Worship Wednesdays

We Are..

This week I’ve been reminded how important it is that we spread light and positivity when all around us people are projecting their doom and gloom.

Today’s Worship Wednesday from Kari Jobe reminds us that we should let the love of Jesus shine through us…

We are called to spread the news
To tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there’s freedom in His name
So let His love break through

It’s simple to do, we don’t need massive grand gestures to share his love – a simple message of encouragement to a friend who you know is having a difficult time, assisting someone who needs some practical help around the house, sharing a cuppa with someone who simply needs someone to listen, spreading a little cheer into the office with some special sugary treats or just checking in with someone to let you know you care. No matter how small you might think your actions are they can really make the difference and people will see the love of Jesus shine through you and question where your joy, kind spirit and positivity comes from.

Look around you – Jesus is the hope of the world but not everyone sees and if we don’t tell them and encourage them then who will?!

This week I want to challenge you to think a little more about how you can shine and I’d love to hear from you all about your little acts of kindness or moments when you got the opportunity to share the wonderful name of Jesus with someone. Or if you’ve been the recipient of someone’s light and it encouraged you get in touch. Feel free to email, comment or private message on FB.

 

Worship Wednesdays

Oceans – Where Feet May Fail

In Matthew 14 (22-32) we read about the disciples’ encounter with Jesus walking on the water. He is boldly walking on the stormy waters – confident in his ability and power. In the boat, the disciples are terrified and Jesus reassures them:

“Have courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”  (Matthew 14:27) 

Peter boldly steps out of the boat and onto the water – at first believing that he too can walk on the water as Jesus calls him forward confidently. Imagine what was going through Peter’s mind as he stepped out onto the water – I don’t know about you but I reckon I’d be pretty anxious and a little scared. I use the word anxious on purpose – anxiety is a word that is used a lot nowadays and it’s something that a lot of people encounter; some worse than others. In recent weeks I have encountered some anxious moments and today’s Worship Wednesday song is my go to in times of anxiety – it starts with the line…

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown were feet may fail” 

Peter failed when he started to think too much about the fears and danger surrounding him. He cried out – Lord save me!

Every translation I’ve read uses language to describe how Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out and saved Peter. Note, he didn’t take his hand the minute he stepped out of the boat – he gave him the opportunity to trust in the power of Jesus but when it all got too much for him and his feet failed him he was right there with him.

In every day life, in every task, every challenge we face – no matter how big or how small, no matter how deep that stretch of water we’re stepping on to might be it is so easy to become anxious – to worry and stress as we face what-ifs and self-doubt. This beautiful song reminds me how to face it all just like Peter, even if I feel like I’m about to drown in that great big ocean – because my Constant friend is there to catch me…

“And I will call upon your name , and keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace…

Your grace abounds in deepest waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide.

In Matthew 14 it goes on to say that Jesus calls Peter out and says: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I’m sure Peter felt a bit silly when he was asked that but it happens doesn’t it?! No matter how much we experience the power and love of Jesus we still get anxious and scared – that’s human nature. But the song goes on to remind us that we can be assured the Lord will never fail us..

“Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,

You’ve never failed and you won’t start now” 

Of course, it doesn’t end there – in the bridge we hear a rallying cry for us to find the courage to face whatever the Lord has planned for us. If we can throw our doubt and fears aside we can build our faith and trust so that we can walk on the water – standing tall, facing the storms and keeping our eyes fixed on his purpose and will for our lives…

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters. Wherever you would call me.”

The portion of scripture I referred to earlier where Jesus says “Have courage” always reminds me of the lovely quote in C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader from the Chronicles of Narnia …

“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”

When I feel the doubt and anxiety creeping in sometimes those three little words are all I need to remind myself to keep looking up above the waves… 

“Courage, dear heart.”

 

Worship Wednesdays

God I Look to You

Sorry for the lack of posts – I’m away on a business trip and haven’t had much chance to blog. It’s been a challenging week for a number of reasons but mainly because I’m away from my wee tribe. It’s hard hearing my wee princesses voices on the phone knowing they are so far away (only one more sleep). A lot of people dismiss business travel as “wee jollies” – trust me, as nice as it is to see the beautiful city of Toulouse it hasn’t been a walk in the park. Early starts and late nights in the office with jam packed agendas are made a little easier by nice food and the pretty plazas but I really have struggled at times.

A good wee chum sent me a lovely message sharing their devotional from yesterday that reminded me to keep looking up because he is always with us. It made me think of this lovely song that pretty much hits the nail on the head in the first nine words …

God I look to you, I won’t be overwhelmed

It’s a song that I needed to hear today – because maybe for a little second I had forgotten (in the midst of self-doubt and anxiety) where my wisdom comes from and who I can call to when I need help in a particular situation or problem… my Constant Friend, the Lord of Lord and King of Kings who reigns over everything.

 

 

 

Worship Wednesdays

How Great Thou Art

I have to admit, I struggled with how best to start this post. Sometimes I worry about my words seeming clumsy or insensitive, particularly when I’m sharing something personal. I can only pray that the emotion of what is on my heart comes across in my posts.

Sadly, earlier this week we laid to rest a dear Uncle of mine. The service giving thanks for his life was simple but beautiful –  perfectly as he would have wanted it. I think it said a lot about him that even the Minister, a good friend of the family, got a little emotional as we said goodbye one last time.

For today’s Worship Wednesday I want to share a beautiful hymn that was included in the order of service at the funeral. Amidst the grief and difficulty of the day this song brought hope as we placed our trust in the Lord.

The lyrics are powerful and the version I want to share comes from a powerful voice; a beautiful woman of God who since her first appearance on American Idol has used her talent to share her faith in the Lord. My dad and I were blessed to see Carrie Underwood perform this in concert a few years back. It was amazing hearing pretty much the whole concert hall worshipping with her as they sang along.

The origins of the song date back to the late 1800s but it is still so relevant today…

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Everywhere I look I can see reminders of the power of the creator… from the minute I waken in the morning to see my baby girls I know how he has truly blessed us. Or as we look at the nature all around – growing and blossoming on his command.

I gazed up at the clear night sky a number of times in the last week in awe at the perfection and beauty of the dazzling lights above. If our great God can hold the stars in place and create such a masterpiece in the darkness of the night then imagine what he can do with our lives if we trust and honour his plan for us…

Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever.
Daniel 12:3 MSG

 

Worship Wednesdays

Wonder

It’s the first Worship Wednesday of 2018 so I wanted to start with something really joyful and fun. I started back to work yesterday and I’ll admit it was a struggle to get motivated and ready for the year ahead. I have some nice new stationary, planners and calendars to help me (try to) be organised and productive for the year ahead. January can be a bit of a depressing month but in a way it can be quite exciting – a clean page in the diary, a fresh approach and the start of a year filled with opportunity.

As we look at the world today there is so much hatred, pain and conflict – the suffering and craziness of our generation can so easily hide the goodness that exists every day around us.

Today’s track is about how we should take a moment to look beyond the negatives to find the WONDER in the world that God created.

In nature there is so much beauty – from the little ladybirds, to the blooming flowers, right up to the amazing soaring birds.

At home, I have my cheeky wee monkey with chocolate on her face and my moody almost 6-year-old who still loves a cuddle from mummy sometimes. They might have their difficult moments (tantrums) but they are little bundles of love and they add so much fun to our lives.

We hear stories of miracles in the world – people overcoming sickness or challenges against all the odds. I see people giving their lives selflessly to a cause or to serve in the name of the Lord – stepping out of their comfort zone, sacrificing their time and resources for the benefit of others. 

There are so many wonders in the every day – if you look hard enough you can find them and the joy they bring….

I see the world in light
I see the world in wonder
I see the world in life
Bursting in living colour
I see the world Your way
And I’m walking in the light

 

Little life snippets, Thoughts & Ponderings

Twenty-Seventeen – a year of Growth

Watching my two princesses playing together as I try to steal a little time to write my last post of 2017 I can see how much they’ve grown in the last year. With every day that passes we see little changes but when we look back over a larger chunk of time we can see the true extent of their growth – my little baby is now big enough to climb on to the armchair, sofa and whatever else she fancies all by herself, she can boss her big sister around and communicate with words and her own little sounds. As for the big one – Evie B has really blossomed this past year and is growing fast both physically (she doesn’t get her skinny long legs from me that’s for sure), mentally and inside her beautiful heart that never ceases to amaze me with its kindness and love for everything and everyone.

Seeing how much they’ve grown made me think about my own journey of ‘growth‘. I can look back on this year and see occasions when I was challenged by situations I faced, encounters with people and by my own inner feelings & voice. Not all of them had negative outcomes – some of them have really helped me put life and my priorities into perspective.

A key turning point for me was definitely my experience at the Hillsong Colour Conference in London. It was a fantastic experience that I got to share with some very special friends – sisters. And of course, it was an added bonus getting a few days off mummy duties to just focus on my relationship with God and the plans he has for my life.  It was sitting in that arena surrounded by thousands of women with one purpose that I realised God wanted me to do more – to use my talents and experiences to serve him MORE. But I certainly didn’t realise then just what an amazing journey I was embarking on as I stepped out in faith and launched A Constant Friend.

Although I have to admit, there were a few times I almost didn’t follow through with it as I worried about finding the right words, not having the time, being judged or laughed at  – and I was a little anxious that what I had to share would simply not be enough. But the Lord spoke to me on a number of occasions and the same message kept coming through so it was my responsibility to take up the challenge and fight through those doubts and anxieties.

In July, I took ill with shingles and quickly realised that I was trying to do too much and needed to re-evaluate my priorities and routine (this also made me wonder if I really had it in me to launch the blog and maintain it) . I’d felt really tired for a week or two and I didn’t listen to my body – in fact I ordered new vitamins to try and push through the exhaustion. The Lord, of course, knew that I needed a break but it would take something very visible and painful to stop me – I wasn’t just going to rest due to tiredness. And so it hit me the week Evie finished school for summer. I am blessed with a great family and friends who rallied round to muck in with the house and the kids and who made me realise how loved and supported I was. It reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help – we can’t do it all!

I’d been so focused on being everything to everyone that I was doing too much and totally over-stretching myself. So I rested and listened to what God was telling me. Quite ironically I had read a couple of books earlier in the year which I revisited to help me as I tried to find a slightly different outlook on life. Both are great reads and really blessed me as I struggled with how to prioritise the demands of life and consider saying “no” sometimes  – they were The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst and Overextended and Loving Most of It by Lisa Harper (who had been one of the speakers at Colour Conference). I would highly recommend both of them.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with workplace conflict and personality clashes – they stress me out and I tend to worry if someone is being difficult with me or making me feel inadequate. Office politics can be hard to handle – I just want to do my job to the best of my ability and come home to my wee family each evening.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23 (GWT)

Until this year I struggled a little with how to bring my faith and Christian outlook into those situations. There are thousands (if not millions) of leadership books with strategies and models to use in every situation but until now I hadn’t been inspired by any that really bring God’s principles until the work place. That is until I discovered a fab book called Love Works by Joel Manby – it’s a leadership book based around the principles of 1 Corinthians 13 and it has totally revolutionised how I look at issues in the work place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think the answers to all my problems will be waiting on me in a book (trust me I’ve read my fair share of parenting books and I’m still baffled) but the Lord uses his servants to share their experiences and draw out snippets from the Bible to help us find the lessons captured within those 66 books that were given to us as the foundation of our relationship with him.

2017 was also a year of blossoming and growing friendships. I have been very blessed with new chums and have connected with longer term friends in a new way. I am super excited for what 2018 holds and look forward to making more memories with all my chums.

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9

Of course, with every season comes change and I’ve also seen people who were part of my life in 2017 move on. I’m a real believer that God places people in your life for a reason but there’s no guarantee they’ll be there for ever. In the past I would have dwelt on change and fried my brain trying to figure it all out but as my trust in the Lord and his bigger plan has grown (there’s that word again) the less I worry and the more I accept things as they are when I know his hand and eye is on the sparrow.

I’ll be honest I didn’t sit down at the beginning of 2017 and plan out how I was going to GROW – and until I reflected as the new year arrived I didn’t realise I had grown. Just like when I look at my girls playing and having fun I don’t realise just how much taller they are or how much longer their hair is. It’s only when I look back at the photos from this time last year or during the summer that I can see just how far they’ve come and how much they’ve blossomed.

So why am I sharing this today? Because maybe you’re too busy looking at the negatives of 2017 and you’re glad to see the back of it but it’s important we really appreciate how far we’ve come and how the challenges and experiences of life shape us and help us grow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means perfect, there are things I look back on and wonder if I handled them right and I still have my weaknesses that need focus – but I genuinely feel by fixing my eyes on God and knowing that he is my constant friend walking beside me I can take on the world.

He doesn’t love me any more in 2018 than he did in 2017 – but I think I’ve grown to love myself a little more and I better understand how my relationship with the Lord can strengthen me. And in return I’ll continue to share his love and grace with as many of you as I can reach in 2018…

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth…. when you proclaim his truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience his presence with you.
1 Corinthians 14:1‭-‬3 MSG