He Wants Me

I wanted to share this song with you since I’ve been listening to it most of this week on and off. I came across it the other morning when I was feeling pretty low and it helped to turn around my thinking at the time and made me feel loved.

I think my greatest desire (for myself) is to feel loved and wanted and seen and known but my feelings don’t always oblige. This song reminded me that God sees me and knows me better than anyone and somehow even though he knows all about my shortcomings and my failures the God of the universe wants me. That boggles my brain when I think about it just for a minute. Anyway I hope the song blesses you as much as it did me.

Control by Tenth Avenue North

Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control

Oh, You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

Oh, You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

Oh, give You control
Oh, I want to give You control
I give You control

You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Matthew Bronleewe / Michael Donehey

Control (Somehow You Want Me) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Yes I Will

I’ve been a bit quiet again – I know. It’s hard to explain. There are just times when I find it hard to ‘talk’. Sometimes it’s even hard to share with my closest friends. I just seem to clam up. It’s weird in a way because there’s nothing I want more than a safe place to spill out what’s on my heart.

I’m okay really – in the midst of all the craziness in the world right now. Everything feels a little surreal. Hubby is working from home for the foreseeable future. My son’s uni is closed and classes are going online. I’m taking business a day at a time and counting on nothing since it seems like schools could shut at any moment. My daughter’s mission trip has been cancelled and I’m just hoping that she’ll be able to get home from California okay when the time comes.

Friends are having their holidays cancelled and it looks like people of my parents age will be asked to stay at home soon. Many of the shelves in the supermarkets are bare, a Foodbank in my area was robbed and some self employed people are worrying about how they will pay their bills. Night shelters are concerned about homeless people who may come into contact with the virus and teachers are wondering how the children who rely on free school meals are going to get fed. Like my hubby says it feels like the plot of a movie.

Yesterday was a little unusual for a Sunday. Although our church was meeting we didn’t get up early enough to go so we listened to a message online about Kingdom in Mental and Emotional Health. I got pretty emotional listening to it actually. I guess a lot of things resonated with me. In the afternoon I went for a long walk in the countryside to make sure I got my steps in for my charity challenge. After dinner (and a little/fair bit of wine) I fell asleep just before the end of the movie we were watching. Then of course, during the night when I should have been sleeping I was awake! 😝

Photo from Pixabay

One of the things I enjoyed most about yesterday was listening to my music while I was out walking. There’s something about being in nature that makes it easier for me to hear God and there’s something about the lyrics of songs that has a way of getting through to me. Sometimes even when I’m having a difficult day singing at the top of my lungs or dancing around my kitchen can be enough to pull me out of the doldrums.

This song is one that has helped me out of a difficult place several times. I recommend turning up the volume to listen to it. 🙂

Yes I Will by Vertical Worship

I count on one thing
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now
You won’t fail me now
In the waiting
The same God who’s never late
Is working all things out
You’re working all things out

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
All my days, oh yes I will

I count on one thing
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now
You won’t fail me now
In the waiting
The same God who’s never late
Is working all things out
Is working all things out

Oh, yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
For all my days, oh yes I will
For all my days, oh yes, I will

And I choose to praise
To glorify, glorify…

Source: LyricFind

Extra Time

How many times have you thought ‘I wish I had more hours in my day?’ Right now it’s 2.30am in the UK and I should be sleeping… I was feeling a bit under the weather last night and fell asleep really early which could be the reason that I now find myself wondering how to use my ‘extra time’. Probably I should be trying to relax my mind and get back to sleep but instead I’ve read some blog posts (I’ve got a bit behind on reading the last few days) and now I’m typing this while pondering options.

I could do some housework – quiet jobs obviously as the rest of the household are asleep – there is plenty of ironing to do, or I could wipe down the door handles with anti-bac spray since there seems to be a bit of a tummy bug in the house? Also who knows if any of us has been in contact with the Corona virus?

I could go out for a walk and get a head start on my 10000 steps for the day? I’m doing a challenge for a homelessness charity to walk 315000 steps during March. So far I’m on track which I’m happy about because I haven’t been walking as much recently as I’d like and this challenge is making me get out and about again.

I could spend some time reading for my book reflection that I need to hand in for the study course I’m doing with church? I have been saying that I need to make time for that. Or I could spend some time with Papa God as I’m feeling the need to do a lot more of that recently?

There’s always work to be done for my business too. It’s nearly the end of the financial year and I need to get my accounts up to date and work out if I’ve claimed all my expenses and the invoices I’ve sent out have all been paid. Last year I think I ended up paying too much tax because I still had some income from teaching and I wasn’t properly on top of the expenses thing.

Maybe I could do something creative? I have several half finished craft projects that I keep promising myself I’ll get round to finishing – beading, cross-stitching, sewing up a bag that I knitted etc.

Probably now that I’ve brain dumped all of these options here I will just end up going back to bed. Thanks for bearing with me while I worked that out though. 🤪

If you had an extra hour that you weren’t expecting how would you use it?

What tips do you have for getting back to sleep in the middle of the night?

Night night. 😴

A Present to Remember

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first few days in California in my previous post. On the Sunday (our third full day in the States) we picked up the hire car and left San Francisco for a motel in Napa. We didn’t go straight there though as we had an exciting stop on the way.

For Christmas our (adult) kids bought us a present to remember. While videoing the moment for our daughter to watch later, our son handed over a rolled up piece of paper; like a scroll. When we opened it out it said this: You are going Skydiving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! My jaw almost hit the floor. I don’t know if our kids were trying to thrill us or kill us 😅. Amazingly, since I’m pretty scared of heights (or at least looking down from a height) my reaction was actually one of excitement. I might have mentioned this when I wrote about facing this fear in Croatia last summer but I don’t even like looking over the rail on the first floor at the shopping mall so jumping/diving/falling out of a plane at 10 000 feet is just a little bit terrifying! 😱

We arrived earlier than expected at the skydiving centre and were quickly handed a four page form to fill out. It was pretty repetitive but required a lot of signatures. In effect it said ‘I understand that I might die doing this and my estate cannot sue the company for any reason’ over and over. Almost seems like they’re trying to talk themselves out of business? Obviously though, many people like us, are daft enough to go through with it despite all the warnings.

I was a little nervous walking out to the tiny plane (we were literally squashed in like sardines) but not as much as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s one outcome of having struggled with depression for a while but death doesn’t feel like the worst outcome these days (not that I actually thought I’d die). I don’t mean that to sound morbid, I’m not suicidal and I don’t want to die but it just doesn’t feel like it would be that terrible any more if that makes any sense? Anyway, I did also pray heading up in the plane. I literally told God that my life was in his hands – which it was. Well that and attached to a guy, with the same name as my son, by a harness.

The views from the plane were stunning. The Golden Gate Bridge was visible in the distance (we weren’t actually skydiving over it) and we could see San Francisco and the coast and lots of lush green countryside. Hubby and his instructor were nearest the door while I was squished in with my instructor behind the pilot. This meant that they left the plane first. I didn’t exactly have time to think though before we were getting into position too.

They had given us brief instructions while on the ground about how to position yourself for the dive etc and one of those instructions was to keep your head back while exiting the plane. This worked out pretty well for me as I had decided that I just wouldn’t look down until I was actually falling. My reasoning was that the instructor I was harnessed to was about 6’5″ so I knew that if he decided to leave the plane I was going too, like it or not 😂. Right enough that’s pretty much how it happened. We got into position at the door with our legs dangled out of the plane (my heart was definitely in my throat just a bit at this point) and without much further ado we exited the plane and were falling at break neck speed towards the ground.

The initial free fall was an equally thrilling and nerve wracking experience. I did feel a bit panicked when I couldn’t catch my breath but I knew it wouldn’t last. There was a sudden jolt as the parachute was deployed and then calm. I could breathe again. As soon as the chute was open it was a really cool experience looking down at the earth and floating towards it and before I knew it it was all over and we were back on the ground. I have to admit that I was slightly relieved, but what an experience! Incidentally my hair looked hilarious when we landed; it was sticking up all over the place 😂.

There’s something significant happening with me to do with taking risks I think. It feels like I’ve started taking more risks like this one in life and I think it has some spiritual significance too. I started going to a study group at church just about a week ago and there was a lot of talk about taking risks in terms of growing your faith and also of not allowing fear any place in your life. When I heard that it resonated with me and I have a feeling I’ll be having to take some risks in my spiritual life too.

Once we were all safely back to the skydiving centre we purchased our videos and photos (have to have evidence since there’s a pretty good chance I won’t be doing that again 😂) and hopped back into the car to continue our journey as if jumping out of planes is something you do every day.

We drove on up to Napa where we ate at a lovely restaurant/cafe that reminded me of someone’s living room. After a decent night’s sleep we were up again for a slightly more relaxing kind of day – wine touring Napa Valley. We met a lovely couple from Vancouver on the tour and visited four different wineries. I have to say that I enjoyed pretty much all of the wines we tried – and there were quite a few. Thinking back I’m actually kind of surprised that I didn’t have a hangover after that. Maybe because it was spread out over the whole day? Anyway it was a gorgeous sunny day too and we had a fab time.

The first winery we visited (kinda forgot to take photos after this one 😝)

I guess I’ll leave it there for now and fill you in on the rest of the holiday (which was a lot quieter) in my next post. Talk soon.

Goodbye 2019!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few days now and I keep putting it off. Partly that’s because I’m a little scared to look back on this year and go through some of the most painful emotions again… so I’ve decided to avoid those to an extent. It’s not that I don’t want to be real – it’s just that I need to work out when it’s helpful for me to look back and when it just makes the depression more difficult. Having said that there have also been some really good times this year and I’m grateful for those and don’t want to forget about them.

I’ve been to some cracking music gigs – Charles Esten; Country 2 Country (where my favourites were Lady Antebellum and Ingrid Andress); Cassia supported by Alfie Neale (twice); The Cactus Blossoms; Joseph and finally Emeli Sande supported by Ben Monteith. I’ve loved all of these for different reasons. I don’t have any more gigs lined up right now but there will definitely be more next year. There have been good books, meals out, trips to the cinema, mini adventures, board games and lots of quality time with great friends and family.

Some of this year’s highlights have been travelling to Belgium and Paris, Croatia and some places not so far from home like Edinburgh and Carnoustie. I had a bit of fun looking for the Oor Wullie models in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the summer – sometimes with little B and sometimes not. For those of you who have never heard of Oor Wullie; he’s a pretty well known Scottish cartoon character who’s been around since the 1930s so he’s a bit older than me 😂.

One of the Oor Wullie models in Edinburgh

I had the Best Surprise Ever!! when my son came home from Australia in the summer and a more difficult time when my daughter left for California. Can’t wait to go over there to see her in a couple of days. I finally took the plunge and left teaching – no regrets about that. I’m loving my new job even though it’s not exactly a viable business yet. I’m spending more time with some new friends and some old ones than I had been doing and that’s been really good for me. I’m still blogging! Not something I’d ever thought I’d end up doing but it’s been a useful processing tool for me and a way to express myself. I’ve also found the blogging community to be really supportive and friendly.

At the beginning of 2019 I had decided that my goal was to ‘be a blessing‘ but I’ve found this a lot harder than I anticipated. I guess it takes that bit of extra effort to go out of your way to be kind to someone or help them. One of my friends insists that I’ve probably been more successful at this than I think just by being there for people but I suppose it’s not what I had in mind. I guess I know that across the year I have managed to be a blessing to a few people and hopefully that will continue and maybe even develop in the future.

I haven’t made any resolutions as such but looking forward to next year I have thought of a few things that I’d like to do more or less of. I’d like to try to restrict the time I spend on social media and spend more time reading books. I want to spend more time living in the present and being grateful for God’s blessings in my life now. To help me with this I’ve bought this cute little diary and I’m going to try to write down some things that I’m grateful for every day. I want to find a new freedom to be myself and say what I think (I don’t want to allow myself to be silenced any more). This one will probably be the hardest for me as I’ve trained myself to keep quiet over the years. I guess it’s taken me a long time to realise that it wasn’t good for me. I want to grow more as a person and in my relationship with God. I want to grow my business too – a lot easier said than done but I’m hopeful that as I feel stronger in myself I’ll be able to do what it takes.

That’s a lot of things to work on and if I plunge straight in to trying to do all that I will probably feel overwhelmed and fail miserably so I’m going to start first with the little diary and take it from there.

What have you been grateful for in 2019?

Is there anything you want to do more or less of in the New Year?

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through this year; reading my posts and sending lovely comments. I really appreciate you and I hope that 2020 brings you good health, prosperity and joy.

How Do I Pray?

It’s the middle of the night here in the UK but I can’t sleep. I’m sitting here drinking camomile tea and tossing up between ironing or ordering food shopping 😝. I don’t really want to do either of those things so instead I’m writing this post.

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten how to talk to God. I talk to Him a lot. I share my feelings with Him all the time and I tell Him even the things that no one else knows – I mean why not? He knows anyway.

My difficulty is that once again we have a friend who has cancer. The doctors can do no more. They’re using words like ‘palliative care’ again. We’ve been here before. More than once. Each time my friends have been asking God for a miracle. Each time I’ve prayed for that with them. I know God heals (I’ve seen this before too). I believe He wants to heal. I’ve expected God to heal. So far (if I’m remembering correctly) only one out of many friends and family members has been healed from cancer.

So how do I pray? Am I doing something wrong? I remember a few years ago teaching on this very subject in church. It was a difficult time. We had not long since lost a young friend to cancer. Many of us were struggling with continuing to ask God to heal. I’d go back and reread that sermon now but I lost it when my hard drive packed in so I don’t know if there’s anything that God was saying to me back then that would have helped me now. Probably. I remember that in essence I felt that I shouldn’t stop asking.

It gets harder to keep asking though. I mean I still do. I still know God can. I just don’t get why so often it doesn’t happen. I know God isn’t a genie in a bottle but He is God and He tells us He’s willing to heal and I know He’s able to heal so what am I missing?

I guess I’ve heard most of the answers to my question already too. I’d be surprised if you can give me an answer I haven’t heard before (feel free to try though). I’m just putting this out there because it’s on my mind tonight. Someone gave a word this morning about keys at church (related to something different) and I feel like there’s a key somewhere to be discovered where healing is concerned. I’d love to know where it is. I’m sure I’ll keep looking because it feels like I need to find it.

Pray… but how?

Prayer of Dedication

I just wanted to share this here this morning. I didn’t write this prayer, it’s one I came across in a devotional I read about 4 years ago but it’s one I go back to fairly often and pray again. Maybe it will bless someone else?

Prayer of Dedication

God, today I dedicate my mind to you. I want to think on things that are good, right, pure, and excellent. I want to take captive any thoughts that aren’t from you. I want to remember your past faithfulness when I am tempted to doubt.

Today, I dedicate my eyes to you. I want to see others the way you see them. I want to view my circumstances through the lens of hope and faith. I want to look at life as one who is confident that you are with me. 

Today, I dedicate my ears to you. I want to hear your voice above all the others clamoring for my attention. I want to listen to you and to honor others by listening well to them.  

Today, I dedicate my mouth to you. I want my words to be life-giving. I want to speak honestly and sincerely. I want to think before I speak. I want to let others have the last word.

Today, I dedicate my heart to you. I want my heart to be pure and undivided. I want to master my emotions, not serve them. I want my dreams and desires to please you.

Today, I dedicate my hands to you. I want to work hard at whatever I put my hands to. I want to touch others in love and goodwill. I want my hands to be open for whatever you want to give me and willing to release anything you want me to surrender.

Today, I dedicate my feet to you. I want to go wherever you send me. I want to walk toward the messes, not run from them. I want to stand firmly upon the truth and not stumble.

The most important relationship I have deserves my greatest expression of worship: a dedicated life.

Elaine Scott
Browns Bridge Church

Life’s not fair!

Do you ever feel like screaming at God?  I do.  It’s not fair is it?  It’s not his fault that I’ve stuffed up.  Not his fault that I’ve hurt people.  I don’t know why I want to scream at him.  He’s the one that has stuck with me though everything.  When I’ve been sad he’s held me while I cried.  When I’ve been down he’s pulled me through.  When I’ve had suicidal thoughts he’s reminded me why I can’t do that.  When I’ve felt at ease he’s held my hand and reassured me that he has a good plan and a future for me.  Why do I want to lash out at the only one who loves me completely and unconditionally?  It doesn’t make sense.  I guess my feelings aren’t rational a lot of the time.  I feel like I’m fighting some sort of battle and not getting very far.  Having said all that I don’t want to focus on the negative stuff.  I guess I’m just trying to come to terms with where I’ve been and where I’m at.  Trying to accept that God wants me here for a reason and will bring something good out of my situation.

You can probably gather from the start of this post that I’ve still been struggling a bit over the last few weeks.  In spite of this I’m actually trying to be more positive and look at things from a different perspective.  I guess sometimes I remember to do that for a bit and then I almost come under attack again (I’m not really talking spiritual attack although I guess that could be involved) and it’s hard work to remember to keep my mind set on God and his will.  I will keep picking myself back up and dusting myself down and trying again though.  As exhausting as that is I am a fighter.

I’ll fill you in briefly on what I’ve been up to since I haven’t done that for a while. Obviously there’s been all the usual work and business stuff and church. I’m still seeing the counsellor and looking after baby B each week. I’ve had a few coffees and lunches and dinners out with various friends which is always fun. Apart from that there have been a couple of events that stood out.  I had a little run in with a bus one day – well the bus ran into the back of my car – it wasn’t a great day to start with so that one made me a bit emotional at the time.  I wasn’t hurt though (well not badly anyway – just a sore foot) and the car was quickly sorted out through the insurance.  My in-laws visited for a week over the school holidays.  I had a birthday as you know and one of my lovely friends took me for a night away at a spa hotel.  That was a treat and we enjoyed hanging out together and catching up.  My hubby started a new job too which is an answer to prayer.

One of the most rewarding things recently has been my business.  I started it earlier this year and I’m running relaxation classes for children – sometimes they help me to relax too.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had some lovely moments with the kids.  One little boy who’s about 5 years old and who told me his mummy died just climbs on my knee and wants cuddles all the time.  Another slightly older girl told her friend who was new that it was okay to hug me – it wasn’t weird 😆 (I’ve never said anything to the children about hugging me – I don’t encourage it – they just do).  One boy of about 8 kept saying stuff like ‘you’re the best person in the world’ to me when we were doing an affirmation web activity – so sweet.  Actually this next moment that stands out is pretty sad but it made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile.  The children were relaxing and I was reading a whole list of affirmations over them.  I got about half way down my list and one little boy started saying things like ‘no I’m not special, I’m not loved, I’m treated like dirt at home.’  It broke my heart to hear him say those things.  I went over to him and put my hand on his shoulder and kept reading positive affirmations over him.  I pray that what I’m doing will make a difference for these little ones.  When I’m struggling I need to remember the kids I’m working with.  Their lives are often unfair.  They have too much responsibility and stress and not enough love and attention for young children.  Thinking about them helps me to get my life in perspective.

There are people suffering and lost and lonely all over the world.  Life’s not fair!  Much of that is down to our choices as humans I guess.  But alongside that God is good and has good plans.  He is on a rescue mission – to rescue us from ourselves.  He loves us and wants what’s best for us.  He also wants us to grow into the people he wants us to be and wants to use us to rescue others.  Maybe my own struggles will help me to help others in some way?  I want to be part of his rescue plan.

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Patterns and Shapes

When I was walking on holiday last week I became very aware of all the patterns and shapes in the plants around me.  There is so much variety when it comes to shapes – shapes of flowers and plants, shapes of birds and animals and people, shapes of coastlines and mountain ranges.  And there are so many patterns on trees, plants, shells, rocks, animal skins…  I’m sure there are many more things that haven’t crossed my mind too.  It got me thinking that God must be really into shapes and patterns.  Maybe I’m over-stretching this thought but it really stuck out to me at the time.

You know those shape sorter toys that kids have?  Well (like many people I guess) I’ve always felt a bit like a square peg in a round hole.  Or maybe I’m a round peg in a square hole?  Somehow I feel like the shape I’m supposed to fit in is more square 😝  and I’m probably not round but more of an irregular shape😂..  Anyway you get my drift.  Why is it that when God made such a huge variety of shapes and patterns that we limit each other so much?  Our tiny minds can only handle so many shapes and patterns so we try to make everyone fit into a few categories or types.

I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this.  I guess what I’m saying is it’s important to find out who you really are and what really matters to you and be yourself.  It’s also important to allow others to do the same.  We need to stop trying to make people into clones of the ideal people we think they should be – the ideal parents, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, colleagues or whatever and allow for the variety that God has created.

‘Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.’
Romans 12:2 TPT

It’s very easy to rhyme off this well known verse about not ‘conforming to the pattern of this world,’ (NIV) but I think that what I’m realising more and more is that it’s just as dangerous in some ways to conform to the religious ‘patterns’ we see in churches – even the ones that don’t seem to be traditional.  There is a danger of producing a string of lukewarm clones who smile and sing and warm the pews (or chairs) on a Sunday morning and don’t make any real impact on the world.  I don’t know about you but I don’t feel like I’ve made enough of an impact.

I’m looking for that total transformation, to become a reformer.  In Philippians 3:17 Paul says we should imitate his example.  I think we need to be looking for more in our lives and in our churches.  We need to be looking for better examples to imitate – be it your favourite Bible heroes or Jesus himself.  For the majority of us (I appreciate that there are exceptions) no matter how nice or how good your pastors or church leaders are they probably ain’t no Paul.  I’m pretty sure most of them aren’t living out Jesus words about doing even greater works than He did (John 14:12) or our world and our churches would look quite different.  This is in no way at meant to be having a go at leaders – I’m not into ‘bashing’ anyone.  I just think we need to raise our expectations if we’re really going to stop conforming and make a real impact in the world.

A couple of months ago I heard a sermon illustration that got me thinking.  The speaker was saying if you found yourself in a boat and someone fell overboard you would do everything in your power to try and save that person.  Yet we are surrounded by people who are drowning because they don’t know Jesus and we are sailing along happily in our little boat that is church – feeling quite comfortable and enjoying the worship, the fellowship and some ‘feel-good’ sermons and ignoring the people in the water all around us.  We need to have the same urgency to do something about that as we would if we were trying to save that person who had fallen overboard.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not there yet.  I’m talking to myself here (yes, it’s possible that I’m slightly mad 😜).  I’m not the most confident person in the world but I’m praying for boldness and change in that area.  I want to make an impact.

So whatever your true shape is I would encourage you not to conform – either to the world’s pattern or to the pattern of lukewarm Christianity but find someone worth imitating, step out of your comfort zone and make a difference.  Be the person God designed you to be and not the person that fits into a mould designed by other people.  And be bold!  I truly believe that if we allow ourselves to do that we can change the world.

Who Am I Really?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about who I really am. You’d think I would know at 44 years old right?

I grew up in a loving Christian family and was a daughter, sister, friend, cousin and niece. I was a normal kid, did the right thing sometimes and the wrong thing at other times. I wasn’t the most popular kid at school but I had a small group of friends and never really found myself alone. Most people seemed to like me even if they thought I was a bit weird. I became a leader of sorts at a young age starting various kids groups and clubs from around 11 years old. I was actively involved in church from an early age – maybe ’cause my dad was the pastor.

In adulthood I quickly became wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher and an active part of my church community. I took my responsibilities very seriously and did what I thought was expected of me. In the process of trying to be what I perceived was expected of me I lost myself somewhere along the way. I tried to live up to my labels and be ‘what it said on the tin’. Essentially I let the labels define me. I became so busy I didn’t realise I had no time just to be. In the ups and downs of life I tried to be a rock for everyone else and forgot that ‘no man is an island’. I wore a mask more often than not, keeping up the appearance of how life should be. I wasn’t consciously trying to deceive anyone, maybe it was my way of protecting myself and others. Who I am was swallowed up somehow and buried deep below the surface. The real me was suffocating and desperate to get out.

I guess you can’t go on like that forever. Eventually the mask slips and you are exposed. The good and the bad. And despite everything you have done and who you’ve been many people (not all) can’t get past the bad or at least that’s how it feels. The real me is torn. I’ve been desperate to get out of my cocoon and be myself but wearing a mask was easier in some ways. Hiding is easier. Not having to face people’s judgement. Being who they want you to be keeps everyone happy. It takes bravery to be myself – people will see my brokenness, they’ll know I’m not perfect. Some people won’t like who I am.

But I want to be me. God made me unique. He didn’t make me to conform. He made me fun and free. He made me creative and loving. He made me strong and safe. He made me beautiful. He made me a worshipping warrior and a leader. He made me to soar. God tells me this stuff and sometimes I find it hard to believe it about myself but I guess if he says it it must be true.

I often feel uncertain about who I am but I know who God says I am. There are loads of great songs about that around just now. I love ‘Who You Say I Am’ by Hillsongs and ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle. Despite the fact that I’m not perfect He says I’m His child and He loves me. He says I am chosen and I am free. He says I am enough and I am strong even when I don’t feel it. He says I belong, He has a place for me and He is for me.

On Saturday I found myself writing over and over ‘God is for me’. Almost like writing lines at school. Writing is one of the ways I process stuff. As I wrote it over and over God started filling in other stuff between my lines. God is for me – who can be against me. God is for me – it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. God is for me – it doesn’t matter what I think of myself. God is for me – I don’t have to fear the future. And more like that. It’s starting to sink in now. God is for me. God is for me. God is always for me. He likes who I am. He made me that way. He doesn’t want me to be someone else or to wear a mask cause he made me in his image. Instead of trying to be like other people or like who I think I should be I need to try to be more like Jesus.

I feel like this journey is gonna take a while. It’s gonna take all the courage I have to be myself again. I could do with a bunch of cheerleaders to encourage me to keep going. Maybe I’ll need to find some of them? I wonder if it’s just me or if anyone else out there feels like I do? If you’re reading this and you can relate I want to encourage you to be yourself. Be the awesome, amazing, beautiful person God created you to be. The other day I saw this on Facebook:

As the Steven Curtis Chapman song says ‘there’s no other masterpiece like you, You are the only one and only you.’

BE YOU!