The Father of Fourteen Children

Today my husband and I are celebrating a great Achievment, that all fourteen of our children have qualified with a degree from top universities in the United Kingdom. Our two youngest children just found out their results: Abraham got a 2: 1 degree in Chemistry from St Andrews and Angela got a 2:1 degree in Neuroscience from Edinburgh. We will be attending their graduations in June and July.

Psalm 128 says
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want to thank my husband. He chose to follow The Lord many years ago. Today almost forty years later I see the fruit of his choice back then. I am happy at his side and his children are successful. He has been faithful through many difficulties of family life in this generation when being a father is not honored.

Brendan chose to have as many children as God would give him. It has not been easy. One has had to be patient, endure, remain calm, pray in times of trouble and rejoice in times of joy.
An Arab taxi driver in Israel said to Brendan when he learned we had fourteen children, “You will go straight to heaven because it must be hell on earth.” A lady in Florida said “Oh your poor husband.” when I told her we had fourteen children.

I must admit I have not been as sympathetic with Brendan. But God sees Brendan’s heart and has been with him through many trials and temptations. He has strengthened him when the going got tough. But as the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I would not be alive unless he believed that God would heal me. I had fourth stage cancer and I would not be here to see my children graduate.

My dad was a pioneer in his day when there wasn’t much money. He wanted his eight girls and two sons to receive an education. We all attended grammar school. My sisters qualified as teachers and nurses. I graduated from the University of Ulster.

Brendan loved books from he was young. He would spend many hours in his local library. When he visited friends with his mother he would take down the books from the shelf and read while his mum chatted. His call to be a writer was developing back then.
He encouraged his children to do well in education. There was always books in our home and a desk in each of the children’s room to do their homework. We didn’t have a TV when our children were growing up. Those children developed a love of reading books. Brendan coached his children and inspired them to be high achievers. If they failed he helped them to get going again.

We were blessed to have good schools for our children to attend, in Coleraine and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. So a big thank you for all those teachers who encouraged and took an interest in our children.

A big thank you to each of my children who endured the difficulties and temptations that university life brings your way. You succeeded. You endured to the end. I am proud of you.

Above all God blessed us all with health and strength to achieve this success.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.””
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV

Overwhelming Like a Storm

imageI feel overwhelmed with the argument and debate about the nations on the media.

I usually turn on the local radio station when I come down for breakfast. It is company when I am on my own. I hear the latest news, interviews from local people and local weather reports.

Since President Trump was elected I am overwhelmed by the debate and argument about his decisions he is making for his country. I am tired listening to opinions about how Leaders should rule their countries.  When I open Facebook I get more information and videos to look at concerning Trump.  I am finding it difficult to lead my family of fourteen never mind a country.

Being in leadership is not easy. You can’t please everyone all the time.
My husband finds it very difficult when I don’t agree with him and when I resist his decision making. I was not honouring him and supporting him and trusting him. I thought I knew better. When my children resist me and don’t do as I ask them, which is often a doable request, I am not happy. Someone has to be accountable for a family, business, or government.

It is good to allow people to have their say but someone has to make decisions to get jobs done. If I don’t want to do operate with my husband and family then we descend into chaos. We don’t move forward.

I have learnt from the scripture and from experience that the husband is the leader of the family. In a dream I was shown that when I resisted my husband or undermined his authority I was rebelling.

I also had a dream showing me a dark giant figure ominously towering over me. I awake crying. I knew in my spirit that was a generational spirit of rebellion. When I had this dream I was dying of cancer! I was willing to pay attention to this revelation and take it seriously. I was not aware of what actually rebellion was before. I asked God to forgive my rebellion and deliver me from this power. I was delivered from this evil power and I know this helped my healing from cancer. I avoid argument since then. Hence I don’t enjoy debate and argument on the media.

When a judge sends a prisoner to jail no amount of protest from the prisoner will change the judge’s mind. He is taken off to prison in hand cuffs. The prisoner has to submit to authority or he will be in worse trouble. If I resist a police man, who represents the authority of the government, I will experience the full penalty for my behaviour. If I park on a double yellow line and I am fined, I have to pay up. I have to obey the law and those in authority.
I don’t turn on the radio any more. I don’t open news feed on Facebook.  I don’t  want to be overwhelmed.  It doesn’t help my well being or peace.  All the debates and disagreements only foster fear and hopelessness and more rebellion.

There has been a gale blowing these last few days. The sky was dark, the noise of the storm was unsettling making me feel even colder. It was more of an effort to keep warm. If I focused on the effects of the storm I could get depressed.

I awoke this morning to the sun shining in the window. It was a complete contrast to the previous evening.  Yesterday at this time the water from the Lough was crashing over the wall along the road. Today the water is calm and I hear the call of the Brent geese below. The storm has passed. Peace has returned.
I choose not to be overwhelmed.

 
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/overwhelming/

Someday you will Understand

I hear my mother echo down through the years, “Someday you will understand.”
Back then life was carefree; my dad and mum looked after their big family. We children played in the barn of hay, ducked in the river, roamed over the hills, played hide and seek, made mud cakes or climbed trees. I grew up on a farm and most of my childhood playtime was outdoors.

I became aware of the bigger world outside of our farm when I went to school. The master would have us stand around the map of Ireland. I realized I lived in Ireland. Another day we studied the map of The British Isles. Ireland was an island beside England. We were part of Europe and the World. “Who am I, a little girl in this big world.” What is life about? My father and mother shielded us from any concerns or worries they may have had in raising their ten children. How did they do it?
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Now many years later my husband and I have raised fourteen children. We learned from the example of our own parents and the wisdom we gleaned from the scriptures and wisdom from other people. We have faith in God Almighty who we believe is looking after us. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, yet he cares for us.

“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭8:1, 3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I did not know what life had in store for me when I left home. I was like a plant that had been nurtured in a greenhouse but had to face the elements when planted outside. Life has taught me many lessons.
I now want to tell my children the wisdom I have gleaned. Here is some advice from Proverbs in the scripture.

“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭2:1-2, 5, 9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:1-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I want to give my children some understanding for the future. I know life was daunting as I started out in life in the world beyond family. The above scriptures give advice that gives one guidance that is sure not to fail wherever one is in the world.

Someday they will be thankful.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/someday/

Christmas Shopping

image“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We remember Jesus birth at this time.  A time of joy, to thank God the Father for making himself know through his son Jesus, who was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in an animals’ home.
God our Father’s plan was to redeem mankind from the power of sin, death and the devil, who kept mankind separated from God and prevented them from going to heaven.  The devil stole the authority over all the earth and all living creatures, from Adam.  Jesus is the new Adam.

Jesus grew up in his family and lived humbly helping his parents.  He would have helped with the other children, just as my older children did when they were growing up.  His father was a carpenter.  He did not have a high school or university education.  When he was thirty years old he entered his public ministry.  For three years he went about doing good, healing and delivering all who were oppressed of the devil. He was bringing down the power of the devil, who was keeping people in darkness, believing lies, living in oppression and sickness.  Jesus is the truth.

He was the son of God.  He could have set up a kingdom here on earth and ruled and ordered people what to do.  Instead he allowed himself to be arrested and accused of curing people on the day of rest, working miracles and claiming to be the son of God.  His accusers were jealous of him.  They had to get rid of him before everyone started following him and upsetting the kingdoms that were ruling at that time, including Romans and Jews.

His own people the Jews wanted him crucified.  “Away with him” they said.  Jesus never opened his mouth when he was whipped by soldiers, a crown of thorns hammered into his head, nails pierced into his hands and feet to nail him to a cross and when a sword opened up his side.  He hung on a cross till he breathed his last.  He suffered and died.  He became the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.

A leader from India told us recently how people sacrifice their children in the fire or in the river, or cut themselves in order to get their sins forgiven.  Even after such pain they find no relief from their guilt.  This man told some of these people, “Jesus has forgiven my sins.”  I’m not guilty any more.  They were surprised.  “What sacrifice did you make.”  “How much money did you pay.”
He said, “I believe in Jesus.  He was the sacrifice for my sins.  He died in my place.  He shed his blood for me.  This is good news.  You too can know your sins forgiven by believing in Jesus.”
One woman said “Why did you not come sooner, before I gave my child to the God of the river.”  She was heartbroken.  She was prayed for and Jesus healed her.

“ But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who please God completely.. He is the sacrifice for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What a wonderful privilege we in the west have to hear the name of Jesus.  We have good health care and good education.  Freedom to work, get married, have children, and live in peace in our homes and neighbourhoods.  But sadly many of us no longer know the power of the name of Jesus or the power of his shed blood or acknowledge, thank or honor him in our lives.   We have forgotten what Christmas really means.

We were travelling home from Dublin airport leaving at five pm yesterday evening.  The road out of Dublin was packed with cars.  On coming near Belfast the roads were packed with cars.  Why is this?   I have travelled at the same time earlier in the year and there were no holdups or roads full of cars.  Ah, people are out Christmas shopping!

Are they shopping for their children who are expecting Santa Clause to leave them some gifts?  Are they shopping for food and drink for fear the shops might run out of provisions nearer Christmas?  How can parents exhaust themselves and get into debt to buy presents for their children who think some mythical being drops them gifts down the chimney?  Are the father’s involved with the shopping, or is it just the mothers?  The children never thank them or appreciate the stress involved.  Why do they continue the lie of Santa Clause?

Do the refugees get presents?   Do the poor people of Africa or India get presents.  Does Santa just come to America and Europe and bless those who already have plenty.  I have asked myself this even when I was young.

Where does Jesus come in our celebration of Christmas?  “Joy to the World” the Christmas cards proclaim.   Brendan and I deleted Santa Clause out of our family when we had four children.  We told them the truth.  If we tell our children about Santa and years later realize there is no Santa, what will they think of mum and dad.  “They told us lies.”  We tell our children the good news that is at the heart of Christmas.  God sent the gift of his Son to us.  Jesus came to take away the sins of the whole world and the give the gift of eternal life.  We can be with him forever in heaven.  We tell them about the other gifts God has for us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of children, the gift of life itself.

Many people did not agree with us, including family, friends and teachers.  The headmistress asked us to stop our children telling the other children there was no Santa.  Our children did not miss out on gifts.  We saved up and brought our children on summer holidays instead.  I refuse to get caught up in the hype of Christmas.  It does not satisfy!!!

I now live in the hope of going to heaven when I die.  I want to tell others this good news and tell them what Jesus has done for them.   God rescued me from an early death when he healed me of Malignant cancer.  I choose to follow him.  He is returning to the earth soon.  I want to be prepared.  I want to be of use in the years I have left.  I find comfort from this scripture,

“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’m Nobody’s Child

I listened to a song my husband was playing on his music system.
The words go,

As I was slowly passing an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin’, and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry
I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Just like a flower, I’m growin’ wild
No mama’s arms to hold me, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants me; I’m nobody’s child
In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs
They’ve long since stopped their cryin’
As no one ever hears
And no one there to notice them or take away their fears
Written by Cy Coben, Mel Foree • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC”

Nobody’s Child sung by The Travelling Wilberys
This song was written back in 1949 when orphanages were common.  They were set up to care for children whose parents had died or had no one to care for them.  Some children were given the opportunity to be adopted into a caring family.  The above song describe an orphan’s situation clearly.

When my husband was in China, he visited an orphanage.  Most of the children were girls.  With China’s one child policy a boy was preferred to a a girl.  Many girls were left abandoned in streets or fields.  The children lay in cots that were lined up along the wall.  They had long since stopped crying because there wasn’t the people to give extra time to them.  They were fed and given shelter but were given no extra attention.

Brendan picked up one little girl and nursed her. Half of her nose was missing.  It had been eaten by a rat when she was left abandoned.  This little girl was blessed.  She was going to be adopted by an American family.

I take comfort from God’s word which says,
““See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
If there weren’t human beings to minister to these children, the Angels would help.

I have felt perplexed and dispairing when I hear of such stories.   I chose to be open to have children and give them the necessary care as far as I was able.  A little child starts out in life trusting those around him.  When he cries he calls for food and comfort for his discomfort.  If the child has parents they will see to his needs.

There are not many orphanages in Western countries today.  Contraception is accepted to control how many children a couple have.  Immorality has increased.  If anyone has an unwanted pregnancy, abortion is available.  A test is offered to mothers to see if their baby has any abnormalities.  If the baby is found to have an abnormality an abortion is offered.  I do not agree with the world’s idea to solve the problem of unwanted children.

I have travelled in India.  On the back of lorries and on bill boards I read the caption,
“One plus one equals one.”
This idea has caught the imagination of the people in India.  Their thinking is to have one or at the most two children.

I believe in Jesus, and as I read in God’s word on page two of Genesis, it says,
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I choose to believe that it is God’s will for a couple to be open to have children.  A child is a blessing from God, the fruit of the womb a reward.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My husband and I chose to be open to have children.   We have reared fourteen.  God has been faithful to help us to this day in our work of looking after our flock which has increased to eight wives and husbands and nineteen grandchildren.
I wish that people would choose to believe in Jesus.  He is the answer to people’s distresses and the need for children to be born and cared for.

Jesus took a little child and taught his disciples, grown men, a lesson.  He said,
“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭NIV

If one receives a child he is receiving Jesus and Jesus will help.  I believe.

In Memory of Nannie

I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks.  Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling.  It is twenty years since the last mission.

I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up.  People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers.  It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.

My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently.  She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four.  Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan.  I never knew this about Nannie.

image

Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia.  Brendan has travelled to many nations.  She now has missionaries in her own family.  Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God.  She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.

I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land.  She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by.  He asked her to give him water and food and she did.  He said to her,

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.

Later the widow’s son died.  Elijah brought him back to life.  So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.

Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension.  Her source of provision never ran out.  Money seemed to turn up for her.  There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person.  Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect.  But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”

When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left.  She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life.  She was widowed since she was thirty years old.   She always sent our children money to help them at university.  She gave money to Brendan when he travelled.  Only God knows her sacrifices.  Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.

Praise Flows out of Love

Everyone flourishes under praise.  When I was spoon feeding my grandchild this evening I congratulated her on each spoonful she accepted, chewed and swallowed.  Before we knew she had the whole bowlful finished.  My son was able to enjoy his dinner while I looked after Ava.  Normally she would help herself.  Dinner would be spread all around the table and on the floor.  Dinner time was a delight and peaceful without having to persuade Ava to finish her dinner.  No one cared about the mess.  What we did enjoy was our meal together at grand dad’s house.

Our two sons and their families are visiting from Canada.  We are getting together for our son Patrick’s wedding next week.  I am alive to celebrate my son’s wedding and to enjoy my sons visiting from Canada.

When I praise my husband he doesn’t know what hit him.  A light turns on and he would do anything for me.  But sadly I forget too often to thank or praise him.  Recently a friend was praising me for my work and it was very humbling to accept her thanks and approval.  Often one is negative instead of appreciating what a friend, daughter or son does, or value their worth.  I am often guilty of seeing what someone doesn’t do instead of praising them for who he or she is.

I think praise for someone comes out of a heart of love.  I have experienced the love of my family and friends when I was healed from Fourth stage bowel cancer.  They prayed to the One whom they believed and hoped would bring my healing.  I thank and value the help of doctors but they  admit they can treat cancer but do not offer a complete cure.  The One is Jesus.  When he was on earth he went about healing all those with diseases.

I have come to experience God’s complete healing from this deadly disease in my life.  He’s a God who answers prayer.

I am completely indebted to God for my life.  I now find it easy to thank and praise God every day and I want to tell others what a wonderful God he is.  Expressing praise in words and song from the heart to God brings an intimacy with the One who loves me.

“Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭48:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He returns his peace and love to me.  I am safe in his care where no enemy can touch me.  Other peoples’s negative words roll off me like water off a bird’s waterproof feathers.  When I am in difficult situations I am not afraid.   From this safe position I can value and praise others rather than express my frustration and negativity.

My heart has been changed by knowing God’s love and praise for me.  He values me.  Jesus lifted me up from the pit of despair, depression, disease, fear and death.  He said he can set me free because he died on the cross 2000 years ago to forgive my wrongdoing, to heal my disease and give me life and a hope and a future.  He conquered death by his own death on the cross.  We don’t have to die prematurely.  God promises three score and ten years of life.

“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭90:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am now living in that future, a future of restoration, life, peace and love.  He is a God to be trusted and given praise.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/praise/