Confessions of a grumpy Mum

Written by Nicky Geldard  | 

When sickness comes knocking during school holidays Mum gets pushed to her limit. Read on as Nicky shares her honest experiences of the school holidays...

I feel like the worst version of myself these holidays. Shouty, growly, irritable mummy has made an appearance and I’m looking forward to packing her bag and sending her away.

The break started with party poppers, roast pork, friends, fun and laughter. We were onto a good thing, the kids were finding their rhythm and we had some enjoyable activities planned. Then there was a sniffle. It turned into a sore throat. Dad hit the deck, or the bed, first. Influenza – the full-blown kind with all its accessories: aches, vomit, sinus blockages, restless nights, etc. Hmmm.

Funnily enough we had just had our flu shots (it’s always a family outing – the kids call them “holes”, much to the doctor’s amusement). Time would tell if the rest of the family was going to succumb. Actually, it didn’t take much time at all. The two little ones (as I call my 5-year-old and 3-year-old), were both feverish by the time the evening rolled around. It was going to be a long night and I was on sole-duty given that Dad was out of action.

Night one: alternate administrations of pamol and ibuprofen, vicks vapor rub, bowls emptied, tissues overflowing the rubbish bin… Morning arrived and that’s when Florence Nightingale waved goodbye and Grumpy Mummy stomped in. I’m a terrible nurse, I just don’t have the stamina to be needed 24-7. If I could have tapped out that morning, I would have.

We limped through the next few days (and nights) with a few visits to the doctor and the after-hours clinic. Someone needed antibiotics, another needed an injection to stop the vomiting, then it was steroids, inhalers, the works. I’m so grateful we live in New Zealand, God bless our medical system, but what I really was after was a prescription for a live-in nurse.

My head cold was nothing to what the others were going through, but a quiet hotel room, all by myself, with clean sheets and no one sneezing on me, was becoming a daily fantasy. I hit a new parenting low when the kids developed a chesty cough on top of all the other symptoms. It was let’s-keep-mummy-up-tag that night. One would go and then the other, back and forth, back and forth. I lost count of how many times I had been in and out of bed when our 3-year-old called out again. Her teddy was too big! What?! I grudgingly replaced the offending smurf (with a baby owl) and stomped back to bed. Then there was another shout. Expletives are not normally my thing, but they were clearly at the front of my mind that night. The owl was missing a wing. What…the…owl?!

Thankfully Daddy was back on board by this stage and prevented any further injury to the owl, but I was done. A few days of looking after everyone had stripped away patience, kindness and sympathy. And truthfully, it wasn’t that bad. Sure, it was intense for a few days, but there are so many people out there who are dealing with significant health issues, long-term situations that they cannot see an end to. As I write, my family is on the mend. Grumpy, yes. Congested, yes. But they will get better.

So how do I understand my reaction in light of my faith? After all, doesn’t one’s true self come to light in the face of adversity? And what about the evidence of Christ in my life, that should be displayed by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Oh, ouch. I know my prayers became a whole lot more simple than usual, “Give me patience,” “Heal him, please,” “Help me not to shout,” “Help her breathe,” and again, “Give me patience.” I’m grateful God hears me, even when I’m mad, frustrated and at the end of my tether. And I’m grateful He hears me, even when I’m not being a very good reflection of Him.

After all, don’t we love our kids in spite of their faults, failures and willful wrong-doing? Hang, we even love them when they get us up, repeatedly, throughout the night. Matthew 7:11 says, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” In other words, God loves us more than we will ever know. It’s a love that is even greater than what a parent has for their child, and because of His great love for us, He wants to bless us. Part of His blessing involves listening. He tunes in when we’re upset and He forgives us when we get things wrong.

So here are my words of courage to myself this week (and to anyone else who may need them): “Pray short prayers, be grateful, this will end. Have a cuppa, see a friend, lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes and take some deep breaths. You are heard, you are forgiven, you get a second chance.”

The bags are packed, I’ll send Grumpy on her way now.

Posted by Nicky Geldard


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Borrowing Strength

Written by Everyone  | 

This is the blog post WE WROTE TOGETHER!

Everybody goes through hard times whether it’s a day, a week, or a life season. So we all understand the feelings and the depths of the low times, but we are also all able to offer encouragement to each other and cheer each other on from that place of understand -  and this is the post that does just that!
This week I struggled and was feeling quite dragged down by life, my tank was empty but I still wanted to show up for you and for this community. 
So I posted a Facebook live video and asked for your help to write this post for anyone feeling like life is kicking their butt right now - and you showed up for me and for our community and we are all now a little stronger and more encouraged to keep going. How cool is that?!
So if you are like me and in need of a pep-talk from your community, encouragement from a friend then read on because this blog post is for you, from us with love and courage…..
Keep showing up... you don't know what is on the other side of you being present in this moment. Who you are and what you have in your hands in enough. Don't get lost in the big picture, one step in front of the other my friend… - Jo

It does not get much more BRAVE than a woman choosing to fill her own tank when she is overwhelmed by a world that requires way too much of her at times. You are awesome. Enjoy some Vitamin D! - Tana

Take a deep breath know you're in the presence of God! - Diane

Good self care in this season is essential. But we often need some encouragement to see and do it the first few times before we start clicking into it. Have a great time doing something different. - Sue

Make a decision to stop and breathe. Ladies, we work hard, we love hard and we often sleep little. Stop and enjoy a moment, no guilt only joy. - Beth

Slow down, stop doing anything you don’t absolutely have to. Use a slow cooker, get a cleaner, plan a day to do nothing. Run John 16:33 through your head over and over. Lots of love #beenthere - Elizabeth
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in ALL thy ways and He shall direct thy paths.” KJV - Janny

I love being part of a team - building each other up and sharing the load. Knowing other people are on the journey with me keeps me going! - Emma

Young busy Mums often get over there heads suddenly — be thankful for the good health you share & for an understanding husband not everyone has one & remember the best is yet to be ...... and you don’t have to be Wonder Woman every day - June

I'm here for you, always! - Steph

In His presence is light, love and calm. He has you in the palm of his hand - Mary

I know I'm not A BraveGirl, but women, just remember: You are somebody's reason to smile! - Nathan

Take another deep breath. - Ruth

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or flat etc I play worship music, then I sing it and I pray (doesn’t have to be much prayer) and I keep soaking in the words and singing them and praising God. I trust God to fill my tank (often in these times God says something loving/encouraging to me)...He always fills my tank! You got this! God’s got this! Much love and blessings! Xx - Aimee

Advice from another slightly overwhelmed mama of three- We have to keep being real with each other and keep showing up each the grace of God that is usually enough to get us through the season of overwhelm xx - Marina

Breathe! You can do this. Take the time to replenish. - Karyn

"When I'm overwhelmed, when I'm lost at sea, still You're there right beside me. When I can't see clear, all around is fear, still You're holding me." Our God is Emmanuel, God with us in the overwhelm, holding us, walking through it with us, covering us, loving us in it all. As we continute to face Him, He provides the hope, the ideas, the strength and grit, and at times the humour to keep going. - Esther

Strive for Peace within yourself with God at the centre. For God is our strength and our perfect peace, we can give everything/anything up to him and take a step back knowing he's got this! - Jessica

God is good. You are good. Life is good. You are doing ok girl - you’ve got this! - Steph

Posted by Everyone


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The Darkest Hour

Written by Nicky Geldard  | 
They were sweet words, but murderous intent lurked in the shadows, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” [1]
Obsessed with power, Herod was troubled when the Magi from the East visited Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?”[2] Herod himself was King of the Jews![3] What did these strange visitors from foreign lands mean? Yes, he ruled under the ultimate authority of Rome, but for all intents and purposes, he was in charge of Judea. If another ‘king’ had been born, he needed to know.
Herod was not a man to trifle with. Politically astute, a gifted soldier, and responsible for many illustrious building projects, Herod was internationally recognized for his prowess.[4] Yet beneath his obvious accomplishments was a sadistic and cruel madman.[5] When he first became King, he executed 45 members of the Sanhedrin (the traditional Jewish law-making body), apparently because they opposed his appointment.[6] He also had his favourite wife, Mariamne, strangled under the false accusation of adultery. Three of Herod’s own sons were murdered by his orders as he suspected them of plotting against him.[7] And these were just some of those who suffered at his bidding.
Paranoid, deeply troubled and brutal, Herod had no intention of going to ‘worship’ a babe granted his title. So he asked the chief priests and teachers of the law for an exact location - where would the Messiah be born?[8] They revealed Bethlehem as the place where King David’s heir would arrive. In secret, he then called the Magi back to pinpoint the exact timing of the child’s birth.[9] There was a two-year window to account for. Herod had a plan, but it was not to bow down. It was to destroy.
If books could capture and transmit sights, sounds and smells, then the grief arising from the three verses in Matthew describing Herod’s massacre in Bethlehem would be too much to bear. After reading it once, I don’t think I would ever be able to open my Bible to the account again. Bethlehem was not large and scholars agree that there were perhaps twenty to thirty babies aged two and under who were slaughtered by Herod’s soldiers on that dreadful day. The panic, the drumming of hooves, the desperate attempts to conceal children – it is beyond imagination. Evil arrived in Bethlehem a mere two years after Love was born.
Fast-forward thirty-one years and we find a survivor of Herod’s demonic plan. As a child, Jesus had been whisked away to safety, just evading the terror in Bethlehem.[10] But all these years later, Darkness rejoiced that he had not escaped altogether. Jesus had been betrayed, tried, mocked, and hung on a Roman cross. His death would complete (the now dead) Herod’s mission – destroy the pretender, snuff out the light, extinguish hope. For it wasn’t just the intention of one man to retain power, Hell itself intended to rule the hearts and minds of man. Victory seemed to be at hand.
Crucifixion was a form of execution reserved for the worst offenders. “It was officially accepted as the most painful and disgraceful form of capital punishment, more so than decapitation, being thrown to wild animals or even being burned alive.”[11] Victims were often flogged or tortured before being crucified. Leather whips, with bone or metal imbedded in the cord, would be used simultaneously by two soldiers to exchange blows across the body. This beating was limited to forty lashes as it was believed a person would die from anymore. Often the skin would be so damaged that “arteries would be lacerated and organs would be exposed.”[12]
Jesus’ hands were nailed to the crossbeam, his broken and bloody body hoisted onto the vertical stake that was then erected upright. Without blocks for his feet to rest on, the weight of his body would have dragged downwards, prohibiting breathing and circulation and leading to both brain and heart failure. With the blocks, a person might linger for up to three days.[13] It was a tortuous way to die. One of mankind’s most sinister imaginations.
But the worst was still to come. Deuteronomy 21:23 says that, “anyone hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” And Jesus’ agonized cry at three o’clock in the afternoon confirmed this. It was a devastating reality, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[14] His Father, the One whose company and communion he had enjoyed for all eternity, had turned His face away. And Hell received with glee the only one who had ever threatened its power. Separated from God, Jesus experienced a spiritual death more gruesome than even the horrors of the cross. The Messiah was completely alone, bearing the guilt of all sinners. It was an indescribable abandonment.”[15] It was His darkest hour.
It is these two stories that form bookends around the life of Jesus: Herod’s incomprehensible slaughter of babies and the atrocities of the cross. These stories contain the combined message of Christmas and Easter. It is these two stories that reveal the depth of our depravity, the power of our sin and the reason Jesus came to earth. We were tearing ourselves and each other apart and we desperately needed a Saviour. These stories also throw up a mirror. We recognize Herod’s sadistic legacy in the brutality reported daily on the evening news: terrorism, school shootings, dictators – the list goes on and on. But even the best of us have our moments. We want what we want. We are selfish. We all get a little headstrong at times. There is no escaping it, none of us are blameless.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Do you hear that? While we were still sinners.
While we wander away from him. While we do our own thing. While we hurt the people we love. While we betray trust. While we harm ourselves and drink ourselves silly. While we proudly declare that we are not in need of him. While we were still sinners…
Jesus came. He took on our pain. He offered healing and wholeness. This was (and is) a Saviour we could relate to. This is a Saviour who knew what it was to be troubled, to mourn, to lose, to be betrayed, to suffer, to be separated. Indeed, he experienced what no man or woman will ever have to feel: the complete abandonment of God. Because Jesus willingly gave up His life, we will never walk alone.
Hell’s victory was short-sighted. What was seen as a death-blow to God’s great rescue plan, was in fact the fulfilment of an ancient covenant. Three days after Jesus was crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb, Life stirred and Light dawned. He was alive again. And, this time, the darkness had no comeback.
One of the great themes of the Bible is redemption. God had always intended to provide a way back for those who had wandered away. Our deepest darkness does not exclude us. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
So, be encouraged this Easter. Together, the story of Christmas and the story of Easter proclaim this truth: however deep your secrets, however dark your night, however much the weight of your guilt, your debt is paid. Jesus’ darkest hour was the price He paid for your freedom.  
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Just a note: If you are reading this and have questions about Jesus, the meaning of Easter or how to let go of pain and/or regret, then find someone you trust, someone who knows Jesus, and be honest with them. Alternatively, there are churches throughout New Zealand celebrating the message of Easter this weekend. Be brave, walk through the doors and seek out a friendly face. Any church advertising an Alpha Course is a good place to start. Our prayer is that you will find hope this Easter and begin the journey of knowing Jesus. He is Life, He is Love, He is the reason we can be brave.

[1] Matthew 2:8
[2] Matthew 2:2
[3] Archaeological Study Bible, pp 1630
[4] John Drane, Son of Man, pp 20-21
[5] Logos International Bible Commentary, pp 15
[6] Drane, pp 21
[7] Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, pp 1610
[8] Matthew 2:4
[9] Matthew 2:7
[10] Matthew 2:13
[11] Archaeological Study Bible, pp 1757
[12] Logos International Bible Commentary, pp 317
[13] Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, pp 1852
[14] Matthew 27:46
[15] Max Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary - Matthew

Posted by Nicky Geldard


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