The Power in Perspective Pt2

So part two of my thoughts on perspective

Part two will hopefully encourage you to take control of the situations you face by becoming more self aware and in control. Often times we allow life to happen to us as if we have little to no control of the situations. Life happens – that’s a given. Scripture says the rain falls on the just AND the unjust (Mth 5:45) meaning that none of us a exempt from trials and just life .. However, the power is in how we choose to go through it.

I often times think of Job and all he suffered in an instant – unknown to him – God and the Devil were having a good old talk about him before anything started going wrong for him. To top it all off – this wasn’t like when God sent the plagues to Egypt because of the hardened hart of Pharaoh – God was actually boasting about Job and how good he is and STILL allowed the Devil to mess up his life to the extent that he was left with nothing..

Often time our perspective would lead us to think that God is full on out to get us. Just out lurking with pit falls and fog and anything else that would make our lives difficult – but this is the total opposite of what The Father is trying to do. Lets look at some examples:

John 9:1-12 tells us of a man who was born blind and the encounter he had with Jesus. Jesus was about his business as per usual and he encounters this blind man. His disciples ask him “who sinned why he was born blind, his mother or father?”. Jesus’s answer offers a different perspective in verse 3 :  Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Here we see one situation. Two perspectives. The disciples had one, Jesus had another. The disciples wanted to know who was to blame for this terrible thing that this man had endured all his life. They were looking for someone to blame as to why this thing had happened. They were concerned about they WHY of the situation. Don’t most of us get stuck in the Why of a matter. See the different perspective from Jesus – He was more concerned about the WHAT of this situation. What was the reason for this whole orchestrated encounter – simply that the works of God might be displayed through him. See the difference

Another example. Lazarus. In John 11 we see the account of a friend of Jesus being reported to be sick. The bible accounts that this man was close to Jesus. Mary says to him “the one you love”.. just in case He was getting his friends and Lazarus’ mixed up. In verse four we get the perspective of Jesus “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”. Here we have a perspective. Now this didn’t change the situation. It didn’t even change the initial outcome of the friend dying – however we see the power of perspective. Look at Jesus’s reaction – He actually stayed where He was for another two days. Not shaken – not even stirred.

Now we could say He wasn’t shaken because He knew what He was going to do – how would you expect me to have such grounding without knowledge of how things are going to end? I’m glad you asked – this is where we have to train our faith.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen we are told (Heb 11:1). It’s what the unknown and unseen are made up from – Faith. Scripture tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. another version talks of an expected end. Here very clearly we see the outline – start to finish of God’s heart and mind towards us. He makes it very clear that he has an expected end. He has a glory at the end for us. His thoughts towards us are GOOD. He has no ill thought or plan for our lives. And this is the rock we need to anchor our perspective in.

Many things have happened to me and often times I stopped to wonder why? Like I didn’t pray, or fast, or read my bible. Like I don’t sever in church, pay my tithes, give my offering. Like I’ve not suffered enough.. that’s one perspective. To consider life as one BIG episode of Total Wipeout where the aim is to Take-Me-Out.. and God is the one releasing all the water and foam and BIG balls just to make it difficult. Or, I could ask God “what is it you want from me and or my life via this? Since your thoughts towards me are good..and in aims of bringing me to an expected end – what (not why) is this in aims of”?

You my dear have to make the decision to taken another stance. Now I am not asking you to put on a pair of sunglasses and pretend like life isn’t happening – because it is – whether you want to see it or not. But what I am suggesting to you is that you take a moment to think before reacting. Lets not forget – Jesus still cried when He got to the grave of the friend who He loved – even with full knowledge of what He was going to do – so I am not taking that away from you. I’m suggesting a different perspective. You actually have the power and choice to do things differently.

Having your thoughts anchored in such a truth (and there are may more like it) allows you to steady your reactions. Like Jesus – asleep on the boat despite the storm. Just because Jesus was there, didn’t stop the storm – but the storm didn’t bother him. It’s a choice you have to and can make.. to choose another perspective.

Much love xxx

 

He’s Acquainted with My Grief : Daddy Knows

So this year has been one of the hardest years I’ve had for some time. In fact it has been a tough could of years, however I am still here. Better for it all. I can say that now – had you asked me a few months a go I probably would have side-eyed you and walked away in a full on stink.. I was hurt. I apologise to anyone who got side-eyed.. My Bad!

In a moment of deep despair and sorrow – feeling a deep sense of rejection, disappointment and betrayal, God sent me words of comfort that no other voice could speak.

I had spoken to a few sisters about the period of life that I was in, and many had offered many kind words. Many encouraged me -some with scripture, some with positive words of affirmation, others just got angry and the cause of my hurt – some seemed more angry than I was… Goodness, I had to calm them down.. like breath sister…breath!  But that’s what you call friends.

But in all honesty, none of it was working. None of it. The hurt I was feeling had sunk deep into the pits and the core of my being a place no one can reach.

The words they were offering – while kind, and true and sweet to the taste – none of it was getting to the real core of my pain. The pain I was feeling was not something I had experienced before. I was feeling more than I would express in words. And nothing adds salt to the wounds than feeling hurt and having no one that you can run to to make it all better. I would tell God.. “you mean I have to sit here, in this, by myself?” It was totally distressing. Utterly mortifying to feel like no one really got the way that I was feeling. And because no one knew how I was feeling – no one could fix it. No one.

I’ve talked previously about how I struggle with abandonment and feelings of being alone. This was all of that and a bag of chips rolled up into one messy blubbering mess. literally – BUT GOD!

I sat at my desk on evening and I heard ; Surely He has bore our griefs. He is fully acquainted with your sorrow…

It was a simple statement. Again, I knew parts of the scripture, but I went to read it in full. Isaiah 53.

I read it once.. and I read it again. And I read it again. This scripture lays out the life of Jesus from an emotional point of view. While he was about doing miracles and preaching an so on – Jesus was still very much human. He came in the form of flesh just so he could associate with how we feel – isn’t that amazing. He did that on purpose – JUST so that in times of grief and sorrow we could turn to him because he knows exactly how we feel.

I read the passage and underlined all the things he had endured – each of them related with me – deeply and genuinely. I read it in a number of translations – and it was literally like reading my present situation point for point. Feelings of being despised, rejected, turned on, avoided, pierce, crushed, oppressed, beaten, tormented, unjustly condemned, struck down, buried like a criminal.. all these things I was feeling and felt that I was totally alone in this – totally alone. But I was wrong. God is fully acquainted with my grief.

I wish I could fully articulate how liberating it felt to know that everything I was feeling – God knew and was acquainted with. So when I cry and say

“Daddy it hurts.. I gave my all and they still hurt me” He says “I know baby, I came to give my life for them and they still beat me half to death.. I know”..

When I cry and say “Lord why..? I cant do this”.. I hear Him say “I know it hurts baby, I know.. I wanted the bitter cup to pass too, I know”..

When those that hurt me walk past me like nothing happened and did noting – and I ask God “why?” – He says “I know.. my own disciples rejected me and swore blind they didn’t know me..I know rejection..I know it well baby”

And its not a sympathetic..there there, never mind.. it’s a ..I’ve been there, I’ve felt that, I’m acquainted with it, I fully feel your pain..

I just wanted to remind someone today OR tell you that you are in no shape or terms alone in your grief. Some heart ache is more that just sadness, its full on grief and sorrow you are feeling. Know that your Father is FULLY acquainted with what it is you feel right now. Nothing you are feeling is strange to Him, noting. All those feelings that are tormenting you and the feelings that tell you that you are doing life in isolation is a lie.. there is someone who has walked this road before and is walking it with you right now.. You’re talking to someone who knows…

Today He says “I know baby.. Daddy knows.. ”

God knows

Isaiah 53 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

 

 

Strength of your Heart

Wait on the LORD. Be courageous, and he will strengthen your heart. Wait on the LORD! Psalm 27:14

During morning devotion – and no – that doesn’t mean I was sat on a beach front, watching the sunrise winging on a hammock in blissful silence. . . More like sat at my desk, in front of half eaten breakfast taking the few minutes I had between my 7 year old asking me to locate his left shoe, my 12 year old needing to be reminded to use deodorant today and me remembering to pack my lunch.. that I was caught by the scripture. 

You know when you are sat minding your own business and all of a sudden there is a flurry of activity and its like someone hit the download button and all of a sudden there is a surge of information and encouragement. Scriptures are just flying through your head, thoughts are being lined up that are then being layered up with more scriptures.. You don’t.. well I don’t.. even know where the scriptures are taken from but they are coming thick and fast. Almost like the Clark Kent to Superman transformation in a phone box. Often times I don’t even know what to write on which is why I have pens and post-it notes all over my home.. these moments of inspiration just take off and I need to be able to write them down as they come.. I don’t want to miss a single crumb..

So this particular morning, back to the half eaten breakfast – I hear “Wait on the Lord.. Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord”. I asked myself one question.. – Why, when I am waiting would my heart need strength? Why would it be promised that in my time of waiting that God would be the one to strengthen my heart while I am waiting?

I was reminded of Proverbs 13:12 that states that “Hope deferred, makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life“.

There is something somewhat sickening about waiting..There – I said it.

There is just something about waiting that is unsettling when it has been going on for some while. The proverb suggests that your heart becomes sick when something you have hoped for is delayed, and this is fact. Whether you are waiting for a bus, a delivery, or the microwave – something happens to our hearts in the state of delayed expectations. A strange mix of anxiety and confusion takes us. We know something should be happening about now, we are looking for it, listening out for it, but it’s not turned up. Then here comes the questions – Why has it not turned up? Where is it? When is it coming? How much longer will I be without? what’s going on?

All these are valid questions when waiting, however, after having asked yourself the same question for 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 weeks, maybe 5 months, or the last 5 years, for some decades..(you get the picture) – something happens – literally – something damaging starts to happen. The questions that were once logical and rational have morphed into swards of furry that poke holes in our once whole and sound heart. Turning joyful hope into a toxic slurry of confusion and doubt if we are not careful. Having waited “too long” our heart has become sick..

broken heart.PNG

Proverbs 4:23 states this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it“. When your heart has become sick – believe me – its evident in almost every area of your life. Jesus while talking to a group of Pharisees notes that “..out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks..”(Mthw 12:34). Our heart and its contents are directly linked to what we do and what we say. A sick heart can lead us to do and say some out of Christlike-Character things.. Proverbs 15:13 tells us “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit”..

heart and mind

And this is why our heart needs strengthening – and reinforcing while we are waiting. God in His wisdom lets us know that if we can do the waiting – He will do the strengthening. This is His promise to us. He is well aware of the potentially effects of waiting for a promise given. He knows we have the tendency to become impatient and flustered and loose hope while waiting. Doubt is both toxic and hazardous in the life of the believer. As is fear – and guaranteed where you find one.. the other wont be far behind.

We owe it to ourselves to check the content of our heart and mouth in relation to things we are still waiting on God for. Have we started speaking negatively about that deferred hope? Have we sided with doubt and decided that maybe God cant? Or maybe you haven’t taken it as far as God can’t.. because that would be unheard of to find something God cant do.. so that cant be it – maybe we have consoled ourselves with the thought that God simply wont..we’ve sold our hopes because they cause us too much pain to bear. I dare not get my hopes up..

I’ll share a thought process I had concerning a wait of mines .. “I can’t, in fact I refuse to go to another wedding without a husband of my own…At LEAST a boyfriend.. and dare anyone ask me to be a bridesmaid… again.. in fact, please don’t even invite me to the wedding.. I don’t really want to know – I just can’t. I don’t want to hear how you wasn’t even looking for a husband .. “but look what the Lord did”…. No .. I’m not shouting with you, put down my tambourine and go away please.. and thank you.. #truestory .. one I’m sure a few of you can relate to. My heart had become so toxic in the season of waiting that I found it difficult to honestly (the key word there) and genuinely celebrate others who had received the answer to MY prayer…  err – excuse me!! – Anyways.. we thank God for deliverance.. I’m still single, but my heart isn’t toxic about it.. !

Now, He didn’t promise to speed things up, or put an automatic end out our wait. That wasn’t the promise. He promises to give us the ability to endure. Not something we do ourselves – something He says that He will take care of. However, should we become weary in the waiting – trust me – it happens.. Psalm 147:3 reminds us that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.

You’ve still got to wait though. I know.. hardly the happy ending you were looking for – but know that God has prepared strength for you in His presence and His word that will strengthen and reinforce your heart while you are waiting. Even if doubt turns up with it’s BFF fear – God has the remedy for both of those.. and its usually wrapped in the demonstration of His love towards us.

Wait on the Lord.. Be of good courage .. and HE WILL strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord..

Until next time..

 

 

There is a stream

Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. (Psalms 46:4)

There is a stream that makes glad the city of God. The Psalmist goes on to say that “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early”

These are two of the scriptures that I have up on my wall. A constant reminder that I am not alone. I often have this overwhelming feeling of feeling like I am fighting this battle of life alone. Pouring out in so many directions but having very little coming back in. Feeling like an emotional ATM Machine, people turning up, making withdraws – often where they didn’t even make any deposits – eventually leaving me in the red. It seems to be a constant cycle I am in. (I’m working on it!)

But I am encouraged to know that there is a River…!

Looking at the purpose and functions of a stream:

  • Brings food to the city
  • Means of transport
  • Source of life to the land and its inhabitants
  • Cleaning and Cleansing

This stream is very much in the midst of us. Providing support, food, life to us at all times. We are not alone and we have not been left without – the streams make glad the city of God.

Psalms 1:3 tells of the benefits of being by this river “and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. We have the privilege of being planted by the rivers. We have access to the substance we need when we remain by the river. The healthiest and greenest of trees are the ones you find beside the river.

There is a stream …

 

 

 

Supporting the Single Parents in Zion

Ministry to Single Parents.

A few months ago I shared my heart on the the topic of being a single mother in a very old school Apostolic church. Following that article I was asked to share my views on what the church need to be doing for us single mothers and indeed fathers in church. While I cant speak for the single fathers, I am sure some of the 5 points below can be crossed over into a ministry for them too.

Let me know your thoughts.. Do any of your churches “CATER” too or for your single parents, if so what does it look like?

What we need is:
1. Acceptance: Within a church that is so intently (and rightly so) on marriage and the wholeness of marriage, we are dropped in the category of the broken, raising children in broken homes. This often feels as though our family unit is somewhat second class to that of a two-parent family. It should not matter how we have come to this single parent status, the fact is we are still mothers and we are still women. We still encounter the same feeling and struggles as any other women or mothers, it’s just that out circumstances are different. It’s important that the circumstance does not overshadow the core needs that still need to be met.
2. Understanding Our Priorities: Often we are not appropriately catered to as no one really understands what our priorities are. The typical marriage or family aimed seminars don’t always cater to single parents. We often get thrown into singles seminars with the perception that singleness is our priority – no – parenting is. Doing an adequate job of getting this little life from A – B as best as humanly possible is our priority.
3. Be Practical: Physical needs must be addressed and considered before you attempt to deal with the spiritual needs. The offer of prayer is a nice one, and to know that someone is praying for us is a blessing, but practically, the needs and demands in that of a single parent home can be very overwhelming. Generally, our pressures (much like any other home) circle around; Child care, Housing, Finance and Parenting. Consider the contribution to these. Additionally, considering we are so well informed about the impact it has on girls growing up without their fathers, or for boys who grow up without their fathers – the men’s ministry should be equipped and ready to step in as male figures in their life. Offering money in this case is not the practical solution here, engage with these daddy less daughters, engage with these fatherless sons. Don’t just assume the role is being covered, and don’t accept a weekend visit from their own biological fathers to
be sufficient. Be proactive and practical in addressing the needs.
4. Then Go Spiritual: Along the journey to single parenthood some women have encountered and come through some very traumatic childhoods, harsh and abusive relationships, heart breaking break ups (and downs) of marriages. Many of us are wounded and exhausted – at times limiting our initial ability to serve. For this period of time we need just that, time, patients and most of all love. Love Covers All. Many have to learn to trust again forgive again, overcome the past, have our hearts mended while learning to forgive ourselves. This takes time. The implementation of mentors – where older women are matched with younger women who are to provide a line of accountability for her as well as a safe place to be human.
5. Allow Us To Grow: Serving in the church allows mothers to feel a part of the fellowship rather than an outcast being held up by their past. This act as a healing for the mother and adds value not only to the church but to the Kingdom. This will come via encouragement from the body to serve and personal invitation to continue to do so. If there is an identified gifting / ministry identified – fan the flame! Encourage and support the growth, support the development.