Glitter?

Anyone who knows me, also knows my love for all things beauty and all things glitter. I love make up and how creative and artsy we can be with it and the confidence it can create. It is the subject of many quips within my family over the amount of make up I have accumilated over the years! Ahem…. there may be a fair bit, but I am not owning up to anything!!!

It also saddens me to still see in 2017 body and makeup shaming towards both men and women. This is a seriously outdated and extremely old fashioned way of thinking, and needs to be stopped. No one has the right to condemn or judge anyone for looks or body shape. It is nasty, horrible and very disrespectful.

I am happy with how I look and me in my own skin. I love my face, my eyes, my nose, even my brows which seem to be unrelated to each other! I do not use make up to conceal who I am, but to create different looks which mostly work, and sometimes dont. Thats the beauty (pun intended!) of makeup. And I belive it is ungendered.

How can we love our neighbour when we cant love ourselves? How can we love ourselves when we are putting each other down all the time? How can society learn to love each other with disrespect and hate for what is different to others everywhere we look? How can the church be a welcoming place when we accept that this happens within our buildings? Are we blind enough to think its not happening around us?

I have wanted to bring my boys up with respect for all, and I think we have acheived it as a whole. I dont want to hear shaming of anyone near me, and my house is a body shaming exclusion zone. We are all created equal, and in Gods image, so who has the right to call another? No one thats who. Not one person has the right to pull down another. Not one.

I hope this subject is brought to the front more in media and social media circles so it can be made unacceptable. Because it is.

I am not going to stop wearing makeup, and neither should anyone else who wants to. I am beautiful in my husband and Gods eyes. Thats all that matters to me, not any unjustified and undignified comments from people who have an opinion of what they think they should be seeing.

God loves all for who they are right now. So why dont we?

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Idols in heart

At the end of Ezekiel chapter 13 we read ,
“When any of the Israelites or any foreigners residing in Israel separate themselves from me and set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet to inquire of me, I the Lord will answer them myself. I will set my face against them and make them an example and a byword. I will remove them from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’

This got me thinking in the wee small hours of the night about what we call idols of the heart now. Is it the same as what God meant when He spoke these words to Ezekiel? I doubt it. We can carry many “idols” within us and not even realise we have them there and love/ worship/ desire/idolise them. So what can this mean to us in a very different time and age?

I believe that we can idolise people, places, work, church, worship, ourselves, hobbies, media, social media and even church activities without the knowledge that they have taken such a place. Sometimes we put things too high up because our relationship with God isn’t as it should be and we conceal this within us with business and activity. Sometimes it’s accidental. Somehow life got so busy or stressful that it took over our thoughts all the time pushing out those close to us and the Lord with them. Maybe it’s slowly spending too much time on or doing an activity and we don’t see the worrying signs that it has become an idol.

It doesn’t really matter why that thing has taken hols of us, but it does matter to understand it has to go. We have such a forgiving and loving God, but He is jealous for us. He sent the Spirit to help us in these circumstances, and isn’t about to let you go from His hand now.

I talk to myself more than anyone today. It is all too easy to let times with Him slip when they should be the times we long for more than anything else in the world! Guard your hearts and minds. Keep them wholly for Him.

First Church, Church First?

I love reading Acts, and learning about the first Church and how they lived and interacted with each other and those who came against them. Most of the early years had believers who had followed Jesus during his time on earth, or who knew him throughout his life and even those who had never met him but knew of him. It was an exciting time for the Apostles as they watched their new baby Church growing each day with converts whose life was transformed by the name of their beloved Christ. They were strong and dynamic leaders who did not shy away from discipline and teaching. There was structure and community and they each devoted themselves to knowing God more and more and encouraged their congregations to do the same. It would be unusual for a believer not to want to know more, not to want to grow and mature.

Acts 2 vs 42 – 47

Fast forward 2000 years to the Church of God today. I know many who would love their churches to be more like the church of Acts, myself being one of them. I know its not possible, and not because I dont think we can do it. We are a different generation and its a completely different world now. The first church was the benefit system for a start. It was a hard life for those who were orphaned and those who were widows. There is a safety net today that was not there then. It does not mean we don’t have an obligation to still look after these precious people anyway, but we don’t seem to think we have to. I know many older people who are using Food Banks while they are members of a church. Why? Because we dont think they are our responsibility anymore. They are. We are still a community whether we lived 2000 years ago or in the 21st century.

The church described in Acts was a healthy growing community. It was devoted to God and each other, devoted to prayer and fellowship. Church is like an organic mass of people. It needs things to grow, it needs structure and support. It got that from prayer, Gods living water and teaching. Strong leadership but not to the point it was suffocated and its voice was drowned out. We need exactly the same things to grow today. We are no different in these ways than then, even if our world is a very different place to live. We might not be able to be the church of Acts in many ways, like living as a community, but we can still care and love each other as Christ loves us. How unlike those in the world around us would we be if that is the attitude we took. If we stop being so concerned about how we look if we pray for our friends and family, the shopkeeper who is having a bad day, the officer handing out parking tickets, the guy who serves our coffee in the cafe. We would start to see change and would be known as a Christian without having to say anything because we would be so different and it would make an impact.

Let him go?

So my youngest son started his Secondary school this week. He looked so smart and grown up in his uniform, and I thought about how this was the uniform that he may wear for the rest of his life. Jacket and tie is the uniform for many millions of office and professional workers just in this country alone. So was it right that I was so emotional and felt such a big wrench in my body that I could actually feel going through me as my child/growing boy/young man walked into the school gates for the first day of the next 5 years of teaching and GCSE work? Am I holding my child back by not wanting him to grow up so fast? Should I be this emotional? Am I able to let him go enough to explore the new world of big school and not let him feel the fear I have? Do I trust God enough to keep him safe emotionally, physically and mentally for the pressures and pleasures he will face?
I truly believe that my God has both of my children in His amazingly gentle protective hands. I know there are a lot of people praying for them, who love them, and who look out for them. They do have a support network and not just from their physical family, but from their spiritual family. I know that its not just me placing my son before God in prayer and making sure he is kept there safely. I cannot express how reassuring it is to know how many people love my little boy that much, that they spend time with him, they give time and energy to him to make sure he knows how he is loved. It is priceless and I cannot tell them enough how much we appreciate it.
So with all that knowledge, can I let my son give me back the apron string I have made him keep hold of? Can I unravel it so that he can go become the person he is made to be? The feeling of being lost is mine to deal with, not his. He won’t see tears, but only support for the big weeks he is having. I have to let him go and be a guide when he needs one, to be here at all times. He is still a child and will always be mine, but he has wings to stretch out, feeling his surroundings as he goes. I am very proud of him, and that will never change because I know God has him close to Him, in His hands, in His heart.
I can let go.

Reasons for living

There are many reasons why God made us who we are and gave us the characters we have. We are all different and the experiences we go through change us and mould us into even more intricate and unique people. We all have a soul and a spirit which need to be filled by God, otherwise we are left feeling that there is a gap in ourselves which we try so hard to fill with anything we think will help.
God wants us to be shaped more like Him. To see us becoming more like Him as we grow and continue our walk with Him over our life. We do change and we do become more Christlike even if we can’t see the change. Others will see the difference in us, and the changes in behaviours. This is a big influence on those round us. If we act more like Christ, they will be pulled into better behaviours and actions as we take more of a stand with how we act. It has more of a impact than we may realise. We need to be constantly checking our actions and words to make sure we do not lead others astray. We are accountable for our actions towards each other and how we influence those who are not believers. We might be the only thing about Christianity they see, the only part of the Gospel they witness.
The very best part of us lives on well after our death, but also the very worst in us. What we do now will be carried on to the next generation and possibly the generation after them also. It is so important that only the very best of our actions and behaviours are left after we have gone. How sad is it that so many are only remembered for the bad things they did, the mistakes they made and then didn’t correct. I don’t want my kids or grandkids to only know when I did something stupid. I want them to remember that I followed my Lord with all my heart and to know that I did my best, I took my stand on what I believe, and for them to be proud of what God did through me.