One Step at a Time, at Just the Right Time

img_1163
This is my testimony of God’s provision over the last year. I haven’t shared much detail of this with many people apart from close friends and family, but I feel that now is the right time to start to share my story.

Almost a year ago ten months ago I walked out of a marriage which was both controlling and verbally and physically abusive. I spent a lot of time feeling lonely and afraid in those years.

Of course, I felt a great relief walking away from all of that pain. But part of me felt a deep shame. I was the good Christian girl, the one who always went to youth group and read her bible every single night. I had gone to bible college and even worked for a church for a good number of years. I should not be the kind of person to find herself in this kind of situation. Broken, sitting in a solicitors office, trying to work out how exactly to get a divorce, whilst still in her twenties.

How could I possibly bounce back from that one?

But somehow God has bought me through. Through many, many boxes of tissues, he has blessed me abundantly, and continued to surprise me with his provision.

img_1040

One step at a time… At just the right time.

When I first left my marriage I felt God telling me that

A few weeks after moving in with my parents I got offered a temporary part time position working for Card Factory. I got a phone call from them, before I even reached home after handing in an application, and less than an hour later I was offered a job. To start a week and a half later, which conveniently gave me enough time to go and visit some friends and family down south. The only problem was that it was as many hours as I would have hoped for.

I needn’t have worried about that though, as one of the other temporary staff never showed up, which meant I got a lot of her hours. That combined with a lot of other unreliable staff, meant I was working full time.

After Christmas I put a down payment on a car. That very afternoon I got a phone call from an agency I had registered with, telling me there was a job working as a teaching assistant in Doncaster… if I had the transport to get there. Of course this was just a temporary role, but it was followed up by many more temporary roles. One step at a time at just the right time, of course.

 

All of these roles gave me all the work I needed, and enough time off to visit friends and family all over the country, and even in Germany. And to do something I had wanted to do for many years, take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course.

img_0879

 

I could go on to tell you about the time a couple of months ago, when I was tidying up, and found an tax letter. (A P-whatever-it-is, the one you get at the end of the tax year.) Only to discover I had paid several hundred pounds too much tax, two years ago.

I could tell you about taking a care work job, to keep me going over the summer holidays. This was a job I enjoyed, but the company was so disorganised I felt I had no other choice but to quit. The next day I stumbled upon an opportunity to teach English to international volunteers. Something I really felt God wanted me to persue. Two days later I was in Essex, teaching English to the best group of volunteers. Something I would never have imagined happening ten months ago.

This whole journey has been one step at a time, at just the right time. In a lot of ways it has been terrifying, but God has taught me to rely on him whole heartedly, and he has blessed me so much through all of this. Even though ten months ago I felt so unworthy of his love, he has proven that it is so much bigger than I could have imagined.

Even though you, like me, may only have vague ideas about the future, God has great plans for you, if you trust him, one step at a time, at just the right time.

Advertisements

Sounds of Freedom 8

IMG_1139Today’s Sounds of Freedom comes from another awesome blogger, Helena Davies of Grace, Lace and Polkadots.

“Thankful” on the NLC Worship CD titled Our God & Our King, describes where I was and where my heart is now. I have written the words to the song in bold throughout this post, I pray you are encouraged by them.

Though I accepted Jesus as my savior in my teens, I would be in my late forties before I realized what grace was about and who grace is! Continue reading

Sounds of Freedom 7

IMG_1101

This week I am so excited to share Pia’s testimony! If you enjoy it you can find more of her writing at Taste & See!

When one has been a professing Christian for a while, it is always so easy fall into the trap of the dry season. I am no exception, having gone through a long stretch of stagnation in my walk with Jesus a mere couple of years after making the commitment to follow Him. It was a slow fade, with me not realizing how the fire in my heart gradually lost heat as I fell in love again with the world and what it had to offer: professional success, people’s admiration, and material rewards. Continue reading

The Thing about Clay Jars

claypots-1323747_1280

This is a guest post from a blogger and friend, she has requested to stay anonomous, but if you are interested you can read more of her writing on her blog, Stars in Clay Jars, follow her on twitter @starsincjars, or facebook @starsinclayjars.

So, the thing about clay jars…

When I was 15, I developed an eating disorder. Not the glamorous skinny one; the unglamorous, bingey, vomiting one. And at first, I’ll be honest; I was pretty impressed with myself. One of the older, cooler girls at Drama club had shown me how to do it (so thoughtful!) and so off we would sneak, every Saturday in McDonalds, to have a private little puking party. Oh yes, we were awesome.

Continue reading

Sounds of Freedom 6

IMG_0987

Today Adam is sharing his favourite worship song and how it has impacted his faith. I am excited to share this post, as although I’ve not known Adam long, it’s obvious just how much he loves Jesus, and wants to share His message of freedom. And he’s actually sharing a song that I had never even heard before!

Hi Adam, what is your favourite worship song and why?

My favourite worship song is No Longer Slaves by Bethel. It’s such a powerful song, and so meaningful to me, as when I first heard it I was going through a really hard time.

Why was that?

When I first heard this song I was so broken; full of fear, which lead to prison sentences and drug and alcohol abuse and suffering from bad paranoia. I walked in that church that day absolutely broken, tears streaming my face, as I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God was played from the worship team. God really touched my heart that Sunday morning. He told me directly that I was no longer a slave to fear. I was his child. It’s a moment I’ll remember for a lifetime.

Is there a particular line that spoke to you?

Yes, the line is

you split the sea so I could walk straight through, my fears are drowned in perfect love.

There was a time where I couldn’t see a way a through anything.  This just reminds us how God makes a way, even when we see no way.



IMG_0989

In Adam’s own words: I’m from Worksop and am an ex-drug-addict who’s been saved by God’s grace. I’m now in a bible school, learning about the bible in the mornings, and going out on outreach in the afternoons 2 days a week, helping those still trapped in addiction. I love Jesus and I love people! Amen!


I am looking for more people to join in with this series, if you are interested please get in contact!

Sounds of Freedom 5

Amazing grace

This week my good friend Helen is sharing about her favourite worship song, and how it helped her through a hard time, which a lot of us will be able to relate to. Helen’s one of those friends that you know, whenever you see her, you will laugh a lot, and leave feeling loads happier. I’m excited to share her thoughts today.

Continue reading

Sounds of Freedom Week 4

img_0847

This week’s Sounds of Freedom comes from Lydia. She opens up her heart to share her feelings on worship music today.


Confession: I love worshipping. I don’t always love worship music.

After much discussion and debate with friends, worship leaders and pastors, I’ve concluded that I am not a lone wolf and that, in fact, there is a chronic affliction amongst this pack of the musically-minded in our inability to connect in worship.

Having grown up in a Vineyard church in the midlands, the core Vineyard value of worship and the emphasis on creativity within our movement runs through my veins. I’ve been blessed over many years with wonderful worship leaders, worshipful friends and different expressions and experiences of worship wherever I have visited or lived. I’m a passionate pursuer of Jesus and a bit of a music fiend, so I find it extremely irritating when I arrive at church to worship and find myself unable to concentrate, distracted not only by the thoughts of the week but by the musicality of it all: by bands lacking direction from their leaders, by arrangements that don’t quite work and by my frustration with myself for not seizing the opportunity to worship.

I often listen to secular music and find many of the lyrics and melodies easy to worship God with, so why is it that I sometimes find it easier to worship God in a basement full of sweaty twenty-somethings who are there to worship the band? I believe it is because God has made me for worship. If He has inspired creativity in me then no wonder I am drawn to places where heaven-given melodies flow and lyrics written by troubled souls unknowingly sing of His goodness. Of course I was also made for corporate worship, to come together with the body of Christ but I must remember I was made for worship in the everyday and not feel guilty for my current struggle to connect during a church service.

Through live albums, where the passion for Jesus is contagious, I am re-learning to worship without distraction.

When asked for secular album recommendations, it can take me days to consider a piece that has had an impact on my life and that might be appropriate for that particular friend at that particular moment in life. I do not want to give glib advice when my passion for music is so key to how I live! When I apply my rule of thumb to recommending Christian music, I struggle. I draw a blank because if I couldn’t recommend a piece of Christian music to my non-Christian friends then I often wouldn’t listen to it myself. Cheesy, poorly-produced, repetitive and boring are words that typically come to mind when thinking about such albums. There are, of course, many exceptions to my general dislike of Christian music that would make my friends cringe, and these have been reshaping my understanding of the sound of Christianity!

As Dave mentioned in a previous post, Elevation Worship have been turning out some beautiful things, Bethel and the new Hillsong albums have been inspiring in my worship times at home – usually in the shower where I can get away with singing as loudly as I like! Special mention should go to Dave Miller at Trent Vineyard for his role in the amazing live album ‘Rooftops’ from the national Vineyard youth conference ‘Dreaming The Impossible’ and to the Hillsong We Are Young & Free album from 2013, which reimagined and inspired youth worship in many churches across the globe.

If one thing pulls me out of this struggle to connect, it is the reminder of my God-given purpose. I was put here to bring Him glory and I will therefore continue to learn to engage in worship. The power of God’s presence as we worship together and in the quiet of our hearts will never cease to amaze me.

Through the trials of life I’m sometimes asked why I worship and in my response I am reminded of a quote I once heard: ‘Sometimes you worship because you believe it and sometimes you worship until you do.’ In my journey to reconnecting with worship music, I will continue pressing into God’s love, hungry for more of His presence, worshipping in spite of and also because of this life.

I will worship because God is ALWAYS good and that is reason enough to teach my broken human heart to worship Him.



16295381_10206459017434402_1701499917_n

Lydia Johnston is 22 years old and studying Biomedical Science at York Uni. Her favourite worship song is Do it Again by Elevation Worship