Faith, Lifestyle

Failing forward

If there is one thing I really dislike, it is losing face in front of others. I am a firm believer in go big or go home; I like to dream big, bold dreams and put them ‘out there’ for all to see. This brings a certain level of accountability on my part, and also makes me stretch my faith. But it also means that if I don’t achieve the dream or see the miracle happen then the world and his wife have a front row seat.

There have been a few ‘failures’ over the past few years. I haven’t reached the goals I wanted to in my business, I didn’t get the job that I thought was ‘mine’, I didn’t continue homeschooling past 12 months and I didn’t move in to my new house by the time frame I expected. The galling thing for me is that with all of these things, I felt called by God into each and every one of them. And I told the world that.

Does that mean that God let me down? Does that mean that I didn’t hear from God in the first place? I don’t think it means any of these things. I think God has called me to each and every business venture, job application, educational experience and relocation for reason. Let me explain…

In 2017, a much wanted little girl came into our lives and my mental health came crashing down. As a family we were very much in the trenches, fighting for our faith, our marriage and our kids. We lost so much, but Jesus kept us together and kept us strong. It was during my illness that I discovered the power of aromatherapy and my business was born out of awe, wonder and my love of science as I shared what I learned. Essential oils played a huge part in my recovery and continue to support our health and wellness.

By Autumn 2018, my health was vastly improved and I was excited about a glittering future in my business, however it was at this point that God challenged me about home schooling my children. Believe me, this was never part of my plan… but God kept challenging me and as I prayed into it I felt that He truly wanted me to do this. We discussed it as a family and in March 2019 we pulled out children out of mainstream school.

The business took a backseat, but what a year we had! We basked in our new found freedom and found kindred spirits who will be life long friends, yet I felt stifled and at times overwhelmed being with my children 24/7. Yet another venture that wasn’t panning out as I thought it would… I began to consider whether homeschooling was for us, and whether both my children and I needed something ‘more’. We had committed to giving it a year and then reviewing the decision.

In December 2019, I felt compelled to apply for a part time role. This didn’t sit with my business/home school plans either! Surely I had enough on my plate with a wellness business, aromatherapy diploma underway and being a full time homeschooling mama to three? The job was a ministry role which I felt was perfect and would enable me to use my skills in pastoral care, networking and leadership to further God’s Kingdom. I felt that God was leading me to this role, yet despite being shortlisted to the last two, I was unsuccessful.

Fast forward to March 2020. We had made the decision to put the children back into school, only for them to come back home again after two short weeks (thanks coronavirus!) What in the world? I felt like everything was crashing down, my plans were going out of the window and I literally went to God saying what the heck? What was I meant to do now?

As we prayed during lockdown and felt that God was leading us to relocate to Wales – a dream we had had for years, but each time we pushed the door, God had always said “not now”. Now He was swinging the doors wide open.

Here is what God has shown me about the importance of every step in my journey:

After adopting our daughter, God led me to a wonderful Christian mama who became a mentor and a friend, supporting and educating me in how to support our family wellness. Without her, I would never have started this journey.

Homeschooling was never about bucking the system – it was about pressing reset as a family. It was about recovering the lost year and rediscovering each other, and who we are in Christ. It was about becoming stronger in out faith and as a family.

The slow steady growth of my business, rather than the massive growth I dreamed of kept my options open and my heart humble. It meant that my hands were ready to receive what God had in store rather than trusting in my own provision.

The job application was about obedience – saying yes to God, yes to His plans and purposes even when it seemed to be outside of our plans or time frame. It made me realise how far we had come and how I was now ready to step into the next phase of my life.

This step of obedience then prepared us for the next yes – relocating to Wales. If I had gotten the job, if I hadn’t been flexible due to home school, if I hadn’t been certain in my faith due to relying completely on God, if I hadn’t started my wellness journey and continued my personal development I wouldn’t be writing this from Wales right now.

These events were ‘failures’ to me because I didn’t set out to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but I can now see that I was failing forward into what God had planned for me. He set me up to be here, right now, and even though I continue to wait for the final hurdle allowing us to move into our new home, I can say with confidence that God has never let me down and I can trust Him with this too.

If you have something you need to trust God for, can I encourage you with this:

I wait patiently for the Lord. I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope – Psalms 130:5

Hold on friend, He’s got you.

R x

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Faith

Raised to life

Have you ever felt that your dreams have died? That your ideals have become nothing more than ideas? Have you ever felt so utterly forgotten and forsaken, and wondering what happened and where on earth you went wrong?

Mary and Martha must have felt the very same way when their brother Lazarus died. The three were dear friends to Jesus, and when Lazarus became sick, his faithful sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, knowing that He could heal him. But rather than come immediately, Jesus chose to stay where he was for a further two days and Lazarus died.

Mary and Martha must have been devastated and dumbfounded. Where was Jesus? Why had He left them? Why had He failed them?

When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the grace for four days. He was already starting to decay. The sisters were speechless at Jesus apparent lack of concern and lack of action, yet they were about to witness His greatest miracle.

Jesus raised Lazarus to life.

He woke his friend from his sleep and returned him to his amazed and overjoyed family. Sure, healing Lazarus would have been a marvellous miracle in its own right, but raising him from the dead was a straight up supernatural event. Seeing the hopes and dreams of a life with Lazarus die before their eyes, only to watch Jesus breathe life back into their brother must have been the most life-changing, faith-affirming moment of their entire lives.

Last Sunday was my first day back on the worship team in 8 months. A lot can happen in 8 months. We sang a song called Raised to Life by Elevation Worship and as I reflected on the words, tears sprang to my eyes.

What does it mean to be raised to life? We might think of the literal translation of being raised from the dead like Lazarus, but as I pondered this phrase my spirit stirred. In order to be raised, something has to die. I am not talking about a physical death, but more the death of a dream, of an ideal.

You may have started 2018 too scared to dream at all. You may have arrived with dashed hopes, plans in tatters and a battered, bruised heart. I want to encourage you that if your dreams seemed to have died, if your ideals are seemingly impossible, just wait on the Lord. If they are the dreams and plans He has for you, He will give you a peace about your situation and lead you to something new. But maybe, just maybe, He is waiting in the wings, biding His time.

Because only when a dream is dead, can it be raised to life.

“Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” ~ Jesus
John 11:40 NLT

R x

 

 

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