17 Fun Facts About Me

I hate the taste of Egg… I also find this so annoying!

I’m left handed.

I studied a bachelor of theatre performance at UNI.

Mascara and perfume give me headaches.

I have a huge phobia of crocodiles and sharks.

I don’t like anyone touching my neck (apart from my family 😅😜).

I am terrible at math… literally cannot work past 4th grade!

I was bullied at school.

I don’t like talking on the phone.

I’m afraid of the ocean.

I love the beach. Ha! Confusing I know!

I love coffee but can’t drink it. It gives me heart palpitations.

I enjoy American politics…. who even am I?!

I can’t get enough of summer. I love the heat.

My favourite colour is red. But I never wear it.

I cannot handle scary movies at all. I feel like I’m going to live the actual movie one day. I spend way too much time working out scenarios on how I would escape a killer.

I dreamt of being a mama since I was a small girl. I secretly played with my dolls until I was about 15.

Well there you have it. For now anyways. A girl doesn’t reveal all her secrets in one go… You’ll just have to follow on.

Jennifer X

How To Handle Toxic People

I’ve struggled for years with managing toxic people. I still do. I struggle with how to handle them, how to avoid them and ultimately how to let them go as peaceful as possible (if I can). Sadly and yet strangely I feel a reassurance when reading and researching the topic, knowing I am not on my own. Most of us have experienced people or friendships that hinder rather than bless, that cripple rather than uplift, that steal and take from us rather than love, rejoice and cherish. 

But how do we end up in these friendships/relationships in the first place? How do we find ourselves in these situations and so far in? Sometimes it’s like you can never see a way out. You are in this harmful, doomed friendship FOREVER (forever, forever, forever) JOKING! Ha! But jokes aside, I have spent many sleepless nights and days I can never get back mulling over such people in my life. Hours thinking through what such a person has done, or how they interact with me. What they have said to my face. And then it gets worse, so much more worse… please tell me there is someone out there that does this too? I have these conversations in my head- where suddenly I’m sassy, sophisticated and socially apt. I confidently approach ‘said toxic person’ and nail them in a one liner. Or tell it to them straight. Calling them out on their lies or the way they have manipulated a situation. Sigh! Alrighty, I’m getting carried away here. 

Toxic people hurt and it sucks if you’re on the other end. I recently wrote a post about ‘The things I wish I knew in my 20’s’and one of the points I touch on is staying away from these people. Reader, what I’m about to explain and hopefully empower you in your journey is how to manage these people. The tools I still haven’t harnessed myself! But hear me now, YOU MUST SIFT HARMFUL PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR LIFE. And the younger you do it the better off you will be!

So, let’s look at the types of people you need to stay away from. Foremost, I will say this on the matter, if you don’t feel a clear indicator from the Lord on a particular person that doesn’t sit right with you, then keep praying and DO NOT (like I have many times) ignore it, thinking you know better. I have broken it down very simply for you to read and see if your ‘toxic’ person displays any of these characteristics. I will explain further on how you can work towards a healthy way of letting them go. 

  1. Those who spread negativity.
  2. Those who criticize you OR others all the time.
  3. Those who waste your time.
  4. Those who are jealous.
  5. Those who play the victim.
  6. Those who don’t care.
  7. Those who are self-centred.
  8. Those who keep disappointing you.
  9. Those who act out of fear and insecurity.
  10. Those who are narcissistic. 
  11. Those who create Drama.
  12. Those who bully and intimidate
  13. Those who lie.
  14. Those who cannot take responsibility for their own actions.
  15. Those who make you feel bad for being angry or hurt at them when they do you wrong.
  16. Those who never apologise.
  17. Those who are Egocentric.
  18. Those who seek to dominate and win at all costs.
  19. Those who cause you stress.
  20. Those who you feel you cannot be open, honest and share with.

Wow!! Just a few. ha! But these are the character traits that you need to be aware of. And not a one off. Yes we all make mistakes and fall short. If this is a recurring trait and more than one, it’s a strong indicator that you might want to think about ways of quietly pulling back from the relationship. Understand when you see the ‘Red Flags’, Its a warning. Deep down you know it’s not right. Trust your gut or I like to say, trust God and stay away. Love from afar. 

Alrighty friend, so you’re in knee deep. This relationship has been going on for a while. Well I have six healthy steps to free yourself up without hurting the other person… at least not intentionally. Understand that these types of people do not handle truth or reason so well. You cannot imagine a perfect world where you sit down for coffee, laugh and laugh till your bellies hurt… then you wack them over the head with ‘I can’t be your friend anymore because you’re a (*insert toxic trait*) and assume all will go well. 

Step: Pray, pray, pray. For guidance in handling and interacting with them. Remaining kind and friendly. Pray that God will help them to see the error in their ways. AND ALSO PRAY, God will reveal to you any wrongdoing in your heart. 

Step 2: Pulling away. You suddenly have a lot more commitments. More work, more running around with the kids etc, etc, etc. You are busy. Slip in a coffee every now and then to keep peace and allow the person to feel that you do love them. Pulling away can take time. A text here and there. Slowly pulling back and shifting the relationship. One coffee per week becomes one a fortnight, then a month and so on.

Step 3: Be honest when you say you’re busy. Be honest with things you have on and genuinely show a saddness that you cannot see them as often. (Because you will be grieving what was lost and what could of been).

Step 4: It might be a good idea to not allow them to see everything you do on social media. It will hurt them… again, be mindful and slowly post your outings or what you’re doing over time. There is also an option button where you don’t have to allow certain people to view your stories. Make it feel like a lost touch type of thing.

Step 5: Set boundaries. I cannot stress this enough. Explain that certain celebrations or times with your family are important. Your traditions are important. Explain you cannot stretch yourself more than what you are doing. ONLY IF THEY APPROACH YOU OR CONFRONT YOU. You may not even have to go this far. You can set boundaries without the person realising it. I know this first hand.

Step 6: What do you do if things get messy? If they confront you? If this is a confrontation face to face and you are caught off guard. Allow the person to speak and let them know you hear and understand everything they are saying. DO NOT allow them to yell. You can walk away if they are verbally abusing you. If fact, I say run if you feel at risk- however, if caught off guard allow the person to finish and simply say ‘Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I’m going to go away and think about it, process it all and respond *in an email/or over coffee* (if you’re stronger than I!!).

And there’s your boundaries and you won’t have to fumble over your words or say things you don’t want to say and regret later. If you are cornered or have to meet at a place to talk, keep it public. Keep a friend nearby. Stay safe. And please know I’m not a trained psychologist, if you need more advice go and see someone. I’m just sharing my musings, experiences and what the Bible teaches. I hope you can truly find some great ways to deal with what’s before you.

Friend, once a word is spoken it is out there forever. Reader, you can be sorry but you and the person it is directed at can never forget it. So use your wisdom and discretion. Stay above reproach at all times. And live a life where if anyone were to speak badly of you, others will know it is false. Let your character speak for itself.

Blessings on you as you handle the road ahead,

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

Helpline: 1300 096 273

Lifeline: 13 11 14

http://www.lcpinc.org/index.php/services/womens-childrens-crisis-centre

The Things I wish I Knew In My 20s

Pray, pray often. This will set you up for life. Open communication with God. Prayer is the fuel that will drive you, motivate you in the right direction for life. Whatever you do, wherever you go, prayer will sustain you and bring you to a deep sense of satisfaction.

Listen to your intuition. If you feel like something isn’t right. Don’t go ahead. Learn to WAIT.

Run from toxic people. I repeat RUN! I’ve spent too long, too many years trying to be a people pleaser. Learn that not everyone is going to like you and heck there are some WACKOS out there. I’ve seen it all. Stalkers, identity thief’s, nasty people, liars. Run from them! You’re busy washing your hair the day they invite you over. I’m only looking back now and realising all the red flags I have ignored because I felt sorry for someone or thought, ‘I’m sure they are better than I’ve already seen.’

That same intuition for where you are going to work. Life is too short if you are in an environment that doesn’t give you enjoyment. 

Observe your surroundings. See where you might be needed to love and serve. Step in where you can.

Pray for true and lasting friendships. Rooted in the Lord. 

Stand up for what is right. This doesn’t mean you need to fight or argue. Show kindness and be quick to listen. Understand where others are coming from but never settle for what you don’t believe in. 

Work hard! Chase your goals. 

Set achievable goals. Buy a car, house, travel, go to the gym regularly, look after your body and mind.

Save your money. This economy is only getting worse. It can be tough. Start saving now!

Eat healthy and exercise. Start the habit now and you won’t be struggling as you get older.

Find a great church. Church family are wonderful. You need to put down roots there and establish friendships. 

Learn from your elders. It’s really important to have friendships with older people. Watch how they live their lives, observe how they parent. Learn, listen to them. Watch how they maintain friendships and process difficult situations. And friend, ask them to pray for you. Allow them to be a mentor to you. 

Understand you won’t get everything in this world. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter. You will hurt, you will struggle. Seek and strive to give all matters to God. All your dealings so that you can be transformed daily.

You gotta be a team player! Don’t be a selfish person. Don’t think about what you can gain in life. Think about your job, your community, those around you and make sure you get in there and play fairly. 

Give. Be generous. You can when you’re young and single. After your studies and you’re working full time, put money aside to give to those in need. And bless people around you. 


Rest! Make a sweet tradition of your Sabbath. Churching, family time, invest, love and sow into your community

Read your Bible. Particularly Proverbs. Oh heck, anything is brilliant. Make it a daily routine. Like oxygen to breath, the Bible is what your soul and heart are longing to have. To live. To live your best God given life. 

Do these things my friend and your life will be blessed and steady no matter the season. I can promise you that. 

Jennifer X

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

Baby Essentials.

I’m at that age where everyone around me is having babies. If I’m not pregnant than I know at least three or four people who are. Just this year alone I have watched four of my students (whom I taught years ago!! wow!!) fall pregnant and start to have their own little families. It’s absolutely beautiful.

I have a very large family. For the past 5 years we have had three children born on each side. That’s huge. At the moment we are talking 21 children between James’ and my family!! 

Do NOT talk to me about Christmas shopping. 

Social media can be a great thing at times (obviously because I blog) and through it I have been able to see so many of my friends and family give their pregnancy and birth announcements and I’m fast realising women in my life must think I have all these ideas and knowledge up my sleeve for the best gadgets for baby. I get asked ALL the time, what I use, what item is best and how I go about discovering the best gadgets. It’s got to be because I have 4 children. This might look like I know the latest brands, the latest ideas and gadgets for baby. I DO NOT! I repeat, I DO NOT!!

But what I would like to share with you mumma’s and daddy’s are my top items you need as a first time parent, or really at any stage. Items I swear by. That make life economically easier in the long run.

You need to think ahead. I’m serious. Don’t think, ‘oh, we will just see how we go with one child.’ Chances are you will be having at least one more… or three… or four. Ok, I’ll try not to scare you. In doing this you will make wiser decisions on what pram you purchase, your car, your baby’s clothing and ultimately what type of home you will live in. Whoa, slow down Jennifer. Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you what type of home to live in!

So based on these factors here are my top 21 Baby Essentials.

Phil and Ted’s Porta Cot.THIS IS MY NUMBER 1!!! We travelled all over Europe with (something similar but just found out they don’t sell anymore!). It folds down into a small bag size. You can take it ANYWHERE! We popped our bad boy up in restaurants, airports, you name it, we did it! And Scarlet Jean loved it.

Love to Dream Baby Zip bags. These things are a game changer!! No wriggly arms will be getting out of these bags. And you can purchase them Organic.

Selāh in the Love to Dream Zip Bag. 3 to 6 Months.

Sun Visor– The Outlook Auto Shade Car Sun Shade helps protect from strong sunlight, UV and glare. Car shades screen up to 90% of harmful UV rays with UPF 10+ rated fabric. Make sure you find something that fits the dimensions of your car windows. We have a SUV with very large windows. It’s been really hard to find something that works.

Coffee Holder– That attaches to your pram. It is sturdy and fits most cups and bottles. Trust me, you WILL need this for the sleepless nights. This is the one we own. It’s had a few beatings against the car boot and looks as good as new. 

A Pram Hook- That allows you to attach your handbag to your pram. It comes in handy when doing the grocery shop. You can’t keep your handbag in the basket at the bottom of the pram and have room to put your groceries etc in the bottom. You can buy a $7 one at Kmart. Or go for something a little more Earth friendly with these Vegan clipsfor just under $20!

Notice how the second pram seat doesn’t sit down in the basket. It’s a fantastic model.

A COMFORTABLE pram! – Here’s my very humble opinion on prams. You need to think about the future, more children, storage space and getting through doors! Also, research what prams have won awards, how easily they can collapse and fit into your car. Do the seats change around or are they fixed? I’m sure there are so many more great options out there now. I’ve even seen a pram that folds itself!! Literally!! Crazy! My pram of choice is the Baby Jogger. It has 16 different configurations and it grows as your family grows. That’s all impressive but what sold it for me was the pram seats don’t sit down in the basket meaning there is so much room for shopping, and little legs. It’s also won a heap of awards.

All my babies sat in this Bumbo, wee all except Noah. He was too chubby to fit. It involves baby at meal prep and eating times around the table. teaching them to sit up.

Bumbo– Say no more, you want one of these. So versatile and easy to take any and everywhere to prop up Bub once they can hold their head up.

Baby Monitor- If I showed you our old bunged up one you would laugh. Due to fear of embarrassment I won’t!! However. I have my eye on a beauty. Go for something that has split screens to monitor future babies also. The one I’m super impressed with is the Uniden. It can split up to four screens. Now you may not need that but think about the play room or if the children are watching a movie and you’re in another area of the house doing the ironing or cooking! Again. Always think of the future. 

Nasal Saline Spray– This little guy will become your new best friend for baby’s colds and sniffles. 

Bouncer/swing- Ah yes, sweet sweet relief from holding baby ALL DAY LONG! My babies suffer with colic and reflux for the first 3-4 months of their lives. Having a bouncer helps them to keep their food down, stretch out and mummy’s arms are free to do the other million jobs! Depends on what you like. Some offer the a vibration or song, while others are fancy with a swing that can rock baby to sleep. 

[metaslider id=”446″]

Essential Oils– Let’s talk…. Essential oils. If you don’t have them yet, then you need to get onto them ASAP. My favourite range stock beautiful blends for baby. Click hereto see some of the incredible packs to help baby to be living it’s best life essentially ha! They are expertly formulated by aromatherapist, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger and essential oil chemist, Dr. Robert Pappas, with both safety and aromatherapeutic benefits in mind. Each blend addresses the most common needs of parents and children, and has an aroma your little ones will love! Always 100% pure, and never adulterated, these blends are bottled with your little ones in mind. They also stock diffusersto go with these little gems. They add a range of benefits depending on what oil you diffuse in your child’s room.

Humidifier– These little guys can be particularly effective for treating dryness of the skin, nose, throat, and lips. They can also ease some of the symptoms caused by the flu.

A Stylish Baby Bag- Because let’s be real, this will now become the only bag you ever use for the next 5-10 years! My favourite is from the Iconic. It’s a tan leather backpack, in fact it’s so stylish I would buy it just as an everyday bag. It has two side pockets and one with a tissue dispenser. So good! I love, love that It’s machine washable. Mumma you are going to need this and love it just as much as I. With little sticky hands, spilt drinks and everyday happenings. I have included a few others with differing price ranges. New Chic,Tiny Fox and Peakaboobaby. What’s more is they all offer Afterpay.

 [metaslider id=”468″]

Affordable Diapers and Baby Wipes – We have tried a few over the years, I used cloth for Noah and really loved it, however I found they were a little bulky. I’m certain they are better now. Some disposables and wipes gave my children rashes and were harsh. The best disposable nappies, that we love, are you ready for it…. ALDI. Mamiaare brilliant and you simply cannot beat their price from starting at as low as 14c per diaper!

Breast Pump – Man have I gone through my fair share of breast pumps!! Most have been rubbish. The one I’ve personally used and kept the longest is the Tommee TippeeIt has great suction and is super easy to pull apart and wash. Go check it out. 

Baby Carrier – This really is something you need to go into a store and try/trial before buying. We own the Ergobabyand LOVE IT! We recently took a day trip to the snow and I nursed Selah in it for 4 hours and it didn’t hurt my back for one second. And that’s saying something. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have a good back at the best of times. It has brilliant lumbar support and you can wear your baby in it from newborn to toddler age. As for a few similar options, I’ve added them on here to make things easy for you.Take a look at BOBA X. The patterned designs are so gorgeous and boho. You can literally design your outfit around your carrier. I love that they don’t look like the standard black carriers. They are designed to carry your child for up to 30 months! The Lillebabycarrier can hold baby from newborn up to 20kg. What I really like about this product is that it the Hip Dysplasia institute has vouched that Lillebaby is a hip healthy product. 

Sudocream– Is phenomenal stuff! When Noah was born we tried a heap of different nappy creams and this was a HUGE stand out. I apply the stuff on all my children’s cuts and scratches also. Clears anything up in a day or so. Another alternative is making it yourself. I have made a beautiful baby cream for nappy rash. With Essential Oils. It’s so smooth, creamy and gentle on baby’s bottom (thank you Pinterest!). Why not make up a huge batch and have it ready for when baby arrives. 

Nail Trimmer – I don’t need to say much here. Baby needs his/her nails trimmed and so you need one! 

Bath Chair – What was I saying about my bad back… yeah, well this is a lifesaver of a product for me. I don’t have to bend over holding baby up and balance them with one hand and then with the other try to get your hand lathered in soap and wash them down…. NOPE! And that’s why this product helps me in my everyday life with my babies.

Baby Body Creams – I’m a little OCD when it comes to oiling my babies. I use olive oil, coconut, organic sunflower it’s all so wonderful on the skin. Recently I was gifted this beautiful baby care pack from my lovely girlfriend. It was a limited edition Doterra Baby wash, Cream and Diaper Rash Cream. I must say I was a little apprehensive, thinking I only wanted to use Shea Butter and gentle products and oils. IT WAS AMAZING!! It does have the Shea Butter already in there. We are using it not only on baby Selāh but all my bigger babies too! Click hereto check out Kel’s page and maybe ask a few questions or order in her baby pack. You won’t regret it.

Cot – Naturally you will need one of these unless you co-sleep. My only advice here is try to purchase one that doesn’t scream too much for one sex or the other. You want something versatile. For either a boy or girl. 

Clothing – This is the most exciting part of shopping for baby. ALL the cute clothes! If you aren’t finding out the sex (we don’t) opt for lots of unisex colours. Terracottas, mustard and creams are right in at the moment and perfect for baby. Some of my fav places to shop for our babies are our-folkChildren of the TribeFin and Vince, and Luca the Label.

So there you have it. My top finds and loves for 2018! What are your top baby essentials?

Happy shopping and enjoy this season. It truly is a magical one.

Jennifer X

How Do I Have More Faith?

I was 15 years old when I was given the book ‘Jesus Freaks.’ I would sit in bed late at night reading these remarkable stories of men and women with such faith and love for Jesus and the gospel. These were remarkable stories about the first martyrs, killed for their faith in Jesus. Men and women singing praises to the Lord as they were burnt at the stake, other Christians were thrown into pits of wild animals to be eaten alive. The stories just kept coming. I remember thinking ‘just one more story tonight. There’s got to be one story about someone whose faith is weak.’ NOT ONE! There wasn’t a single story where a martyr backed out of their fate due to their faith in Jesus. That book has lived with me for the majority of my life. I still to this day often think about what the early Christians went through, what they endured. I certainly don’t know them, I never had the pleasure to meet such faith filled, Christ focussed believers and yet hundreds and even thousands of years later I sit here writing about how their lives have impacted my life for the better.

Have you ever met someone who had so much faith for every moment of their life. Whatever was thrown at them, they wouldn’t sway. They were rock solid and grounded in God’s will for their lives? I just love to be around those types of people. Inspiring aren’t they. They encourage me to have this type of faith also. It makes me think if they can do it, surely I can too. I can have this same faith. But the Bible is clear on how we acquire faith. By Grace! It is a gift from God. So what does this mean for you and I reader? It means we cannot be filled with pride about how faith filled we might be because it is nothing we have done to gain it. It is given to us by God as a gift. So God gives different degrees of faith to each of us. The Holy Spirit gives great faith to one believer and to someone else the same Spirit gives the gift of healing. Now in saying all this I find when I read 1 Corinthians 12 I feel I might be overstepping the Christian mark here, I get greedy. I want all the gifts. But for me faith stands out. And it’s definitely something I want and need more of. And we are instructed to pray for faith, to ask for more of it. Especially in our hour of need. 

I see this faith in little children everyday. As you know I have four very small children. And they are the apple of my eye. My hearts love and treasure. As like you my friend, if you are a parent reading this I know you will feel the same way. Our children rely on us for everything to survive. We feed them, clothe them, comfort them and love them. They have a faith in us to protect them and look after them. Once they grasp the concept of who God is, how He loves them more than I ever could- there is this sense of amazement and awe and complete acceptance. Really not many questions of doubt are asked in this early stage. It’s what the Bible calls a child like faith. Big, bold, strong and a knowing of where they are headed. Their little hearts are set to heaven above. There is much chatter of heaven and what they will do when they get there. I only recently overheard my son praying to Jesus about what he was going to do with Him once he gets up there one day. No fear in death. Oh, to have that same faith reader. 

How much faith would those martyrs of had? When you think about what Jesus says in the scriptures about having faith as small as a mustard seed and what it can do. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus is speaking to his disciples about their lack of faith in healing a demon possessed boy. The disciples came to Jesus in private and asked why they couldn’t heal him. He replied “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And just how small is a mustard seed? One to two millimetres!! It’s a little embarrassing to say the least… you don’t see me over here moving any mountains! It certainly puts it into perspective doesn’t it. 

I struggle to let go and let God take control of my family, my children. And why? Because they (besides God) are my most greatest treasure. And here is my strongest moments of realisation. When we travel. When we get onto a plane to go on holidays I feel the most in my anxiety about my family. I feel helpless. I cannot control a plane. I can’t hold it up, I can’t make sure it doesn’t crash and keep us safe. I find myself sitting in that sardine squished seat, a baby on my lap, one on either side and deeply breathing. Right after the flight attendant runs over the flight precautions ‘in the event of an emergency’ it HITS me about then. My prayers become one long ongoing rambling, breathing, begging, breathing, thinking about how I would get each child out of the plane safely if we crash. Who I would carry, who would be on my back, who James would take…. Oh, just STOP it Jennifer. Stop wasting your energy and anxiety on the silly ‘what if’s’. Trust. Trust. Trust. Open your word, find a verse or two and meditate on it. I stop. I breath. I ask the Lord to take charge of the flight and bless the captain, ask Him to take my worries (because only He can do it, not me no matter how hard I try) I sit back into my seat and feel a different sense of His peace over me. ALWAYS! Because He never ever let’s us down. 

So reader I’m on this journey with you. How deep is your faith? Do you find you are solid in God in trials and tribulations or do you have doubt and worry? Do you like to take control rather than letting Him do the work for you?  I don’t claim to be a lady who has it all together. I don’t claim to have a deep faith in Jesus. To hand all matters of my life over to Him BUT I’m here to say let’s share our burdens with each other. Let’s pray for one another, enquirer of the Lord daily to give us faith to get through this life with the sweetness of Jesus at the centre of everything. Can you see the Grace of Jesus working in your life? Those martyr’s experienced God grace in the face of death. They were given a reassuring faith in their hour. Faith that surpasses all understanding. 

It’s a longing a chasing in my soul I feel for this gift. I want it, I want what others have. I want to possess that beautiful faith in Jesus in all matters of my life. Will I get there? Will I become someone others could be encouraged by in my life? Will I ever possess faith even as small as a seed that can say to a mountain to move and it will? I do not know, but what I can say assuredly is I will continue to petition our Great God for even as much as a tenth of that little seed. And I know He is good, He listens and gives accordingly to each of us.

And so I wait and hope and pray. I find when I do trust, when I ask for faith, He is faithful, He gives me peace. He gives me rest.

Jennifer X

My Thoughts On Fathers Day.

When I was in the classroom I would begin each morning with devotions. I would lead my children in song and prayer. We had this very ‘humble’ shoe box. We cut a slit at the top of it, whenever a student needed prayer they would quietly write their request down and then come out the front and place it into the box. No one placed their names on the prayer points so there was no fear. We came boldly into prayer with the Lord, petitioning Him, thanking Him and waiting for answers. Now and then we had a prayer request for some parents that seemed to be struggling or a broken marriage. I must say it was a rare occasion. The majority of prayers were about friendships or sport, sometimes holidays or sick friends. 

On this particular morning I had chosen our new memory verse as a class to learn. My 9 year olds were buzzing. I could hear the soft murmurs and little voices of joy ready to set themselves on a new challenge. I began to read King David’s Psalm 27… “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” The children didn’t speak. They were enthralled by the words a man wrote thousands of years ago. I continued, and eventually I came to the line “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” I went on and finished this beautiful Psalm filled with such glorious promises from God. By the end, I closed the Bible and looking up to engage with the class again I saw a flood of hands up in the air, waiting to have their say on this passage. I never knew or never could predetermine what those little hands had going on in their hearts. I was going to touch on friendships and loneliness, ah, but the Psalm struck many deeper chords. 

The first child I allowed to speak explained “my dad doesn’t live with us anymore.” The next, “ My parents split up.” And another “I hate having to go from house to house to see each parent.” Again “My dad hardly sees us.” These comments seemed to never end. My heart was aching as I listened to each child explain either a situation they were involved in or a friend of theirs. My heart sank… we had to put a hold on our lessons for the day. I remember thinking it’s so unfair. These little ones don’t deserve such uncertainty, such sadness, rejection. I stood there shaking my head clutching my Bible. As I breathed in deeply, taking it all in, in my mind I said “Lord, give me the right words to say to these children, to your children.” And so, as Father’s Day 2018 is drawing to an end I find myself saying the same words to you dear reader. “Father, give me the right words to help your child.” You might be hurting, you might be lonely, Fathers Day might be the worst day of the year for you.

I am here, I’m thinking of you and praying for you. You know what I told my year 4 class? I said “Look! look at what follows after the pain or losing someone or feeling abandoned. Look at what’s written next. There is more, there is a promise – ‘ The Lord will receive me.’” You see the Lord will always be there, He cares. It’s a promise and He does not break His promises, He simply cannot. Psalm 27 is about the essence of God the Father. We do not need anything else but Him alone. He will fulfill all our needs. He is our mother, our father, our provider, our protector, our fortress our strength. Only in Him and Him alone will we find healing friend. Only in Him and the blood of Jesus will our hearts find peace and real joy. An everlasting joy that cannot be taken. 

Oh reader. Your pain is real. You are heard, your cries are heard by a loving Heavenly Father who is ready to stand up and hold you up and carry you through. He is willing to sacrifice His beloved son for YOU. You need to only call upon His name, you need only believe in Him and you will have the gift of salvation. This Father’s Day allow God to do wonders in your heart. Allow Him to adopt you into His family, allow this to be the first Fathers Day where you can say “this is it, I will rejoice in this day for the Lord has made it and it is good.” Reader, if you are grieving, allow the Holy Spirit to come along side you and gently minister to your soul, gently love and speak to you. 

As we slowly looked back over Psalm 27 my students eyes were opened to see the goodness and kindness of God the Father and how much he wants us to trust in Him to be our ultimate love. Today you can walk away with a Father. You can be adopted into His Kingdom. You see, earthly longings, earthly yearnings and desires will always disappoint you. Nothing here on earth will fulfill us. Even those of us with wonderful fathers. They are just a taste of who God is. They point to our Father in Heaven and show us or show our children the amazement of a Father who never ever lets us down. Who never runs away, who never hurts us but only does what is best for us ALWAYS. Father’s, don’t instill a sense of confidence into children that is simply for self satisfaction. Instill a confidence and hope in Jesus. So that anything your children do is because Christ has done this within them! What lasting joy comes from this. 

Reader maybe you are the father who let your children down. Or perhaps you are going through a trialling time for whatever reasons. Maybe you go to bed at night lamenting, agonising over the what if’s or wishing you could change things. Let today be the first step for healing and restoration. BUT allow the work to begin with Jesus. Get down on your knees friend. Beg for forgiveness, stand up, take a deep breath and go forth with Christ behind and in front of you leading (as your Father) every new, fresh and exciting step. In His name. For His glory! Amen.

Happy Fathers DAY to all the dad’s/ father figures out there. 

‘If you, then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Matthew 7:11

Jennifer X

The Ultimate Fathers Day Gift Guide!

Father’s Day is literally around the corner! Next weekend in fact! How many of you give the same thing every year to your Father’s or husbands? The undies, the socks, maybe some fishing gear… let’s be real, it’s easy, most of the time they are in need of these items. I’m guilty of giving these little items over the years too. I mean who can say no to $2 undies from Kmart?! Come on!! I love a good bargain. Today I want to show you a few places you can buy the regular socks and undies as gifts but with a little more pazzazz! 

There is also other ways of giving affordable gifts that are a bit out of the ordinary or perhaps you assumed they were not in your price range or you may not have even had the idea before. Well ladies and gents I’m going to give you a list of varying gift ideas. Some for kicks and some very sentimental ideas. And the key, if you find it on a website or store and it costs a heap MAKE SURE YOU GOOGLE OR CHECK EBAY!!! Quite often there are alternatives or cheaper deals on the same item. And please don’t forget Catch of the Day. That’s a game changer right there!

Why don’t we start with the really sentimental items first. Recently James gifted me a gorgeous mapof the stars from the night of our wedding day. It’s so romantic, we framed it and it’s in our formal lounge. A real keepsake and huge brownie points for either him or her really but we are supposed to be focussing on dad, so for him it’s a great idea. An online store most people have heard of is ‘Hard to Find.’ It’s my go to for something different. The ideas are endless and again I will repeat, if you like a product look elsewhere before purchasing. Just to make sure it’s not somewhere else at a better price. Thinking similarly to the map idea they have cufflinkswith the coordinates of any memorable occasion also. Two very different prices, similar ideas and worth a look into. A way to make a gift really personal is to have it engraved. This place stocks iPadcovers or Whiskey Glasseswhere you can get your loved ones initials engraved. That’s a class act. Oh, and did you know that Country Road has a ‘Make it Personal’ page. Click on your item and then type the name you want engraved on your gift of choice. (If I have to write the word Engrave one more time…) where was I… Yes, and they have really nice toiletry bags that could be the perfect gift. 

Sneaky shopping that is super affordable yet comes across as ‘oh these must of cost you a fortune’ can be a good thing. It’s always nice to find a bargain and claim it but then again, isn’t there something sleek and exciting about finding a bargain that looks like you spent a fortune? Or am I on my own here? Maybe this shows you how exciting my life can be! Ha 🙂 I just totally went on a tangent, where was I, oh, pyjamas, and not just any pyjamas, 

Peter AlexanderPyjamas. I love buying these for James and they have sale items all the time. The quality is great and they are super comfy. Do yourself or your man a favour and buy some of these! Make it a little tradition, you won’t be sorry!

Another item I just bought James was a Round Ice Cube Tray. I went over to eBay and grabbed a bargain from them. Less than ten dollars! I was cheering! They really are the James Bond kind of look. And make any dinner party look all the more sophisticated with the details.

I’m a big fan of getting your man in the kitchen to help out and get along side all the deliciousness of food. Sooooo, why not a cookbook? and specifically I’m talking Jamie Oliver’s new Italian cookbookGive him something you can all benefit from 😏 get him in the kitchen trying new things or if you like to cook get him to mark what recipes he would like you to cook for him. Ha! I remember James doing this when we first got married. He would go through my cookbooks leaving sticky notes as to what he wanted to try. I still haven’t gone through them all. 

Something a little deeper and in need of our daily lives in our family is the Bible. I’m going to promote one today that works beautifully for James. I’ve never been a person who writes notes all over her Bible, I wish I was. Anyway, James is someone who writes all over his. I found the ESV Biblehas a journaling part with plenty of space for the reader to make notes, draw or sketch their thoughts and prayers to God. I just love this. 

Common gifts are great, there’s nothing wrong with them. Deals on drills and screwdrivers, I know they are around everywhere and people can be very particular about the brand they are after so I won’t post anything on them this time.  Back to those undies I was talking about earlier. Catch of the Day sells them online all the time AND a little fancier with good old Tommy Hilfiger check them out. Anyone who knows James knows he’s a socks and ties man. Sprezzais a really fun way of gifting your loved one with exactly this. For $36 a month you get 5-6 items chosen by stylists such as socks, ties, tie clips, cufflinks, sunglasses, corkscrews, a cigar cutter, a pocket flask… their ideas are endless and it really is my NUMBER 1 giftto give! A little of everything.  And this month in honour of Fathers Day they are giving away two of these gift boxes for the price of one. I say get your hot little hands on this gift idea!

James at the Sydney International Shooting Range. Watching our Dad’s shoot it out… he’s not nervous, much… ha!

Now, from past experience. The best Father’s Day gifts I can recommend was the Shooting Range. A few years ago we gifted our Father’s a voucher to come in and then take some practice at a range that’s situated on 80 hectares of semi-rural bushland at Cecil Park and it was brilliant. Great quality time. Another few outings we planned were Segways. Wow!!!! They are a blast. I was able to get myself a ticket to join the dads on this one. Oh, and one last gift I’ve given over the years, how could I forget the Go Kartracing out at Minto. Noah and I watched James and the dads race it out. It is something I really want to try myself. Maybe my mother’s day gift next year?? I might get James to read this post after Father’s Day.

And then there’s the traditional making gifts, the cards, baking, breakfasts and a favourite of ours is a book about Daddy every year. We buy one from anywhere. At the moment they have them for sale at AldiBig Wand Target. They have some great little reads for the kids to give to your favourite men. Making time together is your number one priority.

I think it’s really important to include something on Father’s Day where the kids can do something with dad. An activity like bike riding, rock climbing, putt putt or even just a picnic. Do what you love to do as a family. And make it your own, a tradition and memorable.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who mean the world to us!

Jennifer X