Sunday, 31 May 2015

Who I am... part six


I am free…

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free”

John 8:36

I mentioned freedom a couple of times earlier. It’s a strange thought – after all we’re not exactly slaves are we? But freedom comes in a variety of forms. And for the purposes of this I’m not even touching on the A21 Freedom campaign and human trafficking – it’s a wonderful organisation and campaign to get behind but we’ll focus on that another time.

So back to freedom in our lives. What exactly do we need freed from? Well how about sin for starters? We all have something that tempts us back time and time again – some sin (usually secret) that catches hold of us and drags us back into its depths where we lose control and end up worse than ever before. And it can different things. For some it might be spending money, or eating, or smoking, or drinking, or watching porn, or reading books you know aren’t good for your mind at all… if it’s something you do in secret, then it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. And how does it get you? It tempts you, and then after you partake of its delights (for me its food), it reminds you of why it’s wrong, why you were supposed to deny it and stay away from it, and makes you feel the guilt and shame that pulls you in so the cycle starts all over again. I’ve been there – many times – but God didn’t design us to live like this. He didn’t want us to live in the fear of being discovered, or the guilt of your hidden sin or the depths of shame you feel as you wallow in what’s just happened. He died to give us FREEDOM. Freedom from sin. Freedom from that guilt, fear and shame. Freedom from the negative thoughts that the devil uses to drive us back to the cycle again and again. Freedom from the hold sin has on us and from the world around us. Freedom to enjoy being His daughters. Freedom to praise Him and worship Him in all circumstances. Freedom to do the right things, with His help, breaking the cycle again and again and again. Freedom from all those things that hurt us, and freedom to enjoy life His way. WOW!! Now that’s a life I want to live!!



Keep shining xx 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Who I am... part three


I am the daughter of the King…

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus”

Galatians 3:26

Not only did God send His only Son to die on the cross for us, He then adopted us into His family – we are His children – so I can quite seriously state that I am a daughter of the King! If you think about the whole issue of adoption it is amazing. I know that lots of people don’t have good stories to tell, there are too many flawed human beings out there. BUT one story I know is the story I think about when I think about God adopting me into His family. When chatting to a friend of mine recently I found this out. When you are adopted, by one or both of your parents, you no longer need a birth certificate. If you need identification for anything, your adoption certificate takes precedence and becomes the only thing you need to tell people who you are. So think about that… no longer are you the person you were. You truly are a new creation – with a new name and a new identity. Amazing! And then we went on to chat about her amazing story – of someone who took on the role of dad to her when he married her mum, loved her unconditionally and never ever mentioned once in her whole life that she wasn’t his. So much so that most of her friends had no idea she was even adopted in the first place. Total unconditional love. And that is the example I want to leave with you. God loves you that much. Totally and unconditionally and completely.



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Who I am... part seven




I am worth it…

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Romans 5:6-8

 

We all know the ads. Cheryl (Cole) struts her stuff on screen advertising L’OrĂ©al’s latest creations, before she smiles at the camera and says ‘because you’re worth it’. It’s a great catchphrase because every woman in the world wants to feel like they are worth it – that they are worth spending time and money on and worth the attention. But there is one way we KNOW we are worth it.

When we read the verses above we need to read them slowly, taking in each thought. It’s too easy to read verses that we know well and read them quickly without really thinking about them. So let’s stop and think why we are worth it…

“When we were utterly helpless…” – we were totally lost in our sin and the darkness that comes with a world of sinners. There is no way we were going to be able to save ourselves – we needed a miracle.

“…Christ came at just the right time…”- and that miracle came at the PERFECT time. Not too early and not too late, just exactly in His perfect timing. Not when the world thought the Messiah should be born – when God did.  

“… and died for us sinners.” – the ultimate sacrifice. He died taking our punishment for our sins so that we didn’t have to. He was PERFECT remember, so He had no sin of His own to atone for – just ours. And He took them and nailed them to the cross so we could be free.

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.” – The world’s view of right and wrong is so very different to God’s – we may think it would be ‘heroic’ to offer to take someone’s place if they were family or someone you thought highly of but not someone who has done you wrong.

“But God showed his great love for us…” – we need to remember that even in the midst of everything, God loved us and He showed it openly, for everyone to see, in the most miraculous and perfect of ways…

“by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – again – wow! The perfect man dying for sinners – to redeem us from sins He would never even think about, never mind do… for all those hidden secret sins and the bigger ones that get found out… for everything we’ve ever done, said or even thought… for it all. And why did He do all of that?

Because we’re worth it.
 

Keep shining xx. 

Who I am... part five


I am beautiful…

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.

 

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

 

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed”

 

Psalm 139:13-16

 

I mentioned before about the impossible standards women are expected to meet nowadays. Teenage girls especially, are growing up with impossible standards around them. Girls who actually look like Barbie, or models who are stick thin. Even the ‘good’ role models are under pressure – just think back to how much pressure Kate was under to look fabulous less than a day after she gave birth to Princess Charlotte. Or think how much pressure the fashion industry puts on girls to look amazingly thin… in order to fit their amazingly small clothes. It’s not right. The other day I was reading an article in a girlie magazine where an actress was being told she’d put on too much weight. And this was a double page spread about her varying sizes. With all of this in the media and around us, is it any wonder there are so many girls (and guys) with eating disorders and low self-esteem issues. But we need to remember that we are more than the brand of clothes we wear, or the size label on our favourite jeans, or the number that shows up when we stand on the scales. We are wonderfully and fearfully made by a creator who loves us more than we could ever imagine. And He doesn’t get things wrong. We are His. He made us. And we are each made in a completely unique way. We need to embrace this, praise God for His creation and realise that we truly are beautiful.
 

Keep shining xx 

Who I am... part four


I am redeemed…

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with

the blood of his Son and forgave our sins”

Ephesians 1:7

This is perhaps the biggest thing to get your head around. You only have to look at the world around us to see the pain, suffering and devastation that sin brings. It’s horrific. It’s appalling. But what I want to remind you of is this – that sin that causes the agony we see on the news every day, is in us all. We are born with it. Whether it’s a ‘big sin’ (in the world’s eyes) like preying on small children, murdering your next door neighbour or planting a bomb at the end of a marathon… or whether it’s those ‘small sins’ that we do like lying about how long you’ve had a new pair of shoes in our wardrobe, that extra slice of cake you ate in the middle of the night or gossiping about your so called ‘friend’ behind her back… sin is sin. And no matter which sin we commit, it separates us from God. Think about that – the man who murdered his girlfriend in cold blood is just as separated from God as the woman who lies about only spending a couple of pounds in the shop rather than the amount she actually spent. Both are sins. Both. And for this reason, neither is worse than the other – because both separate us from God. Have I said that enough?

But God loved us so much He purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. He redeemed us with His Son’s precious blood. Once and for all. Jesus paid the price for every sin we have ever done, every sin we do now and every sin we are going to do in the future. He already paid for it. We’re already redeemed. Don’t get me wrong- this doesn’t mean you can live whatever way you want and go crazy committing sins because they’re already paid for!! No no no!! But Jesus paid the price in our place, taking the punishment for our sins and giving us the gift of eternal life. You really can’t get better than that! So we need to think about this amazing gift, and live life for Him, the one who redeemed us and gave us our freedom.

Keep shining xx

Who I am... part two


I am accepted…

“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son
Ephesians 1:6

No matter who I may or may not be accepted by here on earth, God has accepted me as his child, belonging to Him, His daughter. There is so much pressure in the world we live in. Women are expected to ‘have it all’.  The high-flying career, breaking glass ceilings, while still having the perfect house, husband and children. It’s too much to take. And so young women are left feeling as if they’ve failed before they’ve even begun to live. But God didn’t design life to be that way. I’m not getting into the ‘should women work’ debate or going anywhere near the ‘perfect house and family’ desires, but the one thing I do know – and I need YOU all to know – is that God accepts me just as I am. He accepts me into His family no matter what my job, no matter what my house looks like, no matter how disorganised I am, no matter how many issues I still have to work out in my life, He loves me and accepts me, warts and all. And that fact brings amazing freedom. But more about that later!!
 




Reason 1 - Find out who you are...


When I thought about this at the start, it seemed simple.  The list of my different roles is endless – wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandchild, aunt, niece, friend, helper, cook, cleaner, laundrette, reader, crafter… But I realised that this list doesn’t tell me who I am.

I guess delving into this will bring up more questions than it answers, but let’s give it a go anyway!

I’ll going to have to keep some of my thoughts for my private journal – they are much too personal and I don’t really want to share them at this time. (Maybe later but we’ll see) But one of the biggest things that I can share, is the question of who I am, not who I am as Tanya, but as a daughter of the King of Kings. Who am I in Christ?

I am loved…

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

I love this so much. Nothing. Nada. Nought. Human relationships may fail or break down, but God’s love is forever. Situations on earth may change, but God’s love endures forever. Nothing in this world or the next – not angels, not demons, not power, and nothing in creation. Nothing. It can be hard to get this through your head – our relationships are affected so much external and internal factors. But nothing can separate us from God.
 
 

More tomorrow...
Keep shining xx

My Top Ten Reasons to Journal...

Following on from yesterday’s post, I’ve been reading more of our ‘Book of the Week’ looking at the different reasons we should journal. In his book Sam splits his 101 reasons into the following categories:

·         Self-improvement reasons
·         Creative reasons
·         Family reasons
·         Writing reasons
·         Problem solving
·         Spirituality
·         Daily Life
·         Logging (milestones, daily tasks etc)

There are lots of amazing ideas for putting pen to paper in the 101 reasons, but because I realistically know I’m not going to do all 101, I decided to pick my top ten and work through those. So starting today, I’m going to be journaling these privately, but I thought I’d also share them on here as well. I’m so excited to start!!So excited you’re actually getting TWO posts today!!!

 


My Top Ten Reasons to Journal
1.       Find out who you are…
2.       Increase your chances of achieving your goals
3.       Develop a well-defined bucket list
4.       Develop gratitude for the smallest things
5.       Become more organised
6.       Remember important/interesting/funny stories
7.       Capture ideas before they are gone
8.       Record your prayers
9.       Connect with God
10.   Track your workout / food eaten
 

Each day (for the next 10 days) I’ll be focusing on one of these and bringing my thoughts to you – not all of them of course J The extra private bits will most definitely be staying private!!

What do you journal about and how often do you journal?

Ciao bella xx

Monday, 25 May 2015

Journaling...

Most of you will notice that once again I've got slightly lost in my challenge of blogging each day... but my excuse involves the words 'hospital' and 'pain' I hope you'll forgive me!
 
I am indeed back in hospital. My gallstones are still vacationing in my bile duct - I think they like it down there and have decided to stay - but its leaving me in pain and very VERY itchy. Its crazy!! So I'm slightly jaundiced again and staying in this lovely ward until I get them removed. Forcibly. Since they no longer seem to want to come home on their own.
 
I've been spending my time reading, listening to music, playing games and trying to finish my Unit 6 assessment... I say 'trying' because today I managed to do everything but it and managed to make 'everything but it' last all day!! And since we are still being woken at 5:30am for obs, its a very long day!!
 
So the first thing I did (while procrastinating wildly) was to turn on my Kindle app and I realised that I have got a LOT of books! 679 to be precise. Most of them I downloaded when they were free on Amazon, but I’ve hardly read any of them so free isn’t really a reason to get more! It’s just as well they are digital as I think my hubby might have a heart attack if they were proper books!
So I’m going to try to read a book a week – starting with the smaller ebooks – and find out the reason I got them in the first place!
So this week’s book is ‘101 Reasons to Write a Journal’ by Samuel L. Lyttle.


I’ve always loved writing and doodling, and the idea of keeping a diary always appealed to me, but I was never any good at doing it consistently. But since I also enjoy blogging (again not consistently but I’ll get there), I thought I’d try one of the electronic journals he suggests.
But first let's not dismiss the good old pen and paper method. I have a Bible Journal that I have started keeping, complete with drawings and colour, and I love doing it. It has added a new dimension to my quiet times and really helped me think about the Word in a new way.
 



SO it will be interesting to see if this new journaling method helps too.
I’ve set up a moment by moment account on my phone, kinda like twitter but private, and an actual one I can write in and keep account of my days. I’m excited and it will be interesting to see if I can keep it up and see what, if any, difference it makes.
If anyone has any journaling secrets they’d like to share, or any advice for someone just starting out, I’d love to hear it.
Do you journal or write a daily diary?
And what are you reading this week?
 
Ciao bella xx

Saturday, 2 May 2015

DAY 9 - REST

Sometimes enforced rest is a wonderful thing. Not only does it force you to slow down and rest but it makes you think. A lot. 

My enforced rest has come in the form of a stay in hospital with gallstones, some of which lovingly moved into my bile duct. Bless them. Sharing the love. 


So I've been here since Thursday and I don't think I'll be getting out before Tues or Wed of next week at the earliest. I'm in pain, but it's covered with the pain meds (and thankfully not too strong ones) and I'm a wee bit yellow!!! And here I thought it was a tan!!! 

The doctors, nurses, helpers and patients in my ward are all wonderful. I have a bed beside a 99 year old woman - yep she'll be getting her telegraph soon!! - and 4 other amazing ladies. And I may be a little biased about the staff since my cousin is one of the nurses, but really, seriously, they are great. I feel very looked after and confident in what's going on. 



But I now have lots of time on my hands. Time between scans, MRIs, bloods taken and obs done. Time to sit and think. To worry, panic and stress over the boys and hubby at home. To wonder about the kids I work with in school. To think about all the jobs I left at home not yet finished. To worry yet again about the things I do that make our house tick by and how they are going to cope without me. 

It has made me rethink how I do things and make plans to declutter my life majorly when I get home. Less is definitely more! 

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

But - and this is where it becomes a wonderful thing - I also now have time to soak in God's Word, complete my wonderful study in 'Hope' and listen to some lovely worship music and podcasts. It's something I've been missing in the hectic mess of life recently - time to soak. So I'm now (half!!!) looking forward to a weekend spent with my Father, learning more about His love, grace and mercy. And for that I'm forever thankful. 



When the last time you took time out to soak in his Word? Was it by choice or enforced like mine?