- It’s International Woman’s Day.
Hip, hip hooray.
Many women have done well with their work in medicine, engineering, sports, literature, art, teaching, justice and caring jobs all over the world. With education available in the Western world women have had many choices of career available to them.
Not so for many woman in the third world.
I want to celebrate today women all over the nations who are wives and mothers of children. Some may be one of many wives a husband has. But she is faithful to her situation and looks after her children. She doesn’t have a choice. Well done to woman who rear their children in poverty situations, giving their last drop of milk to save a dying child at her breast. And women who care for their children on their own because their husbands have abandoned them. I celebrate today any woman who have chosen to have her child despite the doctor’s advice to have an abortion, the mother who is caring for her sick child and the mother who is rearing many children.
I was one such mother. I chose to have fourteen children and stayed at home to rear them. It was twenty four seven work.
I congratulate woman throughout the world who are wives and mothers.
I am celebrating today with our daughter Mary at her graduation for completing a Ph D, researching Maternity care in poorer nations of the world at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I thank God I am alive to be with her today. Eight years ago, I was suffering from Cancer. Through the tender mercies of God I am healed and alive to declare today that God is faithful and good.
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead. All the good things come from you.” Psalm 16 v 2 and 10
I am alive to continue to support my family in the ways of righteousness. Mary would call me up when she needed encouragement. I would talk and pray with her. Along with other family, friends’ and colleagues’ help she completed today. Well done Mary. I’m proud of you.
I’m sitting under a willow tree in Slovakia,
My body welcoming the warmth of the sun
Along with all the creatures
That had to endure the long winter.
Life is breaking forth all around me.
Sparrows chirp above me in the branches,
Taking turns to fly up
Into crevices in the wall
Building their nests to have their young.
I survey the green panorama of the forest trees.
Two weeks ago they were bare brown trunks.
Doves call from their midst.
The apple trees burst forth buds and flowers
Attracting bees that buzz and hum
Busy collecting nectar and pollen.
White butterflies float in the air,
Outlined by the green background.
Although a thousand miles apart we share
Familiar wildlife in our gardens.
Sparrows, swallows, doves, bees and butterflies know no borders.
My son works with the soil.
My daughter in law is planting flowers,
Free from the repetition of washing dishes and clothes,
Cooking, baking and cleaning.
Their children play nearby,
Safe in the space of the new mown garden.
A hose gushes cool water.
The children dart in and out of the spray,
Running, chasing and squealing.
Barbecue smoke drifts through the air,
Inviting us to the picnic table.
Grilled chicken, courgettes, pineapple
Sweetcorn and mushrooms are ready.
Let’s dive in.
Every evening my son and children would be frantic looking for their escaped pet rabbit.
Last summer he was given a pet rabbit. His children named him Peter Rabbit. It was pre-owned but not pre-loved. When a bunny is young it is furry and cuddly, and is attractive as a live pet instead of a fluffy toy that doesn’t breathe. But a pet needs looked after, fed, watered and space to sleep and run. It may not take to being cuddled or it can mess up the kitchen if kept indoors. Soon the novelty of a pet rabbit wears off. Peter Rabbit had grown up, had a mind of his own and didn’t want to be cuddled any more. It wanted adventure.
At first Peter joined in with my son’s children when they were playing in their back garden. An elderly neighbour who lived on his own commented that he loved to hear the children play and listen to their squeals of delight when they played happily together. He would have heard a different cry when they would fall or fight but he didn’t mention that part.
The two older boys played together. The third child wasn’t always included in their play so he made friends with Peter Rabbit. He was chased round the garden or often got soaked when the boys were playing with the hose as their dad watered the garden. When bedtime came mum and dad were busy making dinner and getting their young family to bed. Toy tractors, diggers, buckets and spades were scattered where the children left them. Peter Rabbit was forgotten about. He made his own way into his bed in the shed for the night.
School term started, cold days came and the little children were not out playing in the garden as often. Peter Rabbit was alone. He began to find his way beyond the garden squeezing under the gate. He wanted to explore. He survived cars, dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. Of an evening when mum would return from a school run a neighbour would return Peter Rabbit. This happened a few times. Eventually the neighbours gave up. But Peter Rabbit always found his way home for the night.
Soon this young family were feeling hemmed in and needed for more space for their growing family. Mum and dad busied themselves through the winter keeping up the routine of getting children to school, making meals and caring for their children. The young family and Peter Rabbit survived the winter.
My son began to look for a bigger house. They would ideally have loved to move to the country. But there was nothing suitable available. God cares for the little children. He cares for the parents. He understood our son and daughter in law’s pressure in rearing a young family. He even cares for our pets.
A friend of their’s told them a house was available near where she lived in town. It wasn’t on the open market yet. Would they be interested in looking at it? They went along to view it. It was a big old house with a walled in garden and a green house with two grape vines in it. When I heard about the grapes I said, “That is the house for them”.
They were a bit daunted at first. “How will they heat it?” “Can they afford it?” But look at the grapes. It is private, it is safe for the children, no one overlooking your garden. It has a sunny aspect! The estate agent suggested my son put in an application. The house would be freshly painted and carpets cleaned for the new owner.
I was totally confident that God would provide a bigger home for my son and his family. I believed God for our growing family and he has always provided. In Numbers 33 v 53 I read,
“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land in proportion to their size. A bigger tribe gets more land.”
I went to visit my son and his family a few days ago in their new home. The front door opened into a bright hallway, already family photos on the wall, a spacious living room, kitchen, play room full of toys and bedrooms. More than they could ask or think. The back door opens onto the garden, a natural sun trap. They had their breakfast out on the lawn on their first morning. What freedom and beauty. The Lord has given my son his promised land!
We sat down in the sun for a cup of coffee together. I marvelled at the goodness of God in the land of the living. A Robin flew past me and landed in the hedge behind. It then perched on a chair and pecked some crumbs from the table. Peter rabbit was munching happily nearby. The young children played together somewhere in the big garden. We heard their voices. Mum and dad could enjoy time relaxing in the sun having coffee secure knowing their children were safe. Peter Rabbit won’t want to escape again.
My son and children won’t be frantic looking for their pet rabbit again.
I had the privilege of having an article written in a Northern Ireland magazine.
It is called Local Woman. The Belfast editor, Maureen Coleman got in touch with me. She wanted to print something for Mother’s Day.
Here is a copy of the article. You can go to your local newsagent and as for the March copy of Local Women.
There was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry this week compared to other areas of N Ireland.
In Ireland we enjoy a temperate climate, not too hot in Summer and not to Cold in winter. We don’t have extremes of temperature. It means we can be outdoors all of the year. We don’t need air conditioning Summer or Winter. A fire in the hearth will get us through any unusual cold spell. We can gather there to keep warm.
N Ireland has been enjoying a cold spell with falls of snow this past week. The Christmas winter wonderland scene has come early. A log fire sounds so romantic. But a store of sticks have to be prepared beforehand. There’s nothing like a stack of logs neatly stacked away slowly drying. Thankfully Brendan and the boys get wood ready every year.
One can’t pass the opportunity to relax when it’s cold outside. It’s time for a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been working on one these last few days.
The cold weather can suddenly restrict one’s routine. I didn’t want to go shopping. Brendan was going to get some groceries for us. The roads would be slippy. It’s too cold. Then I remembered about my car. It was in the garage getting repaired. I rang the mechanic. Hey presto my car was ready. I forgot to ask how much the repair cost would be. Brendan helped me pick up my car, which meant a journey across on the ferry to Downpatrick and he kindly paid the not so small bill.
To cheer ourselves up we went for coffee. I received a text from a journalist to let me know she had published an article about me in the Belfast Telegraph that day. I bought a few copies. Brendan was distracted from the sting of the mechanic’s bill as we read the paper. I was delighted with the article and my retrieved car.
Brendan and I parted. He went shopping and I drove my car home. There was four inches of snow covering the back, top and front of my car from the snow fall the previous night. I wanted it washed off. I drove to the personalised car wash. It was closed. I went to a garage, it was closed. That snow was not going to budge. I drove back to Strangford to the ferry. I intended to go to the car wash to freshen up my car before I got home.
Strangford and Portaferry are on the edge of Strangford Lough in a micro climate. It’s effect keeps us warmer than inland. Some snow had fallen but it didn’t remain. One of the ferry men asked me where I was coming from. He was surprised to see so much snow on my car. This made me think. Here is my car covered in snow and there’s no snow around. I thought “I’ll drive to see my grandchildren and let them see the snow on top of my car. They’ll be happy to see it.” It was just getting dark.
The children came running out when I called them to see the snow. They coaxed their dad to make a snowman. All the snow was scooped off the car and a snowman built, eyes, nose and all. Their mum told me they had been talking all day about wanting it to snow so they could make a snowman. He still remains in the middle of the green grass of the lawn. God blessed the children with their hearts’ desire. I often say God gives us our heart’s desire. He is a good father.
I remembered Roy Woods’ Christmas song, ” I wish it could be Christmas every day.”
Here’s the first few lines.
When the snowman brings the snow
Well he just might like to know
He’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face
Oh well I wish it could be Christmas everyday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
Granny brought the snow and put a great big smile on the children’s faces even though there was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry.
A friend shared a video about a little girl preaching and speaking in tongues with me today. I am very excited. Let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.
Psalm 8 says “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have ordained praise to silence the foe and the avenger.”
When my children were young we would gather at night and pray as a family. We now pray with our four grandchildren who live nearby once a week. They sing and dance and jump about. I am inspired by this video to go further and encourage them to speak in tongues.
We make the gospel complicated. We are suspicious of someone who needs God instead of letting the Holy Spirit come and do his work in the person. In our pride we want to control. Is the person good enough? He is an alcoholic. She is a prostitute. I don’t want that person to come into my house. I can’t cope with this. She hurt me. I can’t forgive him. That person should be in a mental home. The devil will attack you. You will get into trouble. What church do you attend?
The good news Jesus will deliver you out of every trouble. Psalm 91. He has given his Holy Spirit till the work on earth is done. Do you want to be involved in his work in these days? Get praying in tongues more. Shut off your own thoughts and let the river flow.
Three weeks ago I prayed for God to touch a lady who says she is an alcoholic. She felt lighter after prayer. A few days later people said to her “What happened to you? You look different. Her eyes were bright.”
She is now asking us to pray for her children and extended family and friends. Her young daughter is reading the New Testament every morning. Her sister got healed of a wasting disease and a friend has stopped drinking. The Holy Spirit is doing his work. She continues to speak a few words in Tongues but God’s power is operating.
Other powers are at work in our lives. The power of sin, the power of the world and the power of the devil. Gods power is greater than any other power.
Jesus defeated the power of sin in our lives. Isaiah 64 says,
“You hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.”
But Jesus breaks the power of sin and we don’t need to be under its power any longer If we believe that Jesus forgives then receive his forgiveness and freedom. We don’t have to keep on doing the same old habits we can’t break ourselves.
“For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, (through Jesus’ death) even though we are guilty of many sins.”
Romans 5:16 NLT
Jesus sent Satan running when he died on the cross. The devil was made a spectacle. His power was broken over us. In the name of Jesus we overcome his power.
Jesus overcame the power of the world. We no longer need be seduced by its pull on our hearts and minds.
Simply by receiving God’s Holy Spirit and praying in tongues we have a weapon to overcome in this world. Receive your promised land! Be like this little child.