Faith

No more drama, no more pain

I daren’t rest my fingertips on the keys for fear of what I will type, yet I can do nothing but type for fear that my rising emotions will simply overwhelm me. I find writing cathartic yet insanely frustrating as my head tries to disentangle the jumbled thoughts, words and sentences spilling out of my heart.

Last week I messed up. Yep, the smiley, happy-go-lucky, girl-who-has-got-everything-sorted spat her dummy out and once again engaged her mouth before her brain.  It wasn’t the first, second or even third time, more likely the hundred thousandth since I became a follower of Jesus. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect, it doesn’t make you better than anyone else, if anything, the constant pruning and shaping only serves to highlight how very imperfect we are in comparison to a perfect God. Yet all too often my faith is either flung in my face by people thinking that my stance on life is because of a ‘holier than thou’ attitude, or they remind me that I should know better, because, well that’s not a Christian thing to say/do now is it?

No, it wasn’t. Yes, I messed up. Yes, I got angry and frustrated, and rather than bite my lip, my bruised heart screamed that it couldn’t take anymore and I screamed with it. I threw my toys out of the pram, I threw a tantrum that would make most children stop and stare. I sent the words flying through the air like daggers, and then I hung up the phone.

Why? Because hurt people hurt people.

There are no excuses for bad behaviour, Christian or not, and I have wrestled with my conscience and apologised for my outburst. I don’t like drama, other than a Friday night movie with my husband, but somehow drama always seems to find me and after several months of smooth sailing I find myself being battered on the rocks once again.

2016 was a year of soul-searching, stock taking, and stripping back for me, and I am learning more and more about what I need. I have realised that I ache for a simple, inclusive, family focused life, and have strong opinions on how to keep it that way. I long to include, but I won’t waste time trying to accommodate agendas that could jeopardise my walk with Jesus or my fledgling family.

Family is at the core of who I am, being a wife and a mother is undoubtedly the greatest joy I have ever known. A self-confessed optimist and romanticist, I love to love and I long to embrace. But, to quote R’n’B queen Mary J.Blige,  I dream of a day where there is no more drama, no more pain. I desperately want to wash off the words that have stuck like glue, I want to feel accepted despite my belief, not excluded because of it. Rather than celebrate our uniqueness, different paths can create islands separated by oceans of tears. Our strong wills can build impenetrable walls that keep changing tides out and challenging emotions in.

I am all for saying embrace difference, embrace life, embrace love, but sometimes this all-in, exposed and vulnerable love has a cost. Are we willing to pay the price? Sometimes love looks like holding hands into the future, and sometimes it looks like forgiveness and moving on.

No more drama, no more pain.

I daren’t rest my fingertips on the keys for fear of what I will type, yet I know that I can do nothing but type in order to open the floodgates and calm the storm raging inside my heart. So I will write and write, and pour and pour, and cry, and rest, and write some more.

And I know that my God will hear my cries and He will whisper; Don’t worry my girl, I have got this, I have got them and I have got you, and tomorrow is a brand new day.

R

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Faith

Time to let go

I am an eternal optimist always searching for a silver lining, but there are days when finding the little ray of hope in your heart is like finding a needle in a haystack, even for me.

I know I am profoundly loved, I know that I am profoundly blessed. I know that I have an amazing network of people in my life who build me up, spur me on and encourage me to fly. Even so, as a thirty something married mom of two, there is still one whom I seek approval from. There is still one that has a permanent place in my heart, one that I want to please, to make proud, to find approval with, yet I fear that may never come.

It is hard to hold on to hope after decades of heart ache. It is hard to not lose grip when your knuckles are blanched and your cheeks are stained with tears. It is hard not to lose heart, lose your temper and throw caution to the wind.

But it is harder still to let go.

In my mind, letting go implies that you don’t care, that you are better off alone or that you think you can do better. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but sometimes letting go is exactly what we need to do, because in holding on to something with both hands we can’t reach out and grab the opportunities in life that are passing us by.

In holding on to a relationship that is not reciprocated we can limit our lives. In clinging to the coffin praying for a resurrection, we could find ourselves inadvertently buried too.

God didn’t create me to hold onto someone else’s coat tails or hang on their every word. He created me to stand tall, be who He called me to be and step out into my own God-given destiny.

Jesus didn’t die so that I could be held back by someone who won’t hold me. He died so that He could hold me in His own arms, so that He could take my hand and lead me through the valleys to the mountain tops.

Jesus’ love is like a balm that soothes even the deepest wound, however amidst my own sense of injustice I suddenly remembered that Jesus loves them as much as He loves me. He doesn’t take sides, He sees them through the eyes of His loving Father, He sees their hurt and heartache too, He knows every hair on their head and He wants to wrap His ever-loving arms around them as tightly as He can.

Love isn’t easy and it sure isn’t pretty. I am called to love and love is what I will do as long as I live, but loving doesn’t mean limiting myself. Loving means forgiveness and the liberty to move on, regardless of whether your loved one chooses to follow suit.

I wrote a song this week and here is a snapshot of the lyrics that poured out of my heart;

After all this time, you’d think I’d realise
After all this time, you’d think I see the lies
After all these years you’ve brought me tears its true,
Now the time has come, I’m done chasing you.

(Chorus)

But oh, I still want to make you see,
The woman you made in me.
The one who holds her head up high, The one who looks to the sky,
But oh, now I know, its time to let you go.

I will never ever stop loving, and I will never ever stop living in hope that things will one day be different. But until then, I need to let go of what won’t hold me and reach out to the One who will.

Thank you Jesus that You will never ever let me go.

R

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Faith

Should old acquaintance be forgot…

So tomorrow is New Years Eve. When the clock strikes twelve and we ring in 2016, each of us has the chance to start afresh. We can’t wait to recreate ourselves, promising to be better, fitter, or more committed. Just like getting a brand new diary with fresh crisp pages that we cannot wait to fill in with our very best handwriting, we enter the New Year with heady expectation of promise and potential, filled with excitement and awe at the possibilities that 2016 might bring.

But while we are very good at welcoming the future, we are not so competent at forgetting the past.

Should old acquaintance be forgot… the old song sings of forgiveness and forward thinking not bitterness and reminiscing.

2015 has been something of a miraculous year for us personally as God has provided us with our very first home – something that was a physical impossibility for us in the natural but God ordained it and engineered it in the supernatural. My husband and I have grown hugely in our relationship with each other and with God as we have navigated new territory in pastoral care at our church Renewal, and I have been blessed with some of the very best friends that a girl could wish for. They truly are a support network like I have never known and we have shared laughter, tears and tantrums (our children’s!!) over the past 12 months.

However 2015 has also brought private pain, loss that has cut deep in to my heart, rocking my very core as I have questioned my identity and worth while struggling to hold onto things or people that no longer want to hold on to me.

I have had to lay down gifts for a season and pick up new batons, I have had to learn to hold things loosely and understand that God is working through each and every season for a reason.

I have had to accept that I am not in control, nor can I control others, I must leave them in the hands of my heavenly Father who loves them more than I will ever know and sees them in a way that I cannot right now.

So as I sit cross-legged on my sofa, tapping away onto my laptop while my hubby watches Top Gear, I am contemplating tomorrow evening as my little old clock strikes twelve and we commence that age old tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne. Will I truly be able to let go of the old acquaintance of  abandonment? the despair of disappointment? the heartache of not being held? the wonder of what else I could do to make myself more worthy?

Then, once again I am rocked by the revelation that Jesus loves me just as I am.

That I don’t need to do or say anything to make Him love me more than He does right now.

And that the gifts He has placed within me will be grown in due course and give glory to God and God alone in His perfect timing.

I don’t know what you have been through in 2015, nor are facing for your future but I know this: My God has a plan for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Because of His love I urge you my friend to take a cup o’ kindness and not bitterness as you raise a glass to toast the New Year.

So why not let this years old acquaintances be truly forgotten and grab hold of the promises of prosperity, of hope, of love and of faith in your future.
R

 

 

 

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Faith

What does your bloodline say about you?

I love my parents. I had an unconventional, if slightly turbulent childhood at times however if it wasn’t for my Mom and Dad I would not be here today, and for that alone I am so grateful! The picture perfect family of a married couple and their 2.4 children are so rare they are practically on the endangered species list. A couple who have made it to ten years of marriage are hailed as heroes as the divorce rates rise in 21st century Britain, however it is for good reason and in extreme cases for safety that some couples choose to or are forced to separate.

Over my three decades on this earth, I have learned that there are so many men and women, boys and girls who have lived through parent relationship breakdowns, abuse, neglect and the resulting dysfunctional family unit. It is not the norm to live at home with mom and dad, much less to have a good solid relationship with either. Secrets, lies and heartache are central to more families than ever, and the cycle simply keeps repeating as hurt people hurt people and we perpetuate the past for generations to come.

If you are dealing with the secrets of your past, processing the scars of abuse that happened so many years ago or are agonising over the heartbreaking split of your parents, please know that I am not going to write and tell you to that everything is going to be OK and to move on and forget about it. Your past pain is very real and very valid. You have every right to feel sad, anxious, depressed or even angry about what has happened and I would urge you to seek professional help and counselling to process things fully in the right way.

However, I want you to know that you are not defined by your parental bloodline.

Your parents are human. Humans mess up. They have done ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden when Eve persuaded Adam to sample fruits that were not his to take. Please understand that I am not making excuses for those who have hurt you, whether they let you down, neglected you, hit you, abused you or did all of the above to you or the ones you love. The mistakes made by your parents are not yours. They are not your fault, nor are they your burden to carry. My friend, I want to tell you that although our lives are indeed shaped by the circumstances that surround us, they do not define us and we can choose to change our mindsets and direct our lives in a different direction.

Your biological mother may have abandoned you at birth, your earthly father may have favoured the local pub over time spent with his child but beautiful one, you have a supernatural, heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally, perfectly and completely. God created YOU in your mother’s womb, He knew every detail of you whilst you were formed and has not taken His eyes off you ever since.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” Jeremiah 1:5 NLT

‘You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ Psalm 139:13 NLT

Whether you know God or not, you have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus, who died on the cross for you. His death, His shedding of blood has given YOU a NEW BLOODLINE.

No longer are you known as the son or daughter of parents that failed you, if you accept what Jesus is offering – a relationship with God – you can have a new bloodline, a new heritage, with a perfect heavenly Father. You can be free of the guilt of your past, you can remove the shackles of shame that have bound you and kept you from experiencing a life lived to the full. Why? Because that it exactly why Jesus came to earth;

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV.

I don’t want to belittle the burden you have carried during your life, I only mean to reassure you that there is a meaning and a purpose to your life regardless of the turbulent start or tumultuous journey you have faced. And the first step in discovering that purpose is surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ. I promise you, you will never regret it.

R

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Faith, Parenting

They are what you speak

I am so tired of hearing the phrase ‘He is a bad boy’ or ‘She is naughty girl’ bandied around the playground or toddler group.

Now, as a mother of particularly boisterous boys, who have been more than a little challenging at times, I am only too aware that sometimes our children do misbehave. But I have learnt (the hard way) that confirming negative behaviour to a child will only entrench the behaviour even deeper, as they start to believe what they are told about themselves. These fleeting comments, these seemingly harmless words fly through the atmosphere like arrows, piercing the open, soft hearts of impressionable small people who are looking to us to see how to handle situations, how to speak over people and, heartbreakingly, what to believe about themselves.

Children are NOT bad. They are NOT naughty.

Despite the cutting remarks or physical aggression, their behaviour is not malicious and is not a personal attack on you or others around you. Children are tiny human beings who are learning what is right and wrong and are pushing the boundaries socially and physically to discover what is OK, what is acceptable. And yes, at times they will make the wrong choice. They will choose to snatch that toy, to push that child, to hit that parent or answer back in the middle of the playground. These choices and the resulting behaviour exhibited is naughty, not the child, and I would encourage any parent, guardian or carer, myself included, to isolate the behaviour and condemn this not the child in question.

Furthermore friends, if it is not your child exhibiting the behaviour, please stop before you judge them or pass comment; that little boy lashing out may be struggling with separation from a father who left his mother six weeks ago, that little girl may have a poorly sibling who is requiring all mom and dad’s attention so she is acting out to get noticed by someone.

Our words have more power than we could ever realise. The Bible tells us that our words have the power to destroy and the power to save lives (Proverbs 12:6) and for anyone who has ever been criticised, put down or gossiped about, you will know that words can wound deeper than any sword. When someone casts a careless comment to a child, saying ‘You are a naughty girl’, ‘Why do you do that? What’s wrong with you?’ or ‘He is a nasty piece of work’, they are speaking into their little, impressionable minds, into their soft vulnerable hearts and dealing them the most hurtful blow that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Having done The Five Love Languages, I am aware that my top love language is words of affirmation, so for me, words have a lasting effect that can have immeasurable repercussions on my emotional and mental well being. I remember harsh words spoken about me or to me from a very young age as if it were yesterday, and the comments still cause me to question my image, my ability or my talent some twenty five years later.

God spoke the world into being with his words and as we are made in His image, we are responsible for the words we speak out into and over others. Jesus himself said; “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37

If you have guardianship or relationship with a child of any age, please, I urge you, be careful what you say to them, in front of them or around them. Children are like sponges that soak up all that flows in and around them, whether that is good or bad, positive or negative. Don’t fill their heads with your own judgements, doubts, fears or frustrations. Make sure the words you speak into them are full of praise, encouragement and gentle love-filled discipline that will build your child into a strong, secure man or woman in the future.

And perhaps most importantly, if you do speak harshly (which we all do) don’t forget to say you are sorry. The simplest way to undo an injustice on either side of the fence is the humble apology which has the power to right the wrongs and set you both free from a vicious cycle of word flinging. Modelling to your charges how you want them to conduct and handle their behaviour – good and bad – will set them up with a solid foundation on which to build positive, loving lives.

R x

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