Monday, November 26, 2012

The Blessing and Challenge of Family...

I have been thinking a lot recently about the blessing and the challenge of family and of being a parent.  Parenting is something that I think we "grow" into, although I don't think that makes it necessarily any easier. And yet the time that we spend with our children can be some of the happiest moments of our lives.

I am sure that although we meet each other daily, or weekly at school, or church or bible study, I am not convinced that we share with one another just how difficult and demanding being a parent can be.  Do we continue to perpetuate the motherhood myth and just pretend that we somehow have it all together? Are we really keen to help others and be an encouragement or are we just so busy caught up in our own little world that we do not have the time or energy to be involved in each others lives.

How can we know that the women we are speaking to at church has just lost a baby in miscarriage...are we aware of the things that we say, do we stop to ask the difficult questions?  These were some of the issues that we raised at our recent Flourish Conference. I was wondering how we are all getting on out there?  What have we gone on to be involved in?  Have we been inspired and challenged?  Sometimes it seems that life just goes on regardless and we are too caught up in it all to be reflective or even to have time to pray.

How has the Lord been ministering to you?  How have you been able to be really present in the lives of your children? What a great challenge it is. Despite the busyness of this time of year and all the energy that is required, it is so reassuring to  know that we can take refuge under the wings of the Lord and find rest in Him.

  5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62 Verses 5-8

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Praying for our children.

I had been taking my kids to this school for over three years before I met another Christian parent. I had made plenty of friends over that time but none knew Jesus as their lord and saviour. Well, if any did, I hadn't discovered it.

It was a good school in many ways - it still is, but the school hierarchy were resistant to the idea of a chaplain or even Scripture taking place in the school. It had been made plain to me by the Acting Principal that he didn't believe kids should be taught such fairy tales in school!

When the new principal arrived, she too saw no role for a chaplain or Scripture in the school. It is the local Public Primary School. We live just across the road and up the hill a bit - less than 5 minutes walk there seeing it is all down hill. It takes a little longer to get home at the end of a long day.

I have now had kids at the school for nearly 12 years and assuming we stay in the area we will have kids there for another 4! I am part of the furniture.

In my 4th year at the school a change took place. I kept meeting Christian mothers. A family of 6 children with 5 of them at the school who had recently moved South from Alice Springs; A mother of 2, the wife of a Church of Christ minister; a grandmother from the local brethren church; another grandma helping with school pickups for her twin grandchildren....

An idea started to form. Maybe it was time to start a prayer group for this school! So after a few conversations with these new friends and much trepidation I approached the principal to get details of the group included in the school newsletter. I was expecting criticism and objections but they didn't come. She may not want Scripture being taught in the school but she was very happy to know there were people meeting to pray for the school, the teachers, the students and the community.

We now meet 3-4 times a term, we are still only a small group of about 5-6 parents and grandparents though we rarely get that many to the prayer meeting. About 15 parents have been involved over the years as children have come to the school and then moved on to other schools. We pray, we encourage each other to evangelise our friends and contacts in the school, we have donated Christian books to the library and run thank you morning teas for the staff.

My eldest left the school and moved to the high school next door - we started praying for the high school too! The High School has a Chaplain - she started coming to the prayer group so we could encourage and support her in her job. My daughter left the school and moved to another high school in the area, we started praying for that school too! We pray for our children as they live as Christians within a secular school environment, as they think about sharing the love of Jesus with their friends.

I am amazed at times as I see friends of my children going to different churches as they have been invited, as several are now going to Boys' and Girls' Brigades with my children and hearing about Jesus there.

There is still no Scripture taught at this public primary school but God is obviously at work. He reminds me often that He is greater than I am. He can work in the hearts of people even in a school that sees no place for Him.

Please join us as we pray that God will touch the lives of parents, teachers and children in the Public Schools of our country. Pray that Christians will shine the light of Christ as they live and participate in these communities. Pray that many of the parents and children will have a chance to hear about Jesus because individual Christians within their school communities are seeking to be faithful witnesses to Him.

Oh, and maybe you could start a prayer group of parents and friends for your local school!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Surprise Conversation

I was chatting to a friend. Not an easy conversation as she was upset about something she had had to do. It did not come easily to her so she wanted to talk. Talk we did. It was one of those times when friendships suddenly deepen as we share more of ourselves than we intend, or expect.

I was chatting to a friend. We help each other out in lots of ways. We look after each others kids, our kids are at the same school, in the same teeball team, have danced together in the past, have attended each others birthday parties. Our daughters are often mistaken for sisters because they know each other so well they bicker and spat and laugh and play.

I was chatting to a friend and I was surprised to discover she couldn't wait to be invited to church with me. In fact she was thrilled that we had asked her to come along. It was something she felt she needed to sort out and so jumped at the chance. She came the next Sunday and plans to come this Sunday too!

I was chatting to a friend and she wants to learn about the Bible. I asked if she would like to start reading through Mark with me and she has agreed! WOW.

I was chatting to a friend. She wants to start TODAY! Can we do some each week? Thursdays are good days to meet!

Why am I surprised? I have been praying for an opportunity to invite my friend to Church. I have been praying for a chance to ask her to read the Bible with me. Thanks Father for answering my prayer!

Women's ministry doesn't need to be big, or organised, or formal. It can be as small as chatting to a friend!