The Good Weather

I notice postings on Facebook from family and friends is slow recently. Is it because the good weather back home in Northern Ireland has enticed folk to enjoy activities outdoors?
The warmth of the sun is comforting all of creation. It brings life after the cold and darkness of the winter season. It is freely given.

The Lord’s face is likened to the sun. In Numbers Aaron and his sons were to command a blessing on the people of Israel.

““ ‘ “The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭80:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God knows our frame. He knows we are but dust. If he takes our breathe away we would die. We need to see his goodness in the land of the living. God will not fail those who look to him for bread. This scripture has been a great comfort and brought me hope in the past when I was busy or feeling discouraged.

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

God is good. He is faithful. He has compassion on all he has made.

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My Energy gets A Recharge

My energy levels needed a recharge after a busy season.

My husband always arranges a holiday when we both need to take a break from work and the business of home life and recharge our batteries.  We already visited Kerry at the beginning of August.  It was now September.  Ruth and Stuart offered us a stay in their cottage in Scotland.  A chance to take in the beauty of West Scotland and rest before we go on mission to Slovakia.  More recharging of our energy.

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One evening on our return from Scotland, my daughter left a bunch of flowers on the counter when she came in from a busy day’s work.  Dinner had to be rustled together for seven hungry people.  The flowers lay in the midst of someone cutting bread, or making coffee, dirty dishes and saucepans.  Life went on.  No attention was given to the flowers.  When family were fed, dishes cleared, washed, individuals filtered away to rest.  I needed to rest after a hectic day.  The bunch of flowers were still on the bench.

Another daughter was packing up to leave for university.  My fourteenth child, is starting her final year at Edinburgh Univerity.  Last minute arrangements had to be attended to.  Boarding pass at the ready, who would leave her to the port, where is my hair dryer, did you see my purse?  She came in and out of my room asking me questions.  She was getting fraught.  In the end she relaxed in a hot bath and washed away all her stress.

There was no time to get sad at her leaving.  Angela has been home for the summer and has been a blessing to her mum and dad and other family that stayed.  She introduced a summer camp for some of her nieces and nephews.  They had a great time.  The sun shone, they canoed, swam, shopped, face painted, cycled, had barbecues, and enjoyed their wee cousins.  It was the highlight of the holidays for Maggie Sue.

Other events this summer have included our son Isaac’s wedding in Canada, our first grandson’s Confirmation, a grandchild’s baptism, our son Patrick’s wedding in Scotland, a new grandchild, our forty fifth anniversary and my sixty fifth birthday, family visiting from Canada for the wedding, visits to Kerry, Arran and Tarbert,  having two American families stay at different times, and hosting a Gathering in Corrymeela.

I’m taking a deep breath just now.  But Praise God I am alive and not dead from cancer in the grave.  I am alive to see my children married and see my children’s children.  God has been gracious to our family.  I am being restored in the midst of life.  It is not a time for me to put my feet up.

Later that night I went down to the kitchen when the house was quiet.  The flowers were still on the bench unopened.  Everything else was cleared away.  I undid the wrapping, fetched a vase, cut off unnecessary leaves and arranged my flowers into beautiful display.  I admired the gift my daughter brought home for me.  There was no celebration to mark.  Just to show me her appreciation and love. This touched my heart.

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.”
Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I often receive rewards from my children and husband, especially gifts and holidays.  I have been enjoying the roses after the dust of the summer has settled.  They all help to recharge my energy levels.

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

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.

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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.

I Shall see my Children’s Children.

I am alive to see my children’s children.

“Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; that walks in his ways.
For you shalt eat the labour of your hands: happy you will be, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be as a fruitful vvine within your house: your children like olive plants round about your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that fears the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yes you will see your children’s children, and peace upon Israel.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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People often ask me why Brendan and I had fourteen children.  We believe that children are a blessing from The Lord the fruit of the womb a reward.  Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.  You can find this promise in Psalm 127.  Friends and family celebrated with us when we had our first children.  As our family increased our friends became fewer.  No cards arrived to congratulate or celebrate with us as the last children were born.   My husband and children gathered around the hospital bed to see their new brother or sister and celebrate the new blessing God had sent us.  Ten little tiny fingers and ten little tiny toes were caressed.
Each baby boy has grown into a man.  Each baby girl has grown into a young woman.  Some have children of their own now.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children born in one’s youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, when we meet with our enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127

We were eager to receive blessings from God. This is the perfect gift.  What could be better?  To receive gifts from God Almighty, who created the heaven and the earth and reigns in heaven over all the earth.  A child is a gift from our Father in heaven.  I trusted God who gave us our children to help Brendan and I to look after them.

God gave me the strength to carry and give birth naturally and safely to each one.  The size of each baby varied from seven pounds to twelve pounds.  I did not have any assisted intervention of doctors.  God took away any fear or worry about having a child.  I thought if Mary, Jesus’s mother rode on a donkey from Nazereth to Jerusalem, seventy miles, it would be okay for me to travel if I needed to and live normally while I was pregnant.

Being pregnant is not a sickness.  I had my last child when I was forty five.  The doctors tried to put fear on me.  One said, Mrs Mc Cauley you are older now.  “There is a risk your child will have abnormalities.”  Another said “Your body Is like a car Mrs Mc Cauley.  It will break down and wear out.”  Yet another said “This poor, unfortunate woman is pregnant again.”  Their prophesies did not come about.  But God’s promise came about.  My children are blessed.  God has healed me and restored me after each child.  The word of God tells me in Exodus 20 that my children are blessed to the thousandth generation.
“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As I believe in Jesus he takes away the fear.  Yes there is pain, not only in having children, but also in rearing them.  I have found my help has come from God.  He is there in time of trouble.  Psalm 91 promises me he will deliver me out of every trouble.  I have experienced the truth of this word.
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In 2010 I suffered from fourth stage bowel cancer.  When one has fourth stage cancer there is not much hope of living long afterwards.  But God again has proved faithful.  He was with me in my trouble.  He completely healed me from cancer.   My children helped me through this time of difficulty.  As Psalm 127 says they will stand against my enemies in the gate.  When death came knocking on my door, my children stood with me.   All fourteen of my children and their grandchildren prayed for me.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recently Brendan and I celebrated our forty fifth anniversary.  Our children and grandchildren visited with us.  We had a weekend of gratitude, joy and love.  The grandchildren enjoyed some water sports.

I believe I will live to see all my children’s children.

Forgiven Much, Loves Much.

 

Today I experienced a little of what it is like to be forgiven much and to love much.

Abraham returned to Scotland today.  I was leaving him to the ferry at the Port of Belfast.  Hannah warned me that 1000 cyclists were out somewhere in the Ards Peninsula today, Sunday.  To avoid hold ups or upsetting cyclists because I try to overtake them, I decided to take the ferry to Strangford.  After farewells to family at home, Abraham and I set off.

We boarded the nine forty five ferry from Portaferry to Strangford.  There were about eighteen cars on board.  The ticket master came to check my card.  One can buy a card for twenty journeys for half the price.  He said “Your journey have been paid for.”  I looked around to see if there was someone who knew me and kindly paid for my fare.  But no.  The ticket collector told me someone has paid for everyone on the ferry.  A gentleman had bought a card and would not be using it again.

Abraham and I looked at each other.  Whoa!  That was an unlooked for blessing.  It felt unusual to receive this kindness from a complete stranger.  Abraham commented that anyone on board who has to pay the full fare will benefit the most from this man’s generosity.

For a moment I felt the love and presence of God.  I thought this is what it feels like for someone to pay the price for something I was responsible for.  I was able to go free.  I experienced a little bit of what Jesus paid for on the cross when he died to forgive my sins, heal my diseases and give me  eternal life in heaven.  He paid the price for me to go free instead of having to suffer for my wrongdoings and go to hell.

Here is a reading from scripture which tells us about Jesus forgiveness.

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.
As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender.
One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,”
Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house.
You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.””

I did not argue with the ticketmaster and say, “I don’t want to accept this man’s offer.  I insist on paying for my own passage.”  Perhaps one can feel as if one doesn’t deserve this kindness.  One has to learn to receive.  Sometimes we say something like that to Jesus when we don’t accept his sacrifice on the cross to pay for one’s sins and go free.  Let us be like the woman who washed Jesus feet.  She received Jesus forgiveness. Having been forgiven much let us love much.
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The Moon will Shine as Bright as the Sun

 

Last night, the fifteenth of April, at seven thirty my daughter called me into the kitchen.  Outside low in the sky was a full moon.  It had a glow around it like the colour of the sun.  It was the Lunar Eclipse.  This glow lasted as the moon rose higher in the sky.  My neighbour said, “It is like the sun rising!”

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The area we now live in called Bright.  It is well named.  The sun and moon rise in the east behind our house.  The sun shines all day and sets in the west at the front of the house.  If there are no clouds in the sky we have sunshine and warmth all day.  There are no trees, houses or mountains to cast a shadow.   I awoke through the night.  The moon was shining.  It was not dark outside.

I am reminded of the passage from the bible,

The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. (Isaiah 30:26 NIV). 

Yesterday the sun shone all day.  It was brighter than normal.  I believe these signs are showing me that God is healing and restoring me and our family.  It indeed is the Year of The Lord’s Favour when we are being healed of wounds we don’t even know we have.  

This promise is not only for me but it is for you.  It is the Year of The Lord’s favour for you.  Call upon The Lord and he will hear.  He is near to the broken hearted and those who are downtrodden.  

We remember Jesus death on the Cross this week.  He died and shed his blood to set us free from sin, sickness, curses, oppression of the devil and restore mankind to wholeness.  Believe and receive Jesus and he will make you whole.  

I am healed of cancer.  I made a choice to believe that Jesus could heal me and I received it even against what the doctors said.  I was in a place of hopelessness, brokenness and despair when I had cancer.  He is now healing all my family from all these things and is restoring them.  We do not deserve this, but God wants us to receive his mercy, goodness and blessing so I can tell you about Him.

MULTIPLICATION

A couple of days before Christmas 1980 the labour pains became stronger. It was time to lift my old battered leather suitcase from the top of the wardrobe and pack my essentials, Bible, notebook and nightdress. Brendan and I sauntered hand in hand over the Bann bridge well after midnight. In the middle of the bridge a pain caused us to pause. The silent, starry night was crisp, clear and chilly. We wondered would our baby be born on Christmas Day.

Here, Brendan and I were swimming at Kalamaki beach. Suddenly we noticed two butterflies overhead flying towards a small nearby island. I was reminded of an old song by Bobby Darren

“Now there were two butterflies
Casting their eyes,
Both in the same direction.
You’d never guess that one little yes
Could start a butterfly collection.

Chorus
Multiplication is the name of the game,
And in each generation it plays the same.”

Brendan and I were like those two butterflies as our daughter Mary was born on Christmas Eve. Mary came quietly, peacefully and on time. As she nursed at my breast for the first time and I marvelled at her shock of pure black hair I couldn’t have imagined just how many lives this little girl would save. There was only one other mother in the home that Christmas so they laid on a special dinner for us. But although it was an excellent meal it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the tea and toast just after the actual birth.

Have I mentioned the tea and toast ritual? After each birth while the baby is being washed and weighed
the nurses always bring me tea and toast. It’s a bit like a Graduation Cermony. After all the long patient months of carrying my precious cargo the first important part of the job is finished. Unto us a child is born and I am rewarded with my celebratory cup of tea. There is no better feeling in the world. Brendan saying, “Well done!” and the comforting taste of warm buttery toast.

People often ask how Brendan and I managed to rear fourteen children. The short answer is, one beautiful baby at a time. The scripture says if we are faithful with the little we are given we will be given more. God gave us a desire and strength to have more lovely children. It was truly a case of, “Not by might not by power but by the Holy Spirit.” Zechariah 4.

Brendan believed the scripture that says, “You can’t serve God and money.” He never ever thought along the lines of we can’t afford another child. God’s will and not the dictates of money was always our priority.

We believed Psalm 127 which says, “Children are a blessing from The Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” We received our offspring as a blessing and a reward from God. The same Psalm also says, “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” While Brendan sourjorned with the Baptists he was told a quiver full was five. Thus five children was a complete amount. For some reason this never witnessed with me.

A couple of years ago we were talking to a Jewish man. He said we had a quiver full of kids. He explained a quiver full was at least twelve children. When Brendan mentioned the Baptist idea of five he laughed. He said, “Do you think the Israeli armies only gave their archers five arrows to go to war with?”

Daily we always shared one meal together and always prayed as a family every evening. We taught our children to pray extemporaneously, spontaneously talk to God about their daily needs. A family that prays together stays together!

When Mary was six months old Brendan and I attended a Christian Conference. It was the first time we had ever heard prophecy. Brendan instantly knew he had that gift. He started prophesying from that day to this. Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God uses to give us words of encouragement to help us in our Christian walk. Brendan and I were prayed for and given words of encouragement about our future. These words helped us through many difficult years ahead.

The Lord is the only God who tells the future and brings it to pass. If we want to know the future we should enquire of the living God. Isaiah 31 v 9.Mary now receives lots of important dreams. She is very prophetic.

When Mary was a toddler she swallowed a small coin. It stuck in her wind pipe. Brendan took her to the local hospital. She was immediately rushed to a special hospital in Belfast. Brendan sat in the ambulance nursing Mary and quietly speaking in tongues for the hour long journey. “Lord don’t let my precious daughter die.” Mary was operated on and the coin passed into Mary’s stomach and she was okay. We knew God had special plans for Mary.

Mary is a Surgeon in Obstectrics. She delivers babies and saves lives. She is recently back from a year in Ethiopia where she volunteered her services with VSO. (Google Mary McCauley and VSO to see the videos) In Ethiopia it was harder than Mary ever imagined. Lack of facilities and lack of medicine but Mary did her best. She saved lives and she made a difference. One baby at a time. One never knows the enormous potential of a little baby born at Christmas time.

Quotes from NLT version bible.