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Appreciating life as it is today, not how you wish it to be…

The past few years have been quite a big learning curve for many. We may have learned some deep lessons, but being human it can be easy for us to forget what we have learned.

As humans, we often worry so much about the future or think too much about the past that we miss the day that we are in right now. The only thing that we can presently work with. We often let fear come in the way of faith.

I’d like to explore a few thoughts as they come to me.

Today.

During the pandemic, I really missed interacting with people, going for walks in the park, worshipping in church and being with other believers who know personally that Jesus Christ Is The Way, The Truth and The Life, and being nurtured and fed together in Him. I missed seeing the cherry blossom trees, and ducks and squirrels and just going with my camera out on walks and having a bit of independence.

Today I enjoyed all of these things. And I enjoyed coming home to my flat. I must admit, however, after church and spending time with some new people and a friend I know quite well, I felt a bit lonely. In the park there were couples and families walking and I found myself wondering about my own life and being on my own.

We can so often miss what is right in front of us in the here and now either by the thoughts going on in our minds that could be to do with the past, or just longing for something or someone such as companionship.

During the pandemic many of us experienced a range of emotions and thoughts, including the more pressing realisation of the shortness of time. When living in day tight compartments, and in a situation when you are faced with your own mortality, you gain perspective that any day could be the last one. Therefore, in some ways we become more present, in the present.

The now and next

We are created to hope. To hope in the future, and for believers in Christ, to hope for the reality of His coming again, and for the very real place of perfection that He Is preparing for us. Being present with Christ today means being aware of His presence and purpose in today, and of making the most of every opportunity. Yet, sometimes on an earthly level we think about the ‘what next’ of our own lives, perhaps in terms of finding that someone special, especially if we’ve waited a long time. Yet there is also the realisation that people lose their spouses or friends for a number of reasons. The only constant and comfort is Christ.

Appreciating what is, not what we wish things were.

Life is very troubled in this world at present. For those of us who are in relatively good circumstances, perhaps in those moments when we are tempted to think about what we lack, whether we are feeling lonely and want a companion, or thinking about what we think would make our lives feel better or more secure, then we should take time to be more present and grounded and grateful. The things that I missed during the pandemic, I have now.

I appreciate being able to speak to my family on the phone ❤ I appreciate my flat, my food, my health, my clothes, my friends that I can speak with in person or online. I appreciate being able to go for walks and write blog posts. I am so thankful that in this day I know that God Is working out things for my eternal good and that I can pray and intercede for others.

In a world where people are in trauma and lacking so many things and have lost loved ones, I am choosing to be thankful for all the good things that I do have right here and now.

Day tight compartments.

This life is very short. We need to learn to focus on the day tight compartment that we are living in and give all our attention and heart to it, making the most of every opportunity as it comes to us, knowing what to say no to but also knowing what to embrace. Life comes in seasons and each season will pass, so what will we do with today?

Using our gifts and encouraging others

Each day will be filled with tasks to do, duties to fulfil, but also gifts that we can use and encouragement that we can share with others. These may be hidden things that the world does not see, but that are important nonetheless. We do not know what difference it might make.

Thankfulness

So while there is so much we cannot be in control of, we can take a few moments to be thankful for what we do have. The time will pass anyway, let us, where we can, pass it gratefully. x

Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Some gentle advice…

It’s hard to put into words what is happening in humanity right now. It is hard to know how to react. The senseless violence that many are facing right now is overwhelming. If you are not in that situation and are affected by it all, it can be hard to know how to process and look at things.

I am writing this post with a dear friend in mind. Someone with a deep and compassionate heart who is grief stricken by what is happening.

There is no way of saying how people should be dealing with or processing things going on in the world right now, and I am seeing many people who are switching off from it and turning to look for how they can have the most fun in their lives. Others are finding different ways and means to cope with things, and there are some who are rising up to lead in relief and humanitarian efforts through acts of love and kindness big and small. I know of people who have gone into Kyiv to rescue refugees. I don’t know them personally, but through people in church who left Ukraine and who are now helping local efforts for refugees.

There is no right or wrong way to process or deal with such traumatic realities. Well, perhaps there are wrong ways when it causes harm to others, but one thing I can say is it is ok to care for yourself even if others are suffering.

It is ok to acknowledge overwhelming thoughts, emotions and the effect of seeing such human suffering and the horrors of what is happening. There are no words for this, and I am unable to spend a lot of time watching or thinking about it.

Try to be gentle with yourself, try to look at the ways you can care for and strengthen yourself and do what little you can to help in some way.

Take one day at a time, remember you are important and realise that there is a lot that we are not in control of but where we can make a change or add compassion to the world, we can try a little at a time to focus on that.

There are no easy answers. But know that caring for yourself even when others are suffering is ok. ❤ x

The Peace of Jesus

There is no doubt that the past few years have been challenging. Now the world is facing horrors and atrocities on an absolutely terrible scale most markedly in terms of what is on the collective awareness, regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine, and there are many more things going on like this in other parts of the world.

There is so much to make us feel overwhelmed, grief stricken, anxious, and desperate about.

In the midst of this I am experiencing a Peace, the Peace of Jesus Christ, and His Spirit in me, and His guiding Hand.

Most people don’t realise that there is not only a war happening in the world, but a spiritual war. Most people do not want to accept the reality of what they cannot rationalise, but this is at a great cost.

There are many born again believers in Christ, myself included who have not only had a magnificent revelation of The Lord Jesus, His Love and Light and the reality of His Presence and Person, but who have also experienced, tangibly experienced very real forces of evil and darkness. We are of sound mind. The Bible also talks of these powers, and principalities and rulers of darkness. It is to a person’s eternal detriment if they do not realise that there is a war going on for their souls and their minds.

Jesus Christ Is The Way, The Truth and The Life. People are separated from Him because of their sin, and unless they repent they also will perish. There is evil that is not of God. There Is a Peace that can hold us, and an eternal Peace in His Presence.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ has paid the price to make us right with God, to restore Peace and to indwell us by His Holy Spirit. He came in the flesh, and He will come again. And we all will have to stand before Him, and all the secrets of our hearts will be laid bare. Only those who are forgiven, cleansed by His Blood will be able to stand blameless without fault or condemnation.

We are eternal beings, we all will have an eternity and there are only two kingdoms, that of Light and that of darkness. We catch a glimpse of this now. Come to Christ and let His Peace rule in your hearts through faith in Him. You may not have a tomorrow to decide where you will spend the rest of your eternal life. Know the Peace of Jesus, call upon Him while you can. ❤ x

Look for the good in your day…

I listened to some teaching the other day regarding reframing our thoughts. No doubt, the mind is a battlefield and we often experience ‘fiery darts’ bombarding our thoughts, and for those who don’t then what a blessed rest you must have to not have to contend with unhelpful thoughts.

In times of trauma or adversity, it may be very difficult to ‘reframe’ our thoughts because of being caught up in the middle of highly stressful circumstances and being in survival mode.

Yet at other times, we are often influenced by messages we have taken in throughout our lives, from the noise of the world around us, and from a variety of other sources. Sometimes the thoughts can tend to worry, negativity, depression, fear, anxiety or just be seeming ‘pictures’ or images from past experiences, and these may be things we’d rather forget.

This can cloud or feelings, our mood and perspective of our day, and it can take time and effort to overcome. We need a healthy dose of Truth to be able to ‘gird up the loins of our mind’ and to ‘take every thought captive’. Sometimes we have to purposefully look for the good in our day, or create something good in our day to help with unhelpful thought patterns.

If you have believed a lie that keeps recurring in your mind, such as something someone said about you or told you that belittles your worth or ability as a person, then you will need to hold Truth in your mind to counter that and to be ready to change those patterns and it might take work over time. Thoughts such as you are valuable, beautiful as a human being, worthy, intelligent, kind, capable, etc, and sometimes we need a ‘bridge’ to get there, i.e. doing some ground work to cross over from those lies we were made to believe about ourselves perhaps as children, to being able to gradually accept and even embrace the truth of who we really are.

In similar fashion, we can reframe the outlook of our day. The teaching I was listening to showed a giant canvas painting or photograph of a sky, where on one side there was a brilliant orange and the sun’s light in the clouds, bright and beautiful, and at the other edge of the picture were some dark, grey and almost black ominous looking clouds. Overall the picture was beautiful and in balance, but the speaker took a little frame and held it up to different parts of the picture to contrast how our outlook sometimes focuses in on either the negative or the positive and this can change the outcome of our day.

How do we look at things? How do we choose to look at things? Most of us have experienced negative thoughts that may have stemmed from lies we’ve been told about ourselves, and we also face the fears and worries of the world we live in. We don’t need to ignore the reality but we can reframe our thinking and we can look for the good in our day.

Sometimes this can be as simple as accepting those difficult thoughts and emotions, letting them pass and then grasping onto Truth to replace them with and perhaps we may have to do this over and over again until we create new more helpful and true patterns of thinking. It might be taking a moment to be thankful intentionally for the good things we have enjoyed that day such as shelter, food, clothing, conversation, and it could be taking a few minutes to reach out to someone else, to be creative to give thanks and pray or do something that adds love and joy to the world and our lives even if it is not seen by others. We can be thankful, we can praise, we can take a moment to still our busy minds and focus on the good. Sometimes this is a challenging process, and for some people it isn’t an issue, they are so positive and carefree by nature, but for those of us who do think and feel deeply and sometimes experience these challenging thoughts and emotions especially if we’re feeling impacted by what’s happening in the world, then we can do certain things to shift our focus, to change our gaze. If we can’t help one thousand, we can help one.

So take a moment today and pay attention to what may be a stronghold in your mind, find Truth to replace those negative thoughts with and also look for the good in your day, perhaps turn your hand to something creative, something uplifting, something lovely and good and see how, even if for a few moments, your thoughts and mood shift. The day will pass either way, so look for the good in your day, and be thankful. ❤ x

There’s a lot going on in the world….

There’s been a lot going on in the world. At the start of 2020 many people, myself included, expected brand new beginnings, 2020 vision and adventures ahead. Perhaps we got some of those in our own lives, but the world as a whole got the coronavirus pandemic and a shock to the system.

This along with various political events continued throughout 2021, and as we embarked upon 2022 some were hopeful of a gradual return to ‘normality’, while now the world is facing a crisis of war, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and thousands of people’s lives have been turned upside down.

It is hard to know what to do with all the thoughts and emotions that come along with these events, how to help or for those going through them, how to survive.

I am thankful that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that in the spiritual battle that is going on all around us that many are not even aware of, He has the Victory through His death and resurrection, and because He Is LORD. For those of you who know Him, cling fast to Him, pray and fast and intercede, and stay close, His Spirit is within you. He really Is our only hope in this world. I am so thankful for the reality of His Peace and need to remind myself to keep turning to Him.

Sometimes we need to take a break, to take time to refresh our minds and take our thoughts captive so that we can take that next step, whether in faith, in work, in prayer, in helping someone or in simply keeping going.

There are so many loving people out there, reaching out beyond themselves to help those in need. Perhaps writing blog posts is a small encouragement but if it can helps one person in their thoughts and wellbeing or even to realise that there Is in Jesus Someone Who knows and cares for you, then that is something.

Oh friends, what days we are living in! Keep looking up, keep hoping, be aware of your thoughts, and try to do the next thing that will keep you going. I pray God’s hand of blessing and protection and salvation over you all. Stay safe, take care, look at the beauty you can find in your day, and never give up. ❤ x

Do your anxious thoughts need an outlet?

Life as it happens to be

Anxiety is not uncommon, especially, at the time of writing, in a global pandemic.

Sometimes our anxious thoughts and imaginings can render us immobile and ‘incapable’ of doing something useful or productive. We might even slump into a depressive state where we want to hide and retreat.

If you are struggling with your anxious thoughts and feelings, as well as the practical steps that I have highlighted in other blog posts (simply do a ‘search’ for ‘anxiety’ on my blog and you’ll find lots of helpful articles), you might feel the need to have an outlet for your thoughts.

Talk to Someone who cares about you:

A helpful thing to do to rationalise and untangle some of our difficult thoughts could be to talk to someone who knows you and cares about you and who will listen. If you feel like you don’t have such a person in your life…

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Sharing this wonderful post from another blogger. Pour Out Your Heart In Worship — Pure Glory

by Apostle Gabriel Cross As I began to worship, I heard the tears of many people crying.  Tears of people desiring to give up, tears of not understanding, tears of wondering why, tears of frustration, tears of God what are you doing, tears of wanting to know more details, tears of, “okay Father, okay I’m […]

Pour Out Your Heart In Worship — Pure Glory

Happy new beginnings…

I recently had the blessing of being able to go to a couple of beaches and see these beautiful natural sights….it does the heart and soul so much good to see this beautiful creation, especially after all the time spent indoors over the past long while. I hope you are able to spread your wings and your heart a little more this year, and take courage as you step on into 2022. I know a lot of people will still be feeling anxious, yet you only need to take one step at a time, one day at a time, have courage and learn to be all that you were meant to be. Take care, stay safe, and wish you love, health, and Shalom in 2022.

Pandemic getting to you? Keep Going…

You’re not alone. I’ve said it throughout my self care series’ since this all kicked off early 2020, and I say it again: you’re not alone.

I believe that someone out there, or perhaps many of you, needed to hear that today. Sometimes we allow our worlds to grow small, we focus on the big stuff we’re going through or the things that are happening in our lives, and it can feel like we’re the only ones.

People are experiencing this in different ways, and yes, there are some people out there, some of whom may be in your life, who are doing great – or seem to be. Yet for the vast majority of people, this is not necessarily so.

Some of you are really struggling, and I hear you. I just want to send out a word of encouragement to you to keep going. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through some big and painful stuff before. And you know what? I got through it, and so did you. We’re still here, and we still have to keep going.

If you’re doing well just now, remind yourself that someone in your life probably isn’t and take a moment to reach out to them, to lift them up in some way, to be kind. Kindness matters. It changes things. It could even be the difference between life and death. Be kind. Reach out beyond yourself.

If you are finding things tough at the moment, try to identify a healthy solution that might help you make it through your days a bit better.

You might want to connect to some grief counselling, or look for online support, or have someone you can phone, even if it is a helpline, if you are facing Christmas and the holiday season alone. You could reach out to someone, and break the cycle of isolation that you might be in.

If you are doing well, try not to ‘overshare’ this in a way that makes much of your good times to the detriment of others. Be mindful that some people are really going through a lot just now. Can you reach out to do something for them?

If you are stuck in a rut of boredom, try to factor some routine into your day. Do something creative, write, pick up an instrument you haven’t played in a while, go for a walk in the fresh air, draw, cook, get moving. Maybe it’s a good time to do some decluttering? Read a book. There are so many little things we can do, even if for 5 minutes at a time that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and boredom. If you need to make sure you check in with someone so that you’re not facing a potential crisis alone.

Keep going, keep taking the next step. Maybe we can’t make a lot of plans right now, but is that such a bad thing? Can this season be one for spiritual growth, for working on or overcoming some deep seated issues, psychological barriers, emotional pain or traumas? Can you become more patient in your day to day life, more appreciative of what you have got rather than chasing the next thing that you would normally do out in society? Can you grow in compassion and empathy for other people? Can you slow down and appreciate the extraordinary in the ‘ordinary’ moments of your life and day?

Keep going. If you’re feeling like you want to give up, recognise that you have possibly absorbed some lies or negative thinking potentially about yourself or your situation. Believe me, I’ve been there. Do you think you’re not good enough, not strong enough, unable to take the next step? Think again. You are worthy, you are precious, you are special, unique, one of a kind, able. Able to do the next one thing. Keep going.

Don’t give up. Life is a lot of little moments and you have persevered through them all so far.

We really can’t do life on our own, and sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realise this. I was there as a child when I was ‘bullied’, verbally, emotionally, physically and psychologically attacked by peers on so many sides that I felt I was nothing, and it broke and crushed my spirit on the inside. I believed so many lies about myself and absorbed the bad feelings such that I could not see a way out or a reason for going on in the pain, the intense pain of a child suffering and helpless. Guess what? I kept going. I called upon God from the depths of my soul and He answered me, He sustained me, kept me going and gave me perseverance even in pain. When I was 20 I called upon Jesus, and wow, did He answer me. I didn’t know much about The Living God before although I knew God as an unknown Power and Guiding force in my life before that, but when i called upon Jesus as The Living God, I chose Him, my whole being was flooded with immense love and joy and peace – indescribable and supernatural. This Is Real Love like no other. I was also thrust into a spiritual battle. It was not something I expected at all, but it was more real and tangible than you could imagine. We are being lied to and oppressed by things unseen every day, and only in Christ can you have the Victory – you may not ‘feel’ like it for a while, even for years, but in Him, and only in Him, you have Victory and ultimate love and freedom.

He Is The Way, and perhaps you have been led to read this very blog post for such a time as this. Maybe you didn’t realise that all the answers you are looking for in life are actually available to you, even in this world that seems to be falling apart there IS a God Who comes among us, Who can dwell within you by His Spirit and comfort you with a Peace like nothing the entire riches and love of this world can offer you. His Name Is Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Incredible. And He has a place for you. There Is more after this life ends, and He Is The only way for that to be eternal peace and love.

Keep going. And if you know Him, if you know His Love and love Him in return, keep calling out to Him for refreshment, strength, and everything you need to love and honour Him moment by moment, keep interceding for others. If you don’t know Him…yet, know that this is not fiction nor religion nor vain hope or futile belief without reason…there IS a Real God Who can come into your life if you ask Him sincerely from the heart, He can make you a new person from the inside out, wash away your past and either instantly or gradually heal your broken heart and transform your mind as you replace the lies you’ve believed about yourself with The Truth that you are precious and valuable to Him and He died for you.

A lot of this might not make sense, might seem counterintuitive, even illogical. Perhaps you are resting your laurels upon your pride or superiority that everything needs to be measurable or provable by ‘science’. Science is not antithesis to God. All the laws and order of the universe are subject to Him. Yes, the world is chaotic, but we have been told about this beforehand. There is evil in this world, a world in rebellion to Light and Love and Peace of Jesus. God makes things new quietly from the inside out, and He will make all things new. One day you will realise that what these ‘crazy Christ followers’ have been going on about Is actually real…I just hope and pray you will know this in the fulness of His Love for you.

There is Light and darkness, and we are born into darkness. Only Christ can set us free and save and deliver us. This Is Real. I know. I used to think Christians were deluded or hypocritical and that I was somehow more ‘spiritual’ but I didn’t realise how blind I was to the Truth, until I encountered The Living God for myself and the Incredible tangible Love and Power He revealed to me.

So keep going. Don’t give up. Jesus IS a Real Person, He Is for you and will be Emmanuel, God with you if you ask Him to. You will still have trials and struggles, but you will have a God Who will Love you and hold you and help you through it all. He Is Glorious, many of us have glimpsed His Glory have tasted and seen His Love in tangible ways, and one day we will see Him Face to face and all our longings will be fulfilled in His incredible outpouring Love, Perfect, Pure and Redeeming us from all that Is dark within us.

Until that day we are in a spiritual battle, so we keep going. Look to Him. He Is very real. He Is Powerful and He Is Gentle – He can handle you, in your stubborn pride or in your brokenness, right now where you are. He Is The Living God, not a fairy-tale. Once you have encountered Him, you will know. Humble yourself. Ask. Ask Jesus. He Loves you. x

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