Sunday, 10 February 2019

In the forest.


There is something about being in nature and hearing the sound of gently running water that soothes my soul.
Walking barefoot along the soft, springy turf of the forest floor...
Feeling the dappled sunlight warm on my skin...
Dipping my feet in the stream and delighting in the absolute stillness and silence of the forest.

I always leave the forest feeling refreshed and at peace, ready to face the world beyond the trees...

May your week ahead be a beautiful and blessed one, lovely readers...

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Dreams and Discontentment...

I am a dreamer.  I love dreaming, imagining, wondering...
I love lying awake at night, simply thinking about the many wonderful things I would like to do and the amazing places I would like to see. 

Many times my dreaming can lead to discontentment in my everyday life and I find I have to guard against disillusionment with where I find myself.
Hopes and dreams are truly beautiful things and should inspire us to live with intention.
However, they should not distract us from living fully in the present and embracing the beauty of every moment.

How sad it would be if we spent all our days wishing for something more than what we have in the here and now, only to realise much further down the road that true happiness was found in those quiet days at home and the adventure in everyday living.

 "The fact is, if we are not content with what we have, we will never be content with what we think we want.  They key to joyous living is to embrace the will of God and to receive with gratitude the gifts He chooses to give us in each season of life."  ~ Nancy Leigh De Moss

Are you purposing to live fully where the Lord has you right now?
Embrace the season you are in...
Ask the Lord to lead you and to fill your heart with His dreams and desires.
Hope in Him, He will bring everything to pass, each in its own season.

Blessings and love in Christ... 

"The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here..."  ~ Robert Green Ingersoll 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A Little Life Update

Hello lovely friends and a blessed new year to you...
This past week my sister and I were in Cape Town submitting our visa applications.
We are so excited and thankful that the time has finally come for us to make preparations for visiting our family in China.
We are also so grateful to have been granted 120 day visas for China, so we will be flying out February 19th and only coming home on the 13th of June...

We are counting down the weeks till we are reunited with our family...
It has been a long six months indeed, and the thought that soon we will be able to embrace our loved ones again and enjoy hours of talking and catching up, fills us with overwhelming joy.
And I am excited to have the opportunity to travel to China for the second time and have hopes of exploring a bit more this time around... 

This time I will be taking my laptop along, so I will be sure to keep you all up to date.  Otherwise you can find The Diary of a Country Girl on Facebook.

^ This picture was taken the day my dad and I went exploring Hefei.  We visited the local zoo that morning and afterwards I wanted to see if I could find the park we had driven past a few times.  After walking much further than we planned to, we came to the entrance of this park where we walked for about half an hour.  
We thought that we would come out on the other side and be able to get a cab back to our apartment.  However, all we found was a dead end!  And it was about then that it began to pour with rain...and of course we had left our umbrellas behind!  
I would say that this was one of our favourite days together...we got soaked and eaten alive by mosquitoes on the long walk back....but it was so special! 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for our trip - there is a lot we need to organise this side before going away for almost four months...

May the Lord bless and keep each one of you - continue serving Him with joy!

In Christ,

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Works of His Hand...

"On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate."  ~ Psalm 145:5

"You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you."  ~ Nehemiah 9:6

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" ~ Psalm 8:3-4

 "He has made everything beautiful in its time..."  ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."  ~ Isaiah 55:11

"Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." ~ Psalm 102:25

"The grass withereth,the flower fadeth:  but the word of our God shall stand forever."  ~  Isaiah 40:8

  "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."  ~  Psalm 19:1

How blessed are we to serve such an incredible, mighty, creative God who spoke all things into being with only a word?

 Blessings to you, sweet friends...

Photographs taken at the George Botanical Gardens a couple weeks ago...

Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Real Thing...

Where does your happiness lie?
Is it found in the things of this world, or in Christ alone?

Happiness is a swiftly passing feeling, whereas joy is a state of the heart.
Joy comes from somewhere deep within – it springs forth from the wells of our hearts when we are walking in accordance with the will of the Father and delighting fully in Him.
Joy is something far deeper, much greater and more meaningful than the idea of happiness the world has led us to believe we should be feeling on a daily basis.

I always find it intriguing to see people desperately searching for something that will bring them lasting happiness and ultimately, a sense of fulfillment…
A new job…  A new car…   An overseas holiday…  ...A new relationship…

And while these things may be good in a sense they are but a substitute for the real thing our hearts crave.
They are merely a distraction and something completely meaningless to fill the void in our lives.

Dear friends, our joy can only come from One true source. 
He is the One who fills us over and over and over again.
He is what we all truly desire.

The joy that He gives is lasting and soul satisfyingly rich…  It can carry us through the driest of deserts and bring us peace in the midst of a trial.
And even on the days when the cares of this world threaten to bring us down like a house cards, we can rest in knowing we don’t have to submit to our feelings and rather seek after the One who gives to all those who ask.

Where does your peace and joy lie?
Come, dear friend.  Lay aside your heavy burden and find your rest in Jesus.  Lay hold of His promises and find your comfort, peace and true joy in Him.

"Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest."

~ Matthew  11:22

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

a few favourites from 2018

Happy Thursday, lovely readers...
I thought I would compile a few of my favourite things from the year 2018 because it is good to remember all the lovely things...{{smiles}}

 Favourite Time Period Drama...
It is a toss up between The Man Who Invented Christmas and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Favourite Read...
Definitely The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  
And probably one of the best books I have ever read...

Favourite Song...
It is absolutely impossible to here are my top six favourites (and believe me, it was almost impossible to even do this!) in no particular order...

River by Josh Groban
Forever Now by Michael Buble
Remember by Lauren Daigle
Least I Can Do by the Ball Brothers.  
Different by Micah Tyler 
Dangerous by David Garret

Favourite Moment...
Seeing my dad waiting for me upon arriving at Hefei Xinqiao Airport, China after traveling on my own across the world! 
Second to this would be passing my Driver's Test....

Favourite Experience...
Probably riding on the high speed train to Nanjing from Hefei...this was my first time traveling on a high speed train.
It. Was. Incredible. 
Exploring the city of Nanjing was also an amazing experience...

Favourite Quote...
"God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty"

~ Peter Marshall
Other Favourite Things...
New friendships
Day trips with friends
Time spent with my family
Bible studies

Now it is your you have any favourite things to share?

A blessed new year to you, dear friends...
 Love in Christ,

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Two Thousand and Eighteen - Six Things I Learnt This Year

As the year of two thousand and eighteen draws to a close, I have been pondering the things I have learnt over the past twelve months...

Here are my top six...

This year I learnt how to say no and how to set boundaries in place to avoid being burnt out or hurt.
Initially I felt almost guilty having to tell someone I wouldn't be able to help them out or couldn't make a get together...  But over time, as I began to see the positive results of pacing myself and prioritizing, taking time to think carefully about something before giving an answer became quite natural.

I learnt that broadening my horizons quite literally - meeting new people, trying new things...seeing new places, is not as scary as I once thought it to be.  
I am actually quite a cautious person and struggle with fear of the unknown.  However, this year taught me to get out of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith.
And with each new experience, my confidence grew...
My trip to China back in June boosted my confidence levels enormously...  You can read more about my trip here.

I learnt that I am a people person and actually feel energised by being around others.
If I cast my mind back to the beginning of this year, I am surprised at the tremendous change that took place somewhere along the line...
I went from being shy and nervous around people I didn't know, to actually enjoying striking up a conversation with a someone I had only just met!

 I have met some amazing people this year and formed some special friendships along the way...

I also learnt that I need peace and quiet and time on my own to be refreshed.
It is good to come away from the noise and busyness of life every so often to be refreshed and have time for deep reflection.  
I realised that when I am constantly on the go and surrounded by people, my passion for the Lord diminishes.  
I need time with Him every day...time to quench my thirsty soul so I can better serve Him by serving others.

I learnt that I am a creative soul and find true satisfaction and delight in working with my hands. 
Creativity is in my blood.  It is who I am.
I need to work with my in the garden...busy in the home or in the kitchen...or at my sewing machine...  
And this is how I enjoy serving and blessing is my love language.

I learnt that no matter what I walk through, the Lord is by my side.
This was another challenging year for our family with my dad still living and working overseas.
In August my mom and five younger siblings were able to join my dad in China, leaving my sister and I to establish a life for ourselves here in South Africa.
At times the pain of missing the people I love most and the difficulty of trying to navigate through life on our own threatened to overwhelm and swallow me whole.
And yet...even on those incredibly dark days when I was sure I was drowning...I saw light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that the Lord is on my side and by my side every step of the way and I cling to the promise that His grace is sufficient and that His strength is made perfect in weakness.

And there you have it...six things of the many things I learnt this year...

Now it is your turn...
What did you learn about yourself this year that will help you going into the new year?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below...I would love to hear from you!

Blessings in Christ,

Pictures taken in July while we were in Cape Town to apply for visas...  
We spent a day visiting our favourite places in Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Patience in Affliction...

 How does one have patience in times of affliction??  This was the question running through my mind when I found myself awake at 4:00 this morning…

One of my favourite verses is Romans 12:12…

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”

I have always found it immensely encouraging in times of difficulty…  But if I had to share it with someone, how would describe having patience in tribulation?

For those who have accepted Christ as their Saviour and experienced His saving grace, we rejoice because of the hope we have in Jesus and what His death on the cross did for us.  And we know that the difficulties we face here on this fallen earth are only temporal.  As believers, we strive to keep an eternal perspective so that the troubles that come our way do not discourage us from the end prize – a life forever spent worshipping in the presence of our King. 

‘PATIENT “denotes not a passive putting up with things, but an active, steadfast endurance.’

~ Morris

As believers we are exhorted to steadfastly endure the trials that come our way…

You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised.”

~ Hebrews 10:36

But how do we do this?  I believe that it is by drawing near to the Lord and being firmly rooted in His Word, seeking Him on a daily basis for new strength and courage…
I believe it is also by, “Continuing instant in prayer.”
From my own experience I have found that it is not in times of plenty that I am nearest to the Lord, but rather in times of great need.  He is my only source of strength and I find my comfort in Him.

A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions.

~ Matthew Henry Commentary

We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for the wisdom to make right use of it.”

~ Matthew Henry Commentary

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”

~ James 1:4

I do not know why we have to face difficulties and sometimes endure extreme trials, but I do know this and can attest to it through past experiences…
Trials do produce patience and difficulties come to grow us, stretch us and draw us closer to Christ, fashioning us into His likeness.

My family have walked through a number of storms these past few years, some of which I have written about here.  Many days we felt as if we simply could not take one more step.  Our hearts were weary and our bodies weak. 
But in those moments of complete vulnerability, we saw the Lord work. 
He lifted us up, dusted us off and set us on the path once again.  He didn’t necessarily relieve of us the trial or difficulty. 
He didn’t immediately wipe away the pain and sorrow.  But He did renew our strength. 
He drew us closer to Himself, encouraged our tired and weary hearts and refreshed our minds with His Word.

Dear friend!  In times of trouble…on the days when patience is not a word you can even understand or bear to hear, take heart.  He is with you and He loves you. 
He is walking right beside through this trial and whispering words of comfort to your heart. 
Still the wild beating of your heart and listen. 
Take comfort in His Word and find your refuge in His everlasting arms…

And be encouraged!  Jesus said in John 16:33, These things I have spoken to unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In this world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

I wanted to share this wonderfully encouraging sermon by Charles Spurgeon with you.  It is entitled, “My Comfort in Affliction”.  I know it will bless your heart as much as it did mind as I read it early this December morning.  Click here to read it...

"God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty"

~ Peter Marshall

In Christ,