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For Such A Time As This

imageIv’e been thinking for a while to share with others so this is the beginning of this journey – so far I’ve had a full life full of some amazing moments, and some downright painful moments. I just want to share a bit about myself so you can get a feel for who I as a person, where I have been and where I feel I am heading.

Firstly God is what gets me through, gives me strength and guidance -the compass for my soul, the facilitator for my life -and there have been moments in my life where this hasn’t been so (more on that another time).

I have an amazing, gentle Godly husband (been together 2 years) – this is my 3rd marriage, yes 3rd after 2 painful marriages (which you will hear more about another time) and several painful relationships.

I have four children aged 23 my son and 3 girls aged 20, 15 and 8. one of my children has Autism and a psychotic illness which has  been a journey into deep, dark waters – with moments of unexpected joy also. I have an angel baby who is with the Lord and would be almost 17 now if she was here with us – the year I lost her was one of the hardest in my life. (more on that later)

I have 3 beautiful step-children  aged 16, 12 and 9. Blending a family with so many children and several with varying special needs has been a hard yet rewarding journey – sometimes giving my husband and I exhaustion we never thought imaginable but sometimes such unexpected moments of love and laughter.

I am just coming to the end of studying a diploma in Counselling and I also have a diploma in Children’s Services –  I’m just exploring what to do next. Maybe work as a play therapist? a pastoral care support worker? or counselor in another area? God knows – not me. I have just started a few subjects at Tabor to up some of my skills – I do love the adventure of learning.

I have worked in childcare for many years and  enjoyed this chapter of my life but I know soon a new chapter is beginning. This last year has seen me as a carer mainly for my daughter with special needs and that has been all consuming – I have always done it all – but have recently realized that getting support for her is not a failure on my part but a step forward in supporting her. ( but more on that later ).

I have been involved in many things over the years – in churches, in ministries, in organisations, jobs, relationships where I have been; where I needed to be – and many times where I really shouldn’t have been. I have a passion now for prison ministry – people in prison and people affected by this – but for a long time I was angry and never thought I would feel compassion for this -I feel it is ironic that this is where I find myself.

I have been on a journey where I need to learn to have quiet moments which is not easy for me as I love business – but stillness, quiet – is necessary – I have several chronic illness issues, have had cancer, 12 broken bones, and have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia – this has taken me on a journey that has been frustrating where I have felt I cant do everything i want to or that I think I need to.

Life throws so much at us all and we all have a story to tell, I want to share some of my story – to invite others to share with me – to inspire and encourage you to be the best you can be.

“For such a time as this” Esther 4:14

Blessings Skye x

Flowers

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagerising or copying it  without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog  is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller  / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

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Sensuality & Sexuality

A lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Proverbs 5:19 ESV 

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Sex, Eros, Intimacy….. what goes on behind closed 🚪 doors. It is everywhere – the internet, the media, bill boards, magazines, television – it is used to sell products, to interest us in TV shows, to entice us to buy a type of car, eat a certain chocolate, listen to certain music. Generally we don’t go through a day without seeing or hearing sexual innuendo, living in a society that is saturated by sex – now we have groups for sexual addiction, instead of male or female – we are told ‘be whatever you want to be’ which comes with so many choices. With all this freedom and choice that must mean everyone is comfortable with their own sexuality, their own bodies, everyone must have great sex lives right?

Sexual means – relating to the instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact between individuals.  (google search, sexual means).

Wrong – unfortunately many people are desensitised by the sexual saturation around us – so if our partner don’t look like a model, perform like a porn star then we lose interest – the intimacies and familiarity in a relationship that should draw people closer for many feels boring as it is not like the TV series where it is exciting, fresh and new every episode. Our sexuality can be damaged by trauma and abuse where being intimate with someone can trigger memories, shame and distress. Others can carry guilt and shame – connected to past relationships that we bring with us into new ones. The intimacy that comes with sex connects us on a spiritual level – and can cause damage when we give it out to anyone.

Over the years I have heard many stories where what goes on behind closed doors is not working. Women who have been abused and hate their own body, have trauma triggers, and hate intimacy or complete disconnection where sex with strangers means nothing as they don’t even feel present. Men who cannot have sex or get aroused without levels of porn to get them there. Marriages where sex just fizzles out – “we had kids”, “we got busy”, “he works lots”, “I’m so tired”…. “we had lots of sex early on but not now”.

We are holistic beings – body, mind and spirit. Our sexuality is part of us – an important part of us and like everything else in life and in our relationships – it needs to be nurtured, worked on.

If your relationship or if you are struggling in this area then there are some things that can help –

Get in touch with your sensuality (not your sexuality) your sensuality is  “the enjoyment, expression, or pursuit of physical, especially sexual, pleasure. synonyms: sexiness, sexual attractiveness, voluptuousness, sultriness, seductiveness, passion; the condition of being pleasing or fulfilling to the senses.”life can dazzle with its sensuality, its colour”. (google search sensuality).

Sensuality can be connected to sex, it can lead to sex or it can be expressed in many other ways that can create intimacy – using our senses. Try engaging with your partner in this way – remember dating when all your senses were aware of the other person, when their hand touched yours and it was electric.  If the bedroom is causing issues because it’s triggering trauma, it’s been so long you don’t know where to start, it isn’t a priority anymore then try and go back to dating, spending time together without the pressure of sex, spending time creating intimate moments that put love in the love bank. Have a massage together, give each other a massage without any expectations,  skinny dip somewhere alone! Have a midnight picnic on your bed, go out and ‘meet’ at a cafe as if for the first time. Make time for each other – the kids, the family, and work are important, so are our leisure activities, volunteer and church commitments but our relationship with our significant other – our intimate connection is important as well.

Make a space (if you can) that is for the two of you only – a bedroom covered in kids toys, kids DVDs, chips in the bed and kids in the bed all the time makes it hard to connect. Remember the person you fell in love with, thinking about them so you couldn’t sleep, texting about nothing and everything till all hours of the morning. God made us body (physical / sensual / sexual), soul (who we are / personality / passions / friendship) and spirit (Connection)  Enjoy who God made you to be and remember God created our sensuality and our sexuality – stay connected, be friends with your lover.

* If you are struggling with trauma, sexual dysfunction / issues, guilt / shame about your sexuality – see a doctor or therapist – this is not in place of those supports.

Blessings Skye x

Flowers

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagiarising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

Only Western society needs a word like DECLUTTER!

I was talking to some teens recently about our society and I came to a question, a notion really – we live in such a fast pace, materialistic, state of consummerism – where we have more than we need (generally), we waste constantly, take all our modern anemeties forgranted, we have fast food (which isn’t fast enough), microwave meals (that aren’t fast enough), fake hair, breasts, tans, nails (which I enjoy from time to time) and more… what is too much? When is enough ENOUGH?

I have spent at least two years trying to declutter my life – we have 5 children still at home so it’s no easy feat! But I go through each room at least twice a year and get rid of clothes, DVDs, books, toys, ornaments, furniture, electrical, kitchen plastics, and whatever I don’t need… before they start to pile up again. It has become my cycle of living that causes me stress – I can’t relax properly in my home as there are too many things, it’s too busy – I have to much.

The other thing I try to do regularly is be still – my life becomes cluttered with busyness – I’m involved in meaningful pursuits, some of those pursuits even help others but I lose myself in busyness – so I feel like I’m drowning in “I should be doing this”, “I need to do that”. So I regularly try to evaluate my life and the things I do And try to remember why I was created – Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

So what is clutter?? Cambridge English dictionary says “a collection of things lying about in an untidy state” (how my home / belongings feel) and thefreedictionary.com says “a confused or disordered state or collection” (this is how busyness / my mind feels when I’m too busy). As I was talking to my teen friends I realised that probably only Western society needs a word like declutter! I’m in a group that is for people trying to declutter – it’s where we share ideas, what’s working and not working – it’s like a support group for people addicted to clutter. This led me to think about –

What is excess?? As we definitely have it – Google dictionary says “an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted or desirable”, thefreedictionary.com says “lack of moderation especially in eating or drinking”, “immoderate indulgence” or “the state of exceeding what is normal or proper”.  This linked to clutter – we indulge in what we don’t need, we have a huge obesity epidemic (and I’m speaking for myself to), we overindulge as a society and have too much – Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, new gyms and fad diets starting every other week, sex addict groups. How can we as a society change our thinking – the bible says Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I read this and think wow I worry about so many things, have enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day for the next 2 years, enough DVDs that I may never leave the couch again, so much stuff! I want a life that is uncluttered from materialism, busyness, and a mind that trusts God and is uncluttered from worry. And I also want to say I know what it’s like to have little, I have experienced poverty (from a westernised view) and been homelesshaving very little – but I could still access food, water, and things that not everyone around the world always has access  to. But what I love about life is my faith in a God, the safety I feel in my relationships – this is what really matters to me .

Jesus lived a life travelling from place to place – trusting God to provide his needs, Jesus knew This truth Philippians 4:19 (NIV)19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

I guess he was one of the first minimalists – What is minimalism?? One http://www.dictionary.com says “something that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”.  Oh for a simple life – life can be soooo stressful – I find cleaning all we own, keeping it maintained, dusting, washing, chasing everything exhausting, the more ‘material’ things I have, the more busy I am – the more tired and stressed I am. My prayer is God gives me what I need not always what I think I want!

Blessings Skye x

Flowers

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagiarising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

Unexpected Roads part 3. 🌹

🌹 As a young girl I planned my life – not having a fabulous upbringing, or even a safe upbringing I had dreams of how my life would look. Once I was in control! I would get married to my Prince Charming who would save me and the I would have 2 children – a boy first (which I had) and a girl second (which I had) by age 25, which I did.  Now being older I look back at what life gave me which was a very different picture with many unexpected twists and turns in the road – extreme joys, moments of bliss even – before plunging me into the depths of despair. But God has always been with me – there have been moments where I’ve felt shame, guilt, bitterness, anger and sorrow that I have moved away from God and felt alone. But God has always been there – “…Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you…” Hebrews 13:11.  So 10 pregnancies I had in total – I had 4 live births (2 were 10 weeks early), 1 child still born – a precious tiny baby Rhianna – and 4 miscarriages. Each experience has effected me differently –

🌹 I want to share about my little girl Rhianna – born to early, still born, dead, words I couldn’t say for a long time. Rhianna would have been 18 last September, and there is still grief and sadness for a life she never lived – no first steps, first birthday, first day of school, no last day of school, formal, first kiss, wedding day or baby of her own – it’s a life never lived and I grieved for the loss – the expectations I had for the sweet human growing inside of me,  but I now have mostly peace and joy for my faith and my belief that she is in heaven waiting to meet me with all my babies taken too soon, that for whatever reason my Heavenly Father knew best. “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb” Psalm 139:13. 

🌹 I remember holding Rhianna for over an hour after her birth. I wanted to sit there for ever, it felt like time stood still as I sunk into the grief that she was gone. It was a strenuous birth – as tiny babies who pass sometime during delivery do not help the birth process, my body felt like it was betraying me as I had to do all the work knowing that at the end I wouldn’t hear the delightful cry of my newborn but there would just be deafening silence and stillness as I held my daughter dead – who was warm and soft but slowly turned to an in-natural cool. She was knit together perfectly – tiny with pearlescent skin and a reddish hue – almost seethrough, with a tiny 🌹 rosebud mouth and long eyelashes, the smallest toe and fingernails I could imagine – I don’t know what I was expecting but she was a perfect miniature little girl – I have known people who have had terminations further along than this – did people realise what they were doing?

🌹 Going back a bit Rihanna’s  pregnancy was a planned event during a very turbulous time in my life – I had a very abusive partner who I unconsciously hoped would treat me differently if I had his child. But during the pregnancy I had a lot of stress, was in a abusive situation – was held hostage – and generally very sick (as I am with all my pregnancies). Life wasn’t turning out as I planned and looking back I think I was hanging by a thread but unbeknown to me I was about to have a moment where the grief, loss and what I expected were going to throw my world into a tailspin. My decision to harden my heart against God and switch off, disconnect my communication from my Heavenly Father would compound my grief.

🌹 I was very sick, trying to rest, having 2 children aged 6 and 4 who needed to go to school, kindy, & play dates – living in fear, hypervigilance – with a highly aggressive, unstable partner – to scared to leave – not fear for what he would do to me but fear of what he could do to those I loved (more about that about her time). I was taking a high dose of anti-depressants to cope with my life. Anyway the pregnancy was going ok, and I started getting pains, felt like early labour pains, the dr said it was just my uterus adjusting – I was almost half way – to a stage that they now can save babies, but nearly 20 years ago it wasn’t heard of for babies to survive that early.

🌹 I started to leak fluid and I knew the smell – it was my waters, the water that protects my baby. I was admitted to hospital to try and stop it from getting worse – was given medication to help the pregnancy continue.

🌹 I have had a framed picture in my home since I was about 19 – it was a copy of a very old painting of a field, trees, a woman in a flowing dress… serene, beautiful – the room I had at the hospital had the same picture in it. For me it was a sign, a sign I believed from God that my baby would be ok. I felt like God was reassuring me that he was in control, he was with me, that I wasn’t alone – and God was, he WAS in control, he WAS with me, I WASN’T alone – but it didn’t mean she would be ok – I was clutching at “signs” to keep going. “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. Just because I had one thought it doesn’t mean it was what a God had planned. I went to sleep that night in the hospital and awoke in the morning to a strange sensation – going to the toilet I realised that Rhianna had dropped – and there would be no stopping it now.

🌹 After she was delivered I found out I had an infection Strp B usually contracted from a partner and yes he had been sleeping with many other people – I didn’t even have anything left to contemplate that betrayal. Step B doesn’t effect much except your waters can break early if pregnant.  I left the hospital I was numb, disconnected – my dr gave me a sedative to help me to cope. My dr said “just have 2 days in 7 where you don’t take 1 and then you won’t become dependant on them”…. I just took them till I could cope with the pain… dependant, addicted I became. Then my dr said “let’s just deal with the grief and then we will look at the addiction”. The sedatives numbed the grief, numbed my life, helped me block out the abuse – it was not a natural way to handle my pain, my grief – we all have moments when we grieve and we progress through the emotions – back and forth – sorrow, anger, denial, acceptance – but I didn’t move through these for several years as I numbed it all with sedation – which numbed the bad stuff but also the good feelings, emotions as well. God says there is a season for everything – “a time tco weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to 💃 dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4. I didn’t allow the grief to come, to feel how the loss effected me, and I felt like the dance, the laughter didn’t  re-enter my life for some time.

🌹 When I look back contemplating who she may have been as an 18 year old I see that time heals, she will always be part of me – but by the grace of God I keep living, keep loving and keep giving. God has been the healing in my life, blessed me with more children and now step-children, soon children-in-law which I’m sure will be followed by grand-children. My quiver is full and I am blessed. I don’t believe God ‘took’ her from me, he allowed it to happen and I can’t answer why, but I’ve grown, trusted God more, and know he has a plan for me, plans for my good, not evil, to give me a future and a hope… (Jeremiah 29:11).

Blessings Skye x

Flowers

 

 

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagiarising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

 

Embrace the Change (and other New Years Resolutions)

As this year is close to ending I have just been re-reading my Bible Study fellowship notes on Revelation that I did in 2016 and am starting to feel challenged for 2017… in a way that is different than my average “New Years Resolutions”. I do want to eat better, go to bed earlier (it’s 2:20am), and seriously exercise more!! But it’s more than that.

2016 was all about “changes” for me –

Change – the act or process wherein something becomes different.

Change of lifestyle – to not just say ‘yes’ to every random thing I was asked to do – but to consider my time, my families time, what I have to give and what my limitations were. Was I being asked to do something that would benefit someone else more if they did it for themselves? To think about my ‘yes’, and to try and not live in guilt for my ‘no’.

“Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:7”

The above change was influenced by changes to my health – having fibromyalgia, where I knew I needed to look at how I do things and use my time differently.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13” 

Changes for my children – more than one huge issue affecting my children this year which of course effected me – as that is what being a parent is about – this year saw me become a carer as one of my children started open access (doing school at home) – this has been a huge change for her but also to how I ‘do’ life – she is with me or close by most of the time – and I have had to navigate how to be available for her needs, meet my own and those of my new husband and family.

“Children are a heiritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him, Psalm 127:3”

Change in my environment – a big move so new suburb, far away from what I knew – new shops, new streets, new schools, new workplaces (but same job) – it can be exciting, but also isolating when nothing is familiar and it took time for my girls and I to settle into this – we are still adjusting.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord,  Jeremiah 29:11″

New churches – this isn’t as easy as it sounds – we are a large family and finding a ‘fit’ for all of us so we are fed, challenged, feel at home, and can offer something is a working progress – a great youth, but no children’s church or awesome children’s church and 3 youth… I know we will end up where we are meant to be if we persevere and keep looking… and I know that being with my husband, children or friends can be ‘church’ as we are the church here to live our lives as an example to others – not a sinless, judging example but as a grace covered sinful human being called to care for all.

“Seek God with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:13”

Getting married, becoming a ‘blended family’ so a huge change in family dynamics. Iv’e never been a step-mother before, my husband has never been a step-father, our children learning to live together and share our time with all their needs, has definitely been interesting. As the verse says love – we have learnt to breathe and love – not always in perfect unity – but to bring this many together and ‘blend’ at our age – love has led to listening and compromise.

“And above all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity, Colossians 3:14” 

Change of job for the new year – I have been working in childcare for a long time and now I’m going into something new for 2017 that encompasses my faith as well as being my job – a pastoral care support worker. I’m nervous and excited for what this will bring into my life and what I will be able to offer others.

“Forget the former things, I am doing a new thing, Isaiah 48:13, 19” 

When I look at this list (and I’m sure there would be more if I kept writing) I am brought to 2017 which for me is about “embracing” the changes from 2016 –

2017 “embracing” –

settling into the changes, the new roles, embracing my new environment, embracing my new marriage, blended family, embracing my role as a pastoral care worker… I realise I’m living the changes and they all feel like my life now – I went through the process where things in my life became different which also initiated internal processes that caused changes to the way I see the world.  But I’m excited that I can “embrace” them, I’m ready for 2017

Embrace – the act of accepting something willingly or enthusiastically, To hold close, in affection…. 

I am challenged to remember that I’m not here just to live each day knowing that I am going to a better place (heaven) so now doesn’t matter – but to be motivated by the knowledge of the heavenly future I believe is in store to live a Godly life now. Now is the time to be committed to living a Godly life, honouring God in my actions, attitudes and choices. God directs us to live holy and to be a witness so that the world may see Christ in us. I have had a very long journey to get here, to think this way and not every day is easy, or filled with constant joy and ☀️  and 🍭- but when it feels crap, hard or I start to sink in a hole – I try to come back to this –

“God is within her, she will not fall. Psalm 46:6”

Blessings Skye X

Flowers

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagerising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

Assumptions

I have had some interesting conversations over the last few days which have challenged me about the way I see others, what I assume when I look at people, and what do people think when they look at me. We can all look at the sky and we will all see something different, perceive it differently – a new hue, a shape that to me looks like a flower but to someone else looks like nothing at all.

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I went to my physio today, a polite, a mild mannered Chinese man, who does acupuncture and helps me have control over my pain levels, with a huge wall length display of Buddha in his office. I have been going there for a while and I had ‘assumed’ that the Buddha display was part of his ‘religion’, what he identified with, that we wouldn’t have much in common. We were chatting as usual, and I was talking about my job and how I am looking to start  working in a new field, and my role will be as part of a church – all of a sudden he became very animated – talking about the Australian Chinese Christian Church he had been involved in founding 20 years ago, how he had preached the last 4 Sundays out of 5. We talked about our churches, the sadness we both felt for aging churches that seem to be disappearing, our passion for children and youth ministry, how we had both studied at Tabor and what we had got out of it. I felt some shame that upon meeting him, seeing the full length Buddha in his office and his use of acupuncture I had put him in a ‘religious’ cultural box based on my assumptions from movies, my limited knowledge of someone else life, and it wasn’t the first time this had happened this week.

Earlier in the week I was talking to a woman from India I have been getting to know – she has been in Australia nearly 10 years, came from India all alone, knowing no-one, studied here and now works in a field she enjoys. She is single and has a busy fulfilling life. I once again ‘assumed’ that she would have a large community of friends that have a similar cultural background to her, the ‘Indian Community’ events she called them. Because if I went to a foreign country alone; I would think that I would find security and comfort with people who have a similar background to me. But when we talked about it she told me that all her friends she has met through, work, study, etc. She explained to me she came to this country as she wanted to embrace the lifestyle here – she is in her 30’s, single, working and doesn’t have to explain to anyone why she has chosen to live this way  – she loves the freedom to make her own choices. Once again my assumptions about her life were wrong- then she explained to me how she has been here nearly 10 years and not been involved in her ‘community’ from her homeland as she feels they will see her as a failure and not understand why she is unmarried and hasn’t had children – but I was left wondering if she would feel that rejection or if that was just her ‘assumption’.

In the past few months I have had people who I meet saying to me when they are in crisis “Skye you won’t understand” – they look at me married happily, in my large house, driving my pretty car, managing my children, my job, my study.  But this is what they assume about me – they don’t know my health issues, my struggles to manage, to juggle, to do what I need to. They don’t see my history – dysfunctional, damaged, surviving. Which brings me to the people who have known me a long time that I bump into who assume my life is messy, that I don’t manage or function well as they still see the me where I came from.

We can not assume anything about anyone regardless of where they come from, their sexuality, their religious affiliations, their socioeconomic status, ability or disability. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are all different, with different feelings, thoughts, experiences, functional abilities and aspirations. We need to embrace the differences, enjoy the uniqueness and not assume we know the journey another has walked.

Blessings Skye X

Flowers

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagiarising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

The little things

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My favourite broke, my new one, bone china 75c at the salvos

 

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Be still and just breathe

Sometimes you just have to take note of the little things, which I have been reminded of a few times lately, it has been a stressful few weeks.

* study, assignments piling up, tutors wondering where I am plus a child who home schools and hasn’t handed up any work this term! Opps

* new medication for one of my children, changing the dose every couple of days and seeing how she goes – it’s the 4th change this year – hopefully we get somewhere, please Lord don’t let this one make her worse!

*After 2 decades on a particular medication myself – I come off of my medication and have nothing for a week… Good times are had by all – I didn’t feel too bad or have to many side effects (but more on that another time), but my pain levels did hit the roof, can’t lift my coffee, put my feet on the ground some days but a new medication is to be started; which I’m on now and it’s starting to be worth the change.

*someone else close to me struggling, trying to support them the best I can – 2am phone calls, being there to help, encourage and love, clean their house, look after them.

*First my husbands car breaks down and needs to be towed and then my car breaks down -but at least his is fixed now so we have one to share in our business every day.

*another family member needs doctors and some specialist appointments amongst it all.

*haven’t been working for a while – as I have been in the Carers role for my lovely daughter with autism / schizophrenia which I feel is where I’m meant to be at the moment – so money is really tight but God provides – three times this week when I needed something someone approached me and age it tome as they felt like God wanted them to support me and my family in a particular way – we are blessed amongst it all.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus”  Philippians 4:19. 

*my husband goes away for a weekend Christian retreat, and I go away on the same weekend for some training in a ministry I’m involved in – 5 children organised in care!! But what a shambles to organise and if it could go wrong it did, “how do you do it?” People ask – I seriously don’t know!

*driving to a training day through the country I saw the most beautiful sunrise and God saying “be still and know that I am God” psalm 46:10. I breathed deep amongst all the stress I had been having and business -life just gets stressful and busy it is the nature of the life we live. But this sunrise, the beautiful clouds were one of my moments of calm, one of the little things in my week.

*my husband and I had our first big row ever – it was bad and slightly ridiculous looking back – but at the time feelings were hurt, things were said and there were mixed messages – I love the women in my life, God given friends who talk me down off the ledge of crazy sometimes, who know me well and can point out when I’m being a little crazy.

*Amongst all this my daughter who never goes anywhere had 3 events – she was in an art show, won a poetry award and has an opening for a new business that she’s involved in – one proud mumma here, but it added to the busy!

*then sickness hits me, 2 days in bed so far and there will be more – but it makes me stop, refocus, pray, sometimes we get too busy, but God has a way of stopping us in our tracks and drawing us back in.

*and just the everyday cooking, cleaning, meetings, appointments, shopping, children, “MUM, MUM, MUM!!”, maintain friendships, seeing my husband somewhere in it all. Deciding it’s time to downsize and focus on what’s important. (More on that another time too).

*the other day my favourite cup fell to the floor, crash it smashed into tiny pieces. I felt sad, last week it was my favourite glass – we have lots of children, so move on I guess. Wandering around the salvos with one of my daughters I found a lovely bone china cup – just pretty, delicate and beautiful – 75c.  As I sit here smiling, sipping my tea watching a show I enjoy while the children sleep and no one needs me just this second – I realise it’s the small little things that get me by, the little reminders that a God loves me – a new teacup to replace a broken one, a gorgeous sunrise when I feel life’s clouds are heavy, others supporting me when they have no possible way of knowing what I needed.

I am reminded of Gods love for me, his provision for all my needs and the needs of my family and loved ones. It may not always happen in a way we want, or the way we would do it, but his ways are perfect. “As for God, his ways are perfect” psalm 18:30.

Blessings Skye X

Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagiarising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

Unexpected Roads Part 1

 

Sometimes we have a plan, a direction we are heading and then in an instant it all changes – illness, job loss, relationship breakdown, death, birth, change- sometimes these are exciting new changes and other times they are a painful shock. Then a grief  of expectations hits us leaving us spiraling not knowing up from down – this is what I want to share about today – how this hits us, how we feel and how I have dealt with it. I will share a few blogs around this topic with my experience and how I walked through it (or crawled), how my faith is pivotal in my experience. I will touch on things that hit my life and changed it in an instant, some of these are – cancer, divorce, mental illness, autism, suppressed memories of abuse, stillbirth and miscarriage, addictions, chronic illness, domestic violence….

What do I mean when I say grief of expectations –

Grief ” severe mental suffering, distress about a loss, change, extreme sorrow and also deep regret. An event that causes extreme distress or sorrow.”

Expectations ” The thought, the pathway that we believe we are heading for, that something will happen or is likely to happen, our feelings or beliefs about how successful something will be.”

Several times in my life I have had defining moments where everything changed and I was left with grief for How my life would be redirected, effected, and what this defining moment would cost me, loss, grief, fear, sadness all would hit together. And simultaneously I would see what I had expected my life, the next year, the next chapter to look like change in an instant –

It was just another day, my routine pap smear, so off to the doctor I went, we chatted and did what needed to be done – had a laugh at something my youngest had done and off I went about my day – I was involved in my church, working, had just filed for divorce that week, had 4 children and a busy life that I felt was getting on track after some trials (more later). I felt life was looking up, I was in control – finally I thought. A few days past and I’d forgotten my pap smear and I got a call – my doctor who had always told me all kind of things on the phone wanted me to come back in about my test results – I thought maybe they meant someone else and had got confused – my marriage had just split up and I thought has he given me something? Had he been cheating?

I returned to the doctors annoyed that I probably needed anti-biotics and this was taking time out of my already busy schedule!!  My doctor seemed quiet, not looking at me and we were (are) kinda friendly, chatty – for the first time I felt a bit apprehensive. All I remember was a word cancer, “ummm did she just say chlamydia” I thought, where’s my anti-biotics? Nope cancer, cancer, cancer…. She kept talking but the only word I heard her saying was cancer. No one in my family has ever had cancer? But I’ve never met my father (except fora short time when i was 11) – maybe this was his fault? I was at the doctors alone – “Is there anyone we can call?” She asked… “No I’m fine”, “are you ok to get home?”… “Sure, you know me, I’m A survivor” I replied.

I sat in the car park for the longest time – as the shock sunk in, it  was just a few cells, the clinic would remove them. It will be OK I thought and I left, I have to tell people I guess – telling my children, those closest to me was hard, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but I was positive – it’s just a few cells nothing to serious I said – my son seemed quiet skeptical at this, everyone we had lived who had gotten cancer had died.

I was very disconnected during this time which over my life has been a way of coping for me with trauma and part of the diagnosis I had for PTSD (more on that another time) – I kept functioning in my day to day – but wasn’t really present, now through the my faith and through counselling, support (as God gives us others and modern medicines for support) I can be more present with things in my life that give me stress, grief, shock.

A few weeks passed and I had my mini day surgery to remove the cells, I woke up in recovery with 3 other women, we were all lying in These big comfy recliners facing each other, I was still really Groggy when the doctor came in, she faced each woman in turn “your procedure was a success, your all clear”, then she turned to me still coming out of my grogginess expecting the same comment “unfortunately your riddled with cancer, it’s more aggressive than we thought – you will need a radical hysterectomy, some lymph nodes removed, radiation and chemotherapy, I’m sorry”. I started to ask a question “what’s a lymph node?” But the doctor had already left the room. I saw 3 women staring at me with a look of pity and relief that they were not me.

In an instant my World crashed  – grief, loss Of expectations, fear and confusion consumed me. “Lord this isn’t what is part of my plan, why is this happening?” Every cell of my being cried out – my plan, my control came crashing down as the grief of expectations set in – but I heard a steady voice In the background  saying “Blessed are your comings  and your going” Deuteronomy 28:26. “Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18.

The next part of my life seems a blur – “Ummm guess what kids turns out it wasn’t just a few cells….” Struggling to cope with their grief and fear as well as my own. “Don’t worry Gods in control, he has a plan, just trust him” I would say and most of the time I meant it but other times ” seriously God, why me? Why now? Who will look after the children if I die – I’m not finished, I still have things to do Lord!”. To moments where I was so angry I could barely breathe “hasn’t my life been hard enough Lord, do you hate me, where are you” and then the paralyzing fear that comes when you think you may die – where I was to scared to move, get out of bed. The anger, fear, grief, denial at times are all part of it and my Heavenly Father has big enough shoulders to carry it and did carry it even when I thought I was alone.

And then when I thought it couldn’t get worse, more out of my control or more humiliating I became so sick, my ex-husband – as this is not a fairy tale and we did not live happily ever after – but to his credit and I will always be thankful for his actions heard the word cancer and said “I’m coming home to take care of you and the children” everything in me was mortified but he returned to the home and ran the house and looked after me – if anyone has had cancer they will know it is cruel in nature – It affects everything, all bodily functions – so needing support to do basic things like shower, go the toilet and being helped by the man I was about to divorce was a lesson in humility and grateful ones that during this time he was respectful and kind.

The next year felt consumed by cancer the way I thought my life would look, my families life would look; changed completely – My life consisted of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, hospital stays, drips, needles, a lot of awkward moments of loss of bowel control in public places! And I went through all the stages of grief – denial “it’s just a few cells”, Anger “Why have you done this to me Lord, I hate everything”, bargaining “I will do anything Lord, please take my cancer” and this was more begging than bargaining. Then the depression kicked in ” Nothing matters, I will probably die anyway” and finally I learnt acceptance after a long angry, arguing journey with myself and God – I truly came to a place where I Felt peace – that whether I recovered or whether I died I knew God loved men, I knew where I was going and I Knew without a doubt that my heavenly Father would look after those I left behind Better than me and especially my children.  Prayer was my constant companion – in all the dark, fearful moments – I let God be Steadfast in my life – I can’t imagine going through this without my faith.

Now to finish there were fun moments during this time just doing life with my church and friends who are like family who were an amazing support with visits, meals, cleaning, sitting through chemo sessions with me. You guys know who you Are x

One particular day I went to my radiation session and was particularly ill and as I walked into the hospital foyer rushing to the toilet I lost bowel control which dripped into my shoe – you get the picture. That night after I had taken a lot of Imodium I went to see the movie Bridesmaids with my friend Louise and in part of the movie the girls get food poisoning and make a dash to the toilet vomiting and with diarrhea – comedian Melissa McCarthy’s character gets into the public toilet where all toilets are taken and proceeds to sit on the hand basin and quiet dramatically ‘goes the toilet’ – my friend who I love dearly pointed at me and laughed and laughed and I laughed and laughed and then whenever we saw each other for weeks after we would just laugh at how awful life can be sometimes – but so many of our awful moments are experiences we share in nature with others like diarrhea!!

Blessings Skye x

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Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagerising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

Unexpected Roads Part 2

Continuing on from previously it has been many years since my cancer diagnosis and my life will never be the same and there are things now that are part of who I am – I am forever changed.- early menopause, and effects from cancer that will always be a fundamental part of my life, my functioning, who I AM. But I have embraced who I am regardless of this knowing that I am “created in the image of God” and I struggle with my health but I hold this “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14.

But now I want to talk about another moment – someone who has brought our family so much joy and laughter, we couldn’t do life without her, an integral part of who our family is – one of my beautiful daughters, now in her late teens. But there have been moments during this journey with her that have been unlike my other children, that have been unexpected, twisting in directions different to the plan – moments when the grief of expectations for her, for me for our family were engulfing, where I feel like I’m drowning in the oceans storms – sinking beneath the waves and I remember Jesus calmed the storm with these words “Quiet, Be still” Mark 4:39 and it was calm…. and then he asked the disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:40. As I am not perfect and fear can grip me when i feel like I’m sinking, I try to remember, to pray – to have the faith.

She was born 10 weeks early, a tiny premature life that fit in the palm of my hand – so precious and small – born early from an assault (story for another day), a harsh introduction to the world – but she was loved and adored, 2 older siblings that treated her with the utmost care, a father figure that adored her as a small child, a sweet little girl with a far away smile. I knew early there was some thing different about her, she wasn’t like my other children or for that matter children I knew or worked with. before she was one I sensed something was different -she didn’t seem to need our attention, never reached out for affection, was content to be in her own space, with her own company, she seemed ‘quirky’ as she grew up and started kindergarten then school. The kindergarten called me in and thought maybe she had Asperger. Asperger’s, whats that I thought? As I researched Asperger’s I realized a lot of the traits described reminded me of her biological father and members of his family. I felt some shock that I hadn’t noticed before, that I didn’t know much about it, having worked with children. I felt sad for how this would affect her life and the things that would be different for her, that she saw the world differently than others and she didn’t always understand things the same as other people and her sensory needs were different and sometimes hard – I grieved for how her future may look. It took several years and a lot of advocating, just plain pushing and almost rudeness on my behalf to get her diagnosed with Asperger’s and later the name of the diagnosis changed to one I recognized and that is when my heart broke for her. Autism, I remember it clearly – another change in the road where grief for her, and grief for how this could change my life hit me, the expectations I had for my future and for hers I knew would be different than I thought. God does not give us more than we can bare because her original diagnosis was a decade ago and my idea of how this would affect us was tiny, minuscule compared to the reality of how it has affected our family, the dynamics in our home and my life personally – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” Matthew 6:34. 

Looking back I know if I knew then what I know now I may have just curled up in the fetal position and never have moved again – but God gives us the strength, the grace, the  faith we need as we need it. Over time my faith, my trust in the Lord, and who I am have grown and gotten stronger – and I thank the Lord for this as Autism would not be the only diagnosis she would receive – as my beautiful girl who is so full of life, creativity, and the most amazing sense of humor now has a dual diagnosis which has taken a long time for them to give her – a most frustrating journey. (more on that next time).

Autism has been an up and down journey raising a girl 1) with no inner filter has been at times beyond hysterical and I will share some of those stories of how funny she can be and the joy she brings other later. 2) sensory needs that make you as a parent rethink every outing, every moment, noise, clothes, lighting, heating, foods, toys, books, friendships, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, car seats, her tactile needs, her sense of smell, fears of everyday experiences which just lead to exhaustion. 3) needing lots of down time when as a mother my personality is spontaneous, loud, fairly crazy 4) funny little obsessions – dinosaurs, cats, dragons, wolves, baking – obsessions that become rituals and have to be done a certain way and aren’t as funny anymore. 5) her lack of affection / need for the rest of us – learning its not rejection.

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6) her giving nature, baking and selling it for charity, always wanting to help other and support them – showing compassion – a trait not associated with Autism yet i know so many on the spectrum that have these traits.

My precious girl tried several schools that couldn’t help with her high needs, she did reception twice as she wanted to be a cat and crawl around the room and meow all day – this concerned me, but why? she was happy – is it what others think? what society thinks?Eventually we found a small public school that was an amazing blessing for her with staff that understood her and supported her. She functioned quiet well with a Negotiated Education Plan (NEP) in a mainstream school doing choir at the festival theater and finding a niche of friendships that she is still friends with today which i am thankful that the Lord has blessed her with these relationships. it was half way through year 7 where things became harder – when Autism started to affect my life in ways I hadn’t seen coming – her hormones kicked in and the meltdowns started, violent, distressed, uncontrollable meltdowns. it was terrifying for her and scary for us – I started missing work as I needed to be with her and school was too overwhelming.

Then new things started to happen for her – moments where she would lose clarity, hear things and seen things, moments of mild delusions, psychosis – she was frightened and ended up in hospital. For a while we thought it was maybe just part of her Autism – but I had concerns as both sides of her family had a large genetic loading for mental health issues. By the beginning of year 8 it was clear mainstream school was not going to be viable – we tried part time school and home for a while and it went badly, seemed to cause her more stress – now she does school from home which she excels at – but it took 8 months of advocating, getting support letters,  meetings and more meetings to make it happen. I was working with one of my closest friends loving what I did – but once again life changed beyond my control dramatically. But God always knows – I had decided to go back to study part time to follow an old dream; just several months before this all unraveled. Once she started high school my plan was to work more as my youngest loves Out of School Hours Care after school and she is outgoing, spontaneous and a little crazy – much like me. So I had a plan but life dealt me another one and I grieved as I wasn’t going to work more, I worried about bills, I cried because I felt I had no control, I was angry at God – didn’t he get the memo about what I was planning next! I was grieving and the path I had expected to follow changed.

It has been a hard few years for her and for us supporting her, she has had several hospital admissions, tried many medications, and has struggled inside her own mind – every night I pray for her to be of sound mind, and I encourage her “God has not given her a spirit of FEAR, but of POWER and of LOVE, and a SOUND MIND” 2 Timothy 1:7. She can be so fearful in her own mind and have delusion moments – the end of last year / early this year I became her carer and i grieved how this looked for me and her – her life is not that of atypical girl her age, there are things in life that will be different for her than others but then God reminded me of something – we are all created different – i was grieving for things that she may never have any desire to do because that was my expectation for her. “I knew you before I formed you in your mothers womb” Jeremiah 1:5 None of this in her life is a surprise to her heavenly father. “For I know the plans I have for you…. plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11. God has a plan for her, for her well-being, for her future full of hope. it has helped me to release her into this – not made it easy as there are days she cannot be alone at all as it is not safe, days where she feels angry and violent, days where she wakes in a delusion and is in it all day – but there are good days where she is well, hilarious and bakes, plays games and enjoys all that life offers her. I have had to trust God and instead of sitting in a pile of pity because i cannot do the job I did before or do what I had planned i have taken another road that at first seemed like i was filling in time but now i think this is part of where I’m meant to be heading, where I’m meant to go and there is a plan – it just wasn’t mine, it was God’s.

She has just recently received a diagnosis Schizoid Psychosis which will probably lead to a diagnosis of Schizophrenia – it isn’t going to be easy for her with a dual diagnosis of this and her Autism. But she is a strong, determined young lady – and a diagnosis, a reason for her illness has brought her and us some relief.

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Some think it should be kept secret because of the stigma related to mental health issues, peoples fear and peoples judgment – but she is amazing and wants her journey to help others as I want my journey as a mother of a child struggling with these issues to help others. some days are hard, and you feel its going backwards and you question WHY GOD? but I know that he has a amazing future for her.

Day to day life is a struggle for her but she never gives up – some of her recent achievements are she just finished a business course, she will be working paid in back of house in the cafe, she will be getting an apprenticeship / trainee-ship in this (which is what she has wanted to do since year 7 and I had no idea how to go about it – this came to her – i didn’t even know this was where her course was heading). she just entered an art show which we are going to next week and she just won 1 of the top 3 places in a community poetry competition for aged 13 – 18. it goes back to the scripture before “She has a hope and a future”.  I know that God will give me the strength for whatever may come as her mother, and he will carry me when its too hard – it doesn’t mean I never sob at 3 am because I do, it just means God gives me the strength to get up and start again the next day. For all the grief she has had, for all the grief I have had and the expectations that have changed where the road has turned in a different direction – she has blessed me and taught me so much.

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I leave you with this, someone once wanted to pray for her Autism which i thought was a bit odd but i just observed as my daughter asked why? “Autism is part of who I am, it is how I seethe world and I like who I am”, we like who she is too.

Blessings Skye X

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Copyright © Skye Keller and skyelarkblog, 2016 > onwards. Using any part of this material, plagerising or copying it without permission in writing from Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is strictly forbidden. A link to it or an excerpt can be used as long as the author Skye Keller / Skyelarkblog is given credit / acknowledgement and it is used in context as it is written, in a respectful manner.

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