A Realisation…

“…you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love”

Suzie Speaks

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I received the final wage slip from my school today.

Eight months ago, I made the decision that I needed a change. I handed in my resignation, started saving up and have been as frugal as possible in that time, but this morning as I opened the envelope I had quite a frightening realisation.

This is it. I’m on my own. Sh*t just got real.

The confidence I’ve been building up has withered a little – I know that I have steady work lined up, and if I’m very careful it will be enough to live on, but what if? What if it all goes wrong? What if the work dries up? What if I get to Christmas and find that I won’t be able to pay the rent?

It’s terrifying.

However, I’m taking solace from Jim Carrey of all people. In a recent speech he gave at Maharishi University…

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Encourage

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Here are two blogs that I follow – Christian ladies who encourage!

  1.  http://lemmonythings.com/ I love this blog by this first lady. Here is a recent blog post re. body image and our infinite value : He maketh no mistake. Just another encouraging post…!
  2.  http://convergemagazine.com/author/amanda-bast/ I also am loving this second lady’s posts. In one blog she writes:“I am 26 years old. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I don’t have a career. I don’t have what people expect I should have, but I am abundantly blessed with absurd, exhilarating, and fantastic things I would have never dreamed up on my own. So please, my dear friends, don’t ask me what’s next. Ask me what’s now.

Read more at http://convergemagazine.com/26-unmarried-and-childless-8736/#qDLj5e2uKeXjgolX.99

Quiet me, Lord

The Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears ~ Zephaniah 3:17

This is amazing! I rummage through some “rubbish” stored away in my old bedroom at my mum’s, and I stumble upon this: a hand-copied poem on a random envelope, which begins, ‘Shelter me, Lord’. (Excuse the untidy handwriting!)

Quiet Me

The title of the poem is ‘Quiet Me, Lord’, and it comes from a daily devotional book for youth, ‘The One Year Alive Devotions for Students’ by Rick Christian, a devotional which I used to read a few years back. It seems that the poem had caught my eye, as I had scribbled it down – probably so as not to forget it – all that time ago.

I googled the first lines of the poem, and straight-away found the page online. I can’t seem to copy and paste the poem, however I will paste an image of it here, and retype it too as the writing may be quite small to read otherwise. You can click on the image to zoom.

Quiet Me Lord

Quiet me, Lord,
From the crash-boom-bam noise of life
That overpowers my ears like the slamming of car doors,
The blare of stereos,
The honk of traffic,
The scream of revenge.

Slow me, Lord
From the hit-and-run pace of life
That overwhelms my peace like the breathlessness of time,
The blur of yesterday,
The rush of today,
The press of tomorrow.

Relax me, Lord,
From the knot-in-the-gut tension of life,
That stews my insides like the strain of broken friendship,
The grind of ambition,
The ulcer of bad habits,
The gnaw of hormones.

Shelter me, Lord,
From the haymaker-to-the-head blows of life
That assault my strength like the slap of old memories,
The sting of sharp words,
The clash of competing motives,
The dig of gossip.

Quiet me with your love, Lord,
Slow me with your patience,
Relax me with your peace,
Shelter me with your Spirit.
But most of all, Lord,
Overwhelm
Me
With
You.

And guess what the date of the devotional is?

August 20th! Today’s date.

It’s pretty amazing that God, knowing I no longer read that devotional, permit me to reread today’s encouraging prayer anyway! Espeically now, during this fuzzy period of job-seeking and uncertainty, where I don’t know what the next day will bring. My future is still rather fuzzy, and I’m a little afraid to take what may be my only available transportation: a leap of faith?

Gentle in Heart; Humble in Spirit

2 Timothy 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A few summers ago, I volunteered for two weeks working with Revive Wales, where Christians work together with churches in the South Wales valleys to make Jesus known. I won’t go into further “general” details, because to be honest, you’ll find out a lot more about Revive Wales here: http://revivewales.co.uk/about/)

Over the year and during the summer, Revive teams work with different churches. The summer I volunteered, the Revive team went to serve in Abertillery,  a hilly town in the South Wales valleys. The week consisted of prayer meetings, activities for children, evenings for youth, and outreaching into the community by doing various activities such as spending time in local pubs striking up conversations, and offering to help people in any way possible e.g. car washing; gardening; inviting children to the children’s activities and youth to the evening events… A week to be led by God, and see His hand at work!

There were always people praying in the Prayer Room, and sometimes they would receive text messages from those on the Street Team, who would ask for prayer; those in the Prayer Room would then pray for the Street Team’s situation live-time! Each evening we would come together, and each team (Youth, Children, Street, Prayer…) would share amazing testimonies from their day.

I don’t often dwell on my experience with Revive, but the encouragement I received during those two weeks is for life! The words of those I volunteered with stay with me and lift me up in trying situations, even years after my time with them; testimony itself to when a bunch of brothers and sisters in Christ come together with serving hearts, and also to God’s amazing grace and timing.

I’ve never been a particulary confident speaker; even now at the age of 23,  you won’t find me saying more than one or two sentences during a work meeting. During primary school, I would ask my friend to take my book up to the teacher for marking. During high school, I would begin presentations and end (or sometimes begin) them by crying into my hands.

It was only in university that I started to really grow in confidence. I remember giving a French presentation, and feeling proud. Not just to have spoken my university-girl French and delivered a presentation to my classmates, but to have finished the presentation – and without a tear.

Whatever it was that held me back then, I am happy to say that it doesn’t hold me back now. Although of course, I am still me. Like I said, I’m not one to talk too much in a work meeting, or in a group setting. And the idea of speaking up in a room full of people, whether it’s family or church-family, doesn’t exactly float my boat. I just feel more confident speaking openly one-to-one, or in small groups, with those I know well.

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to investigate my personal “timidity”- but I just want to share with any other timid/quieter/reserved characters out there: it’s totally okay to acquire such a quality!

During my week with Revive, I was so encouraged. Encouraged that God created all of us for a purpose, and that even we as “quiet people” can be such blessings and encouragements to others, however much we feel like it’s impossible.

I hope to encourage you with some kind words from some brothers and sisters in Christ. Words which they actually used during Revive to encourage me, and are for you too!:

  1. You’re gentle, yet strong
  2. God will make use of your gentleness and strength so much!
  3. God has made you with enough – everything at hand for you!
  4. Your place within the body of Christ is so special and important
  5. You are an encouragement to your fellow siblings in Christ!
  6. God did not give you a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy 1:7) ; but rather a quietness of spirit
  7. Your humility is an encouragement to other members of the body
  8. You are a beautiful child of God, inside and out!

Girls & guys…we may be quiet. We may be gentle. But know also, that we can be bold. Especially with God at our side, fighting our battles with us.

I like this oxymoron: Quietly Confident

Personally, I was so encouraged by being told that gentleness is such an attribute for a woman of God! I  thank the Lord that we are all made different and that there is a time and a season for everything: whether quiet, loud, chatty, silent, confident, reserved – God loves us just the same, and values every one of us always, so much.

I thank the Lord for the specially set time for “encouraging” during the time I volunteered for Revive. I think that “encouraging” is a really positive step to take as part of a Christ-loving and neighbour-loving community.

Sometimes we may not even realise when we are being a blessing or an encouragement to another – but thank the Lord anyway that He uses us, shapes us, and that we may *shine* for Him.

23 Things You Should Do Before You’re 23

A fun and insightful post 🙂 Unfortunately I haven’t accomplished all 23 of these “23 things to do before you turn 23″…however…I’ve still got time to try! 😉

Suzie Speaks

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At the end of 2013 I saw an article that caught my eye. It turns out, it also caught the eyes of millions of others and I watched it closely as it has went viral, spawning thousands of comments that both praised and vilified the author in equal measure.

I don’t have an opinion on the age that somebody should get married and I am certainly not using this as an opportunity to attack the author. A friend of mine, who married at the age of 22 and who now has two beautiful children once told me that she wanted to share her life with her husband and children rather than living it on her own first, and I thought it was a lovely sentiment to have. However, ’23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged At 23′ was a title that instantly appealed to me – at thirty-three years old…

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A Reminisce in the Rush

Just doing a bit of reminiscing, and stumbled upon some encouraging words on the LDS (Latter Day Saints) website from a President Dieter F.Uchtdorf, a member of the LDS church.

So often we get caught up in life’s busy-ness and later harbour regrets; but here, Uchtdorf talks about the example of Jesus, (our great Servant King!): giving time to those people around Him, and seeing always their “infinite value”.

Uchtdorf says:

“Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Is it?

I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.

I can’t see it.

Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time”

Find the full speech (titled Of Regrets and Resolutions), click the link below! It’s really thought-provoking, and definitely worth a listen, or two!

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/of-regrets-and-resolutions?lang=eng#watch=video,  

Fight, Flight… or Wait?

Fight or Flight. Are you one to confront your situation, or run from it? I guess it all depends on the situation…

In this period of joblessness and penny-lessness (did I not warn you about this?), I admit that I am somewhat reflective. Okay, make that a big fat OVER reflective.

I have a few job opportunities in the pipeline – only problem is, for each opportunity, there is at least one puzzle piece missing.

The ‘Perfect’ Job. The ‘Perfect’ City. The ‘Perfect’ Accommodation. The ‘Perfect’ Salary. The ‘Perfect’ Company.

I guess life doesn’t quite work out like that, does it? Something’s gonna have to give.

For now, I’m thinking it’s gonna be the salary, or else, the accommodation.

WE’LL SEE.

During this unsettling period of erm, being unsettled, I have been seeking some encouragement. Now that I am hopefully done sobbing on the phone to my mother (sorry mum…), I am happy to find comfort in the words of some other of my siblings in Christ.

Robin Jones Gunn encouraged me to, wait with hope, and posted Psalm 130:5 this week, on her blog post titled, ‘Waiting’:

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.

Toby Mac reminded me that:

GOD WILL SHUT DOORS, BUT NEVER WITHOUT OPENING ANOTHER.

I guess God knows what He’s doing. Sometimes, I just wish I knew what He was up to too.

Should I, or should I not wait? What step is next to take?