Monday, 16 June 2014

Over Turning Tables

Today I've been left feeling somewhat of how I imagine Jesus must have felt when he overturned the tables in the temple; he did so because he was frustrated and annoyed at people exploiting the temple.

"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."

Mathew 21:12

I have felt like over turning tables as a result of to the feelings I have surrounding a news story that I heard today; a diocese in the Midlands are paying £2.5 million to cover the costs of the re-interment of King Richard III. Now I can appreciate that he was a king, however in Gods eyes I'm sure He saw him as exactly the same as you and I. We are all after all daughters and sons of the one true king. I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that £2.5 million is being spent on this in today's climate when so many people are struggling to make ends meet; I know in my own situation my family and I have had to massively cut back, and some months are really hard and we do rely on our credit card to sometimes even pay for food. 

I was in sheer disbelief hearing people explain and unveil the design of the tomb; if you get a chance have a look at it, I'm not convinced that it justifies the price tag placed upon it; I have to admit my 1st impression when looking at it was that it looked like a cardboard box! Those who made the decision then proceeded to ask that people within the diocese give generously to stump up £2 million, the other half a million is coming from within the dioceses pot of money. I can't help but think the half a million will come from the parish giving of local churches, some of which are struggling to make ends meet and in some situations, the diocese is removing funds to pay for clergy in churches; surely if the church can magically find half a million then they can afford to put priests into all churches. 

I feel for all people, church going or not, who must look at this situation and wonder why in one breath the church is saying it wants to do more to help the poor and disadvantaged, but on the other hand is happy to spend so much money on an internment of bones. I also feel on a personal note, how can I take steps to explore ordination further knowing that I really do not fit in within the Church of England organisation? Or am I to be moulded to be fit in and made into a robot who is told to think and do things and never have an opinion? I'm not prepared to change the person God made me to be, but I'm left questioning why God, why are you calling me?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Father's Day: A Challenge for the Church!

Tomorrow is Father's Day in the UK, and it's a day that I have come to detest. It would seem to most of the population that Father's Day is a day to celebrate all the wonderful achievements and support fathers do; well there are people like me who can honestly say the only good thing my biological father did for me was being present at the conception. My biological father is somewhat absent, we don't share the same interests and drifted further and further apart since my parents separated. You may have just read that and think I should make more of an effort well I can 100% tell you that I have tried over many years making visits to see him, invited him to events etc but it's a very one side affair and it leaves me feeling even more resentful of him! I've spent numerous occasions speaking to my mother about my father and she agrees it's his loss and he is losing out at spending times with his only grandchildren too.

I have yet to decide if I am going to attend church tomorrow as I really cannot face a sermon talking about biological dads, it would be so much better if a sermon was preached on our Heavenly Father, or whom I like to call daddy. I struggled with the term father for God as it was just too formal and authoritative, and then something clicked and I started to see God in a more child like way hence how I refer to him as my daddy. 

I remember one Father's Day attending a church service in which the person leading the church service asked a rhetorical question all of us have wonderful positive memories of our fathers. I remember thinking at the time I want to stand up and challenge that, but I didn't I walked out half way through the service and saw many other people walk out too; what makes it even worse is that nobody from the church was there to support these people as they walked out, a simple cup of tea and "would you like to chat?" or more acknowledgment from the speaker to get into the real world, we don't live in a perfect world hence the reason earth is not called heaven. 

To anyone out there preaching tomorrow please think about all the people who you will be sharing your message with, we do not all have dads who make us smile, laugh or applaud. Some of your congregation may feel like me, that their fathers have let them down, they didn't offer support and love. They may not even have memories of their fathers or if they do they may be unpleasant ones. Please do seriously think before you preach tomorrow and make sure you have in place pastoral teams to support people who find tomorrow a difficult day. 

My top 5 tips for Father's Day
  • Do not assume every father is perfect and everyone has a positive experience of their father.
  • Do talk about how difficult some people find Father's Day and the reasons why.
  • Talk about our Heavenly Father as well as biological fathers.
  • Use different words to talk about fathers, e.g. daddy, dad, father etc as some people find it easier to relate to.
  • Pray for all who find Father's Day difficult as well as giving thanks for good things fathers do.
  • Make sure there is a pastoral support team in place for anyone who finds the service particularly difficult.

I hope that this blog will challenge some people within the church to think about this issue. I hope and pray for wisdom for all taking part in services tomorrow; I will be praying for all those who will find tomorrow a difficult day.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Who am I and What does God say about me?

Before I became a Christian I always used to wonder why God would want to care about me, it was something I couldn't really get my head around; but then one day, when I was a fairly new Christian, I was reading the bible and something clicked!

I have been fortunate to be able to hear from God on a frequent basis and I have been encouraged to write a journal on what God says to me along with my thoughts and feelings. My very first journal entry is still one that I enjoy reading time and time again, it acts as a constant reminder of who I am in Christ.

I would like to share this journal entry in the hope that it helps others to become familiar with who they are in Christ; if you are a new Christian, or if your reading this and you are further along in your journey, I hope it will cause you to reflect and remember who you are:

The truths of God's word

I am a child of God
God loves me much more than I realise
God knows everything about me
God has a plan for me
God guides, strengthens, encourages and forgives me
God is my best friend
God is for me and nothing can separate me from him
God gives me hope and joy
God is my provider
God pours out blessings upon me
God is faithful, powerful and trustworthy
God gives the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit
God is awesome and amazing
God reigns over everything
God breaks down barriers and pulls me out of despair
Gods light casts out all fear
God can make old things into new and transform life
God can move mountains and make enemies foot stalls
God is my rock and I will never be shaken
God gives me peace
God answers prayer when I pray
God is with me at all times the good and the bad.

Looking back over this list again I am still in awe of how amazing God is!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

God is Love

Yesterday marked Valentines Day, and for many people it's a time to show their partner how much they love and appreciate them; however for many others, Valentines Day can be a painful reminder of the loss of a loved one or perhaps not yet finding that special someone to share their life with.

I came across a quote by Mother Theresea a few weeks ago and it said the following:

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."

For many years I struggling to get a grasp of Gods love for me, I couldn't understand why God would actually want to love someone like me; at the time I was battling the aftermath the rape, I was a very angry person who was carrying a lot of hurt.

I look back upon my counselling days and only now can I understand that receiving Gods love directly was something I felt I was unable to do, however over time my counsellor, through her love which stemmed from Christ's, started to transform me. She was patient and kind when I emotionally lashed out in anger and hurt on so many occasions; she really did know what it was to love thy neighbour as thy self. 

Throughout this week I've made an extra effort to stop, pray, make more time and think of small but practical ways to show Christ's love to those around me who need it most. Valentines Day is just one day; Christ calls us every day to love ourselfs and to extend the love we receive to those around us in whatever situation or circumstance they are in. 

The bible mentions love many times but one verse that stands out for most is 1 Corinthians 13

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I often like to read this whilst substituting the word Love with the word God, as it rings so true. As the roses fade from Valentines Day, let's not forget to remember all those who need Christ's love and think of ways that we can demonstrate His love through us.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Spring Time Reflection

I was looking out of the kitchen window earlier this morning and my attention was grabbed by a small snow drop starting to emerge from the ground. About five years ago I had planted some spring bulbs in the garden, but to my disappointment they didn't show immediately; I had to wait for a couple of years to get the enjoyment of finally seeing them; it was worth the wait, and now they come back year after year.

Beautiful Spring Daffodils

This got me thinking, sometimes the things we say to try and encourage people may not make them stop and think about God immediately, but we will often never know what long term effect it may have on them.

One of the parables that Jesus blessed us with, talks about seeds being scattered in different places and on different grounds.  The seeds represent faith, and the ground represents the foundations that the faith is built upon:

"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Mark 4 v3 - 8.

As followers of Christ we are called to sew seeds of faith in other people. We may not know when they will grow, but that shouldn't stop us. We shouldn't push our faith on others, but encourage and help all people whilst showing Christ's love.

There are a couple of people in particular in my own life who I am incredibly grateful for, as through their love, they showed Christ's love, and over many years they shared their faith in a non threatening but loving way. They sewed seeds of faith in me and nurtured me into the Christian woman that I am today.

Before I became a Christian I never really took notice of Spring bulbs, I don't even think I knew they existed. Since my baptism, and particularly this time of year, God regularly reminds me that he saved me; I went from years of being in darkness, like my Spring bulbs, to now reaching up towards the light and blossoming.

I would love to know what Spring time means to you?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Welcome to my new Blog!

Hello and welcome to my new Blog.

It's hard to know where to start really as the first post of a new blog is always daunting, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce myself before I make a start on the proper content. I am a young women in my late 20's, living in the Midlands (in England); I am married and a mum to two wonderful children; one of which has recently started school, and the other is about to embark on preschool.

My husband and I met whilst at school, and we have recently celebrated 5 years of marital bliss; my husband is the most amazing and kind man that I have ever met; I am very fortunate that he is incredibly supportive of all that I do. He is also a fellow Christian.

What is the significance of a rainbow you may ask, well I believe that a rainbow is given to us by God; it says in the bible -  "The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever". God promises through the rainbow that he will never leave or forsake us. A rainbow is powerful metaphor, it is a very wonderful and positive thing that comes after a very dark storm. I have recently made a concious decision to start living life by focusing on the positives and counting my blessings, rather than dwelling on the dark times that we all face.I know that whatever life may throw at me, God will always be with me.  

I have a passion within that wants to help people, whether that be supporting them in difficult times or sharing in their joys. Life does have it's ups and down, but I feel privileged that I am able to share life and encourage other people on their own journey. 

I became a Christian in my 20's, you can read my testimony of how I came to faith here, and for many years I've sensed God calling me to step up and do more for him, but in the past I felt so overwhelmed and scared that I chose to ignore this calling. 

Well here we are in 2014 and I'm not going to ignore Gods call anymore! I'm excited to see what He has in store for me and my family. The journey will no doubt have it's ups and it's downs, but I hope you enjoy reading my journal as I share my life on this blog. 

If you feel a connection to this blog, feel free to contact me, I would love to hear from you. I am also very happy to accept prayer requests for any situations or circumstances that you wish me to pray about, and can assure you that I will keep our conversations in the strictest of confidence; so feel free to pop me an email. 

Sending lots of love and blessings x