Daughters in law.

One of today’s reading at Church was from Proverbs 31.

“A perfect wife who can find her? She is far beyond the price of pearls. Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.”

One is sure to wonder who one’s son will marry. In India it is the tradition to have arranged marriages for sons.  The mother of the son gets to arrange a suitable wife. I’m thankful we don’t have that tradition here and I’m sure my sons are thankful too. I was reassured and comforted by a the scripture that says I will give your sons understanding wives.

Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. Proverbs 19 v 14

This word doesn’t say what religion she will be, what nationality she will be, what family she comes from,  if she is a good cook, or what kind of a job she has.  There are no conditions, only that she is an understanding wife, chosen by God.

Five of my eight sons are married. Tamara is from Italy, Marta from Slovakia, Rachel from Ireland, Morven from Scotland and Simone from Canada. My boys moved beyond the parish. These are the days that Daniel spoke about. Knowledge and travel will increase. My children have got to avail of both. Thanks to Ryanair and Airtransit they have flown to Europe and Canada to find wives.

I came across these two photos on my phone today. I am encouraged that’s these ladies are enjoying wearing necklaces I made. They inspired me to write this blog.

It was my daughter in law, Simone’s birthday this week. Isaac and his family live in Canada. When Hannah visited them recently she gave Simone a necklace that I made. She was delighted with it. A little bit of Ireland.

Morven, who is married to Patrick lives in Scotland.  I’m happy too she  is  wearing the green sea glass necklace I made.

I’m thankful for all my daughters in law that God has chosen for my sons.  They are under the shadow of the Lord’s wings and are covered by the Blood of Jesus.  They are and will be the mothers of some of our grandchildren.

The Spreading Oak Tree

Brendan and I were taking a walk in the forest of Budmerice Castle this morning. The castle grounds are open for the use of the people of the village for cycling or walks. Festivals are held in the grounds at different times of the year. Young and old gather to meet and view the stalls of food and crafts.

All was quiet this morning except for the tapping of a woodpecker. It is harvest time. Plum, Chestnut, Walnut, Apple, Oak trees are casting their fruit. It was drizzling with rain softening the ground after the dryness of summer. Every time we come to Slovakia the weather turns out to be suitable for us, just like back in Ireland, not too hot or cold with a bit of rain.

We came to a clearing in the forest. In the centre of the meadow was an oak tree which spread its branches on every side. It is a tall, healthy, strong and sturdy tree. It is the representation of something that God wants each one  of us to become.  Such a tree provides shade from the heat of summer for people, animals or birds. The birds build their nests in the branches to rear their young. I can imagine young children climbing up on it spreading boughs, or boys competing to get to the top branches. My grandchildren call this “Our climbing tree.” They spend many a summer’s afternoon there until they get tired.

Psalm 1 talks about a man who is like a tree. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalms 1:3).

The tree I saw today is healthy because it has been planted in a good area to receive the proper nourishment it needs to withstand the adverse conditions it may encounter during its life.  Such a tree is hundreds of years old.  It is in a broad meadow where it’s leaves get direct sunlight to nourish its leaves. It receives heavy falls of snow in the winter. The branches are able to withstand the weight of snow. This snow melts in the spring and waters the roots spread underground.  The roots go deep into the ground and extend as wide underground as the branches do overhead.

For a man to flourish like a tree he needs to let the water of life nourish his soul. This water is the Holy Spirit and the word of God is nourishment. We must remain close to God and Jesus Christ, the source of this nourishment in order to maintain a constant flow of the Holy Spirit day and night. “He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And in 2 Corinthians 4:16 it says, “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

A Princess Cup for my Teacher

 

Sara Joye said “Grandma, I want to buy a Princess cup for my teacher.”

“What is a Princess cup?”

“You know, like your cups, Grandma.”
She pointed to some china cups with flowered patterns  in my cupboard.  ”
“Do you not have these in Slovakia.”
“No grandma, only in your house.”
“Would  you like to get a special patterned cup and saucer for your teacher?  I understand now.”
“Yes, I just love Princess cups”.
She held a china cup in her hands close to her heart as if it was the most beautiful, tender thing in the world.

I enjoy collecting jugs and china plates with flowers and gold trim on them.  I display them on my dressers in the kitchen.  Forty years ago a China Tea Set was a “must have” item for a bride.  It would be kept in a safe place and only brought out for tea with special visitors or at Christmas or Easter.  My husband bought me a china tea set.  Its design was called “Angela.”  Sadly I didn’t keep it safe.  I liked to use it often.

I was reminded of words from the poem The Old Woman of the Roads by Patraic Colum.

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.

I had often dreamed of having a dresser to display pottery, fine china, glasses or gifts, high up out of little children’s reach.  In my new home I have two dressers.  Items I collected over the years are now on display.  Chinese patterned plates, I received as a twenty fifth anniversary present, wine glasses, china plates, gifts from my children and family photos.  My dream has come true.  My collection is being added as I pick up a bargain from a car boot sale or craft market.  Now my grandchildren admire my collection.  To their eyes it is treasure.  I must be a Princess, instead of a poor wanderer as the poem depicts.

On Saturday Aaron, Marta and their children went to shop locally.  Portaferry is a small village.  I wondered would Sara Joye find any Princess cups.  Her Mum prayed.  “Dear Lord please let someone bring Princess cups to the Charity shop today.”

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They set off.  Some time later they called me to give them a lift home.  It was cold and raining.  But the children’s spirits were not dampened.  Instead there was great excitement.  Princess cups were purchased at a bargain price.  It happened just as Marta had prayed.  In an Antique store or Fine China shop these goods would be costly.  The prized purchases were carefully wrapped to keep them safe on the journey back to Slovakia.

Sara Joye’s teacher in Slovakia will receive a Princess cup from Ireland.

A Promised land with Fruit Trees.

I am in Slovakia today.  I had bread and honey for breakfast.

The harvest is gathered from the plum, grape, apricot and apple trees.  Some trees are already pruned. Overstretched branches are loped off and dressed with white paint to protect from disease.   Winter will begin soon.  The fruitful trees can rest.

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I glimpsed rich, red colours on the fence between my son’s garden and his neighbour.  I ventured outside to take a closer look.   Lovely apples were growing on a tree trained to grow sideways.  They sparkled in the afternoon sunshine.  The nutritious cluster outnumbered the leaves left on the branches.  Healthful fruit left untouched.  No excited child’s hand to grab them.  No careful gardener to proudly harvest and share his fruit.

Perhaps the neighbour is too old or frail.  Maybe no grandchildren squealing with joy as they chase each other between the fruitful boughs.  When I enter my son’s hallway there is a sweet smell.  Boxes of red apples are piled high, the harvest from his garden.  A bag is filled each time he visits relatives or friends.

My son Aaron moved with his family to Slovakia.  He has inherited a house he didn’t build and a garden he didn’t tend.

You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land.  Their children went in and took possession of the land.  They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness. (‭Nehemiah‬ ‭9‬:‭23-25‬ NIV)

So I have come down to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. (‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬ NIV)

God is faithful to keep his promises.  When I first read the story in the bible that God wanted his people to enter the promised land I believed it.  He promised them plenty of bread, honey, fruit and houses.  Now my children are inheriting their promised land.

Return from Slovakia

Brendan and I have returned to Ireland after a very blessed trip to Slovakia.  We got to see Aaron and his family.  Our grandchildren wanted plenty of cuddles from Granddad and Granny.

We had oppportunity to minister to many, including men and women diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Praise Almighty God for his touch.
Thank you for praying for us.  Those who stay at home share with those who go.

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We had a pleasant journey home from Dublin airport on Aircoach.  The trees along the motorway to Newry looked glorious in their autumn leaves.  Thanks to family who welcomed us back.
I took a walk out this morning to get some fresh air.  It is good to be back along the seashore.  A Baby Seal was born nearby three weeks ago.  It is still there.  The mother was swimming nearby, keeping watch.  I had researched to find that the mother has to feed the young one until it is six weeks.  The baby is lying sleeping in the rocks.  This pair have become an attraction to the people who go for walks along this road.  No one is disturbing them.

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Every time I go for a walk I see something new in nature.  Today I saw something very special.
“He leads me beside still waters to restore my soul.”

Security in the Promise of God’s Word.

Psalm 121 v 7
The Lord will keep you from all harm.
The Lord will shield your going out and your coming in from now on for evermore.
On the Ryanair flight to Bratislava, I read this comforting Word from this Psalm.
The Lord, God Almighty who lives on high over all the earth, promises to keep me safe from I leave home till I return.

imageI left home at 4am and travelled by car and Aircoach to Dublin airport.  The flight to Bratislava seems to always be fully booked.  There are plenty of prams waiting to be loaded in the hold of the plane as we board.
Brendan and I were warmly welcomed by Marta.  We will rest till the grandchildren fly in from school looking for their Irish Grand dad and Granny.
I will rest knowing the security of my Heavenly Father watching over us.  The adventure in Slovakia begins.

Testimony Tuesday. Enduring When Suffering many Trials

It was my grand daughter Eilish’s birthday on the thirteenth of March.  She was five years old.  She is an inquisitive little girl.  She asked me “Why is your hair white?  It is dark in the photographs.”  She lives in Slovakia and calls our home “The Irish House”.
I remember well the day she was born.

I had just come back from visiting one of our sons in hospital in Glasgow.  He had contacted a infection while playing football.  He grazed his shin and thought nothing of it.   But he developed a fever and was rushed to hospital and needed intensive care to combat an infection he had.  I flew over to see him.  I wanted to pray for him for God to heal him.
When I visited him he was quite happy and oblivious to any danger he may have been in.  Some friends, the Bowers, let me stay with them and they encouraged and prayed with me for my son.

When I got back to Belfast I stopped off at my daughter’s home for a cup of coffee and let her know how my trip had been.  She shared with me a dream she had the previous night.  She dreamt I had died.  She was upset and I reassured her I was okay.  But I wasn’t okay.  I was bleeding and I was getting worse.  My son being sick upset me as well.

Then the phone rang.  It was another son to tell me his wife had started in labour and was on her way to the hospital.   We prayed for a safe delivery for mum and baby.  We got news later that the new mum was rushed into theatre when she arrived at the hospital and had a Caesarian Section to deliver the baby.  Something serious had gone wrong and mother and baby’s life were in danger.  But Praise to God he preserved their lives.  They were traumatised but mum and baby were alive.

I began to realise we were under attack from our enemy Satan.  He was trying to take my son’s life, my daughter in law’s and my grandchild’s life and I wasn’t feeling too well myself.  But he didn’t succeed.  Six weeks later I was diagnosed with cancer.  More suffering.  How much more could I endure?  I was weak and feeling hopeless.  I couldn’t fight any longer.  It is when we are helpless God moves.

We came through many trials in the springtime of 2010.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.”

People often ask why they have to suffer.  Will we just believe in God when times are good, when he is blessing us?   Going through trials makes our faith strong.  When we see Jesus, who went through horrible suffering when he was whipped, pierced, bruised, and crucified for us, it will give us courage to continue to believe and hope in his help to bring us through our suffering and heal us on the other side.

“So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NLT)

God preserved my life and my children’s life from death.   I am able to say God is good and merciful.  He is faithful to care for us as we obey him.  I have joy instead of sorrow and crying.  I now don’t look at the suffering but I hope in the joy after we suffer a little while, until God brings the answers to our prayers.

Psalm 91 says God will be with us in trouble and deliver us out of it.

Are you going through pain or despair at the moment? Are you hoping for God’s promise to you being fulfilled and it looks impossible for that promise to come about. Be patient in your trials. Your faith is being tested. Will you still believe God or give up and doubt and have unbelief?  He will give you strength to go through and come through to the other side. May your hope in God’s help be renewed.