I Missed His Hands - A Dose of Encouragement

Being a blogger means that there is always something I can be doing in preparation for another blog post, or for revamping the look of the blog, or for future scheduling, or in social media, or reading other bloggers.

So when my husband has to go away on business trips I know that all of those things plus other family, and friends and church activities will keep me busy and I will not really miss him all the time.

However this last time he went away, I found that I was missing him a lot.

Now the strange thing about it was that I missed his hands.

A few different times I would suddenly picture his hands in my mind and I just missed not seeing them and holding them.

Of course I did naturally miss the things he would do for me around the house.

And I did sort of miss the things he would do that often make me smile - playing the guitar, playing the keyboard.

But mainly I missed his hands.
I missed not seeing them each day.

Maybe it was because we can face time (even when he is in Morocco or Azerbaijan) and so I can see his face even when he is away but don't normally see his hands while we chat.

But whatever the reason it really struck me as odd that I missed his hands.

Then I was drawn to think back to one morning in church when the message was on the hands of Jesus.

How practical his hands were.

Considering all the things He did with His hands.

The hands of Jesus were often the instruments of His Blessings.

  • He placed His hands on children to bless them and on others.
  • He placed His hands on lepers to heal them.
  • He used His hands to break the bread and fish before feeding the 5,000.
  • He used His hands to pull Peter out of the water.
  • He placed His hands on the funeral bier to raise the son of the widow of Nain.

In church we sometimes sing a kids chorus called "Jesus' hands were kind hands"

Fred's hands have not been used in all of those situations but they have been used to help me and others and comfort me and they hold mine each morning as we pray together.

I am thankful for Fred's hands.

Some of the things Fred's hands have been used for to help and encourage me:

  • To Praise God
  • To play the guitar
  • To play the piano or keyboard
  • To read the Bible

  • To pray with me
  • To show me the beauty of God's Creation (he knows more about nature than I do)
  • To make me coffee each morning
  • To help our grown-up children with practical things
  • To lift down things from high shelves for me
  • To drive me about when my foot is painful
  • To hold and carry heavy objects for me
  • To help to keep our grandchildren safe

I am thankful for Fred's hands.

We are all thankful for the hands of Jesus.


We need to be the hands of Jesus at different times for one another.


It's God's Love #3

Welcome back to this new Sunday Series.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.

When Paul is writing to the Corinthians he obviously thinks something is important and needs to be said as the finishing note for the end of his letter.

2 Corinthians 13:14

He exhorts them to pay attention to how they should live

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.


he is not finished yet

He then leaves them with a great blessing

Love of God.

Grace of Jesus.

Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Be with us all.

AMEN - So be it.


Our Name Meanings - A Dose of Encouragement

Well in a way it all started with my sister and a minister.

Of course it was all before I was born many years ago.

Fred's parents were trying to choose a name for this their third child, their second boy.
In the end they decided to call him after an uncle & a minister so he got Frederick S.... but has always been known as Fred (except on some occasions when I'm a bit annoyed at him or really want him to know that I need his attention and then he gets a very long drawn out Frederick!)

So what has my sister got to do with the minister then?

Nothing personally, but just as the minister was responsible for one of Fred's names my sister was somewhat responsible for my name.

My sister was 10 years old when I was born and there had been no other brothers or sisters and later were no other children born to my mum and dad.
When my parents were choosing a name for me they thought they should let her have some say in the matter.
Each name they suggested she didn't like for one reason or another, some because she didn't like people she knew at school who had the same name.

Then when they suggested Sandra apparently she said that would be ok because there was a girl at school called Sandra and she was ok.

So I was named Sandra.

And I am thankful that they named me Sandra.

Lots of people have said at times that they don't particularly like their name but I have always liked mine although I do remember as a child trying to imagine that I had a different middle name from the one my parents had chosen for me.

Many years later Fred and I met and fell in love and got married.
The only other person that I had known with the name Fred was my mum's cousin who I always called uncle Freddie but my Fred was always Fred.

When our children were born we thought it was important how we chose their names and we wanted to make sure we gave them the names God wanted them to have so we got a book of name meanings and read it through.

Of course I checked out Fred's name to see what it meant and found it was of Germanic origin and meant

Very appropriate for my husband.

But I could not find the meaning of my name.

I could find Alexandra and some suggested my name was short for that but I had been named Sandra not named Alexandra and then had it shortened.

I tried other ways but could not find anywhere that would simply give the meaning of Sandra.
However I was convinced that one day I would find the meaning of my name.

A few years afterwards when the 2 boys were small and I was basically a wife, a mum and a teacher, I got to thinking about what role I should have - what did God intend for me.
I clearly remember praying and asking Him what is my role and I also clearly remember the answer that came me.

Perhaps I had better explain.

Fred became an elder in our church before our first child was born and about 6 months later he became the leading elder.  It was a small church so we were both involved in a lot of things and he was also the worship leader.

So I sort of accepted what I felt I had heard as my answer for that time and was ok with that.

Some years later after we had had our third child our girl, I came to thinking about that same topic again and so again I prayed to know from God what I was supposed to be.

Again I heard

and again I accepted that.

Shortly after this we moved to live in America for 3 years and then back to Northern Ireland and back into the church we had previously been in.  
Then raising three children with a husband who was now travelling often with his work and still so busy with church was not always easy but I suppose you could say we settled into a routine and coped with it all.  

However there came another time when other ladies in church were talking about what roles God had for us all in life so again I went to God with the same question as before and this time

I got the same answer

Well I reckoned that this had happened three times now so maybe I should just truly accept this and I have never asked this question of God again.

Now I did not ever consider that God was telling me that I was not of as much worth as Fred and Fred has never made me feel like that.

I also did not think that I was in a second rate role.

Nor did I think that it meant that I was to sit back and not do anything while Fred did everything, and I certainly did not believe that I could only do things to support Fred.

As well as actively supporting Fred wherever I could I also supported him by being the wife he could rely on to make the right decisions while he was travelling with work and giving a good stable home situation for our children.

This did not mean that I did not use the other talents God had given me so I was active in the women's prayer group in church, the craft club and also led the children's work.

Later when our children were teenagers I was still interested in crafts and joined a group of ladies in a "Country Market" organisation.  One of the things I made was a selection of Name meanings and so again I was back in the position of looking for the meaning of my name.

This time I finally found it,

                  Sandra is of Greek origin and means

Well I was right and I am thankful that I had heard properly from God.

I was also thankful that I had listened and accepted and acted on it.

Just because I did not play an up-front, titled, leadership role or preached to everyone in the church (I did lead women's meetings and speak occasionally at them) I never felt that I was not of value or not using the talents I had.
Our children were as important to us as the people within the church and our responsibility was first to them and then to the church so between us we had plenty to do to bring them up in the nurture and knowledge of Jesus.

God's purpose for each of us is unique but it is always within the boundaries of scripture because His Word does not change as He does not change.


It's God's Love #2

This is the second week of my new Sunday Series.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.

Can we be good without having Love?

God is Love
God is Good

Forever & Forever

He will love us

Forever & Forever

He has already loved us

Thank You God

For your Unending Love.


I love Hearts - A Dose of Encouragement

As I sit at my desk......Last year I started a blog post with similar words but no I am not repeating myself.

As I sit at my desk in the study I just simply have to glance to the right of my laptop and I get the first example of hearts that can be found around our house.

Some hearts are decorative but these ones have a useful purpose as well.

They are the Love Heart coasters that I use each day for my coffee mug or glass in the study.

Yes I love hearts


That does not mean we are a very soppy couple because we are not - I just like hearts.

They are not the only hearts in the study.

There are also hearts as tiebacks for the curtains

There is also a heart decorated box.
   (It is really just decorative as I love boxes too and this one is quite small so is not used to hold anything at the moment anyway.)

Oh and two more boxes!!!

Oh and a heart shaped one!!!

There is also a heart decorated wooden Tissue Box Cover.

And I mustn't forget the  "Home is where the Heart is" Hanging Decoration.

Then there is the Fred & Sandra Christmas decoration that just somehow didn't get put away with the other decorations one year because it needed to be repaired and then when I did get it fixed I just hung it on the door of my craft armoire.

And of course the heart cushion that I lean against each day when I sit on my computer chair.

Oh I nearly did forget the 2 hearts with HOPE and FAITH that I couldn't resist buying earlier this year and don't know where they are meant to go yet so they are just sitting on one of the bookshelves.

That is just one room

There are other examples

A small heart garland hangs on a chest of drawers upstairs

A heart shaped clock is waiting to be put up on the wall of the Dressing Room.

And my heart shaped Friends Cushion that sits in the Sun Room.

Someday I should try to count up all the heart things I have.

I may collect hearts but I can't collect a real heart.

I cannot take someone's heart or make anyone love me.

Fred loves me and my children love me and there are others who love me but I did not make them love me, they chose to do that themselves.

We cannot make people love us, there are no special words to say or things to do.

We also cannot make God love us.

We cannot ever be "good" enough to make God love us.

It has nothing to do with "how much" we might love God.

It has nothing to do with "how much" we might try to get His attention.

We cannot make God love us.

Because He already does.

He has always loved us.

I am very thankful that God first loved us.

He loved us before we even thought about loving Him.
(see 1 John 4 v 19)

He loved us so much that even though He could not have us sinful creatures in His presence He made the only perfect way for us to be united with Him.
(see 1 Cor 15 v 3&4)


He gave us Jesus.

Have you ever tried to make someone love you?

Have you ever thought or planned what you could do to change your life so that God would love you?

Do you feel that you would never be good enough for God to love you?

Don't think any longer just acknowledge the fact that you can do nothing to earn His love you just simply have to believe that He loves you and accept the gift of Jesus.

Jesus is the only one who can take our sins and give us His righteousness so that we can be in God's presence.

This can happen as soon as we admit that we are sinful and decide to turn to God and away from that sinful nature.

If you would like to know some more about God's Love and how we can be saved from our sin just click on the  3 2 1 Presentation at the top of my sidebar.

Or you might like to have a look at my Sunday Series called "It's God's Love"


It's God's Love #1

This Sunday Series is looking at God's Love.

There will be a simple, short post each week consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of God's Love and I would be very pleased if you would join me to take some time to reflect on this each Sunday.

 Today I would like to start with a very well known verse that I have often taught children.

John 3 v 16

Love of God

through the

Son of God

is the Gift of God with

the cross at the centre and

offers us 


with God.

The main theme through the whole of the Bible (Yes, including ALL of the Old Testament) is Jesus.

God's Word points to the Saviour of the World at all times, focusing us on the only one we should put our trust in because of God's Love for us.


3 More Coffee Mugs! - A Dose of Encouragement

Last Friday was my birthday.

If you hadn't heard you should read last week's Dose of Encouragement I'm Too Sexy for this Card and have a laugh.

So because 2 of our kids are living in different countries from us and the third was working at a Christian Youth event all weekend, cards and presents were arriving in the post.

Yes you are probably thinking that I got coffee mugs from all three of them because of today's title but you would be wrong!

Well partly right and partly wrong!

Our oldest son sent me Dvds

because he knows that Fred and I love to relax watching a dvd usually of a mystery or crime series
and both our sons love this series so they want to get us to love it too.

Our second son sent me a Taster Set of 5 bags of coffee

because he knows how much I enjoy my coffee and he and his brother enjoy trying out new coffees too and they know I'll always share.

(I know you are thinking - this is leading up to the mugs now because coffee and mugs go together)

No not yet!

I think this is the point when I should mention that Fred also bought me a present but it was quickly returned.

 Due to the fact that HIS idea of what indoor plant I would like was nowhere near MY idea of what I wanted to put in our house.

All because he knows I like the colour Blue!  (I've also blogged about that HERE)  

But then our daughter's present was

                                               (drum roll)

                                                             a mug.

Look at that happy face!

That is the face I had for the dvds and the bags of coffee as well.

But not the face I had for the plant.

Fred did not hear the happy voice and thank you's that the kids heard about their presents.

No he got a

                            "I can't believe you bought me that thing" 

                                                                                                face and voice.

You see it was obvious to me that he had just gone into the supermarket (3 mins drive from our house) to get something and spotted the plant and decided to buy it because he did not have a gift for me.

Now in all fairness to me, Fred had asked me what I wanted for my birthday a couple of months ago and I said I wanted to go away for a few days.  He had agreed but things don't always go as planned and he had his bout with food poisoning and two trips abroad with work and then was again not feeling too good so there had been no trip in the end.

And that plant was not a good enough substitute: given that I didn't like it and it was too big to put anywhere in the house.

All I could say was:

                 Look at the mug Linda sent me.

                        It suits me exactly.

                                She knows what I like.

                                       She pays attention when I say something.

You see a few weeks ago I had noticed that two of my mugs were getting rather faded and it was hard to read what was written on them

The one on the left says MUM & the one on the right says MOTHER

I mentioned about the mugs saying that the mum and mother were very faded so perhaps it would soon be time to get a replacement one with grandma on it (hint, hint) and Linda immediately thought that she would get me a mug to replace these ones.

Well she told me later that she had to get me one with mother on it as she wasn't in the position to get me one with Grandma yet.

Linda also designed the mug herself.

Not only did the mug have Mother on it but it had butterflies and they were blue - my favourite colour!  -  but of course you know that by now.

If you didn't know that I love butterflies then you should read  "I was Going to Miss the Butterflies"

If you could see closer in to the picture of me with the mug you would also see that there is something else written on the other side of the mug.

Mother knows best.

And oh did I think that I did!

But I was wrong.

Because the next day I discovered that Fred had been planning to get me something else all along 

It was exactly what I had wanted but I had not asked for it.

He had been listening to me when I talked about this months ago.

I told him that he shouldn't have kept it a secret so I wouldn't have been annoyed at him.  

But he didn't see it like that.

He saw it as a surprise for me not a secret.

He knew I would love it.

Nothing to do with BLUE or with MUGS.

How many times do we think we know what is happening?

How many times do we think we know best because of our view of a situation?

How many times do we get it wrong?

How many times do we look back on something and realise that God was planning something that we could not see, or that we could not understand because we did not see what He saw or know what He knew.

We don't know everything; only God does.

We don't know what is best; only God does.

How many times do we turn to Him with the wrong attitude and ask why something hasn't happened yet?

How many times do we think we know the best time and way for our prayers to be answered?

How many times do we think He wasn't listening to us?

I am guilty of all of this as well as the attitude I took on my birthday.

Are there any of us who are not guilty of behaving like this toward God at times?

Thankfully God is ready to forgive our attitudes just like Fred was ready to forgive mine.