Fighting for Peace

This weekend I have had two days away and been to a lovely womens conference. Such a well needed time of refreshment;

Eating, Praying, Shopping, Learning, Resting, Laughing, Creating, Worshipping, Reading, Chatting.

Just being able to eat a meal from beginning to end without taking anyone to the toilet, or having to feed anyone else at the same time! To be able to actually finish a conversation. To be able to be in corporate worship without one eye on my children.

To just be me. Emma. Guilt free.

It’s been a while, and with less than 8 weeks til my due date…it’s gonna be a while til the next time!!

God spoke to my heart in so many ways over that time, blessed me, challenged me, convicted me, loved me, rescued me, in ways I didn’t even expect or know I needed. I left weary and I came back refreshed, ready to face this next chapter of my family’s life.

But I nearly didn’t.

I nearly allowed myself to be taken out before I even arrived.

The conference started on the friday night and Jon (my husband) strongly encouraged me to leave in the morning, so I had a bit of time and space to myself. He released me totally with such love and prayer….I felt very blessed.

But in the last couple of days before the conference I started to feel guilty about taking the extra time. On top of this I had a couple of people give their opinion on it which I allowed to make my guilt worse. Before I knew it there was a battle in my mind, and I was feeling like I didn’t even want to go.

About 5am in the morning of the conference I awoke and my mind was full of accusation. I’m being selfish, I should just go later, I bet people are judging me for it, I dont need the extra time…the conference is enough….etc etc. I kept trying to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. Eventually I prayed and I felt God say ‘look at the fruit; panic, guilt, shame, accusation, comparison, this isn’t from Me, fight for your peace’

So I did, and it lifted. But it was hard, and I didn’t want to. I nearly allowed a blessed time to be robbed from me because of a battle in my mind. I nearly allowed the lovely way Jon had released me to be lost.

I pondered over the weekend how much I have done this, and seen others go through it. As mum’s we are always giving ourselves a hard time, critical towards ourselves. Even though we spend our days putting others first, giving our children and the demands on our life the best of us…and rightly so. But there comes a time when God wants us to Himself, to love, to speak to, to encourage, to refresh, to annoint, to equip…to enjoy.

The speaker an the conference said we are like leaky cups, slightly damaged and broken from our lives. We need to allow God to top us up regulaly so we dont run dry. You will be a better mum for it, a better wife, a better friend…a women who is more able to hear from and gather strength from God for her day to day life.

It isn’t always a conference, sometimes its a desperate 30 second prayer in the shower, or a loud worship song in the car. Sometimes its putting down a cloth and picking up a bible when everyone is asleep, the how doesn’t really matter.

You are important as an individual. Important to God, to your family, to the community you live in. You need to be invested in, so you have something to give. 

In Isaiah there is an an amazing passage about a woman who is held in bondage, and God says once you have been released do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. So when opportunities for solitude or blessing or refreshment arise…take them….and fight if nessesary, to take them guilt free, not becoming burdened!!

I pray you each have the strength to follow God as He leads you this week, and not to feel guilty or compare yourselves to others. Because it isn’t easy….but the peace and freedom it brings is worth the fight!!

Emma x x

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Following the Christmas King

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The Christmas season is upon us, and I dont know about you but I’m feeling busier than ever. My boys are extra hyper and my to do list is extra long!

Whilst zoning out last week after another hectic day I stumbled across this quote on facebook ;

‘When navigating my life priorities & schedule I look for peace far more than I search for balance. Life is not an equation to be balanced!’ (Christine Caine)

I then came across the picture at the top a few days later at the eden project and have been pondering them both ever since.

I am one of those analytical kind of people, and I often think about getting the right ‘balance’ in my life, and what a minefield that is! From marriage to motherhood, from friendships to hobbies, from serving to resting, from reading to listening, from cleaning to giving……how much of what, when? and how often?

Recently I have been trying to get to grip with keeping my house organised and tidy, finding a place for everything during the neverending cycle of washing, toys and general family life. However hard I try it feels like as soon as I get one room sorted another one has fallen into a state of chaos. I just cant seem to ‘get the balance right’.

And to be honest I think this is kind of a picture of my life. With some bits being invested in and flourishing while other parts fall by the wayside. If I’m not careful I can end up really heavy, striving and feeling like a failure. I know thats not what God wants because The word says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

So I’ve been asking Jesus….How do you get the balance right?

His response……Follow me.

Ecclesiastes tells us ‘There is a time for everything….’ So fun, laughter and rest have their place as much as serving, giving and cleaning!

But to find that elusive peace, Jesus is leading me to just let go of trying to balance everything. He is leading me to a much holier place of letting it all go, and just listening for His voice and His guiding.

I dont know if I will ever get every area of my life in order, and I’m even more doubtful I will ever get every room in my house in order.

But I am feeling a deep peace as I try and follow Him decision by decision, day by day.

My prayer for you is that you take a minute to ask Jesus where you’re striving and how you can better follow Him, and that He will give you peace where you might have been feeling heavy.

Emma x