Monday, 30 March 2009

Depression & Loneliness




"Depression is the inability to construct a future" - Rollo May

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" - Jeremiah 29:11

The Rollo May quote can be portrayed in so many different ways - you can feel like you are being swallowed into a black hole, lacking hope, vision, focus. You can feel immense sadness, loss, pain. Anyone who has ever suffered depression will know that it's not a 'one size fits all'.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Pain continued


I've just looked at my watch and it's 5am but really 6am as the clocks have gone forward! I've painted most of the night! I was on a roll - I tried to sleep at about 3 but my brain was buzzing so I got up again. David must really love me!! At least I have a wee studio room were I don't bother anyone. I may as well get a coffee as I'm at church in 3 hours - I'm still buzzing!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

PAIN




Starting a new series of paintings tonight (finally) and thinking about the title 'Pain'. Mental pain in the form of depression, sadness, lonliness. I dreamt about every image I wanted to portray (I even work in my sleep!!!) I've got the house nice and quiet (apart from the spectacular Annie Lennox) and I'm going to start...now x

FACEBOOK

Ok I'm sorry! I said I wouldn't get involved but one day this week I had some time (a rare commodity!) and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Well being the nosey person I am, I had a look. Though and behold a few hours later I'm all up and running as a fully fledged member and have photos posted and everything!!! I already see the benefits as I've connected to people I haven't seen in years - always nice to do at our time of life!
I'm not shouting it from the hill tops - I'm just quietly whispering 'Facebook rocks!' (for now!)

Friday, 27 March 2009

WHO SWITCHED OFF MY BRAIN?

I'm reading a fab book at the moment called 'Who Switched Off My Brain?' WOW! It's a real eye opener - solid research into how your brain works and practical tools to detox your mind. A MUST READ for every person who wants to stay healthy emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Bruxism and Sinus Problems!

Bruxism (that's teeth clenching to you) and my sinus infection has led to many sleepless nights. However, the good in all of it has been time to read, read and read!!! I love it. For those who know me well, I read about 15 books at any one time! - well I've just finished The Shack www.theshackbook.com (WOW) I so recommend it to everyone alive! I had to read it very slowly (which was so hard for me) because I sensed God wanted me to savour every paragraph (the way you would with Beligan Chocolate - the real stuff) The book is being sold in Tesco - so pick up a copy with your milk, eggs, butterbeans etc. You won't regret it - I promise x

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Seek God & Work Wholeheartly

Being in the right place with God beats everything else. Even with the stresses and strains going on in life, being in the right place with God can make everything seem right. That air of contentment. That knowledge of knowing that you are giving God your best.
THIS IS IT…BETTER IS ONE DAY IN YOUR COURTS THAN A THOUSAND ELSEWHERE.[Ps 84:10]

Would I really trade 1 day for 1000?
Would I rather be a doorkeeper in the House of God than be anywhere else that the world might offer?

You know what? I am probably guilty of saying ‘YES’ too easily to these kind of statements. Crossing the line marked YES but then looking for the option to back track. I am realising that you are either IN or you are OUT. In-between, sometimes, lukewarm, so-so, possibly, maybe - I’m not sure God enjoys hearing those sentiments.
2 Chronicles 31 tells us about King Hezekiah. He did right in the sight of the Lord.
v21
‘In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.’
Prosper=seek God+work wholeheartedly

To be wholehearted toward something is to show unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm. In other words ‘GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT!!’
I've been through periods of my life were I've been seeking God but not working with my whole heart and periods were I've been working away but forgot to seek God. Results and a deeper more intimate relationship with God comes from carrying out both. What do you think?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Follow the Wild Goose


The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then? I cannot say.

- J. R. R. Tolkien
What a journey we are on and only God knows what's round the corner. The early Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit the Wild Goose. It was a term of honour and
affection, for they knew that God cannot be tamed, and that if you follow his Spirit you will be led into adventure upon adventure. Look at Paul’s life.
A description Wendell Berry used of a character in one of his novels was this - “His wildness lay in his refusal – or inability – to lie within other people’s expectations.” He could have been describing God. You’ll find this description becomes more and more true of you as well, as you follow this God.

SNOW PATROL!!

This is the year of concerts for Dave & I!!! I'm taking him to see U2 in Dublin for his birthday this year (July) and he surprised me with Snow Patrol for Mothers Day! Snow Patrol was fantastic!!! 'Take Back The City' is such a prophetic song for us as a church (it fitted so well with my sermon yesterday!!!)
If anyone is feeling a little down or stressed my advice is ... get in the company of CAROLINE!!! She is on FIRE!! We prayed together last night and we were blown away with the power of God! I haven't felt like that in a long time - the presence of God was tangible right in my living-room! WOW

Saturday, 21 March 2009

A Big Kiss from Heaven!!!

Wow! why is it that when we pray to God, we get so amazed when he answers?! My prayer yesterday - answered big time this morning!!! I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting for Emily to finish her music lesson when suddenly, while watching a waitress clearing the tables, I started to cry. David was bewildered and I couldn't even explain what I was feeling. The waitress had a disability but was smiling away and talking to herself while she worked. Behind the counter were 3 other waitresses, talking and laughing with each other. I just felt her separation from the rest of the group and it struck painful memories within me - that feeling of not quite fitting in, of being on the outside of the fun, excluded. It may seem silly but this morning the emotions were so incredibly powerful. How can God ever heal what we don't allow ourselves to feel? It would have been so easily to swallow the pain and get on with my day. Thankfully I took the time with Dad and allowed myself to trust his acceptance, the fact that he will never leave me on the outside, and the amazing truth that he wants me to enjoy his fun.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Who do you agree with?

I really love our church!! We have been through some incredible times together especially during the last few years. I've just come home from Sharon & William's house after being so pampered and I'm overwhelmed by God's ability to heal my heart and memories, again & again. My past is full of people disappointing me - my expectations of them way off the scale - that I've quietly made some agreements with the enemy to hold on to my heart and protect it. Sure, I've looked loving and open on the outside but lately God has been showing me that there are still little corners of my heart in darkness, dusty, unused. Why? Because, like everyone else, I don't want to get hurt (my heart has had some terrific wounding over the years) When we agree with the enemy, we enter into some seriously murky waters. Be careful of the agreements you can make in your heart. I've been praying... Lord here is my heart in it's entirety, I trust you with all my wounds knowing your desire is to set me free, I break off all agreements with the enemy and I choose to agree with you - that you are the protector of my heart, I will give my love generously and liberally without fear.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Remain in Me

One of the things God is teaching me is how to stay in Christ. “Remain in me,” Jesus says in John 15, the implication being we can choose not to remain in him; we wander off. If God has to implore us to stay in him, then he knows it is quite possible not to. How do we wander off? I think one chief means is speculation and worry.

We let our thoughts run out ahead of us. “What’s this going to be like? How tough will the battle be? How am I going to handle the staff meeting tomorrow?” Stuff like that. Some of it might just be eager anticipation; some of it is apprehension. But whatever the form, speculation is not a good thing. It moves me out of Christ in this very moment. He is not leading my speculations. I am. Or my fear is.

I forget the source of the quote, but I read somewhere that a coward faces his battles twice – once in his apprehensions and fears as he anticipates them, the other when he must face the battle itself. It is a very draining thing spiritually. And so I am learning to face my battles once. I’m not going to think about the difficulties of tomorrow. I am going to stay with God today, and what today is about.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Constructing our character

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
- Helen Keller
"Good character is more to be praised that outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece--by thought, choice, courage, and determination."
- John Luther
"You can not dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself [into] one."
- James A. Froude

Fabulous quotes!
Leading a truly exceptional life beyond imagination comes from recognising and focusing on what is important in life. It is important to God that we develop the qualities of his nature (fruit of the spirit) and these qualities are already inside of us. We find ourselves seeking that God will move powerfully through us (which is ok) as He has made available to us special endowments of supernatural energy – spiritual gifts. The same Scripture passages that tell us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts also tell us that there is a still more excellent way. That more excellent way is love.
Mat 14:14 shows an example of how the gifts and love work together.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
We see First in Jesus the fruit of the Spirit “love” in the form of compassion, before we see Him move in a gift of the Spirit “healings”. First we see the fruit, then the gift.
Jesus said…the tree is known and recognised and judged by its fruit. We are known by our fruit, not by our gifts.
People are hungry and they are looking for something real. When people taste the fruit in us and see that it is good, they will want to find the Source of this fruit – this tree of life. God has given us gifts to help people, and we can use the gifts He has made available to us to a certain extent without having developed the fruit. People may see the gifts operating in us, but most of the time they look closer, inspecting our fruit to see whether it is good before opening themselves up to receive from us.
The Bible says that we are letters of Christ read by all men. We are the credentials of the ministry in which we’ve grown. We can begin to develop the fruit by simply making little choices throughout the day that display the fruit through our actions.
It's a daily challenge to me, how about you?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Out of the mouth of babes


My daughter Emily (10 years old) has taught me more about the nature of God than anyone I know. She has been such an encouragement to me and says the most profound things at times! I remember when she was little she had a dream that Jesus came to her on a horse, scooped her up and looked at her with sparkly eyes! She is going through a real hungering stage in her journey with God at the moment - she takes her Bible with her to school and reads it to her class! She is amazing x

Friday, 13 March 2009

A Grief Observed


Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
There's a quote worth thinking about. It's especially relevant to me at the moment as my family are experiencing tremendous grief due to the death of my cousin. How do you comfort someone in those painful throes of suffering? What words will bring some comfort to those who feel as if they've had their very heart ripped out of their chest?
All I know for sure is this...The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -- Psalm 34:18

On top of the world

Can't sleep!!!

It's one of those nights when God has been chatting away and I'm too excited to back to sleep! makes me think of David (King) and how all through the Psalms he finds himself contemplating God's goodness in the midst of even the most extreme circumstances. He would often go without sleep, food, luxuries in the search of God's voice. It's a search well rewarded because God has promised when we seek Him, we will find Him!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Wonder of Worship

Sometimes in worship we think too ‘small’. We be should realising that, in reality, we join with millions and millions. So often we think far too small - and miss out on the incredible truth of what’s really occurring. Every single time we gather to worship God, we don’t just join with a choir of tens or hundreds. We accompany the whole host of heaven, the song of all creation and the choir of the redeemed who lift up an anthem to the Almighty throughout the nations. We focus in on the four walls surrounding us, and that becomes our reality. We see and hear a group of people in or out of tune with each other - sometimes passionate, at other times a little apathetic. And that becomes our whole reality. But there is a bigger picture to be seen. However small or large a gathering, however in or out of tune we are musically, we are joining with the eternal flow of praise that rise every moment before the very throne of God. Short of God’s own voice, it is the greatest sound in all history.

Take a moment to put the sound of this worshipping choir into perspective. Imagine every language you’ve ever heard. Every accent and dialect. Every beautiful vocal sound. Add to that every harmony and every crowd, every choir, every large gathering. As these voices blend into one in your imagination, they are just the tiniest ripple of what is to come. One day every tribe and tongue will join this song. Multitudes and multitudes of passionate worshippers. Add now the sounds of all creation – every birdsong you ever woke to, every ocean wave you heard reach shore, every clap of thunder, every wild animal roar - and every time you experienced a wind whistling through the trees. Blend this sound with those cries of the nations, and the orchestration begins to take shape. Yet it is still a mere whisper. Even in our wildest imaginations we still hear merely in part. Now come the melodies and harmonies of the heavens - ten thousand times ten thousand angels in joyful assembly, and those strange living creatures speaking ceaseless praise,

This is the big picture – the true biblical perspective of what worship really looks like - and will look like - before the heavenly throne. we must somehow hear beyond the sounds and harmonies flowing within the four walls of the building we worship in, and attune our hearts to this grand eternal flow of praise.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are you living with 'mission' in mind?

This has been one of the most exciting times in the history of Word of Faith. I know I echo so many of your hearts when I say how privileged I feel to be here in this place, at this time.
Doors are opening for our church! Why? Because we are finally starting to believe that we are the keys to open these doors. Gone are the days when we sat down or stood back waiting for someone else to unlock the dream. More and more of us are seeing ourselves as a vital key turning person – a person who finds the lock they fit into and unlocks the dream.
Alpha, Significance, Sat Nite Live, are some of the doors that have opened that are close to my heart, because they’ve opened up mission opportunities for our church.
With so much going on in our everyday lives, it’s easy to become distracted and forget that we are here on this earth to complete a mission – to introduce people to Jesus. I find it so challenging co-ordinating the Alpha course, because it keeps the real purpose of my life at the forefront of my mind, reminding me I’ve a job to do. We have a job to do – mission is a door all of us can fit into and unlock.
Not all of us are going to be on the Worship Team (although you all know I try with all my might! I even wrote a song!!), not all of us are going to have a platform ministry, not all of us are great administrators. But all of us have been made for a mission – to be a messenger of God’s goodness to others.
We’ve been able to share extensively with the women at Significance and see God melt their hearts. There is nothing greater in this life! When I think about the things I’ve accomplished – obtaining an Honours Degree, getting my driving licence (I think they made a mistake – has anyone ever been in a car with me?!), having a job as a teacher, getting married, having a baby, buying a house, all the things I’m involved in at church, preaching and teaching – none of it…not one of these things fills me with the same joy, excitement, passion and drive as seeing someone come face to face with Jesus!!! It’s intoxicating, invigorating, infectious…the experience of actually doing it, motivates me to do it more!
Fulfilling the mission we were made for will require us to abandon our agendas and adjust to God’s agenda. King David prayed, “Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours”. What a great request although I know that the big question really comes down to this, “Am I willing to be used by God?”
Maybe you’ve believed that you needed a special "call" from God, and you’ve been waiting for some supernatural feeling or experience, but God has already stated his call repeatedly. We’re all called to fulfil God’s five purposes for our lives: to worship, to fellowship, to grow like Christ, to serve, and to be on mission with God in the world. God doesn’t want to use just some of his people; he wants to use all of his people. We’re all called to be on-mission for God. He wants his whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
If we want to be like Jesus, we must care about what he cares about most; we must have a heart for the whole world! Jesus wants all his lost children found. The Great Commission is our commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance. Jesus said, "Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live!" There is no greater joy, there is no greater purpose, and there is no greater meaning in life than to lead someone to Jesus. We have been made for this mission. This is the purpose - driven life!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Significance - Life without Limits


Wow! What a weekend I have experienced! I couldn't even begin to write about how I felt about the event, as it was just breath-taking! I was so proud of our church - just a small group of ordinary people who put together a conference that was excellent, prophetic and overflowed with love. My heart was swollen with thankfulness that God used us all in an amazing way. I'm waffling on, I know, but I am truly grateful to be joined to a great group of believers who have such teachable spirits. Well break-time is over, time to get back to my beautiful class. Oh, and I was so moved by Emily and Jude praying out yesterday! Next generation - WOW!!!

Friday, 6 March 2009

First ever blog!!!

Everyone's doing it, so I don't want to be left behind! Perhaps i will be the only one who ever reads it - how sad!