Don’t Be Despondent

Strangford Lough waters were like a mirror early today.  The boats, newly parked in the bay below, are still. This morning I read these words from the Bible.
Proverbs 15 v 15
For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

These words shook me out of feeling heavy laden and down. I looked up the meaning of despondent in the dictionary.  Dejected, sad, depressed, disheartened, lacking hope or courage.
One can be despondent because of unhappiness due to difficulties that you think will not be able to overcome.
I was prone to despondency and despair before I had cancer. I definitely got depressed and it deepened. Situations in my life seemed insurmountable. But God saw me and had mercy on me. He healed me from cancer.
I can’t afford to let myself get down or despondent. This word this morning shook me. I want to have a merry heart and a feast instead. I have so much to be thankful for.
Another scripture says ,
“Do not be downcast. Hope in God for I will yet praise him.”  I began to thank God for all his blessings.  I got washed and dressed. I decided to go out in the beautiful morning and let the cobwebs blow away. The warmth of spring is here. I praise God for life.

Present Time Still Standing

The present cold, dull day makes one want to stay close to home comforts. My AGA cooker is one of my home comforts. For the last few days it was not working properly and I was feeling the cold. The engineer checked it over on Friday night. The problem was a blocked filter stopping the oil flowing to power the cooker.

I had been meditating on the scripture about five wise virgins who had their lamps filled with oil. I wrote a blog on the subject. I was experiencing at first hand what it was like not to have the oil flowing. I was very cold as a result. I was waiting patiently to see if the Aga was working again. I was overjoyed to see it was working better than it had been for a long time and my kitchen was warm again.  I cooked pancakes for breakfast, made wheaten bread in the oven and cooked soup, all before ten am.

In the early morning the sun light up the sky and sea to a pale blue. Light and warmth were returning. Is the winter over?

My husband and I went for a walk along the shore. We walked through the variety of boats safe on dry land for the winter. A rich man’s yacht, a black upturned curragh, an unfinished wooden skiff and some fiber glass small boats sheltered there. We went to our favorite spot to collect sea glass. Oh, the welcome warmth on our backs as we bent down searching.

Later we sat at the quay sharing some fish and chips. Other creatures were enjoying the welcome sunny morning. Brent geese fed in the water and gulls soared overhead. Two gulls landed on the pier a little distance off. I took a photo of them. A friend distracted me for a while. She was out enjoying the morning as well.

When I looked at the gulls again, I noticed the bigger one was standing on one leg. I commented to my husband. A moment later the gull stretched the missing leg out behind. He limped a few steps forward and sat down. His partner looked on attentively. He must have been in pain. We prayed that the gull’s leg would be healed and restored.

Yesterday was a joyful day. I wanted to fit in so much while the sun shone. The joy of yesterday overflowed into today. The cold and dullness at the present time has not dented my sense of wellbeing.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/present/

Keeping my Home Clean

“Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
I found great comfort from this scripture when I was rearing my children. There is plenty of hard work and plenty of mess; Brendan and I had to see beyond the hum drum of daily life. We had young children but they will grow to become adults who will make a difference in the world. They will work, prosper and increase as they have wives and families of their own. They will bring a harvest of good for others. They will make a difference in their generation.

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It’s just as well I had an easy going disposition. I never thought it a priority to dust and clean and Hoover . Some people are house proud and keep their home like a palace where the family cannot relax. Don’t leave that there. Pick that up. Wipe that mess up. If I was constantly demanding my husband or children keep the house clean it would not be home where everyone enjoyed being together. My energy went into breast feeding, nursing, cooking, shopping, overseeing, driving and seeing to the needs of others. There was no extra energy to have the house spick and span. My husband had to get used to the busyness in a big family. He lived with his mother as an only child before we were married.

I kept the amount of clothes each child had to a minimum. That meant less washing, and less clothes to be left on the floor of the bedrooms. Each child who was old enough helped with clearing of dishes, filling the dishwasher, washing of pots and pans and sweeping of the floor after each meal. We had wooden floors which were easy to brush and wipe with a mop. I expected the children to look after and keep their bedrooms clean. I never got to the top of the house each day to check. Peace reigned instead of stressing over untidy bedrooms or dirty dishes.

Life was to be lived. After school there was time to play with friends outdoors, or with toys indoors. My girls enjoyed reading books. They would be found in their rooms engrossed in a book. We didn’t have a television in those early years. We found it a waste of our time. Often it brought strife. There would be diagreement of what programme to watch. We got rid of it and we found plenty of other things to occupy us.

My big kitchen has a tiled, speckled flour. The dirt does not show up on it. It can be left for days without being cleaned.

We had green carpets throughout the bedrooms. They kept the rooms warm but didn’t show up spills or grim. A weekly Hoover refreshed the carpets to keep them clean. Buying a dishwasher was my first big investment in my kitchen. It proved invaluable. Dishes could be stored in it and washed when it was full. That kept the benches clear and clean.

My household was full of family over the Christmas period. Bathrooms needed cleaned, the washing machine was in use a lot, clothes needed dried, beds needed changed for new visitors. I felt I was running an hotel.

It is quiet now with children left home. There is less work needed to keep the house. The stall is clean.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clean/

I Shall see my Children’s Children.

I am alive to see my children’s children.

“Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; that walks in his ways.
For you shalt eat the labour of your hands: happy you will be, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be as a fruitful vvine within your house: your children like olive plants round about your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that fears the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yes you will see your children’s children, and peace upon Israel.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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People often ask me why Brendan and I had fourteen children.  We believe that children are a blessing from The Lord the fruit of the womb a reward.  Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.  You can find this promise in Psalm 127.  Friends and family celebrated with us when we had our first children.  As our family increased our friends became fewer.  No cards arrived to congratulate or celebrate with us as the last children were born.   My husband and children gathered around the hospital bed to see their new brother or sister and celebrate the new blessing God had sent us.  Ten little tiny fingers and ten little tiny toes were caressed.
Each baby boy has grown into a man.  Each baby girl has grown into a young woman.  Some have children of their own now.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children born in one’s youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, when we meet with our enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127

We were eager to receive blessings from God. This is the perfect gift.  What could be better?  To receive gifts from God Almighty, who created the heaven and the earth and reigns in heaven over all the earth.  A child is a gift from our Father in heaven.  I trusted God who gave us our children to help Brendan and I to look after them.

God gave me the strength to carry and give birth naturally and safely to each one.  The size of each baby varied from seven pounds to twelve pounds.  I did not have any assisted intervention of doctors.  God took away any fear or worry about having a child.  I thought if Mary, Jesus’s mother rode on a donkey from Nazereth to Jerusalem, seventy miles, it would be okay for me to travel if I needed to and live normally while I was pregnant.

Being pregnant is not a sickness.  I had my last child when I was forty five.  The doctors tried to put fear on me.  One said, Mrs Mc Cauley you are older now.  “There is a risk your child will have abnormalities.”  Another said “Your body Is like a car Mrs Mc Cauley.  It will break down and wear out.”  Yet another said “This poor, unfortunate woman is pregnant again.”  Their prophesies did not come about.  But God’s promise came about.  My children are blessed.  God has healed me and restored me after each child.  The word of God tells me in Exodus 20 that my children are blessed to the thousandth generation.
“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As I believe in Jesus he takes away the fear.  Yes there is pain, not only in having children, but also in rearing them.  I have found my help has come from God.  He is there in time of trouble.  Psalm 91 promises me he will deliver me out of every trouble.  I have experienced the truth of this word.
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In 2010 I suffered from fourth stage bowel cancer.  When one has fourth stage cancer there is not much hope of living long afterwards.  But God again has proved faithful.  He was with me in my trouble.  He completely healed me from cancer.   My children helped me through this time of difficulty.  As Psalm 127 says they will stand against my enemies in the gate.  When death came knocking on my door, my children stood with me.   All fourteen of my children and their grandchildren prayed for me.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recently Brendan and I celebrated our forty fifth anniversary.  Our children and grandchildren visited with us.  We had a weekend of gratitude, joy and love.  The grandchildren enjoyed some water sports.

I believe I will live to see all my children’s children.

Living the Faith like St Patrick

The sun shone warmly on Ireland this St Patrick’s Day.  The Parade, Festivities and the Christian Walk and Talk in The Cathedral in Downpatrick were a great success.  I opted for a  bus tour of Christian sites.  Other years when our children were young we would have watched the St Patrick Day parade.  Today was different.

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Our tour guide told us stories about St Patrick, we visited ruined churchs and holy wells.  I live in the middle of all this history.  St Patrick’s Day is the second most celebrated day after Christmas in the world.  Cities throughout the world light up in green.  People drink green beer.  If you are Irish you are celebrated and welcomed.

Which of the stories about St Patrick is true?  Tourists come to Ireland to visit these ancient ruins and read what the history books tell them.  I hope they are inspired to look to the God of St Patrick, Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life for everyone today.

The people who lived all those years ago among these walls are now dead.  Looking at the broken down stone walls made me fell a little depressed.  I thought of the story in Scripture when the women went to the tomb in which Jesus was buried.  An angel said He is not here, for he is risen.

I consoled myself with the truth that the God St Patrick believed in, I believe in today in 2016.  I can pray to the same God.  He is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is the God who healed me from Cancer.  It is said St Patrick worked miracles.  God worked a miracle for me in 2010, fifteen hundred years later.  I celebrate six years Cancer free this Easter Monday.

It is said St Patrick cast snakes out of Ireland.  I believe the snakes are symbolic of demons.  Jesus said I give you authority to cast out devils.  Luke 9 v 1.  The believer in Jesus today is given the same authority.  Mark 16 v 17.  And these signs will follow those who believe, in my name they will drive out demons.

I no longer want to look at ruins.  I want to be a living stone, that the scripture speaks of in 1 Peter 2v5, You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.  I want to use the authority Jesus gives me to drive out demons and heal the sick.  He delivered me from demons and healed me.  What God has done for me he can do for others today.

Testimony Tuesday. Five Years Clear from Cancer

On Easter Monday five years ago I discovered I had bowel cancer, which later was found to be in the fourth stage.  The Colonoscopy Nurse told me I had Malignant Bowel Cancer.   Malignant means,  very serious and dangerous : tending or likely to grow and spread in a rapid and uncontrolled way that can cause death.

The scans showed I had a nine centimetre tumour in my lower bowel.  I had been bleeding for three years and hadn’t told anyone.  Because the tumour was at an advanced stage the nurse looked at me with concern in her eyes.  She treats patients everyday and she would have known people who had died.

I know I have been totally healed by God.  He delivered me from cancer and I believe it will not come back.  I know the Scripture from Nahum 1 v 9 “Trouble will not come a second time.”  I did not have an operation to remove the tumour.  It disappeared.  I have not been to the Oncologist since, or taken any medication, or have not had any further chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  I know God did a complete job!

Around Christmas time family were visiting.  Two of my children suggested I go for a check up to the Oncologist. If one survives for five years after having had cancer the doctors take note.  I agreed to do that for my children’s peace of mind.  My local GP arranged an appointment to have a Colonoscopy.

Today I have been for a Colonoscopy.  I had no fear of going because I am confident I am healed from cancer.  I was familiar with the procedure.  The doctor carried out the test.  Again I could see my bowel walls clear and healthy like a baby’s skin.  The doctor said there is no recurrence of the cancer tumour. Praise The Lord.  I have another certificate from the doctor to show there is no tumour.

Each day I try to keep up daily readings from the bible.  I read the Old Testament part and did not get it finished with all the rush to get out this morning.  My daughter in law text me this afternoon after I arrived home.  She told me to read today’s New Testament and Psalm readings.

The first reading speaks about the woman with an issue of blood.

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure.
Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”
When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him.
The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (‭Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭43-48‬ NLT)

This confirmed to me today that I was like the woman who was bleeding but Jesus has healed me as well.

The Psalm 71 v 15 says,
“I will tell everyone how good you are and of your constant daily care.  I will tell everyone that you alone are just and good.
Give me time to tell this generation and the next about your mighty miracles, your power and your goodness.”

Through writing I tell others what God has done for me.  He is good.  He does care.  What he has done for me he will do for you.

Celebrating St Patrick along the Ancient Pathway

I returned to Co Down sixteen years ago.  I was born and lived in Co Down till I was eighteen.  I went to university in Coleraine eighty miles away from home and remained there to get married and rear my children.  In those days I might as well have been moving to another country.  God led us to live return to Co Down.  This scripture spoke to us,

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6‬:‭16‬ NIV)

Today, St Patrick’s Day, I am savoimageuring the blessing of living along the shore of Strangford Lough.  There is a small bay below our house where gulls play about on the water.  The water is still. A lone heron stands on a stone for long periods of time looking out for food.  A flock of Brent Geese fly in low over the water.  They come to get some fresh water from a stream nearby that flows into the lough.  My soul is at rest.

I am amazed that these Brent Geese’ only winter habitat is along the shores of Strangford Lough.  Thousands land here after a long journey from Northern Canada in September.  Most are to be seen along the sunny side of the Lough.  They feed on Eel Grass and return in April to the tundra to have their young.  The Brent Geese link me to the past.  For generations  they migrated here.  Their generations back would have been here when St Patrick arrived as a migrant.

In the fifth century St Patrick came to these shores.  The main means of transport in those days was by boat.  A boat could access inland by river.  He came to Ireland answering the call of God to go as a missionary.  He would have sailed up the entrance to Strangford Lough and up the Quoile river.  It is recorded that he settled in Saul near the river.

The tourist board of Northern Ireland has mapped out the St Patrick’s trail which helps visitors travel to areas where early Christians settled.  I have lived in three sites that are along this trail.  I lived in. Saul St,  Downpatrick for sixteen years,  one year in Bright, and now in Portaferry.  I can imagine those early Christians coming ashore like the Brent Geese to get some fresh water after their sea journey.  They could have built a shelter and fished from the sea that was teeming with fish in those early days.  No pollution or over fishing then.  They may have even built a settlement on this land where we now live.

St Patrick’s writings mention scriptures, dreams, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  It is interesting that the Christian denominations, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Catholic all look to St Patrick as their patron in Ireland.  At least we are united in the heritage St Patrick left us.

In Ireland we are blessed to have a Christian heritage for 1500 years.  Ireland is known as the Land of Saints and Scholars.  Many missionarys travelled from these shores into Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.  God is calling the Irish men and women to remember the God of their forefathers. I celebrate St Patrick today, not with green beer, leprechauns, or parades, but by being quiet on this ancient site remembering the God of St Patrick.  He is the same God I worship, 1500 years later.  Praise Him.