Faith, Lifestyle, Parenting

You are not alone

“Are you scared Mommy?” My wide eyed ten year old looked up at me from the sofa, where he has been watching the latest news unfold. I thought for a moment and took a deep breath before I answered him. I am a firm believer in telling our kids the truth, where appropriate, and I wanted to honour that while protecting my 6 and 3 year old who were also listening in.

Here is what I know; Covid-19 is gathering pace. The global pandemic is far from contained, and there is no telling what the true fall out will be in months and years from now. People are dying, grieving families are unable to mourn properly, and the elderly, infants, pregnant women and the infirm are facing months of solitary confinement. Right now we are facing some of the most challenging times in world history, with the government response being likened to a country at war. Only we are fighting an unseen enemy. The truth is, we have been fighting an unseen enemy since the beginning of time.

We have been fighting an unseen enemy since the beginning of time.

When the Devil was cast down from heaven, he made it his life’s mission to take us all down with him. He has been fighting tooth and nail, summoning all the powers and principalities to wage war against God and His children.

That means you.

You were created by God, for relationship with God and He loves you with every fibre of His being. Whether you believe in God is irrelevant, but you better believe that Satan believes in Him. The Devil is busy whipping up a perfect storm right now; stealing people’s joy, dripping doubts and fear into their every day and distracting them from God.

So what can we do? We need to be on our guard and we need to know what God says about adversity. Get in to your Bible, because lets face it the early Christians had their fair share of persecution, plagues and pestilence. We need to keep pressing in to Jesus, asking for guidance, praying for protection and resting in His peace.

Knowing Jesus isn’t going to guarantee you an easy ride. But when the storms come, it is far easier to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you fix your eyes on Him.

Peter and the disciples were facing the perfect storm; the waves rising, the boat capsizing. At first glance it looked like Jesus was doing nothing – He was asleep in the back of the boat! But when the disciples turned to Him and woke Him, He stood up and spoke to the storm. (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus is in your boat, you just beed to ask Him to speak to the storm.

You may feel surrounded on all sides, you may see the water pooling at your feet, you may even feel the waves pulling you under. But look up, fix your eyes on Jesus and ask Him to speak.

Why did He let the storm happen? I believe that Jesus was giving the disciples a wake up call. He needed them to be shaken up to get their attention, and when they finally turned their attention to Him, His power could be revealed.

When our lives are shaken, our focus shifts.

Friends, Coronavirus is here and I believe that God wants to get our attention. The whole world is being shaken and we need to turn our attention to HIM. Am I scared? No, but we are facing scary times. We are fighting an unseen enemy, but please know that we are not fighting alone.

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14

R x

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Faith

Finding your voice

When you have been in a fight you walk differently. Your overstretched muscles are sore, your hands and face are bruised, your mind reeling and your body exhausted. The relentless onslaught all but took you out, and you hold on to the very walls you were thrown against just to steady yourself.

Being pushed and losing your balance is one thing, but when you are knocked flat out you have to regain composure. When you are on your feet you can dodge, duck, you can see the blows coming and you are more nimble to escape them. When you are flat on your face you can’t see anything but the cold ground inches away from your nose, and you have to concentrate all your energy on just getting back up.

I recently got back up.

I experienced one of the biggest fights of my life and it left me breathless and scared, staring at the cold, hard floor. We are told to speak out, to claim God’s promises, to stand on His victory.  On the darkest days, I didn’t have the words to cry out to the God I thought had forsaken me.

But I could worship.

I couldn’t utter a single note from my vocal chords, but I found my fingers playing chords on the piano or the guitar. Haunting melodies washed over me, and as I sat wondering how in the world I had found myself in this situation, the Holy Spirit kept stirring my heart and soothing my soul.

When you can’t lift your head, lift your voice.

Worship is a weapon. I was reminded of this at Cherish Conference last month. When you can’t lift your head, lift your voice. When you have no words, worship. When you cannot pray, praise. Whether you worship in a song, a dance, or in other creative expressions, open your bruised, battered heart to heaven and let God heal it.

Anger, disbelief, disappointment, devastation, grief, sadness, bitterness. A torrent of emotions that whipped around me and threatened to take me out. There was nothing left of me, all I had was Jesus. I shut my eyes against the raging seas that smashed against me and clung desperately to the rock, waiting for Him to pull me out.

When you are at your end, that’s when Jesus begins.

When I was face down, staring at the floor, broken and bleeding, that’s when Jesus did what I could not.

There is power in a prostrate posture. Sure laying out on the floor isn’t the least bit dignified, but it is powerful nonetheless. You may think that a broken heart is no use to a perfect God, but a submissive spirit is. By laying at His feet and saying “Lord I’m all out, I’m done in”, we are giving God permission to take our brokenness and make something beautiful, by His strength and power, not our own.

Perhaps you find yourself in a storm too, perhaps you are watching the clouds roll in ominously, maybe you are already in the waves, clinging to the rock by your fingernails, or maybe you are picking up the pieces of the chaos left in its wake.

We all have a story, a storm that we have battled through or are currently facing. But the beauty of storms is that even they have to obey Jesus. The winds and waves were created by Him, so when He speaks the storms stop. When He commands, the chaos ceases.

When He speaks the storms stop. When He commands, the chaos ceases.

And as children of God, heirs in Christ we too have the authority to speak to our storm. We can end our exhaustion, defy our desperation, by allowing Jesus to fill us with His strength; renew us, restore us and reshape us.

Wherever this finds you today, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. The One who flung the stars into space is right beside you. The One who rose from the dead will not let you sink. He will pull you out of the waves, He will call the waters to calm and He will walk you right through them.

You just need

R x

 

 

 

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Faith

The private pain of perfect people

 
  “This one is perfect!” My five year old exclaimed as he thrust a smooth round pebble in to my hand. We were combing the beach at Porlock, searching for pebbles that were completely round, completely smooth and completely uniform in colour. 

As I examined his rather exceptional offering to my small collection, I couldn’t help wonder what it had taken to get that pebble so smooth. 

That’s when God whispered: That pebble didn’t start out that way, it was shaped. 

I thought for a moment about what that meant, pondering the fact that this lovely little pebble must have been buffeted by waves crashing over it, slammed against cliff walls and scraped against other stones. The shaping process of this solid spherical rock in my hand had not happened overnight, nor had it happened easily. It has taken years, decades even, of pummelling, grazing, chipping, smoothing and polishing to create this perfect pebble.

People are like pebbles, God whispered to my heart. You see that person at the pinnacle of their game, the height of their ministry and think you can never be like that, that they must have been born with that gift, but what you don’t see is the years of buffeting in the storms of life, the waves of ill health, the whirlwind of abuse, the rain of depression that they have had to endure to become the person you see today.

It is hard to measure up to someone else’s calling or ministry, it is difficult to visualise is in positions of influence when we are muddling through our messy lives. But we are called not to compare ourselves but to complete Gods vision for ourselves. Yes it’s true that we are born with a gift, a talent, an anointing, but very often these gifts are not realised nor released to their full potential until the bearer has gone through the shaping process that will enable them to use them most effectively. 

Don’t envy others for their situations or positions. Don’t wish for her anointing in worship, his gifting in evangelism or her passion for preaching. Each of us has a unique gifting and a God-ordained purpose. Don’t squander your individual destiny, embrace it. If you don’t yet know what that looks like for you then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you.

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 

‘Perfect people’ like these perfect pebbles have been through the mill. We can’t have their Don’t shy away from your story, seek God and share it. 

R

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