Single Mother In Church

Please know that we love God too…

For many of us who have grown up in Apostolic, Pentecostal, Old School, Foot Stamping, Hat Wearing, Hand Clapping ( you get the picture) churches, we’ve listened to message after message about the backsliders, and the girls that left church “for a man”, the ones that trimmed their way to find love, having babies out of wedlock and many other saying and labels for how a woman became a single mother. And for many of us to now be that woman who is spoken of in not so favourable light is enough a burden to carry let alone all the other things that come along with being a single mother in this day and age. But God’s grace has been sufficient, so much to the point that we are here, we turn up, we came back.

Single mother in Zion.. not a biblical concept by any means but this is how we stand, we can never seem to detach for the single mother element of who we are. Like we are the ones who have made the mistake, and while others can repent and run on with no evidence of what they did and it just remains a “Me and Jesus” testimony, but not so for us, we can’t cover this. They are in Sunday School, well dressed and on time, they are collecting offering, proudly too. They are there, front row, tambourine and drum sticks at the ready, just waiting for the next lively chorus – they are a new life, guilt free and ready to go, but little do they know how much effort it took for mummy to be at church today.

The question remains, are we really accepted when we come back with buggy and baby? Are we forgiven by the fellowship? This is important.

We know that our actions cause pain to the body let alone God our Father, but often times there is a sense of un-forgiveness that lingers. Unspoken, Nonverbal, but very present. Almost as if we are to prove ourselves before we are accepted back into the fold.

You’d have to be a prodigal daughter to know what it feels like to come home, from years of vanity and pride. Yes, we all know what happened, but there seems to be a struggle to celebrate something that only exists as a result of a sinful act. Do I hang my head in shame forever, or am I free to quote the Psalmist David and confess that “The fruit of the womb is HIS reward? Can my child, born of a sinful act still be the reward of God?

Now while our Father is good to throw down and kill anything with a heartbeat to celebrate at the return of His child, here comes the brother/sister. You’d expect them to just be glad to see you home, but that’s not always the case. There are the quiet rumbles of – why? How comes she gets that? She does not deserve that! Not only is it a hard and scary thing to lone parent, but to also return to a church where my choice(s) (In the past, under the blood and in the sea of His forgetfulness mind you) are so frowned upon – and – the monument- nay testimony of those choices follows us to church every Sunday. We can’t hide what happened, we can’t even forget about it and pretend it never happened – we have to daily make a choice to accept that the blood of Jesus covers us too. That He loves us too. That He cares for us too.

Many of us put on a brave face for church along with the rest of the attire, and if asked we will tell you and swear blind we are fine. But the truth is while we are working full time, studying at night, trying to make ends meet, trying to ensure we don’t make a mess of our child’s life, keeping up with homework so the schools don’t complain, often time feeling inadequate for the tasks at hand, as well as trying to be at church on time and enough times to stop the speculations of you backsliding again, things can become very overwhelming. Oftentimes we would just appreciate someone celebrating the fact that we have turned up in one piece.

Saints, please appreciate that us who are single mothers of this day and age do not have it like you had it back in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s even the 80’s. You who can testify of leaving you children at home while you went to prayer meeting didn’t have the threat of neighbours who would call social services for you and you would return to a note telling you where to find your children. You lived as a unit, and a community, nowadays you can’t even leave your buggy outside your house while you unload your shopping without it being stolen (true story!), and as strange as my neighbours are I wouldn’t ask them to watch my goldfish let alone my children. These are VERY different times we live in – and honestly, its hard work.

Now we are not asking you to condone our choices. We are not even asking you to sign up to a babysitting contract, but we are asking you to be mindful of the fact that while we have made mistakes, we love Jesus too. We are not defined by our missing fathers, or struggles to keep up, we are hardworking and dedicated to providing the best for our children. We are in church and bring the testimonies to church. We are still here because we love God too. We are women and we are mothers – how we got there does not define who we are in Christ.

With Love

Sisters Daily x

 

Frontline Service

In the last two month my church lost two of the original founders of our organisation. The church has been going for 50 yrs and these are the first of the pillars to be laid to rest. One a mother and one a father to the church. One a sure Deborah of her time.. full of the word WITH fire.. the other a Jeremiah of his time.. he didnt need a mic or a conference to preach sinners to repentance, often found on the high roads and town centres preaching the gospel.

I was asked to write my thoughts for a project and this is what I came up with. It fell in line nicely to tribute my Mother Flowers and Elder Clarke

What does it mean to be on the Front Line.
It’s a position our elders held for Some Time.
They took it serious it was not just for the Sunshine.
This was a call in to fight Big Time.

Their stories started often in the Night-Time. Singing songs like when His wounded hands Touched Mine.
When they were converted and took on His Bloodline.
Making Jesus Christ their Saviour took No Time.

Sin became a Past Time and automatically it was Crunch Time
This was No Time for the Sometime but High Time to fall In Line.

Being on the Front Line wasn’t always Fun TIme. But the reward of the righteous was looking Sublime
Singing songs like Jesus is on the Mainline Comforted by the fact that their God was always On Time

The lives of our forefathers that Brush Mine, taught me the importance of staying In Line Praying always and developing my relationship Over Time
Because the crown of Glory surely won’t go to the Unsigned
And between heaven and hell – just a Thin Line.

So to the young and the Old who remain on the Front Line
You stand fast and remain Online
Don’t be afraid it’s gonna be a Tough Time
But know your reward was settled in Heavens way Before Time

 

Peace Beyond Your Understanding

Philippians 4:7 (NIV) says this: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

What exactly is peace? This is a freedom from disturbance, tranquillity. I love that – freedom from disturbance. So much mental interference and disturbance in life, we are at peace when we are indeed free from it – and enter into a place of tranquillity.

Often time I get into situations where my understanding of things cloud my ability to see God for who He really is and leaves me in quite a state. It’s not that the situation is not real, or what I am feeling is not true, but I neglect to priorities and focus on what matters most, which is that God has sent peace to transcend – to pass and go beyond – what it is that I am feeling or I understand to be true at that point in time, and it’s this peace that guards your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

Things happen, and will always be happening. That’s a given. Some of those things will be easier to manage than others. Then there are those other things that come as if they were sent on a military assignment with your name and address on just to take you out. This is life, its a journey, some mountains, some plains, some valleys, but we know that there is a peace that God has given to us that goes beyond that.

It’s not even like God is trying to challenge what you are feeling or your understanding of a situation. If you are sick, you are sick and that is your understanding of the situation at hand. But the peace of God goes over and above that. Your feeling low and seem to be followed around by a dark cloud – that is how you feel and God is not looking to challenge that, but He is looking to transcend all of that and cover it with a peace. This kind of peace can only come from God.

It’s only the peace of God that can allow you to look into the storm and smile anyway. It’s only the peace of God that can allow you to look at your life and it seems like everything you prayed didn’t happen to you – is happening – but you still have peace. Indeed this goes beyond understanding for sure as it often makes NO sense what so ever, but this is the thing about the gifts of God – they are from The Super-Natural God… The Immortal, Invisible God, The God of Eternity.. there is bound to be something a little extra special about them. Que Marks and Spencer advert music.. this is no ordinary peace…this is God’s Peace!

It’s this peace that will guard your heart and mind – how? By allowing you to rest – care free in the arms of God. The peace of God guards your heart and mind from things that would otherwise cause disturbance – things like doubt, and fear, and guilt, and shame, and condemnation…. and all these thoughts (the mind) and feelings (the heart) that look to do nothing but disturb the tranquillity that God’s peace brings.

Remember when Jesus was on the boat – asleep….on a pillow…..Real comfy right! LOL – Meanwhile while there was a major storm going on. Everyone was being disturbed in both heart and mind about this storm, likely they were fearing for their life at this point, but Jesus slept, only to be woken by these disturbed men asking Jesus “don’t you even care if we drown?” (Mark 4:35-41). The scripture goes on to tell us that He spoke to the storm – and told it to be still, and immediately, much to their amazement, it obeyed and was still.

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This is the peace that we can have. That even though we are going through something that has the potential to take our life we have the peace of God that is able to silence the disturbance and bring about a calm and tranquillity to both hart – how we feel and mind – what we think.

Now the men’s understanding of the situation was not wrong.. it wasn’t a little drizzle, it was a fierce storm, so much so they believed they would die! I would never look to challenge what a person is feeling. If that’s their understanding and how a situation feels to them – then that’s what it is. My encouragement is to remember that the greater one, the same one that spoke to the storm and told it to be still lives in you. You have the ability to sleep on your pillow in the midst of the storm, and if you decide you’re going to tell it where to go you have the power and authority to do so. Sometimes we have to face the storm and tell it to HUSH UP!

Much love and PEACE! X

Consistent and Continual LOVE

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 (ESV)

I take comfort in this word today. I’m comforted because in a world of much inconsistency and much change, we can count on the love of God towards us being both consistent and continual.

This means that the Love of God towards you will not change from day to day. The power and impact of love will never change. It hasnt even got anything to do with your state or position in life. It’s got nothing to do with you and what you have or have not done. GOD IS LOVE. That is a statetment and a FACT! What is love.. God is. This same God has declared that He can not change (Mal 3:6) so we can be confident that God will always have and be love. A real and true love.

We can also be comforted that His love towards us has no end. There is no quota, there is no limit, there is no max usage or allowance limit. Much like His mercies (which is based on love) are new every single morning.

This means that when I need love (even when I don’t even know that’s what I need) I can be assured that I can find this without measure in God. While the love of family and friends is somewhat conditional and the demonstration of this love can often change from day to day based on how THEY are feeling..this is not how God works. And I’m so glad.

Have you ever turned to someone close for love, but because they are in need themselves they are not able to help. Not their fault, but they being empty are unable to pour into you means that you are now left without and still in need.

Having been in a few relationships in my time and I have heard the words “I LOVE YOU” uttered to me a few times. It interests me to see how different the meaning of this statement can be to different people. I’ve had it uttered and been abandoned. I’ve had it uttered and been hurt. I’ve heated it uttered and been heart broken. I’ve heard it uttered and been lied to and cheated on. But all have said – I love you!

Numbers 23:19 reminds us that “God is not a man…”(mankind). So when He utters the words I LOVE YOU like done in Jeremiah 31:3  “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” we are not talking about this human to human love that has a tendency to fluctuate and change and have it’s limits. This is the God of love..who IS Love declaring Himself to you, and He is a God of perfection so this love is without flaw and error because it’s not in His nature.

I’ve been learning just how intimate God can be with us. I’m accepting and learning to appreciate just how much God loves me. Despite me, He has made the choice to love me. To me this speaks volumes. I’ve had to choose to believe and really accept something I’ve been told from a child that Jesus loves me. It’s now, nearly 31 years old that I am grasping the full extent of what that REALLY means.

You can turn to God for love and be assured that it’s going to be just as strong and special as it was the last time and that you have access to this love without measure and without limitation.

Psalms 139:8. says; “if I go up into the heavens, you are there; and even if I make my bed in hell you are there.” Such love. That through the highs and lows of life and emotions and positions of our mind, His love is right there with us. Some are willing to party on the mountain top with you when things are good and the sun is shining, but come to the valley of the shadow of death.. they are not too keen any more! Again, God is not like mankind. He is ever present my sister! Anywhere you see in the word that God says I am with you, you can be assured His Consistent and Continual love is there too.

My sister.. consider Such Love.!

Trust God

Today I’m going to talk about something that I sometimes struggle with. TRUST. Such a small word, but powerful word.

The dictionary defines trust as: firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. So for me to trust someone or something I have to believe in the reliability of it (or them), I have to hold it (them) as true, I also have to have had previous encounters with it (them) to be able to be assured of their (it’s) ability.

Consider the assessment you do in your mind when you approach a chair. Its a chair – this is the truth. It’s been built to hold people as a chair – this is the ability. Additionally, based on past encounters with chairs we can see if it matches our understanding of what a reliable chair looks like. its not missing legs, its not bent or already leaning – this helps us prove reliability. Once we have run this mental check list – we make a decision to trust the chair or not. If it does not meet the requirements of trust we are likely not to take a seat, but continue our search for one we can trust.

Proverbs 3:5 and 6 say this: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

You have a bible FULL of accounts and examples where we are told about WHO God is, WHAT He has done and WHAT He is capable of doing. We can also speak of and testify personally where God has come through for us and shown himself strong in many ways on our behalf. The very breath that you just took is yet another example of God’s mercies towards you. These help us fulfil the truth, reliability and ability aspects of trust. You can trust God!

It’s only when we have learned to trust God with all our hearts, that we can willingly submit our will to Him and allow Him to direct our paths. Trust like most things is something we have to learn to do. I’ve had to learn to trust God, not because I don’t have knowledge of His abilities, or know Him to be true or reliable – but because this is a learnt behaviour that we must all develop.

I find it hard to trust people who have let me down, or who have shown themselves to be unreliable or unable to keep to their word. This I could never say of God, because He Is God and not man (Mankind). Often the struggle we have is how much weight we put on our problem, verses the credit we give God at being God. We become so consumed with the magnitude of the problem and forgotten the truth, reliability and ability and general awesomeness of God. We have to make the choice in every day life to trust God – with our whole heart .This is the only way we will willingly be able to submit out will to Him and allow Him to direct our path.

Practically what does this look like? This is about retraining our mind to see God for who He is. Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Protector, Comforter, Friend, Lover, Councillor the list goes on. Leaning to our own understanding would be to react to things based on our feelings and our perception of a situation – true as it may be, but what happens when we add God to the mix – mountains indeed become mole hills. Agreed, not always as easy as it is for me to type, but as I said – its a process we must learn to do until it becomes habit and an initial response to every situation we face.

Lear to trust God for everything you face. Read the word and allow the truth, reliability and abilities of God to become engraved in your heart and mind so they can be quickly recalled in times of trouble. Make lists of how much God as done for you in the past – He’s not about to let  you down now! You can trust God!

 

 

Use what you have

So this week at church the youth department were asked to look into the topic of using what you have. We looked into the feeding of the 5000. The story is well known for the miracle of th feeding the masses with only a little.

When looking into the topic – Mary at the supper of which Jesus and Lazarus was at came to mind. Specifically what she did with her hair.

“..Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this…”
John 12:1‭-‬8 KJV

We see from many scriptures that a womans hair was a very important and valuable part of her. 1chor 11:15 – “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” Being her glory, it amazed me that this woman would use the very glory she had to minister to Jesus. She was willing to lay down her glory, something of importance and value to her as a woman at the feet of Jesus.

Now considering the time and the types of garments they wore, I’m sure she could have used her skirt, or some other fabric to do this. Or, considering they were having a meal it would been likely there would have been towels to wipe your hands with that she could have used. Being at a home, maybe she could have even asked for a towel to wipe the feet of Jesus, but she took the very hair on her head, her glory, to wipe his feet.

She was willing to use what she had. Both things were of much cost but meant nothing to her when it came to ministering to Jesus. One translation says that the oil was worth a years wages, but she was willing to lay it down for the sake of ministering to Jesus.

What is it that you have that represents your glory? Are you willing to give up your GLORY for the GLORY of God?

The little lad with his lunch never left his house with an intention to feed the masses. BUT he was willing to give it up. Whether he knew what would come of it or not, we don’t hear of any arguing or altercation between  the disciples and child about this food, in fact it was a deciple who said “what is it amung so many”. He didn’t see how such a small thing could make any difference to such a great need. Just how another deciple thought Mary should have sold the expensive oil and given the money to the poor ( not that he even cared for the poor! Cheek!)

Matthew 6:21 : where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

Hebrews 6:10 says : God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them

When the deciple tried to have a go at Mary for her act of Love to Jesus, Jesus was quick to rebuke him and told him to leave her alone! God will always stand by your act of service and sacrifice to Him, irrespective of how it seems to others.
Sometimes we (like Abraham and his promised  child) have to be willing to give up what we love, our treasure, our glory. Not begrudgingly..(God loves a cheerful giver) but in faith knowing He is no man’s debtor! Never will God require from you what He can’t return in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Give what you have to God knowing that He loves a cheerful giver, knowing that He is not unjust to forget your labours, and knowing that He will stand by your sacrifice and have your back despite the opinions of others.

 

X x x

Its a done deal

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) reads this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”. The KJV calls the future and hope an expected end. Expected for who? He who sits within and outside of time..

Just a reminder that God does not need our assistance in bringing us to the expected end that He has for us. All He requires from us is love which comes in the form of obedience (“If you love me, obey my commandments” John 14:15) and a purpose driven life that seeks His kingdom ( Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”) and His Righteousness.

If we stick to the plan that God has for us we are bound to reach the expected end. Now, this is not to say from time to time we wont get lost along the way, and deviate from the plan. This is not even to say that all of us will be able to resist the temptation to take the wheel ourselves – thinking we know how this should go. How many of us have put in a post code into the SAT NAV – it’s suggested a route and we think… Naaaahhh… I’ll go my own way… and boy do we regret it in the end!

The same works for the will of God for our lives. He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. This would mean that from the beginning to the end of our walk of faith is known by God who has written it Himself. We are just characters in a finished story. Imagine characters in a story book one day deciding they don’t want to play the roll they were given!

Psalms 119:89 David says Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the Heavens. This is to tell us that the words of the Lord are firmly fixed – a done deal in the Heavens. Matthew 6:10  details part of what we consider The Lords, it says this “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. We are asked that the will of God be made manifest on Earth as it is in Heaven. This means what we see taking shape here on Earth concerning us is a double up, an echo, of something that’s already settled in the Heavens. Indeed Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but the words of God’s word will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35). Why? John 1:1 tells us that in the beginning was the word (run over to Genesis), the word was with God, and the word was God. God and His word are ONE.

So when God speaks a word to you about our future, its not an unfinished work that now needs your assistance to get it to come to pass. Nope.. its just a sneak peek at what is already settled and completed in the Heavens concerning you. All you are required to do is make ready to receive from God. If we comply with and stick to the SAT-NAV of our life which is His word and the leading of the Holy Spirit there is no way that our lives wont go according to His plan – bringing us to our expected end.

God is merciful in that He is always waiting to receive those who have deviated from the plan. I can testify of deviating from the plan for many years – but I am grateful that I can also testify that He has restored my connection with my path – it, like most things is a process and a development of my trust in God that allows me to say “ok, I think I know what this should look like – but God I trust your route, I trust your plan, I trust your leading”. I have found it better to just do what God says do. It may not always make sense to us, but we have to learn to release our will and align ourselves with the author and finisher of this our walk of FAITH!

Much love from my heart to yours x