Three Years On

img_3290

Although I haven’t written on this blog for well over a year, I have had his date in my mind for several months as the date I should begin to share again. Because this was the date I made the most important, difficult, journey of my life. (Not just because I had a phone call from the police, as I was going in and out of coverage across the Yorkshire countryside side on a busy train carriage, asking for details of a crime I had witnessed earlier that year, and even if I wanted to pick the suspect from a line-up.) It was the day I finally left an abusive marriage

It wasn’t the first time that I had left. And when I was leaving, I didn’t realise it would be for good.

I remember my dad picking me up from Sheffield train station, and telling me I didn’t look good: in the most loving way possible. I remember truths slipping out through tears, as I realised I could never go back. I remember switching off my phone to break all contact. I remember the confusion of making decisions of my own for the first time in years. The freedom of knowing it didn’t matter that if I got it wrong.

But the thing I remember the most was just how close God was then. I would close my eyes and he would be there right in front of me. He was big, and he loved me so much. I have never known this is such a tangible way as I did back then.

And that was the most important thing. If that is where the story ended, if God didn’t do anything else apart from love me, that would be okay. But he did so much more.

He healed me. And he provided for me. In those months and over these last three years he has done so in such detail.

Jobs, finances, friendships and even a new relationship.

Within a couple of weeks of leaving, I was provided with a job in a card shop. That would have been enough, but God had more. I had registered with an agency, to work as a teaching assistant. On the very day I bought my car, I got a phone call from them, offering work a cars journey away.

These were the big things, but God even had the smaller details sorted out as. One day I got the bus over to Doncaster to do my Christmas shopping. I knew I wanted to get something more than I usually would for my parents. As I was walking along the high street I felt drawn to go in to one of the shops. I ignored it. I was on a mission, and it was the kind of shop that looked like even more of a jumble sale than TK Maxx. But the same thing happened as I walked back up the high street. After all, that feeling was one of them God kind of ones, although I wouldn’t normally get them to go into shops. I took a deep breath and went in. Right in the entrance there was a pile of board game. Including the one that my parents had been asking for, which normally retailed at around £40 they were selling is for £7. I had to chuckle on Christmas day when my mum commented on how generous I had been.

God has kept on working out the details for me. I could go on and on. I am now blessed to be working in a church doing a job I was made for as a children and families minister, just up the road from where I grew up. Even moving here I have been provided with an amazing flat, with a balcony (something I had always dreamed of) and two bedrooms, so I have space for friends and family to stay. (hint hint)

I guess what I really want to say is this: Whatever life throws at you, whether it is your fault or not, God can redeem it, and he can use it for good and for his glory. As October is domestic abuse awareness month, I want to make it clear that leaving an abusive relationship will be one of the hardest things you ever do, but it will also be the best. There is so much life after, it does not disqualify you from serving, or new relationships.

img_2966

 

 

A Place to Belong

img_1172

“Where are you from?” A question that should be easy to answer. But it isn’t always is it? Do you reply with the place where you live; the place you were born or the place you lived for the longest?

When I walked out of an abusive marriage, I had to move back in with my parents. To a place I had never lived and knew no one. I felt that I really didn’t belong. I had just left my marriage, the one relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime, on top of that, I had to start all over again. Yet again.

I think that many people experience this kind of confusion, whether they have lived in dozens of places, or in the same house their whole life. We are all searching for a sense of belonging, and often struggle to find it.

I think that this is a longing God has put into all of us. And when God puts a longing in our hearts; he loves to fulfil it.

For years I have known that my home is heaven. That one day I will live there, and find my home the in place where I will belong forever. This is a great hope for the future, but what about now? I have (hopefully) many years between now and the day I find myself in heaven.

The great news is, this home isn’t just a promise for the future. It is a promise for right now as well.

I love that throughout the book of Psalms, David refers to God as his home. No matter what troubles he is facing, who is hunting him down, he is able to God his refuge in time of need. He is that same thing for us. You hear soppy couple’s tell each other that their home is where ever the other one is. Well that is true of God as well, and since he is everyone, you cannot escape your home. No matter how far you travel, God is always your home.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Phillipians 3:20)

Notice that this passage doesn’t say that our citizenship will be in heaven, but that is is on heaven. Right now.

You are already a citizen of heaven. You might not live there, yet. But you already have the passport.

design-7

 

 

We already have all the rights that come along with being a citizen of heaven, and all the protection as well. We find our identity in this citizenship. We already belong.

No matter how unsettled or lonely you feel you have a home and an identity; you belong.

How to be #Blessed


When, exactly, did the word blessed start appearing all the time? It used to be the kind of word that was the preserve of grannies and rural vicars. Now it seems to be just about everywhere. It’s as if everyone is, or wants to be #blessed. But what exactly does it mean?

As I was thinking about this the other day, I decided to have a little search on Instagram to see what it was people were hashtagging as blessed. And I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by what I found.

It seemed like that particular hashtag was most associated with women with rather large breasts. Probably not what the grannies or rural vicars were referring to. And, unfortunately, leaving me feeling resigned that I most definitely am not blessed!

Of course there were a load of selfies (including a couple of fit men) some pictures of babies and plates full of food, and a whole lot of some what inspiring quotes.

Not exactly what the word blessed brings to mind.

Not exactly what Jesus meant when he said blessed are the poor in spirit in that sermon on the mount.

How have we managed to misunderstand this word so much, that big boobs and hot bodies have become synonymous with the word blessed?

How has this holy, bible word become so distorted.

Blessed is about none of this. Not at all.

How can it be about expensive jewelery when Jesus says that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, because this is when we realise how much we need him.

How can it be about cute kittens when Jesus says we are blessed when we grieve, because that is when we find comfort.

How can it be abouut posed and edited photos when Jesus says blessed are the humble. He even says that the whole earth will be theirs.

How can it be about plates full of food when Jesus says we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for justice, when we want to do the right thing for people. That is when we will be satisfied.

How can it be about pictures of our latest purchases when Jesus says we are blessed when we are kind, when we show mercy to others, because he will show mercy to us.

How can it be about half-naked bodies when Jesus says we are blessed when we think pure thoughts, because that s when we will see him.

How can it be about clothes which have been made in sweatshops when Jesus says we are blessed when we seek peace, because then we will be called his children.

How can it be about semi-inspirational quotes when Jesus says we are blessed are those who are persecuted for doing the right thing, he even says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

How can it be about seeking likes when Jesus says that people will insult us, that they will say evil and hurtful things about us, but even then we are blessed. We can even rejoice in this pain, because the rewards will be waiting for us in heaven.

Being blessed, and getting blessed, has nothing to do with stuff, or hot bodies. In fact, what Jesus tell us is the exact opposite. He tells us we are blessed through what many would consider hardship, because that’s what brings us closer to him.

None of these #blessings are true Blessings, they do not bring us closer to God, they actually turn our eyes away from him they are like a barrier between us and him.

Today I am thankful that I am not #blessed, with a fit body; that would only distract me from what God has planned for me, but that I am truly Blessed by my heavenly father.

 

He Didn’t Have to But He Did

jacob-meyer-32135

He didn’t have to wake you up this morning. But he did.

He didn’t have to give you breath. But he did.

He didn’t have to die for you. But he did.

Some times we take these things in life for granted. As if God owes us life. As if he owes us forgiveness.

As. If. He. Owes. Us. Anything.

How self-absorbed? What kind of distorted thinking must we have to think that the God of the universe, the creator of everything, who holds it all in the palm of his hand, actually owes us a single thing.

And yet we go through everyday, acting as if we deserve life, as if we derve forgivenss, as if we deserve any kind of blessing.

How dare we. How can we forget the chasm that exists between us and God. The cost of death that was required to bridge that gap between us and him.

We should be living every single second of every single day filled with wonder that God would even bother to remember our names. Let alone love us. Let alone send his Son to die for us. Because of us.

How dare we forget to scream to the whole world about what God has done for us. When we really didn’t deserve any of it. When a girl will shout about a boy buying her a few cheap flowers that will die in a couple of days. Why are we silent about the God who did so much more for us?

How can we possibly be so preoccupied by the pointless inane things of this world instead of getting down on our knees and worshipping him.

God didn’t have to save you. He doesn’t have to keep on blessing you. But he does. Because of who he is.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

How To Be Nice, But Not A Pushover

design-3Do you ever feel as if other people are draining the life out of you? Like they are constantly taking from you and not giving anything in return?

I know that I have felt like this in the past in both friendships and relationships. Something in me has screamed out, THIS ISN’T RIGHT. But I haven’t known how to make it better. Part of me has felt guilty for having this feeling in the first place. Aren’t we supposed to lovely Christian people who are kind all the time? How can we do that without letting other people down? How can we be kind without being a pushover?

Continue reading

Three Things

 

Try harder. Do better. Don’t be so stupid.

These are the words I tell myself.

Over and over again every single day.

I don’t know about you, but often it feels like I’m about three steps behind every one else, just trying to play catch up.

But on top of that I can also be lazy, I know I could try better. (I think most of us do.) So we try to criticize and nag ourselves into submission, and only end up feeling about a hundred times worse.

Stop worrying, Care less. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

This is the advise should take.

These words sound like good advise, don’t they? At least, they’re definitely words that I need to hear! But, in my experience, they’re definitely a lot harder to put into practice.

I mean, how are we supposed to stop worrying when there is just so much stuff to worry about? Sometimes I start to relax, and then I remember that there is just so much that I need to be stressed about, that I make myself start worrying again!

I know I shouldn’t compare, but when other people’s lives are so much better how can I not. And anyway, if I didn’t compare, how else would I know just how badly I was failing.

We can try and try and take this advise, but unfortunately, on our own, it’s simply impossible advice.

You’re chosen. You’re loved. You don’t need to worry.

This is what I really need to know.

If we don’t understand that we are chosen, and truly loved. We are never going to be able to take that advice. We will never be able to relax and just be.

The only way to break free from worry is to know the peace that we have in the knowledge that it’s all in God’s hands.

The only way we can let go of comparison and feel like we are enough is in knowing just how much God loves us.

We could never work hard enough or be good enough to make God love us. Instead he freely chooses to, just as we are.

This Moment

IMG_1002Most of the time we spend most of the time worried about what we need to do, or worrying about what we didn’t do.

One foot in the past and one in the future and our head full of worry and confusion.

The sick thoughts of mistakes and what ifs, the questions for tomorrow and the fears for the future take over and we forget to actually live today.

Right now. This moment. You can take your mind of the worry and you can find peace. Continue reading