Saturday, 12 December 2009

He did it again, did we ever doubt it, if we are honest yes, purely because as humans we are getting tired as we wade through all the Christmas celebrations, however He is never tired praise God. And the results were spectacular.

Thank you Jesus for being unchanging, never ending and ever loving.

Today we saw at least one healing, many friendships made, lives changed, exciting choices made and smiles a million miles long! Because its all about Him.

He was on the amazing dinosaur bouncy slide, He ate chips out of a newspaper cone, He had his face painted, played tennis on the Wii and graciously lost at lazerquest and table football at least once! He even let someone else win 'the fastest lap'!

For me it was seeing so many people at home, relaxing in His presence. Listening to stories of boots provided by Jesus, how great it was to go to an event that wasn't all about money, Christmas hopes and dreams and stories of reconciliation.

What did you miss? You missed Winterfest at St Barnabas. So sorry you missed it, don't miss out on Springfest 2010. The most amazing team, led by Elliott and Hannah introduced Jesus to the leafy suburb of Woodside Park in a way they had not seen before or expected. Thank you guys once again for including me in the fun. God bless you both x x x

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Growing pains - not just for kids!

Growing pains aren't just for kids as I have found out recently. As we grow older, as our life situations change, as we come closer to knowing who we are in Christ come all kinds of 'growing pains'.

I remember when I was a kid, and had growing pains in my legs, my Mum used to give me a long red sock which when I put it on seemed to relieve the pain. The pains were excruciating and only ever at night, this long red sock was my healer, my comfort, my redeemer and release from this pain.

As I walk through life now as a full fledged parent and adult (however did that happen?) I still suffer from growing pains, but they are now mainly in my heart, rather than my legs.

All of a sudden I am the proud owner of two teenage daughters, and being as I was once a teenage daughter myself I am well aware of all the dangers the world holds for them. The world has become a more complicated place since I was a teen, there are so many more ways to get into grief with the golden age of technology upon us. And, nobody told me that your children leave home at age 11, I thought it was 18 at least and that I would have time for much more fun with them. But no, the minute they go off to secondary school and you are no longer waiting at the school gate for them is the day they leave home. With that comes a multitude of concerns and fears, you don’t know where they are at all times and it's no longer easy to protect them from making mistakes; and watching your children making mistakes is heartbreaking. There are many days when I feel totally out of my depth. Where's the red sock when you need it?

I know it's not entirely Biblical, but Jesus is now my red sock, the best red sock there is going. He is my healer, my comfort, my redeemer and release from all pain.

He loves me and He loves my children even more than I do (although I struggle to understand how that could be possible!). I trust him to always be watching over my girls, keeping them on the straight and narrow. And with that I have to learn to trust that I have done a good job equipping them for the next challenges that they are going to face in their lives and in turn trust them to make the right choices and pray that their choices are good ones.

Direct your children onto the right path ,and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

And in the meantime, in the red sock moments, I turn to Jesus with my worries and fears. Because Jesus is the SOCK, the SOCK of my salvation!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

on a painted sky
Where the clouds are hung
for the poet's eye
You may find Him
if you may find Him

on a distant shore
By the wings of dreams
through an open door
You may know Him
if you may

As a page that aches for a word
which speaks on a theme that is timeless
And the one God will make for your day
Sing as a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way

And we dance to a whispered voice
overheard by the soul
undertook by the heart
You may know it
if you may know it

While the sand
would become the stone
which begat the spark
turned to living bone
Holy, holy
Sanctus, sanctus

As a page that aches for a word
which speaks on a theme that is timeless
And the one God will make for your day
Sing As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way

Be - Neil Diamond, from the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull movie soundtrack

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Jesus said "these children are the kingdom's pride and joy"

Ok today was amazing, no better than that!

Autumnfest @ St B's - very ably organised by the kids work team at St B's, was packed full of children and their families (aged 0-99). Families from St B's, Barney's, GAP and MiniGAP and also many who had never been to St B's before were blown away by the fantastic time on offer.

Today I saw Jesus drinking coffee, eating hotdogs, playing on the soft play, manning the bouncy castle, playing table football, having fun in the laserquest room, making autumn pictures in the craft area, having His face painted and beating everyone hands down at Super Mario! Over 250 people filled the church it was so exciting to watch and such a privilege to be part of. Some amazing conversations were had and new friendships made.

Well done Elliott, Hannah and your amazing team - God bless you all

Thursday, 29 October 2009

What's on your 'to do' list?

I am the queen of 'to do' lists. The comfort they bring me is immeasurable.

All too often I look at my 'to do' list and wonder just how it came to have so much on it. The ancient art of saying 'NO' needs to be refined in me.

Lists rule my life and I regularly find myself making two lists, a 'to do' list and shopping list. Sadly I then find myself in the supermarket proudly sporting my 'to do' list and not my shopping list (there is a downside in being reliant on lists!)

I am ashamed that God's name doesn't appear very often on my 'to do' list. My first thought should be "what would God want on my list for the day?"

Should it be something like write a note to thank Mary for the help she gave me the other day, or call George to check how he is feeling, or stick my head round the office door and give everyone a big smile OR even sit down and spend a little time with ME (God) today?

Cos the truth of the matter is there should be nothing on our 'to do' list that we haven't consulted God about first and without sitting down and spending time with him that isn't going to happpen. Jesus only did what he saw His father doing, how can I see what my Father in heaven is doing and join in if I am drowning in 'to do' lists?

This week I have been challenged to go on some walks with God, I have to do this for a whole month and I am really excited it. I have put them in my diary, just like I put time with my family and work appointments I have 'walk with God' written in my diary.

Hang the 'to do' list, the only thing I want 'to do' is spend time with God.

So what's on your 'to do' list and how much of it can wait until you have hung out with your heavenly Father the most important and pressing thing on your list?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Send me!

Being nagged by God is so joyful and encouraging.

This week, half term, we are visiting some old friends in Whitburn, Tyne and Wear. It's so lovely to catch up with them again, can't believe it was two years since they left London. They have a beautiful house, right on the top of the cliffs by the sea. I'm sitting in their lounge now, the rest of the house asleep, listening to the sound of the waves crashing and seagulls squarking.

Last week I was asked some questions by a vicar (in whose church I have been doing a placement for the last three months), he has to write a report on me and wanted to clarify a few things with me. The questions didn't scare me but did make me think once again and doubt - "is it really me you are calling Lord, why me?" I gave the vicar what I thought were pretty good answers at the time but as I left the shadow of doubt crept in and has stayed with me in the back of my mind since then.

It’s horrible when you are not at peace with your soul. When think you have heard clearly from God, yet doubt creeps in and seeks to steal your joy away.

Yesterday we visited the Venerable Bede’s church, St Pauls in Jarrow, a beautiful little church, 1400 years old. It’s open to visitors to see the Bede’s seat and other Christian artefacts. We were it’s only visitors and as we walked in one of the people who showed visitors around started playing the organ, she launched into Here I am Lord (Words and Music by Daniel L Schutte© 1981) a song that I was first moved by 7 years ago when I became a Christian, as my children sang it in a school assembly. Its’ words are really moving, especially when sung by a child. When I have been asked about my calling I generally refer to it as a big part of my realisation that it is me that He is calling.

So feeling suitably nagged by God, and full of joy that even far away from home He finds ways to remind me of his majesty and love for me, I watched as my children and my friends’ children wrote prayers and hung them on a prayer tree, prayers of thanks, prayers of love for their Father in heaven – and I gave thanks for heavenly nagging!

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up!

I love the 'Secret Millionaire' programmes on Channel 4, people putting themselves out to find out about others who aren't as fortunate as them and generously help them out; often finding that this experience totally changes their own lives as well as those they aim to help with their money.
Last night's programme was a revisit to a show earlier in the year, deliberately looking at how much the millionaire's life had been changed by the experience. One of the places he visited and subsequently helped was a homeless shelter, Vincent House, in Blackpool where some of the money he gave went towards starter packs for the homeless for when they eventually found somewhere to live. He couldn't believe that the simpleness of these packs which contained bedding, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery etc, could have such a profound impact on someones life. It makes me really think, just how much or little do we have to do to make a difference to someone's life?
In the back of one of the shots taken in Vincent House was this sign, pinned to the wall "Do not look down on anyone unless you are helping them up". It stayed with me all night and I woke this morning with it still rattling round in my head. How easy is that to do? Jesus says that to us so many times, in so many ways. How much notice do we take of it?
The people at Vincent House were angels, going out of their way to make these peoples lives just that little bit better. The lady said "We can't change all of their lives, but sometimes a hot meal and a chat is all they need". This is so true and so easy to do. Just these last two weeks at Toddler Group I have had some very moving chats with some parents who are sad, worried and scared about a wide range of things. All of which, sharing them with someone, has made them feel better about. I even had the privilege to pray with two of them, which moved them both to tears, a welcome release of their stress. I all needed to do was sit down with a cup of tea and say 'Hi, how are you?' Jesus did the rest.
I urge you today, to have a good look around you; because there will be someone you bump into today who is hurting for one reason or another. Make your mission for the day 'what can I put into today, rather than what can I get out of today', have a cuppa with someone, spare them 10 minutes of your time, it could change your life too! Because Jesus says 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me!'
May God bless you all x x x

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I am confused?

Maybe it's all down to thinking too much, for me an occupational hazard!
Today's question is how is it that people can get themselves into such a place that they find it hard to even recognise themselves? How can life be so 'cruel'?
Today I join the psalmists in their cry of 'Why Lord?' in my mourning of the loss of a very special friend - who hasn't physically died, yet bears no resemblance to the person I knew and loved a year ago. My love for him hasn't changed and I know that Gods' love for him hasn't changed either - I just wished he could see that himself.
The sad thing is that through my journey of the last 18 months I can see how easy it is to give into things that have happened in the past and allow your future to be defined by them; and yet also how freeing it is to allow God into those areas of you life and by His grace be healed. It isn't an overnight process, it's a long hard journey - especially the forgiveness part.
I truly believe that forgiveness should be spelt forgivenesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss (s recurring).
Today my prayers are for all of you who may be struggling with life, feeling weighed down by things of the past. I pray that our Good and Gracious God, the God of no limitations, will restore the years that the locusts have eaten, and make all things new.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Maiden Flight

It's been a day, no a week, of close encounters. This morning with a seagull. As I was walking to the tube station on my way to college I spotted a seagull, flying really low up the middle of the road straight towards me. It was looking straight at me and I honestly thought I would have to duck to get out of its way. It swooped off to the right and circled round and then came soaring straight at me again, once again staring straight at me before swooping off the the left. It was a really surreal experience, but the look in its eyes said that it meant me no harm.

I totally forgot about it until this evening when I was chatting with a friend about how free I was feeling at present due to what God was doing in my life. I described myself as feeling like I was soaring, that was when I remembered the seagull.

God can speak to us in so many different ways - even through seagulls. Today it was as if God was saying, 'Look what I showed you last week, how free you can feel, how high you can soar in my love. In the busyness of this week don't forget what you felt last week; don't forget me'.