Friday, 23 September 2011

Smile though your heart is breaking!

Cast your worries and cares on God today. Jesus says in John 16:33 'Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.'

Imagine the gospel choir standing in your kitchen/lounge/bedroom and have a bit of a sway to the following song by Kirk Franklin called 'I Smile'.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

If you would like to know more about the God who helps you smile through your troubles then can I recommend the Alpha Course that is starting next week (27th Sept) at St Barnabas, 7.30pm-9.30pm. I am on the leadership team and look forward to seeing you there. God bless you all x x x x x x

For more information see the link below.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Unconditional Love!

It’s so exciting to be back at Barney’s after the long summer break. I just love Wednesday and Friday mornings and being able to have all my friends round for a cuppa tea and a chat. Love it, love it, love it! I have to say a huge thank you to St Bs for allowing me to host you all in their front room and not mine at home, because you wouldn’t all fit in at mine!

Over the summer I had the great privilege of being part of another milestone in the lives of my beautiful daughters, Alice (14) got an A in her GCSE Art (which she took two years early, she starts her normal GCSEs this year in year 10) and Molly (16) got 6 A*s, 5As and a B in her GCSE’s and has now started 5 A levels in her quest to study medicine at University. I am so proud. They both worked so hard. I had very little to do with their hard work apart from the occasional midnight dash to Tesco for more printer ink, providing regular cups of tea, bars of chocolate and searching Tiger and Poundland for art materials because they were being used up so quickly! But it was a pleasure to be able to facilitate, in a small way, their success. Allow me a moment to be a proud mum and say my heart is bursting with pride at what amazing young women they are growing into.

I was asked this week at Barney’s, how we managed to encourage our children to do so well. My answer was ‘we just love them’, but I think I need to unpack that a little.

We strive to love our girls unconditionally. Weeks before the exam results were out we organised a party for them, which happened the Saturday after exam results day, to celebrate their results. We wanted to clearly say to them that no matter what their results were, we intended to celebrate them as a person and recognise how hard they had worked. I think if a child knows they are loved, no matter what they do or achieve, then they are more able to love themselves for what they are and not be discouraged by what the world tells them they should be achieving. Through that truth and encouragement comes the feeling that they can attempt all kinds of things, in the case of education no matter how academically gifted they are, and they are more inclined to try their best in everything they attempt to do.

Sadly today’s teaching in schools leans heavily towards the academic child, rather than the creative child. The new baccalaureate system introduced this year in all secondary schools gives little chance to a child who is less of a ‘book learner’ than others. I find it really sad, that what you achieve in exams is held in higher esteem than what kind of a person you are.
Academic success is not the be all and end all. God loves us all unconditionally and sees our hearts, not our achievements. The world has a habit of telling us we are not good enough, because we haven’t achieved this and we haven’t achieved that. God says to us ‘ matter what, I love you. Know that love, grow in it and be strengthened by it.’

This is what we have claimed for our girls, that they should receive from us as their parents, what God has given us. Unconditional love is very hard for us all to understand, as it is not a worldly thing. But I believe It is what we should all be striving to give our children. Loving them for who they are, not what they achieve. By all means encouraging them to achieve their God given potential; but always celebrating them as a person, always loving them for who they are.

Father God thank you for your unconditional love, thank you that you loved us so much you sent your Son to die for us and through his resurrection we can have an amazing life; a life so full of love that we cannot help but want to give it away. Help us to love our children and others as you love us. Amen

If you want to know more about God's love for you or any other big questions of life that you may want to explore, the Alpha Course starts next Tuesday evening 27th Sept, 7.30pm at St Bs. Please come along, I will be there and hopefully you will get your questions answered. I look forward to seeing you x x x x x