Monday, 10 November 2014

Swadini Reserve

Words can not explain the beauty of the bush here, hence the photo journal of our South African holiday adventures ...

Blyde River

What's missing ?

Path to the falls

Waterfall

Fun

Blyde Dam

Blyde Dam


Reflections

Friday, 7 November 2014

Messy Beautiful Love {Book Club}

This week marks the beginning of the November book club over at Women Living Well. This month we are reading Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht.

You can download a FREE Study Guide over at Messy Beautiful Love Book Club

Each Monday and Thursday over the month of November Courtney will be hosting a discussion via the comments section on her blog.

This Week at WLW
Introduction
  • "Our definition of love can be skewed by selfish ambition"
Reading this book has really challenged me this week. In a few days Paul and I will be celebrating our 23 wedding anniversary. I had been feeling really frustrated with where our marriage was at ... As I read the above words I was convicted deeply of the fact that my attitude was bad because of my own self seeking attitude.

  Chapter One - Messy Beautiful Love
  • We are called "to live out our purpose, which is to love our husbands, raise our children with intent, and manage our homes well."
  • "God prepares the heart for tomorrow"
  • We need to be " ... tuning out the world so that we might quietly tune in to Him"
  • " ... remind us to seize the day and capture the joy of each moment, giving thanks for the big and the small."
Looking back over the last twenty something years I would agree with the author Love is messy and the expectations we gain from the world's perspective of 'Forever After' robs us of the joy and blessing of where we are at in the here and now.

As I read this week I realised how much noise was/is in my life and how much I need to change in my world in order to quietly tune into Him who knows all things and works all things together for my good.
I have become aware just how much I have NOT been living out my purpose, I have not lived with positive intent for a long time.  I have been living in habit. I have stopped growing as a person.

It's in researching, discussions (as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another Proverbs 27:17 ), reading and studying His Word and reading that we grow.  What are you reading lately ?

I became more aware of looking for the blessings in the every day. I think I need to start counting my 1000 gifts again it certainly does impact my attitude in a positive way.

Chapter Two - Walk in Compassion and Grace
  • " ... every weakness that contradicts love: being impatient, jealous, unkind, proud,selfish, or arrogant; demanding your own way that you think you should be loved."
  • "The best things in life get messy before they get good."
  • " ... I chose to let my anger and un-forgiveness draw me away and consume my heart "
  • "The path to separation is paved by selfish ambition and pride, ..."
  • " ..., love must start with the preparation of a graceful heart."
Walking in grace is so much easier to do with someone you do not know than someone you do! I was rather ashamed after I took some time to do some introspection and be honest when looking at the list of actions which contradict love. It's rather confronting to see where I have got to because I have been lazy in my LOVE walk within my marriage. Complacency is not a good thing when you are confronted with its fruit ...

I found great hope in "The best things in life get messy before they get good."

Discussion Questions
Chapter 1
1. Have you ever felt like a failure in your marriage? Or has your husband failed you? How does grace and the gospel change things?
  • Yes often ... I have recently come to realise that these feelings are rooted in feeling unworthy. These feelings have come with me from high school.
  • Reading these two chapters has helped me to grasp that His amazing grace is what I need to call upon each day. It's His grace which empowers me to walk in forgiveness and to begin to see Paul in a new light each day
 2. Tell us one thing you love about your husband.
  • He loves me through my most unlovable attitudes
Chapter 2:
3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. What is the difference between love and a loving feeling?
4. Has your husband made a choice that is hard for you to live with daily? How does remembering what true love is, help you?
  • Love keeps NO RECORD of wrongs. This is a weakness I have fed in my marriage.  I am too weak to slay this enormous dragon in my heart. Today I realised that through His grace I can starve it to death and walk in love keeping no record of wrongs.
Chapter Three - Be Patient and Kind when the Going Gets Tough
  • "Record keeping damages our hearts and feeds the root of bitterness within us, while love heals the wound."
  • "Neglecting to care for each other more than we cared for ourselves, wanting to take more from our marriage than we were ready to give, and failing to lean on God's wisdom more than our own were the layers of filth and stain that build up over time."
  • "The more I focused inward, the less I focused on the Lord."
  • "if I wasn't blinded by anger, I might have understood the sacrifices he made for us."
I could deeply associate with this chapter. I have developed a bad habit of record keeping. It's quite amazing how record keeping fuels anger, anger at yourself and anger at your spouse. The longer you are married the easier it is to develop the habit of neglect. Neglect is the silent killer of love within marriage and it is the fertile soil for record keeping. 

This week I began to think about the sacrifices that Paul makes each week without complaint to look after us his family. It's true a grateful heart is fruitful ground for love and tenderness to grow.

Chapter Four - Give up your right to be right
  • "His loving-kindness is a constant reminder of how it's better to do right than it is to be right"
  • "... sacrificial love is so important to achieving unity."
  • "Love is so many things, but the heart of the matter is that beautiful love is Christ-centered."
  • "You might pass as being kind to your husband, but I wonder how many of us go out of our way to do so."
  • "When you realize that it's more important to win the heart of your husband than it is to win an argument, you're seeing the fruit of mature love."
  • "Rejoicing in truth is a vital part of loving someone."
  • "We can avert a lot of conflict in marriage when we trust our husbands intentions."
  • "Sacrificial love is what the best marriages are made of."
  • “A wife is to protect her husband’s reputation by speaking highly of him to others. She is also wise to protect him by covering him in prayer.”
Discussion Questions
1.) Have you been married to an unbeliever and had the joy of seeing him come to know the Lord? Tell us how it happened!
  • No I haven't.  I have how ever watched my husbands love mature and grow.  I've seen the love he has for his Saviour spill over onto his family and influence his decisions.
Chapter 3
2.) Do you struggle with record keeping? How has letting go of the record keeping, helped to heal some of the wounds in your marriage?
  • Yes I do. It's beginning to heal the ache in my heart, giving me more grace and patience towards my family.
3.) If you could go back and do it all over again – what would you do differently in your marriage?
  • Create more positive habits, keep less records of wrong. Pray more ... Seek God's will more
Chapter 4
4.) How have your vows helped you in times when you wanted to fly off the handle?
  • Some days when the going is tough and I've wanted to give up it's my vows which keep me coming back and fight for my marriage.
5.) How do you protect your husband? Do you struggle to speak highly of him to others or to cover him in prayer?
  • This question was confronting. My initial response is that I would like to work through The Power of a Praying Wife again and cover him more regularly with specific prayer.
All quotes are from the book Messy Beautiful Love. Connect with the author Darlene over at Time Warp Wife.

Are you reading along ? If so come and share your insights and let us encourage one another.
Blessings 
Chareen

Baobab Adventure

Last week we got to go and visit the local Baobab tree.

Entrance

View of the mountain range

Baobab tree explorations


Baobab Tree

Proud Mommy moment. He conquered his fear and climbed the tree


Worlds Largest Pot-plant - Baobab Tree

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