7 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILD’S FAITH

Joshua 24:15

A– As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. This was our memory verse of the week. The first one in our new scripture memory challenge.

I was listening to a sermon the other day, where a young man shared on the role of parents to instil good values in their children. He was reminding of us of our God given task to bring up our children to know the truth of God’s word. The truth is the family is of great importance to God. HE created family to show his glory and to share his love. Our homes are where our children will first begin to see and experience compassion and love, forgiveness and grace through Christ. Children witness the devotion, kindness and humility between their parents, and they experience first-hand the love and patience showered upon them from their parents.

I realise that I’m raising world changers! My daughters have a spirit about them that I know will impact lives and it’s my duty to make sure that I give them what it takes to make a powerful and positive impact. With all the distractions and antics that grab us and our children’s attention these days, this is something that I know I must be intentional about. It does take some effort, but I know that it is important to not only teach them God’s word but to demonstrate it in our daily living.

I know that a long bible study session shoving the scriptures down their throats is not going to work in my home. I don’t think I can maintain their attention for that long, but I have been trying a few different things that has been effective in developing their understanding of God’s word. You’re probably doing this already but today I am sharing 7 ways to intentionally build your child’s faith and strengthen their love for God.

1.Talk about Jesus in regular conversation.

Children need to understand that Jesus is not entirely abstract but that he is accessible to us as believers. Ask questions like, ‘what do you think Jesus would do in that situation?’ ‘How did Jesus help you today?’

2. Share an experience of your own.

To tell our kids about something is useful, but to show them is invaluable. It’s meaningful to share some of my own challenges with making the right choices. My daughter feels less defeated when I can identify with her struggle to do the right thing. I share how I ask God to help me with certain areas of my life and she draws strength and encouragement from my experiences. She knows that she is not alone!

3. Read Bible stories together.

Get a good Kids bible story book. We use the Beginner’s Bible which you can purchase from Amazon or most Christian bookstores. It has bright, colourful pictures and the stories are short and simplified. Perfect for my 2 and 5-year-old. I also love that you can find some animated versions of the stories on their YouTube page. The girls love watching these. They help to make the stories relevant and accessible to them.

4. Let them hear you pray out loud.

My girls know their morning, evening and mealtime prayers, but it’s also very important for them to know that they can make their prayers personal. I sometimes try to pray out loud so they can hear me personalising my prayers and asking God for help in different areas. I remember my mom doing this when I was younger. My siblings and I heard her pray all the time and this helped to shape our confidence in talking to God.

5. Ask them if there is something they would like to pray about or if there is someone they would like to pray for. Pray with them.

My mom is good at doing this with my girls. Any time the girls are upset, or in pain or feeling poorly, she asks them if they would like her to pray and they always reply with ‘Yes, NANA’. They crawl into her bosom and she prays with them. Sometimes she would tell them what to say and they will close their eyes and repeat her words with the purest faith I have ever witnessed.

Sometimes if someone isn’t feeling well, she would say, ‘Let’s pray that they feel better’ and they would do a quick prayer together in that moment. Take advantage of great opportunities to demonstrate ‘ACTIVE FAITH’.

6. Take a moment to notice the evidence of God’s glory all around you.

 Ask them what is the most amazing thing they think God has created. Look around you for evidence of God’s handiwork and talk about its beauty. We talk about nature, and how God made the birds. We talk about how God gave the ants strength to carry their own food for long distances. All the things that naturally spark curiosity in a child is an excellent way to remind them (and ourselves) of the wonder of God and his magnificent creation.

7. Worship Dance Party.

And of course, we gotta shake those wiggles out ever so often. Our dance parties usually happen in the kitchen when I’m cooking dinner or when we’re tidying up after playtime. We turn on some praise and worship music, sing and dance together as we worship God. It’s a good way to switch into a cheerful mood as well. We love Listener Kids videos on YouTube!

Tried not to make this one too long. Maybe there are a few things here that you do already, if you are that’s awesome! If not, please don’t feel like you’re failing and definitely don’t feel like i’m adding to a list of things that you have to make happen in your home. Most of these are probably things that happen in your home naturally, and you just need to work (like I do as well) at being more intentional about it.

My prayer is that you are inspired and challenged to live and demonstrate Active Faith for the little ones whom God has entrusted to you.

I am interested to know how discipleship looks in your homes. Share in the comments below!

Kids have BIG EMOTIONS too!

Previously, I shared about my own experience with anxiety and how I am learning to focus on the positive and release my grip on things I have no control over.

Today, I wanted to share a little about what I have been observing in my 5 year old. I have a very clever and expressive 5 year old. Anyone who knows her, knows that she is quite the talker and full of life. An encounter with her is truly an EXPERIENCE  that will remain with you. I am incredibly inspired by her boldness and love for people and life. She thrives on social interaction and constant attention. She also is a very emotionally intelligent girl (for her age, I think). She would watch a film and become very upset by sad and unfair scenes from as young as 3 years old. I mean the girl was in tears during ‘Curious George’.

As I observe her, I notice a lot of myself in her- the way she carries the ‘weight of the world’ at times. Taking on the distress of her peers and family members. She would be so upset upon witnessing any injustice done to someone.

So recently, we have been in a bit of a struggle, because she has destroyed countless blouses from her constant chewing on the neck of them. Along with that, we argue daily about her putting things, small items in her mouth. It was like, every moment, you had to tell her ‘’take that out of your mouth’’ ”that’s not for eating!’’ Even after a trip to the hospital from swallowing a coin, she still didn’t seem to understand that nothing other than food and water, should enter her mouth.

I kept thinking to myself, this just isn’t normal! I don’t have this problem with my 2-year-old at all. Actually, the only thing my 2 year old ever puts in her mouth is food! But my elder, just didn’t seem as if she could help herself, and the more I got on her case about it, it’s almost like the worse it got. So I took to the internet to do some research on how common this was in 5 year olds.

It opened my eyes to the possibility that it was probably something that she was doing unconsciously as an emotional coping mechanism.

I have been biting my nails from a little girl and still do to this day! Nasty habit I know! Don’t judge me! But I have way more control over it than I did as a child. It was somewhat comforting it was a release of some sort. But my daughter doesn’t bite her nails like I did. She chews!

What I found from numerous sources was that she could be dealing with a level of anxiety. Some of the common signs in children included the following:

  • Chewing or biting on nails or objects
  • Unexplained tummy aches
  • Fits of crying for what may seem like ‘trivial’ things
  • Excessive questioning about what may seem to be ‘the obvious’
  • Overly- emotional over stories or movies etc.
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Sleeplessness

These are just some of the typical signs, most of which I have noticed in her behaviours.

I know that like myself, she is a high achiever, and she does put pressure on herself to get it ‘right’ all the time. She is very competitive. And so like I spoke about in my last post, just like me, she feels pressure to do things perfectly, consistently. This is part of the reason why I wanted to learn to manage the anxiety in my life. I could see an impending cycle and I don’t want my daughter to subject herself to that same sort of pressure. I believe that she has inadvertently learned this anxious behaviour by observing and watching me. Now that I have identified that she can be quite anxious I have been working on ways to help her cope when she begins to feel this way.

It’s important to me to me to address the emotional need behind the (irritating) behaviours first, so I will start with some ways to address and help relieve the anxiety itself.

IDENTIFY THE FEELING

  1. The first step is recognizing the feeling. For children at this age it may be hard to put in words what they may be feeling or thinking. She usually says something to me like, ‘‘mommy I don’t feel like myself, my body feels weird and different’’ or she may say ‘‘mommy I feel like my legs don’t work’’ Don’t worry I have checked that she is physically ok! Which she usually is, but she is trying to relate that she feels like she has no control over her body and her emotions that are overwhelming her at that time.

So I encourage her to describe to me what she is thinking about. I ask her pointed questions about her day, her friends, things she may be afraid of, or excited about or worried about. It’s important to note that you can be anxious about something good or something you are expecting, like a special trip or new baby brother/sister etc. So it doesn’t always have to be negative, but it helps that our children can identify the feeling and have strategies to self-manage and cope in any circumstance.

This is important in raising our kids to be resilient.

USE THE GROUNDING TECHNIQUE

  • When she is describing the different feelings in her body, I use the 5-4-3-2-1 technique that I described in my earlier post here. It works and it seems to break her fixation on whatever is turning in her mind to allow herself to regain a sense of control.

PRAY WITH THEM

  • Pray about it. If it’s something she is worried about or concerned about, we pray together. In instances when she can’t say for sure what may be bothering her, we still pray. I let her lead and usually it comes out when she begins to mention things in her prayer. I learned this from my mom. Many times, when I felt powerless to help, her NANA would call her and pray for her. Those NANA prayers are POWERFUL!

ILLUSTRATE THEIR THOUGHTS

  • Draw pictures. This is a good way for kids to express what they can’t say to you explicitly. You can derive lots from a child’s description of a few circles and scribbles. It’s also very useful as a calm down strategy, as they can transport their thoughts to the paper and off their mind.

CREATE A SAFE SPACE

  • Create an open and honest space. It’s important to me that she feels comfortable to come and talk to me about any and everything. I know that this will almost be non-existent when she approaches those teenage years, so I am trying my best to build the foundation to encourage that from now.

GIVE A CUDDLE

  • Sometimes a warm hug of reassurance is just enough to settle the nerves and remind our kids that they are safe, and you are there for them. It’s also very important that they get that cuddle time from you as a parent so that there is no desire to seek that comfort outside of the safety of your family or home. This is something I am still working on. Let me be clear in saying that I am not perfect and do not do this consistently, but I am working at it as I try to be what my girls need me to be.

ALLOW SOME QUIET TIME

  • Lots of people implement a calm down/ quiet corner to help children to settle and cope with their big emotions. This sometimes helps my daughter when she is in a crying fit. However, she better responds to closeness and attachment. So, sending her to a quiet space isn’t usually a good solution I find. Taking her and sitting with her would work better in her case. These quiet corners can include a calm down kit, with items such as a relevant storybook, sensory bottles, stress ball, stuffed animal, relaxation pictures. This is not something I have tried with her yet, but I have seen it being used effectively with kids in the classroom.

ENCOURAGE POSITIVE SELF TALK

  • Positive affirmations. I started this about a year ago with her, and I haven’t always stuck with it, but she does. At one point when she was very anxious about issues at school. I wrote down some affirmations on a poster for her which we would read every morning on our way out the door. Eventually she had learnt them by heart, and she would repeat it by herself just before she ran to her classroom. It really helped to settle her nerves and prepare her for the day ahead and it has always stuck with her. So up to this day, she would turn to me when she is uncertain and repeat it to me as if to say. ‘I’m feeling a little shaky today, but I know I got this!’  An example of the affirmation I did for her was I am brave. I am strong. I am beautiful. God loves me. I find it to be a little more meaningful than ‘’have a good day’’. You can also include things like I am a good friend. I am smart! I can do hard things…etc.

SET TIME LIMITS

  • Set a focus timer. This one may be strange. But because she gets super anxious when she is excited or sometimes worried about something not going right. This sometimes leads to less desirable behaviours. To help her to stay on track with what she needs to do considering her excitement, I use a timer. No, I don’t use a sand jar or digital hand timer. Although you can! But let’s be honest, we ain’t always got time for that! I countdown myself: Let’s get this done by the time I count to 5 or 10 etc. If she’s worried about something, she will become distracted in her thoughts or avoid doing things or just do them painfully slow! So a timer is a good way to snap her out of the anxious trance and get her going. The competitive nature in her allows for a good redirection of her thoughts.

GIVE THEM A SENSORY RELEASE

  • Lastly, there are lots of suggestions for using sensory chew toys, as excessive chewing, especially in older children can be indications of a sensory disorder, however we haven’t tried this. I feel if we are able to keep anxiety to a minimum then the chewing will eventually be non-existent! We will see! My goal is to deal with the underlying problem so that I can reduce the NEED to chew.

Note that the last few points address some of the behaviours that come with anxious feelings. I added this at the end, emphasizing that the CAUSE of the concern or worry should always be addressed first.

These are based on my observations with my girls and what works in our home. Yes, I have a psychology background but it is framed by my experiences as a young mom. If you as a parent feel that things are more serious. Don’t feel afraid or embarrassed to seek professional advice. As parents it’s our duty to do what we need to do to ensure our little ones are living a mentally healthy and productive life. We are living in a world where 6-year olds are committing suicide, 8-year olds are suffering from depression, 10-year olds are walking into schools and shooting their peers. Kids have stress too! And just like you need to offload as an adult, they need to offload as well. But they also need to be coached and supported in figuring out how this looks for them.

I know this was a heavy one, but I think it’s important to recognise and acknowledge that our kids are little human beings trying to navigate this world too! And truth is…you and I know how challenging it can be.

Until next time……Grow in Grace,

Niclair

Let’s chat about ANXIETY.

I stood in the girls restroom trying to stifle my uncontrollable sobs so no one could hear. After a few minutes, I began to breathe easier. Looking into the mirror I dried my eyes. ”Niclair, you can do this! You’ve got to do this! You’re almost there! Pick yourself up and keep going!” I whispered these words to myself as I stared into my now red and puffy eyes.

This was one of several attacks I had suffered in high school and college. At the time, I thought I was overwhelmed and stressed and you know- over- emotional like we assume teenage girls are. I now know that I had been experiencing anxiety attacks.

The stress of constant studying and pressure to achieve the grades I needed, to be accepted to my universities of choice was overwhelming, especially in an academically competitive school like the one I attended. I was pushing myself beyond my physical capacity with late nights, early mornings and still failing to achieve the desired grades.

While I am happy I did it, and am pleased with my success, I can’t hide the fact that it was TOUGH! But, I wanted it, so I pushed for it!

Anxiety is something that I have always struggled with. It’s the ”perfectionist” side of me that I believe is the root of my anxiety. Not that I, myself wanted to be perfect, but I had always felt that people expected me to be ‘perfect’ and so I always felt that pressure to perform, to be the best, to do the right thing, to do the expected thing. There was no room for mistakes. People depended on me. I know that my parents only ever expected me to do my personal best, but I carried a misconception that ‘I’ couldn’t afford to ever disappoint, so I put pressure on myself to out-do my own ‘best’.

Let me just interject here that, Perfection is something none of us can ever achieve. Only CHRIST is perfect. The perfection that some us strive for is just a false sense of security and satisfaction that we get to shield us from our insecurities and vulnerability about others may think about us. I love how Brene Brown describes it in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’.( Go read it now if you haven’t! I’ve read it twice. It’s so enlightening!) ”Perfectionism is , at its core, about trying to earn approval and acceptance……we want to be perceived as perfect.” Truth is, as long as it looks perfect on the outside to everyone else, we have achieved success!

I digress a little. I’m sharing my story- not struggle- with anxiety because it is real and many people are affected by it and don’t realise. As described by the NHS website, Anxiety is characterised by feelings of worry, uneasiness or fear. While feelings of anxiety are completely normal at times in ones’ life, for example, life- changing event, a big exam, etc. if these feelings are affecting your regular routine and daily life, then you may have to seek help.

For me, help wasn’t as serious as seeing a therapist or GP, but I do have some strategies on hand to help me when I feel an attack coming on and some ways to lessen my anxiety in general about certain life situations.

Just to give you an idea, some common symptoms of anxiety are:

-insomnia
-a sense of dread
-difficulty concentrating
-irritability
-constantly feeling stressed
-nail- biting/chewing habit
-refraining from unplanned or spontaneous activities
-the need for a predetermined plan all the time

Signs of an anxiety attack are mostly physical, and can include:

-dizziness
-Heart palpitations ( irregular heartbeat, strong or fast)
-confusion
-Shaking
-excessive sweating
-shortness of breath
-feeling nauseous
-Feeling faint or weak
-Uncontrollable sobbing

Please bear in mind that everyone is different and this is by no means to be taken as official medical advice! It is purely a synopsis of my personal research and experience. Anxiety doesn’t only affect your psychological health but can affect your physical health as well. I encourage you to do a self- evaluation and make the choice to see a professional if you feel anxiety is hindering your daily life and normal routine.

We were on our way to church, it might have been our second or third Sunday as newlyweds. Hubby was driving, and we were both just in our thoughts and I burst into tears. I couldn’t help myself, I didn’t know what was wrong. My heart just suddenly felt like someone had set a couple of bricks on it. Of course he was concerned and pulled over until I was calm. And I was so embarrassed, I thought, ”my brand new husband probably wondering what is wrong with this girl and fretting about what he may have to deal with in future.”

Truth: I had just done some major life changing stuff and I barely took the time to really let it sink in. I graduated school, returned home, started two jobs and got engaged all in the space of 6 months. A year from my engagement, I was married and ‘living with man’! (Homegirl grow up in church you know, that’s a big deal!) And it was all just hitting me like a ton of bricks and……yeah! However I am grateful for such an understanding and supportive husband. He is never and has never been judgemental or scared of these ‘imperfections’. He just goes with my flow! 🙂

Since then, I’ve had a few other attacks as an adult, but now that I can recognise them and understand that as a result of anxiety, I try as much as possible to release my grip on always trying to ‘have it together’ or knowing the plan.

I aim to keep my mind on the things that I can control and surrender what I can’t. And on those few days that everything falls to pieces, I use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding technique. This was suggested by a close friend of mine, and it really helps me during an attack.

During the onset of an attack, I take slow, deep breaths and look for
5 things that I can see
4 things that I can feel
3 things that I can hear
2 things that I can smell and
1 thing that I can taste

I also look for an object to focus in on and concentrate on its details. e.g a window drape, the colour, texture, pattern etc.

Anxiety is quite common with many people today, especially in woman because of the many social pressures to again be fit, be successful, be a model career woman, be an entrepreneur, be the ‘magazine’ mom, be the ‘trophy’ wife, to be…PERFECT!

I am at the point where I am so tired of trying to live to other’s expectations! it’s exhausting! It’s stressful and self- destructive! So while I know anxiety is real, and I accept that. It’s something that I am trying to reduce as much as possible these days by releasing myself from these pressures and just following, at my own pace, the path God has laid out for me.

Philippians 4:6-8:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This verse is always in my back pocket. It’s a constant reminder to surrender my concerns, my worries, insecurities to Christ- and honestly, when you fully let go of them you will experience HIS Peace. His Peace will keep you. His Peace reminds me that HE has the power to ‘perfect’ everything that concerns me, so I don’t need to worry!

Matthew 6:25-34 reminds me that, if God has strategically and divinely placed everything in nature around me, then surely he has a divine plan for my life as well.

I also don’t need to try and keep up with everyone around me, I can run/ walk/skip at my own pace because Romans 8:28 tells me that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

I know what it is to strive for something with everything in you because you fear to disappoint yourself and others. I still struggle with that now, but I’m learning that my success and accomplishment cannot be based on other’s measuring stick. If that’s the case I will forever be trying to ‘keep up’ but instead falling short. I’m seeing the need to be compassionate with myself because I cannot control other’s perception of who I am or who they think I am suppose to be. What defines me is who God says that I am!

As I leave you with these thoughts, this scripture is one that I keep in my other back pocket:
Proverbs 3:5-6  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.

Trust God to take you where he wants you to be!

If you feel like anxiety is something you struggle with and would like someone to talk to, I am happy to be a listening ear and shoulder for support. Get in touch with me! We can pray on this together!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll be sharing about anxiety in children, how to spot it and coping strategies. Until then,
Keep Growing!

Yesterday was a good day! How was today?- Ask me tomorrow!

Do you sometimes feel like you can’t ground yourself? What are you talking about Niclair? Today your feeling great, motivated, recharged, Tomorrow your back at the bottom struggling to bring purpose to your day. Well if that’s not you, awesome! Some people just always seem ready to bring the force! This is not me! Let me give you an example. Last week Thursday, I had a really good day. I was THE mom! I didn’t shout or raise my voice at the girls. We played and laughed together. They tried their hardest to play cooperatively and ate all their dinner without too much fuss! It was a GOOD day! And when I stepped into the shower that evening, all I could do was sing praises to God, because I had such a peace. I felt God’s presence with me all day. Fast forward to Friday…….it was dreadful! I started the day willing myself out of bed. I felt myself spiralling out of control all day. I ended Friday in tears as I stood in the shower, feeling guilty for not having a day like yesterday! I find myself constantly in this cycle so I prayed about it and told God this was an area I needed some help with. So lately, I have been working on some ways to help me keep a positive mindset and grateful attitude so that whatever drama the day brings, I am mentally prepared to take it on and not let it drag me down.

Truth is, this happens a lot with me. I have an awesome day and then a horrendous day! Like…. what gives? And when I reflect on it. It wasn’t really a horrendous day, but I did have some ‘stuff’ on my heart that were a real burden. Instead of laying them at the feet of the one who says to us to give HIM everything, I carried it around all day. The weight of the burden on my mind was hindering my focus so much that I couldn’t even tune in to my worship music. It affected my mood and because my mood was off, everything else became out of balance.

I replayed the negativity continuously in my mind and so I couldn’t steer my thoughts on the goodness of God and HIS love for me. We sometimes do this thing where we put something down but it’s still in our sight, so it remains on our hearts weighing us down. And you know us moms, when something is there long enough we pick it back up.

How do you give something to God and make sure you leave it with HIM? Choose to pick up something else instead. When you go to the feet of Jesus, in prayer and you pour out your heart to HIM, i’m encouraging you make sure you leave with something when you get up. Not the same thing of course but something which he has offered to you….HIS unconditional love for us, the promise that HE is always with us and a reminder of HIS all- sufficient GRACE. A reminder to give yourself a little more grace and to offer those around you a little more grace. BE GRACIOUS.

For me, if something doesn’t go as planned, or I lose track of time or the girls did something that threw my day out of whack, I always get stressed. There I begin losing control and falling into that disappointed, negative mindset as I scramble to get my day back on track. And I am realizing that I put so much pressure on myself and the people closest to me, no wonder I get stressed! We all get stressed! I’m learning to be gracious!

I sometimes take my thoughts towards others and pretend as if it was Jesus saying the same to me: ”This is your last chance. It’s about time you get this right, Niclair !” And immediately I’m like Whoa… ummm Niclair, where’s the grace? I recall once being quite frustrated with Sarai and I asked ”Do you think you deserve a second chance? How many chances have I given you already?” And in that exact moment, I heard God echo those words in my heart! ”Niclair, do you think you deserve a second chance? How many chances have I given you already?” And I thought in my heart, Lord please don’t put a limit on it, because I know I’m going to need more!

I say that to say sometimes those around us, those closest to us could use a little more grace. For me as a mom of a powerhouse 5 year old and a spirited 2 year old, I tend to be very firm sometimes. Firm, because I love them and I know that these are the tender years and I want to make sure that I am teaching them wrong from right and how to do the responsible thing. Still, i’ve got to remind myself to be gracious with myself and with them. We are doing this together. They can’t do this thing without me and I can’t do it without them for sure!

One of the things I began to do, is wake up with worship music and have it playing in the mornings as we start our day. Well it has been working and I am so much better prepared for the day and the challenges it may bring. I even find that I feel more in charge and in control of my mood throughout the day. It’s also been beneficial to spend more time in the word of GOD. Setting aside time to meditate on God’s promises makes it easier to draw on them during the day when I need a little boost.

As I am writing, in the time I have allocated as ”my time to write”, Hannah is demanding that I go and get her some food 🙂 . So before I go, I want to leave with you these scriptures that encourage me:

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Philippians 1:6- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Until next time, keep going and keep growing!
Niclair x

BE the one to kick ‘comfortable’ to the curb!

I always use to think that one should grow within the area of their strengths. I believed that one should develop what you’re good at, follow your natural talents and abilities because those were the areas you would excel in and more likely to be successful in. With this mindset I began to approach various things in my life. I stuck to (and still do) what I was good at. I restricted my self to doing what came naturally. That was ok for me, because I knew I wouldn’t fail in that area. I knew it was my strength and I was bound to be successful. So I entered into a feel good, all settled, comfort zone. This is dangerous territory for various reasons:

1- You can become complacent and start doing things at a mediocre level;

2- You can fall into a slump, where you don’t experience any growth.

About a year or two ago, I found myself slipping into this place. I wasn’t stretching myself and I wasn’t learning anything new. I began to feel bored and trapped because I refused to challenge myself. I felt comfortable in a box doing things I knew I could do well without much effort. I wanted more, but wouldn’t dare leave the box! Why couldn’t I leave the box?

F E A R! Fear keeps us from discovering what’s beyond the boundaries of our current experiences. It keeps us in the safe zone! And while I might have felt protected from the unknown, which may have included possible failure, defeat disappointment, the ”unknown” just might have included greater opportunities, growth and other successes. More importantly FEAR stunted my FAITH! FAITH in what God has already promised me. Faith in his HOLY Spirit to guide me and Faith in myself and my ability to do all things in HIS strength!

Fear hangs on to our skirt tail more regularly that we realise, but that’s why this year I am focusing on realising some of my dreams. The dreams that you know we pretend aren’t there, because we DOUBT they will come to pass. I am putting my faith to the test in 2020 by leaving that comfy spot on the couch. I am pushing myself to take on new challenges. I am pursuing ideas that are not within my areas of strength because I want to do more, grow more, be more and to do that I am going to have to encounter some new experiences. It will require a greater effort on my part, but that’s how you build muscle, You don’t get muscle lifting balloons.

People, we will meet resistance! It will take many forms! One to look out for is naysayers!There will be people who doubt your success and would encourage you to play it safe! There will be people who will tell you to ‘stay in your lane.’ And when they do, just say to them ”Tell Jesus, it’s him not me at the wheel!”

People it will feel HARD! The harder the task, the sweeter the reward! Jesus met resistance throughout his journey teaching, preaching and performing miracles. But I can just imagine how full his heart must have become when he met that woman whose faith was such that she only wanted to touch his garment.

People, it will get lonely sometimes but those are the opportune times to surround yourself in God’s presence! Look up encouraging scriptures to help you in these times. I’m not ashamed- I type into google ‘ scriptures to encourage lonely women’ and BAM! Hey, I’m still studying and still growing!

This year I challenge you to BE obedient to the call within your heart. BE someone who rises to the occasion and doesn’t sit back and let awesomeness pass you over. BE someone who crosses new territory in confidence because you got the BIG MAN leading the way. BE someone who is not afraid to FAIL because your FAITH is bigger than your FEAR.

BE COURAGEOUS!

Happy NEW Year ! 2020 Ready!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here! I am so grateful for everything that God has in store for me in 2020! I can’t see it yet, but I can sure feel it. I feel ready for new challenges, excited for new ventures and anticipate the new lessons to be learnt this year. Launching this blog is something I have finally built up the courage to do. I always felt the nudging, but never had the confidence to make a move. Last year God reminded me that to grow I have to be willing to leave my comfort zone. And while I am not a spectacular writer, I am a talker. So I will be ‘talk- writing’ to you guys!

As I charge into 2020, I intend to BE GRACIOUS! This is what I feel is my focus this year. Be gracious to myself, with my children, my husband and people in general. Many times we get so wrapped up in what we want out of life and how we can position and manipulate everyone and every situation in order to achieve it. We forget that people are people with their own agendas, unique personalities and desires. And for me, I think I could do with extending a little more grace sometimes. Backtrack! ALOT more grace- especially with those closest to me.

As the month passes I will be sharing a bit more about my hearts intentions for 2020. So be sure to follow me so you can be apart of the conversation. What’s your power phrase for 2020?

Welcome to my journey!

Hi there! I’m Niclair and I’m a Jesus Lover, Wife , a Mom, a teacher and to sum it all up , I am a woman. A woman on a journey to discovering her true purpose and committed to intentionally living a wholesome life that honours that purpose in Christ! Come alongside me! Let’s chat! Let’s cry! Let’s laugh! Let’s rant! Let’s live ! Let’s serve! Let’s love on each other! Let’s be Women!