My best is good enough

My best is good enough 

Regardless.

My best is what I am capable of

Right now.

My best is what my heart is allowing me

Today.

My best is what allows me to get up 

Every day.

My best is what carries me to

Tomorrow.

Because Jesus died for me 

Long ago.

I can do what I need to do

For me.

I can do what I need to do to sustain

Me.

Maybe tomorrow I can include 

You.

But right now I need to look after

Me.

How do we find peace?

Today I started thinking about the holidays my late husband and I had spoken about but never taken. The places we still wanted to go and the things we wanted to do. The planning for one day when we retire, and I got so sad. Sad about what might have been, sad about what we could have had, sad about things I had anticipated but which now will not come to fruition. And I think that’s entirely normal. I am not just grieving for my husband, my friend, my lover –  I am grieving for the loss of the future dreams I had. The things I was looking forward to weren’t earth shattering, they were normal things. Small things. But I was looking forward to them. Now I have to change everything I had stored up in my mind as ‘the future’ because it’s not going to happen. Even the things that can potentially still come to fruition will not be the same because I will have to do them alone if I want to do them.

So far everything I said has been about what is in my mind. No money has been lost or spent, my health hasn’t been affected and I haven’t done anything physical. Basically it’s my mind that has caused me all this pain.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

This selection of verses clearly shows us that our minds are extremely powerful.  We become what we think. Therefore if we constantly think negative thoughts we are going to become negative. If we think sad thoughts we are going to be sad and if we think angry thoughts we are going to be angry.  Can we decide what we think or are we just going to be ruled for the rest of our lives by our thoughts?

Luke 6:45 tells us that we speak out of the abundance of our hearts. How do things get into our hearts? From our minds!

2 Corinthians 10:5, “casting down arguments and every high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Here we are told that we need to take thoughts captive. In other words, we have to filter our thoughts. We have to decide what is good to think about and what is bad to think about. We need to take the bad and negative thoughts and banish them from our minds. Put a ‘No Entry’ sign up that prohibits them from even getting a foot in the door. Our thoughts mainly come from what is going on in our lives. If we are watching violence on TV all day we will start having violent thoughts. If we are on social media a lot and reading all the sad and depressing stories then depression could be stalking us. What you put in is what you get out.

My husband past away less than 4 months ago and I allow myself to grieve, to feel sad and to remember things, but I put a time limit on it. I cannot be living constantly in the past, even if it is my soul mate I am remembering. I am not desecrating his memory by any means if I don’t think about him every waking moment.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.

And then verse 9 says, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Once again this verse makes it clear that we are capable of choosing what we want to think about. We need to look for good things and we also need to practise gratitude. Whether it is expressing gratitude or keeping a gratitude journal does not matter. We just have to do it.

Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

Yes, when our dreams for the future are hi-jacked, when our bubble is burst, we are going to be sad and it will be really bad for us. But we cannot dwell on it for an extended length of time.

Psalm 30:5 tells us that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. And yes, joy will come in the morning if we allow it to. If we allow God to work in our hearts and if we renew our minds to accept God’s grace every day. Read the Bible daily. The more we read the more we will want to read. God’s Word is the bread of life. Every answer to every situation is in it. We just have to keep believing the promises and applying the principles. If we fill our minds with God’s Work that will be what starts to reside in or minds, that will be what takes up residence in our hearts and that will be what comes out of our mouths. We will experience peace that we are promised and what can be better than that?

I am a widow

I am a widow and I am going to do the best I can to be the best me I can be. My husband contracted Covid19. He got sick on Christmas day of 2020 and early on the morning of 8 January 2021 he passed away. He was 63 years old but he wasn’t sickly, in fact he had never had a life threatening disease in his entire life. He ran a business full time and still found the time to play golf twice a week. He was not a candidate for death. Or was he? Do we have any say in the matter of our own death? I’m speaking from a Christian point of view. Does God determine when we are to leave this earth or do circumstances? One day I will know all the answers, but for now I know what I believe.

God made the earth and everything on it was perfect. Then Adam and Eve disobeyed Him and everything changed. People had to start toiling for their daily bread and they would have to face death. But then Jesus came and changed everything when He was crucified and rose from the dead. He said if we believe in Him we would receive eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

Therefore death isn’t the end, but the beginning of a glorious new life that we cannot even start to imagine. The Bible gives us glimpses into this life but doesn’t tell all.

Revelation 21:4 ESV

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 14:2 ESV

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV  

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

Revelation 22:1-5 ESV

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

This last verse is enough to make me believe that I have absolutely no idea how wonderful Heaven is going to be. I don’t know where Heaven is or is going to be, and frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. All I know is that it is going to be so much better than anything here on earth.

I believe emphatically that my husband is in Heaven experiencing the glory of God. I miss him and my heart aches, but I wouldn’t want to deny him the peace that he now has. I have read articles about the process of grieving and come to the conclusion that there are no hard and fast rules. I have found that there are well-meaning people who expect me to fall apart and think there is something wrong, or that I am not being honest when I say that I am fine. Obviously I am not as fine as I was before my other half was torn from me but I am coping. I have to guard my heart constantly against good people who say insensitive things. They don’t realize what they are saying hurts and at this point I have no desire to get into any discussions about it. I have to guard my thoughts against the doubts and fears which invariably sneak in. I have to literally take every thought captive and decide whether I can entertain it or not. I have days when the air is so thick I struggle to breath and moments when a memory is triggered and I cry buckets, but I get up, dress up and show up. Every day. I am not suffering from depression and I still engage in the hobbies and interests I did before his death. Yet, everything has changed. Every single thing I do is new and I have to reinvent the way I do things. At work I have to be the boss. I don’t particularly like being the boss, but for now I have to do it. At home I cook for one. I sleep alone on a big bed. I have to make all the decisions alone. I don’t have the luxury of bouncing it off someone as close to me as I am to myself. On a lighter side I can’t go back to a bad decision and say, “That was your decision!”

Because of the lockdown things are not normal and we are only having a service on Sunday. Not a memorial or mourning service but a celebration of life. Of his life, of the lives each one of us has, of life after death.

This is how I feel today. I am a widow and I am going to do my best to be the best me I can be.

Mirrors of the soul

So you don’t like wearing a mask? Neither do I but because the law says I must wear a mask, I comply. I can give you a list of reasons why a mask isn’t pleasant to wear. I can tell you that it takes away my freedom and I can tell you that it covers my mouth and therefore is symbolic of curtailing my right to freedom of speech. I could tell you that I seriously struggle to hear what people are saying because I am hard of hearing and rely a lot on lip reading. I could tell you all those things but I won’t. I have learned that there is something very special that happens when people wear masks. Instead of masking the real, it enhances the real. I was in a shopping centre recently and as I was looking at the people I realized that I was focussing on their eyes. When eyes are the only part of your face that is visible it’s hard to focus on anything else. Guess what? Eyes don’t lie. By looking ito someone’s eyes you actually see their soul. Sadness, happiness, joy and heartache are all locked up in your eyes.  There’s a proverb that says , ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul,’ which comes from Cicero (106-43B.C.) He is quoted as saying, ‘Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi’ (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). The L*tin proverbs, ‘Vultus est index animi’ or ‘Oculus animi index,’ are usually translated as ‘The face is the index of the mind.’ The French say, ‘Les yeux sont le miroir de l’dme (The eyes are the mirror of the soul). In the Bible in Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus says, ““The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” The Message version reads: “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” Let us take these insights with us into 2021 and instead of complaining and resisting the masks let us start looking into people’s eyes and maybe we can learn to be the light when their darkness needs it.

Time Out

Time Out


I have come to the conclusion that I need a time-out. You know that thing people do in some sports games when everything is in full swing and someone makes a sign with their hands like the letter ‘T’? You know that thing a mother imposes on a toddler who is throwing tantrums and needs to calm down? That thing. I desperately need that thing.



Three years ago I took one week off. After that a weekend here and there, and then the Corona gobbled up everything like that little circular mouth on the arcade game. Pac-man I think they call it. It ate up all my peace in the blink of an eye and I went into survival mode. I have never been so distressed or felt so out of control during my entire adult life. Not even when I was involved in motor vehicle accidents, and there were two serious ones. My equilibrium was disturbed. If it wasn’t for my faith in God and the fact that I am grounded in Jesus I would have given up altogether.

The first thing I did was try to figure out how to survive in the short term. The first five weeks without the promise of any income were looming ahead of me like a monster. Because we employed nine people at that point it was crucial for us to make sure that they were taken care of. So we made masks. Lots and lots and lots of masks. Every day for five weeks. And we sold them and every week we were able to give our staff some money for food. During this time I had to face my own mind. There was the thought that possibly we wouldn’t make it financially in the long term. What if the economy collapsed altogether? What if the banks didn’t approve the payment holidays we applied for? What if, what if, what if?

My husband helped me clear a piece of soil in the garden which was overgrown with irises. Iris bulbs are so invasive! I planted a succulent garden there. One that would grow into its design. A prophetic action; a hope for the future. Then I started thanking God for filling the jars. Like the widow in the Bible who’s jars were filled with oil and she could sell them to pay her debts. At that point I had no oil, and not jars, but I had to activate my faith.

Level 4, with some restructuring, allowed our business to reopen and we began slowly. Short hours, a skeleton staff. Baby steps. God has been immensely and immeasurably good to us and we have expanded and restructured even more as the levels lightened. Because we needed to be cautious a lot of the practical work fell on us and it has been a heavy load to bear.

It has become abundantly clear to me that even though I have been able to perform my self-imposed duties I could only do it for a limited time before I would crash and burn, physically and mentally. Referring to what I said before, without faith in God I would not be here writing this testimony. Our business is almost fully operational again and we have learned to do a lot of things differently. We have also learned to do a lot of things better and more efficiently and effectively. Everything comes at a price and we have sacrificed much.

Even though my body and my mind are protesting I can say with gratitude that it is well with my soul. It is my responsibility to do something about my physical and mental health. I have to spend time recharging in ways that are unique to me. Each individual has to get to know their own body and take care of it. Because I am very much an introvert I know that spending time by myself doing things that bring me joy will definitely help. Until I am able to take a proper  holiday I am going to do what I can do.

I need to do what David’s exhausted soldiers did in 1 Samuel 30. Two hundred of David’s six hundred men were too exhausted to keep pursuing the enemy so they stayed behind with the supplies at the Besor Ravine. When everything was over and David’s army was victorious, the men who had stayed behind received an equal share of the spoils as those who had fought in the battle. The tired men didn’t give up and go home, neither did they decide that they were losers. They stayed with the program. Just like them I am not giving up. I am staying with the game. I am still doing my part in running two businesses but I am taking time out from the extra activities. From those things I would normally do because I really want to, so that I don’t get to the point where I am forced to give up on everything.

I need to paint some pictures and listen to music and dance. I need to craft some things of beauty and walk on the beach and swim in the ocean. I need to read some books and write some lines. I need to get back to the place where I can give out of my abundance instead of giving out of lack.

Survival has served its purpose, restoration is at hand.

Lockdown

Lockdown
Panic
Overwhelmed
Make a plan
Masks create revenue
Find God amidst the storm
Learn to trust Him for daily bread
Learn to trust for provision
Learn to live one day at a time
Learn…
Learn that my fears are nothing
Learn to put my hand in His hand
Learn that my pride stands in my way
Learn to be dependent only on Him
God uses people to provide
But He is the provider
He is the source
He is my source
He is my shelter
He is my protector
He is the Alpha and the Omega
The same yesterday, today and forever
The song in my heart started as a stifled sob
Rising tentatively, daily
Resisting the fear that lurked in the shadows
Rising to a symphony of praise
I understand that God provides
In spite of my unbelief
In spite of my small faith
In spite of my stumbling steps
I have cast my burdens onto Jesus
My load is light
My heart is overflowing
My daily walk is my worship

Revival

So churches are allowed to open tomorrow. But, there are such stringent protocols involved. Sanitizing, scanning, masks, no singing, no testimonies…. Sitting in a building wearing mask, 2 meters away from anyone, listening to a sermon. Then going home without any interaction doesn’t sound like what church was meant to be. A gathering of the saints, worship, sharing, breaking bread… That’s church. If this is an attempt to destroy the essence of Christianity, it won’t succeed. The more persecution is placed on Christianity the quicker it spreads and grows. These are the perfect conditions for a revival. The last big revival by the looks of it.

Lockdown

Because we were forced to close our business I anticipated that the five weeks of level 5 lockdown would be traumatic. But instead it was a comfort zone. A bubble which enveloped us like a warm blanket and protected us from any reality which could threaten our safety. It showed us new ways of doing things, opened our eyes to new possibilities. The possibility of being calm while the storm was raging became a reality. God’s love and care was more evident that ever before. We were able to retreat and get new perspective. Going back to work was difficult because it tore at the bubble. But now we can look ant the world from a different angle and see problems as challenges. We can remember the bubble and get back into it when the world threatens to overwhelm us. We can meet God in the secret place of that bubble and know that He is in charge and that He cares for us and loves us enough to have showed us a new way to live

Corona

In Daniel Chapter 3 Daniel’s friends are in peril of dying as they had been sentenced to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the golden statue.

Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

 

This made me think about the Corona Virus. I’m sure I don’t have to go into any explanations about it. The world has done a pretty good job of sowing fear.  Now, obviously we aren’t going to find the term “Corona Virus” in the Bible. I have seen some very involved discussions about meanings of the words and Biblical references. This is what I believe.

 

Daniel’s friends could have succumbed to fear when their death sentence was proclaimed. They could have decided to go and bow to the stupid statue. They could have renounced their faith. They could have been a blubbering heap of terror and begged the king for mercy. But they didn’t. They decided to trust their God. They put all their faith in Him and never wavered. They were not afraid. Now just imagine that. There was this huge fire and they were about to be thrown into it. Not walking over hot coals or something mild like that. They were on the brink of being cremated alive!! They don’t flinch. They tell the king that God will save them. And even if He doesn’t save them from the furnace, He will save them from the king. In other words, if they die the king won’t be able to persecute them anymore, and they will be in heaven.
Just so it ought to be with us. God will deliver believers from the Corona Virus. And if He doesn’t and we get infected He will heal us, but even if He doesn’t and we die, we will go to Heaven.  Therefore there is no reason whatsoever to fear. Are you afraid of going to Heaven? I know that I’m not. I am not going to allow a virus to keep me in fear and bondage and hold me hostage when I have a God who is stronger than all the viruses put together. Just like those Jewish boys said they will not serve the foreign Gods, I have no intentions whatsoever of serving fear.  I am going to carry on as  normal and I will praise God regardless.

The Table

Psalm 78:19, Yes, they spoke against God:

They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

This is what the Israelites said after they escaped the Egyptian army by walking through the Red Sea on dry land. Definitely one of the greatest miracles of all time.

Of course Psalm 23:5 says, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

Obviously God can prepare a table in the wilderness. Why wouldn’t He be able to.

This verse is so profound. I realize that we do it all the time! We don’t believe that God can rescue us from the situations we are in. We live through miracles but the next time something comes against us we want to give up and start questioning whether God even knows of our existence. We doubt His provision and His favour. We doubt that He has a plan for our situation. But He does because He always does.

Our unbelief is what stops Him from doing the miracles we want to see. We all want to see miracles bur we aren’t always prepared to believe that the miracle will happen. There are so many reasons that we tell ourselves why God isn’t going to come through for us. And by ‘us’ I’m referring to believers. Children of God. Sinners who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. Forgiven, redeemed and made righteous. But we tell ourselves all kinds of lies, plus we believe the lies that the enemy tells us.

I’m going through difficulties because God is punishing me;

God really wants to teach me a lesson by letting me suffer so I just have to suffer;

I don’t deserve good things because I have done some bad things in my life;

I’m not sure that God has forgiven me for my sins;

Numbers 23:19, God is not a man, that He should lie,

Nor a son of man, that He should repent.

Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

If God says our sins are forgiven and removed from us, they are! No questions asked, no correspondence will be entered into and we aren’t allowed to think about them again. Gone forever!

We are righteous because we have been bought with the blood of Jesus. We are forgiven. All we need to do is ask God and He forgives us. I’m not totally sure of the Grace message that says we’re forgiven anyway and we don’t need to ask. I now that if I have done something wrong it makes me feel a whole lot better if I confess my transgression to God and ask Him to forgive me. But I have to do it with the absolute belief that I have been forgiven and I have to put it behind me and go forward in the knowledge that I am righteous. We mustn’t do any of this, “I can’t really know if I’m going to heaven, nobody knows for sure.” That is another lie from Satan. If we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus died for us and that He is the only Son of God, then we are saved. End of story.

As people who are righteous we have a right to stand before God and to put our prayers and petitions to Him. We can ask with as much confidence as the next person because God doesn’t have favourites. No matter what we might think, He loves all of us equally. If we don’t believe that we have to go back to basics and remind ourselves of the truth. Maybe we are believing the lies the enemy is telling us.

Isaiah 40:4, Every valley shall be exalted

And every mountain and hill brought low;

The crooked places shall be made straight

And the rough places smooth;

Isaiah 50:7,  For the Lord God will help Me;

Therefore I will not be disgraced;

Therefore I have set My face like a flint,

And I know that I will not be ashamed.

If this is what God is saying to us we can believe with confidence that He can prepare a table in the wilderness. Take a seat at that table and receive the blessings He is giving you.