thinking that I had no words, no words to say what I really wanted to say because its been too hard and to painful.

I have titled this post "In His Waiting Room" because for now that is exactly where we are, in Gods waiting room. Waiting waiting waiting.  Did you know that waiting is excessively hard?  It has really brought out the worst in me, perhaps that is the point? *groan.  Jamie and I were discussing the theme of this post yesterday and he said there was a future message in this but for now I am going to 'borrow' said message and write about it.  Perhaps one day you will get to hear him preach this message.

Check out this ad

Thanks Mainland.   There is nothing that could illustrate exactly where we are or how I am feeling than that advert right there.   Believe me I have paced His waiting room a hundred times, a thousand maybe even ten thousand.  I have sighed, groaned, huffed and puffed, crossed my legs, uncrossed my legs, rustled newspaper as loudly as I can to try to get some attention because I feel like we have been forgotten and to let Him know that I am not at least a bit impressed in having to be kept waiting. To be really honest, I have cried, stomped my feet and maybe even thrown a tantrum or two. See I told you that it has brought out the worst in me.  Every time I get impatient and throw a little hissy fit I come back out the other side and come back to Him and say "Its OK Lord.  I know you have this all under control". And I am OK again.

 Things are tough. Real tough.  I am not just saying that to invoke sympathy or charity but I am saying because it is.  This is our reality.   I said at the end of last year that 2014 had been our hardest year yet and that I was looking forward to what 2015 had for us.  Maybe this year I should keep my mouth shut.  Because to date 2015 has been insanely hard.  I know that God has a great plan for us. I believe it because its true.  I would really really like to know just what it is...God *nudge nudge wink wink!   We started this year with gears in motion to be doing one thing only for the course to be change because it obviously not God's best for us.  We have to be OK with that.  So here we are waiting waiting and waiting.....

Every parent knows that our kids don't like to hear the word 'wait'.  Every parent knows that it can invoke some of the strongest feelings and emotions from our small children and mutters and eye rolls from our teenagers.   But like when we say wait, God to says 'wait' to us, for our own good and for a jolly good reason.  The word 'wait' is used to teach us 'patience'.  I hear you all GROAN when you read that word.  No one likes that particular word.  Patience is being able to wait calmly, even through hard times and boring times.  Note the word foot stamping and tantrum throwing mentioned there.

You know when God is trying to say something to you when everywhere you go, everything you read and everything you watch is saying the same thing to you.  Lately its been part of James 1:2-3...
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face many trial (hard times) of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (patience).

So this season of hard times....this really really really long season of hard and at times darkness has tested us, tested us in places and with ways we never thought possible.   Seemingly simple things have turned like crazy mental in order for us to keep coming back to Him and saying "Yes" to our God, and even though He is saying wait we will  keep living for Him, keep trusting in Him"

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" - Ps 27:14

So as Jamie and I (and the kids) wait patiently for God to move and to show us our next step, our 'where to next', we are here wondering, planning and at times just plain surviving.  We know what God has promised to us, what dreams and desires he has given us and that is what we can keep coming back to, that and His ever faithful Word.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Never Want to Forget

My apologies...its long...

Many of you know me, many of you don't and those that have been following my blogs over time will know that our lives were tipped upside down over three years ago when Jamie lost his job suddenly.  As you can imagine it was a time of broken-ness, frustration and worry and stress.  I didn't think we would last six weeks let alone three and a half years.  From time to time I have touched on our journey and wrote about how I was feeling, what was happening in family and what God was doing in our lives and through us.  God has never before been so evident and tangible to us personally, as a couple and as a family as he has in this time.

Here we are three and half years later, our world still shaking as we await Jamie's hip replacement and six to eight weeks of recuperation after it.  Then well......... its a blank space baby.  Do you know how that feels perhaps?  Its all very well to make plans of what is to happen next, to have an idea of where to from here but what happens when you are relying totally on God as we have done this entire time, to come up blank?  Its like the bottom has fallen out of time.

Its hard for people to understand this, to understand the journey that we are on, if they aren't believers or maybe haven't been at a time where they have had to or wanted to, put all their entire lives and trust in God. Its so hard.  I can understand why they would think we were nuts, think maybe we are being irresponsible or perhaps even lazy.  I can understand the frustration they might feel towards us. "How can you live like that?"  Its something that I have heard many a times.  I can live like this because its what we are called to do at this time.  Its not easy of course it isn't.  But my faith and trust in Him, my love for Him is strong and is real.

I don't want to ever forget this time. Ever. Period. I don't want to ever forget what it was like to lose a very very good income in a matter of hours. I don't want to ever forget what it was like to watch your husband be turned down for jobs time after time after time. I don't want to ever forget having to tell you children that from now on there is no pocket money, no treats, no new clothes or toys.  I don't want to forget what its like to lie in bed and try to work out how you will pay the power bill due the next day, to see your pantry supplies dwindle away without the means to replace them, to rummage through your freezer for meat for dinner and come up empty. I don't want to forget what its like to have 39c in your bank account or to have your card decline at the supermarket or to have to transfer money out of your kids account just so you can put ten dollars of petrol into your car. I don't want to forget the feeling of not being able to buy loved ones birthday presents. I don't want to forget what its like to have to ask to borrow some money to help pay for rent or to get a tooth fixed.  I don't want to ever forget what it was like to be receiving a food parcel from the community food-bank. A feeling of most intense gratefulness but of embarrassment all at the same time all the while seeing the glory that is of our God at his perfect timing. We learnt a big lesson in humility that day. I just don't want to forget.  We have always been very reluctant to ask for help as we figure that God knows all our needs and our hope is in him but there have been times where I think the lesson has been in humilty of having to ask for certain help.  I tell you it really really does suck!

Because if I forget then that means I would have to forget the miracles of God, the seeing of how God does provide and how it felt when he blesses you above and beyond your expectations. The feeling of seeing my husband studying something he is passionate about and preach Gods word for the first time.  The feeling of pride at seeing him graduate a straight A student.  The feeling of gratitude and amazement when you get given clothes for your kids of things they so desperately need.  The feeling of seeing God bless your son with a new bike days after he has poured his heart out asking God for one. The absolute gratitude when family and friends gift money unknowingly at just the right time so you can buy food or pay the power bill or put petrol in the car. The absolute thankfulness when someone provides you weekly with a fruit and vege box knowing that on some night fruit and veges is whats on the menu for dinner.  The feeling of knowing that family and friends have your back and are praying for you, understand where you are, support you where they can, lend a listening ear and share wise and encouraging words.  I don't want to ever forget.

I know you can essentially say that we have chosen this for ourselves and I suppose we have.  Yes we have chosen this, we have chosen to be and remain obedient to God and to follow the path that he has us on.  Yes it isn't normal for a family of 9 to be willingly on this journey I know this.  Don't you think I know this!  Sometime I don't want to be different because sometimes its get just hard, too hard and tears come, tired angry tears.  Tears of frustration, of "how long will this go on for" tears, "I can't do this anymore" tears or even "Come on seriously God?" tears!!

And here we are now...for us we are standing at the edge of our Red Sea, with the army of Egyptians crowding around us from all sides and are pressing in.  Our toes are about to get wet as the sea laps up onto the shore. All we see in front of us is a vast mighty ocean and the wind is whipping at our clothes and hair as we stand in wait. God has to move mightily He WILL move mightily. The sea we see before WILL part and we WILL walk through it dry and unharmed. In time, all in His time, His perfect timing. We will come through this victorious and righteous!!  Amen!! We just don't know what our other side looks like yet.

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will seethe deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lorddrove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground,with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
                                             - Exodus 14 :13-22

Some of you may say....."if God was real and in this "where is he? or why doesn't he make things better for you?" Well he could, in an instant.  But what would we have learnt?  We wouldn't have seen all the miracles we have, we wouldn't have grown in ourselves, we wouldn't of learnt more of Him, we wouldn't of felt the love of our family and friends. I know we wouldn't have the heart for the lost, the poor and the needy that we now do.  He wouldn't be able to use us like he has and we would be unequipped to really connect, help and share the love of Christ with those who are where we are now.   Its one thing to say your faith is real and strong when you haven't suffered. Its easier to say that you believe when things have been rosy for you. I know we were there once.  Believing that God was happy and pleased with us because our lives were blessed. That he loved us because we were reasonably well off and were living in the "land of milk and honey".  But God wanted more from us, more faith, more trust and more obedience and over these past few years we have done our best to deliver.  We are not perfect. We get mad, lose faith, doubt Gods word (even though we have see him come through time and time again), we even believe that we are entitled to more. But God doesn't owe us anything.  Jesus is enough.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Long time.... no see!

I think I am there...nearly ready to start writing again.  Did you miss me? I missed writing but I had come to a screeching halt and to a time when I had nothing, nothing left to give you, nothing to put down on paper to share from my heart to yours.

Meanwhile during that time...a certain sweet girl was born.

Frankie Rose Budd
5 November 2014

Our sweet girl decided that she would have her own unique story to tell about her birth and waited until over two weeks after her due date to be born into the world.  A friend shared with me that she felt that this birth was going to be different to my others, different but good and it was.  Frankie made her arrival earthside in hospital rather than at home, something that I am 150% OK with. She is hugely loved by her all her siblings. Perhaps a little too intensely buy a certain two year old big brother who has found that she makes an extra soft cushion.

Frankie (4 1/2months)

I am thinking of changing direction in my writing, more personal, more real, more faith, more messy...because that's real life isn't it well that's my life anyway. I hope that is OK with you. I may even change the name.  For now I'll leave you with the latest family photo I have.....I know its time for a new one too. Talk soon, Sharni xxx

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On Seeing the Need.....

I thought that I should better get this post in (well try) before tomorrow know just in case I have a baby.  I am not "officially" 40 weeks until Monday (20th) but I actually feel like baby could come at any moment. Almost like I am teetering on the edge......I know not to ignore those feelings but I also know that....well hey it could be days away yet too!  Today has been a long day, a dreary day with half the day been wet and gray. I did have a nice visit with my mother-in-law who came to help pass the day while my husband was away for the entire day!

I thought I would do some reflecting and you all know that I just love to do that ah!  Some reflecting on the things, people and situations that have begun to pop up in my life, things that I have never before really paid any attention to.  Ever since we launched Loving Arms  in June, God has been showing me more and more things and situations that have made my heart sad and more often than not moved me to tears.   I don't really want to see these things but I do.  I have known about 'the poor and the needy' in the past.  I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all 'know about them' - 'them' being just numbers or statistics, 'them' being those that make the headlines on the daily news, 'them' that documentaries are made of, or 'them' that live in that part of town.  But now I am beginning to see them and to know them and it isn't pretty.  It actually hurts.

Perhaps that's why its easy for people to turn their heads and backs to the need. To judge. To despise. To think "well its their fault - they should get a job, they shouldn't have children, they shouldn't drink, they should help themselves".  (Yes its that bad - read any blog, Facebook page dedicated to raising awareness of the plights of the poor and you will see how vicious people get.) Its easier that way because then they have an excuse, a reason for not doing anything, to keep that world at arms length. All because if one sees the problem then they might feel that they need to do something.  And if so, they may have to ask what can I do and what is it going to cost me?  Those are hard questions to ask oneself...I know I have had to ask them of myself and it takes you to uncomfortable places.

Peoples stories are real, and some of them are heart wrenching and spirit moving. To see how people are living in our country, our wealthy country is so wrong.  No one should have to live like they do but peoples families are missing, friends are shallow, superficial or in just as bad as situation as the person that needs help and communities are too big, too guarded or too arrogant to see and to help.

But stepping out of the rubble...(picture rubble from a war stricken city with dust that hasn't settled yet and a group of dusty, dirty with torn clothes of people stepping out and up out of the dust and into the scene - cos that's the picture I have in my head) is a group/s of people banding together seeing a need and meeting it albeit with often a limited budget and resources but doing the best they can. Take one Mum of Seven  feeding the kids of a community every Friday night at a local community centre - all because she hates seeing them all hungry or a tough bikey type gang headed up by a hulk of a man feeding kids of local schools between 450 -500 sandwiches a day. Why because he has been there, he knows the hunger and he is choosing to do something about it.  What a guy!! There are many many more of these local heroes coming into the light filling needs when and where they can with the help of volunteers.

I think my point is - that we all choose to see what we want to, we all choose to hear what we want to and consequently we all choose what we do with that information.  I would also like to believe that everyone wants to help somehow but don't always know how or where to start because often problems seem so big and too tough to tackle.

For too long I lived in a bubble only seeing what I chose to see and believed what kept me safe from these painful stories that people are living. Its easy to live detached like that.  But even though it is scary and tough and I don't know where this journey of Loving Arms will go, I truly believe I am more blessed and a better person for choosing to step out of my privileged bubble that I have lived for so long. And I thank God for that everyday and every time we can help someone!

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ - 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

38 weeks and....nesting!

I am not really in the mood for blogging tonight.  In all honesty all I want to do is blob on the couch, eat chocolate, have a massage, drink a choc/flake crushers milkshake from KFC and not have my feet swell so much they itch!  I have never actually had one of those milkshakes from KFC but I am pretty sure I would love it because they look sooooooo good.  I have even tried to talk my husband in to going into town to get one for me. But I can't sell an $8 dollar trip (petrol) for a $2 milkshake!  Darn it!!  And yes I do know that that milkshake is highly unhealthy but feet itch here!!

Over the past few days "I" have been nesting. I say 'I' like that because in reality I have had the list and my family is nesting for me.  Its called the 'delegation en mass', a bonus of having a large family!  I have the list and they have the muscle power and youthful energy.
(Oh I probably should mention that they were bribed with pizza and the Xbox)

The bathroom and the kitchen were on the days agenda because you know that one simply cannot give birth with an untidy bathroom cupboard, fly poo around the windows or messy plate cupboard!

The steam cleaner comes in super handy in times like these. 
The problem is is that EVERYONE wants to have a go! 

Just in case you were thinking that I didn't pull my weight, I did.  All that day I kept the normal household duties ticking along with things like baking morning tea, washing and folding it etc.

However I did also step up the next day and manage to sort out my entire room of donated goods for 'Loving Arms'. It took me all day and I could barely walk afterwards and my feet were incredibly itchy but I finished and I now have my room back. Oh my husband is extra pleased about that too. We no longer have to share our space with, step around and over baby baths, boxes of nappies, car seats and containers of clothes.  I can now open my side of the wardrobe without having to haul things out of the way.

Check out the progress!!

So here I am after my huge day yesterday you can understand why I am too tired to be doing anything extra. You wouldn't think that I had an hour and half sleep today.

So there you have it, short and sweet tonight.  We have one more week of the school holidays and I am really hoping the weather will improve, I want to get out and do something!!!
  How has the weather been at your house?

Talk soon xxx

Sunday, September 28, 2014

37 weeks and counting....

The count down is now on and I am now at a place where I have only a few small things on my calendar things that can be done if and when I feel like it.  Up until now I have been busy and it seems like suddenly here I am, 37 weeks (tomorrow) pregnant.  Whoa hold up...we get to meet this wee blessing in 3-5 weeks times!  I have eluded before to the fact that as a homeschooling mama it is like I have a full time job as well as being a stay-at-home mama. Life is busy but then isn't everyone's.
I do enjoy it but the pressure is there.

But for now the school holidays are here and there is nothing that is really demanding my attention. I can do what I feel led to do and napping in the afternoon is a high priority.  Do I dare admit that?
I will say that this pregnancy has been by far the easiest one so far. For this I have been blessed in itself. Of course I can't really remember the first two or three but by golly its has definitely been easier than the last two, especially the last one!  Its only now that I am beginning to feel the normal aches, discomfort and tiredness that pregnancy often bring. 

The rest of our kids are SUPER DUPER excited and keep asking me how much longer until the baby comes out.  Its hard for the little ones to understand that I don't actually KNOW when it will happen but just that it is sometime soon.

I excitedly washed some baby clothes and hung them in the sun to dry a few days back.  A sight that I will never tire from. There is something delightful about wee baby clothes hanging on the line. Especially the ridiculously tiny socks where one pegs envelopes the whole thing. CUTE!!!
I only ever wash the unisex things and one of each boy/girl thing. The job will be that much bigger if I washed everything I had only to put half of it away!

The more children that we have had the more I have come to realise the less 'stuff' you actually need.  I have "de-stuffed" the baby gear over the years and I am still doing it.  Perhaps its because of the way I parent that I can do this. In all honesty I don't even know if I will even bother with a cot this time around. It proved to more of a hindrance than a help last time.
The only piece of equipment that I think is essential first off is a car seat. If you don't have one of those then you ain't going anywhere.  Everything else I have found to be superfluous. So because of that I don't have a lot to get ready.

For me, one of the things I need to get ready is my head space.  This is the most important thing of all.  I am about to embark on a journey that will take great strength and stamina, so head space is important for that.  Secondly, there are things that when one is planning on birthing at home must prepare for so they can be accessed in plenty of time.  Things like a birth mat, buckets, towels, ice, flannels, baby's clothes ready and warming in the hot water cupboard, heat packs and hot water bottles, birth pool (if using) etc. Oh and food, lots of yummy things and sparkling grape juice to toast the new arrival and even a birthday cake!  
Those are the things I need to work on in the next week or so.

Someone once said after being present at the home birth of my fifth child, "that is was the most raw yet sacred event that she had ever witnessed". I love that description, so love it,because it describes the time and moment so well.

Please don't get me wrong, yes I am a VERY big advocate of birthing at home but also recognise that it most certainly not for everyone and hospitals do a jolly good job of caring for people who need it.  A woman will give birth best in a place and surrounded by people that she feels most comfortable with and for some that place is the hospital and that is perfectly fine.  My only wish for all woman is that she explores all avenues of care and that she educates herself well in pregnancy and birth and not just solely focus on buying the maternity clothes, the cot with the matching change table and the cute little baby clothes.  Those things aren't going to prepare you for the journey ahead.  Birth is a sacred event that encompasses the mental, emotional, and spiritual not just the physical. I don't think that birth and the act of giving birth is given the respect that it should. 

 God has blessed most of us with this gift of conceiving, carrying, nurturing and birthing the most wonderful gift ever.
Lets give it the respect that it deserves!

37 weeks pregnant (tomorrow)

Please excuse the strange look on my face.
 I was desperately trying not to laugh at my husband.

What are you up to these school holidays?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spring is Coming!!

"Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much." - Psalm 199:140

Over time I have made no secret that we have been going through a "winter" season and not just in the literal sense but in a metaphorical sense as well.  This winter has been nearly three years now and our spring "feels" like it maybe just around the corner. We are hoping and praying. Praise God!  Like the time as winter fades and slowing becomes spring where we see less frosty days, more glimpses of colour in places where there was barrenness and dead-ness and we see and feel more of the sun and its warming rays. So is it for us. Gradually we are seeing less and less of the hard, dark and gloomy days where everything seems to be just plain sucky, more glimpses of days where there is a little more colour in our moments and more experiences of lighter times, brighter days and days where we can bask in the warmth of the sun.

Please understand that our winter hasn't been all bad or doom and gloom and while we have had some pretty low days and weeks, it has been an amazing time of cutting back, pruning, reassessing, and walking out our faith one small step at a time.  We have seen God move for us in the last three years than we have ever seen him move in our entire lives. Yes people we are a living testimony that Gods promises are true and his miracles are well and truly alive today as they were over 2000 years ago!

Yes things may have not gone to plan like we thought best but Gods plan for us as individuals, as a couple and as a family has been far better than we could of imagined for ourselves.  Our steps of faith have literally been one day at a time, one meal at a time and one bill at a time.  We have grown in character and in faith over these years.  I can say that while times and days have been hard, damn hard. I will be forever thankful that we had these years.

But in all that......there is a time for everything, a season for everything and I am up for a change now and "feel" that our spring is around the corner. I am believing for it now. And while I am thankful for our winter, and know that our winter has been important,,,,I am tired of winter. Its time for spring! Time for the sun, time for the flowers and the new life that spring brings.  (hey maybe that's why this baby will be a spring baby).  Unfortunately we all need winter times to bring us back to Him, back to our Creator, back to needing him and recognising that we are nothing without Him and without Him everything is pointless.  Without winter we simply cannot have regrowth and new life, redirection or refreshment.

Without winter one cannot simply bloom!

On a lighter note.....thanks to a beautiful friend and her gift to us, we now have a new "member" to our family, Meet....Clara.

She has made herself at home, like a favourite great aunt who comes to stay and sneaks peppermints to the kiddies when the parents aren't looking.  Oh how I love Clara. She is grandly beautiful!!

Only five to seven more weeks to go until we meet our wee blessing!! I have never been one for due dates so somewhere towards the end of Oct-ish, whenever this one decides to make its way into the world.  Exciting times!  Yes I know I need an updated pregnant belly photo...I'll work on it, promise!

One of my favourite things.
For me it epitomizes the new-ness and sacred-ness of a new blessing into the world. 

What season are you in?