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, Parenting

Enjoy the view from the harbour

Nowadays we are always in such a rush. We simply cannot wait to be independent; as children we can’t wait to walk, ride a bike, catch the bus to school alone, to start secondary school, learn to drive… the list goes on and on. It is human nature to want to be independent, to learn new skills and to survive under our own steam, and we fight against anything or anyone that holds us back.

I was reminded of this during our recent holiday to North Devon. We made a quick whistle stop at a gorgeous little harbour town to try to get some panoramic shots of the coast, and as I stood on the harbour walls looking out at the vast ocean the small stone harbour to the right of my view kept drawing my attention. The tide was in and the waves crashed against it’s rocky walls, creating great swathes of white froth fizzing around the base, however the waves within the harbour were lapping gently against the boats that were moored there.

“You feel so restricted sometimes,” God whispered to me. “Like those boats bobbing along in the harbour, my sons and daughters are full of potential, ready and raring to go on the next adventure on the wide open sea as they peek through the narrow harbour entrance and glimpse the promise of undiscovered territory. Yet like these boats they are held back by an anchor, hemmed in by a harbour and they feel impatient. I hold you back to keep you safe. Your faith in me is your anchor in uncertain waters. My Holy Spirit is the harbour that protects your bows from the crashing waves as the angels fight unseen battles in the spiritual realms.”

A smile spread across my face, as I thought of how many times I tell my own children that I am keeping them from harm when I tell them they can’t cross the road unsupervised or can’t play out alone.

If you feel like you are in a harbour, desperate to get out on the open waters, just stop a moment and consider that the waves rippling around your feet were buffeted by your heavenly Father before they ever reached you. Don’t be in a rush to move forward into what ever you feel God has put on your heart. If He called you to it, He will bring you through it, but first you must fix your eyes on him and wait for Him to say “Come”.

When the disciples were on their boat in the middle of Lake Galilee, I am sure they would have given anything to be back in the harbour, to have their vessel protected from the powerful tidal waves threatening to capsize them. But Jesus was there in the middle of the storm, and when He said “Stop” the waters stilled, when He said “Come” Peter was able to walk on the water. When the time is right and you are ready for that new venture or the next chapter in your story, Jesus will say the word. He will give the command and will direct your steps when it is time to walk out on those troubled waters. He will be your strength and your stay as you dive into depths you have never been to or swam out to unchartered territory, but just as Peter soon discovered, the key is keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus at all times. (Matthew 14:22-33)

But meanwhile, if you are in the harbour, just enjoy the view while you get ready, relax in the rippling waters and trust that God knows the timing for everything.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

R

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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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