Blessed Assurance

There are not very many hymns that give such a positive message about Jesus as the hymn ‘blessed assurance, Jesus is mine’ . It’s a favourite of mine when leading out in church… the chorus says ‘this is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour, all the day long. To hear the congregation singing it out in full enthusiasm just gives me chills… we all should have our own story to tell about our relationship with Him. I truly hope we all do!!

I looked up who wrote such a powerful hymn that’s sung with so much conviction and found the author is Fanny J Crosby. She has written over 8000 hymns… 2 things I find remarkable about her… she was blind… and she just sang out these words when the composer Phoebe Knapp played the melody for her and asked her what the melody reminded her of. Talking about being inspired!!!! Fanny must have had a true relationship with her Saviour to be able to see these words fitting that tune.

I wonder how my relationship with Jesus bubbles out of me… does it bubble out? Can others see there is a significant other in my life to whom I owe everything?

I have a tattoo on my foot, with the slogan ‘saved by grace’. It’s something I don’t take for granted. He has saved me, and did not ask for anything in return but my heart. That’s the story I want to tell!!!!

What about you?

Maybe you need to read these words of Fanny and feel you have a story to tell too?

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Happiest Place on Earth

When you think of your happy place, what comes to mind? Maybe a great cup of coffee shared with a friend? Having a special dinner with the family? Doing something you really love? Spending time with that special someone?

For my daughter it’s Disney I think… hence the title… a visit to the happiest place on Earth… Disneyland near Paris…

I had promised to visit for her birthday but life got in the way… off we went this weekend though!

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather for February… feels like Spring time. Blue skies, mild temperature… a great day for exploring (which mostly means walking around and watching every parade)

Mickey stuff everywhere!!! Including cookies, marshmallows etc.. we had to try something!

A little boat ride through frontier land is one of my favourite things to do.. usually no waiting, and a moment of peace…

Disney parades with all the dancing and beautiful floats is another highlight… we try to find good spots with great views.. even if we have to wait a half hour!

Character spotting was not terribly successful, although we did see Baloo from Junglebook

We decided not to stay for the fireworks.. the park was really busy… below just a few snaps of the lights and the castle… can’t miss that…

Is Disney the happiest place? Maybe not… but it may be a close second…

What’s your happy place?

Worry or Trust

I don’t know about you, but I am a real worrier… some worries may be real, others mostly perceived. Apparently we worry more about something that never would happen than about real things. Guess the mind can play funky tricks!!!

With worry comes trust…. do you have trust in the situation, trust in the person, trust in God…. after all, if you believe God has a hand in your life, why worry… right?

A quote by Martin Luther King Jr:

‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase’

I not very good at trusting, I am learning…. am very good at worrying though! Which is best unlearned…

For a control freak like me, trusting anyone is a real life challenge… Trusting God is something I have to continuously be aware of. He knows better what’s good for me than me.. and if I trust Him to take care of me, I don’t need to worry!!!

Maybe that’s just enough as a post… just a reminder to not worry about whatever is happening tomorrow.. whatever is happening in your life or mine… like the quote from Martin Luther King…we don’t need to see the whole staircase… just a step at the time, trusting all is in Gods hand!!

Esther

The Bible story of Esther is appealing to me. A Jewish girl, chosen for her beauty, becoming queen and rescuing her nation. Well, that’s the story in a nutshell at least.

She was highly favoured, but had to go through quite some hardship and soul searching to be able to utter those famous words ‘for such a time as this’

I wonder if I were in her position, time and place. Would I also be as brave as her? Keeping my cool, taking the time it needs to work things out before jumping in to be of servant to my people?

I’d like to think so, but not always convinced. Someone reminded me recently that patience is a virtue. I can’t say i am a terribly patient person. Am working on it, but it’s certainly not one of my virtues (yet). Don’t we all like to know what the future holds, or what tomorrow brings? At least I do!

Queen Esther kept her cool though, she had a mountain of patience to deal with the man who was out to destroy her and her people.

I’d love to say one day ‘for such a time as this…. ‘ maybe watch this space… who knows what things will still unfold in my life! I may want to share those….

Patience it is…..

I don’t know what the future holds…

But I know Who holds the future….

January is often a month of reflection..goals are set, dreams are dreamt… and before you know it January has come to an end and the new year is not so new anymore!

I don’t know what makes us reflect on the past, other than learn from it and move on from it. 2018 has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows. So what will this year bring? Will there be the changes we desire? Will there be the courage to pursue hidden dreams? Will there be the chance to reconnect, rediscover, pursue challenges? Or is the year just flittering away like the previous years before it?

January will always be special to me. It’s the month my daughter was born in. In fact, tomorrow is the day she turns 27. Sometimes I cant believe how fast the time has gone. School, university… all come and gone. What will this year bring for her? Will she have the courage and passion to seek the opportunity to pursue her dreams?

Well, at least we had a chance to have a mini celebration already. Just her, me and deserts…. chocolate featured heavily. At least that we are sure off… chocolate tastes good whatever time of the year it is!

Happy Birthday daughter!

Living with a hidden (not so hidden) illness…Part 4

   So here I am…3 months after my surgery. I wish I could say that it was all plain sailing and that I’m doing great. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the reality at all.

Recovery at Home:

   After I got home, I genuinely thought that recovery would be a whole lot faster. And it did…to an extent…I no longer heard women vomiting at all hours of the day…I was no longer sleeping on a plastic bed…I had my own bathroom again.

   But you know what? Getting on and off the sofa is really hard if you don’t have someone to help you! Using the stairs was an absolute pain and climbing in and out of the shower (we have a shower head over a bath tub…) was again, only possible if I had some help. I was literally living the invalid life. I couldn’t do anything without help.

   My poor parents gave up their bed for me as I couldn’t climb into mine (I have a mid-sleeper (similar to this…https://amzn.to/2Hagjco). So whilst I couldn’t use my stomach muscles…that bed was impossible to get in to! But it was a goal I could set myself…I gave myself two weeks, optimistic I know…but I managed it!

Stitches:

   The part that I dreaded the most was getting my stitches removed. Well, stitch. I had one running stitch with a bead on either end. I had had multiple nightmares about waking up and having pulled my stitch out in my sleep…but luckily that never happened. Instead, 10 days later I found myself at the hospital (unfortunately not the one where I had had my surgery and appointments) waiting for my name to be called.

   My doctors surgery was extremely busy, so the options I had was to wait a further 3 days and have them removed at my doctors, or go to the local walk in centre and have them removed there. So off dad and I went to the local hospital. My nerves were all over the place…Was it going to hurt? Was the entire wound going to open again? Would it be infected?

   After an almost 2 hour wait, my name was finally called. To say that the nurse was confident…that would be really pushing it! She looked so intimidated, which as someone with anxiety…it really didn’t help! Luckily the actual removal of the stitch and beads, I didn’t feel at all.

   However. She proceeded to look at the wound and didn’t look happy. Of course, where the beads had been, the wound hadn’t fully closed. She was also convinced that it was infected and proceeded to tell me that she was going to put a plaster over the entire area and it would have to stay on for a week.

   Alarm bells went off in my head on the way home…growing up, I always learnt that an open wound needed air to close. Not be completely enclosed. But, her being in the medical profession, dad and I trusted her opinion. So guess what…7 days later when it was time to remove the plaster…the plaster had turned to jelly and it was completely infected.

   So off I went to the doctors office where it was confirmed that it had become infected and I needed to go on antibiotics for 10 days.

 

Becoming ‘Normal’ Again:

   A couple weeks after the surgery, I was finally able to get in and out of the shower on my own, I was able to climb into my bed and I was finally able to move around, without moving at a snails pace.

   Reintegrating into society was different though. If you have read my previous blog posts, then you know that I suffer from anxiety. I had gotten so into my head over the previous weeks…scared that someone would hit my stomach and that would open the stitches again. Luckily that never happened…but I had to be careful.

   Even though I was physically starting to look ‘normal’. I still had to be careful. I learnt that the hard way when I decided to make my chunky veggie chilli (chunky-veggie-chilli/). Chopping the vegetables hurt. I ended up in bed for the following 2 days in pain. The frustration was unreal!

Life After:

   So here I am…writing this 3 months after my life changing surgery. Still a far way off being in full health. But a lot closer to that than I have ever been! I’m learning now what its like to have a healthy human body. The swelling is still going down and I’m feeling better in my skin.

   The one thing that no one warned me about was how intense the changes would be and there was no mental preparation. I also didn’t have any followup appointments for how I’m coping mentally. So the last couple months have been hard. I’ve been dark, but I’m working through a day at a time.

   Now I’m just looking forward to all the things that I couldn’t do before!

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New Year…New Opportunities

So it has been a while since I posted anything. The last couple months of 2018 was spent recovering and taking time for myself (check out ‘Living with a hidden…not so hidden illness’ if you haven’t already).

Post surgery life has been pretty boring, but I will talk more about that in detail another day. But it is a new year. 2019…Now I don’t know about you, but I cannot set new years resolutions without failing within the first week. So this year for the first time, I haven’t set any. Instead, I’m taking this year one day at a time.

I have to say, the prospects that are on the horizon for this year, do have me very excited to see what adventures lie ahead of me. What I do know is that this year I will be focusing on this blog and all things creative in my life! Whether that is more crocheting and knitting or trying my hand at painting again. Another major aspect that I will be working on this year is my mental health. As you are probably aware if you have read my blog posts throughout 2018, you will know that it was a very hard year for me. But 2019 is the year that I am really going to work on it! There is that saying of ‘new year, new me’, well it might be a cliche but I really am going to try to better myself and not let the past get me down anymore!

So what about you? Have you set any new years resolutions or goals for 2019?  Any tips to help with mental health?

Whatever this year brings, I hope it will be filled with happiness and love for all of you!

It is Well

One of the most powerful hymns I love to listen to is the song written by Horatio Spafford. He wrote that song after a couple very traumatic events in his life. The death of his 2-year old son, followed by the great Chicago fire and the financial ruin that followed (as he had invested in Chicago property). He wanted to travel to Europe as a family, but at the last minute changed his mind and sent his wife and 4 daughters ahead. The ship sank and all 4 of his daughters died. His wife survived and sent a telegram ‘saved alone…’ This hymn was written as he sailed past where his daughters perished. How heartbreaking, and what a deep faith he expressed in these words.

When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like seas billow roar. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know, It is well, with my soul.

And Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back like a scroll. The trumpet shall resound and the Lord shall descend. Even so, it is well with my soul

The first Christmas without my father in law just passed. Not so easy, the celebration mood was not quite there. The whole family together, a unique experience, and the timber of his voice missing. How he would have enjoyed having us all there.

The last Sabbath was particularly hard. He was such a proud church going man. Not seeing him in church is still so very strange, and yet, we have to go on. No more smiling face with the large moustache, proud smiling at his kids.

I am not a great writer, and don’t have the talents Horatio had, putting his thoughts so elegantly to paper.. in such a way as he could. We still sing this song to this day testifying of his faith. However, these words sum it all up so well, it is well with my soul. I can sing that with all my heart and know it to be true. All those gone before us will be reunited with us when He descends to take us home. Our fathers, mothers, uncles, nieces, cousins, friends… all we can say is Lord haste that day!

It is well with my soul…

In Between

One of my friends has written a song called ‘In Between’. The first couple lines are something like this:

Do you ever feel you’re somewhere in between: an answer and a question, blame and confession? Between: genuine and fake, give and take?
Do you ever feel you’re somewhere in between?

That is how I view the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The business of Christmas is past, and really it’s more or less waiting till the new year has started and normal life resumes.

For those having to work, it may seem different to you…. but for me…the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to be able to take the period off. And yet… restlessness sets in right about now. A normal rhythm is actually nice.. you know what to expect, you know what to do.

The in between time flies by with the unusual… especially with Christmas in the middle of the week. Hairdresser, some shopping, visiting family… and the week is over. Holiday days always seem to go faster than regular days..

That rhythm though…I heard a sermon once about living life 3 miles per hour… an ideal speed, where life is in rhythm and harmony. We need rhythm, a normal pace. It gives stability to life.

With that.. a few more in between days… see you at the other side.. the new year. Have a blessed one!

Because You are Worth it

Maybe you have seen the adverts for L’Oréal. Usually some hair colouring adverts.. making us believe we are worth it to make ourselves look pretty.. Ofcourse we are…

Makes me think of Christmas. He came to earth as a baby, to live amongst us and to die for us, because we are worth it.

Personally I prefer that thought more than the one about hair colouring… He came down to this earth for me and you!

You can’t deny the reminders of Christmas are all around us… Melody and I spend an afternoon in London Hydepark at ‘winter wonderland’. Not too many reminders of the reason for this celebration there. Basically just a gigantic temporary amusement park. Even the little Christmas market was a lot smaller than it used to be. Still, the commerce is thriving before Christmas. Buying presents for those around us.. because they are worth it to us. (Below a few pictures of Hydepark)

These Christmas days I hope we all remember we are worth it to Him. He is the joy of our desire, came to make sure we would have a heavenly home to go to.

“Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring”
(feat. Lili Haydn)

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring 
Holy wisdom, love most bright 
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring 
Soar to uncreated light 
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned 
With the fire of life impassioned 
Striving still to truth unknown 
Soaring, dying round Thy throne

Merry Christmas!