Tears of God

As I type this, I am lying on the lounge feeling sick. When I announced how I was feeling to my husband, he promptly dragged me to the lounge, turned the music down, and got me a nice warm wheat pack to cuddle. He is now washing the dishes, after already taking the rubbish out and tidying the lounge room. And all this without me even asking. I have a wonderful husband!

Last night I watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for the second time. As a rule I don’t cry in movies. Ever. (Mum used to accuse me of being a heartless child while she sobbed her way through one movie after another and I sat there laughing at her.) This is the only movie to have ever broken that rule. Last time I watched it I cried and swore I would never watch it again but somehow I was silly enough to forget that. This time I watched it all the way through with only a few tears at the end….And then I sobbed for half an hour. My husband held me and reminded me that it isn’t a true story but it made no difference. You see, it’s not the little boy’s fate that makes my heart bleed. It’s not even his mother’s heartbreak or the pain in the faces of the Jews in the story. It’s not the cruelty of the soldiers that makes me want to scream.

It’s God. 

Or rather, the lack of Him. It’s enough to make me angry. WHERE WERE YOU?? Why did you let innocent people, even CHILDREN, be treated like this? Both times I have watched this movie it makes me fall apart. It shakes at the very foundations of my belief in a loving Father. I sob and question until I can’t think anymore. If You really care, why didn’t you DO something?? And when I come to the end of my tears, I am still no closer to an answer than I was at the start. I still don’t know where He was. I still don’t understand why He didn’t stop the pain, the heartache. But somehow I feel I have not wept alone. He is there. I feel His arms around me. I hear His voice whisper, ‘I know, My child, I know. I feel it too.’ And in His voice I hear tears. I realise that not only is He there, but He is weeping. Deep wracking sobs. The pain of a heart of Love. As our tears subside, He reminds me of a promise. A promise to one day banish sin, and pain, and tears.

‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.’ (Revelation 21:4)

But until that day, we will cry together. For the pain of His children, the heartache of a broken world. And as I see the tears of God, I feel the love of a Father. And even though I may not understand, I know that I can trust His heart.

Today, He weeps for my pain. He weeps for yours. Take it to Him and let a loving Father wipe away your tears.

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A Bookworm

I love reading. I always have. I used to take books to town and hold onto Mum’s sleeve while she shopped and I read. She had to hide new books she had bought and bring them out over a few weeks so I wouldn’t read them all at once. I was a real bookworm!

It didn’t matter what it was, I read everything! I have read novelised Bible stories, missionary stories, angel stories, biographies, and autobiographies. I have read dictionaries, recipe books, bird books, and encyclopedias. I have read textbooks, classics, and animal stories. And I enjoyed them all.

I have a habit of reading at least 2 books at once, swapping between them as I feel like it. It can have disastrous effects – I once read two books (I think it was John Wesley and George Whitefield) and got them all muddled up in my head until had no idea which facts belonged to which man! I still love doing it but I have since learned to keep each book in order in my head so I don’t get confused!

I love libraries and bookstores. I can’t resist buying new books, borrowing old ones. My latest purchase was a new copy of Mound-Builders, a book on Malleefowl. (I bought it for an assignment but it is actually really interesting. Did you know that Malleefowl only ever travel about 2km maximum from the mound where they hatched?) The book before that was a 50c copy of a biography, Peter Marshall, from a little secondhand shop.

You can learn so much from books. Like how to grow tulips or identify a particular bird. Like what to feed a stray baby lorikeet or the history of the Roman Empire. At least, you can when you have time to read them. Marriage has a way of taking all your time and energy away from such things as reading and giving it completely to house-keeping and studying. But somehow in the middle of it all it is still a wonderful feeling to pick up a book sometimes and just smell it and then read it all the way through in a few hours just to prove I still can.

If you asked me to pick my favourite out of all of the books I have ever read I probably wouldn’t be able to pick just one. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma would be up there. Janette Oke’s books, too many to pick a favourite, except perhaps Roses for Mama. Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. Australian Birds would probably be on the list, with it’s beautiful pictures and helpful information. The 4 Ingredients recipe books, with their quick and easy recipes just made for a busy little wife. A veterinary dictionary, with it’s intriguing big words. Joe Wheeler’s The Good Lord Made Them All series of beautiful and courageous animal stories. Catherine Marshall’s Christy is both beautiful and heart-rending. Leslie Ludy’s Authentic Beauty and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge are both great books on Christian womanhood. So many books to learn from and enjoy and be friends with.

There is another Book that is even more special. It’s Author isn’t too popular in the world today, but His Book has stood the test of time. Translated into many languages, with many different versions, it still remains strong. I have about 10 copies in different versions on my bookshelf. And they don’t get opened as often as they should. I want to change that today.

How about you? Do you have this Book? Do you read it?

Sleepless Ramblings

I can’t sleep. At 3:30am this is quite possibly evidence that I am not normal. (My friends will say they knew that anyway!) Most people are off somewhere in dreamland at this hour. But for some reason sleep is eluding me.

Perhaps I’m still getting used to another body in the bed. I’ve only been married for 3 months, and after spending nearly 24 years sleeping on my own I guess it will take some getting used to. (The other body in the bed is currently deep-breathing, hogging the blankets and MY pillow, and just whacked me in the face. This could also be contributing to the sleeplessness problem!)

There is also the fact that I am still sick and my ears are uncomfortably blocked up. Or maybe it’s just excitement for starting prac next week. Or stress from knowing I somehow have to cope with 5 full weeks of prac and class while managing to keep up with the washing, cooking, and cleaning. Perhaps I am worrying about the assignment that I am struggling to find information for. Or maybe I’m planning dinner for tomorrow night. (Strange time to be thinking about that I know. But you have to be prepared!)

But somehow, even in the middle of the hazy lack-of-sleep fog that surrounds my brain, I am thankful. Thankful that I am alive to feel sleepy, stressed, worried. Thankful that we have clothes to create washing, a house to clean. Thankful for a warm bed to sleep in. (Now if only I could sleep!) Thankful that I have ears to hear, even though they are annoying me at the moment. Thankful that we have food to eat for dinner tomorrow, even if I don’t know exactly what we will have yet! And then there is my husband. I am so thankful for his love and support, even if he sometimes elbows me in the back in the middle of the night. I am also thankful for a God to talk to in the middle of the night when nobody else is around to listen.

‘In everything give thanks.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

What can you be thankful for today? (Or maybe in the morning when you normal people wake up!)

A Door of Hope

It feels like forever since I have had time to write. But my blog assures me that it has been less than a week. Funny how so much can happen that you lose track of time.

First, our internet was suspended for a few days, due to us not paying bills. Yet another address that we have forgotten to change since moving. But it is all under control now, and we have internet yet again! (Which is a great relief when trying to do assignments, blog, or just go on Facebook to stave off the loneliness!)

After that, I got sick. I hate being sick. And it’s even worse since I became a wife. When you are living at home and get sick, Mum looks after you. And the washing. The cooking. The cleaning. But once you are married, you look after yourself while your husband is at work. You crash on the lounge in the afternoon and when your husband gets home he nearly breaks down the door in a panic because you are so completely out of it that you didn’t answer the door. You stare at growing piles of dishes while thinking of ways you could conceal them so you don’t feel like an utter failure. Perhaps in rubbish bins or the like. Speaking of rubbish bins, they should really learn to empty themselves for poor sick little wives. You live on spaghetti on toast, salad, and crumpets because cooking anything else is just too much effort. (Fortunately I have a very understanding husband who somehow doesn’t mind spaghetti on toast for the umpteenth time in a row, even if he has to get it himself!) The house goes to rack and ruin. There is mess absolutely everywhere. And cleaning? Well, what’s that?

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel though. I am feeling lots better, despite still needing nanna naps in the afternoons. The house isn’t quite so chaotic. Somehow through it all I managed to keep the washing going so we had clothes to wear. And last night we even had real food for dinner!

Life really has it’s ups and downs. Many times when I am sick or just weary with so much to do, I get discouraged. But the other day when my husband and I were reading together, we came across a truly beautiful promise that has helped me get through. ‘And I will give her…a door of hope: and she shall sing there….’ (Hosea 2:15) Just wow.

So, with all the piled up assignments and housework I still have to face, with all the busy-ness and discouraging circumstances of life, I will keep my eyes open. Somewhere, if I just look for it, there is a door of hope that will make me sing even in the dark times.

Will you find that door and sing with me today?

Mummy’s home!

The children wandered down the street, past my open front door. Neighbours’ kids, walking home from school. Their happy chatter carried in to my lounge room. Then as they rounded the corner there was an excited shriek – ‘Mummy’s home!’ And off they ran to see Mummy. As I watched them go I couldn’t help but smile. And it got me thinking.

Mothers. What would we do without them? For the first few years of our lives they are the focus of our existence. We are fed, changed, carried, and loved by our mothers. As we grow, something changes. We still love them, but now we want to feed ourselves. We want to walk, to run, to explore. Our mothers still hold our hands as we learn and grow. At some point we discover that we don’t always agree with mother and  we start to fight for our own identity. We start to make our own choices, to become more independent. Over the years sometimes we argue and wound our mothers, but somehow they are still always there. We feel smothered and get angry, we threaten to leave home. And one day, we do leave and enter the big wide world of adulthood all on our own. And then we discover that leaving home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Two months ago my husband and I packed up and moved about 10 hours away from my mother, 9 hours from his. The first week wasn’t so bad, mostly because my mum came to help us unpack. Then I dropped her off at the train station and sobbed. After I was done crying, I went home to an empty house. And it was only then that I realised that home without Mummy doesn’t feel like home at all. It actually feels rather lonely.

I can’t run to the house excited because Mummy is home anymore. (As a matter of fact, most of the time when I get home there is no one here!) I can’t ask her to get the stain out of this, to help me do that. I can’t ask her what is missing when the guacamole doesn’t taste quite right, or steal her recipe books on the sly. My cheer squad isn’t here when I play the piano or viola – I miss hearing her complaints when I stopped. (And sometimes when I started!)

I guess as time goes by I will get used to it and the ‘mummy-sickness’ will ease. But there will always be a spot in my heart that only Mummy can fill.

Giving up

Last week I gave up. Not on life or my dreams or anything drastic like that. Just on a shirt. Or rather, on getting a rather sizable PVC glue stain out of said shirt. I have tried everything I can think of and it just won’t go.

It started when my husband was getting dressed for work – his first day at a new plumbing job. He brought me this shirt and asked if I could maybe get the stain out of it – he didn’t really want to wear it to his new job looking like that. I agreed to give it a shot. Why I didn’t just give up then and there I don’t know. Maybe because I am a stubborn person, maybe because he asked so nicely. At any rate, it couldn’t be that hard I was sure. We possess stain remover after all!

So I got to work. I scrubbed that stain like no stain has ever been scrubbed before! No luck. I was undaunted however – there was still stain remover and soaking to try! So I sprayed it with stain remover, waited a while, and scrubbed again. Still no luck. So I sprayed it with stain remover and put it in a bucket of soaker and warm water. Surely that would fix it! I left it there for a week before I checked it. The stain was still as blue as ever. So I scrubbed and sprayed and soaked it yet again. By this time I was getting a little discouraged, so in desperation I messaged my cousin. She married a plumber about a year before I did you see – she was sure to have some solutions! She didn’t. She did sympathise however, and sent me a link to some hope that she had found on the internet – apparently WD40 gets PVC glue stains out of clothes!

So off I went to Bunnings to get WD40. I looked up the link and followed the instructions – spray stain thoroughly, and leave for an hour. I sprayed so much WD40 on it that my bathroom smelt like a WD40 factory! And then I left it to soak in. An hour later I was back. Next step – rub it vigorously with a dry cloth. So I did. And nothing happened. Well, maybe you had to wash it – that was the next step. So I washed it. Nothing had changed. So I put the shirt through the steps all over again. And still the blue stain glared at me.

After that I gave up. I was a little discouraged. I had really had my heart set on being a wonderful little wife and working out a way to remove the stain, but it was not to be. I told my husband that it just wasn’t moving, so it would have to stay there. He was understanding and thanked me for trying so hard.

I was reminded of a well-known prayer.

‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’

I have discovered that shirt stains are one thing that I cannot change. But I can change my attitude – I can choose to be happy amidst a million shirt stains. (Well, maybe not quite that many!)

What about you? What can you change?

Failure?

Yesterday I failed as a wife. I just knew that all I had to do for the day was grocery shopping and cleaning the outside of all the windows. This was easy! This I could do! So, I got my shopping list organised and then we were off. Yes, I asked my husband to come with me.

Like most men, he hates shopping. His only consolation is ‘driving’ the trolley at a rapid pace, narrowly avoiding people, other trolleys, and food displays while I watch in terror. It is really a great lesson in patience. You turn around to put something heavy in the trolley only to see it already blazing along halfway down the aisle! You suppress the urge to scream as it nearly runs over your toes every time you turn around. You start thinking of all the things you could have done with the years this is taking off your life. You spend the whole time in a panic and wonder why you let him have the trolley in the first place. And then later, when he insists on putting all the heavy stuff in the car, you remember. He is helping. Sometimes you just have to take deep breaths while he does it!

With the shopping home and unpacked, we went to Bunnings. If my husband ever goes missing this is the first stop on my search list. Men practically live in Bunnings. Personally, I have no idea why. I have been there many times and I just do not see the attraction. But my husband does, and as long as he does come home occasionally I don’t mind. I grabbed some seedlings and tried to decide on a pot for the beautiful rose he bought me last week, while he got some things for the bird aviary and work. And I discovered that no matter which store it is, men are always quicker. There were too many pots to decide! Eventually he came to find me, took one look at the pots, and said, ‘That one!’ How do men do that? (The rose is now happily installed in it’s new pot, and it looks great!)

Home again. I cleaned the windows while he mowed the lawn. When that was done we sat down together and watched the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. He loved it. I spent most of it getting a headache and trying to figure out who was who and what on earth was going on! But it was tolerable and all was going fine until I remembered that I was supposed to do something about dinner. Ugh, who wants dinner anyway? Quite frankly I didn’t feel like cooking, but we had had spaghetti on toast the night before so I couldn’t really do that again! We ended up with salad and fish that was a little more than slightly overcooked because I forgot about it. That was my first failure. But it is wonderful to have an appreciative husband. He pronounced it great and told me I was a wonderful wife while I muttered a few things under my breath that sounded like ‘yeah right’.

The next failure hit me when I was finally crawling into bed. My husband was getting his work clothes ready for the next morning as usual. Suddenly he turned to me and asked, ‘Where are my shorts?’ Oh. Shorts. I looked in the drawer. Not a single pair of work shorts to be seen. I was supposed to do a load of washing and I had forgotten. I had failed again. But his reaction was just a simple, ‘Oh that’s ok, I can wear some other shorts.’ Dear, patient man. (Someone remind me to purchase another 10 pairs or something!)

There have been many days when I feel like a failure as a wife. Sometimes my failures are real, sometimes they are the product of an emotional imagination. There are times when I refuse to believe my husband when he tells me I am doing just fine and he is proud of my efforts. But then I remember that failure is not how many times you fall down. Failure is staying there.

So today, I’m going to get back up. Will you?