Restoration and Prophecy

HydrangeasProphet Kris Valloton prophesied the restoration of marriages over those who had a broken heart. He followed with a message about what happens when God has given you a prophetic word and the brook dries up!

1 Kings 17: 1 – 7

You may be doing exactly what God has called you to do, but for some reason time has passed and what you expected to happen just doesn’t and you feel like God has left you hanging with regards to His prophecy. Kris explained that some prophecies have an expiration date. It can be our own fault they ran out. You may have been disobedient to God’s intention! You might say you’ll keep standing on your prophetic claim until hell freezes over. Well, Hell has frozen over, so you might as well do something about it.

In Exodus 32 Moses hears from God that He is so angry with his people that He is ready to destroy them. Moses reminds God of the promise He had made to Israel and God relents. He tells us that sometimes we receive words from God like an obedient slave rather than a close friend. Often times He is testing our heart rather than determining our destiny. A friend of God is someone who interacts with Him, not just one who obeys. Moses tells God that unless He goes with them into the promised land, they did not want to go. They felt compelled to be in relationship with Him which also showed their influence with Him. What is the purpose of all this, God?

In 1 Kings 17: 8, God tells Elijah to go down to Zarephath in Sidon, to a widow who was to provide for him. When Elijah arrives, the widow is about to eat her last meal with her son and prepare to die, because they have so little. Elijah says to her in faith, just bake me a loaf of bread first. He told her God promises that her jar will not run out, and it doesn’t. Kris reminds us that when all around looks hopeless, and yet you have had multiple confirmations for what you are doing, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start prophesying into your own situation.

Kris also warns however, that there is a spirit of entitlement brooding over the body of Christ. We are sons and daughters of the king – the Bible tells us so! He makes it clear that we don’t become a king until we have been a good slave. He put it this way – some people are so busy working all their way down from the top! Sometimes our head gets too big to wear the crown designed for us.

In 2 Kings 4: 1 – 7, when there was a famine in the land, Elisha helped a poor widow. She thought all she had was a small jar of oil, but Elisha used this and her faith to multiply what she had and she was able to earn enough to repay her husband’s creditors.* So many times we compare what we have or don’t have to meet our needs with the size of the need. This shouldn’t be the case in God’s kingdom. With Him, all things are possible. Jesus fed 5000 with just a small lunchbox.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9 we are reminded that God’s grace is all we need, and that our weakness can combine with God’s strength to accomplish all. We are not just our strengths – we are also our weaknesses. But, God has divinely designed us to be flawed in areas so we have to depend on Him or others around us to function properly. If we have weaknesses, when we divinely accomplish something, we certainly know God has had to be there for it to happen. We are to give to others, and our standard of measure will return to us in the same standard. Give abundantly and reap abundantly. The measure itself is not of amount, but of sacrifice. God expects equal sacrifice, not equal giving.

Hebrews 11 reminds us that it is faith that pleases God. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. If we stop hoping, our heart can get sick. In verse 13, the heroes of faith all died before their promises had been received. Hope feels; Faith sees; Lover never fails. There is no such thing as blind faith! To do the impossible you have to see the invisible.

 

Forgive them and move on

In life we can come up against people who hurt us. Maybe unintentionally, by not realising the depth to which they drag us down with them to places we don’t want to go. When life throws you a curved ball you may have to pick yourself up and move on. One thing to make sure of is to not hold bitterness in your heart about the situation. It will only cause you grief.

Be on the lookout for good things that come your way. Be expectant. Don’t pine for what you once had but allow your spirit to be refreshed and made beautiful again. At the point just before forgiveness you are at a crossroads. Don’t let your anger stop you from taking the road to freedom. Remember what road you were once headed on and again head towards your destination.

You might feel like you are just picking up the leftovers for a while but you will be positioning yourself for a blessing. Just put one step in front of the other and keep moving.

These words of wisdom were shared at a women’s conference tonight at Harbourside Church. Thank you for relating the story of Ruth to us so eloquently Helen Calder. When Ruth chose obedience, not because it appealed to her, but because God wanted her to, she was blessed. God said to her, “Rise up daughter. Receive the fresh anointing for the new day.” What an encouragement for me, especially as I had decided some time back this was the best choice for me to move forward.

Giftedness in the Elderly

Cosy by the fire
Cosy by the fire

Inspired by a Spam Comment

It is one of those days – wet, cold, fire going, and I am pondering all the research I have been reading lately in Gifted Education (catching up the last 10 years!!!!). An article I promoted a while back by Gay Gallagher, in the NZ Journal of Counselling had again sparked my enthusiasm. I was thinking – I must contact this lady and tell her how inspiring her article was, when I first read it, and still is today as I search out ways to advocate for the gifted. Maybe I could take some of this information and relate it to my life experiences in gifted education and gifted family members and start blogging more frequently, I think to myself!

Then it happens … I get an update on my phone asking me to accept a comment on my blog … on the very article I wrote about Gay Gallagher’s work! I can’t tell you exactly what it said now, but it was one of those spam comments trying to hook you back to their site selling unmentionable products. But for a split second, I believed what they said, and got excited! The very time I am thinking about her work, and writing more, I get a comment that says ‘I like what you are writing about, and if only the web had bloggers who took the time to write about valuable stuff, then it would be so much better’! Great words – if they had not come from a spammer!

Then I got to thinking some more! Maybe they had actually read my work, and had been impressed by what I had to say, and just happened to encourage me on a cold, wet day in winter, to speak some more about what I love so much. Advocating for the gifted and talented! In fact, my passion has taken a temporary twist as I see an elderly relative getting assessed for dementia and her ability to live by herself at home, at nearly 80, with a test she probably wouldn’t have scored that well on at 40, let alone twice that age! Visual-spatial giftedness may be a bug-bear and an inconvenience to teachers and the gifted themselves, when we think of catering for their education needs. But it becomes tragically much worse, when our medical folk don’t know about the implications of it on everyday life, and use these learning deficit-impacted results of the elderly to determine their future living arrangements.

My relative has never been able to work with numbers and spelling out loud. But she still manages to pay her bills on time and budget her weekly shopping. She may not remember the addresses of her friends, but she can find her way there in the dark, driving on the busy roads and motorways of Auckland. She may be vague and hide her frailty from her family – but then, so would you. It would be smart to do that if the alternative means being tossed out of your home, in the bush with your favourite Kauri trees growing up through the deck! For a passionate ‘greenie’ – a real one, not just the political sort! – walking through the native bush, rather than around an aged care facility, has got to be the best way to spend her last days. Come to think of it – it’s not a bad way to spend any of your time (apart from when it’s cold and wet, and then I would much rather be tucked up in front of the fire).

If you know of this happening to any of your relatives, I would be keen to hear from you. It sounds like a research idea to me! Happy sunny days to come!

Anna’s Story

blogtour21I first met Anna just over 10 years ago when she was the dazzling ‘princess’ – just remarried, wearing a lovely tiara like her favourite princess, Diana.

Anna is not her real name, but for the sake of anonymity, I will not use anyone’s real names in this story.

Anna had been married before and had two lovely teenagers, aged 13 and 15, that she had raised on her own since just before the youngest child was born – nearly 14 years! Wow – that in itself was a credit to her resilience and commitment to give her children the best start she could.

While her youngest was still pre-school age, she studied extramurally and gained her Accountancy degree and worked part-time as an accountant. Soon after graduating she took a post-graduate teaching course and started primary teaching, which suited a single mum with two school aged children perfectly! Prior to babies, she had been in fashion design for 15 years and this in itself showed her range of talent – left and right brain dominant!

But this is not a story about Anna’s gifts or talents, because she rarely thinks of herself as gifted, just “bright”. This is a story about her new relationships with a family who are obviously creative-gifted, and dysfunctional, and a stern reminder why we should advocate for our gifted kids with all our heart.

Marrying into this family has broken Anna’s heart, but not her resolve to advocate for those she can.

Anna was swept off her feet by her ‘prince’, maybe somewhat foolishly, but he captured her heart as a pianist, could be as ‘gentle as a giant’, and loved the outdoors as much as she did, especially skiing and sailing. He ran his own business from home and had been single-parenting his own two children, and a foster son, for the previous six years. To take on someone else’s wayward son at age six and transform him into a caring, educated citizen was not something many men could be proud of. So, of course, these all looked promising traits for the marriage ahead.

Six months into the marriage – Wham! Anna was not prepared for all she got. She expected ‘rocky’; she even expected ‘resistance’ from the children. What she didn’t expect was the disparity with her husband that began to open and fester like an ugly wound.

What started out as her husbands’ awkward idiosyncrasies and different ways of doing things soon became frustrations and points of dissension. She thought, “Who have I married?” She was not used to such an opposite set of values or ways of rearing children. The stress was really telling on all the family, so her husband suggested she take some time out from full-time teaching and study for a while.

Meanwhile, he was also questioning the marriage and what he had gotten himself into. Who was this woman who was so different to him? He privately began to search for answers, and started to question her mental stability!

Anna chose to further her studies into education, and especially online education and gifted education. She had started to develop interests in meeting the needs of those marginalised in the regular classroom. Long story short, she started to see the traits of the gifted, especially the creative-gifted, so obvious in her husband. She started to share these with him and over time, he began to understand his ‘differentness’. He had experienced this since school, and had been badly bullied as a young person. At 44 years old, though, he was not about to change his ways of coping that he had developed over the past few decades.

Anna’s husband had an extremely strong mind and he would push through all obstacles that got in his way when he was ‘a man on a mission.’ That had yielded a mixed bag of results in his working life from top national sales person in one company, to pulling his own company back from near bankruptcy in later years.

The full story would take too long, so I will cut it short at this point. Anna went on to experience various marriage separations as her husband sought his own space to be ‘himself’, and threatened her with ‘ultimatums’ of how things would have to be for them to live together. There was no form of mediation or meeting each other halfway. It was ‘his way’ or the ‘highway’! Anna knew by now, he wouldn’t back down. She had seen this dogged determination in gifted students she had taught, and often feared for their future adulthood.

At one point of separation, Anna’s husband claimed she had Asperger Syndrome. She had taught some of these special children, and vehemently denied his claims. She insisted that if he thought that, then maybe both should be checked out for it, because she found him equally problematic to communicate with. Three hours and $650 later neither were found to have Asperger Syndrome, but the specialist did say there were other problems in the marriage that could be dealt with.

Nothing else was dealt with, because her husband laid the blame for the marriage problems on Anna not understanding him. She tried to accommodate all his idiosyncrasies, now knowing that was how he was wired, but it was a tense relationship and the cracks ever widened, with Anna living under the cloud of his self-diagnosis of her ‘problems’.

Ultimately, after living on a Pacific Island, where they had gone to help restore post-tsunami tourism, and hopefully patch up their marriage, he asked her not to return after a trip back to New Zealand. She had shown absolute commitment to her marriage, living through extended periods of poverty and hardship in ‘third world’ living conditions (living in the bush with no electricity, running water, and living off the food grown on their land) in her last two years.

For those of you who have read the sophisticated picture book, Westlandia, and remember the character, Wesley, this is a most apt depiction of Anna’s husband.

Anna says she has learned much about the other side of giftedness from her ordeal, but her return home was the continuation of more of the tragic story. She returned and stayed with her ‘mother-in-law’, initially just until she got work, but it ended up being for nearly one year for various reasons. She became the main caregiver of the mother of her now de facto husband after the elderly lady had a heart attack, and learned much about the family in the time she lived there.

All the family members had traits of creative-giftedness in the areas of music and the arts. The mother also had dyslexic traits. None of these had ever been officially identified and this family had been well-known for years in art, dance and music circles. They had lived a very difficult life together as a family and have all appeared to go their own separate ways, with the parents finally separating after 40 years of a rocky marriage, and the children hardly contacting each other.

What Anna has drawn from this experience …

Firstly, it is important for the gifted to have their academic and creative needs met in school, so they are not frustrated and lose hope for themselves.

But more importantly, they need to have social and emotional needs met, not only for themselves, but also for the sake of those nearest and dearest to them. This can be to nurture their own healthy family relationships, but also for those they will eventually relate to outside of their own family.

I would add…

Just as we give guidance to our top sportsmen to help them cope with the pressures of professional fame, we should be guiding our gifted youngsters into developing the means to advocate for themselves. To do this effectively, they need to know themselves, and how they think differently from others they might meet. There are some easy ways of letting others around you feel more comfortable in your presence.

Difference can be celebrated, once it is accepted. But, if we deny the chance of identifying these children, we may forever leave them struggling in their future relationships. I know many students say they don’t want to be seen as different, and don’t want the gifted label, and I empathise with that. But, they are different, and they need to be identified and assisted in any way they need to help them function as a healthy, emotionally adjusted citizen. In an ideal world we would personalise the education of everyone to help them to reach their aspirations and beyond. We would not have to label anyone as we would be accepting of all. But, we don’t have an ideal world. We don’t have ideal parents raising ideal kids and ideal teachers for every child they teach.

What we do have are passionate people who have all experienced any number of situations like Anna, but who may not be as keen to talk about them publically. I ask that in this “Gifted Awareness Week” we recognise the Anna’s out there, and ask our politicians and education ministries in whatever country we reside, to know that behind our calls for funding are real people who have been really heart-broken because of giftedness not being given the priority it deserves.

Finally, if you know “Anna” or recognise her from some of this story, please be thankful for her openness, but please keep her anonymity.

Prayers for Samoa

<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-846" title="Samoa_storm_4661" alt="" src="http://www.debbie.co.nz/images/Samoa_storm_46611-300×180.jpg" width="300" height="180" srcset="http://www.debbie.co.nz/images/Samoa_storm_46611-300×180.jpg 300w, http://www.debbie.co le viagra tunisie.nz/images/Samoa_storm_46611.jpg 466w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />Nobody wants to lose a loved one, let alone right on Christmas. It has the potential to take away the joy of Christmas for years to come. So take a moment to think about those four recent victims and their families from Samoa, after Cyclone Evan ravaged their little island nation this week. It’s always times like these when people start to question God.

Continue reading “Prayers for Samoa”

“Are you going to be the one to understand me?”

Gay Gallagher has just had a great article published in the NZ Journal of Counselling 2011, pp70-86. It looks at insights into gifted students that School Counsellors may need to understand in order to meet their needs effectively.

Are You Going to Be the One to Understand Me? delves into gifted student theory and characteristics, as it pertains to New Zealand Education. The title is a personal plea from one of those students studied, who found many counsellors didn’t have a clue about how she thought!

Thank you Gay for your thoughtful and researched presentation.

Please read this for insights to help understand the ‘many, varied, and unique’ students our gifted are (description thanks to Sally Reis).

 

The Sweetest Sweetcorn

For those who don’t know, I am in Samoa with my creative-gifted husband, working on raising the tourism dollar post-tsunami. Another entry to my weekly update for folks back in New Zealand, this week, involved much about giftedness – repeated here for your consumption…

Gifted ideas in Samoa tourism
The sweetcorn patch

Harvested the sweetcorn and had our first meal – what a sweet treat that was! A few meals from the beans, but the tomatoes are s-l-o-w ripening!! One nearly turning red, out of about 450 last count!!

Three months of using the long drop – not a milestone I am particularly pleased about – and I may have a flush loo in a day or two!! Continue reading “The Sweetest Sweetcorn”

Kicked while they are down!

For a parent watching a young gifted child come home each day, after their first term at school, unhappy, uninterested, lacking the vitality they had in their pre-school years, is a devastating blow. Then, it is often made worse, when they try to air their concerns with the school. How many times have we heard from parents of some of these children – the school just didn’t want to know – usually, expecting them to be content with “He’ll settle into school eventually” … “Give him time” … “You worry about him too much” … “His behaviour problems need to be dealt with first!!!!” (And I have used the ‘male’ pronouns here on purpose). Continue reading “Kicked while they are down!”