Friday, 29 January 2016

FMF - Quiet

There is a lovely group of bloggers who run a weekly challenge called 'Five Minute Friday' (FMF). They give you a prompt word, you set your timer and write for 5 minutes!!! So I'm hoping to try it for a few weeks and see how it goes!!! 

I don't enjoy the quiet. I would love to, but I just don't. There is something about it that I'm not comfortable with. I will always put some music on, start singing to myself, or do something to create some background noise. 

But when I think about it it's not good to need the constant noise. There is peace and tranquility in silence. There is a time to think, a time to reflect and a time to just be. Maybe that's why I find it so hard. 

I am a very busy person - between school, ministry, my hubby, my kids, the house - that I don't have a lot of time to stop and think about things, so maybe that's why I find the silence and quietness disconcerting. It makes me think. It makes me take stock of my life, my busyness, that moment, and think. 

Sometimes I may not like the answers to the questions that come up. Sometimes I may find something that will really challenge me. Sometimes it might just be quietness. But I really want to embrace this and bring a little more quiet into my daily life. 

That's my FMF thoughts for today :) 
Keep shining xx 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

A is for Always...

As a wee mini challenge this year I thought I'd try and blog through the alphabet! So each Wednesday I'll be trying to stick to our topic, as much as possible, but using the next letter in the alphabet! Here goes... 

A is for Always... 

I have a secret to tell you. I'm a closet Harry Potter fan...

We don't do Harry Potter in our family - the boys aren't into things like that so they've not watched any of the movies or read any of the books. I, however, have seen them all! 

I do have an actual reason - family ties... I'm related (albeit distantly - my Granny and his Granny were cousins) to Daniel Radcliffe so I figured it was my duty to watch them at least once! The rest of the times I've seen them I really have no plausible excuse for - I just love them!! 

So anyway - now, and especially since his sad passing, when I think about the word 'always' I think of the wonderful Alan Rickman's Snape. 

A wee bit of background for those non-Potter-ites... 

In 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Severus Snape finds out that Harry has to die, and sends his patronus (spirit guardian) out to help him. When he calls on his patronus it is a silver doe - the same patronus that Harry's mother Lily had. When you love someone your patronus changes to match theirs. So when Dumbledore asks him (with tears in his eyes) 'After all this time?' he simply replies 'Always'. 

His love for Lily never died. 

It was a bit of a surprising turn of events, but very sweet and poignant. 

However there is someone whose love is even sweeter, even more poignant and who always is there for us. 

There is someone who never changes, who never turns his back on us and who always stays constant. 

There is a book that is alive, that always speaks to us and whose author is always present when you read it. 

And there is someone that always forgives us when we confess our sins, always helps us when we ask and always guides us when we pray. 

He loves us with an everlasting love. He loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us. And He wants to have a personal relationship with every single one of us. 

Always is a beautiful word - especially when I remember that I can always lift prayers up to my Father no matter what the problem, and I can always worship my God and Saviour no matter where I am. 

Keep shining always xx 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Getting into the Word

I love starting a new study. It's like getting a new diary or a new notebook - full of lovely blank pages to write in! When you get a new study to do, you know it's going to be a learning curve, you know God's going to teach you something amazing and you just plain get excited to start!! 

Well this morning was my first morning of the new Love God Greatly study on prayer. I know I'm a bit late, but I'm so excited to get going. Prayer fits in so well with this month, and it's an area of my life that I really need to work on. 

So how do I do my LGG study? Personally, I use a diary rather than a notebook - mainly so that I can keep track of the days better and because I always get a couple of diaries for Christmas!!! So I download the programme / reading plan onto my phone, grab my diary and I'm ready to go! 

The first thing is to always bring your time to God before you read anything. After all you want Him to speak to you - it's not just something to tick off on your to-do list! What we're aiming for is a personal encounter with God - our Heavenly Father - where He talks to us and we talk to Him. So prayer is vital. 

Some of the words I love are found in Psalm 119:18-19

Open my eyes that I may see 
wonderful things in your law. 
I am a stranger on earth; 
do not hide your commands from me.”

The study method they use in LGG is SOAP - which stands for Scripture, Observations, Applications, Prayer - but the one I use is WORD. As you can see it's very similar, but because prayer is part of my new morning routine, and I always spend time in prayer with my quiet time, I prefer to have an action point at the end, so that I can focus on how to use what God is teaching me. 

So the W is very straight forward - WRITE OUT THE SCRIPTURE. This is something I was taught as a GMG / LGG girl and it really does make such a difference. When you write Scripture out, you remember it, you think about it more and it makes more of an impact. Trust me - try it the next time you read your Bible!! 

Then we have O - for OBSERVATIONS - and R - for REFLECTIONS - and for these sections I have some questions stuck at the front of my diary...

These just help me to think about what's really going on and what God is trying to say to me. It's brilliant when you can actually get into the Word by yourself - because God will always be there to guide and help you. 

And then finally we gave D - for DO SOMETHING! This is where I write down an action point, or something practical that I can the away from my reading. 

So that's it! And then - of course - I'd spend some time in prayer - thanking God for all He has done, worshipping Him, asking Him to help me live my life for Him and just generally chatting to Him - I am the daughter of the King after all! 

So that's my morning challenge and I'm loving spending those first moments of my day with God. It really does make all the difference. How are you getting on? 

Keep shining xx 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My challenge this week...

Firstly - before I start writing today's post - I would love to thank everyone who has commented, text or messaged me after reading my 'a little honesty' post. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life and to have so much prayerful support. I'm really good at the moment and I am so blessed to be able to share my story with you as I go along. God has put each of us here for a reason, and if I can help or encourage anyone through this I'll be the happiest woman alive!! So thank you for your beautiful words and loving thoughts xxx

And now back to my challenge for the week. This month is all about deeper Christian living - it's about getting my relationship with God right and having my firm foundation on Him alone. And as I chatted about my lack of morning skills already, it makes this the perfect first challenge. 

My aim is get up each morning and spend time with God. 

Simple... And actually I've been doing ok at it so far. I say ok but I have been varied in my quiet times and I'm getting better at getting up!! 

I've had the three busiest weeks ever as our school had an inspection this past week, and we were busy little bees getting everything perfect for it. It's not a hard thing - you just have people come and watch you, taking notes every second, making you think you're doing everything wrong!!! But it is exhausting - mentally and physically. So much so I practically slept most of the day yesterday!! We're all very glad it's over and in the end the result was worth it. 

But tomorrow is back to basics, bread and butter work, back to our normal routines. So it's back to the challenge. And I'm really looking forward to it. 

I'll be starting a new study on prayer - run by the Love God Greatly girls - and I realise I'm a bit behind, but I intend to catch up at weekends! It works in so well as my prayer life is the next part of the challenge. And since January was such a weird month, I'll be focusing on my relationship with God throughout February too. 

See you bright and early in the morning!!! 
Keep shining xx 

Friday, 1 January 2016

A coffee with God

So... I am going to work through the next year trying to balance my life so that I am of most blessing to my family while doing everything God has set aside for me to do. 

In order to do this (remember I'm a list maker!!!) I've got a different area to focus on each month, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll be in a better place, beautifully balanced and ready to thrive rather than just survive my life. 

So we come to the start of the year - January. This month I'm going to focus on the most important thing in my life - my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I need this to be right before anything else, because I need my life to be on the only foundation worth building. 

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person 
who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents 
and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, 
it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock."
Matthew 7:24-26

"...and the rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4

In order to truly be beautifully balanced I need to have Christ as my rock. And in order to have that I need to do some work. 

In any relationship you need to put the effort into learning about the other person, finding out what they are like, what they enjoy and how to please them. This is even more important for us as we seek to find God. We need to learn about Him, His characteristics, what He does and what He wants us to do. 

The only way to do this is to spend time with Him. So as part of my focus this month I'm planning on spending my first moments of each day with Him - reading, praying and praising. 

Yes that means getting up earlier than I usually do and no I'm NOT a morning person (think I've said that many times before!!) so this will be a learning curve. But the result will be worth every painful second!! 

And since today is the 1st January the big question is "Did I get up early this morning?" Well? 

Yes!! I am truly determined so I started as I mean to go on. So at 8:45am I got up, got my cup of coffee and sat down with my Bible to start my day with God. I know it wasn't exactly early but we all stayed up last night (kids and all) so we all slept in this morning!!!

It may be hard and a habit I have to work at forming, but there's truly no better way to start my day. 

Keep shining xx