Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Growing in His Grace

This morning I was led back to Him. I'm learning to return back to Him and to run towards Him ferociously. I've learnt that I can barely do a day without Him and while dependence on someone is not encouraged, dependence on Him is not a weakness but something that gives you strength, rather than taking parts of you and then breaking them because people fail He keeps every part of You and in Him there's no better place to be.

Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking we can do life solely on our own but our hearts were made to love, to love people and it longs for community which means interaction which means getting to know people, loving their imperfections and being a reflection of what and who Jesus is all about.

I want to share a little bit of what's been on my heart lately and I love being candid with what I'm going through and although I am a little wary online and how different things can be interpreted this whole idea of being real with people, being honest with people is something I've really struggled with.

I don't know whether it's British culture (granted, that's a bit of an overgeneralisation) to not talk about your problems, your struggles or whether it's a pride thing. You see I've been really struggling with the idea of not being perfect. I used to view it in a way that I knew in my mind was unattainable but in my heart I longed so deperately after it. My longing to be spotless and without blemish in the Lord's eyes, there's no bad thing about it, if anything that's a great motivation to be ruthless with sin. However when my longing to be spotless and without blemish in man's eyes overrode that, that's when I realised that a God thing had become a bad thing.

I used to want people to get at least the impression that I didn't deal with anything when in reality there have been days where I've felt so ashamed in His presence that I couldn't even bring myself to come before Him with what I'd done. Now, cue the minds of you, the wonderful person reading this, to think "what are the sins that she goes through?" hopefully in not a bid to judge me, though our flesh may sometimes want to, but in a bid to understand my way of thinking and in a hope that maybe you can relate to my struggles and my failings because we're all going through something no matter how big or how small, we are always going through something, we will always struggle with something this side of heaven. Does this mean that we just give up? No, because He died for so much more than us giving up, if anything His death and resurrection should not be undermined by what we feel, what we want to do and how we ourselves perceive our own sin. 

Giving up is easy but only temporarily, to follow Jesus and to trust in Him to change you, to refine you on your walk with Him despite being wrecked by sin, when you come to a true understanding of just how important He is and should be in your life and how much of an incredible impact He has had on your life is even more of an incentive to give Him glory despite our failings. He is there in the process, He is there in your weakness, He is there when your shame feels greater than His presence, He is there when you think you've reached the end of yourself and when you don't feel like there's enough grace for Him to reach out to you. He is there and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is constant and unchanging. There has never been a moment in your God-breathed life that He has loved you less,  He has always loved you with an everlasting love, a steadfast love an incredible incomprehensible love that knows no bounds.

We can choose to step into His love or we can choose to stay drenched in shame, guilt and overcome by our sin.

It's a concept that can be really hard to accept, it can be a constant process of asking Him to remind us of His mercy and grace and how He died so that we may be free. To live for Him, to serve Him and to love Him with every fibre of our being. We are constantly growing in grace, growing in His love, growing in compassion what will your decision be?

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Knowing Your Worth

I typed out the title of this blog post wordering whether or not I remembered my own worth. 

Sometimes we find our worth in things, vanity, relationships, friendships, likes on social media, our hobbies or our interests. For me I've tried to find my worth in the way I've looked, the way I've acted, the way I've interacted with people, I've based it in comparison to other people and I've tried time and time again to fix myself up in order to disguise the pain of feeling unworthy and guilty and shameful but time and time again I am led back to one thing that holds me altogether even when I feel like I'm falling apart, that one thing is Jesus.

Jesus who calls me worthy, Jesus who died hanging on the cross and still called me worthy, Jesus who looks straight into my soul, my spirit and all that I am drenched in sin and calls me worthy. 

I'm writing this post as a reminder to not only you, you beautiful soul but also to myself. You see my worth's taken a recent kick in my side and I've questioned every single part of my body, examined every part of my personality, done the whole, what have they got that I don't have and what have I got that they don't have. I've looked for affirmation laced in other peoples words and measured up my worth against them but you see the cycle keeps on going. There are on days and off days where I have to keep reminding myself of my worth and everything that Jesus calls me to be. It can be a constant monthly, weekly, daily, hourly reminder. Sometimes I can be so consumed in my own thoughts that I think myself sick, to the point of tears, to the further point of ugly crying into the sky (or a pillow) and pleading, begging the Lord to help me, mould me and change my unhealthy way of thinking. 

Normally I would write a conclusion to my blog posts, to recentre my own thoughts as I write them and gather them after having scrambled them all onto a page but today I just want to leave it at this: knowing my worth is a process, sometimes we can know it in our head and sometimes it doesn't reach our hearts. Head to heart knowledge is important and I'm in that process now. That process of being taught and disciplined by the Lord who knows exactly what is best for me. So after crying my eyes out to Alex G's song Everything and Alessia Cara's song Scars To Your Beautiful - I didn't have any words to say to the Lord, all I wanted to do was cry and that's all I had in me in that moment and maybe just maybe my tears, in that exact moment, spoke so much more louder than my words could ever say.

But I don't feel like I should end this blog post that way, a conclusion can be even more important than how I start this so let me try again. 

Your worth is not dependant on what a boy says to you, your worth is not dependant on what you see in the mirror, what you eat, what you wear, how you are, whether you have it all together or are crumbling and breaking inside - despite what you're feeling your worth is dependant on an eternal, most high King, a King fiercely and passionately in pursuit of your love and your attention. He sings your beauty over Him and our beauty is found solely in Him. He remains the same yesterday, today and forever, the only thing unchanging and knowing your worth in this way, well, it changes everything. 

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ... " - Matthew 6:25-34

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. - Isaiah 43:4

Sunday, 3 July 2016

TRAVEL: Escape and Pray - getting there

On the 17th of June I woke up at 4am, now normally I would protest to waking up this early in the day especially as I made the choice of going to sleep at 1am a few hours before but today I was waking up to embark on an unknown journey and I was so ready. So 4am, come at me. 

I dragged my sleeping body to the bathroom, washed, dressed and brushed my teeth. I wasn't as hungry as I thought I was, which is strange because I'm always hungry. After putting on a mascara, eyeliner, lipstick and eyebrow powder I put my glasses on slung my vibrant coloured and patterned Accessorize backpack over my shoulders and went outside to meet my mum at the glorious hour of 5:15am.

We drove all the way to London Stanstead Airport as the world was waking up, I glanced around wondering what all of these cars were doing up. Now I've only really been in airports in the last two years, in that time I've been in quite a few however the difference today was that I had no idea where I was going. 

Me and three other friends from my home church in Portsmouth were going to take part in something called Escape and Pray run by Fusion we were 1 of the 100 teams flying out in this month and our mission was simply this:  pray for the university, connect with the church and use our faith to improvise & be ready to be used by God.

I viewed it as a wonderful and exciting way to exercise my faith. In a situation that forces me to be used for His glory and to trust in Him completely. 

Now, in all honesty I hadn't really prepared, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to prepare I just wanted Him to use me and maybe reveal a few things in my heart, maybe some attitudes and actions that I'd been doing previously so that he could incite change into me. So in a place where I was protected by comfort and the noise but where it would be just me and Him and me discovering more about His character and His provision. This was to be an unforgettable adventure.

I arrived at the airport first, there weren’t many people there as I expected but there was still a bustle, an excited bustle that stag parties and families created. I was in search for breakfast and once we found a place that did a killer sausage sandwich and tea, I hugged goodbye to my mum and greeted Rhiannon with a huge hug. Together we ate breakfast, talked about our adventure and life up until now. Our excitement was tangible and as our group leader Naomi joined us with the envelope we waited for our fourth member Sabrina so that we could open it.

Naomi gave us our Escape and Pray t-shirts and no joke, mine was really small despite buying a large (sorry Fusion but your sizing’s are out a bit –still love you though).

I suppose by this point you’d want to ask me what on earth I would pack for such an adventure and not only am I queen of packing at the last minute (not a good thing) I’ll tell you that I actually over packed by a LOT.

Here’s what I brought with me:

·         A large sweater
·         Black long Bardot top
·         Escape and Pray T-shirt
·         A patterned dress
·         Red patterned skort
·         2 pairs of black leggings
·         3 pairs of socks, 4 pants
·         Roll-on deodorant
·         Toothbrush and toothpaste
·         Mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow powder, 1x Nyx lipgloss
·         Mini dove shower gel, mini Simple moisturiser
·         Make-up wipes
·         Bible
·         Notepad
·         Pen
·         Headphones
·         Raincoat
·         Trainers
·         Flip-flops
·         Towel

Yes, I over packed. I didn’t wear the patterned dress, I had knickers and socks left over and I didn’t even need my towel either. My bag was constantly heavily but I used everything else (justified).
So here it was, the shiny orange envelope that enveloped (get it) our destination, challenges and money. I filmed it, the video should be at the end of this blog post.


We had about an hour and a half to go until we had to board our flight so we prayed before we got in contact with people. We prayed that His will be done, for His provision, an increase in faith and thankfulness to be able to do this opportunity.

We made a Facebook status of our destination and we asked anyone with contacts if they could get in contact with us. I tweeted multiple churches in Aarhus and I came across a website called International Harvest Christian Center and e-mailed Pastor Frank who had a church in Aarhus. Naomi had recently watched a film entitled The Last Reformation and their church was located in Denmark also so we sent an e-mail out to them also.

This was my first time on a Ryanair flight although the plane was small it reminded me of the first plane I was on last year with Easyjet. The plane ride was short, admiring the clouds from above and watching the world wake up below was always wonderful and everything about our plane journey ran smoothly. An hour or so later, we arrived on Denmark soil...

To be continued...

Friday, 1 July 2016

TRAVEL: A few date Ideas for Summer!

Summer is officially here and although if you had told me that I would be in a relationship the summer after second year I would've been like "yeah, right". But here I am, writing a summer date ideas post. I apologise for my absence! If you're stuck for ideas of what to do, regardless of your relationship status, grab your girlfriends/boyriends and get to reading these activities that you can do! 

Sky Garden 

I had always heard of Sky Garden but seeing as I didn't really frequent London other activities seemed to surpass it. Finding the walkie talkie building was easy enough, we simply saw it and followed streets to get to it. We determined our proximity to it by glancing up into the sky to see if we could still see it. When we arrived we got confused about how to get in, completely ignoring the long line of people waiting to get in. This sky garden must be popular then? We went at around 1:15 and although the line looked long we were in the lift in no time. When I saw the lift number go up to floor 35 I was freaking out. So fast as well, my ears were popping all about the place! 

Upon walking out onto the sky garden you are captivated by the view. You see London does a pretty good job of making you feel really small but from up there, when your eyes adjust to the brightness London itself seems small. It's breathtaking looking upon such a renowned city laced with incredible history and having it seem so small.

Next stop, food. I'm telling you guys, everything is so Pinterest, it's great. But, as you may figure, expensive. I bought a chocolate doughnut and Tariq bought a chocolate Brownie. And oh my goodness, they were both so mouth-wateringly delicious, I salivated to the point of embarassment. When we finished up every last crumb of those beautiful baked goods we went outside to really grasp the windswept look and have a bit of a vertigo moment as we stared down the vastness of the building we were on. 

Inside you are able to view various plants and trees and wonderful green things that go up each side of the venue. You are able to walk up the stairs to see London from all sides. At the top of the stairs we found a bench to sit on opposite the beautiful cityscape and we played eye-spy like adults. 

So, you only get an hour but honestly an hour is enough, although it was easy to lose track of time with him, you're also concious that you might be breaking Sky Garden's law of the land by outstaying your welcome. So after admiring the views and eating pastries we left and explored London in search of affordable food. 

I understand that a picnic in a park can be done almost everywhere within England. But there was something about lying down in this particular park surrounded by streets and places which he called home, talking about life and basically everything while watching the sky. Something that I wasn't used to in this particular sky was vast amount of planes that passed by all at once. At most I saw about five at one time. Which was fascinating to me because where I live, I see at most one at a time and from a very long distance away. So grab a picnic blanket, some sandwiches, crisps, a frisbee, uno and brace yourself for conversation and plane watching. 

I have been so so very blessed this year to be introduced to the amazing world of musical theatre. After watching Wicked I wanted to see so many more. So while I was down in London this time we were able to see Guys and Dolls and it was incredible. I'm still captivated by the sheer determination that they have to go through to do shows back to back and still sing like it was the last show they'd ever do. I was hooked on the plotline, the songs, the love story throughout it all. I even got annoyed at the fact we had an interval!

One of my favourite things to look at when I go to the theatre is admire the band in the pit. The conductor of this particular band also played the keyboard..while conducting. A professional to say the least, and I was in awe. Like I always am with musical talent like that. So despite the theatre costing a lot of money, what you're paying for is so worth it. Help support them and their craft!

I have been here once before for Hillsong London's 10th Anniversary which was a while ago and I'm pretty sure they've done it up a lot since I was last here. We visited their cinema and watched the live action Jungle Book movie. We also noticed there was an offer on the back of our ticket for a burger place called Byron - Proper Hamburgers. Originally we planned to go to Gourmet Burger Kitchen but it was still so so yummy. Upon leaving Byron's we looked for other things to do, we noticed they had bowling but bowling as a show, a rock show. Which was awesome. However we decided to just head home. The surrounding areas of the O2 Arena are also wonderful to explore so I would suggest just roaming about the place and people-watching. 


I could never tire of exploring an area, His beauty can be seen in everything and sometimes it requires stepping out and searching for it. Plus walking grants a wonderful opportunity to talk and admire the God's creation together. 

The Beach

If you live near the beach this is perfect for a date idea because you can dip your toes in the sea, try and push each other into the sea, have sandcastle/fortress competitions, build sandcastles together and skim stones. All of these are exactly what we did, we've been to the beach everytime time he's come down to mine and we always end up doing just that. 

Whatever you end up doing with your boyfriend/girlfriend it's so important to spend that time cherishing one another, having conversations that are happy and that can also be tough. It's a time to get to know each other and see each other in different situations. Enjoy the blessing that a relationship can bring so that you create wonderful memories. Also thank the Lord that you are able to have this, to experience this and give everything to Him. When He is at the core of your being that is when you know that regardless, whatever happens between you and your relationships, life, its hardships you can lie firm in the fact that He holds you and calls you His love, first and foremost.