Archive for December, 2013

Well thank goodness that’s us just about at the end of 2013, because for me, although it seems to have been a very quick year, it’s been a really rotten year!

Dad at our weddingI’m getting a feeling of deja vu here, as I seem to recall saying at the end of 2012 it had been a tough year for me…if I’d know what lay ahead in 2013, 2012 would have seemed like a walk in the park!

So we’re almost at the end of 2012. I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be over nearly as soon as it began! I know some will tell me that’s a sign of getting old, but I refuse to believe that, as I think it’s simply been because there’s been so much going on in my life this year…again.

I should have known when 2013 it was going to be a tough year as right from the start of the year it was apparent that Dad’s dementia was deteriorating, as from just before the close of 2012, Dad would not eat or drink anything, and thus was hospitalised on 4th January for the 2nd time in a few months.

Sadly this time he did not recover, and at the start of February Dad was discharged from hospital to his nursing home on end of life care. I think it was only when the nurses at the nursing home said “end of life care” that Mum finally realised what the hospital had been saying for the last couple of weeks. On the 21st of February, my Dad lost his life to vascular dementia.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)In January my Aunt Mae (Mum’s sister) was moved from her care home to the nursing home my Dad was in, as her dementia was causing her to become violent towards the staff at her care home and they could no longer cope with her there.

The week after Dad’s funeral, we got summoned to my Aunt Mae’s care home as they were waiting on an ambulance for her as she had a bad chest infection. It turned out they thought she’s had a mild stroke, but when they went to do the CT scan to confirm this, she had another stroke. Sadly on 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, due to a combination of her stroke and her dementia.

I’m not quite sure how I got through those months as being the guardian for both my Dad and Aunt Mae, I had to do all the organisation (with help from Mum and Sandy), clear out both Dad’s and Aunt Mae’s belongings from the nursing home, stay strong form Mum who, as you can imagine, was devastated. To be honest I don’t think it really all hit me until about May and then I really struggled to come to terms with the death of 2 of the people I’ve been closest to.

Unfortunately this was not the end of the bereavements for my family, as in mid November my Dad’s sister died, also from dementia, which knocked my Mum for six again, as we were always quite close with my Auntie Mabel and her family as when I was young, we used to spend just about the whole of our summer holiday’s in Cambridge with her and her family.

Sandy’s side of my family also suffered a couple of bereavements this year, so all in all we’ve had far more than our fair share of family bereavements this year. Add to these bereavements, my hubby’s health issues and my own on-going health issues, and you can see it’s not been a great year for us.

I’m still finding life quite tough just now, as I continue to miss my Dad in particular, but there’s one song that has been stuck in my head for a few months now which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2013 has been a rotten year so I’ll be glad to see the back of it! 2014 can only be a better year can’t it!

I hope your 2013 has been a far happier year than mine has been, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2014 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away Then I remember the pledge you made to me 

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

These last few weeks I’ve found myself thinking a lot about those who wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas by exchanging presents and spending time celebrating and eating lots of foodpoverty

  • What about those who couldn’t afford to buy any presents for their children?
  • What about those who didn’t have any food to eat on Christmas Day?
  • What about those who spent Christmas Day alone?
  • What about those that had no roof over their head on Christmas Day?

What about them?

You may think it’s nothing to do with you that at the end of 2013 there are still those who don’t have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, or even a roof over their head, but I’m sorry, it is the responsibility of all God’s children to look after one another, and that includes you, me, the beggar on the street with no home, the orphan in a far away land who has to walk for miles every day just to get some dirty water to drink.

So, at the end of 2013, I challenge myself and each of you, to do something in 2014 to try to end poverty and hunger in this world of God’s. Go on make a difference in 2014 for God!

Relationship_with_GodNow we’re nearly at the end of 2013, I want you to think about 2013 from a spiritual perspective. So to get started, I have a few questions for you to consider:

  • Have you prayed regularly this year?
  • Have you listened to what God has to say to you this year?
  • Have you said “yes” to all God has wanted you to do this year?
  • When times of difficulty have come along this year, did you turn to God immediately for help, or wait until he was a last resort?
  • Have you done your best to tell others about Jesus?
  • Has God been at the centre of all you’ve done in 2013?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above questions, well done, as it sounds at though you’re doing the best you can to be a good example of Christ to those you encounter.

Sadly, I think many of us will, if we’re being honest with ourselves and with God, will have answered either “No” or “Sometimes” to at least one of the above questions. Thankfully though, we still have time to change so that we can honestly answer “Yes” to all the above questions, all we need to do is trust God to help us in every part of our life, not just the parts we’re choose to let Him into.

So as the end of 2013 draws near, draw closer to God, and let Him into every part of your life.

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know you are near

I’ve done a few Word Associations with you over the last few months, and today, as the title of this blog post suggests I’m going to give you another one, but this time all about Christmas! So as usual I’m going to throw some words at you  and I want you to note down the first word that comes into your mind when you read each word.

So here goes…

1. Nativity

2. Christmas tree

3. Carol

4. Bethlehem

5. Santa Claus

6. Christmas day

7. Christmas message

8. Food

9. Reindeer

10. Holiday

So how did you get on with those words? Did you find it easy? Did your answers surprise you or were they just as you expected?

Well here’s my responses to my questions:

1. Jesus

2. Decorations

3. O Come All Ye Faithful

4. Stable

5. Presents!

6. Family

7. Jesus

8. Over-eating

9. Rudolph

10. No work!

Were any of your answers the same as mine? Did any of my answers confuse you? Did any of your own answers confuse you?

I’ve said in previous word association posts that I find I get a bit stressed when I’m doing them as I put a lot of pressure on myself not to over think my answers! Are you relaxed when you do them or do you find it stressful too?

I still believe that when we respond with the first words that come into our minds, our answers tell us a lot about our emotional state, and what’s important to us at that particular point in time.

Bearing all this in mind, review your answers, does my theory hold true?

I chose some words you’d always associate with Christmas but I hope they got you thinking a little more about what Christmas means to you. As you may have gathered from my answers, Christmas for me is all about Jesus, and celebrating his birth.

Glory to God by Hillsong

Let the earth rejoice
Heaven’s comes to you
While the city sleeps
A child is born

Drive away the fear

For you, Saviour has come
He lies in a bed
Made of straw
La la la la la la la
La la la la
La la la
La la la la la la

Glory to glory to God
In the highest
Glory to glory to God
In the highest
Glory, glory in the highest

Yesterday in Child of Love we considered the responsibility Mary and Joseph must have felt in raising their son, and God’s only Son.

Today it’s about you and me!

What does it mean to us that Jesus was born here on earth?

God sent a little bit of heaven to earth when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

God sacrificed His only Son at Calvary so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

What greater thing could any father do, than sacrifice his only son’s life?

Glory to God for all He did for the world all those years ago, and all He continues to do for us now.

This Christmas, have you given said thank you to God for sending His son to earth? Have you given all glory to God?

 

 

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Today we think about just what His birth meant to Mary, his mother – How must she have felt to know that in her arms she was holding the Son of God?

What an awesome responsibility Mary and Joseph had to nurture their son, God‘s Son. I don’t know about you, but I think I would have crumbled under the pressure, thankfully Mary and Joseph weren’t me, and they did a wonderful job of caring for and looking after Jesus as he grew from a baby into man who saved the world!

Child of Love

Child of wonder, close Your eyes
Rest here in my arms tonight
Someday You will save the world
But tonight I’ll hold You right here in my arms
 
Precious miracle of life, child of love
Gift of hope, the gift of light from the Father above
And You were made for all mankind
You will always be mine, child of love
 
Gabriel‘s promise has come true
God has blessed this world with You
And as I humbly hold You now
In my heart I know I’m holding Heaven’s child
 
Precious miracle of life, child of love
Gift of hope, the gift of light from the Father above
And You were made for all mankind
But You will always be mine, child of love
 
Precious miracle of life, child of love
Gift of hope, the gift of light from the Father above
And You were made for all mankind
But You will always be mine, child of love
 
Child of wonder, close Your eyes

 

The reason we celebrate Christmas is because of Christ.

The reason Christ came to earth was to set us free.

The reason God wants us to serve Him is because Christ died for us.

The reason Christ died for us is because God loves us so much that he was willing to let his one and only son die so we might be forgiven.

This Christmas, as well as spending time with friends and family and exchanging presents, please take some time to say thank you to God for giving us Christ!

 

I pray you may experience the joy that only a relationship with Christ can bring you this Christmas.

MerryChristmas

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the Soul felt His worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born

It’s Christmas eve! How has Christmas come round so quickly?!

Have you taken the time this Christmas to fall on your knees and worship God, and give thanks to Him for sending Jesus into the world all those years ago?

If not, there’s still time! Rejoice on this holy night that Jesus was born. Celebrate with Christians around the world that Jesus Christ was born in a manger, and that He came to earth to save you and me!

It’s two days to Christmas, and I’m sure we’re all trying frantically to make sure our homes are ready for Christmas and all the family who will descend on us. But have you stopped to think of those who have family members who won’t be home for Christmas this year, and how empty their home feels to them this Christmas:

  • Some may have family who are serving in the armed forces somewhere;
  • Some may live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their families;
  • Some may have lost a loved one to illness or old age in this last year, so may be alone;
  • Some may simply have no family to share Christmas with.

So spare a thought this Christmas for those who may not be finding Christmas such a joyous occasion, as for them Christmas may just be reminding them of their loneliness.

For those of you awaiting the arrival of loved ones this Christmas, cherish them and enjoy your celebrations together, as you are fortunate to have family to share this special time with.

Over two thousand years ago when Mary and Joseph tried to find somewhere to sleep, there was no room for them…there was no room for Jesus.

Over two thousand years on, those of us who believe in God and believe the true reason we celebrate Christmas are in the minority, as everyone else has no room for Jesus.

This Christmas, please don’t get too caught up in buying presents, partying, and making sure you’ve got all the food required for Christmas dinner, without at least sparing a few moments to remember the reason for the season.

Make some room for Christ this Christmas, He’s waiting for you this Christmas.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him… give my heart.