Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Yay for the return of Big Word Wednesday!
- the restoring of something that was removed
- the restoring of something to an earlier and usually better condition
- to return something to its proper owner or place
- to bring something back to an earlier or better condition
- to give somebody new strength and vigour
- to re-establish or put back something that was once there but is no longer
Life can be a mixed bag. Sometimes things are great. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes we love who we are and how we are. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we can understand and see God working in us. Sometime we can’t.
In our humanness we cope, we survive, we deal with life by putting up barriers and building walls. Or we give of ourselves and loose parts of who we are in our search for acceptance, for love, for belonging.
We get to a point where we are beaten, broken, crumbling and generally just a wreck. We plaster over the cracks so no one will see our mess. We put another wall up to keep the brokenness private and inside. We retreat from being our whole self into occupying just a corner or who we were created to be.
I love the programme Grand Designs. My favourite episodes aren’t those where people have crazy, wild ideas for new, innovative, space-age houses. But those where they take an old wreck, a dilapidated chaos of what was once a structure. And they lovingly bring it back to life so they can live there. They take the time and care to understand the building, to understand the original structure and its uniqueness. They bring about restoration by removing things that shouldn’t be there. They replace details that should be there. They reveal the original beauty of the building, and in doing so allow themselves and others to fall in love with it even more.
Although I don’t always see it, I was created as a beautiful temple. In my weakness I have put up walls to help give me strength. In my insecurities I have closed doors and covered details to keep things hidden. In my faithlessness I have become broken and cracked.
I need restoration. I need a restorer.
I need a God that will be my strength when I am weak. I need a God that will see my unique details and reveal them. I need a God that will heal my brokenness and renew my faith.
In what ways have you tried to alter your original structure? What walls have you put up? What doors have you closed? Where are you broken and cracked?
What dreams have you hidden? What treasures have you allowed people to take away? What mess are you trying to cover?
Will you allow the God who created you and understands you to take time and care over you? Will you allow Him to remove the things that shouldn’t be there? Will you allow Him to replace and reinstate the details and the dreams that should be there? Will you allow Him to bring you back to life so He can live in you? Will you allow yourself to undergo a restoration?
Monday, 25 January 2010
I love just watching the scenery go by and the changes in landscape and weather. I love chuckling at the sheep running aimlessly across the fields and the cows watching you pass by. I loved the hills still covered in snow and the frozen ponds and rivers. I love observing the people I'm sharing the journey with (not in a weird stalker-ish way), taking in their habits and uniquenesses.
I couldn't possibly fully engage in anything else, I'm too busy just taking everything in. I don't even spned the time thinking deep thoughts. I just kinda zone out!
So this was how I spent 4 hours of my Thursday last week...just watching, observing, enjoying...and taking it all in.
I had a great time catching up and spending time with family. It all just seems to have gone by so fast!
Once again I was rubbish at taking any photos...this was mainly due to the typical Manchester weather (grey, wet, miserable). But also I was too busy just relaxing, observing, enjoying and taking everything in.
And sometimes that's all that is needed.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
I'm looking forward to returning next week, refreshed and ready to go! And I'm also thinking that there might be a return of the Big Word Wednesday (although any word over 4 letters is currently making it onto the big word list!) and I hope to have some photos to liven up my very wordy posts!
So, I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
I was intruding on a nearby conversation (a bad habit of mine) when she shared with her friends the amazing opportunity she was hoping to embark on soon. They ooh-ed and aah-ed and excitedly asked her more questions. I just saw green.
I didn’t even know her, but now I disliked her.
I disliked her for the simple fact that I was jealous of her. I was jealous of the opportunity she was getting that I desperately wanted. I was jealous of the fact that she was going to do things and go places in life that I wanted to experience too. I was jealous of her because, at that point, life didn’t seem fair.
I’m ashamed to say it now, but my insecurities about my own future allowed me to envy and even object to someone else stepping into a great opportunity. My wrong understanding of what I need to fulfil God's purpose in me allowed my heart to harden and become bitter.
The truth is, I think that I need certain opportunities, prospects, experiences and openings for God to be able to use me or for the dreams in my heart to come to pass.
The truth is, I think that I need to follow a certain path or fit a certain model.
The truth is, I think that I will be left on the side lines, being a spectator until these things happen for me.
But the truth is…this isn’t true at all.
Within about 5 seconds of seeing green I realised exactly what was going on inside my heart. I realised that my insecurities, my fears, my lack of understanding and faith in how God works was making me ugly. And I chose there and then that I didn’t want to be ugly.
I don’t always understand how God works, how His timing is perfect, how He provides and equips. But I am choosing to live under His guidance and to do life His way. I am choosing to leave behind my preconceived ideas of what I need to do or how I need to get there. I am choosing to celebrate with those who are released into great opportunities. I am choosing to believe that God knows exactly what I need and how I need it, and that it may be very different from those around me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Friday, 15 January 2010
Some are things I really want to do...like some sewing I've been planning, taking some photos (weather dependent!)...and going to look at prams! (These will go at the top of the list!)
Others are things I really need to do...like cleaning and ironing* and just generally getting my life back into some sort of organised manner (these will go at the bottom of the list!)
But I'll probably just end up watching too much tv, spending too much time on the computer, sleeping in too much and eating too much (this is currently not my fault!). Then on Sunday night I'll have a major panic and stress out about all the things still on the list! And then I'll need to take some time to rest (probably with some chocolate) just to get over the stress!!!
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Happy Weekend x
* I know some people think that I am crazy for even bothering to iron things (my husband happens to be one of those people) but I just prefer things when they are ironed. I feel that it is my responsibility to make sure we look our best as a family and I think my minor OCD-ness would actually stop me from walking outside wearing something I know is not ironed. But it's ok cos God created me this way! I just wish He also created me to do the ironing more frequently so that a scale model of the Himalayas weren't growing in the spare room/bedroom/kitchen!
Thursday, 14 January 2010
I would look to the sky and just take off. Mostly I’d fly over the places I knew, places that were familiar. But seeing them from above gave me a different perspective. I enjoyed just taking in the sights and watching the people below.
Flying was freeing. Any problems or troubles would be left behind on the ground. As I got higher and higher they would get smaller and smaller. Flying released me from their grip, their influence and impact.
I could take others flying with me too. I just had to come alongside them and hold onto them. Then they could rise up with me and be free too.
I rarely have this dream now. But I do have other dreams…dreams that need to fly…dreams that need me to fly.
I’m excited as we begin a new sermon series at church and look into what it means for us to fly. I know that the process will be hard at times. Sometimes it feels safer and more comfortable to have both feet on the ground.
But I pray that we would all take a step of faith and help each other as we learn to fly together. I’m excited for the freedom and release the Holy Spirit will bring and I’m excited for the new, bigger perspective God wants to share with us. I’m excited as we draw closer to Him and learn what it means to be His…truly His. And I’m excited as we begin to experience what it means to life live in all its fullness.
And I’m so excited I need to find a new word for excited before I wear it out!
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
This weekend I went to an event/gathering for the ladies at our church. God spoke to me so much over the weekend that it’ll take a long time to dissect it all and share it here but I hope to get round to sharing some things over the next few days.
I have to admit that I love women’s meetings and ministry…there’s just something in me that is really drawn to spending time with women and wanting them to connect in a real way with their father and creator. I love it when women come together and share their heart. There is so much compassion, tenderness, vulnerability and potential (and usually lots of tears and tissues too). I left the weekend feeling full to bursting with a whole range of stuff! I am really looking forward to hopefully being able to get more involved in this area of ministry in the future.
I was also a little anxious. I still don’t know that many people at church and I was slightly worried that I’d be on my own. However this didn’t happen at all. I got to spend time with lots of ladies that I had met briefly before as well as new people I’d never met. I had some great conversations and just times of laughter and girly stuff. It was refreshing. It was definitely what I needed.
For me the overriding feeling of the weekend was one of being home. This has been something I have missed for a long time and moving to Edinburgh to be part of mbc was driven by the desire to be somewhere where we could feel at home and be part of the family. This has certainly been true over the last year but on Friday night I was literally overwhelmed by the sense of being welcomed, at rest, free, comfortable, open, just me…at home.
I really felt God say to me that ‘home is where the heart is’.
As I have moved a few times in the last few years, I have sometimes struggled to feel settled and at home. But I’ve felt that God has let me know in the past that as long as my heart was there and that my heart was His, He would make it home.
However, this time I felt the meaning was different. I felt that God was saying it felt like home because we had all come with our hearts ready and expectant and open to God, and to each other. We had literally brought our hearts. And because of that, God had come and connected His heart to ours. And He had revealed some of our heavenly home.
When I opened the curtains on Saturday morning I looked across the street and almost couldn’t believe my eyes. There, in the snow, someone’s tyre tracks had made two hearts. Not separate, but connected, touching, joined.
I love, love, love it when God shows me things like that!
But can I encourage anyone who is reading this take some time to bring your heart to God. All of it, not just the bits you want Him to see. When you do, He will draw His heart to yours…not separate, but connected, touching, joined…and you can feel totally at home.
There are so many other things to share from this weekend, both from the ladies gathering and the new sermon series ‘fly’, but this post has already got ridiculously long!
There are so many other things to share from this weekend, both from the ladies gathering and the new sermon series ‘fly’, but this post has already got ridiculously long!
Monday, 11 January 2010
I am very slowly coming to the realisation that my words have a big impact. Both positive and negative. Both on myself and those around me.
I am also slowly coming to the realisation that I moan a lot.
These are slow realisations because, although I know these things in my head, they are taking a long (llllooooooonnnnnnnnggggggg) time to have an impact in my day to day life. Like I said, sometimes I’m very slow!
It’s like the revelation of the reality of my words is slowly unfolding one leaf/petal/slap around the face at a time. And I feel that I should know better by now!
The biggest revelation recently? The impact that my words have on me.
It’s obvious that when I moan or say something negative to someone else it gets them down…but it gets me down too…even if I don’t realise it. And sometimes I’m so quick to moan that I don’t leave enough space/time/air for more positive things to be said/thought/done.
Another recent realisation…if I can’t think of anything positive to say…don’t say anything at all! Seriously.
I have made a deliberate effort to not say anything sometimes at work. In fact, I have started listening to my ipod more because I realised that if I didn’t hear some of the things I found annoying going on around me, I didn’t then moan or complain about them. Plus, listening to worship music is always good for the soul!
Recently I heard how we should think when we speak and our words should be:
T – truth
H – helpful
N – necessary
K – kind
So as I endeavour to ‘think’ about what I say, 2010 will hopefully be a year of less words which in some ways may be a year of more!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
It’s thick and wavy and sometimes very uncontrollable.
I used to have it short, very short just so it could be tamed. But it was still pretty wild.
Now I keep it long(ish) but there’s just so much of it that it drives me wild!
I love having it longer and am desperate to do more with it than just tying it up or wearing it down. But there’s just so much of it! It takes forever just to stop it looking so wild and unkempt.
I’d love to embrace its inner wildness. But it’s not one of those stylish, quirky wildnesses where everyone thinks you’re hip and cool. It’s more of an ‘I live in the bush and don’t own a brush’ wildnesses where everyone thinks you’ve forgotten to groom.
Oh, the dilemmas of having big hair!
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
I climbed back into bed after emptying my bladder and waking my leg hoping to drift into a deep, fulfilling sleep. But then a thought took up residence in my head and I just couldn’t get it to move out. I fought it for about an hour before eventually my eyelids took over and I fell back to sleep.
Here's the thought: When I became pregnant I didn’t automatically gain the new knowledge and information I needed to understand what my body would go through and what was happening inside me. Nor did a super informative guidebook get posted through my letter box with everything I would ever possibly need to know. Instead, I had to choose to seek out this information, to buy or borrow books and learn what I needed to know for myself.
My body was created with the awesome ability to build and grow a baby and it can do it perfectly well whether I know what’s happening or not. But for me to take the best care of myself and the baby, both before and after birth, I need to get some relevant knowledge in me which will then be developed through experience. How I communicate with my baby and understand its needs. How I show it care and love as well as guidance and sometimes discipline.
When I was given my camera last year, I took the time to read the manual and learn what all the buttons and functions did. The camera was created to take photos, but to get the best out of it I had to read and learn how to work it properly. I had to learn how to create the results I wanted by changing the inputs and settings. I had to glean the knowledge from the manual and then learn by experience.
As a human being I am created to have a relationship with God. I have a natural longing and ability for this relationship. We all do. But for the relationship to work, and for me to be the best I can be in it, I need to get the relevant information and knowledge. I need to realize the transformations that need to be made both internally and externally. I need to understand how the things I input and set into my life have an impact on the results I see in my life. I need to know how to communicate with God. How to hear Him speak to me. How to recognise His care and love. How to be aware of His guidance and discipline. How to love and care for others. How to show others His hope and His peace.
I wasn’t born with all of this information already on board. But I have the best manual ever to learn it from. I have been fortunate to grow up in a Christian family and have many copies of the Bible in different versions. I have read some of it many times, but I know there are parts that I have never read (Zephaniah and Jude for example!) and other parts I have very limited or confused knowledge of.
For many years I have wanted to commit to reading the entire Bible…in one year. It’s never happened, and like I said in a previous post, I just ended up feeling guilty for being a failure!
This year I really want to commit to spending more time reading my Bible and gleaning that vital knowledge from it. It’s already day 6 of the New Year and I’m very behind if I want to complete it within the year! But rather than allowing myself to start along a downward spiral of comparison with my ideals, I have decided just to do what I can and pray that God will teach me what I need to know at the pace I need to know it.
So, it may take me 12, 18, 24 or more months but I am challenging myself to read the entire Bible, and hoping that some people will encourage me and keep me accountable!
There are other things I hope to achieve this year but I want to make sure that as I start 2010, as I continue to learn how to be a wife, sister, daughter, grand-daughter and now a mother, I have placed the most important relationship first.