Not Average

 

          Me aged 15

Me aged 15

I was never the cool kid on the block, or the cool kid at school, or the cool kid anywhere for that matter.  Truth be told, I’m not sure I really cared. 

 

When I was at school (back in the olden days of the 1980s) life consisted of a lot of groups.  We had the Rastafarian group – these obviously were the kids who loved Bob Marley.  Then there were ‘the black jersey boys’, who actually consisted of girls and boys who all wore the exact same black jersey.  I’m not going to lie:  I had one and I loved it.  There were of course the kids who unfortunately were classed in the nerd category, most of them really nice kids.  Then there were the girls, who really liked the boys (these same girls acquired names not suitable for this blog).  There were definitely the pretty people both boys and girls; these were the ones who everyone else in school had a crush on.  Then there were the rest of us… just your average kid, doing averagely well, trying to make their place in a big school but just managing to make their place in their small group.  From what I gather from my teenagers, not much has changed in the high school groups except the names of the categories themselves.  School is still full of a whole bunch of teenagers trying to find their place in high school.

But not much has changed in my life either.  I’m still just your average person, living in your average home, doing an average job and trying to make my way in this world.  But the difference in my life, and in any Christian’s life, is that we have the God of the universe beside us helping us on this journey of life.

So, although I am just average – I don’t serve an average God.  I serve the Creator of the universe; I serve the omniscient God (meaning He’s all knowing) and the omnipresent God (meaning He’s everywhere).   I serve the God who loves me (and you) so much He came Himself to earth as the man Jesus to offer his own life as a sacrifice for our wrongs, so we could be made clean and pure.  Through this act of love we are now able to have a relationship with Him because only by being pure can we enter His presence.

And because I serve God and believe His word, the Bible, He has taken this average kiwi girl and given her one incredible life.  A life filled with abundance.

Jesus says in the book of John chapter 10 verse 10:

The thief (satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (Amplified Bible)

Mark, Suz, Misha & Bonnie.  Dresden, Germany.

Mark, Suz, Misha & Bonnie. Dresden, Germany.

Now it has not all been good, but it has been incredible.  When Mark and I were missionaries we got to experience different countries and cultures, meet people from many nations, and live in the United States – it was all amazing!!  Of course, having our four daughters has been abundance in the good sense too.  But even in the darkest days of my coping with Mark’s illness, the incredible God did not leave me and taught me an abundance of lessons which, in hindsight, are amazing – but while I journeyed them they were a lifeline to survival.

I have discovered that God wants to talk to this average girl every day.  He wants to encourage me.  He wants to push me to do better, to think bigger, to try new things with Him beside me, to extend myself in doing things I would never have dreamed of doing – things that totally take me out of my comfort zone.  The reason Jesus wants to do this in my life is because He sees my potential. He sees what I am capable of through Him and with Him.  Every single person on this planet is NOT AVERAGE.  We have been created for a purpose.  We have a destiny to fulfill – but the only way each of us is truly going to fulfill that purpose is with the God who created us guiding us on our life journey.

I don’t want to live one day wasted.  I want to live every day with the almighty God spurring me on to things I could never dream or imagine, because that is what He has promised!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us,

to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Ephesians 3:20 (New Living Translation)

Not Cutey Cute

I have four beautiful daughters.  Misha is 21 this month, Bonnie is 19, Jasmine is 17 and Emerald is 15.

Mark and his darling daughters.

Mark and his darling daughters.

I am a solo parent to these four girls.   Mark died when they were 16, 15, 13 and 11.  For nearly five years I have been officially parenting alone but, because of Mark’s long and severe illness, I was essentially doing the job on my own before that.

I remember when my youngest was born, holding her and saying quietly to her, “You are going to have the coolest dad when you’re a teenager.”  I could totally see Mark with his dreads, piercings and tattoos (which were in the planning stage) taking his four girls to rock concerts.

However, my youngest never got to have any memories of her dad before his first brain tumour was discovered and took us on a ten-year journey through terrible sickness.

So here I am, doing something I never, ever thought I would do when Mark and I first started our family – bringing up my girls all by myself.

I love my girls more than anything.  I tell others, having children is like having bits of your own heart walking around in the world.  The love of a parent towards its own child is something no words can ever explain.

But, parenting them on my own has been exhausting – especially through the teenage years.  My friends will attest to the naïve dream I had of looking forward to the teenage years, when my girls would be growing up and we would go shopping together, drink coffees at cafés and have deep, meaningful conversations about all the things going on.

Misha, Mark & Bonnie at Houston Zoo, Texas.

Misha, Mark & Bonnie at Houston Zoo, Texas.

Yes, I can hear you laughing as you read that.  Because, of course, it hasn’t all been raindrops and roses.  Don’t get me wrong – my girls are great.  They are funny and full of life.  Our house is loud, with lots of dancing and singing.  And often we do have amazingly deep conversations, solving the world’s problems or discussing verses in the Bible. 

But there have been great big chunks of the teenage years that I have downright hated, and I have voiced loudly that I actually hate teenagers.  It got to the point where, whenever I saw cute little babies I would think, “You are not really cutey cute.  You are just a big trick, because you are going to grow up and be a horrible teenager.”

But there has been some amazing learning during all this …

I have learned to let go of my girls and totally leave them in their heavenly Father’s hands. 

This was a hard lesson learned, because at 18 my eldest took off (the first time) for six weeks and I scarcely heard from her.  She was in a very bad place and just left one day.  She was legally old enough to go and I had no say.  What could I do?  Nothing!  So I gave her over to Jesus.

He looked after her and has continued to do so.

As the girls all journeyed through their teenage years, God has had to train me to let go and let Him be their protection and their guard. 

There are many nights when I go to bed and none of my girls are at home.  I lay my head on my pillow and pray, “God, I’m going to sleep now.  Please look after my girls, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.  You will do a better job of this than I could, so I trust them to You because You love them.”  And then I go straight to sleep without a second thought.

My Girls.

My Girls.

An extension of this trust is leaving God to work in their lives to bring them into a relationship with Him, because it actually all comes back to this:  the most important thing in the world is that each of my four daughters grasps hold of, falls in love with, and has her own heart set on fire for Jesus.  They cannot live on my relationship with Jesus.  It has to be their own.  Because I cannot live their lives, I cannot be their faith.  They, as individuals, have to make the decision to let Jesus be their Lord.

So, although the teenage years have not being my favourites, in many ways, they have taught me to let go and let God.  And this, in turn, has taught me to pray for others and then relax that God is now doing His thing in their lives, too. 

I have learned that I serve a very big God, who is totally trustworthy.  I have trusted him with my most precious possessions – my girls – and He has not let me down.

Those who trust in, lean on, and confidently hope in the Lord are like Mount Zion,which cannot be moved but abides and stands fast forever.

Psalm 125:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)