What will you leave behind?
I was writing out my to-do list, adding little ticks next to the ones I had done, it made me feel quite good and got carried away, I was about to add to it Bible reading and prayer time, when I heard the Lord say to me “it’s not a tick box exercise”.
How many of us do this? Wake up and speak to the Lord as an exercise that just has to be done, like cleaning the bathroom or making packed lunches for the kids. Each day is made up of small blocks of time along with a matching task list, we can quite easily slot God into that tick box exercise, that we are doing out of duty.
The fact is, it is not a duty, it’s a true honour. Spending time with God should be something I look forward to, like when I met my husband, my first love, getting butterflies in my tummy, an expectancy that I just can’t wait for, hanging on the every word, a pamper time but for my mind. Psalm 37:4 tells us to take delight in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. Wow! He does too, many a time I have been completely bowled over with what He has done in my life….. Even the small things, for example:
Last week I was preparing food for a party which quite frankly should by rights have stressed me right out, thankfully I leaned upon the Lord and said: “God, I can not do this on my own, you have got to help me!” A British buffet really isn’t a buffet without good old cheese and pineapple sticks. So there I was 9pm on a Friday night jabbing cubes of cheese and pineapple with cocktail sticks. When I got to the bottom of the last tin of pineapple chunks, I looked down to see just 2 pieces left and there on the chopping my board were 2 beautiful equal chunks of cheese!! I was totally in awe that Jesus cared so much about this party He even gave me equal pineapple chunks for my cheese……I know you have just read that and thought I’m crazy, but let me give you some context.
When I got to the bottom of the last tin of pineapple chunks, I looked down to see just 2 pieces left and there on the chopping my board were 2 beautiful equal chunks of cheese. If there had of been an odd number that would have annoyed me, I’m a bit OCD like that! I was totally in awe that Jesus cared so much about this party He even gave me equal pineapple chunks for my cheese……I know you have just read that and thought I’m crazy, but let me give you some context.
This party was a last minute decision, it was a surprise for a beautiful friend of mine, I had been in prayer a few weeks earlier and really felt on my heart to do this for her, the thing was there wasn’t really anyone available to help me organise it, so in the natural it should have been a complete burden. But, because I had bought it before the Lord and asked Him to intervene everything went wonderfully, and this was His way of showing me He was in it all. It was the confirmation that I needed to say everything was going to be ok, the food would be plentiful, the guests would turn up, and my friend would enjoy.
I delighted myself in Him, gave Him praise and was in wonder at His beautiful work, the party went smoothly, an enjoyable night had by all, the people turned up, my friend was totally surprised, cried tears of joy, the food went well, and I didn’t melt down at all, all because I went to the Lord with a humble heart and told Him exactly what I needed, He loves to answer our prayers, the little things are the things that are the most special to me, I pray that I never go a day and miss where He is at.
I was born into a home that was loving, kind and caring. My Dad had his own business and my Mom was a secretary for a local business, we had a good life, even when Dad lost the business he managed to find a good job that paid well, we had nice things and a lovely home. I always remember the day he came home with a new TV, it was around the time the infrared remote control was introduced, I was well happy with that!
Disaster struck at Christmas time, Father Christmas had been and gone and so had Dad. I was 8 years old, I don’t remember much but I do remember the day he came back to tell me that he and Mom were separating, it was awful. Once he’d broken the news he collected some of his belongings and left. Mom was broken, she chased after him tears streaming from her face, kicking and screaming, the anger was so intense, so much so when she came back into the house I picked up Dad’s favourite beer tankard and threw it across the paved patio out of the back door, I dropped to my knees and sobbed like never before. It was just me and Mom from now on.
It wasn’t long before Mom met someone else, and there were 2 weddings to attend, My Dad was marrying his girlfriend and my Mom the guy that came from nowhere and swept her off her feet, well kind of! At 9 years old I remember the feeling of loss, I felt so alone, all around me I could see happiness, joy, belonging, laughter and there was me, alone with my bears in my room.
I don’t know why I felt so alone, it’s not like I was pushed out, I just didn’t feel like I belonged in either my Mom’s home or my Dad’s. They were all so happy with one another, I just felt like an inconvenience to them, Dad had his new wife and her daughter that he loved, Mom had her new husband that she so desperately wanted to keep happy, and there was just me drifting along.
Looking back now I think I was depressed, and withdrawn, I pulled myself away from people in order to create a wall of protection, that way I would never get hurt.
I found peace in books, I‘d shut myself away in my room, line up all of my teddies and read to them, my favourites were the scripts from Roal Dahl stories, I would act out all the different characters in lots of different voices, It was my way of escaping myself, I just hated being me.
I was around 12 or 13 and left at home alone a lot, I remember that I would walk around the house acting out my desired life. I would pretend I was a wife, the house was mine and I had a loving husband and 3 children, I’d speak aloud to them, anyone listening in would have thought I was crazy!
This escapism carried on throughout my life, books turned to other things I used to escape, people pleasing, taking drugs, drinking, lots of things that sent me down a path of darkness, discovering much more grief, sadness, anger, loss, and dismay.
Things did get better over time and I grew out of the drugs and drinking and finally at the age of 29 I met my husband and we had our children. It took a few more years and I met someone that totally changed my life, and showed me why things always seem to get better. Jesus.
We’d been going to church for a while and I’d had many encounters and deep moments of joy with Jesus but nothing in comparison to what I was about to experience at Cherish.
I walked through the doors of the arena and instantly felt the overwhelming presence of the most unexplainable love I’ve ever felt! The tears began to well up inside me and with each step forward another would roll down my face.
I found my seat and the music began to play and I felt God’s arms lift me up onto His lap, I felt the warmth of His arms wrapped tightly around me I was 8 years old again and He whispered into my ear:
“I love you, you are the most precious princess of the highest king, you are special and I will never let you go, all these years of misery are behind you, I will replace them with years of joy, I am taking you on a journey that will never end, take my hand and walk with me my precious child, I will make up for the years of the locusts, all they took from you I will replace double”
That weekend was one of the most amazing experiences I had with God, I knew after then life was going to be different, He was with me and He was never ever going to forsake me.
I’m pleased to say that my life now is still as eventful but a different type of life. Now, I have joy, peace and I don’t fear every circumstance, I don’t feel the need to escape anymore, I don’t have to please people to be accepted, I now have someone in my life that truly makes me feel I belong, He carries me, He comforts me, He whispers into my ear all of the wonderful things I can be, He makes me feel I can achieve anything in His strength and encourages me when I fall.
I also have the husband and 3 kids I used to imagine!
I pray that anyone reading this has a similar experience, with an open heart invite Him to show you all that you are. I watched a film at the weekend called Miracles from Heaven, if you’ve not seen it I recommend it, in it a lady says this “God gives us miracles each and every day, they are all around us, we just have to have the faith to notice them.” She’s right, I see my loving Father in everything I do now, I’m so thankful to Jesus for this wonderful gift, ask Him to show you too, he will never let you down.
My husband is constantly asking questions, it used to really bother me, he was always interrupting my programmes to ask something I deemed as irrelevant! Now though, it’s something I quite admire him for. He’s brave enough and confident enough to ask questions at all times, he’s courageous enough to say when he doesn’t understand something and as a result, he is always learning, growing in wisdom and knowledge at every opportunity.
I’m not quite sure what happened in my life to stop me from asking people their opinion or advice, there must be some reason I hold myself back but I’m unsure of it at present. This is an issue though, and God knows it.
Get all the advice and instruction you can. So you will be wise the rest of your life.
You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:20-21
So, I’m to take advice but ultimately if I get it wrong God will make sure what He planned WILL be revealed, right?
After hearing a sermon last year about using our natural gifting for the God’s glory I decided I would start planning lots of fundraising events for the church. I was so excited to get on and do things for Jesus I made a couple of early day mistakes.
The first mistake I made was to not pray about it, was this the will of God?
The second was to not ask anyone else if they thought it would be a good idea, I ran in all my excitement to the leadership team and said:
“I’ve got all these plans to raise money and I’ve booked all these dates!” You can guess what happened next.
The first event came around and whatever could go wrong, did go wrong! The rain came lashing down, the roof started leaking, the electrics were at risk of blowing, people didn’t turn up, it was a complete shambles.
Needless to say, I repented for my hasty decisions and canceled all other events until I had the go-ahead from the bossman! Note to self, never, ever make a move without diligently praying first.
So my method for seeking God’s will for any plans now is:
1. Ask questions, seek advice, and see what others in the church or around you think.
2. Pray ask God to confirm that this is a desire He placed there, ask Him to show you scripture to support this.
3. Don’t rush things, be patient and worth for His go before moving.
Love & Blessings
I’m sorry, forgive me, it’s not you, it’s me. How can I possibly believe your truth when the day is so dark, when I can’t see how you can say all these things about me, I’m so angry, I’m so bitter, I’m unforgiving, impatient, I can’t face the world, I struggle to leave my room, I have absolutely nothing good to say!
I sit gazing at the words in the bible, I read testimonies, I pray, I cry, I shout, I scream, and still I feel a hardness and feel no joy.
What am I to do Lord?
How can I be who you say I am?
The words I speak are of death and not life, I’m slowly killing my spirit, I read the words, I repeat them over and over in my mind, although I know them I don’t speak them, speaking them aloud is the way to live. This negativity is drowning me, slowly and painfully, this is not your plan, please forgive me.
This an extract from my journal I wrote on a bad day, feeling at an all time low. When I reflected upon it I began to think how powerful the things that we tell ourselves. Those deceptive thoughts if left unattended can be most tragic to our walk with God. So I prepared a list of thanksgiving prayers I could replace those destructive thoughts with.
Thank you, Father, for making me so Wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous- how well I know it. – Psalm 139:14
I choose to love myself and others because You loved me first, I don’t have to earn it, You just do. – 1 John 4:19
You know the very number of hairs upon my head. – Matthew 10:30
You loved me so much You gave Your one and only son so that I might live to eternity – John 3:16
Nothing in all creation can separate me from Your love, no matter how badly I think of me You don’t see the same. – Romans 8:39
I accept Your perfect love and douse myself in it, expelling all fear. – 1 John 4:18
You know the plans You have for me, they are for good and not disaster, to give me a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
I can do all things through You, You give me strength. – Philippians 4:13
I will stand in Your whole armour and battle against these deceitful words. – Ephesians 6:11
Because You are for me, so who can be against me? – Romans 8:31.
Repeat these verses over and over again, remember them, write them out and stick them where you can see them, record them and play them over and over, cement them in your mind, stand on them daily and accept who God made you to be, He loves us and wants the best for us.
I’m reflecting today how thankful I am that Jesus gave his life for me, my family, you the whole world, so that we might accept a life of peace in His presence. That we might say YES! to His intervention in our daily, worldly walk and accept the place He made for us in Heaven.
He was betrayed by His closest, arrested, tourtured, beaten, lashed, spat at, humiliated, denied, had a crown of thorns pushed into His head, bleeding heavily, in suffering and pain He was made to walk carrying a very large, solid wooden cross that he would be nailed to and left to die, and he did that for me, my family and the whole world!
My writing here doesn’t even give justice to the sacrifice He made for us. Would I do that? I don’t think so, in fact I know I wouldn’t.
Not only that he was denied by one of His closest friends, which makes me wonder about my actions sometimes, do I deny Him? Yes I do. There are times I could share His word and I don’t, I fear the response, I worry I’ll make myself look silly. Should I deny Him? No! And this sacrifice is why. It makes me want to shout from the roof tops, to the world and tell them, make them understand, make them come to know Him, but what use would that do? Some would, some wouldn’t? How can I really give glory to Him?
He tells us in the Bible to accept His peace, He tells us to love, love Him, love ourselves – because He is within us, love others, good people, bad people, everyone, just as He has loved us. I find that hard too, He loved us so much He died for us. Could you imagine laying down your life for our worst enemy? Could you imagine going to execution knowing that some would believe in you and some wouldn’t? I can’t imagine doing that.
One of the things that strikes me most about it is that He barely even spoke let alone yelled. I would be screaming and shouting like I don’t know what! Then, when He did speak His words were to His father asking for forgiveness for the people that had taken part in his killing!
So, today as I reflect I’m going to concentrate on His words, I’m going to consider the way I approach the day, my attitude to life, my mood, my approach with my children, my husband even my enemies and really think what would Jesus do?
Of course I should do this everyday but the fact is we all fall short, that’s why we needed Him to save us. I’m not saying it’s good to sin and that I actively go out with the intention to be disobedient, but I am saying if we concern ourselves with His sacrifice life is easier to live as he told us to.
Jesus loves each and every one of us, let us recognise this as we go about our day. No matter who you are, what you have done or will do, He wants us to live in peace and harmony, so much so, He gave his life for us to have it.
Who doesn’t want a life of peace, joy and love?
I had unfollowed and restricted all of the people that were bugging me on dreaded social media, sat on the sofa getting angrier, holding back the tears, I typed out a text very quickly signed with an angry-faced emoji to my friend telling her all about it.
The reply I received not only made me smile it was filled with wisdom and sent a very well known and irritating song spinning around my mind, “If I knew were coming I’d of baked a cake, baked a cake, If I knew you were coming I’d of baked a cake!”
A situation with some other friends (and use the term loosely) had been ongoing and once again something had happened to provoke negativity. I was feeling hurt, angry bitter, let down and rejected, the words to my dear friend were ” I wish God would just take it away, I don’t like feeling this way.”
Her response was spot on. Firstly, I needed to repent for any negative feelings toward the people involved then, rebuke satan’s lies in the name of Jesus, accept God’s forgiveness, pray for the people involved and ask that God open their eyes, thank God that I am walking in freedom and receive His perfect peace, she described it as a cake recipe! (Hence the well-known, irritating song!)
My next move was to get off the sofa and go into my room, close the door behind me and to pray, my words were:
Father, please forgive me for negativity towards these people, I’m sorry but my heart feels heavy and burdened, I’m tired of their attitudes, and I’m sad that I’ve been pushed away, I’m hurt that they no longer want me, I’m surplus to requirements and they are getting on with life without me, with their ‘elite group’ or at least that’s how I see it.
Lord, I know these are lies from satan and you came so that I may have peace, I rebuke these ill feelings in Jesus name, I feel so hurt, please help me, I don’t want this burdensome heavy heart, I want your perfect peace, I want to be filled with joy, love and kindness, please release me from this weight, what they do has no bearing on my actions, nor does it dictate who I am in your eyes, I know that you love me for who you made me, you have a plan for me that has nothing to do with this nonsense….
….Then BANG … It came to me….
You can’t use me with this heavy burdened heart, can you? You’re teaching me, aren’t you? Teaching me to overcome things, love people that are difficult, see beyond my own opinion, love without rival, teaching me to learn how to see other people beyond their actions!
Proverbs 17:17 in the NLT says: A Friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in the time of need.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary: 17. No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him, this text did receive and still receives its most glorious fulfilment
So, in a nutshell, my reaction to my friend’s actions is completely my choice, the fact that I’d gone on to social media and restricted all of the people that made me feel this way was ridiculous, I have a choice!
I am most happy when I’m being kind, considerate and caring, giving encouragement, kind words and loving people is what I do best. But, here I was bittering and hardening my own heart, not to mention anything else I was worn out, it’s hard work being that angry! I remember reading somewhere that negative energy makes you ill and that is just how I felt.
Our wonderful God wants me to love people despite how they make me feel, Jesus had to contend with much more than I do, how must he have felt when Peter denied Him, or when he asked the disciples to stay awake and pray and they fell to sleep?
What if I get treated like a doormat God?
Psalm 28:3 Says– Do not drag me away with the wicked–with those who do evil–those who speak friendly words to their neighbours while planning evil in their hearts.
And there it was, a prayer for me to pray to the Lord our God for help and protection in my time of need, He will fight my battles, I don’t need to worry how they may treat me, all I need to do is be the person I enjoy being, the person that my beautiful Father made me to be, the person that spreads light, love and laughter without effort, the one that enjoys blessing and loving others, the person that brings great glory to the name of God our Father, Jesus His son and the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, when satan comes knocking on the door and starts to whisper his lies into your mind remember to sing “If I knew you were coming I’d of baked a cake, baked a cake, If I knew you were coming I’d of baked a cake!” smile then follow these simple steps:
- Repent for any bad feelings.
- Rebuke the lies of satan in Jesus name.
- Accept forgiveness from God.
- Pray for the people you’re angry at.
- Thank God for His Perfect Peace.
I love this scripture, when my husband and I were in the early days of our walk with Jesus, this was a portion of scripture that we studied at a small group, it really got stuck in our minds. They are words that we held on to whilst developing and growing in trust for God, in the times we questioned God we reverted back to this scripture, we have all that we need.
No matter how dark a day may seem, when we actually think about what we need, it soon becomes apparent that we have it all. Is your heart beating? Yes. Are we still breathing? Yes. Do we have food, water, shelter? Yes. Even if we lost all of our material things we can still live on what we have.
Trusting God is a choice and if we choose to take these words literally and trust God we will have much more. He will work for us, with what we have, where we are at. We just have to trust him.
Think about it, what is it we actually, really and truly need? There are probably many things that we want, but there is a huge difference between needing and wanting. A need is a vital source, and want is a desire. And if we are prepared to live with all that we need and trust God he will give us many things that we want.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires Psalm 37:4.
Thank You God that You are all that we need, that You are our shelter and refuge all of the time despite us running to You only when we are in need, forgive us God for only ever coming to you in times of darkness, we love You God and praise Your wonderful ways.
How do we know when or if to walk through a door of opportunity?
When I first came to know Jesus I had many plans, mainly for myself I admit, I was going to build a huge marketing agency and earn lots of money, well it wasn’t quite that shallow but all the same I had BIG plans.
I was stopped completely in my tracks by the Lord and I entered a period of stillness, at the time I thought this was laziness, all of my creative faculties started to shut down and I found that I couldn’t think, all I could do was turn to the word God and discover.
I soon started to discover Who I was, Why I was here, and What I needed to do, BUT, I had no idea how that fitted into my previous plans. So there I was, still wandering in the wilderness with no direction, no inspiration and no creativity.
I wasn’t listening! God asked me to start to delve into my old plans and compare them to the discoveries I had made about WHO He said I was, WHY I was here and WHAT I was sent to do.
I soon discovered a pattern, a very unique pattern. It was unique because this pattern was displayed in all I had done my whole life, from a tender age of nursery school right up to this present point in my life. Those business plans I had were NOT about making myself money, they were about helping others to achieve their goals, from the customers I served to the staff I had planned to employ, each element was about other people and how I could help them to achieve what they wanted.
Proverbs 16:9, tells us that In our hearts we plan our course, but the Lord establishes the steps.
No wonder there was a pattern, it wasn’t the actual industry, job, or physical task that would be my calling, it’s what that physical thing would enable me to do in the name of Jesus. I was sent to encourage, inspire and teach people that through Christ we can achieve all things!
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.- Proverbs 37:4
Once I discovered this I soon started to recognise doors that began to open, not just in my business but at home, in my marriage, in my husband’s business, at church, with my friends, even this blog. I just had to be courageous enough to step out and say what I knew God wanted me to say or do what He wanted me to do.We just have to be bold enough and brave enough to walk through that open door.
Receiving this courage comes from renewing our minds with His Word, it’s there to give us confidence that in Him all things are possible. He tells us in John 10:10 I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. He doesn’t want us to be miserable!
1 Corinthians 16:9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
The words above from Paul tell us that it won’t be a smooth ride, but irrespective of the opposition he faced, he continued to move on, continued to walk with God and live out what he knew in confidence the Lord wanted him to do.
Since these revelations, I’ve been so much more comfortable in my life with making decisions, and when I make those that are aligned with God’s will he confirms I’m on the right track with His wonderful favour, I feel peaceful and joyful inside and I have a consistent smile on my face. Life is just easier with God’s word in it. Life is just easier with God in it!
My prayer today is that anyone that may be struggling with their calling in life, or recognising God’s open doors, that they feel the spirit of God fall upon them to inspire action.
I pray, Father that each and every person that is questioning a decision right now, that they feel your presence, they hear your voice and you give them courage and confidence in you and your word.
I ask you, Father, to reveal to them their calling in life, give them desires in their hearts that won’t let go until they act upon them, and when they do Lord I ask for fulfilment, comfort and peace to outpour into their spirit.
Lord I pray that they seek your will and glorify your name by living a life filled with abundant joy.
In Jesus name, Amen.
When I became a Christian an inner transformation started to take place, I knew that I fell short of the character God wanted me to have, I knew I needed to be a better person, turn my back on my old life and walk courageously into my new one.
How could I be a better person? He knew I’d tried, I was at all of the church meetings, I was the first to volunteer my time, I worked for charities in my ‘spare’ time, I donated my money, I blessed people with things they might need, why was I still not changing from within?
I’d get frustrated then and I would give up on myself. After a bad day, I’d turn to alcohol, open a bottle of wine whilst cooking dinner, which would quite often turn into 2 bottles, think over all of the naff things that had happened through the day, pity myself and beat myself up. Then, this would turn into anger which caused friction in my marriage, because I was frustrated with myself I’d be frustrated with my husband and kids too, and there it was a nice big destructive cycle.
Along comes the guilt and I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I’d be writing destructive things about myself in my journal, I’d be telling myself how horrible I was, and the next day I’d be back to the feet of Jesus on my knees the next day asking why?
After a while, once I was prepared to listen, He started to reveal to me why this was, in my heart I heard, “you can NOT earn my love, it’s a gift, you must accept it.”
Look what it says here, God tells us I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” – Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
God already HAS given us His love, we didn’t DO anything for it He just DOES. No matter how hard I try, no matter what good works I do, I can not earn His love.
It doesn’t work like it does in the world, you meet someone and fall a little bit in love with them and as the days, weeks, months and years go by you fall deeper and deeper. No, not with God, He loved us before we were born.
No matter how rubbish I feel about me, He loves me, That’s ace! His grace is covering me, and that helps me to live aligned with His will.
Now I know this I’m so joyful, joyful because I have God in my life, I don’t falter because I’m too joyful, I’ve no need to dislike myself in the way that I used to, not only does God love me more than I can possibly imagine, He has given me the ability to love me too, and I accept that I am made in His image, I carry godlike character within me to help to radiate His love to the world, how amazing is that?
I still have bad days at work, but they don’t affect me like they used to because I have a peace within me that helps me to establish what matters and what doesn’t, I know that whatever the issue God will show me what to do. I don’t get angry at others or myself because He has given me The Grace to forgive, the patience to endure frustrating situations, because I don’t get so frustrated and angry anymore I don’t drink to mask those feelings, and in turn I don’t lose my temper and because I don’t lose my temper I’m no longer feeling guilty, because I don’t feel guilty I don’t dislike myself and I can see through His eyes the person He is pursuing me to be.
Each and every day I thank God for His intervention and live under His grace. We really are loved beyond our own comprehension, we can’t earn more of our Fathers love, once we have this revelation things will change, they have for me and pray they do for you too. He loved us first. Amen. 💕💕