Write?

Just cooking a late lunch and delighting in the sweet taste of blueberries, when I had a thought.

Excuse me for writing in a previous post that our lives are ours to write: “we’ve just got to write them well” …blah blah blah…Who was I kidding?!

God is the author of all our stories. Accepting that He holds the pen/keyboard/feather is a daily struggle, but remembering that He has the control takes a whole load of pressure off my shoulders today.

Thanking the Lord for that today.

We may be the protagonist of our story; we are not the author of it.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2 KJV

So guys, take a minute (although-girls-I-understand-it’s-hard-to-when-it’s-your-time-of-the-month-and-you-feel-like-little-minions-are-throwing-small-punches-at-you-I-know), slip off those shoes and put your feet up. Get back to that To-Do list in a bit – relaxing in the knowledge that Jesus has got it covered.

Plans better than her own

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps ~ Proverbs 16:9

You know when you’ve made a decision, followed it through and then asked yourself: Why EVER did I do that? WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?

Yeah, well, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now. Plus empty, albeit confused. Well, if you want to know how not to do something, you might be able to learn a trick or two from me. Sigh.

Last year, God blessed me with exactly what I wanted. ME. Little ole me. The previous year my heart had been set on going to France, and I hoped to be able to live with Christian girls in a Christian coloc. And what did He bless me with? A job in France, and a home with Christian girl housemates. And SO MUCH MORE.

He gave me the desires of my heart.

 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Okay, so it was also partly difficult; the work was difficult. But everything else? Pretty much perfect blessings from God. And even the difficult work brought me blessings. So you might be able to understand why I feel confused – as I’ve kinda just walked away from all that. (WHY!?)

I even met a lady in my church on Sunday – a newcomer, new to the area. We talk for a few minutes, and then we stumble upon the fact that I’m leaving the day after. And what do I start doing? Trying to hold back a puddle of tears ready to spill over, I excuse myself. I’ve probably scared the poor family away!

Okay, so as people have said, the door to go back is still ajar. I could go back. Next week even – as I’ve ironically got a pre-booked ticket going back there next week. I honestly have. But now I have no idea where God is leading me. Taking a ‘leap of faith’ has resulted in me feeling like this. Totallyconfused.com.

Have you ever been in 2 minds about something? Or make that 3, no 4, no actually, 7?!?

But it’s promised – that God is not a God of confusion.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

1 Corinthians 14:33

It’s promised that when we are weak, then we are strong. That God didn’t call us to a life without suffering, without pain – but that He will be with us wherever we go.

But this doesn’t change the fact, that it’s still difficult sometimes. I’m just looking forward to when I can look back, and see what God has taught me through all of this. I just wish I could see God’s bigger picture now, and not just the one tiny puzzle piece that I see, which just doesn’t make sense on its own. Only in God’s massive plan does it make sense.

Leaving for France on Saturday morning, I read in one of my daily devotionals the following verses:

  • Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
  • [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
  • The children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord their God of their fathers.
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
  • It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
  • The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
  • Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
  • There is no want for those who fear Him.

They remind me that I’ve got to continue to trust.

Here’s one encouraging blog post about a lady and God’s plans for her: https://lifeasfine.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/not-my-plans/

Plans better than her own.

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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