Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

I have come to really dislike chickens. Sounds ridiculous I know, especially since I love baking, and to bake I need eggs, right? So maybe I need to think chickens = chocolate chip cookies. The thing is, I am really starting to dislike chickens at 5:45am in the morning.  I expect them to crow to announce the arrival of a new day but I don’t expect them to be so intense and “wakey-upy-in-your-face” about it. Izzy and Judah are not big fans either, they wake them up too. Which is back to the real reason why I dislike the chickens. They get us all up, too early, and worse, all at the same time. I don’t get that 10 minutes alone to prepare myself for the day ahead and prepare myself for all the needs of my family that are before me. Since the babies came along my “quiet times” have moved from the morning time to the afternoons while they nap. Most days this is fine, it has become my new normal. This week though it hasn’t been so fine. I wake up and the day ahead feels like this:

A jungle of thoughts. I don’t know where to start, I feel pulled in a few directions at once and some days I feel like I am making no head way at all.  Judah is teething this week and a little more fussy than normal. Izzy is laying sleeping on the living room floor as I write this, she has already thrown up once this morning, she just wants her Mama. Not wanting anything from me, just wanting me there. I read her a pile (literally) of books but she isn’t listening to the stories, she just wants to hear my voice. She doesn’t know what she needs or wants, she just knows having Mama close helps, and I will do that for her every minute I can. 
I recognise how she feels because I think that is what was going on with me yesterday morning. Back to the chickens. We were all up at once, and I was flung into the feeling of being needed by everybody and not knowing what I needed myself.  My heart was hungering for more of a feeling like this:

Open space, alone time, time to think, pray and most of all just be with the Lord. Not to bring my huge needs list before Him or to ask for guidance and wisdom in all the ministry things that are heavy on our hearts, no just to listen to Him. 

So after a strong cup of coffee, feeding and clothing the two little angels of the house, I opened the front door and went for a walk. I cannot honestly tell you the last time I was alone. It has been a while. I am so grateful for this beautiful beach that is so close to our house. Walking alongside the ocean was calming and it was refreshing, I needed it. Needed to be honest with myself about my feelings and my limitations. A guilt-free recognition of my own needs.

Finding a pathway to freedom. 🙂 

Nothing dramatic, or life changing happened on the walk. Actually it was more a discipline of realizing my feelings about the things going on around me and then remembering that they are exactly that. Feelings. Feelings that are tossed to and fro, that lead us down paths and valleys that we don’t need to go. Fickle, often untrue, selfish and defensive. Truth is not that way. Thinking on truth and applying it to our lives right here and now is so liberating, but it can often be so difficult to do. Really do. 

As missionaries (and as Mamas) we can so easily fall into the trap of feeling too needed. People have needs, spiritual needs, physical needs, emotional needs, our kids have needs, lots of them, and suddenly before we know it, we have taken everything on ourselves. The needs are there, they are real, but we can let them become a burden. A burden we are not fit to carry on our own. If we stay in this place, we will burn out, we will lose heart and we will feel overwhelmed. Looking at the needs around us is often disheartening. Where do we start? This is where I had to press “reset” yesterday. 
Right back in the beginning. With God. Who He is, and who I am, in light of who He is, to me. 
Suddening when I really grasp that thought and let it seep into the core of my being, let it soak through every thought and capture every worry, I am free. My world is aligned again, the balances are set. God is God and I am me. 

I see the needs around me still, but I realize, recognise and rejoice that I can’t and I am not asked to meet them all. I am just to be me, walking in light of who I am in Christ and allowing Him to work through me when and where He pleases.

This morning, after reading to Isabela while she lay on the floor, she fell asleep. When she woke up she was feeling better (rest is wonderful) and the first thing she said was, “Mama, Izzy is precious.” Yes, sweetheart you are, very precious indeed. She knows exactly who she is to me. She didn’t do anything today but sit at my feet and listen, she didn’t give me anything, help me with anything, she didn’t even know what she needed, but she knew where to come and she knew who she was. “Precious.” I love that.


We are so precious to the Lord as His children. He loves us unconditionally, wants us to walk in the freedom of who we are in Him. Yet sometimes we get so distracted with the doing and the outcomes, they burden us, and when they do, we know we have taken things (if even just a little) into our own hands and they aren’t meant to be there. Then, we hand it all back to the all-knowing, Creator of the world, who is working where I can’t see it, who has a plan beyond what I can comprehend and who is faithful, never changing and absolutely all powerful. Even just writing and saying that out loud, makes me laugh to think that I worry about things that are so outside of my control. No wonder I feel like I can’t see two steps ahead of me. I am not meant to!

I went to the beach yesterday morning with a head full of questions and a desire to seek after my God. I found Him, He is always there waiting for us to come. And when I found Him, I remembered I don’t need to know all the answers, I just need Him.  I just need to sit at His feet and remember that I am precious to Him. He redeemed me, calls me His own and He is alive within me. Andrew Murray said this, “God loves not because you are clever, not because you are good, but because He is your Father.”

My day today started the same way again, with the chickens. But, instead of trying to figure out the whole day ahead of me, in that annoyed second when they were crowing their heads off. I got out of bed and dealt with the first thing in front of me. This morning it was baby Judah, covered in a rash. Little did I know, the rest of the morning would be dealing with a sick Izzy. My day has not gone as I planned and yet because of this reminder from the Lord to just “be” with Him, how He asks me to spend my day today, is now not the important thing, it is how I walk with Him through whatever He brings my way. This is what He required of me today; to be a Mama to two little ones that aren’t feeling good. “Ministry” may not get done today, and yet, in that same moment, I think it already has. 

Today I write all this mainly as a reminder to myself, hold loosely the things God places in your hands and cling with all your heart and might to the Rock (Christ Jesus) who is higher than I. The One who is holding the world in His Hands is in that same moment looking upon me, with all my needs and calling me “precious”.  

I love the words of this old hymn….yes, I will gladly admit it, I am a lover of old hymns.

Jesus, I am resting, resting

In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.
Jean Sophia Pigott

Psalm 17:15
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with your likeness.

Psalm 51:10,12

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…..Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 

I’ll finish with a few lighter moments in the week. 🙂 

This beautiful tree has been in bloom outside our bedroom window for over a month now. 

Trees bring leaves….and Izzy is having fun picking them up. 

This little man (with his dirty neck!) is 10 months old today! (April 13th)

He loves laying with Mama on the bed in the afternoon…..with the fan on HIGH. 🙂 

It was “Sibling Day” apparently a few days ago. 🙂

It was an “interesting” afternoon when Izzy got into a bag of coffee beans…ate some….liked them and ate some more!

Baby Judah started saying, “Mama” this week. (Heart melt)

Goodnight from the jungle,

One thought on “Chickens = Chocolate Chip Cookies…and other thoughts from my week. :)

  1. Deb says:

    All so true, Philippa! I tend to think I need to be responsible for everybody and everything in my life, as if I had God's power. God has been showing me, over the past few years, that I am able to accomplish nothing on my own and can't really “fix” myself and certainly can't “fix” anyone else. It does become a burden when I try to step into a spot that only God can and should be. Thanks for the honest sharing and timely reminders.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: