Friday, 30 May 2014

Purposeful Pain

Someone recently asked me why I'd had children in the first place.  It made me realise that whilst I enjoy the cuddles and the explosion of so many different feelings, I actually view my mother's role as one of preparation and launch.  We try to be intentional in the way we bring up our boys so that when the right time comes they are prepared and ready to enter the big wide world with plenty to offer.

I see our boys as arrows.  At the moment, they are blunt and misshapen.  It's our job to sharpen them.

And sometimes that's painful.  

Painful for the boys because discipline is tough.  When was the last time anyone actually enjoyed being  faced with the consequences of a wrong choice?  Sharpening the arrow hurts as you scrape away the dull parts which cling on but are of no use.  

It's painful for us too.  Our bare hands and hearts are covered in blisters as we repeat the same action, over and over again, until it is finally understood.  Repetitive strain injury sets in as we keep on reminding our boys of the same words, same consequences, same actions, same outcomes.  Exhaustion, sorrow, confusion and sometimes disappointment all add to the hurt.

Why put ourselves through so much pain?  Why bother?  Why not just enjoy and relax?

I don't want to produce blunt arrows which won't hit the target.  Our role as parents is to equip our boys for what is ahead and to shape them for the challenges and delights they will face.  Despite the blistered hearts, we are determined to keep sharpening our little arrows so that when we place them in our bow and fire them out they whoosh through the air like the nerf bullets they so often play with.  Our world needs disciplined, determined, loving, faithful, strong, courageous arrows to land all over it's needy and desperate shores.

I want to be a part of sharpening those arrows.

And that's why I had children.

Thursday, 15 May 2014


At Christmas I gave up my job, with an exciting master-plan in my head about what I was going to do next.  Full of faith, I was ready to conquer the world.

Five months later, with no sign of the master-plan in place but having been taken on a soul-searching journey instead,  here are some of the things I've learnt:

1.  I'm the most impatient person I know.  Seriously.  Why can't everything happen NOW?

2.  Rest and time to step out of the whirlwind of a busy mind is so often neglected but vital to our wellbeing - that's why God created a 'day of rest'.  We need it and it actually shows more trust in Him to provide for us if we take that rest than if we keep ploughing through the exhaustion.

3.  I am more worried about what people think of me  (lazy / scrounging off hard working husband / not spending enough time looking for jobs etc) than I realised.

4.  I can step out of 'the boat' of my comfortable life and do things I never thought were possible, including taking my brave boys to a completely different culture and survive it, because I find God's strength in my constant jelly-kneed weakness.

5.  Trusting in God's perfect time rather than MY 'perfect' time takes courage.  It's not normal in our world today to let someone else be in charge and when you try to explain it to someone, even when they believe the same as you, they sometimes give you a quizzical look.

6.  Being busy wasn't the reason I didn't do the housework.  I'm not so busy now, and I still don't do it. 

7.  Holding onto a dream when you can't see any possibilities of it coming to pass isn't easy, but is required. 

8.  Comparing yourself to amazing people (Jackie Pullinger, Christine Caine, Nelson Mandela to name but a few) is not a good idea.  Everyone runs their own race.  We don't have to be like them.  We have to be like us.

9.  I fear wasting my life. 

10.  My imagination is far more expansive that I had thought.  Writing fiction stories for the first time has opened a whole new level of discovery inside my head.

11.  The level of dog poo on the school run increases as the evenings get darker earlier, and decreases when evenings are lighter.

12.  I love being at home to hug my boys at the end of the school day.  And when I forget to hug them, they remind me, so they must love it too.

13.  Waiting is more about what God is doing in me, rather than what I am waiting for.

And so, I wait. 


Holding onto the flicker of excitement about what is next. 

In full knowledge that the Author of my life is one worth trusting.