Father of Fourteen Triumphs

Triumph is rarely instant. It often comes at the end of a period of patient endurance. This week my husband and I have joy. We saw the success of a long campaign as regards our children’s education.

We are celebrating all fourteen of our children having 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.

“O clap your hands, all you people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭47:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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

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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.

Dreams Come True

Dreams come true.  Psalm 128 says “May you live to see your children’s children.”

I celebrated being sixty five recently.  Brendan and I celebrated being married for forty five years on Saturday.  Our children wanted to mark the event.  They reassured me they would do the catering and make it a hastle free day for us.  They wanted to hold the event in our home.

The first of the family arrived on Thursday night from Slovakia.  Aaron and his daughter Sara Joye wanted to be here to see other family and cousins.  Mary and Hannah arrived on Friday night.  Brendan took me on a mystery tour to a secret destination to avoid the stress of getting the house ready for visitors.  What a lovely surprise!  Brendan is romantic.

We returned next day refreshed ready to receive visitors and family.  Twenty seven of my immediate family gathered for the day.  Friends and extended family dropped in on Saturday afternoon.

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The fog lifted, the ferry sailed, the sun shone, the range got fixed, vehicles parked at the side of the house, roses blooming, tea and coffee brewing, sandwiches tempting, candles burning, tea cups clinking, adults embracing, chit chat buzzing and children darting.  Love was in the air.

Suddenly I remembered a dream a friend sent me over ten years ago.  She saw Brendan and I in a house on an elevated site overlooking the sea.  We were in an open plan living room with all our children and grandchildren around us.  Last Saturday I was in the dream.  The dreams have come to pass.

God gives dreams about the future to give us hope.  God is faithful. He fulfilled those dreams.  We were gathered with our children and grandchildren to celebrate forty five years of marriage.  We made it to celebrate forty five years together despite many trials, temptations and cancer.  Our children were delighted for Brendan and I.  They were overjoyed to be with us, especially since I’m staying alive after cancer six years ago.

It was a special joy filled day.  I remain alive to see my children’s children and see dreams come true.

Restore our Fortunes.

God will restore our fortunes.

Today I read in Northern Ireland Visitor’s Journal the following article.

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I was born near where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea in Co Down Northern Ireland.  I took its beauty for granted.  I left home at 18 and studied in Coleraine, eighty miles away.  A new university had opened there and I applied to go there and was successful.  I remained there and raised my family.

I came to visit with my sister for a few days with four of my youngest children.  She lives in Co Down.  We went for a drive to Newcastle.  As I approached the town I was amazed at the beauty of the mountains that stood before me.  I had not appreciated this beauty before.
Are not we all like that.  When we are young we can’t wait to leave home to seek our fortunes somewhere else.

Percy French wrote a song which helped  publisize the Mountains of Mournes in Co Down.

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight

With people here workin‘ by day and by night

They don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street
At least when I asked them that’s what I was told
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold
But for all that I found there I might as well be
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

The song tells us about a young man who left behind his girlfriend in his hometown near the Mournes, to seek his fortune in London.  He comes to realize the futility of hard labour away from his homeland, his beloved and his beautiful country.

Some years later my family moved from Coleraine back to Co Down.  God brought me back to my father’s land.  Just as he doing for his people Israel.  Over and over God promised his people Israel that he would restore them to the land of their forefathers.

Down the centuries many people have left Ireland.  Many songs and laments about Ireland have been written.  The inspiration comes out of hearts remembering where they came from and longing to return.  They listened to stories their forefathers told them.

Psalm 126 describes the fulfillment of the longing of the Jewish exiles who returned to their homeland from exile.

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭126:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God fulfills dreams.  Are you longing to return to your homeland?  Take the leap of faith and return.

God is restoring my fortunes and filling my heart with joy in my homeland.

Safety and Peace in Northern Ireland.

We are living in peace and and safety in Northern Ireland.

My neighbor keeps bees.  I was surprised.  I thought they must keep very quiet.  I never see any bees around the flowers in the garden.  Yesterday evening I was enjoying the evening sun.  I noticed a humming sound coming from high in the tree nearby.  I listened and looked.  It sounded like bees buzzing.  I looked closer and sure enough there were bees feeding on the pollen from the tree.  I noticed the white chairs under that tree felt sticky.  The pollen had fallen on them.  It must be sugary, pleasant for the bees to gather for their hive.  I now call this my buzzing tree.  As I pass each day I hear the sound of the bees above.

God has blessed us here in Ireland these last weeks with sunny, clear skies.  All life is opening up in the safety, warmth and comfort.  Shorts, cotton shirts and sun hats are taken out of storage.  We are using a pedalo Aaron bought for his young family years ago.  I thought it would never be used again as he has moved abroad.  No more sound of grandchildren squealing with delight as their dad launched out into the water at Newcastle.  But God.  He brings restoration.  Abraham and I were happily peddling in the Lough below with expensive yachts towering over us.  Granny was squealing!  God has filled my heart with joy.

I believe everyone should have a house and garden.  Having a home to keep warm in the winter is necessary.  As the spring arrives one needs to get out doors after a cold and dark winter.  Summer arrives suddenly when the trees get clothed in dark gree leaves and weeds sprout out of the ground where there was only soil a short time before.
As the days get long and warm it is pleasant to have space to sit outdoors and enjoy the flowers, the birds singing and fresh air.  It is good for the soul.  He leads me in green pastures to restore my soul.

In King Solomon’s reign in Judah and Israel, the people
“Were very contented with plenty to eat and drink.  And there was peace throughout the entire land. They lived in peace and safety.  Each family had his own home and garden.” I Kings 4 v 24.
When I travelled in Mediteranean countries I admired the little white houses with the families sitting under the shade of the vine tree in the cool of the evening.  It is a picture of what I read in Scripture,
“And every man neath his vine and fig tree shall live in peace and be unafraid.”  Micah 4

This was so refreshing to see.  I longed for that image of peace.  Could that ever happen in Northern Ireland?  At the time there was war.  Getting out of the turmoil for a week was a blessed relief.

Praise God today in N Ireland we do have peace and people are sitting out in their gardens.  The word of The Lord has come to pass.
“And into plowshares turn their swords,  and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  Micah 4 v 3

Hail the King, hail The Lord of all.  Of his government there shall be no end in Ireland!  Isaiah 9.  Safety and peace are restored to N Ireland.

A Star in the East

Today I awoke before sunrise.  I looked out the window and saw a bright star in the East.  I don’t know if it was Saturn or Venus.  It was the only star visible in the awakening dawn.

I thought of the story of the three wise men from the east who followed a star to Israel.  Did they travel by night and rest by day?  How would they have seen the star by day?  Perhaps it was too hot to travel by day.  I don’t know but people have different reasons to set out on a journey.

Thirty eight years ago I set out on a journey.  Many people thought I was crazy including my doctor.   A friend of my husband invited our family to spend Christmas with him in England.  I was excited at the opportunity to have a holiday and our family of four to be looked after.  No Christmas shopping or cooking.

The only concern was I was due my third child on Christmas Day!  I paid a visit to my doctor to tell him about my plans.  He was surprised.  He strongly advised against me travelling such a long journey being heavily pregnant.  What hospital will I attend?  What if I start labour on my journey? He continued to persuade me to give up the idea.

He did not convince me.  I reminded him that Mary travelled on a donkey seventy miles from her home in Nazareth to Bethlehem.  She was heavily pregnant.  I would be travelling by car, a bit more comfortable than a donkey!  The joy of having a holiday outweighed any concerns I had.

The doctor did not say anything more.  He gave me a letter to give to the doctor in whatever hospital I was admitted.

Our family travelled by ferry to Liverpool and on by road to our destination.  I enjoyed the journey. My excitement kept my hopes up.  Our host took me to see his doctor.  He received me and assured me that I could attend the local hospital whenever I went into labour.  There was going to be room for me in the Inn.

Mary gave birth to her baby in a stable surrounded by animals.  There was no midwife or doctor.  No medical care, no pain relief, no comforts, only the breath of the animals to keep her and her baby warm.  Some shepherds were told by angels to go and greet the new born baby.  Some time later the three wise men from the East arrived bringing gifts for the baby Jesus.

Many women is poorer counties can identify with Mary.  Medical care may be expensive or non existent!  Having a baby is not a sickness.  It is a normal process of bringing new life into the world.

I knew for sure the same God, whose son was born in a manger, was looking after me that Christmas in England.  Our friends were very generous to our family.  My baby did not arrive on the due date, Christmas Day.  My husband, myself and two children had the finest of fare without a care in the world.

Three days later I started in labour.  My baby was on the way!  I gave birth to a healthy baby girl with no complications.  I was delighted.  We called her Nora.  She is an answer to prayer.  I already had two children, a girl and a boy.  But I had a strong desire to have another child.  I prayed and asked God for another child.  I believed God and said “I will give my life to you if you give me another child.”  I became pregnant.  God was faithful to give me another child and looked after me on my travels.

I am still travelling on a journey down through the last thirty eight years.  I have read in God’s word many other stories about how God led his people on journeys.  These stories have helped me along my path.
In that time I have reared fourteen children and been healed of fourth stage cancer.  God continues to care for me on the journey.  God is faithful.

I Hear the Brent Geese Honking.

My front door is one hundred and ten steps away from the sea shore.  This morning I can hear the honks of Canadian Brent geese that graze along the waters edge.  The sun is coming up over the hill to the left.  It will melt the crisp frost that has whitened the grass overnight.  It’s a new day dawning.

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I think of the song by Matt Redman

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

The Brent geese come to this area of Strangford Lough for the winter.  I always think of our friends from Canada when I see them.  They remind me of the blessing Canadians have been to my husband and family.  Canadians have visited us and we have visited Canada.

There are four aeroplane trails going west to east as I look up in the sky.  Flight paths pass over Ireland from Canada to London.  After the Christmas festivities with friends and family my heart is being drawn to travel and the nations beyond to tell my story of God healing me from cancer.

I was reading from the scriptures this morning.

This message is from the LORD, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. (‭Zechariah‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ NLT)

How good it is to sing praises to our God.
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars and calls them all by name.
How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension! (‭Psalm 147 v 1 to 4

These scriptures remind me that the God who made the heavens, made me, and he healed my broken heart and healed my wounds and is restoring my life from sadness and sorrow.

I want to sing Bless The Lord Oh my soul.  I am alive to praise The Lord.  Psalm 88 says the dead cannot praise God.  It is good to be alive to hear and see the Brent Geese.

My sons, daughters and grand children were strumming on their guitars, playing a tin whistle and singing last night as we gathered together.  Songs of joy are filling our home and hearts.

One of my grand daughters gets up early to play her guitar and write songs.  She has to rush when her mum calls her for school.

He awakens me morning by morning and fills me with joy.