Our real enemy is fear, and God does not leave us defenceless….

There is a lot of fear around these days.  I can almost see it sliding into my home, squeezing through the window-frames.  

And one of fear’s tricks is to make us see other people as “the enemy”, when really it is fear itself we need to battle.  

You know this already, I know you do.  And I know it.  So, if we all know this, why does it keep taking us off-guard?  And we know that God does not leave us defenceless, that “perfect love drives out fear” and that Jesus is constantly inviting us to “not be afraid”.  

We know this, and yet it takes a lot of remembering…  

And I’ve been thinking a lot recently about our “inner-thought-game” and “outer-external-strategies” as we embrace new projects, grow a new habit, tackle an old problem.  We need both.  Both internal and external work.  Especially in these days in which we live.

This reality was illustrated so clearly on a coaching call with a client just last week….

  Picture the scene:

I am listening to an amazing, Spirit-filled lady.  We have dedicated the call to increasing “X” in a certain aspect of her life, and I am listening…..  We are digging into why “X” is important, into what “an-increased-X” would make possible for the people she is serving.  And we discern that this  “X-increase” would be a good thing….  

We discuss some of the theory.  Some of the ways it is theoretically possible to “increase-X”, and “reduce-the-things-that-might-suppress-X”.  

And I’m listening……..

and listening…….

and finally, there it is…..  a tiny little bit of hidden, buried, underlying fear about what it would mean, what could potentially result, if “X” increased.  

And this is what we’re battling, Kate, a little tiny little bit of hidden fear in our “inner-thought-game” can undermine a lot of the effort and self-discipline and time we’re putting into our “outer-external-strategies”.

Sometimes in order to achieve something or implement something or grow something or build something, we do not need to work harder or longer or stronger.  We just need to dig up that little bit of hidden fear

…….. and let the Lord shine His healing light on it.

I know that sounds “too simple”.  And the digging process is not easy.  Not at all.

But the solution is simple.  Ridiculously so.  Hand the fear to the Lord and let God deal with it.  And then partner with the Holy Spirit and let Him be the wind in your sails…

So I just wanted to affirm you this week. God does not leave us defenceless and the “you-and-God-team” have everything you need.  Do not let fear win.  And I know you know, and yet this email is an invitation to re-remember …..  Perfect love drives out fear.  Do not be afraid.    

Be blessed.  

Kate Cavanagh,
Raising Happy Healthy Christian Kids
Your Domestic Ark

P.S.  I heard from my client during the week.  She had continued to walk with the Lord and the “X” she so desired had multiplied in abundance :-)!

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No, gorgeous girl, the soap is not in the living room

I am slowly waking up and pottering around the kitchen setting the table for breakfast.  I have half a half-closed-eye on my children and am asking my daughter if she has “made-bubbles-with-her-hands” yet this morning.  (We are doing well on the whole “going-to-the-toilet-independently” thing yet handwashing is still a work in progress).  

I try not to push too hard…  

“Honey, mmm, I wonder, mmmm, where is the soap?”.  It’s too early for me to be able to properly embrace playfulness….  

Silence.

More silence.  

Where is this nearly-3-yr-old of mine?  I’m about to go and investigate when I hear her…  

Continue reading “No, gorgeous girl, the soap is not in the living room”

Providing

Have you ever spent time walking up a long steep hill and longing for the summit?  Or gazing at the night sky wishing for the dawn?  A map and compass give us information about the terrain we are hiking.  A clock (and a Psalm) reassures us that the sun will rise again, eventually.

Our need for orientation, to know where we stand, is very strong.  We long for an understanding of the physical or emotional terrain that we are exploring and I feel rudderless, rootless when I do not know what is around the next corner.    

A big part of our work as humans is to explore, analyse and describe our experiences, our relationships, our world.  We discover landmarks which we then name and mark in some way.    

And the people who went before us?  The people who smooth out the path in front of us?  They help us by making maps for us, by pointing out the landmarks.  We gain confidence for our journey by listening to their descriptions of the pitfalls, the hilltops, the success-moments they discovered.     And when I’m walking up a steep hill I find it useful to remember WHY I am climbing it.  When we look backwards through binoculars, objects look smaller.  When we “zoom out” from the close-up, my focus can shift away from myself.    

If I can allow my current battles to “look smaller” they come into focus, are placed in context.  If I can make some kindof meaning of my struggle, if I can see “the bigger picture”, if I know some good will come from my effort, then it becomes easier to keep plodding on.  I mean, when we compare our current suffering to the never-ending glory we’ll experience in Heaven…    

Continue reading “Providing”

The genius of the “No-Wrong-Answer” Question

fields of flowers

You know that amazing feeling you get when someone sits down beside you and listens deeply to what you’re saying and how you’re feeling?  When they:

  • listen patiently as you struggle to describe the challenges and name the emotions you’re feeling,
  • allow you to name the bad things as well as the good things (without trying to fix it!),
  • take the time to put themselves in your shoes and say things like “Wow, that must’ve been really scary” (and actually mean it!), and
  • cheer you on as you explore how God might see the situation…?
Continue reading “The genius of the “No-Wrong-Answer” Question”

An Easter “hide-and-seek” experience with Our Lord

Where is Jesus to be found, this year, tomorrow, on Easter Sunday?  

The Churches are closed, I have a 2 kilometre radius of a “leash”, and yet I know God is on the move, I am expecting Jesus to show up.    

I am more than expecting, I know Jesus is going to visit me tomorrow, in a bigger, deeper,  more transforming way than I can imagine.  Even if my senses pick it up as soft, quiet and slow.  

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Our 90 degree turn towards safety

Once upon a time there was an amazing little girl who was climbing up and through a climbing frame.  Holding onto the wooden frame as she headed up towards the sky.  Spinning around the bars and looking forward to whizzing down the slide.  

It is fun, it is challenging, and her Father is smiling as he watches her aliveness and delights with her.  Slowly this girl realises that her Father has stepped closer and that the climbing frame is starting to creak, starting to wobble.  She slows her climbing to listen and look…. Her Father moves even closer and holds out his arms to gesture her close.    

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Are your children resisting their “age-appropriate-chores”? It’s because you’re being too ambitious!

Wouldn’t we love to get a glimpse of the Holy Family as they went about their “morning routine”?  To see Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus get ready for their day and look after their home.  

How did they go about their normal daily jobs of living as they worked their daily rhythm?  

I am confident the Holy Family’s home was filled with love and simplicity and natural beauty.  I imagine an inviting home filled with the gentleness of Our Lady.  And I am pretty sure that Jesus probably did some regular “age appropriate chores” as the three of them loved together side by side as they went about their daily work of living.  

Continue reading “Are your children resisting their “age-appropriate-chores”? It’s because you’re being too ambitious!”

This rollercoaster is FAST but FEAR does NOT have to win

It is 7am on one of my husband’s precious holiday days and I wrench open the curtains, fling the window wide and shove an (unwanted) hot cup of tea at him.  My sleeping husband had been promised a holiday lie-in and here was I, demanding his full attention and saying:

  “Get up, we need to buy a trampoline.  Now!”.  

You see, I had checked my phone way too late the previous night, had been swallowed up by hysteria and fake news, and was now convinced the world was about to end.  Or at least be on military lock-down by lunchtime.  By which time it was absolutely necessary for us to have bought a very large trampoline for our very small garden.    

At least that is what my fear-stricken brain had decided!  

Completely illogical, I know.  However, at the time, these thoughts felt so real and I did not recognise them for the lies that they were.  It felt so true, so real, so necessary that it absolutely MUST be acted on RIGHT-NOW.    

Continue reading “This rollercoaster is FAST but FEAR does NOT have to win”

The ways God delivers help and sustenance and inspiration…

Help, Sustenance and Inspiration(

Has God ever delivered help or affirmation to you?

I’ve been contemplating on the ways God delivers help and sustenance and inspiration.  Over the years I have collected some great experiences of people-met, gifts-received, books-recommended and conversations-enjoyed.  

Some of these experiences have fulfilled-a-need, others have changed-my-thinking and all have increased my strength and faith.    

And recently, some great seven-year olds helped me explore: 

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