Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Reflections, Aspirations and Birthay cake!

It has been a while dear blog. Over the past couple of months I've had so much I could have potentially wrote about; yet no words to articulate it all on here.
But today's my birthday and I kinda feel it's only right to share a few thoughts on this special day. Because no matter what, our birthday should always be a special day. It's the day we were chosen to make our presence on earth known, quite a significant event I would say!

This year has been abit of a weird one for me. It has been a year of me having to really really really deal with my past - my teenage years to be precise. Therefore, it has been a year of tears...many tears. It has been a year of receiving deep counsel from trusted sources, it has been a year that has stretched my marriage almost to the limit, it has been a year of a couple of friendships parting ways...a couple of old friendships being brought back to life and a few new friendships being formed. It has been a year of amazing answers to prayer that have made family life easier and so blessed. It has ultimately been a year of tremendous growth for me in so many ways.

And through it all, I have chosen to thank God. Because healing has come. Forgiveness has been granted. Relationships are soaring. I know my purpose, I have clear direction, I feel whole for the first time in my life. I feel accepted, I feel truly loved, I feel worthy of the good things in store, I have an assurance God IS GOING TO USE all my heartache and "messy stuff" to change the lives of others in time.

And on this special day....my 33rd birthday....I am so grateful! Amongst the beautiful presents and cards and messages from my lovely family and friends, I am so grateful for this gift of life. When I think that Jesus was this exact age when He gave His life for me, wow, I just feel so humbled and amazed by Him. For a long while, I haven't fully embraced my life, dwelling on the trauma of the past, but today I feel Freedom and a fresh Hope in the future..a future already ordained by Him.
What a gift!

And of course...it's the day I get to eat cake guilt free. I hear calories don't exist on birthdays...

Much love to you all this Christmas time xxxxx


Friday, 3 October 2014

Prayer of a wife!

I'm not quite sure why God does this to me...I feel a peaceful lull in-between blog posts, never a pressure to write every day or week....but then something will happen, and I'll get a little nagging feeling that I should share and encourage.
This is all quite sensitive and vulnerable, but I believe that is when God can break in most...

I've been married to Robert, my hubby for 12 years (17 years together as a couple). We met when I was just 16 and heading to college and he was a young guy at uni. In many ways we've grown up together, we've lived through a lot together - we've made five beautiful children, supported one another through loved ones passing away, prayed together through the more financially challenging months as our family became 7, celebrated our prayers being answered when we bought our current home and saw our children gain spaces in great schools, established family life and lead ministry together at our home church. Over the years, we've worked hard to be a team and establish a happy home.
But just recently, we've found ourselves in abit of a lull...not a peaceful one like in-between blog posts, but a flat one that has felt tiring, frustrating and sometimes unloving.

Whilst there hasn't been any huge problems  - in fact life is the best it's ever been for us in so many ways  - there have been a build up of small "niggles" that have grated on us and if left unspoken about, caused abit of a barrier between us communicating and doing life aswell together as we have been.
It's so easy out of tiredness and impatience to utter hurtful words or start a self pity party isn't it.
It's so easy to take this God anointed relationship for granted and put everything and everyone else first.

Whilst we both have parts to play in our experience this past few weeks, I feel it's only right (and honourable to my husband) to speak about the revelation I've had following our conversations as a couple and the prayers I've prayed with a couple of trusted friends during this time...

And that is - that I need to be a more prayerful wife who puts her husband first!

I think I've put Rob on abit of a pedestal since the day I met him as a hurt 16 year old who was crying out to be rescued. No doubt about it, Rob was sent into my life at the right time in that respect. I know wholeheartedly it was no coincidence we met and have built this life together, but I'm aware I've perhaps relied on him to be my perfect knight in shining armour whose always happy, ever forgiving, ever gentle, ever kind, and doesn't have the emotional needs like I do. 
That's wrong of me.
He may not have the same DNA make up as me, but the fact Rob's a man and I'm a woman does in no way make it correct that he doesn't need the same emotional support I do. We're both human and aslong as that fact remains, our needs are in fact very similar...of course, I know there are certain traits that make us females very different from the male species, but for the sake of this post...lets look at this from the angle of us being human form-fullstop!

I've found myself over the years continually look for praise and reassurance from him as I've been a stay at home mum and raised our family...and whilst I've listened to how his day at work was...I'm not sure I've fully taken it seriously that he may really want and need me to take in how his day has been...occupying myself or being distracted. 
That's wrong of me.
Of course my husbands day matters to me. Of course I should stop what I'm doing and as snooze-ville as the techie stuff may sound to this very un-techie girl, tune into what he actually does for a career. Of course I should be the person to fully reassure him, love him and pray for him when a colleague has been difficult, and not dismiss it because "he's a man, and men get over things like that quickly and easier than us girls!"
But sometimes, I can be so absorbed with "what happened with my friend today" or "one of the kids isn't feeling great" or "this dinner won't cook itself, nor the dishwasher fill itself" or "oh wow, look at this Facebook status" that I don't give him 100% of me.

Whilst life is busy and I juggle five children- which naturally means - 2 schools, 1 nursery, 7 "out of school" clubs, 5 lots of hormones and unfolding life stories, church ministry, friends, extended family, and my own spiritual health, I really don't want my marriage to be just another thing I juggle. I want my marriage to remain strong and not something I think of as "being okay, because it's there!"
That's wrong of me.
Because when something is given to you as a gift from God, which I believe my husband and my marriage is, we are to hold it sacred, nurture it, care for it and keep Him very much in it. 
I know as the woman of this house, I need to be praying for my husband throughout every day. I need to be his biggest ambassador and advocate. I need to be claiming him unending favour, peace and strength as he works hard and fights for a better life for his family. It's a dog eat dog world out there and I don't want my husband falling prey to it.

Because when we pray...when we take the time to want to put more into something than demand what we feel we should be getting out of it...the supernatural happens and our needs are instantly met. Because that's the grace and goodness of God.
As I pray more for my husband I believe God will bless me with my needs being met because He will see and reward the honour of my actions.

Some things are so worth fighting for and putting our all into hey!
I'm learning my marriage is one of those things.
It's not something I can take for granted.
Even for the easier marriages, which I've felt ours has been, there are tough days...seasons even.
I'm seeing that the enemy wants to break every relationship he possibly can...he comes to steal, kill and destroy...only prayer and obedience to Gods word can break down those plans.
I'm learning that I'm not the only one who needs to feel loved...that I can't use my past hurts as an excuse, and that I need to be fully loving all the time.
I believe we're entering a new season...a deeper season with great purpose and which will require us to be the strongest we've ever been as a couple.
I'm committing myself to being a more prayerful wife.

And I'm encouraging you, if you're married, to do the same.
Commit yourself to praying more for your husband.
Stop what you're doing and engage with him as he tells you about his day.
Stop demanding all the attention and lavish him for a while.
Walk in love...even on the tougher days.

Whilst we can't control others, we can with Gods help, control how we walk through this life.

And please know, this post is not me belittling issues in marriage.
This is not me being holier than thou and saying help should not be sought if a marriage is buckling under the pressure of circumstance.
This is not me demanding that everyone do it my way.
This is not me saying my husband and I are now perfect...we are very imperfect and whilst we walk through our lives on earth always will be.

This is just my revelation...that I'm willing to share with you.
Feel free to keep us in your prayers, the best thing we can do for anyone, the biggest act of provision we can extend to a friend is heartfelt prayer :-)
Be Blessed x





Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Gods ideal

I don't know if this a post of me justifying myself or having a rant or what. I do know I always love to encourage through my writings, so I'm going to be real and honest and pray this word does indeed bless someone who reads it.

Recently I was told I shouldn't be so open about the fact I was 7 months pregnant when I married my childhood sweetheart...oh darn...guess I can't get any more open than saying that here...shoot me now!
The person who gave me this piece of rubbish, sorry, heartfelt advice is someone in my church family...in case that causes anyone any confusion, that's not my biological or married into family, but my church family - because that's what we believe we are to one another when we attend and serve in the same church place - family - people who protect, love and share life together with a common love of Jesus.
A conversation followed their sentence, which was pretty much me saying this....

"I don't regret my eldest son. I'm not ashamed of my eldest son. I know He was very much a part of Gods plan. The fact that both Josh and I very nearly died at the end of my pregnancy and during his birth and the doctors thought he would be (at the very least) partially brain damaged...but we are both here today, healthy and doing this life, is my absolute reassurance that my first born IS and WAS a part of Gods plan. My bible tells me in Psalm 139:13-16
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
If this scripture is relevant to you...me...joe bloggs...surely it's relevant and true of my big boy too right?

This is the thing okay...Whilst I know the difference between right over wrong, righteousness over sin, opinion over fact, truth over lies...I also know God is a loving God. And I know He has an ideal. Was me getting pregnant at the age of 20 with my eldest child by the man I had been in relationship with for 5 years, engaged to for 10 months illegal? No, of course it wasn't. As someone who believed in Jesus it was however not Gods ideal for my life. His ideal would have been me remaining a virgin until after my wedding and conceiving Josh within that union, and I know that. I accept that and I've asked for and accepted His grace and mercy over me for that. Have I ever regretted Joshua? NO WAY! And me not being honest and humble and gentle about that part of my life journey - when he was conceived - would be just that. It would be me being ashamed of him. And I'm not.

I know this post may upset some people. Hey...if you want some fluffy sugar dust coated read, you're on the wrong blog guys.
I refuse to apologise to anyone for the brave and amazing decision Robert and I made to keep that baby and love that baby.

Do I wish the same for my children? I'll tell you straight - I want my children to be so much more amazing than their parents. I want them to change the world...I want them to stand on roof tops shouting their love for Jesus. I want them to experience life and life at it's fullness. I want them to marry good people and make beautiful babies within that union. I want sex to be the last thing on their minds whilst they build up their futures. I want them to know that intimacy in marriage is amazing...special....Gods ideal...
But I also want them to know that we love them. We see them for what they are...the same as everyone else...broken humans who can only do life well when He is leading the way. And that we will try our damn best to show them grace and love throughout their journeys. That we will support them and help them...whatever their situation. Because that's what we've been called to do as their parents.
We will continue to encourage them that they should never feel ashamed...of their skin colour, of their heritage, of their taste in clothes, of their dreams and aspirations...of their mistakes...and their slip ups.

I can't bear it when we preach over people how much God loves them and has a perfect plan and is in control...and then when we don't like something within that, we screw up our perfect little noses and have an opinion - no where bible related.

So, please....never tell me I should make any aspect of my life a dirty little secret to be hidden and ashamed of. I'm too grown up in so many ways to believe that crap any more. What He has done in me...only a few of you know...and this is me unfinished...WOW...IM SO EXCITED! There's more to come and I'm ready!

And remember...life is based on choices. Our own choices! And whether or not they are His ideal for us! When He is FIRST in our lives, our choices will always stand in line with His ideal <3 p="">
Be blessed xxx

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Letter from the heart; to you Grandma Omokaro

Dear Mummy,

We've been praying for this day for so long...and now it's almost here....the day we all meet in person. The day me and my children get to touch you, smell you, laugh with you face to face, pray with you holding your hands and hug you close. There's so much to catch up on, so many gaps to be filled...I'm overwhelmed and not sure we'll manage it in just 7 whirlwind days...so to start, here's this...a letter from the heart-in case I mess anything up!

16 years! That's how long we've been in each others lives. Of course I was much shyer back then...16 years of age and falling in love with your baby boy...you were a strong minded capable business woman...I felt intimidated and nervous most of the time when we spoke-in awe of you raising four children whilst holding onto a strong career. You were popular; ambitious; respected; Godly.
Me? I was just starting out, new to college and my business studies course, holding down a waitress job in-between lectures, jumping on the train to get here, there and everywhere. We were two women thousands of miles apart in distance, living in very different cultures, yet joined together by their love for one person.
It's amazing how quickly the years fly by; it's also pretty amazing that despite never being together in person we have built up a relationship of mutual respect, integrity and trust.
We're both two different women today compared to back then....you're still that feisty, strong minded lady, but your slower in pace now, smaller in stature and more reliant on your children, following daddy's passing three years ago.
Me? Well I've been your namesake -  Mrs.Omokaro for nearly 12 years...and together we have your five beautiful grandchildren-the hobbits. I'm working hard to carry the household and be a good wife to your boy, a great mummy to the babies and to serve God and get myself back into the workplace once little princess starts school.
For years we have prayed together for a day when we would all be united in person celebrating life...and now...in only the way God answers His prayers, here we are - literally about to see our dreams come true.
I wonder mainly how we will be introduced...do I run into your arms? Shake your hand-yeh right!
I'm pretty certain 5 little - well maybe not little in height! - people will swarm around you first. They will want to take in every single inch of your face, your smile, your laugh...biggest boy is nearly 11, number 2 son is 9, number 3 little man is 7, the pirate is 5 and fairy twinkle toes is 3. They are so excited to be meeting daddy's mummy for the very first time. And I will honour that by allowing your first moments to be special and about them and you :-)

But...I know I'll want to have you to myself for a few hours. I'll tell you stories from our early relationship days and then our wedding day, to keep in with being typical women, I'll share every detail of each birth story, I'll no doubt fill you in on how great a man your third child is (and possibly add a few of his flaws...lol) I'll praise you for bringing this amazing person into the world, for doing your best by him as he grew-for ensuring he had good morals, manners and respect for women. I'll thank you for allowing him to follow Gods prompting of moving back to the UK all those years ago when he was just a teenager, and I'll squeeze your hand for never once judging him for entering a mixed race relationship with me, for blessing our marriage with your prayers, advice and love.
We're learning each day that marriage is a journey-not always easy...in fact some days it's really hard. And I know you get that. I know you understand that being a strong woman can be challenging in marriage at times...that humbling ourselves is a gift from God...and I thank you that you're encouraging of me and love me. It's a factor that helps your son to keep loving me for me-this I know.

You're amazing Mrs. Victoria Omokaro - my beautiful mother-in-law. Because life always hasn't been easy for you- yet here we will stand, celebrating your 70th birthday as a whole family - rejoicing at your life, claiming many more family reunions...many more gatherings and happy memories.
I don't want to think of how we will say goodbye at the end of our week together...I'll carry on concentrating on how we will say hello...in fact, can we make a pact to not say goodbye? As we depart, can we maybe say something along the lines of "Next time you'll make the first cuppa...." or "Girlie shopping day in town soon..." No goodbyes...I don't like goodbyes, especially when there haven't been enough of them in person over the years.

So...this letter comes to an end for now...but it very much sums up the thoughts whirling round my mind this Thursday evening. I promise to print it and give it to you...maybe you can read it before we have our time out together...I feel I may revert back to that timid (well I was slightly) 16 year old girl - and this could start us off nicely.
Not long now sweet lady....and this time I'll make the first cuppa :-)

Love always
Stace xxx


Monday, 30 June 2014

The "right" girl for the job!

Hebrews 11:31
"By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."


As I've walked through life and ministry over the years, I, myself have sometimes felt an injustice at opportunities I felt would be great for me, being given to someone else. I've also experienced fear of not being good enough when certain opportunities have been entrusted into my hands. 
It's so easy to look both at our own flaws and mess-ups and to size up others based on theirs. 
I've been taking a long, slow journey through the old testament over these past few months and have been intrigued with the example of Rahab in the book of Joshua. I shared some thoughts with my small group girls last week, and still the tale of this woman overlooked by many plays in my mind. 

I've been asking myself "what is it about Rahab that I'm relating to and what is it I'm meant to be grasping from her situation and how God used her?"
Well, I think I may have an answer...

Rahab was a lady who stood out in her community for all the wrong reasons. She was an inn-keeper who also serviced men for money - a prostitute and in some descriptions I've read of her - a harlot (personally I don't like that word, but it does help build a picture of how society looked upon her!)
To give you a small background on the time Rahab was living in, The Jews had finally entered the Promised Land of Canaan after wandering around for 40 years in the desert. Moses had died and they were now being led by Joshua - a mighty warrior, leading an army obeying his orders from God. Joshua had secretly sent two spies to scout out the city of Jericho.
Rahab ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall where she hid the spies on her roof top. When the king of Jericho learned the men had been to Rahab's house, he sent orders for her to hand them over. She lied to the king's soldiers concerning the whereabouts of the spies, and sent them off in the opposite direction.
Then she went up to the spies and pleaded for her life and for the lives of her family members. She made an oath with them. Rahab would keep silent about their mission and the Israelites would spare everyone in her household when they invaded the city. She was to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.
In the battle of Jericho, the invincible city did fall. Joshua gave orders to rescue Rahab and all in her house. She and her family were then adopted by the Jews and stayed with them - meaning, Jesus was therefore a descendant of Rahab - cool huh?
Whilst society and possibly even Rahab herself would never think she was good for such an important role, God saw past all her short-comings and saw only her potential. He knew the right girl for the job, even if she or the people around didn't....and thankfully for Rahab, Joshua trusted fully in Gods plan and thankfully for Joshua and his army - Rahab did too.
Too often, we are quick to scrutinise our own abilities and worth, which can then lead us, through insecurity and envy, scrutinising other peoples. 
Why do so many people find it easy to grieve with others; yet struggle to celebrate peoples good fortune? Why do we feel the need to rip apart our own lives and the potential we have, when we hear "she" got the "job?" 
The truth is, none of us fully know anyone else's hearts and minds. I'm not even sure if we truly know our own to be honest. But God does. God knows the desires that lie within us, He knows the roles we will and do excel in and the ones that would be better in the hands of another. If only we could keep our eyes fixed on Him and trust in His provision in all areas of our lives, wow...how much easier everyday life would be!
It's so easy for us, from the inside of our being - through loneliness, regret, sadness...despair, to look at another's outside and see only perfection, beauty, Godliness and favour...but the truth is God sees all those beautiful things in us - because He has placed all those positive attributes in us, He has sculpted us in His image and His plan, and His world is big enough to use everyone of us in the same way He used Rahab. 
If God only needed one daughter to fulfill what He wants to achieve on earth, well the world would be a pretty empty place my friend. 
It's time, we recognise and grasp that it's no coincidence we are here. 
It's time, we believe that our flaws, our mess-ups, our "not so perfect" pasts are not bigger than the One who created us and we are "the right girl for the job!" It's more about asking for His direction and wisdom in finding that right role, than believing the lie that we are not good for anything.
Rahab may have believed the lie she was only good enough to service men her entire life; but God had a better path for her to take...a path which changed and moulded an entire history ahead of her. Because when we take the opportunity He has given us and use it correctly, we move into the next dimension.
It's amazing - and it's readily available for each of us. 
My prayer is, that you and I, we would continue to have the boldness to celebrate others and the faithfulness to know that we are here because we too are worthy, we have potential and we do make a difference! His Will; Our Potential and purpose - all in the opportunity, that lies within us!
Be Blessed xx

Friday, 30 May 2014

Nothing {5 minute Friday}

"This is the place where once a week we take the chance to just write, and not worry if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat. Here’s how the game works: you simply stop, drop and write. Set your words free. Don’t edit them, don’t fret over them, don’t try to make them perfect."   I chose this week to do just that and link up with the fab Lisa-Jo Baker on her prompt "Nothing!" Here goes:
Nothing is such an empty word don't you think? 
"What you up to?" .... Nothing
"What you thinking? ....Nothing
"What's wrong?"  ....Nothing
"What shall we do today?"  ....Nothing
Nothing is an empty word. 
In the message version of the bible, Genesis 1:1 says "First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness."
When you look around you right now at your surroundings, can you imagine a time when earth was a "soup of nothingness?" It's kind of hard to fully comprehend how that would have been isn't it. My surrounding right now is my comfortable, warm and very homely living room. I look out of the window and am welcomed to the sight of pretty flowers, blossom trees and my children's tree swing swaying in the wind. It's beautiful...but once upon a time..."earth was a soup of nothingness!"
Lord, I want you to know I don't take this for granted. I'm in awe of your creative eye...I love how you crafted all I see around me together, how beautiful it is; how much it comforts me; delights me; makes me feel safe...loved. 
I'm so grateful that you turn our nothingness into something truly majestic and purposeful. That when we are "down to nothing; you are up to something!" The times when we feel worthless and as though we have nothing to offer, you see only the best - you strengthen; you guide; you refresh, you awaken. 
The truth is without you....there really is nothing....because you...well you are everything. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever! 
Amen!

Five Minute Friday



Sunday, 18 May 2014

Tears of my eyes

Sometimes you have to go right back to the very beginning in order to appreciate just how far you've travelled on a journey. And whilst time machines may still be an excitement of the distant future, there are ways to visit a time or place without physically being there any longer...

I've cried an ocean of tears this past few weeks.
I knew if I dared let down that barrier of "strength" I've perfected building, what would cascade would be very similar to that of a dam broken...the tears have flowed, sometimes at times when I'd wished they hadn't - mainly through fear of being judged, mocked, doubted and questioned.

Thankfully for me, when the Holy Spirit needs to do His thing, my little barrier doesn't stand a chance.
My first encounter happened whilst at a women's conference run by Hillsong Church in Wembley 3 weeks ago. Upon hearing a powerful personal story from a lady called Lisa Bevere I knew God wanted to take my burdens and start erasing, healing and moving me closer to my destiny. I knew it. And I had no choice but to surrender and let whatever needed to take place, take place.
I was so incredibly blessed to have some amazing women around me who listened, loved, cried with me and offered me their wisdom, expertise and friendship.
I came away from that conference experience knowing God had only just started a new works in me. It wasn't over just because the conference was...

Despite having many a tearful moment since the conference, today has held another significant moment in my healing journey. A simple yet powerful word at church led me to doing something I rarely feel the need to do - stepping away from my seat to the front of the auditorium to receive prayer.
I felt so nervous taking those few fragile steps, but three beautiful women soon gathered around me and whispered prayers and words of encouragement so sweet to my spirit that I once again became a sobbing wreck. You know when someone's the real deal when they don't flinch at you crying, sweating and snotting all over them. When they instead draw you in tighter, stroke your hair and encourage you to let the tears come because they love with the heart of a mother and friend and know what you need right there in that instance. Because they understand tears of pain must flow, so tears of joy may take their place...
When the words they speak into you feel like the very heart of God in your circumstance...wow...it was a pretty amazing experience for me.

And the tears have continued flowing throughout today. Only now they're flowing through a fresh perspective of knowing what I need and whom I need to keep my eyes fixed on in order to continually receive it.
And now, right in this moment...here I am typing this post, sharing my vulnerable heart with you my reader listening to the CD that was there - right back in the beginning of my spiritual journey 12 years ago. The first Christian CD I ever bought and listened too. Because sometimes - you HAVE to go right back to the very beginning in order to appreciate just how far you've travelled on a journey.
These songs changed my life 12 years ago - it was through these songs I first encountered Jesus, I grew to love Him, I heard of His promises and Love for me. And whilst I've heard many many powerful and beautiful worship songs over the years - well these songs, I'd forgotten about them and how special they were to me. Hearing them this evening is part of the plan. Obedience of choosing this CD instead of tv...creating my Mary moment as I was encouraged earlier today to do - and the tears, they flow. But I'm not scared by them anymore. I'm not ashamed of them and I'm not scared to understand that this is what He needs to do in me.
I know He's telling me "Stace, listen...listen to these words and remember. Remember what I've done so far. Remember what I spoke into you then, and know what I'm speaking into you now."
He's amazing...and His love is honestly what keeps me going. I am in complete awe of His ways.
I can't imagine overcoming without Him.

And my word of encouragement to you reader, is to not be scared of allowing God do whatever it is He needs to do in order to take you closer to your destiny. You may not feel the need to cry, the Holy Spirit may work in your situation in a completely different way - that's totally cool, in fact it's exciting! Because that's the wonder of God isn't it - but whatever it is you've been building a barrier up against, please know - like me, it will only be a matter of time before He comes along and breaks in - He has to. Because if He didn't we would literally self destruct. He knows that, even if we can't see it for ourselves.

Bless you! xx


Friday, 18 April 2014

Glue {5 minute Friday}


This week I chose to once again Link up with Lisa-Jo baker at http://lisajobaker.com for Five minute Friday. The writing craze where we are given a writing prompt and for five minutes we put together whatever rumblings come into our minds - unedited, not much thought...just plain, simple, honest writings.
This weeks prompt is GLUE - here goes:
                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As I sat in the queue of traffic, my heart sank as I watched the glass of my drivers wing mirror on my car slide down ready to hit the ground and shatter into tiny pieces. I slid down my window and grabbed it quick.
"This is the fourth time this piece of glass has come unstuck," I told my uninterested children. "The glue behind it isn't coping with the bad weather we've had clearly; I need to get a stronger one."
And I meant to - for two weeks I meant to take my busy backside into a certain store to buy a type of glue I knew would do the trick of keeping that piece of important glass where it needed to firmly stay in place.

It was frustrating and at times difficult driving around without my wing mirror in use. I rely on my side mirrors when driving quite a lot and the experience just wasn't the same for me without it. I felt a little vulnerable when using dual carriageways and motorways..and my love of reverse parking was hindered somewhat seeing as my neck only turns so far. I realised how much we take even the smallest things for granted, and vowed to buy the glue.

I eventually did manage to purchase some and it was such a relief to stick the glass back onto its hard plastic and sit behind the wheel of my car and easily see all the views I needed to.
Driving around since, once again feels safe and the car feels complete to handle.

This all may sound quite trivial, but the experience made me really think about how when one thing in our life becomes unstuck, it can have a profound effect on how we function and how easy life feels. Just like that piece of glass required a strong adhesive to put it back in place; I know for me Jesus is the glue in my life.
Without Him, I feel lonely, I find it harder to live a peaceful existence - and I don't mean the noise level around me - I mean deep rooted inner peace, a calmness and capability to live each day with my head held high. No maneuver feels tricky, no stretch of road ahead of me feels daunting.
I am the mirror; my life is the plastic and Jesus is the glue - when each piece fits together we make a great team!

What's the glue in your life?
Be blessed :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bagels, swans and lessons learnt!

We saw her long before we reached that curve in the sidewalk than runs alongside the river.
I'm sure she heard us long before we reached it too; five children shouting in excitement as they threw food for the swans.
Had it not been for our five children, perhaps we'd have walked straight past her that warm evening.
What reason did we have to share time with this woman; trolley bag overflowing with random possessions, hair unkempt - clothes more so, and bags bulging at the seams with bagels and bread. We had no reason....but our five children did.

They stopped dead in their tracks right next to her. They watched intrigued as she chatted to the swans and broke each piece of bread into small pieces.
She had a heart for the smaller swans that held back from the bigger, more powerful ones. She spoke like a mother encouraging her babies to press forward in confidence; and scolded the leaders who pushed at the front for being greedy.
And then she turned and saw us all.
Like a child at Christmas she grinned and handed each of our children the bags brimming with bagels.
"These are Waitrose you know," she told us. "They throw away anything that doesn't sell...why throw it away when these beautiful birds can feast?"
She continued-educating us on the swans, the river, helping the children break their breads, all the time smiling, laughing, talking to her birds.

My heart felt heavy yet enlightened.

What reason had we had to stop and give this woman our time?
How often had this kind, gentle lady been overlooked?
Did her heart for the smaller, weaker swans come from a heart who knew their story well; was living their story everyday?

Once the last piece of bread had been thrown, and the children's "can we have more, do you have more in your trolley," had been soothed, she gathered her belongings and looked at us.
"You're a special family. I can tell. God bless you. God bless you for all you are; and all you will continue to be," and she left. Off she went down the path alongside that river into the darkness of the night that was fast rolling in.

We stood and watched in silence; all seven of us, until we couldn't see her anymore.

Our eleven year old broke the quietness "she was nice!"
"Yes, she was, wasn't she?" I answered.

A few weeks down the line, I haven't forgotten our encounter with the lady by the river. When I think of her, I pray for her. She reminds me that I have been so quick to overlook others in my adult life. I feel humbled by her generosity towards my children. I feel blessed she chose to share her time with us.
I relayed the story to some girlfriends a few days ago.
"Perhaps it was an angel," we said in awe.

Perhaps she was! I don't know.
But what I do know, is that we have no right to categorise people.
We are pathetic if we shudder at the thought of giving our time to people who appear less than us.
Less than us? What is that anyway?!
I want more encounters
Society has a way of writing people off; behaving like those swans fighting for their bread.

Jesus has a way of embracing everyone. All inclusive; all generous; all loving.
I love that He reminded me off His ways through an encounter by the river.
Why should we overlook others, when He hasn't overlooked us?

Be blessed x

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

It takes...

It takes time for an environment to feel safe.

It takes experiencing boredom to desire the thrill;
It takes questioning to learn an answer.

It takes choosing trust over fear to build relationship;
It takes a brave heart to forgive.

It takes living through heartache to know peace;
It takes suffering in despair to know comfort.

It takes tears of sadness to appreciate joy;
It takes courage to be vulnerable.

It takes an unkind word to dent confidence;
It takes Gods word to strengthen.

It takes boldness;
It takes faith;
It takes prayer;
It takes perseverance;
It takes experiencing a saviours love so sweet.

It takes time for an environment to feel safe.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Small {5 minute Friday}

Ready to link up at http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday again this week. The deal is we write for 5 minutes unedited...linky up and encourage the person who linked up before. No over thinking, no wrong or right...just thoughts based on a theme and shared to uplift (hopefully)
This weeks prompt is Small!
Here goes:

I'm 5ft7 inches tall and blessed with rather ample vital statistics. I have five children, a 6ft muscle man of a husband, drive a biggish family size car and live in a biggish family of 7 sized house.
There isn't much that could be described as small about this girl right here.
But, it's amazing right how even when we can be big in stature and materialistic style things, there are moments in time when emotionally and mentally we can feel so tiny.
Whether it be, being intimidated by a person who appears more powerful than us, feeling uncertain of what tomorrow holds or simply down in the dumps at circumstance that suffocates our every minutes ... hours ... days.

I'm learning all the time on my journey that dependant on my perspective, what is big can seem so small, and what is small can become so big. For me the words of Jesus in Matthew 17:20 spring to mind when I think of this: "He told them, tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.”
Jesus isn't asking for much from us here. He isn't asking us to think beyond anything other than a mustard seed...a teeny, tiny, SMALL mustard seed. He tells us so clearly that if we have the mindset in our faith even as small as a mustard seed, we, you and I can do incredible things. We can move mountains! MOUNTAINS! H-U-G-E things. With something small, we can do something so big!

This encourages me so much. I really pray this meets you at your need too. That this would reveal to you a truth, that you don't have to start big in order to succeed. That in Jesus's eyes, your small...your small, so tiny it's like a mustard seed can and will take you into the big. 

When you come to Jesus with whatever is within your capacity right now...for Him that's enough. That's just perfect my friend. Because what He can do with that offering of yours so sweet...wow, He can move mountains. He can shift them so far away that the valley you walk will be clear, and bright. 

Small. I'm quite liking you right now! :-)

Five Minute Friday


Monday, 10 February 2014

Identifying....me?

Some people don't appreciate blog posts that kind of spew out what the writer is going through at that moment in time. They label it as attention seeking spewing that doesn't amount to much good.
Well I'm not some people, and today I'm going to spew...with the hope and belief that by the end of this rambling you and I would both have a fresh sense of identifying ourselves!

I've been in my job for 11 years now...well actually if you count the initial 35 weeks probationary period, it's 11 years, 8 months. It's been a role that has seen me grow as a person, expand my work team, learn many new skills, experience every emotion possibly known to mankind and allowed me to have the pleasure of encountering many many different people along the way. 

My job has been being a full time mummy to my 5 beautiful children. 

Now I've wrote that last sentence I feel obliged to justify myself in why I...an able-bodied, mostly intelligent, sociable young female chose to spend the whole decade of my twenties and the intro of my thirties birthing and raising so many hobbits. I could go into much detail of how over these years I've always cooked fresh food, kept my house clean, studied and graduated with a 2:1 in English, served throughout in church ministry...but I won't...I've touched on them enough to know I've made you understand I haven't sat on my jacksie for 11 years watching Jeremy Kyle repeats, but in full honesty it's no ones business what I've been doing. I look at my children and I know I chose the right career for that duration of time....

...But now...well now the roles changing slightly...I find my work team in a new phase of life and it has left me questioning who I am. You see, our daughter is 2 and a half now and by this stage of our four boys lives, I either was just about to give birth to another baby or had a 6 month old chewing fists of my hair. 
Whilst I'm still in the role of stay at home mummy, it's all looking slightly different to what I've known for so long. My children of course still need me...but as they get older, they need you in a totally different way to those baby years...the baby and small toddler phase is so short lived, yet so full on...and the needs are constant when it comes to play, feeding, changing, training, teaching all the little basic life skills...whereas the emotional needs of older children really comes into force once they reach school age. 
I'm feeling ever so slightly lost in my work place as I adapt and (although we had the conversation after number 3 son!!!) fully absorb that my baby days are over. Some people celebrate that fact, but for me...well I've had to grieve it and accept it. Yes, I know I have five little people and oh my goodness, of course I feel so blessed and grateful that we fell pregnant so easily with them all and they are all healthy, but there is a little voice that has whispered "Stace, you're good at making babies and raising them. Stick to what you're good at..."
The voice of not quite knowing what happens next...where I go when our daughter starts full time nursery in September and what a different work place will look like. 
Whilst I will always be a mummy first, whilst I will never work in paid work full time whilst my children are young, I do want to enter the outside work world and offer my skills and character to an organisation. When you've been mixing with mummy friends and little people for a decade, believe me, that feels exciting but also a tad overwhelming. 

I'm going through a stage of having to find what Stacey really looks like. When I look in the mirror, who this 32 year old without children, without my husband, without my friends, without the washing basket attached to the hip and recipe book under the arm, really looks like. I'm realising my identity as me...I'm gaining confidence to enter a place as Stacey and not as mummy - although I know "mummy" does define so much of who I am - I know God has put so much more in me too. 
When I think of the bible - whilst my 'Proverbs 31 wife' days are far from over, I feel the Esther side of my personality dribbling out more and more. Esther was brave, Esther allowed God to prepare her for the next step, Esther knew and embraced Gods favour - she trusted Gods timing of the seasons in her life were perfect and ultimately Esther didn't allow her past years to hinder or determine her future ones. I'm drawing close to the example of Esther and I'm allowing her story to encourage me as I find myself in this new season of my life. 

Some days I find it scary.
Some days I don't feel good enough.
Some days I have a cry.
Some days I feel lost.

But those are just some days.

Other days I meditate in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to not harm you, but to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future!"
Other days I stand confident in my abilities.
Other days I feel secure in my surroundings.
Other days I know I'm made to be a world changer.

Other days are the days I cling on to knowing my identity rests firmly in the hands of the One who loved me then, loves me now and will love me eternally. 
My true identity doesn't lie in what I've achieved, what I've experienced along the way, what I've spent the past 11 years....32 years doing with my time...my identity is so much more than that. And yours is too. 
So often we fall for the lie we are nothing without everything physical around us. 
In fact we are everything without the physical. 
Because God is about the Spiritual...and when we know who we are in Him, well that naturally leads us into being who we need to be here. 

I'm trying my best to hold onto that.

So for now, I end this post and I'm going back to work...work that looks like: making a lasagne for tonight's supper, hoovering the house and then taking my 2 year old for a walk down the lane next to our home to feed the horses before doing the multiple school run. My late afternoon will be a whirlwind of homeworks, sibling squabbles and bedtime stories. Throw in a cuppa or two and this all suits me just fine. I know it doesn't sound much, but this is Gods season for me and I embrace it...knowing that in a just a few months time...the season will shift...

....but my true identity wouldn't have...!





Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Sharing your table...

Matthew 26:17-30 : The passover meal!
17 Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near. I will observe the Passover with my disciples at your house.” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had instructed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he took his place at the table with the twelve. 21 And while they were eating he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 They became greatly distressed and each one began to say to him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born.” 25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus replied, “You have said it yourself.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.”27 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

I've taught on the above scriptures many a time during my serving role in children's ministry. For those not totally aware of the history or meaning of these verses from the bible - it's explaining to us what occurred  during Jesus's last full encounter with all His disciples together - famously known as the 'last supper.' Jesus's final meal before He was to be crucified on the cross.
It's a huge part of the Easter story throughout modern day church and a time for us to understand the final hours of Jesus's life and the facts behind the story.
In these verses, Jesus has summoned His disciples (12 men He chose to spend much time with, mentor, build up and ultimately send out to build His church upon His departure of earth) to prepare a space for a meal together where He could prepare them for his impending capture.
Whenever I've taught this story, or simply read it at my own leisure, I've always read it from the angle of Jesus spending time with His most precious friends. That it was a special and intimate occasion. And that it was one of the 'lovely' parts of a story that soon became quite harrowing on many levels. And whilst I think I'm correct in thinking those things...the last couple of days I've been drawn to this scripture in a new sense.
The past couple of days I feel I've gained a new perspective into these verses...that a message so clearly written has only just reached these eyes.

I'm drawn to Jesus sharing the table with His betrayer.

If we look at verse 21, we see that whilst the meal was being consumed, Jesus changes, what I believe, was quite a light -hearted atmosphere amongst friends, by declaring the "truth" that one of these men was going to betray Him. The scriptures tell us in verse 22, that everyone became "very distressed" at this news. Picture the scene for a moment - 13 men - as close as brothers, who have witnessed and shared so much together, who love one another - especially Jesus, with all their hearts-sharing a meal, having banter, conversation and quality time together, hearing from the person they admire the most and have stepped away from their previous lifestyles to commit themselves too - hearing that one of them...around that table, would betray Him.
The bible tells us, that they weren't just a little bit sad at this revelation, they were VERY DISTRESSED. I imagine food being dropped back onto plates, looks of horror and upset on faces, and the wild, frantic questioning of "surely not me, Lord!"  

Who would want to betray their closest friend? 
Who would want to betray Jesus?

The scriptures go on to tell us in verse 25, that it was to be Judas who would be that person. And if you were to continue reading through Matthew chapter 26, you would read that indeed, Judas was the person to tell the guards where Jesus was - he led them to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and revealed who Jesus was with a kiss to the cheek. The story that follows is of Jesus's arrest, torture and ultimately His death. 

Whilst it would be easy to judge poor old Judas, lets not forget he had a role already pre-destined to play in the story. He was needed so that we would see scriptures fulfilled and our eternal destinies changed forever. There is much more we could probably discuss about what he done - but right now I want to get to my main point of writing this post - the part where God has challenged me like never before...and I feel He wants me to encourage and challenge you with...

Who do you need to share your table with?

Because right there, back in the verses that spoke of the last supper, if we open our eyes, there's a beautiful example laid out for each of us to rise up to.
Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him - He always knew. He was God in human form - He knew. Whilst my human reaction would be to pull Judas up on the fact I had entrusted him with being in my life, had mentored him, encouraged him and made time for him-whilst every ounce of me would want to punch him on the nose for betraying my trust and friendship and to tell him to "jog on" from thinking he would spend time at my last meal - well Jesus didn't. He could of. After-all, He was God in human form - He could do anything He wanted. But He didn't.
Instead He loved Judas, He invited Him around His table, He ate with Him, He shared with Him, He prepared Him. Yes, He made Judas aware of what was going to happen, which must have been the most awkward, embarrassing and traumatic words Judas would have wanted to hear...but Jesus then went on to share communion with his friend. 

Jesus loved His betrayer!

One thing I never try to do is belittle people's circumstance. Believe me, I have endured enough of those funny old things myself to know how incredibly difficult it is to overcome hurt. Being betrayed by anyone, but especially someone you love, have shared life with, made yourself vulnerable too and have trusted, is one of the most heart-wrenchingly traumatic experiences to go through. Forgiveness is a long winded journey. It can take a life-time to move on from past hurts.
But what about this....what about following the example of the One person who will never let you down, who loves you and only wants the best for you. 

What would it look like for us to share our table -whatever that table may look like - with someone we might not necessarily feel like doing it with?

This is what God's challenging me with right now. I don't quite know why...and I don't yet know who this person/s could be...but what I do know is when God speaks to us about something, we are called and instructed to trust Him and follow His lead...and example. 
I don't know your situation necessarily, but I encourage you today, right here, on this chilly January evening, that God does. Whether you know Him in your life or not...He knows you my friend. He wants the best from you. My goodness...He was betrayed yet shared His table so you and I could experience His eternal love in our lives. That's kinda a big deal I'd say.

No-one ever said it would be easy...this thing called life...but it needn't be any harder either...we have a choice. And that choice is to live being the best we can be. Whilst we can't control other peoples actions and behaviours, we can control ours. 

Let your actions and behaviours be a blessing and a breakthrough - whatever your table looks like - with whoever you have around it with you!

Be blessed x


Sunday, 19 January 2014

The centre...

Worship at church today was amazing.
One song has stuck in my mind since this morning - 'Jesus at the Centre!'
The chorus goes like this:        "Nothing else matters,

                                              Nothing in this world will do
                                             'Cause Jesus You're the center,
                                            Everything revolves around You,
                                                          Jesus You!"
I keep singing it in my head over and over again, and feel a humble rememberance that no matter how I feel, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what that person thought or said, no matter how much I feel I deserve recognition/affirmation/kindness/love...that it's not about me. At the end of another long tiring day...it's not about ME, it's about Him - Jesus. Jesus - the One who no matter the circumstance, no matter how I feel, no matter what that person thought or said, no matter how much I feel I deserve something - He loves me..He has set my feet on solid ground..He rejoices over me..He makes all things possible for me. Jesus....at the centre of it all. 

I'm so grateful...
I am nothing without Him...
His love sustains me...
His word uplifts me...
His goodness carries me...
His promises make all this worth it...
Jesus - at the centre of it all...Thank you for choosing me...

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A woman's worth

Cradling mugs of warm tea, they shared aspirations for the coming year...each with the same thought "Clarity of who I am, and what I'm called to do." Perhaps if I'd been a fly on the wall, I'd have listened intrigued, instead, I found myself saying those words first as we went round the circle.

Our conversation has stuck with me...almost nibbling away at my brain as I wonder about these words. And I think I have a thought about it that may be an encouragement.
You see, this desire...this cry of knowing who we are, and what our purpose is, seems to be a common trend amongst the women I encounter in life.
Whether it be the stay at home mum who justifies her role because she has an under 5 yet to start full time school, or the stay at home mum whose children are in full time school who feels she should justify why she at present doesn't choose to return to paid work, or the working mum who feels the need to explain that she adores her children  but needs the financial stability of going out to work each day, or the single woman who feels hopeless because society would like her to have a husband..each of us never quite feel enough...do we?

We live in a world where women are still often looked down on, shown a huge lack of respect and not often encouraged. Here in the UK, we are, granted, given much more freedom in choice...but in many things...it's a man's world. Before you get antsy that this will become a feminist rant, let me assure you-that whilst I'm a pretty independent, strong minded woman, I am quite traditional and totally appreciate a good man - thankfully I'm married to one of them!
But, hopefully, you get my point here.

The truth is though ladies, we are enough. That purpose we keep searching for...well, I think we may already be living it.
I'll be honest with you now okay, as much as I love most aspects of my life, the truth is at the end of every.single.day... I'm tired. Actually no, I'm not tired, I'm shattered. Some dumb-ass intrigued people may ask "But why Stacey...you're a stay at home mum!" Okay here's why: Every morning I roll out of bed at 6.30am. Every morning-you got that part right...Saturday and Sundays included. My days are full. Weekends my husband often has to work which sees me driving kids to various activities, hobbies, parties, church etc myself. Weekdays...well I work every Tuesday at my church but the other four days are filled with shopping, washing, cleaning, cooking, running errands, toddler groups and prayer meetings. Whilst I know I'm blessed...I'm working...and I'm working damn hard...in a purpose! Not just anyone can be the wife and mum I'm called to be to my husband and children. Not everyone can minister to children the way I'm called to do it in ministry...not everyone can be the friend I'm called to be to my friends.
Whether our lives may sound similar...or the complete opposite...friend - you're not living my purpose...and I'm not living yours!
Whilst I admire the people who get to travel the world changing lives, I know this season of my life, I won't be one of them...so instead I do what's in my capacity... I celebrate being able to assist in my five little humans growing into good adults, I get alongside local families and their pre-teens and I work at the friendships that mean alot to me. To some, this may be sound boring...irrelevant. To others this may sound like the life they're dreaming of one day...to me...it's reality, and I have a choice...embrace it and do it well or resent it and miss the fact that this here...right now...this is my purpose.
Some of you may be wanting to shake me right now and yell, "But Stacey, it's easy for you to say that. I want marriage/children/ministry...and it's not happening for me...look at you with it all!"
Can I tell you I get it, I understand...and you can shake me...please do...keep me humble and grateful for all I have...but know too that at times I envy your freedom, I envy that you get to fulfill ambitions in other areas, I envy that you can stop at a certain time in the day and just be you-whilst me-my mummy hat and wife hat stay on 24/7...at times, I wonder of the decade I put myself last all.the.time whilst having my children-my twenties-a decade of pregnancy, breastfeeding, stretchmarks and sleepless nights....it may sound silly, but no matter our circumstance...no matter the blessings...sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side.
You do have a purpose...and you are living out some of that purpose now...no matter your relationship, parenting, employment or ministry status. How do I know this? Well simply, because that's what my bible tells me.
When we shift our focus from what we think our purpose should be, and make it about the purpose of God and His plans...we can find a peace...a peace in knowing someone far greater than us has it all sorted. He knew you and me long before we were born...whilst we became a statistic on earth when we drew our first breath, we were a celebrated gift in Gods book many many years before.
Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart."

"I set you apart!" I like that part the most. He sets every single one of us apart...each called to fulfill a purpose. A purpose that may change with the seasons...a purpose that may stay rooted our entire earthly existence. A purpose that when seen through our eyes may not be fully appreciated or have that cherry-on-top wow factor, but a purpose non-the less. 

I think 2014 needs to be the year, we hush striving to know what we're called to be...and instead needs to be a year of just resting...gently pushing, but not barging through those doors of what's next...and knowing that we are enough...we are important, we are worthy and we are doing what we're doing for a very good reason...a purpose...that may just be setting up a future of pure amazingness before our very eyes that we just haven't noticed as yet. 

Be Blessed :-)






Sunday, 5 January 2014

NO to bullying!

This afternoon, I feel fired up...fired up with emotion and a desire to see change in our communities.
This afternoon, my heart is a little battered for others upon hearing tales of upset.

This morning, I made a decision that I will allow God to use me on a deeper, at times scarier level to help them become life changers in their generation! Here's why -
This morning, I discussed bullying with twenty-six 9-11 year olds.

Our theme for our children's ministry this half term is 'The Love Languages.'
I loved how when I told the young people in my ministry group this, there were teeny squeals of "urghhhh love," and mock sounds of vomiting. I also loved how when I explained this mornings session would be 'Affirming words,' they quietened and listened with interest.
They had a knowledge of what it is to affirm someone and we went round the circle each sharing the way we like to be affirmed and made to feel special.
We shared examples of what kindness sounds like in our conversations, and we laughed at daft sounding compliments-which deep in our hearts, we all knew mean so much when spoken over us.
And then we spoke of the opposite of this...then we got onto the topic of bullying.

Every single child I had the privilege of being alongside today - that's 26 in case you've forgotten, each had a tale to share of some kind of bullying experience. Whether it was that they had been bullied and were now on the other side of that traumatic time, had witnessed bullying happening around them, or sadly are being bullied still today - physical but shockingly also cyber bullying.

It was a wake up call I needed if I'm honest.

To see the upset and vulnerability on the little faces sat around me, to witness a boy cry at the nasty words spoken over him, was a humbling experience for me. It made me realise "out there" reader...OUT THERE in that world our children walk through, there are things that can and will damage them if they don't receive the encouragement and truth of just how precious and special they are.
This morning, 5 beautiful children, 1 of them being my eldest son-shared how because they have darker shades of skin, they have been called racist names.
This morning, 3 perfectly-created children told how because of their body shapes and sizes, they had been laughed at, hit and called names...names no-one should ever have to be associated with.
This morning, 6 children shared tales of internet bullying through on-line games and email accounts.
Please...read those sentences again! Absorb those FACTS and think about it.

We need to see a change.
We need to see more kindness in our communities.
We need to see our children protected, affirmed and confident in who they are.
We need to pray to the One who created each one of us for a softening of hearts, for a breakthrough in circumstance-for the bullied and for the bullies. Yes, you heard me correct...I want to pray for the bullies out there. I want them to be so overwhelmed with the opposite of what they dish out, that when they try to yell an insult, their conscience grabs them.
And this morning we did just that. Those 26 lovely young lives, myself and my team - we prayed for one another and we prayed for the bullies. Because we recognise that sometimes, the bully may be the one being bullied elsewhere. A cry for help-that causes more damage than healing...but a cry for help...

I'm not quite sure on the next step...I feel led to take this further and with the help of my team and some of the children I work with, create an awareness campaign.
I would appreciate your prayers if you could...because for sure, I cant leave what I heard today, where I heard it. Our children - they are destined to be life changers in their generations...they really are. And they want it...they have voices...louder than us at times...lets encourage them to use them...together...unity...grace...love...affirming words....a big fat NO to bullying!

In Jesus name x

Friday, 3 January 2014

Fight {5 minute Friday}

Excited to link up with Lisa-Jo Baker today for her first 5 minute Friday of 2014. The deal? Write for 5 minutes unedited on the given topic, link up on her page http://lisajobaker.com and post an encouragement to the person who linked up before you. Simples...
This weeks theme is Fight ~ here goes! ~

I never really felt the need to be competitive growing up. I guess that stems from being one of two girls with my older sister being mentally handicapped. There was no real need to have to prove myself to anyone. Academically I achieved high grades, socially I had many friends, developmentally I was always above average, whether that be physically, mentally and at times emotionally. To my family, I was everything my sister wasn't.
This isn't to say she wasn't celebrated, loved, encouraged and treated with respect, because she very much was....and still is. It was just that her life from the start, was always headed in a very different direction to mine.

In a way, without necessarily meaning to, I believe my family had me on a too high pedestal. Sure, I was a good kid - but them seeing perfection in me, made me see the flaws.
I don't say this to brag or because I look back and feel proud of myself but age 10 I was riddled with an eating disorder. The one area of my life I could be in control and make imperfect.
It was so easy to fall into the bad habits of binge eating, vomiting, starvation...but I could never have prepared myself for the fight to break free from it. Habits are like that...grasp a hold of you quickly...allow you to be freed slowly.

Aged 16, and still very much consumed by bulimia, my now husband prayed with me the prayer that began the biggest transformation in my life...the salvation prayer, which began my journey with Jesus. I remember that moment clearly...as I cried and he prayed, Rob encouraged me that the fight was over...someone far greater had fought the battle for me and won...I just had to trust and believe...and let go of the control lever.
16 years down the line...a mummy of five, a ministry leader for children aged 9 upwards...I am free from that battle. In fact I've been free from it 10 years now. And when fresh battles come a hunting me...I remember those words "the fight is over...Jesus conquered it!"
That's the grace of God.

Whatever battle you may be facing today, I challenge you and encourage you to put your trust in someone far greater, pass over that control lever and know you need not fight anymore...It's been fought and won for you! In Jesus name! Be blessed :-)

~And stop!~