A True Friend is Hard to Find

This week has been hard. It’s been hard to watch the world crumbling in the comfort of my own home. The terror, the fear, the looting, the rage, the innocent lives hurt all in the name of racism. My heart breaks for this world. The brokenness and evil overwhelm me the more I go looking and search for truth and read accounts of peoples lives. It is soul destroying. Who can we turn to for law and order? Who can we trust in? Every political party lies in some way or another. I had a beautiful friend ask me a simple question this week. “Jennifer, how do I know what I’m reading is truth? I read one article that paints a position or event one way and then another that states the complete opposite.” It’s all so exhausting.

It’s got me thinking about the next generation. When we are out as a family my children will play with other kids they have never met. When they come back to us after playing they will talk all about their ‘friend’. It’s as simple as that for children. Anyone who is nice, any other child who plays with them is their friend. There’s no judgement. There’s no prerequisites, no pressure as to what they believe, their worldview it’s just pure and innocent love.

It gets me everytime. It brings me a warmth in my heart and at times it convicts my spirit. To love others even when I don’t know who they really are. Then I tend to think further, what makes a good friend? How do we find a true friend? How can we enjoy each other’s company as adults with differing points of view?

You know, just this past week I posted what I believe was a great speech by the President and with that post a friend of mine ‘unfriended’ me. I mean, when I type this out and read it for what it is it’s really embarrassing. I approached them and let them know I’m sorry to see they unfriended me but I still think they were a great person. Since when are we not allowed to have a different opinion? Since when is freedom of opinion allowed only if you agree with my point of view. Since when are people disrespected for their beliefs? I see it more like freedom of speech BUT only if you believe what I believe.

The peaceful protestors are being caught up with the violent protestors. I cannot understand why people are destroying other people’s property all in the name of #blacklivesmatter

Why aren’t we having the same ridiculous protests for #prolivesmatter #babiesmatter #jewsmatter #womenmatter #thirdworldcountriesmatter you get my gist. We need to stop this. We need to stop the abuse and hatred. Now this writing won’t change the world. My thoughts won’t allow people to see reason and logic. This is a very humble blog. I don’t have enough followers to make an impact.

This is my own outlet of my thoughts and dreams. But it feels good to get my words onto this platform. So I can leave it here and give it all to the one who can change things, the one who can make a difference in people’s hard hearts. The Holy Spirit. Only through the gospel can people really change. We must remember this in these trying times. Remember we don’t need the law if we live by the Spirit. Suddenly my children’s Bible memory verse feels so much more powerful. I understand it on a new level.

Just this week I’ve seen countless reports about the President gassing and shooting peaceful protestors for a photo op. That didn’t sit well with me and so it lead me to go searching. Looking for answers. I mean, really if he did such a thing wouldn’t they of put the man on trial! Or called for impeachment? Only two days later it appears in his interviews and also with the perspective of the DOD and Parks Rec. No tear gas or bullets were used to clear the street so the president could in fact visit St.Johns church. A church that was set on fire the night before by riots! All in the name of unity? Huh? Unity? That doesn’t gel for me.

I’ve stopped and had many moments. Moments when I’m alone. To ponder our meaningless lives and why we are here. What is friendship? Brotherhood? I didn’t want my children to see the depths of corruption of humanity just yet. They know some stuff. And they have to for their own protection, you know stranger danger and just plain old sin. People’s hearts are wicked. They understand the only good in them is when the Holy Spirit changes them. That is the good. When Jesus makes you new. You see things differently.

You know, I’ve had different seasons with friendships. Different likes or interests have drawn me to particular people. In my younger years it was who you’re placed with in your class. You connect with those kids because quite frankly you have no other choice. And as we get older we are drawn to new friendships along the way. Some fizzle out just naturally whilst others can sadly take a turn for the worst. I’ve experienced both in my short life. I’ve gone from countless friendships to once having children watching how that naturally changes. My focus is elsewhere. And then I wear a new badge as a ‘homeschool mother’ meaning friendships shift again. I can’t grab a coffee in my day. My best friends become my children. Catch up’s with friends stick to weekends or my new fav app ‘Marco Polo.’ I can connect with friends during the day whilst I’m busy being mum via text or Instagram.

But you know those true friendships. The ones that stick forever. That last through all seasons. Those are really hard to find. In my years I could tell you some stories that belong in a Melodrama Book series. I’ve had moments where I could imagine you reader sitting on the other side of the table at your fav cafe (let’s be real I just imagine it these days) sipping your delicious coffee with your jaw dropped over the stories of “so called friendships” ha! And I’m certain you would exchange the same jaw dropping stories yourself… maybe not to the same degree. Trust me.

However, jokes aside. I’ve come to learn through the Spirit to trust His gentle voice, the way He presses on my spirit and heart with a certainty in a person. I’ve learnt to pray for my friendships. I’ve learnt it’s of great importance to ask God for kind friendships where my whole family are blessed. Not just myself. Where we can give and serve as a family. And enjoy life giving friendships.

We were created for relationship. We were created to enjoy these good things given to us by God. Jesus had 12 close friends in His 30’s. That’s more than I have (ha!) yet in that bunch of great blokes He has 3 very close ones. Ones that came alongside Him and held him up in prayer, who laughed and cried with Him, who encouraged Him. Who were there even though they were flawed and got it wrong. Who weren’t afraid to say ‘sorry’ when they did the wrong thing. Who failed miserably and yet he forgave time and time again.

As I’m nearing my 40’s now I can see the saying is real, “A true friend is hard to find.” However, to find that true friend, we need to pray for it. We need to ask the giver of all good things to place the right people in our lives. In our circle. To become our community. And hear me friend, one or two good, solid God glorifying friendships are better than 20 fake ones. God can and will do this for you reader.

So no matter our spiritual or political beliefs can’t we just see past this and show love? Can’t we look for a need in someone and fill it. Talk about the real issues in life. Ask ourselves how can I help the poor and lost and be a friend in someway to all mankind? How can I be as Jesus was to the best of my ability. In doing so we display Christ. And the gospel will no doubt be spread.

Ultimately there is one true friend who will never hurt or shame you. Who will never throw slurs at you or talk behind your back, who will never lie or cuss at you. A friend who would lay their life down for you. In fact this friend already has. Now, that’s true friendship.

Peace, love and grace to you reader wherever you are at.

Jennifer X

… Where My Wandering Will Finally Cease

Dear Weary Wanderer,

You’ve been searching, trialling and waiting. In this season you feel disappointed. I know you’re agitated with man and the never ending search to find where you belong. I can hear you loud and clear- ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect. All I’m asking for is a community, friendships, God glorifying, biblically based…great worship, somewhere I can raise my kids….’ Am I asking for too much? Ah, when I think about all the things I really want in a church family, it’s always followed by a sigh. A sigh of lost hope. A reality check. Yep, they are all wonderful, good and RIGHT things to have- however, at the essence of every church is humanity. It’s important to keep this in mind, I’ll come back to this point soon.

Churches are lead by men and women who part and parcel (So I like to believe) are trying to do the will of God and create a safe space for people to worship and connect with one another after a hard week living in the world. I like to see it as our safe haven. Let me be clear here, church is first and foremost to worship God with other believers. We should leave feeling re-charged for the week ahead, ready and able to take on the grind and suffering of the world. Covered in the armour of God and ready for battle (figuratively). 

In my 36 years of living I’ve seen church done well and church done very poorly. I’ve left church services thinking ‘why do they run the service in this way?’ Or ‘how are they caring for their congregation if they don’t cater for all people?’ Or even ‘I feel lonely, I’ve been here for years and still don’t know anyone.’ These comments ring true to many of us. 

Reader, you might be struggling right now with your current church or ‘church hopping’ so to speak. Trying to find the right balance for you or your family. Can I encourage you with these simple words.

We were not meant for this world. Our home is not here, our spirits long for Jesus and Heaven. We are Heaven Bound.

Now that’s no excuse to stop meeting together at church. We cannot say, ‘Well I’ve tried, I can’t find a church family. I’ll wait now until I’m in heaven.’ My friend that is a harrowing thought and dangerous at that. We are creatures of habit and relationship. We crave love and we crave intimacy. We need to find a church home on earth. 

Though it be temporary, rest assure your Heavenly Father knows your heart and its longings. He understands the waves of anxiety you might feel as you walk through those church doors, or the hurt and pain a fellow brother in Christ might have inflicted upon you and the thought of continuing at the same church is impossible. Jesus knows, Jesus gets you. He knows the inner workings of your heart. He knows when you don’t feel like your church is the place for you to worship anymore. He sees when you have given all you can to serve and love others and when it comes to you, no one is there for you… maybe? I don’t know. All I know is that these are the cry’s of my heart over the years. Or cry’s of a friend deeply needing a tender ear to hear and a heart willing to pray and stand firm for them in prayer and supplication. 

If only you could find the perfect church now my friend. If only I was here to tell you, ‘LOOK, LOOK READER…I found the perfect church! It’s on the corner of I’m pulling your leg and watch my nose grow by the second.’ Ha! Truth is, there is no perfect church here on earth! None! Oh there are churches I have loved to visit (always the ones I have to travel overseas to enjoy) and there are churches I’ve been comfortable in. Perhaps too comfortable- forgetting to look outward to others in the community who might need to connect.

My friend, if you could take a moment, actually longer in prayer. Asking and seeking God for answers. Ask Him to clear your mind as to what you and your family are needing for a church family and where you can serve best. We’ve found over the years, looking around it’s always great research the churches in our area, listen to a few of their sermons, read up on their core values and beliefs. Attend at least a few times to get a good feel of the culture. That is unless you get a huge red flag upon the first visit… then my advice is RUN! (I’ve written about red flags in this Blogpost, but please don’t be as complying as we were. (You save yourself a world of messy tears!) AND TAKE YOUR TIME, OH WEARY WANDERER! There is a season for everything.

Sometimes our best memories and deepest connecting as a family has just been home church. Taking a break, regrouping and focusing on what God wants for our lives and how we ended up where we are. Be fed with worship music and sermons. These seasons are always wonderful. Embrace them. Embrace some time together. Doing your own Bible Studies.

Sometimes when we have been in and out of churches we felt embarrassed to tell friends or family. I felt pressured to find somewhere to go so I looked ‘Christian’ again. I was ashamed when we weren’t in church. As if something was wrong with me/us. I felt the pressure to not be honest about being absent from church. We felt the weight on our shoulders to tell others how much we loved attending church. It was all false… it was completely the opposite.

There was a time I didn’t want to go to church at all. I needed time to heal, to come back out of the depression and feel like I belonged again. That takes time. Do not rush that. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you. Layer by layer restoring that which has been broken inside. 

Oh Jennifer, where is your strength in Christ? My friend, can I encourage you to take charge of this season and just kindly and gently explain to people who might ask questions ‘we are taking a break to focus and ask God what church is best for me or our family at this time.’ See, it’s not that hard to do… However, don’t let it be for long. Let me be clear here. It’s also imperative you do not become complacent in this new routine. Do not delight in lazy Sundays with sleep-ins and long breakfasts. Yes, these are good for the mind and belly from time to time but they in no way feed your soul. Allow Jesus to take hold of your hand, your family and steer you into the right direction. To the right church for your family to grow, strengthen, serve, love and be a beacon to those around you. 

Our spirits yearn and plead to be with our Heavenly Father to be united with Him. One day we will never feel let down, ashamed, hurt, wronged, an outcast or not worthy. Christ came to save us. He came to bring hope and to create order where there was none.  

This is not my home, I am Heaven Bound. 
Where my Wandering will finally cease. 

Jennifer X

Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Out My Window

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m writing to you 35,000 feet above sea level. Coming home from a short stay in Coffs Harbour. And the views above my great country are always spectacular. Those pristine waters along a golden coastline are breathtaking.

I find it remarkable that the waters know where to stop. The path has been paved and they stay on its course. They travel it perfectly. They come in and they go back out. They go no further. How do the waters know the path to take? The journey back and forth for thousands of years?

I look out my window and I’m awe struck by the pillars of clouds, so large and so soft. As a child I imagined falling into the large cotton candy types and feel the softness under every part of my body, imagining the clouds forming around me. Expecting those clouds to know how to catch and hold me perfectly. As we grow our understanding of cloud formations develop and our dreams are soon dampened by science and reason. But when you are flying slowly past the vast cloud formations, seeing their dazzling white brilliance, science tells me they can hold thousands of tonnes of water. This too baffles me, they hold this weight without falling to the ground in a catastrophic heap.

I see the beauty in the mountains that rise high up, they look as though they can reach the clouds or the tops of the sky. Covered in a canopy of green. But not just one colour, the greens are lush and bleed into one another with a thoughtfulness to detail. Surely there is an artist to this landscape. The sea of green could fill my children’s pencil container four times over. Just one colour, many shades. How can the blends of one colour depict the worlds greatest artistry?

As far as my eyes can take me. As wide as they can see, I behold the caramel flat plains below and on the horizon my mind flickers like the pages of a book- trying to decipher all the kinds of living creatures that live and survive our harsh conditions in Australia. I cannot fathom how they not only live but actually thrive in such conditions.

My short plane flight has me seeing but the smallest percentage of my country let alone the magnificence of the entire world. I’ve been meditating. My friend I don’t stop writing here. I don’t finish wondering. I don’t sign off perplexed about the makeup or my world and the designer of it. I don’t look out to see a fog of cloud in our decent with confusion in my heart or mind. No, these small things alone, the creation around me, above and below. Directs me to a great artist. Who had a canvas and decided to paint the most brilliant piece of art any eye has seen. An artwork no one can come close to accomplishing such inspiring, heaven focused, earth proclaiming majesty of Jesus Christ.

Yes,

It is all Him, with but a word and it was so.

And then, he died for it. 

Stand and allow Him to encompass you and hold you perfectly.

Jennifer X

To The Mother Who…

To the mother who’s up late at night on shift work or housework for her family.

I see you.

To the mother who gives up her needs and desires and puts her children’s first.

I know.

To the mother trying to pay her bills, overwhelmed by the future.

You’re not alone.

To the mother in the wee hours of the morning, sewing costumes, packing lunches, washing and ironing clothes.

I understand.

To the mother who gets up early and makes her family breakfast. Nourishing their bellies.

I applaud you.

To the mother who attends every sporting match, is the loudest cheerer, the biggest supporter, the proudest smile.

I can tell.

To the mother who has sipped countless cups of tea, playing make believe, kicking soccer balls and making cubby houses.

I am proud of you.

To the mother who falls to the floor and picks up their child when they are hurt. Who kisses away every tear, who patches the scrapes and cuts. Who holds their precious child in their arms until that child finds peace. 

I know.

To the mother giving wisdom, sharing her knowledge and faithful advice to her children.

I’m encouraged by you.

To the mother balancing work, homeschooling and motherhood.

I care.

To the single mother who does all this on her own, giving of herself in ALL she does as a mother not just to her own children but to many.

I’m here.

To the mothers who are still trying to conceive, longing to hold a baby of their own. 

I hear your cry’s. 

To the mothers who have lost a precious babe. Who’s heart breaks to hold their little one just one more time.

I feel the ache in your heart and arms. 

To all mothers who give with every fiber of their being, for their family. And do it with grace and gentleness every single day.

I rise and call you blessed,

Happy Mother’s Day.

Jennifer X

For Simone, my friend.

The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Is Sin Crouching At Your Door?

I don’t know about you but once we had children special holidays became magical all over again. The joy of Christmas and Easter stirred up something within me. I was adamant to make new traditions as a family and keep them for their entire childhood.hopefully to pass onto their children.

Every year I seem to add a new tradition to Christmas and Easter. And the lead up with activities, crafts and books is all part of the excitement for little children. 

Sounds pretty perfect right?

Ah, but this year for Easter Sunday we experienced things a little different. Things went terribly wrong. Our human nature took course and man oh man did we have a parenting fail. Sin was most defiantly crouching at our door- it was as though it took James and I by surprise. We opened the door and the floodwaters poured in like a tidal wave that wipes through a village.

My kids are very good sleepers, with daylight savings clicking over the children now wake between 6:30am to 7am each morning. And that’s fine… however, the night before Easter Sunday James and I weren’t wise and we decided to binge watch a series on Netflix. I know, I know, for all you mums and dads out there. It was the wrong move!! The next morning you feel like you’ve been hit by a train. So, that being our first unwise move. Noah came into our room just after 5:30 in the morning, standing next to James’ side of the bed began spelling out in a whispering tone, ‘D.A.D.D.Y’ … and again… and a third time. James was out cold. I snapped at my son and told him to go back to bed. I was shocked at the time of the morning (forgetting it was in fact Easter and that was the reason why he was up so early.) I tossed and turned in bed on minimal sleep… it was torcher! The the girls woke, again, excitement filled their little hearts. 

Sleep had left me, I threw off my covers, crawled out of my bed and as my feet hit the floor I became a mutated monster…. my war path was in full fury… I was a beast not to be reckoned with. I lead with my hunch back, teeth gritted, smoke coming from my ears, grunting. Lasers from my eyes hunting anything that moved to prey on. Yes, sin certainly had its way with me. 

I came out and the children were bouncing around ‘can we look for our eggs mummy? Please mummy? I’m so excited…’ were just some of the sentences I remember as I cringe thinking back to their little full hearts.

I hear a noise, from upstairs, it’s the ‘other’ he too looks like the mutant monster, only bigger, stronger and louder. And he’s faster than the mother, to paint the picture further he had hurt his leg so the the limp only added fear to the hearts of the little people. His steps seem to resemble rigid, stiff like surges. Every step would inflict a distress, a panic, a horror like a nightmare that not even the valorous could shut their eyes to. 

Yes, yes my friend- am I making you feel like you got this parenting thing in the bag? I assure you we certainly aren’t winning any awards. 

The little people frightened and not wanting to make a sound say quietly eating their breakfast. The ‘others’ began bickering with each other. It appeared that they had turned on one another. Trying to prepare the eggs that they should of had organised the day before (instead opted to watch a mini series) and spitting fire from their mouths at one another in front of the innocent. 

After some time of arguing we (the others) parted ways to try and look semi decent for church…. my goodness. If this isn’t a parallel I don’t know what is?! From demon to angel.

Still, waiting…. the children sat…. waiting. I glanced over and saw their downcast faces. That’s when I stopped- the monster in me literally stopped in my tracks. There it was. God pressed on my heart and showed me the truth. What was I doing? At this point I was in the girls bedroom when I called everyone in for a family meeting. We had to pray, right then and there. We had to get rid of this and make it right. We couldn’t do it without God changing us from within. You see, Satan knows when to attack. He knows when to strike. Think about this reader, this was the MOST PIVOTAL DAY OF THE YEAR. The day all Christians cry out in joy, with tears streaming down our faces we uplift the Lord Jesus and say ‘thank you, thank you for what you have done for us, for me.’ This is a time where we reflect upon the pain, there has never been anyone in all of history who has gone through the depth of pain and suffering for no reason, He did nothing and yet suffered so that we might have SALVATION! This is the day the Lord has made! We fall to our knees in adoration and worship. 

And it was as though the tiredness (the feeling of that train hitting me) left me… well maybe it didn’t, but I didn’t notice so much anymore. I wasn’t self focused but rather looked up to heaven and the to my little ones. My heart softened, my anger left. My sin was thrown onto that cross, He took that burden and all my others. Everything that I have even done and will do in this lifetime, I was so overwhelmed. A gentle reminded and a great sigh of relief. Tears flowing down my cheeks we embraced. We held our babies tight and asked them for forgiveness. I explained in my utter state of depravity “today, this morning, daddy and I sinned and hurt you. We do things wrong too. Adults do wrong and children do wrong. Will you forgive us?” (there were more beautiful words in exchange, words I will cherish in my heart forever. I don’t need to share them here but you get the gist.)

There is something we can learn from children and the way in which they love and offer forgiveness. There is no conditions, there is no discussion or judgement. They throw their little arms around you and say ‘of course I forgive you!’ The same love we were supposed to be remembering that very morning. Jesus’ love and forgiveness without conditions.

That right there reader, is children displaying the love of Christ. Their hearts are filled with love and tenderness. 

And so, after rebuking Satan from our home we invited the King of Kings to rule. And the Holy Spirit to reign in our home once again.

And I did friends, I felt His Spirit dwelling with us again. I called out to the children ‘take two’…. ‘Happy Easter Scarlet, Happy Easter Noah, Happy Easter Aquila, Happy Easter baby Selāh. Yep, we hugged, yep we had a brilliant Easter egg hunt, yep we went to church… James and I still felt rubbish. And that’s going to happen sometimes. God isn’t a quick fix. We stuff up again, we fall short, we sin, we are lead and convicted ever so gently, we seek forgiveness, we know that sin is nailed to the cross with our Saviour, we lay our heads on the pillow, we wake and start all over again hoping, praying we are better for Him.

A family centred on Christ,

Happy Easter.

The Son has set us free. We are free indeed!

Jennifer X

5 Steps To Finding Rest

Rest, or as the great Psalmist called it, Selāh. We are currently on summer vacation here in Australia. It’s the time of year where school is out, late nights are had, picnicking, swims and holidaying. For us this year we are having a ‘staycation’. And I gotta say, it’s been one of our best holidays yet. It feels SOOOO GOOD to be back home! Sydney has some pretty amazing beaches. And so many that I’ve never even set foot on. I actually didn’t realise how many beaches we actually had. Well over 100 actually!

Queens Beach, Sydney. We found this beach after a long day at the Zoo celebrating Scarlet’s Birthday.

Anyway, so all this ‘staycationing’ has got me thinking about rest. How do you rest friend? Do you take time in your week to rest? Or is it something that rarely happens? And if so I want to hear from you. I want to know how you rest?

Where I find rest will be completely different to you, we find joy in different objects, people and scenery. For myself rest has been found at sea. The salt in my hair and in my face, the sand between my toes, swimming with my babies and picnicking. All at a SLOWER PACE! We sleep in, we enjoy the moments together. 

I’ve been asking the kids most days what they want to do? And the answers don’t surprise me. It’s all about being together and having fun. 

Whatever it is these are my 5 steps of creating a little more rest in your life.

  1. Turn off social media for as long as you need. An hour or two, even a day or more can be so refreshing. That calls for all phones calls, emails and television. Connect with your family and not with what’s going on it the world. 
  2. Start your day in meditation. Give your day, events and even what you know you have planned for the week ahead or month over to God and LET IT GO. HAND IT OVER AND BREATH! 
  3. Don’t commit to work when it’s your day or time to chill out. You can always do it the next day. This time is rare and precious but so important to revitalise. 
  4. Do what gives you rest/joy. If it’s coffee then go out for it. If it’s yoga, go do yoga, the beach, hiking, camping, dining. Whatever you love to do and have time focusing on what you love to do, DO IT! 
  5. Stop and think about all the things you are grateful and thankful for in your life. See the good in what you have, count your blessings. What you have in life is so very much more than others in this world. 

Can I encourage you to find what you really love, what brings you peace and rest and clear your schedule to just stop! Do it! Enjoy! And come back at life and all it’s busyness refreshed and strengthened at what lies ahead for you.

Truly my soul finds rest in God, my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

Jennifer X

Just A Moment…

If I sneak up stairs now… If I set my children up with a game or activity I can run away, for a moment to be with you. I just want to be with you. I want to sit with you and hear your voice. Feel your presence. I need you to get through my day.

Sounds like a romantic novel or the beginnings of a new relationship doesn’t it. These are just my own thoughts towards God.

A few years ago when I had thoughts and prayer requests come into my mind I would think to wait until I was alone, in my quiet time and speak to God then… the result being once I sat down to spend time with God- I didn’t remember anything that was on my heart or in my mind to talk to the Lord about.

Why couldn’t I take a moment? Why couldn’t I stop, be still and ask Him that question? Or for help. Or praise Him for something incredible He has been doing in my life or others. I had to keep business (or the busyness of life) seperate to God. My time seperate to God time. I didn’t have to do that. I didn’t have to have seperate my day. You can be a structured person or a go with the flow kinda person. The fact is if you don’t have Jesus with you in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT you have no hope of succeeding in your day let alone your life.

Let me ask you this… why would so many thoughts or requests come into my mind to speak to God? When’s the right time to have alone time? When’s the right time to steal a moment with your creator? To seize the day, carpe diem!

The answer is plain and simple my friend. AT ANY MOMENT! You need Him to breathe, to have life, your whole entire being, your purpose is made to glorify and magnify Christ. And when you can give Him your day, your hours and minutes and seconds, if you can surrender all of that to God. If you can say ‘Lord I need you. I need you to help me to get through my day.’ You’ve taken the first step. So it’s good for your soul to steal a moment to praise Him, to thank Him for the day He has made, rejoice my friend. Be glad in it. If you find your day is hard and too difficult to get out of bed or even leave the house or perhaps have that conversation with someone who only causes hurt or harm, I say firmly in love, go, run!

Run to his arms. And tell it all to Him. He already knows but He wants you to have a relationship with him. So speak to Jesus and ask Him for guidance. Ask Him to make your paths straight and you will see. Oh reader, sit back and watch the Lord work His majesty and wonder in your life.

Sometimes it’s as simple as getting you through the day. Getting you through all the housework, the teaching, parenting, working and dealing with what life throws your way. Other times He will touch your heart and soul so tenderly and heal you from deep within that no human can do! No psychologist, no councillor no matter how trained could give you what He can.

Once I figured out that God was prompting me to speak to Him at any time of day, I did whatever I could to be alone with him. Like a lover, was the Lord to me. I would run to my car to ‘grab something’ just for a moment with Him. I would leave early for an event to park and pray. Anything just to find Him in my heart. Hear me when I say reader I still struggle to run to Jesus first. I’m a work in progress and Jesus is refining me everyday. However, when I do get it right it’s the reassurance the Spirit brings to comfort me and find order to my life.

So, what am I saying in all my ramblings reader? My thoughts are this. Run to the arms of Jesus, over and over again. Choose Him. Steal moments in your day to just read a bible verse, say a prayer, commit your day to Him.

But sometimes I don’t get a break with the children? That deadline has to come in. I need to do this first. I have to, I must, soon… and so on. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to convince you that things will be better once you do everything else before coming before the alter. GO NOW AND THEN THESE THINGS WILL FALL INTO CORRECT ORDER. Honour Christ and He will honour you.

I know, I get it. Life is busy and you are needed the second you open your eyes in the morning. Might I encourage you to set a healthy habit friend. As your eyes open, as your body begins to awaken in bed ready to begin a new day, awaken your heart, soul and mind with this simple prayer.

Christ First
Over and over again
I choose You
I commit my day into your keeping
I commit my family and my dealings
Take charge
Protect me and my family
Amen

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
—Matthew 11:25-30

Jennifer X

Suffering

It’s not hard to see suffering in the world. It takes place everyday, in many different forms. If you switch on your television or open your phone to the news it’s right there in front of you. And it breaks my heart. Truly, honestly I weep at the news I watch and articles I read. This world is in chaos. And if I ache for so many as a flawed human being, how much more does our Father in Heaven weep. And the only thing, THE ONLY CONCEPT that gives me any peace in the vial, hanes acts of individuals or the different types of physical and mental pain people are going through is that God will have His justice. Reader what do you do with the news of suffering around the world?

There’s something comforting knowing that there is a season for everything. Knowing if you’re going through utter debilitating agony right at this point in time, ‘this too shall pass.’ What does it mean when someone says ‘it’s just a season?’, ‘It’s just for a time?’ Why do we say these comments in conversation, or perhaps to ourselves even? Is it to reassure ourselves that everything will be ok in the end? My friend, does it soothe your soul in that moment of pain? Does it bring a peace for your future? Can you laugh at the days to come, knowing there will be a day, there will be a time where I will have joy and laughter again. 

Sometimes the agony you’re going through is so great, so vast that the fog, the depression, the anxiety, the grief or persecution and weight on your shoulders is so grave you don’t know where to look, which way to turn or how to even breath. Am I right? Even getting out of bed or opening the blinds to a new day is too much for you. I can hear your voice now reader. I can hear you say, ‘it’s too much. When will it stop? When will this ‘season’ end? I can’t keep going on like this.’ 

Can we be real for a moment. Most of us have been here before. Most of us have experienced such desperate anguish and have our minds swirling full of these questions. And reader if you haven’t experienced these thoughts before, I encourage you to keep reading because this article will also touch on how you can help and come alongside someone suffering to assist and love them the best way you can.

Ecclesiastes is a remarkable book. I find when I open it and begin to read the words, quickly I am reminded that ‘everything is meaningless.’ Huh? You say. What do you mean meaningless? Let me explain further, whatever we achieve in life, a career, family, wealth and so on. In the end it won’t matter. We die and those things cannot come with us into the afterlife. Pause and take a moment to reflect on these words,

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;

   I refused my heart no pleasure.

My heart took delight in all my labor,

   and this was the reward for all my toil.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done

   and what I had toiled to achieve,

everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind

   nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecc 1:10-11.

Without trying to sound insensitive in your hour of need, I find that this book really is one I go to when I am on an emotional decline. It’s a reality check for how I live my life. Knowing that everything must come to an end. Everything has it’s time and place. It’s about HOW YOU HANDLE YOURSELF AND OTHERS DURING EACH SEASON. Writing those words just now challenge myself deeply. 

So, now what, we give up? We look at our life as useless and not bother? Agh, but Jesus also says to work hard and give, being a good steward of what you’ve been blessed with in this life. Keep peace with others and whatever you do, do to the glory of God. 

However, you may not have the mental or spiritual energy in this season to think of these positive things. That’s ok. Allow others to help you, lean on them in your time of trouble. Ask for prayer, ask people to lay hands on you for healing physically or mentally and ask them to help you. And, this might be daunting but, give where you can. Ask God for strength to do so. No matter how small. I’m telling you now you won’t be able to do anything in your own strength. There is something healing in thinking outwardly about the people around you. 

It’s very important that you don’t walk through this trial on your own, like I said ask people you trust to pray for you. To stand in your place with faith petitioning for you. You cannot, you must not let yourself be alone in a downward spiral. If you don’t have the friends, the close connections (I also understand this too well in my own seasons) there are places you can go for help. I’ll add some at the bottom of this post for your discretion. 

So, in saying that here are my two points on suffering. 

You know what I love about the Bible? There is advice on EVERYTHING! God has given His people a handbook, a manual for us to follow. Anything you can think of, it’s there and it’s beautifully and gracefully written. For us to live by. I believe the most helpful Bible passages for pain and suffering are Ecclesiastes, 2 Samuel 15-19 and Job. 

Let me flesh it out a little, I’ll try to tread as gently as possible. I am aware that people who are reading this are in different degrees of suffering and in many different ways. I’ve already explained why Ecclesiastes is excellent when you’re hurting or finding life hard. In 2 Samuel it’s about the story of David and his son Absalom. 

David suffered much in his lifetime. One of the most controversial events of his life was when one of David’s sons wanted his throne. Absolom called out a huge army to search for David to kill him. David ran and spent some time hiding because all of Israel wanted him dead. Can you imagine that literally happening to you? I mean, put yourself in this mans shoes for just a moment. This is his own son! Further on in the story (sorry for the spoiler) Absolom is murdered and David instead of feeling relief mourns him deeply. Please don’t take my word on this, have a read. It’s remarkable. How do I respond to that text when I am suffering? I actually cannot comprehend how that man would be feeling knowing how much his son hates him for nothing other than fame and glory. Perspective right… sheesh!

Point two. The biggest most humbling book of the Bible I’ve read to give me comfort and put my trials into the right approach is the book of Job. Who was an upright, godly man. He walked with God and loved Him. The Lord blessed Him immensely. He was a father of ten children, possessions and wealth. Then one day Satan came and presented himself before the Lord to challenge Him, explaining that Job only loves God because He blesses him. Job loves ‘stuff’ and not Him. But take away everything and you’ll see how quickly he changes. And so, God allowed (because Satan is on a leash and cannot do ANYTHING without God’s consent) Satan to do as he wanted without touching a hair on Job. Ultimately within the course of a day Job lost all his possessions, his wealth and devastatingly his ten beautiful children. Friend, do you know what Job did next? How he reacted to this news? HE FELL TO THE GROUND IN WORSHIP!

The man lost everything and cried out the words ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’ STOP. READ THAT AGAIN…. Let me ask you this, could you do that? Could you in your moment of grief, your lowest moment, your loneliness, when everything in your life is crashing down and you have nothing left. 

Reader, can you fall on your knees and say those words to God? If I’m honest, if I lost even one child let alone all of mine, could I say such a thing? God searches the heart and knows it. So no point in me lying here and trying to sound godly and righteous. No, I don’t think I could. But I WANT TO! I want to praise him no matter what is thrown at me. Good or bad. I want to praise Him so bad. I know to live for Him and to walk with Him gives me true life and true meaning. But it can be HARD sometimes.

When God is questioned about ‘why these things happen?’ His response gives me goosebumps every time. This is the voice of God! In Job 38: 4-7 he explains His majesty and power;

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

  Tell me, if you have understanding.

Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

   Or who stretched the line upon it?

On what were its bases sunk,

   or who laid its cornerstone,

when the morning stars sang together

   and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

The next part of the story is so very important! Restoration, delivery, healing, renewal, blessing. What sweet, sweet words for anyone to hear. Job passes the test. With flying colours and God is there to ‘make all things new.’ God restores Job and he is blessed again in family, friendship, wealth and future.  

‘And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters.’ Job 42:12-13.

You see the reason why I am suggesting these books to read through is so that you understand you are never alone, you are not the first to suffer so greatly, you will not be the last. I cannot promise you you will never suffer again my friend but I can promise you this ‘He makes beauty out of the ashes.’ and just like Joseph said to his brothers ‘what you meant for bad, God meant for good.’

By no means am I trying to take away from you your pain and hurt my friend. I just want you to see a perspective on it. One which you normally cannot when going through it. Suffering takes time to heal. Sometimes a lifetime. Sometimes we will never find full peace until we reach heaven. So pray and ask for help to get you through day by day, sometimes minute by minute and second by second to breath and function as you try to cope. 

Reader, if you’re the friend who wants to help someone going through a crisis let me encourage you. Yes! Do so, keep in touch with your friend or loved one. Meet up on a regular basis to pray or maybe do some simple chores around the house or help run errands. Give a meal and let them know with actions and words you are there to help. Point them to the God of comfort. Towards the last chapter of Job we see just how Job’s loved ones care for him. ‘Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him.’ Job 42:10-11.

Remember there is no burden too great, no sin too vast that Jesus cannot take and transform into something beautiful and good once more. God will heal up our wounds and restore that which is lost. Maybe not today or tomorrow, or even for some in this lifetime. But there will be a day when there are no more tears. And only rejoicing. This I can promise you. Wait for it, oh weary soul. Trust and wait. For His Glory will shine forth and His salvation is great. He will restore and bring order to what was lost. After all my friend, there is a season for everything. 

There is a time for everything,

   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

   a time to be born and a time to die,

   a time to plant and a time to uproot,

   a time to kill and a time to heal,

   a time to tear down and a time to build,

   a time to weep and a time to laugh,

   a time to mourn and a time to dance,

   a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

   a time to search and a time to give up,

   a time to keep and a time to throw away,

   a time to tear and a time to mend,

   a time to be silent and a time to speak,

   a time to love and a time to hate,

   a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastis 3:1-8

Jennifer X

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Whats The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Children?

When Noah was born I felt an overwhelming love and protection for him. Like a mother bear, it was an instinct to guard and watch over him, essentially giving my life for him. My heart was filled with unconditional love. I could weep when I looked at him or just thought about him. Then Scarlet came along, Aquila and now Selāh and I can firmly tell you the love doesn’t change, it just grows. And these intense feelings of love and giving my all for them hasn’t altered. As I sit in these feelings, sometimes so overwhelming I get hit with bad thoughts. Thoughts of ‘what if’s’. What if something happened to them or James and I. I hate to think about any type of pain my children might endure. Subconsciously I know I try to handle situations where I know they won’t get hurt or be affected. I find that I try my very hardest, in my own earthly ability to protect my children in each moment. In writing this thought I want you to know reader there is nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your child. The best life, best career and the best family. 

The next thought that follows for myself is this, Christian because of sin, there is heartache and pain and hardships. The bible also promises in Romans 5:4 that your hardships develops character. And isn’t that a beautiful thing right there to help our children, developing their character. Friends, that is one of the reasons why we homeschool. Only one of, but an important one. For me in those quiet moments as I watch them sleeping, breathing in and out, stroking their hair or holding their little hands in mine I know there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect them from the things that will hurt. 

Writing further on that point, our friends and family know we are mindful as to who we let our children play with, as a means to help them, so they don’t need to endure hardship or bullying. We know that this isn’t always possible and there might be situations where we aren’t able to be as ‘controlling of the environment’ – in cases like this we are able to help our children recognise right from wrong. It also means that, if appropriate, mummy and daddy can step in, protect, and guide an appropriate way to respond to certain situations, to know how to act and handle different people and situations. I personally feel, at this stage in our little ones lives, they are not yet at an age, or have the capacity to know how to always appropriately act and respond when confronted with a negative situation, so we want to be there. I know many of you are probably thinking, ‘how do they build resilience?’ or ‘it’s good to be bullied so they learn.’ And each to their own. We all parent differently, however we all want the same results. We want to help mould our children to be their best. Honestly I have been met with these types of questions and statements. In my own time with God, I see this as part of my role as a mother. We aim to help our children to consider and understand; It is important to forgive, however, if someone is continually unkind to you, do you continue to be their friend? What if they continue to hit you or say harsh words to you? No, of course you don’t. Like I said, this doesn’t mean you don’t forgive them and pray for them, seek reconciliation or restoration, however sometimes what is appropriate is to distance yourself. Reader please don’t feel you have to keep forcing your children to play with other children who aren’t being kind. If we don’t stick around unkind people as adults, why subject our children to it?

Now, for my children I can’t protect them from this world. I’m not God. There is no way I can do this. But when I see wrong or bad against them. My role is to protect. And in doing so, here’s the key point, we are teaching them how to deal with enemies. Bullies of any nature. I always found it so encouraging watching Noah and Scarlet at Martial Arts. Their instructors taught them to walk away. To state clearly, “STOP, don’t touch me”. “Don’t speak rudely to me”. If the bully continues and hit them, they need to then create space and run to us (or someone they know) for SAFETY. And what do we do friends as adults when we are bullied or constantly attacked? We run to the Father in Heaven for SAFETY. We pray for our enemies and forgive them, just as Jesus forgave us. 

Reader, you might have your own steps in helping your children deal with negative behaviour and that’s great. But the idea is through this procedure we then point them to Jesus. We help to teach our children to pray for their enemies. For God to shut their mouths and to protect us with the armour of God.

In the bad thoughts, the thoughts of doubt and fear for my children I also know that one day they stand before our Gracious God. Their actions and deeds are accountable before Him. On their own. So then, mum and dad ask yourself what could possibly be the best thing I could do for each of my precious babes? Pray for them. Let go of trying to control their lives and hand them over to God’s keeping. Into the Fathers hands.

Does that scare you? Does it make you feel like you’re not in control? Do you think you’re not looking after them? As I write this I’m shaking my head, because for me reader, the answer is YES! It’s so hard to give my babies over to Jesus. It’s a given as a parent to be in control of everything in your child’s life. I’m not talking about what will they will eat, should they go to school or homeschool? If they do go to school, then what school? What sport should they play? They are all great things but you and your child can work that out together. As you discover their God given gifts. I’m talking about the tough stuff. Their salvation. That’s the believers number one priority for their children. To be saved. Pray for that. Pray that Christ saves them and that His name will be glorified through them in their life. Then pray for the path they will walk. Because in this life they will no doubt meet suffering and pain. Ask God to teach them how to deal with the heartache when it comes. Pray for the Gift of faith and pray that they might be a vessel to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to many. All I can do in my own earthly ‘power’ I do. However, Christ can do far more than I could possibly imagine. There is a particular prayer I pray over my children as they go to sleep. When I am in my quiet time with the Lord. I’ve had seven years to add to it. It seems to keep growing as I ask the Holy Spirit to help me to hand each of my children into His keeping. Again, just like my post on singleness, I cannot do this in my power. I can ask God specifically to make me let go and allow his work in their lives to take place. Giving me a peace that surpassess all understanding.

Remember resilience comes from God. Character comes from God. He will guide and strengthen your children to know how to handle each situation. And you parent need to keep a safe and open relationship so your children can come and tell you just how they are feeling. Then mum and dad, with arms open wide and hearts ready. You listen and pray through every situation for guidance and protection.

Let me encourage you with a prayer I have for my four children. This prayer is one based around what we feel is most important for their lives as they grow. It begins with who God is as a reminded to myself that I have nothing to fear. He is enough and His power is unfathomable. I invite you to pray this prayer believer or your own, make it your own and pray for the things that matter.  

Almighty God,

You are so good and mighty. You are mighty to save, mighty in love and mighty in your promises. Thank you for sending your precious son to save us. Instead He has saved me and brought me out of the grave and given me life. You are so worthy of praise. Thank you for holding me up daily, teaching me and correcting me along the way. Gently showing me your ways and pointing me to your son Jesus in all that I do. Jesus you are my hearts joy and greatest desire. I’m sorry for the way in which I sin against you in thought, word and deed daily. Forgive me, wipe me clean and purify my heart. Allow me to always show this side to my family. When I am in the wrong to ask them for forgiveness, always teaching my children how to function and behave as a family unit. Close, understanding, empowering and rejoicing for each other. Holy Spirit come into my heart and do your work. Create in me, change me and strengthen me to be your vessel. To live for you and proclaim your gospel to all people. Especially my children. Oh Lord, that you will save them. There is nothing good they or I can do to make them be born again. But you can do it. You can change their hearts and take the scales from their eyes. Please Jesus bring each of my children to you. Let their hearts be changed and their longing to be for your laws and to have a heart after You alone. Holy Spirit transform my children to be strong and not waver from the truth. Cover them with the armour of God. Make it a daily wanting to be in the word and spending time with you. I ask that your hand is upon their lives. That like you say in Proverbs you steer them towards the right career. Where they will study. What they will do in this life. Remind them, nothing matters unless they are doing it for your glory. And God please help me to raise them to fear and love you. Help me to encourage, affirm, equip, train and correct them so that they might be the best they can be. I pray for their husbands and wife. I pray now that you are moulding them and strengthening them by your Spirit to be the best they can be for you and the families they will one day create. Make each of them be slow to speak and quick to listen and understand the needs of their spouses. Help my children to choose their partner wisely. Listening to your direction. Knowing your voice and obeying at all times no matter how hard. Jesus will you bless their families and homes. Bless them in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Help them to live in your joy and your covering. I pray for their children and each generation to follow. That all will be saved. All will call upon your name. And finally God when they experience hardship in this life, show them how to press into you, how to rely solely on you and give thanks. No matter what. Always declaring your goodness. Oh, give them a great faith. I pray that I will see each of their faces in Heaven. Praising you forever. 

Thank you Father, thank you.

Amen.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13.

Jennifer X

Singleness

“Everyone around me is getting married and I’m over here single”…. I read the words from a very beautiful ex student of mine just the other day and it hit me. Those feelings that I felt came flooding back. As a Christian woman there is this perception, sense of pressure to get married young, to find ‘the one’ and settle down quickly. And most women want this also. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married. Marriage is a wonderful thing. I know I desperately wanted to find the perfect guy, have the perfect wedding and the perfect family… I turned 21 and I was single. I turned 22 and I was single… and then there was the few drop kick boyfriends inbetween. And suddenly I was 27 and I thought ‘well that’s it for me, I need to get used to the fact I will remain single for the rest of my days.’ I spent a lot of time letting go of the ‘ideals’ I dreamt of, the perceived‘ideal Christian culture of being married young. 

I found, for me, that dealing with my feelings and letting go of this ‘ideal perception’ was a great thing, mentally and spiritually. I look back now in reflection and think how sad. How sad to think women are potentially thinking negatively that they aren’t good enough after a certain age, nor good enough for marriage. 

Now, let me just stop you in those thoughts here. These thoughts are not of God. But I’m also not going to tell you friend that you are enough. Because simply without Christ you aren’t. You need Christ to transform you, you need Christ to mould you into someone who can be the best version of yourself in both marriage and singleness. You are not enough without Jesus reader. Please know this, please meditate on this. Once we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our hearts, souls and minds there is a renewing a new joy that as I have said before no one can steal. And so you finally become content where Christ has you because in your singleness you are content, married you are content, any stage of life you are content in Him and where He has you in every moment. 

After only a few years of marriage I am far from an expert on the matter, however I will say this; I finally understand what Paul was talking about in  1 Corinthians 7 where he states it is better to be single than married. I thought for a long time, no it’s not, it’s better to be married. But you see reader when you are single your focus isn’t on your family, but during this time you can focus on doing God’s work. 

Really getting in there and serving, helping, praying and supporting others. Does this mean you can’t serve when you are married with children? Certainly not, however your focus is split and your priority is family and so it should be. 

When I was single I used to serve at a soup kitchen in Newtown on a Wednesday night. I remember being in a really good place in my spirit and knowing this is something I won’t be able to do once married. So I made sure I tried to serve in ways I could take advantage of my singleness. Looking back, probably not nearly enough, though nonetheless might I encourage you in this season of waiting to focus your time and energy on serving far better than I have in ways you may not be able to do when married. 

Another important note I might add here is when you are single it’s a great time to invest deeply in asking God to prepare your heart for marriage. Prepare you, healing up wounds and baggage you might be carrying. Learnt behaviours, parts of your life that you find difficult. Give it all to God. Being married is truly wonderful in sharing our burdens, praying for each other, encouraging our spouses to be everything God intends us to be. So please don’t read this wrong. We will always carry hurts, hardship and trials are part of our human existence. Ask God to teach you how to deal with your hardships in the right way. Ask Him continuously to heal and break behaviours and help you to become the Proverbs 31 wife or to love your wife the way Christ loves the church.

I also prayed during my singleness for my husband. You can be specific when it comes to their character. Do you pray for you husband or wife friend? Do you ask God to protect them and charge them with the strength of Jesus? Do you pray they are a warrior for Jesus, faithful to Him above all else? That God is working in and through their lives daily? 

Well you need to do this. Pray for them. Don’t just write your list of what you want but rather write a list of things you want to ask the Lord to do in their lives, helping them, preparing them for marriage. To partner with you and direct your family in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. Please don’t forget reader God designed marriage for good. He says in Genesis 2:24 that for this reason “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

And here’s the BIGGEST THING to pray for. Patience. Pray for patience while you wait. Pray for joy while you wait, pray for contentment and rest while you wait, and satisfaction in Jesus while you wait. Allow this season to be fruitful and a blessed one while you are here. I’m not saying it is easy. Oh, boy is it hard. There were days, months and even years I struggled. For me, in the circles I socialised I felt old and washed up for not being married by age 22! How silly, and damaging that can be. Yet, in all my thoughts and failings I wouldn’t settle. I just couldn’t live the rest of my life with someone who didn’t fulfil the prayers of the man I wanted. I came to terms with he just may not be out there. And that’s ok. It’s not going to be easy but I can survive. It’s something I needed to give over to God. How do you do that? It’s a constant prayer- a conversation. If the thoughts or sadness creep in, if the doubt or worry appear, tell Him where you’re at, tell Him everything. You may as well because He knows all our thoughts. So share and ask God to take control of your feelings and emotions. I’m sure by now you realise you can’t. Ha! Well I learnt that long ago. Only Jesus can take hold of how I’m feeling and reshape me. Share with those close to you if you have a support group so they can gather around and pray for you. Tell me, I’m here, I’ll listen and pray with you through this season and allow Jesus to be the husband/wife no one will ever be. I soon learnt that marriage is hard. We need to chose to love daily, to sacrifice and put our spouses needs before ours. I soon learnt that they will hurt us and let us down and so will we. We are human. But let me also tell you some very good news, 

JESUS WILL NEVER HURT OR FORSAKE YOU! He will forever be your ultimate love, your deepest longing and desire. He is your husband or wife. He takes everything. All your pain, guilt, sorrow, anger and turns it into peace, joy and a desire to enjoy Him to the fullest. 

My friend, in our Christian circles I’ve seen heartache, I’ve seen single mothers not feel comfortable because they don’t want to come across as desperate, or wanting to steal other women’s husbands, I’ve seen and felt for myself being left out of group outings purely because I didn’t have a man by my side. It can get messy. We are flawed, we sin, we judge others, we think we know what’s best or when we need to marry. For those who marry in this life it really is our highest calling to be a wife, mother and provider. To serve, love, train, discipline and guide our children to be the best people they can be. Always pointing to Jesus. But what if the Lord wants a different path for you? What if you are to remain single? How do you come to terms with it? Jesus will prepare each in their hour of need. He will provide faith and peace and rest for those who need it. The only way you can do this, this transformation of contentment in Him is by asking the Lord to do it. There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING you can do to feel good, peaceful or happy where you are at in life unless you ask God to change your mind, your thoughts and actions to coincide with Him.

Now a note about children, pray for them now. Pray for their future and spouse even before your child is born. I pray for each of my children’s wife and husbands. I specifically ask of God to mould their partner to be the attributes of so many of the men and women from old in the Bible. Do you pray for your children? Even if they aren’t here is physical form yet, PRAY! Pray for their protection and a deep faith in Jesus. Set this habit up now and once your children arrive you will be well versed in prayers and petitions for them. It will be a natural transition. 

So reader can I spur you on in your singleness, to not settle for less, to be picky (in the right way) and to seek God, enquire of Him to show you the right person. And to find peace while you wait.

Let’s celebrate both friends. Let’s celebrate the season of singleness and what comes with it. And let’s celebrate the season of marriage for others and ourselves when it comes. God gave me my perfect guy and perfect wedding and perfect family. In His timing, not my own.

Jennifer X

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12