Thursday, 17 November 2022


Lily's parents had left everything that was loved and familiar to travel to a distant land ... could she do the same?

Lily has inherited her father's strength and courage and her mother's impulsiveness, but when she determines to leave home and family and live independently, she learns that faith is not inherited. As she struggles with a romance she didn't seek and a friend who refuses to listen to advice, she is forced to look beyond her own understanding. Will she succeed at making a life in this unfamiliar land or will she return home in disgrace?

It's finally here! And yes, The Most Charming Grandson#3 won the race by a few days ...but we would have declared him the winner anyway.

When This Day Comes is the first book in a new trilogy, A Day For You. For those readers who loved the Distant Land series, When This Day Comes introduces new characters along with those previously loved. However, no prior introduction to the well-loved characters of the first series is necessary to enjoy the book.

When This Day Comes will appeal to teens and teens-at-heart and anyone who enjoys a good Christian novel. Purchase here.

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Waiting

  As we impatiently await the news of the arrival of our latest grandchild, another less important but still somewhat exciting development is underway.

I'm referring to this:

When This Day Comes, the first in a new trilogy, A Day For You series, has had an extremely long gestation period. (I am so thankful that our grandbabies, even those who take their time, do not delay as long as this book has!)

Now at the printers, I'm wondering what will be first: a birth announcement (I certainly hope so) or a shipment of books?

Friday, 7 October 2022

Devotion

 

Sometimes a devotion "hits the spot" for us both personally as a Christian, and collectively as the Bride of Christ. Just a few days ago I read the following words and marvelled that they were written over one hundred years ago. The devotion is from "Faith's Checkbook" by Charles H. Spurgeon.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" John 16:13

Truth is like a vast cavern into which we desire to enter, but we are not able to traverse it alone. At the entrance it is clear and bright; but if we would go further, and explore its innermost recesses, we must have a guide, or we shall lose ourselves. The Holy Spirit, who knows all truth perfectly, is the appointed guide of all true believers, and He conducts them as they are able to bear it, from one inner chamber to another, so that they behold the deep things of God, and His secret is made plain to them.

What a promise is this for the humbly inquiring mind! We desire to know the truth, and to enter into it. We are conscious of our own aptness to err, and we feel the urgent need of a guide. We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is come and abides among us. He condescends to act as a guide to us, and we gladly accept His leadership. "All truth" we wish to learn, that we may not be one-sided and out of balance. We would not be willingly ignorant of any part of revelation lest thereby we should miss blessing. or incur sin. The Spirit of God has come that He may guide us into all truth: let us with obedient hearts hearken to His words and follow His lead.

The Holy Spirit will guide us in "all truth".

Not the Tolerance Brigade.

Not the Woke Brigade.

Not the Culture of the Day.

Not the Inquiring Minds of the Day.

Not even the "Bible" teachers whose wont is to tickle the ears of their hearers.

Not any of these things.

But the Holy Spirit.

And that truth will align perfectly with the Word of God.

Even when it's unpopular.

Even when we struggle to get our human minds around it.

Even when it offends some people.

Even when we want to disagree or argue.

Because we have a tendency to try to make truth more palatable. To fit with what we want it to look like. To be all things to all people. To be whatever we want it to be.

But then it's no longer truth.

We can only know the truth when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth. Because, as the devotion says, and as we know to be true, unlike humankind, the Holy Spirit knows and understands all truth. Perfectly.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

A Prayer

 

Recently (as in sometime in the past three to five years) I read a biography on Susannah Spurgeon. At the end, one of her descendants had written an afterword in which she mentioned that Charles Spurgeon had prayed for future generations of his family. At the start of this month, I read this entry in my devotional, "Faith's Checkbook" by Charles Spurgeon, which certainly shows this to be the case.

I believe it is the prayer of every Christian parent for their children, and their children's children. I know that as much as I am looking forward to and praying that we will have our whole family together at Christmas this year, God willing, I am praying even more fervently that we will all be together one day in Heaven.

Covenant Reaches Children

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generation for an everlasting covenant to be a God unto thee, and to they seed after thee (Gen 17:7).

O Lord, thou hast made a covenant with me, they servant, in Christ Jesus my Lord;

and now, I beseech thee, let my children be included in its gracious provisions.

Permit me to believe this promise as made to me as well as to Abraham.

I know, that my children are born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, even as those of other men;

therefore, I ask nothing on the ground of their birth, for well I know that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and nothing more.

Lord, make them to be born under thy covenant of grace by thy Holy Spirit!

I pray for my descendants throughout all generations.

Be thou their God as thou art mine.

My highest honor is that thou hast permitted me to serve thee;

May my offspring serve thee in all years to come.

O God of Abraham, be the God of his Isaac!

O God of Hannah, accept her Samuel!

If, Lord, thou has favored me in my family, I pray thee remember other households of thy people which remain unblest.

Be the God of all families of Israel.

Let not one of those who fear thy name be tried with a godless and wicked household,

for thy Son Jesus Christ's sake.

Amen.


And from my Bible reading today:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep they soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy son's sons. Deut 4:9, KJV

Monday, 14 March 2022

Anniversary Reflections

 


As a young teenager my Sunday School teacher took a class of us through a study on godly character. As part of that study we were asked to pray about and list the characteristics we wanted in a future mate. Several years ago when I was doing a bit of a clean out I found that list.

My fifty-something self marvelled that even back then money or looks or success were not on the list. Some characteristics I wanted I didn't even know the words for - such as faithfulness - but I knew that a man who wouldn't go after other women was essential. I'm not sure if I kept that list - if so I can't put my hands on it - but I don't need a physical copy to remember the list and to be thankful for the man that God gave me who has every single characteristic on that list.

Yesterday we quietly remembered thirty-nine years since we announced our engagement. And then I took a few minutes to look back at what has happened during those years. 

Five wonderful sons.

All now married to five beautiful women.

Eight  adorable and precious granddaughters.

One charming and precious grandson.

A move overseas.

Job changes.

Ongoing house renovations. (Almost done, I promise.)

Our every need met.

Four church families (and a current search for a new one).

Ministry with children, youth, and music over the years.

Four books published. (And two more completed or almost so.)

Short-term mission trips to India and South-East Asia.

The loss of loved ones.

The blessing of parents entering their seventies, eighties, and even nineties.

Answer to prayers over and over again. (And how thankful we are for the most recent answer for employment for Son#5.)

And the list goes on ... and on ...

Later I remarked to a colleague that when you get engaged, and then married, you know it's supposed to be forever, but somehow you can't see past the first five to ten years. You certainly never imagine yourself as a grandmother of many! She replied that when they got married they had just hoped they would get past the seven-year-itch (they have more than doubled that). I don't remember the seven-year-itch. We were probably too busy putting food on the table and raising our [then] three energetic sons.

But since that first commitment to one another that was marked with an engagement ring (that I broke days before the wedding - and then lost on a camping trip when our youngest was a baby) to the formal and binding wedding ceremony, there have been countless opportunities to renew that commitment and to stand by the vows we made.

It was not always easy. I suspect I struggled more than DH. He was not deceived by romantic dreams of a romantic hero (or in his case, heroine) and knew my faults (although, I suspect he was surprised by a few more that emerged after the wedding). There have been times when I have been aware of how imperfect I am, and times when I've been very aware of how imperfect he is (and I've probably concentrated more on the latter than the former).

There have been times when love seemed limitless, and times it felt as if it might fail us. Times when faith was shaky, yet God was always faithful. And when it seemed that love waned, there was the commitment to shore us up until it returned again.

And in all that time, our God never failed us, never let us down. Not even once. 

Today as I sit here I am in awe of all that He has done. His goodness and the many, many blessings He has bestowed. From that small commitment has grown a marriage and family that now encompasses twenty-one individuals and counting. This year we are excited at the prospect of welcoming two new family members. We also look forward with hope (but also realism kicks in as we are aware that our international borders are wont to close at a moment's notice) to finally meeting The Most Adorable Granddaughter#8 and smothering her with love that has so far only been conveyed via a screen and gifts.

We are also about to face another change. Son#2 and his beautiful family who have been in and out of our home for the last thirteen years are about to move. Not too far away. Unlike Son#5 and his family, they will remain in New Zealand. But the quick and impromptu visits will be replaced with planned weekends away.

Suddenly we feel like empty-nesters. In reality, the term has belonged to us for the past two years (since Son#4 left to get married) and even before then, for a year or two when all five sons were either at university or establishing homes of their own. But now, with no grandchildren in town, it feels as if all the chicks have [finally] flown the nest.

But I believe it's a good move for them and one that we will all adjust to. It will be different. But as my manager often says when faced with change, it's an opportunity. An opportunity for Son#2 and his family for a new job, a new home, a new life, new friends, a new church. For DH and I, it's an opportunity to learn to love The Most Adorable Granddaughters#4-#7 from a distance, to plan holidays, to pray diligently, to overload our devices with family photos and share them with anyone who expresses even the slightest amount of interest, to feel pride in all of our families, and to thank God that He holds us all in His hands.

I wonder what my teenage self would make of my life nowadays? 


Sunday, 7 November 2021

All Blessings

 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly host,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 

With this beloved doxology (one I probably sung every Sunday of my childhood), Son#2 opened our time of worship at church this morning and I was undone. The tears flowed freely and I did indeed praise God for all His blessings.

Very, very recently He has blessed us yet again with another adorable granddaughter (bringing our total of adorable granddaughters to eight while our charming grandson remains solo). We have been able to see and hear her baby sweetness (oh, how I love those beautiful newborn sounds) but not to smell or touch the newness of her.

Despite this, I have felt at peace since the moment of her birth. God's grace and strength has sustained me over these past few days. I've been counting my blessings, and yet when I heard this song this morning, I broke down and cried.

Because, as I learnt when Son#5 and DIL#5 moved overseas, I can praise God even when it hurts, or I can let hurt and pain eat away at me.

I choose to be thankful and to praise God. 

There is so much for which I am thankful.

I am so, so thankful for the safe arrival of this precious one. Thankful that the time of waiting is over for us all, thankful that she has been welcomed with open and loving arms. Thankful for those who will surround her with love when we can only send her ours from a distance.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow ...

What a blessing it is in this day and age to be able to receive photos and videos instantly and not have to wait weeks for them to arrive in our letter box. What a blessing to be able to see her and talk to her even though we are separated by oceans and lands.

Praise Him all creatures here below ...

I'm thankful for those who will love her in our absence and who will come alongside the new parents and support them. I can't do meals or housework but I'm thankful for those who will do these things for them. I'm thankful for the privilege we have of being able to pray for her, knowing that our Heavenly Father loves her even more than we can imagine.

Praise Him above ye heavenly host ...

I have so much to be thankful for and while it's not what I would have chosen - having a granddaughter born so far away and not being able to hold her - I realise how blessed I am. 

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Not Forsaken

 


A week ago when I sat down to try to make sense of my emotions I wrote the following:

Mothers Day couldn't have come at a worse time. This past weekend I have felt so broken ... forgotten ... unloved ... forsaken ... Right now I can't see a way for this pain to be turned to joy, or for this to turn out for good. 

A week ago I was in a totally different place to the one I am in now. I felt rejected and "less than". I blamed myself for not being a better mother ... better grandmother ... if only I had  ... I was over-sensitive and took offense at every remark, seeing hurt where none was intended. Tears flowed far too freely and were not tears to bring healing. Anger was just below the surface. Feeling that I couldn't go on like that ... desperate for answers, I cried out to God: "If You really love me, if You haven't forsaken me, show me a sign."

I didn't expect an answer.

I didn't expect anything to change.

I didn't see how I could get out of this pit.

God, in His goodness and love, sent not one, not even two, but multiple proofs of His abiding love for me. 

I had felt abandoned. He showed me that He had been beside me the whole time.

I hurt. He showed me that He understood.

I felt rejected. I discovered that He had never rejected me.

I felt that my world had fallen apart. He showed me that He has a plan.

I felt unloved and He showed me love. So many people reached out to me in love, many prompted, no doubt, by our gracious Lord: loving and gentle words of counsel from at least two godly women, beautiful flowers from another friend, messages that people were praying for me. 

And then two very definite answers to my prayer followed with a promise.

The first came via a friend's email. Four pages long when I printed it out so that I could go back and reread it and reflect on the words. Four pages where the Lord had shown her what was behind my suffering. Four pages where He had laid on her heart the exact words I needed to hear.

The second was from one of my husband's sisters who sent me a copy of a devotional she had read that day and which she felt the Lord had told her to share with me. The writer of the devotional reminded us that as Christians we are to offer the sacrifice of praise.

I was not feeling exactly like offering praise. In fact, I was still crying out to the Lord for answers. But suddenly I understood the term "sacrifice of praise". Years and years as a Christian and I had never understood before now. It's not something we do just when we feel like doing it ... a sacrifice involves, well, sacrifice. Doing it when it hurts. Doing it when it costs. Doing it when We. Don't. Feel. Like. It.

As I finished reading the devotional, I was reminded of a book that I had read years ago (and had recommended to others) called "Prison to Praise" by Merlin R. Carothers. Suddenly I realised that I was in a prison of my own making. A prison where I had chosen to believe lies rather than the truth. And the only way out of that prison was to offer up the sacrifice of praise.

I don't know how it works. I don't need to. But when I began to offer up the sacrifice of praise things changed. Something shifted inside me.

The darkness lifted. 

I still miss my son and daughter-in-law and no doubt will feel sadness and even loneliness at times - especially when their child is born or other significant events occur that have in the past been times of joyous family celebrations.

But the despair has gone. The brokenness has been healed. The feelings of rejection and self-blame and of not being enough have been exposed for the lies that they were.

Where I had thought this pain would never go away, He took it away with one step of obedience. And then, so graciously offered more than I had asked or expected. Again through my husband's sister, He gave me a promise. This is too personal to share but has given me so much hope and reminded me that He is at work. His ways are not always our ways, but He will bring good out of all that has happened. I can trust Him because He is faithful and His plans are greater.

As you do not know what is the way of the wind,

Or how the bones grow in the the womb of her who is with child,

So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

Ecclesiastes 11:5, NKJV.