Grace

Grace

The church I attend has just finished running the Grace Course. I have been unable to attend any of the weekly sessions due to work commitments. I did however make it to the testimony celebration earlier this week.

It was humbling to listen to people share their demons and insecurities. It was also interesting to hear how common the enemy toolbox is. Shame. Isolation. Anger. Self-loathing. Guilt. Depression. Resentment. And on and on it goes.

It was also amusing to listen to how people initially approached the course. Their reasoning and expectations were just that, theirs, and by their own admission the Holy Spirit showed up and His intention and reasoning was revealed. His plan, the bigger picture, it might not make sense what has happened or is happening now but it will. Trust in Him, have faith.

We have all heard Amazing Grace‘ but what is grace? Simply put (I think): Divine Help. I believe that His grace is a blessing and as stated by some fellow believers “…grace makes the impossible, possible”. This help saves, it heals, it forgives, it comforts, it strengthens, it guides, it does whatever you need it to do. That is pretty powerful stuff!

These attitudes of gratitude are empowering. I could not help feeling joy for the people who shared their testimonies. It got me thinking and typing. Shifting your focus from the lies of the enemy to the love surrounding you is when you need His grace. Without it, the darkness is consuming. Asking for help is difficult, I know. I find it difficult to talk to people, I guess that is why I am on here!

I KNOW that there are people ready to listen, to offer advice/support, to pray for me, with me and still I push them away. Retreating inwards into isolation when I battle my own demons and insecurities. Do you feel that way too?

I’m positive you have people in your life too who are ready willing and able to help you too. Think really hard if you just disagreed with me! Thing is if you are anything like me, you will have built a sky-high fortress around you with no visible exits. So how do we, you and I, ask for help?

How do we free ourselves from this mighty stronghold? It is impossible! Right? Wrong! This is where grace comes in. God is available 24/7, everywhere and anywhere. Talk to Him. How He answers our prayers is infinitely different. It could be a friend reaching out, you reaching out, a sermon, maybe a testimony, a blog post or it might even be Him talking to you directly! Ask and listen – Just don’t miss it.

Each testimony closed with the following declaration over them: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

I declare Psalms 136 v 1 over your life and mine. I welcome your grace stories and thoughts. Let’s live the impossible through His amazing grace and give thanks! I am off to have a natter …

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True Mirror

True Mirror

Just finished watching the TEDx Talk: The art of being yourself, by Caroline McHugh.  I am still thinking about her question: If you could be the woman of your dreams, who would you be?  I know it is not the woman I am as I type this!

Identity has been a theme in church recently and I have been reflecting on my own a great deal of late. Proverbs 27:19 is like the true-mirror in the talk.  From walking into church as a self proclaimed athiest to being baptised my identity has indeed evolved. Or has it!? I think not, keep reading.

The need for inward reflection I think is necessary, and it wasn’t until I was asked a question of belonging did I really focus on my identity.  I sought answers on the meaning of belonging, what it meant to other people, how they defined it.  This went on for weeks and the whole time I kept reflecting about where I have been and where I want to go… the woman of my dreams if you will.

It was pointed out to me that I have a history of not committing. Funny thing is, that since my baptism I thought I was. Committing to growing within my faith. Serving where I could, daily readings, surrounding myself with supportive people, even asking for a mentor.  Now I should point out I declined to belong, and that was okay. with the people who asked me. My inability to commit rearing its oldself again? Perhaps. I chose to think it is a perspective difference.

The thing is though, that since then, I have withdrawn. Evidently, it was not okay with me. And, as anyone who knows me can testify to, withdrawl is incredibly noticable.  I’m very accomplished at being an ex-friend. The numbers don’t lie. I have a self perpetuating condition, and the wake of people I used to know is nothing short of tragic. The worst part is the more care and attention given the further away I pull.

A leopard never changes its spots. We have all heard it before. I am the big cat that hurts people and pushes them away. I mean I can’t even maintain family relationships. Now geographically it is challenging, and resentment sets in every now and again. If they can’t be bothered, why should I? Why do I always have to stay awake for time zone differences?  Unless I contact them we have no contact. And so it goes.

Everyone is busy, I know this. I decided I wanted my family in my life so if I have to do the chasing then so be it. I would make time because I deem them important. My life would be richer for it.  I still sometimes wonder though, with time spent for all to see on social media, gaming, television and other people, do I really mean so little to them? Then the resentment sets in all over again. Sometimes a “like” just isn’t enough. Then I remember, I want them in my life despite the distance.

My friendships have long been compartmentalised. Mostly because of the perpetuating self-fulfilling prophecy of betrayal, abandonment, judgment and fear. Basically: ‘hurt or leave before they do’. Hence the ex-friends. The only lasting friendships have been maintained because I am not a constant in them. Again, how tragic! I value these friendships more than any riches, and of late I am trying, really trying to be inclusive and involved.  I am just terrified the leopard will ruin it all.

So, now that I have said it all out loud, I think my relationship with my ego is pretty clear. Thing is, this week I have pushed people away, people who care , people who are more family than my own blood. I am highly ashamed of my behaviour, but it is not the first time I have lashed out at these same people. Twice bitten, twice shy or even unforgiveable (understandably).  Sorry is not enough in my eyes. I can’t even promise I won’t do it again. I know that who I am right now is not who I want to be, it’s more nightmare than dream.

A wise lady told me that is exactly why I need Jesus. And I agree with her; relationships are a chink in my armour to be exploited by the enemy. I am born anew in Christ, so I can change! I am sorry for pushing and hurting, I truly am.  I always am. In the past my apology has not been accepted or even heard, and this time may be the same – a consequence I accept.  So, Im going to apologise and continue my walk, and just maybe the woman of my dreams will become a reality and I will be more like Him.

If you struggle like I do, therapy will help but only God can heal. Will you let Him ?

As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart.