She is precious.


I don’t tell Baby Girl all that often that she is beautiful, or wonderful or intelligent, or kind…  Sure, I do use those words sometimes.  But, what I say to her more than anything else is that she is precious.  It doesn’t matter if she is pretty or ugly, fat or thin, clever or not – what matters is that she is precious.  To her father.  To me.  And to her Father in Heaven.  And that she knows that.

She is precious for all the many gifts that God has given her.  She is precious because she is a tiny little person who is growing up in a scary world and needs to be nurtured and looked after and taught the right way to go.

She is precious because of all the love, and laughter and growth she has brought into our lives.

She is precious because she is God’s wonderful and beautiful gift to us – her father and I.

She is precious because of she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14 New International Version (NIV)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

She is precious.  Just because she is…

And when I pray with her at night, I think God for giving us such a precious daughter.  Not because she is talented or kind or beautiful (sure, I think she is all of those things and much more), but because she is a gift.  And if she sees herself as a precious gift – then she will look after herself and allow herself to create a positive world view while growing up.

And I do thank God for her (and my hubby) every day.  They are precious people God has put into my life and I am grateful.

And I pray that God will give hubby and I the grace and the wisdom to parent this precious gift well, so that she will grow up knowing just how precious she is.  If she fails, or falls, or loses her way – she is still precious and in the end, none of that will matter but how precious she is to us.  And to her Heavenly Father.

And I pray for the man that she may one day marry.  That he will honor her and love her and help her to grow into the woman God created her to be, and that she will love him and honor him and respect him.

What a wonderful blessing God has given us in our little Baby Girl…  may she always know that.

You-are-precious

Brokenness…


When a child comes from brokenness, whatever the reason may be – whether it be divorce, illness, addictions like alcohol or drugs, their world view tends to be broken.  The map that we all develop to navigate this world tends not to work so well when the environment you are raised in is broken.  Now, we don’t all start feeling fearful and anxious, but if you have a disposition to anxiety and fear that will certainly be magnified when you come from brokenness.

And I believe that you can come from a non-Christian home and fully have faith in life and never battle with anxiety the way that I have.  I have before alluded to a friend of mine who is as skinny after having two kids as I was before having one – and she doesn’t have a body issue.  But, she comes from a family life that allowed her to cultivate a positive outlook on life.

And cultivating that positive outlook on life has nothing to do with money or prosperity.  It has to do with security – that as you face the adventures of growing up and separating from your family as you mature into adulthood, you feel secure in following that path.  When that security isn’t given, you have fear that fills its place.

Now, I’m not saying that all children who come from broken homes are filled with fear – very often taking your child to a psychologist or a counselor to teach your children ways to navigate this life with security (i.e. life skills or coping mechanisms), despite the turmoil of their home lives can be very effective.

Now, you know, from reading this blog, that my parents are divorced, my dad was never at home, my mother was controlling and filled with anxiety herself and used me as a means to validate her issues and coupled with that I was naturally shy and fearful already.  I did not have a chance to develop a healthy world view. 

But, this is something that can be taught – because ultimately fear, anxiety or a negative world view has to do with a faulty belief system.  When you correct that belief system, you very often correct the feelings of fear and anxiety that go with it.  And this is the path that I have been on since that day my husband told me I’m negative and aggressive.  And now, many years later, I can see what he meant so clearly.  But, because the faulty belief system is intrinsic, it may take many years to relearn a healthy belief system.  And there may be situations that arise that will throw you right back into that faulty thinking – but this is where God comes into play.  God teaches us that through faith, life can be okay.  Well, not that life will be okay, but more that we can handle whatever life throws at us. 

Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Once we start developing that faith that allows us to navigate this life with a positive and healthy world view, we can really start embracing life.

John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When you read all the blogs on people battling with anxiety and fear, and you read how so many people are on anti-depressants, you realize that fear is something the devil can and will use (and does use) to prevent us from having that healthy worldview.  And that God uses to bring us to our knees to bring us into a closer relationship with Him.

Do I still feel fearful or anxious?

All.  The.  Time.

But, I am realizing a couple of things that I am nurturing – that I hope will eventually become so intrinsic in my nature, that whatever feelings of anxiety I may experience in the future, will just flutter away.

One of the many things I am learning that God is on my side.  I can trust His word that He truly loves me.

Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV)

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?

And that God will never want any harm to come to me.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And if something bad does happen – like illness, financial pressures, etc, I can actually deal with it.  I will cope and I will be fine.

Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

But, most importantly, that fear and anxiety is not a gift from God.  In fact, God has given us love, wisdom and a sound mind.  So, therefor I have a choice in deciding to feel anxious or not – or perhaps a better way to say it is I have a choice in how I want to deal with feeling anxious.

2 Timothy 1:7 King James Version (KJV)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 I came across this blog post a little while ago, which explains everything so nicely (please note that this was posted in 1988 … and is still pretty much relevant today.)

Battling the Unbelief of Anxiety

Unbelief as the Root and Essence of All Sin

Let me hang a bridge between last Sunday’s text and our concern today with the unbelief of anxiety.  In Hebrews 3:12 it says, “Take care, brethren, lest their be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, leading you to fall away from the living God.”  And verse 14 says, “For we have shared in Christ, if we hold our first confidence firm to the end.”

In other words the evidence that you have come to share in Christ—that you are united to him in saving faith—is that you hold that confidence firm to the end.  Perseverance in faith is necessary for salvation.  When a person is truly converted, the heart is changed so that now life is lived by faith (Galatians 2:20).

The new birth introduces a person into a life of warfare.  That warfare is called the “fight of faith” in 2 Timothy 4:71 Timothy 6:12.  And here in Hebrews 3:12 it is called the battle against unbelief.  “Take care [that's the vigilance of battle], brethren, lest there be in you and evil heart of unbelief [there's the enemy in the warfare], leading you to fall away from the living God [there's the warning against not taking the warfare seriously].”

Anxieties We May Face

And so we follow today the pattern of Jesus and Paul.  We battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of God.

  • When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
  • When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
  • When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
  • When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
  • When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
  • When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approvedness, and approvedness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
  • When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
  • When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord.  So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8–9).
  • When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful.  He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

And yesterday when Rob and Gail got married, they printed the promises of God in the wedding folder.  With these they have and they will fight off the anxiety of all the unknowns of marriage: “And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; he will be with you.  He will not fail your or forsake you.  Do not fear, or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

So I urge you in your warfare, take up the book of God, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and battle on.  And remember the promise of Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”

 To read further, please click here.

Where has all the time gone?


Time sure is flying by so quickly – and our little Baby Girl is growing beautifully.  She is such a honey – hubby has somehow hurt his back, and last night she runs to her bedroom to get something soft for hubby to cuddle – to make him feel better.  Isn’t that sweet?

She really has such a lovely nature…

I haven’t been blogging much here, as I have been devoting my time to my other blog:  http://thefragranceofmarriage.wordpress.com/.  I feel so silly for having a blog on marriage, I mean – who would listen to me?  What on earth do I have to say about marriage or relationships?  But, I do know how my parents’ marriage, or lack thereof, affected me and just perhaps I can aid one person in doing something a little different that will have a ripple effect to other areas of their lives and marriage.  And then it would be worth it.  Just perhaps…

But, anyway, we are here to celebrate Baby Girl’s life – and what a precious life it is.  She is such a happy, laughing, energetic little girl who is full of life and love.  I don’t think her Dad and I had any idea just how much we would be enjoying this wonderful little personality…

Motherhood is hard – I think we all know that, but when you fetch your five year old little girl in the morning to wake her up so she can cuddle with you for five minutes before the day begins, and she wraps her arms and her legs around you and whispers in her sleep that she loves you so much, then everything in motherhood becomes worth it.

I have already started praying for the man that she would one day marry – a man who would love her, and help her to become the woman God created her to be.  One that would open up the world to her, as my hubby did for me.  One who would see just how precious she is and live to protect and provide for her in any way possible and one that she would love and respect and honor.

She is in Pre-Grade R at school and absolutely thriving.  I can’t believe that just a little while ago I was battling with this tiny little baby who cried all the time, and who would not sleep and now I have this precious little girl who is loving and kind and has such a mischievous sense of humor.  (And who still doesn’t like to sleep:-) )

The days drag by, but the years fly by.  Anon

What would I tell this precious little girl as she is growing up?  To never sweat the small stuffit will all work out in the end.  It always does.  Never let fear hold you backbut embrace life and fun whenever you canNever be afraid to be yourselfyou are the only you you’ve gotNever be afraid to be on your ownyou need to be your own best friend

  1. Have fun, but learn as much as you what can.
  2. Make lots of friends.
  3. Be yourself.
  4. Look after yourself.
  5. Love much.
  6. Be kind and be gentle.
  7. Think positive – focus on your blessings, don’t focus on the negative.
  8. Always be amazing.
  9. Expand your mind, but always remain true to God’s word.
  10. Always be grateful for what you have – you may not always get what you want, but you’ll probably have exactly what you need.

These are the ten things I would tell Baby Girl and I would pray that she would listen.  I wish someone had told me those things when I was small – and I wish I had someone to teach me how to do all that.  I hope and pray she finds a friend or mentor, with hubby and I, to teach her just how to do that.

images (3)

Mentoring Letter 435 Facing Reality


Mentoring Letter 435 Facing Reality

Mentoring Letter 435               Facing Reality

“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”  M. Scott Peck

I am unashamedly an optimist.  I see the world through rose coloured glasses.  Being a typical golfer with the belief that the next round will be my dream round I go back over and over and punish myself with a range of bad to mediocre shots sprinkled with some good and the occasional brilliant one.

A golfer who had been playing badly went to a psychiatrist who told him to relax by playing a round of golf without a ball.  “Do everything you would normally do, but use an imaginary ball,” advised the psychiatrist.”  The golfer tried it the next day.  He stepped up on the first tee, imagined he got a 240 metre drive, made a fine approach shot to the green, and then putted for a par.  The round went splendidly and as he approached the 18th hole, he met another golfer playing the same way, no ball.  The other golfer had seen the same psychiatrist.  They decided to play the last hole together and bet $10 on the outcome.  The first golfer swung at his imaginary ball and announced that it had gone 260 metres right down the middle of the fairway.  The second golfer matched his drive.  The first fellow then took out his 5 iron and after swinging at his imaginary ball, he exclaimed, “Look at that shot!  It went right over the pin and the reverse spin on it brought it right back into the hole!  I win.”  “No you don’t,” said the second golfer.  “You hit my ball.”  Funny anecdote, but come on guys – get real!  Unfortunately we can’t live in a dream world.  Sometimes we need to see the world and life for what it is.

I have discovered that my innate optimism, with the immense value it brings into my life, can also have a negative impact.  It can cause me to not see the world as it really is.  It can mean that at times I diminish real problems and don’t recognize them as what they are.  John Maxwell, through his writing gift, is often a source of balance and wisdom for me.  I am currently rereading segments from his book ‘Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn’ and the chapter called ‘Reality: The Foundation For Learning’ jumped out at me in terms of some straight, hard truths.  In the book Maxwell refers to the three realities of life. 

  1. Life is difficult – Sadly, whether we like it or not, life is not simply a smooth and simple journey.  Life is tough.  Hal Urban, in his book ‘Life’s Greatest Lessons says,“One of life’s most valuable lessons, one that takes too long to learn, is that life is hard.  If we had our way, there would be no pain, things would go our way, we wouldn’t have to work as hard and we certainly wouldn’t have to suffer.  We get reality instead, a reality that tells us all too often that things are not fair and “the world will not devote itself to making us happy”.
  2. Life is difficult for everyone – Yes, I know, we can accept that for other people, but we all secretly hope that it doesn’t apply to us.  Like it or not, we cannot avoid life’s struggles.  Winston Churchill said, “It is no use dealing with illusions and make-believes.  We must look at the facts.  The world is too dangerous for anyone to be able to afford to nurse illusions.  We must look at realities.”
  3. Life is more difficult for some than for others – I shudder as I listen to the horror stories of some people’s lives.  When I listen to their problems, I am almost grateful for my own.  The reality is that life isn’t fair and never will be.  In fact, life is not obligated to making us happy, we are responsible to accept life as it is and make the most of it.

Okay, so life is hard, that is no big secret, but hiding from that unpleasant reality doesn’t help at all.  As John Maxwell says, “As much as an escape from reality might give us some temporary relief from our problems, the truth is it’s easier to go from failure to success than from excuses to success.”  Andy Stanley said, “Designing and implementing a strategy for change is a waste of time until you have discovered and embraced the current reality.  If you don’t know where you really are, it is impossible to get where you need to be.”

So then how do we do this?  How do we face reality in our lives in a way that sets us up to not just accept what is, but to still find ways to achieve what we want?

Firstly, face reality and accept it for what it is – your current reality.  History shows however, that accepting reality isn’t as simple as that.  For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth.  Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong.  Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects, one heavy and one light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first.  But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle’s death.  In 1589 Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten pound and a one pound weight.  Both landed at the same instant.  The power of belief was so strong however, that the professors denied their eyesight.  They continued to say Aristotle was right.  Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?  Well, we tend to do the same.

The key therefore is no more ‘head in the sand’ ostrich behavior.

Secondly, choose to create a new reality.  In other words, start to think differently, exploring ways to overcome the challenges you are facing.  Starting with the current reality, redefine what you want the future to look like and begin to find ways to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.  Going back to Hal Urban’s comments about life being hard, he says, “Remember, successful people accept their problems and work through them, it is this process of meeting our problems head on and looking for solutions that gives life its meaning.  Once we accept the fact that life is hard, we begin to grow.  We can begin to see that every obstacle is an opportunity to write our future, regardless of what the past has said.”

Thirdly, take action to create the new reality.  Ann Landers said, “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, “I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me.”  Desiderius Erasmus said, “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

Okay, so it is true, life is tough, but is has been for everyone who ever lived.  I love biographies; because they show me that I am not alone in having a dream but with huge obstacles blocking my way.  History shows that others have done it; they have overcome, so I can too.  So instead of succumbing to my struggles, I am choosing to turn my reality into my dream.  I choose to make it!  How about you?

Have a great week.

Your friend

Antony

Public courses coming up:

15th and 16th September – Time Management

22nd and 23rd September – Customer Service

Contact the office on 041 364 3652 to request further information.

If you have any questions or feedback about “Facing Reality” please email me at jenningsa@iafrica.com, I would love to hear from you.

Antony Jennings is an international trainer, consultant and motivational speaker based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Antony writes this free weekly mentoring letter to support and encourage those who are serious about taking charge of their lives.  You will find an archive of his letters at www.antonyjennings.comor www.zifundise.com

Copyright © 2014 Zifundise Training and Consulting, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as you have subscribed to this service.Our mailing address is:

Zifundise Training and Consulting

28 Pickering Street, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Port Elizabeth,EC6055

South Africa

Day 30:  Love Letter to your Husband


Originally posted on The Fragrance of Marriage!:

Today is day 30 of Jennifer Smith’s 30 day devotional, Wife After God.

Today is the last day of this devotional.  Thank you to Jennifer Smith for honouring wives by offering them a way to learn about being the kind of wife that God wants you to be.  Buy the book – follow the devotional.  Watch God work in your marriage.

Here’s my letter:

To my darling husband,

I thank God for you each and every day, for everything that you do for me, for us, for our family.  I thank God for how you provide for us so adequately through very tough financial pressures.  I pray that God will make me worthy of you.  I thank God that He brought you into my life.  You’ve challenged me to view life as an amazing adventure, not the fearful world I see it as.  I thank you for making supper every…

View original 513 more words