Sunday, 6 December 2015

What I Know Is True

Sometimes I get this pain in my chest, and it practically stops me in my tracks. Now, I have learnt to stop and breathe it out, but that hasn't always been the case. There was a time when this pain came everywhere with me. This pain even had a name! This pain was and is fear. 

There was a time when I let this pain consume me and when I let fear rule all my thoughts. 
I am not saying that I have conquered fear but I will not let it take over anymore. 

When fear comes knocking I hold on to what I know is true. This has taken a lot of effort and determination as I cannot see what I know is true. However when I breathe out truth instead of filling up on fear, I might not be able to see truth, but I do feel peace. 

What is the truth I hold on to? It is the strong foundation that I am trying to build on. It is Love, Faith, Joy and Hope. 

I am loved, with a love that is lavished upon me and because of this amazing love, I have faith, joy and hope. No one can take that love away from me as it has been given to me even though I do not deserve it. When I remove the doubt that I do not deserve to be loved in such a way, I remove the fear that I am not good enough. I stand completely surrounded by love. 

When fear comes I try not to let it take hold. 
                             I still my heart and then fill it with truth. 
                                            Wonderful truth...
                                                                                     ...and the promise of a new day.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Writing My Story

Sometimes I get scared when I sit and think about what tomorrow might bring. I struggle to cope with all my imaginings about tomorrow.

Recently I had the privilege to listen to Brené Brown who is an American Researcher and Author. Brené has written a book called 'Rising Strong' and she spoke about how falling down can be our greatest call to courage and how owning our stories gives us the power to write a daring new ending.

Brené's talk really challenged me to think about my story and how I write it. As I look ahead I write my story and all the things I imagine really hurt. I get carried away with writing my story and working out the plot. I write everyone else's lines for them and all the scenes and acts that are to come.

However, that is my story with me writing the lines. What if I stop imagining and stop writing the story how I think it will go? What if I could be brave enough to let someone else write my story? Someone who loves me more than I know and who sees the end from the beginning. Someone who's thoughts and ways are so much higher than mine.

How then will my story go? I believe that if such a person were writing my story there would be no need to fear what tomorrow might bring. If I let go of trying to write my story and everyone else's lines and instead let God, I know that my story is being written in love, I know that I am covered in grace and I know that each line of my story is being written with truth, goodness and faithfulness.

Some scenes will still hurt but I can choose whether I write bitterness and resentment into my story or whether I write growth and newness. I am certain that it will not always be easy but giving control to One who's thoughts are higher and so much better than mine will allow my story to be written in truth rather than being written with all my imaginings.

I will get it wrong and try to write my story my way and when I do I hope I will find the courage to let go again.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

For Every Action...

During this last week I had cause to think of Newton's Third Law of Motion. I'm not really a Science person (I only know what the law is called as I asked Google!) and in the first instance I didn't quite get Newton's third law correct. My initial thoughts were about how for every action there is reaction. The law actually says, 'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'. So as I walk I push against the floor and the floor pushes against me - the actions are equal yet opposite in direction. 

For every action done unto me, I react. For every word spoken to me, I react. How I react is entirely up to me and there was a reason why Newton's Third Law popped into my head. I needed to react in a way that was opposite and going in another direction. 

Sometimes I treat others in a way I should not and there are times when I am treated in a way I do not wish to be treated. 
Therefore I need to consider my reaction. I am the only one who can decide how I treat others. No one makes my choices for me. The same goes for how I react when I am hurt, my reaction is my choice...

...stillness rather than anger
...forgiveness rather than revenge rather than fear rather than hurt

These are not easy choices. Going in the opposite direction takes perseverance and patience. It involves a lot of grace and humility. It requires a lot of strength to go against what I am feeling inside. 

However it brings peace, it means there are no words I wish I could take back and I am following the best example. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon with some of my family and the DVD of choice was The Wizard Of Oz.

I prefer the film when it changes to colour which is as Dorothy lands in Oz and finds herself in a place she did not want to be. She was very keen to get home and the advice she was given was to 'follow the yellow brick road'. Dorothy did as she was advised and followed the yellow brick road and eventually it led home. Along the way she made some strange yet wonderful friends but she also faced one or two difficulties. Dorothy kept focused on finding her way home and even though the witch kept on after Dorothy, she did not give up and eventually, with the help of her new friends, she defeated the wicked witch.

Dorothy persevered and although it is just a story, it encourages me. Sometimes all I need to do is just take another step and follow the path ahead. I am not able to see what is coming but I know that each step will be a step closer to where I am meant to be.

There is a song I like to listen to by Steven Curtis Chapman and it is called 'Take Another Step'. It says that I should 'walk by faith and not by sight'. Dorothy had no idea what lay ahead on this unusual yellow brick road yet she took another step and another step...I can do that too. I can simply take another step. There are likely to be bumps in the road but there are sure to be surprises round the corner too! Dorothy was not expecting that following the yellow brick road would bring the friendship, encouragement and joy of meeting the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the cowardly Lion.

As I take another step who knows what might meet me round the corner? Goodness? Blessings? If I am looking for them, believing in them, if I am lifting my gaze then I am certain that I will find them.

So tomorrow as the sun and the new day come I will choose to trust God and take another step...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Looking Forward

September for me often seems like a new beginning, maybe because it is the start of a new school year it feels like time to begin again, another new year. This September has very much been the start of a new chapter as my youngest has started school, so routines have changed again. I had anticipated that I would feel quite lost with her at school full time but life has been so busy I have hardy had time to notice! Although when there is a spare moment, it seems far too quiet!

Over the last month I have said, on numerous occasions, that I can't believe how quickly this last year has gone. When I look back and think about certain things happening, I can't believe it was a year ago. I can't believe it was a year ago that God told me that something big was about to happen in my life as He gave me a picture of a wave crashing to the shore. 

In January, I gave a lot of thought to the title of my blog and felt it was right for that title to be 'With Every Sun Comes A New Day'. I could sit here and go back over the past year and ask why? But that would bring nothing new, it would take me nowhere. If I keep looking over my shoulder I am pretty certain that I will be going in the wrong direction!  
As I look forward to each new day I am looking forward to a new beginning. What opportunities has God got in store for me today? How might I be a blessing to others and how might I be blessed? 

I know it isn't always easy to be enthusiastic about the day ahead, however if I view the day as another opportunity to do things the right way, to be thankful, to be excited about the newness of the day...a day that has never been trod before.

So today, it will be my intention to look forward. I may glance back over my shoulder, but I will not dwell, instead I will do my best to learn from the days that I have trod not so well.
As I walk this new day, I shall stand on the promise that God will bring good and at the end of the day I know that there will be at least one good thing I can say thank you for.

'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.'
Romans 8:28 (New International Version)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

All The Fun Of The Fair!

I am very blessed with my family and it is great that we are fortunate to all live close by each other. Once a year in the summer holidays we enjoy an outing to the sea side and the fun fair. Yesterday was the day. Different plans had to be made because of the rain and special people were missing, however we made it to the fun fair, well two fun fairs, following four very excited children! And maybe one slightly excited teenager?!?!
We got wristbands for the cousins and a few tokens for the grown-ups who had to accompany the children on some of the rides!

We enjoyed the evening, rushing from ride to ride. There was some disappointment from not quite being tall enough...yet! But more enjoyment, many faces of wonder and smiles of achievement from going on the BIG rides!
We walked past the biggest, most thrilling ride - the one that takes you upside down, spins you round and completely lifts you out of your seat. Having been on it once before, I foolishly said, I love that one. My neice then suggests that we might like to go on it together! I reply that I can't as I have not got any tokens. My sister says, I have - use these ones!
I dither. My sensible head says NO! I can't do it, I'm nearly 40! I can't do it, I'm scared! However, at the same time, my not so sensible head says, You go girl! Do it - it will be amazing. You might not get the chance again.

So my sensible head lost and I went on the ride. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I think the whole of the fun fair heard my screams and when it finished I thanked my neice for taking me on the ride. 

I was so glad I did not talk myself out of it or give in to being scared. I had no idea how I would feel hanging 20 metres up in the air but I did not let the unknown stop me. In truth it felt exhilarating, my screams were with excitement, it was great to share the thrill with my neice and the view, even though upside down, was fantastic. 

How often do I miss such opportunities because I stick with the known, with what is safe because I am too scared to take a step in a different direction? 
How thankful was I that my sister gave me the tokens so I could appreciate the experience of the ride? 

Often I feel prompted to take a step in an unknown direction - to make a decision differently to how I have made it so many times before and like the ride, it has led to great blessings. It is not always instant like the thrill of the ride, but persevering in those unknown steps is leading to a better view. 

When the challenge comes to take those unknown steps I hope I am bold enough to not listen as I try to talk myself out of it, because as I take those unknown steps, and as you might take them also, there are...
...blessings of joy
...blessings of true relationships
...blessings of new views
                                             ...for us all to share in. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Better Choice

Last October when I watched 'The Croods' for the first time, the opening lines from Eep really touched me, especially the line, 'A hope that things will be better today than they were yesterday.' Over this past year, there have been many nights when I have thanked God for getting me to the end of the day and been hopeful that tomorrow would be a better day.

Would I, if it had been possible, avoided the day that I had just journeyed? I don't know? I know I would rather not face the pain and the hurt and the disappointment but on the flip side, I'm thankful for the precious moments I share with my children, my family and my friends and I'm thankful for the things I am learning about myself. Also, I know that if I went back over that day, there would be at least one blessing to be thankful for.

When I get up in the morning I have no idea what is going to come my way that day. I might plan to do certain things or go out to a particular place but really who knows what might happen? What I do know is that it is up to me how I respond to the different things that come my way. Things might happen that are not my choice but it is my choice how I react. I cannot and must not blame anyone else for the choices I make.

I make that choice and it might be that I react in the heat of the moment or it might be that I consider long and hard how I should respond. However the choice is made, it is my choice - no one else can be held responsible for the choices I make.

If I am honest, I make wrong choices and sometimes respond to things in the wrong way and because I get it wrong, I know I cannot criticise or judge others for the decisions and choices they make.
I suppose what I am trying to say is, that it is my choice as to whether 'things will be better today than they were yesterday'. I can make the more valuable choice to learn from the things I got wrong yesterday and use that experience to make today better.

It's a big ask to make the better choice and it is hard work but when you succeed it is so worthwhile in so many ways - ways that we may not even realise.

With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to walk good steps, to make meaningful choices whatever that new day may bring.

I can also, if I choose, walk into that new day in the confidence that I am not alone and that I never will be. I can hold on to the One who has already walked my new day and I can listen for the whisper of His direction and pause to consider His guidance and unfailing love which helps me to make the better choice.
'Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 
"This is the way; walk in it."'
Isaiah 30:21 (New International Version)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Do I Need To?

A few months ago I felt challenged to have a look at myself and the way I was living each new day. 
I don't think I was an out and out baddy but there were things I was doing that weren't great. 
I was looking inwards at my needs and what I wanted. I wasn't looking to those closest to me and seeing what they wanted. 
Life often leads us to believe it is about me, me, ME! But I felt challenged that I should be doing each new day differently. Maybe it is an upside down way of thinking but I have been learning to look to the needs of those closest to me. 

Often one of the children say to me, "Mummy can you come and do this?" My reply was often, "No because I need to do this!" 
Do I need to? 
Can it wait? 
Does it actually need to be done?

Probably not! Or at least it could wait because what could be more precious than spending a moment with one of the children, sharing a memory? 

I can also do this for others too, sharing moments with friends and families that then becomes memories to cherish. 
Or helping someone out just because I can because the 'something else' can wait. 

It's taking time, practise and a different way of thinking. I'm still learning and there are days when I still get it oh so wrong but I'm thankful for a God who is a God of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances, the God of the unlimited chances. He doesn't give up on me. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Some days...

Lately there have been some days when it would have been easier to stay in bed rather than face what the day might throw in my direction.

There have been days when I have got out of bed, got ready, made the children's lunches and then thought, instead of facing this new day, I'm going back to bed!

With every sun comes a new day and every new day I have made the better choice and chosen to face the day. I have then got to the end of the day, thankful that I have made it and thankful that this new day brought a smile, a happy moment, the sound of crazy laughter, the sharing of one good thing we have done, a hand to hold and a hug to be shared.

How amazing that even in life's lowest times there are glimpses of SO many blessings. When life hurts and is messy and mucky, God is faithful. He knows how to comfort us, He guides us and places wonderful people in our lives - just at the right moment.
In the chaos - be still and see how God blesses and provides.

With every sun comes a new day - it might not be the brightest day but there will be moments of beauty.

In making the better choice, I have made a better day...

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
Psalm 23 (New International Version)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Shared Moments

Earlier today I sat and watched my children playing and making new friends. There were no barriers or mindsets that got in the way. There was just acceptance.

If only I could be like that and not worry what I think people are thinking...because really I have no idea what is on their minds.
What if when I meet up with someone I was to accept things at face value rather than looking for hidden meanings or trying to read between the lines.

The children play, chat, have fun, make up games and simply share a moment of each other's lives...

What if I started each new day looking for those encounters with the people I meet? Simply enjoying the planned meetings with people and seeing it as a privilege to share that moment of that person's life.
Then looking for the blessing of a new encounter...looking to that shared moment as a chance to give something to someone else.

Watching the children challenged me. Do I limit shared moments because I come with so many expectations? If I had the courage to change my mindset so I become like my children and approach these encounters with no expectations I believe these shared moments would be something like this...

...a time to encourage, to build, and to uplift opportunity to love others as we would want to be loved ourselves
...a chance to value a person and to see them as the wonderful creation that they are investment in a relationship that may lead to many blessings through shared moments.

It will require me to be bold and brave. It will take practise as it means I have to let go of my wants, wishes and desires and put someone else's first...but I know it will be worth it as I saw that in my children's faces today.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
John 15:12 (New International Version)

Monday, 11 May 2015

Waiting To Reach Down

I have just been to see the new Avengers film – it was great! I enjoy getting into the storyline and getting to know the characters, trying to decide whether they are goodies or baddies! The graphics are amazing and have somewhat improved since the days of watching The Incredible Hulk on a Saturday tea time.

The battle scenes are so real and effective that you almost feel you are there fighting with them. I know I winced more than once as Captain America’s shield took out the enemy and when it got tough for the Avengers, I was willing them on to keep going and not give up. 

Each of the Avengers has a quality, a strength that they bring to the team and together they save the day. 

Watching the film and seeing the Avengers in battle as they fight for the greater good gives me a picture of what God is like. When I need God's help, I can call out to Him and straight away He responds - the Avengers also had a link to each other and, without giving the film away, Iron Man was able to call on Thor exactly when he needed him. Yet, it is even better with God because He is all of those qualities (and more) in One. 

"I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. … He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet… He soared on the wings of the wind... Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them…He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters." 
Psalm 18:6-16 (New International Version)

I think it is amazing that God wants to reach down and rescue me. I can almost feel the power with which He does it and I can almost see it as I saw people being rescued in the film. How precious must I be to God...must you be to God...if He will move the heavens just so He can reach down and take hold of us? He is just waiting for us to call.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Don't Look Down...Look Up!

What do I see when I look down? My feet!

If I keep my head down and just look at my feet, my view is blinkered. I will only see where my feet are going. I miss seeing where I could be taken if I looked up!

What do I see when I look up...?
...sunshine and blue skies
...a child's smiling face
...a hand held out to help
...a heart to hold me

I look up and I see BLESSINGS!

If I keep my focus downward I will, without a doubt, miss out on so many blessings. Yet if I look up, without a doubt, it will only take a moment to see so many blessings.

With every sun comes a new day, and with that same certainty I can say that with every new day come new blessings. If I am looking down at my feet I will only see my feet and where they are taking me. I will miss out on what the new day brings.
Lifting my head to look up will show me where I could be taken, it will show me the wonder of a new day.
If I look up I will see the good God has for me. I will see all that I have been blessed with. I will see new opportunities to share the blessings that I have. I will see a brighter day.

"I look up to the mountains, does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever."
Psalm 121 v 1-2 & 7-8 (New Living Translation)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Keep Climbing!

Shall I get out of bed or stay snuggled up and warm? Which jeans - blue or black? Do I put nutella or marmite on my bagel? Do I stand my ground and insist the children have milk on their cereal or do I give in and let them go without today?
I've only been up for half an hour but these and many more decisions have already been made! 

Choices...if I counted the different choices I made each day, I wonder how many there would be? Hundreds! The majority of them will be quite insignificant and in my head I will have answered them before I even finish asking myself! Some of them will be slightly more challenging and will take some time to ponder over. Others will be big decisions to make, maybe ones that I didn't even have any idea were coming my way...then it can feel like a huge mountain needs climbing. 

Although if I consider how things look from the top of that mountain...WOW! What a change in perspective! What a wonderful view! 
If I am faced with a big choice that I know is going to be hard, I may well choose not to climb that mountain and instead choose to take the easier route and walk round the mountain. What view will I then miss out on? 
However, if I choose to stand strong and decide to tackle that mountain, it isn't going to be an easy climb. I might lose my footing along the way, the cloud may descend as I near the top and it will be tiring but when I reach the top...what a view, what beauty!! I will be seeing things I will not have imagined - although I imagine it will take my breath away! 

Whatever the choice...big, small or somewhere in between...there is always help available to make that choice. When facing mountains or even just a bump in the road, I can look to my own strength and make the choice but this may well mean I miss out on a better view. 
Then again, I could face the bump (be it big or small) from a far better standing. If I choose to stand with God as I make these choices, I stand in love, encouragement, hope, security and success...the view from the top will be AMAZING!

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8 (New International Version)

Friday, 13 February 2015

Love is...

There are quite a few things around us at the moment to make us think of love. In the shops, on the TV, on the radio...but why should Valentine's Day be so associated with love? Why do we make such a big thing about love on February 14th? Do we limit ourselves to show love on just one day of the year?

I don't really think that's the case but take a minute to think...what if everyday I put as much effort into loving someone as I might on Valentine's Day? What if I purposely decided to tell someone or show someone how much I loved them every single day? 

I'm sure we all have someone who springs to mind when we think about love. Some of us might be fortunate enough to have lots of people spring to mind. 

So if I took time each day to think of someone who I could show love to...(and I am not talking about romantic love!) what a difference that would make. I wouldn't do it for something in return, it would be because it is good for our souls to know we are loved. It could be something as simple as a hug, or a note to say thank you, or a word of encouragement, or a meal or a cake, or the gift of time. 

Why though? Why should I take my time to give to someone else when I don't get anything in return?
It's simple really...because life should be all about love. 

'Let love be your greatest aim.'
1 Corinthians 14:1 (Living Bible)

I can choose to influence my world, the paths I tread, the days I live...and so can you.
With every sun comes a new day and the chance to choose love...

Friday, 30 January 2015

Each New Day, Each New Moment...

Knowing we are loved can bring an unexpected smile to our faces. Sometimes my little boy will walk past me and say, 'love you mum' for no reason and with no prompt...just because!
It fills me up and I don't smile, I beam! So much is gained from those 3 little words.

Yet sometimes it doesn't take long to forget that I am loved and instead I listen to the more critical voice in my head telling me that I am not good enough or that no-one would say 'love you' if they really knew what I was like.
Why do I let these thoughts enter my head? Why do I listen? Because I am human and because I think I am not good enough.

Each day, each moment I have a choice to make...I let these thoughts win and even though these thoughts are not a reality, I will believe them and they will shape who I am.

OR, each day, each moment, I make a better choice...I choose to know and believe that I am loved. I choose to believe that I am surrounded by a love that will never stop...a love that delights in me...a love that never forsakes...a love that heals...a love that gives without measure.

"You are precious and honoured in my sight...I love you."
Isaiah 43:4 (New International Version)

Each new day, each new moment I choose to stand strong knowing that I am loved by a God who knows me inside and out AND He still loves me inside and out.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

What Have You Got To Do Today?

A new day dawns, the to-do list is long and I don't know about you but when considering all that needs to be done, I often feel that I am the only person that can do it and do it properly...and by properly I mean that I have set my standards too high!

In doing this I have either set myself unachievable tasks or felt like a failure because I have expected too much of myself. 

Why do I do this? Why do I try to do everything my way and all by myself? Is it because I want to be seen as a Supermum? A Domestic Goddess? Is it because I want someone to notice what I do and say, 'Well done, you are doing a great job'?

So when the new day dawns, what about looking at the to-do list with different standards? 

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."
Lamentations 3:21-24(New International Version)

If we begin the day covered in hope, love, compassion, faithfulness and opportunity we begin the day with promise. We can choose to stand on the solid foundations of God's great love and believe that God wants good for us. Then we can measure our day knowing we will achieve and accomplish rather than measuring our failings. 

As the new day dawns, the to-do list is long and I don't know about you but this new day I am going to try something different and I am not going to do it alone...I am going to do it surrounded by God's great love and this love doesn't expect me to tells me I am doing a great job!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

With Every Sun Comes A New Day

"With every sun comes a new day. A new beginning. A hope that things will be better today than they were yesterday." 

The above is the opening quote from the film 'The Croods'. Eep is the daughter of the last family of Caveman...she is not very happy with her life and dreams of 'new beginnings' that never seem to come, but her story is of how her world changed in an instant to something she never expected or imagined.

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history, 
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (The Message)

A few months ago somebody asked me what my dream was and I said I would like to write a book. What have I done since then to realise my dream...nothing? Until today! If I listen to myself then I will limit what I can achieve but if I listen to God, who by the way wants to dream big with each of us, my dream can be bigger than I can possibly imagine.

If we keep looking back again we will only measure what we can achieve on our past successes. However if we look to each new day as a brand new beginning, a path that has not yet been trod then we do not dampen that day with preconceived expectations...who know's what we can expect?!?
God knows and the verses from Isaiah tell us that He is excited about it too! 

As you step into a new day will you do it on your own or will you step with a God who has gone before you, with a God who will never leave you to do it on your own and "who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20 New King James Version).