Slumber?

So I got to thinking overnight about all that was happening in the world and how many people were living in the hold of terror and fear. There are so many attacks, wars and hurting on Earth that it’s a bit of a daunting task to even pray for them all never mind wonder what they are going through. It’s also very easy to forget about it all when we can turn off the news or turn the page of the newspaper. They can disappear, blurred by the next celebrity scandal or weather report. We live cushioned lives mostly in the western world in this regard. We do have attacks as we saw in the UK over the last month. We can see some horrible stuff within the western world for sure, but how quick do we move on?

It can feel like God is not watching or has closed His ears to the desperate cries from His people. There are prayers around the world going on even as I write this for those who are hurting or who have lost everything. Is God looking and listening to something else? Has He even noticed?

The bible says that God never slumbers or sleeps. He is ever watching us and He hears every prayer. The book of Revelation tells us that every prayer or cry to God rises up like incense and God breathes it in. No prayer goes unheard. No prayer actually goes unanswered. It might not be the answer we were hoping or desiring to hear, but there will be an answer there if we are open to receive it. 

There is no real answer as to why God hasn’t stepped in and stopped things from happening. All I think about is the last time God stepped in to change the way the world was going, meant we had the flood in Genesis which destroyed everything.  So is that the only way He can stop events? Take away free will? Stop sins consequences? 

I really don’t know. These are just my thoughts and ramblings. I just know I have to trust God and know He is in full control of my future and the events which impact me and those I love and pray for. That’s all I take my rest in and knowing I can slumber and be confident in the knowledge that God never does.

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Prayer works?

What a chaotic and scary week our little Island has had over the last couple of weeks. We have seen terror strike and try to rob my beloved UK of her peace and love.

I love my country and very proud of my nation. I’m proud of my city and the street where I live. It is full of people who are filled with love and warmth. We are all created in the same image, and noone is better than anyone else. The UK needs lots of prayer, not just for today or even tomorrow, but for the next months and years. This country needs to be filled with prayer and covered with the wings of God.

But in our daily life, does prayer work, or are the smaller things of life too insignificant for us to bother God with? Our bills, lack of food, clothing? What about our banged up car going in for its MOT? Is that too small for God to see? A parking spot in the hospital car park when our child is unwell? What about funds to go to a conference that we know would help us to grow spiritually but is really expensive?

These can seem silly things to maybe pray about, and how many times do we leave prayer as a last resort? A tool to use only when we have exhausted every other avenue of help. I know I have done and still can do this at times. I wonder why?

In 1 Kings vs 2-6, we read of Elijah who has fled from the city into the wilderness when he received a death threat from Queen Jezabel. He had nothing with him, no clothing, no Prada suitcase with his belongings. No rucksack full of trail mix and Red Bull for energy for the journey. Nothing. Not a thing. Not even his favourite pillow.

God needed Elijah for further work for the Kingdom. He provided Elijah with ravens who brought him meat to eat and a stream nearby for fresh beautiful clear water to drink. Yes, it wasnt the most amazingly thought up meal, but it was exactly what he needed right at that moment to keep going, and it helped him not to be so down about his circumstances.

Its very easy to get down about the next huge bill to come through the post, the broken washing machine and all the things that can build up and cause us to lose sleep with stress or worry.

We see the power of prayer all over the world. Big things, like people being raised from the dead, healing from life threatening diseases, safety in the most horrible of places. We can see God working in the persecuted church and the blessings they are living in.

But what about me and my daily life? God still wants to work in the small things within us just as much as he wants to raise from the dead the other side of the world. Everything in our life and in us is important to God, and I want you to know how loved and worth everything you are. If it bothers you, it bothers God. If it hurts you, it hurts God. If it makes you happy in Him, it makes God happy. No prayer goes unheard. No prayer is more important than another. There is no hierarchy system in the Throne room. All prayer is described as lifting up to the Throne room as insence which God breathes in. Its a beautiful picture of how God listens to all prayers in the Book of Revelation.

Dont ever settle for mediocrity. You are not mediocre, so why accept it. We are all children of the King, and He is with us always and walks with us in our life. He sees what we do, and how we do it. He never gives up on any of us, and provides in ways we cant even imagine.

Rain or Shine

Oh the weather in our beautiful Britain is of constant talk and constant change! We Brits are known for talking about the weather all the time and there is a very good reason for it, Its always changing so a subject of immense “talkability” and nosiness! One day we could see wind and rain, the next a hot, cloudless day where we get sunburn! We can have snow and sun in the same week as thunder and rain! Its never the same and can’t really be relied upon seasonal months besides.

So, imagine a beautiful sunny day, no clouds, just a hint of breeze to stop it becoming too humid or too hot to enjoy the picnic we have planned with the family. We wake up and the sun shines through the windows and the family are up and ready to enjoy the day. Its a great one. We are happy, and feel great. At home we scroll through the photos on our phone and feel a sense of joy and pride as we see the laughing faces of our kids splashing  in the water or burying their Dad in the sand when he fell asleep. The amazing ice creams we shared still around their mouths as they kiss you and thank you for a special day. They drift into sleep dreaming of the fun they have. We feel blessed and can almost tangibly feel Gods touch on us and the blessing He gave us of family and the day we had.

Another day, we wake and its dark, cloudy and we can hear the rain pounding on the windows and the wind seems to want to break the door down. The kids are bored as they can’t play outside and arguments soon erupt all over the house. You want to scream by lunchtime and hope the rain at least stops so they can go visit their friends down the road. The day drags so slowly and you don’t feel like you get anything done with separating the kids all day and cleaning around them as they move from room to room. The rain doesn’t stop, and by evening you have yelled more times than you can remember. You all go to bed that night cranky, and you feel guilty about yelling so much. Maybe something could have been different? Maybe we could have changed something? The last thing we feel is blessed and that we had a productive day. We don’t have good memories of the day and no pictures to remind us of spending the day with the children God gave us. Maybe it will be different tomorrow?

How many of us live our lives in these loops? How many of us live our spiritual lives like this also? We base blessing on good times, and lack of it on the bad. God shows favour In the good and not in the bad? Is that how God works? Yes, we see spiritually high times, and all seems to be going well, we don’t have problems praying or bible study. But, what about the times when we seem to pray to the ceiling and like walking in mud? Is God any further away at those times? If He is, is it because we have moved, not because He has? I think at times of struggle and darkness, God wants to be closer to us to get us through what could be a spiral of loneliness and separation. He never wants to be away from us. So, if God is still with us and by our side, even more through the bad times, who is it who moves? Every time we sin, we move a little away from God, and the sin starts to separate us from Him. Repentance closes the gap again, and brings us back close to Him.

In the rainy seasons, check yourself, talk to God, make sure there is nothing that can place a wedge between you and Him, especially in what could be a very dark windy part of your life. You need God more than ever then,

In the sunny times, keep in His presence and thank Him for the blessings we can see with open eyes. The blessings are there both rain or shine. We just need to see them for what they are. Gifts.

All equal?

I’m sure we would all gasp in horror at the thought that our churches may not be as equal as we would like or hope them to be. We all know our vision statements and think our places of worship and fellowship are welcoming to all who cross our doorsteps. But are we? Is everyone who comes made to feel wantd and accepted for who they are right at that moment in their life?

Maybe, maybe not.

I’m a mother of 2 ASD boys, so I know first hand that there is an inequality surrounding churches and who is accepted and who isnt. Unwelcome comments, snide remarks on dress, lack of understanding to conditions we have no control over are present every week across the country. I myself am disabled, but dont have a single person in my church family who understands or I feel I can talk to. How bad is this and how prevelant is it?

I think the biggest word surrounding equality, is Understanding.

Respect and understanding are all pretty much everyone would ask for and I feel it is an expected part of church life whether it is available or not.

 

Sorry…….. got distracted at the door by 2 lovely gentlemen from the local JW felllowship. Lovely talk with them.

 

Right.

So if I talk about some of the most noticable disabilities. If some one is in a wheelchair, can the even enter your church? Is there wheelchair access? Is there disabled toilet access for them?

Do you have bibles in braille?

Do you have trained sign language people available?

Do you have translaters available for those who dont speak much English?

Are there trained teachers within the Kids Church to be able to allow those children with both learning/behavioural difficulties and those with more severe disabilities be a part of the work that is done with the youth?

What about those with tourettes? ASD or ADHD disorders? Those who cant speak? Mental health problems?

Are we there for all or just the ones we “feel” we can cope with?

Its a big question, but a very real one. Churches are there for all, the Gospel is for all, and we need to be ready for absolutely anyone who crosses our doors. For some, its took a big amount of bravery to even be there, so we need to make sure they are accepted, loved and welcomed for who they are. A lot of those struggling with disabilities are very isolated and some are housebound. I myself am mostly isolated and can be housebound some weeks, and noone even know or understand at all. My husband is amazing as is my youngest boy who is such an amazing child and is becoming a strong man of God. They both see the bad times, the worst of it all, and like me, there are millions out there in our own country who feel the same as me more and more, day after long depressing day.

So where are we? Are we filling pews and not caring? Are we out there involved with social action? Are we part of urban mission reaching the most lost of society?

We are not called to speak and act like a church, but to be the church. The church in the time of Acts right up to maybe 100 years ago was the benefits system looking after the homeless, the impoverished, the orphans, the unloved and unwanted. There are many out there working for them still, and they do it tirelessly and whether they feel like it or not. That army of love cant slow down or stop, it need to grow and grow so that we can reach all with the love of Christ and the hope they so desperately need.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Lift my soul to sing

How many of us know that sometimes we just dont feel like worshipping, going to study, church, prayer meeting, or even just our own bible reading and personal prayer time? It really feels like we are struggling to take part or feel that we are a part of the very service we are sat in. That is when it really feels sacrificial.

But God doesnt want a resentful heart or someone who doesnt even want to give the time. Joy and worship are a choice, and choices are difficult at times. I dont know what you are going through in your life, family losses, seperations, illness, stress, depression or maybe feeling a bit lost in our world full of church people who seem to have it all together and from the outside look like they are so much better than us in their walks. I only know what is going on in my own life, illness and all that surrounds it daily. I have to make a choice every day to get up and give, even if I cant walk, I can walk with Him, if I cant move, I can know joy and peace through His strength.

These choices are truly sacrificial and will be blessed. We are putting self and us behind God and His will for our life, and I know that in those times I can get the answer I have been waiting for, a relief from pain, a renewing in wanting to read my Bible, a refiring in wanting to see the lost found, wanting to go to services and be around fellow believers in prayer and fellowship. For me, making the decision to walk with the Lord closer, often makes the things that crowd and pull me down dissapear into the background more and so I can focus on Him more.

Wanting to see and feel my soul sing to the Lord is a choice, a fairly easy one once my pride and self is put to one side. I know when my soul sings, I can feel it but quite often dont know when it started. Theres no real start point that I know of, its somewhere after my choice of following begins and I open to His word more. Then, it seems so easy to do what the day before seemed like walking in treacle! I kick myself again and ask why I have to fight Him so hard!

Time Flies!

How can it be May already?!?

I’m not sure if its because I am looking down the road of the big 40 at the end of next year, but time really does seem to fly. The minutes and hours appear to be moving at a fast forward rate and it always seems to be Christmas! I know it only May, but thats how fast it all seems to be going!

Where in such a fast moving life and time do I sit and be restful and able to meditate on my Lord and what He has written for me to take in and digest? Is this the time to slow down on feeling the need to read 20 chapters at a time and go back to learning memory verses and contemplate them one at a time? Maybe notes in strategic places around the house and car with verses on to think about at those times? I dont know, but what I’m doing right now isnt working, and probably hasnt for an number of months.

I think the only thing I’m a bit disappointed about is that it took me this long to figure it out. Am I that closed to His voice or was this one of those times that He let me figure it out on my own to see if it would grate on my spirit that something was not right? At least I’m there now.

Children learn by all that is around them. My husband calls it 24 hour learning. My son does it a lot whether he is with us or on his own. If I surround myself with less distractions and more Godliness, then maybe I can refill my spirit with a 24 hour experience of God and His people and Word. I can call it a full life full of the learning and filling of God and all that He has put around me and those people who are around me with encouragement and love, and not all are from a church or even believe the same as me but are likeminded in so many other ways. As long as I stay within His loving arms then nothing can pull me away, even by my own actions.

 

Time for reflection

I know I have been pretty abscent on my blog now for months, and a lot was my own doing, and a little not mine. The one thing it has given me, is time to think about where we are going as a family with home schooling, being part of a worship team and husband worship leader of our small fellowship, my beautiful 5 cats, my illness and both our boys who have ASD and are gorgeous.

We always have a lot going on in our lives, and so much can be loud and very distracting. We know we are not the only ones by any stretch that can be busy, but we also can see how it pulls us from where we need to be and from the path made for us. It kind of saddens me that no matter how poorly I am, the business never seems to slow down and a lot of days I can struggle with the pace and keeping up with my boys.

I suppose that this time I have had of reflection has let me see quite a lot of things. I know who my Rock is, and He has given me another rock for the more tangible things of life, my strong husband. God knew I would need him even before I was born, and made sure we were in the right place at the right time to meet and be best friends before we married, which means that I am still married to my best friend 15 years down the line with illness, redundancies, kids, depression and church in between.

I know I am a child of God, and that all things work out for His plans if we are open to His guiding and leadership. I dont know whats the future for me, but I know God knows and is already putting everything in place to make it happen. Im looking to see what my next stage of life has in store for me and the next calling that He gives me as I seem to be inbetween them at the moment. I dont see it as a bad thing though, but a time for rest and more meditation on Him and His Word. He knows more than I do what is best for me and the best use of the time He has given.

Taking a bit of time out to evaluate my spirtual, physical and emotional strength and wellness is hard in a fast paced world, but I was more than happy to take it. Its given me a lot more perspective on who I am, who I have around me, who influences me and why and what takes up time in either my thoughts or actions. Maybe I need to take more of these times in the future, but not take so long processing them!

Thank you for your patience with me, and continuing on the journey with me.

Know that you are loved and precious.

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