Thursday, December 22, 2005

Why you need son-inlaws and daugther-in-laws

You need son-in-laws because they notice when your windows are dirty and come round after work and clean them inside and out as a Christmas gift. Thanks Stephen for my sparkly windows.

You need daughter-in-laws because there needs to be more than one person in a family that likes pink. Thanks Miriam for giving me a reason to browse in the pink section again.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Heading towards Christmas

It’s been a funny sort of a week for me. There has been the gradual build up of Christmas excitement and anticipation, of looking forward to family get togethers on Christmas day – this year there is a sense of hope as we gather for lunch with extended family – hope because of a relative who last year was causing the family much pain, but this year is becoming well - joy because of a nephew’s decision to follow Christ and the positive changes in his life as a result, peace because of some honest sharing of the struggles and pain and turmoil gone through by another before they ceased striving to please someone who can never be pleased, putting boundaries in place to protect and reclaim their family life. And I musn’t forget the next generation – 3 gorgeous little boys who are going to give us all much fun and laughter as we see Christmas through their eyes.

There is another family gathering at night, this I think will have quite a different feel to it – much more laid back and relaxed, everybody a bit tired, so a time of talking and reminiscing.

And then 2 weeks holiday to look forward to, the 2nd week with Michael and Miriam, a time to be treasured and made the most of, before they head off overseas.

I went to 2 different BBQs 2 nights in a row. One was at the Community Cottage. It was so lovely. When I arrived there was someone on the porch playing a guitar, with a few singing, some sitting at tables enjoying the food, some cooking the last lot of meat, kids running round with their present from Santa, and lots of chatting going on. I realised at the end that I am getting to know a few people there, I don’t feel a stranger and it is nice just to be one of them, to be able to move amongst a few of them and chat with different groups. Some of them are wary of me – and I understand that too. Most of them are spending Christmas with family and whanau, but for a couple of them it is a lonely time. I went away feeling good for how much I have been accepted by those at the cottage but also with a tinge of sadness for those who aren’t looking forward to Christmas as much.

The second BBQ was different again. There were about 12 – 14 people there. What do you say to someone who has just had to shift because their partner has called it quits after 21 years of marriage. I can’t believe I was so stupid. The look of pain and tiredness on their face shook me up and as they greeted me I blurted out the first thing in my head “Merry Christmas”. How dumb is that! About the only worse thing I could’ve said was “Cheer Up!” It was a very poignant evening really – people offering support in practical ways and all the time in amongst the ordinary conversation was this unspoken question sitting there - how are they really doing, what happens when we all leave? The thing that really got me was the dog. It was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden just rested his head on their shoulder as if it sensed exactly what the person was going through. That memory will stay with me for a long time.

I wonder if for other people there is also this pulling of emotions two ways – the excitement, and build up of Christmas versus the awareness of pain, sadness, loneliness and even anger being experienced by others at this time?

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Last time Elizabeth Brown was in Thailand I prayed for her when she was over there. I am praying for her again but this time it is different. I wouldn't call myself a prayer warrior and yet her and the team have been in my thoughts quite a bit this week and I am compelled to pray more earnestly and more specifically for them.

I wonder what is going on for them?

I wonder also if a part of it is a follow on from Steve's sermon last week on being Elizabeths - the call to be intentional and to be a blessing to other women.

I wonder what would happen in church if each woman prayerfully spoke a blessing to another. What would happen in the next week as those words of blessing sat with them?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sleep deprivation

Yesterday's blog was just supposed to be a short piece on why it is important to me that the church goes out into the community, rather than wait for the community to come to the church. It was following on from Warwick's blog and some comments I made.

I can see that I need to stop blogging before 11.00 p.m. at night - it's obvious that sleep deprivation brings out the words in me!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Huh, you want ME to do WHAT???

I was very comfortable warming the pews and bringing up my children - until a bus trip from Wellington to Hastings to see my sister. I was looking forward to seeing her and her family - and also reflecting on my son's graduation ceremony the night before.

The bus was going at a good pace, I was enjoying the scenery and the thought of a few days freedom from housework when out of nowhere, this really insistent thought kept coming that there were a whole lot of people out there that really needed to know about Jesus. I'd always known that - but somehow this time it really became personal - it hit me in a way that was life altering. In particular I kept looking out at the not so nice areas where people were living, and I sensed that God was placing a desire to work with these sorts of people and a compassion was forming for what they were going through.

I thought that immediately doors would be flung open, but that hasn't been so. Instead, I have had to do some sorting out in my own personal life, some surrendering of dreams I've had for how I wanted my life to develop, and to learn how to listen to people from all walks of life, trying to understand them and what is important to them, letting them tell their story rather than me impose my story on them. I'm glad I didn't rush in as I would've gone in with completely the wrong attitude, one which would've been arrogant and condescending and totally unhelpful.

Kingdom Builders 04 conference seemed to be a time of God calling me to be more deliberate and intentional about moving out.

I can still remember that feeling as I knocked on the door of the Community cottage to introduce myself. I was shaking and if I hadn't already spoken of my intentions to Steve (and by doing that making myself accountable) I reckon I would've chickened out.
I was blown away by the welcome I received that day.
Since then God has taken the little I had and grown it heaps.

I am humbled by the dedication and committment those people at the cottage have for their community. It is teaching me much about how to love and care for people.

Now it seems is the time that doors are starting to open. I am becoming more involved with the local community cottage and am applying to be a school chaplain.

In the past my mission field has been very narrow, and I left it up to everyone else to do the hard work using the excuse I didn't have the right spiritual gifts to evangelize - sadly the church wasn't a great help in this regard. There were meetings on how to witness (inferring that you could pass or fail!), lists of essential memory verses to learn so that you would "be equipped" and the
mission field was regarded as those out there.

And I am going to have to continue tomorrow as it is late and my brain has gone to sleep!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Safe for another year!

At the Women's breakfast last week Karen asked people to fess up if it had been more than a year since they had got to the bottom of their ironing pile. I realised it had been last Christmas holidays since the ironing basket was empty so it inspired me to tackle the mountainous heap (it helped that we have had cool weather this week - I am not going to iron on a Canterbury NorWest day!). Saturday morning I achieved my goal! For half a day there was nothing in my ironing basket - nothing that is except 7 socks - how come children and husbands only ever lose one sock! My scottish nature won't let me chuck that odd sock out in case the other one turns up - which usually happens a couple of days after I have given up and chucked all the odd socks out! So I am safe for another year.......unless Karen asks the question about how long since the mending pile had been conquered instead!