Honest Expression

God really loves our honest expression. The truths in our hearts and the way we choose to live these out. 

So often when we open up our hearts and are really real, something comes along to try and shut us down. Accusations, someone pointing out our flaws, mockery, disdain, rejection…

We have a choice about how we will respond. And it’s so natural to close up! To get hurt and so respond by putting up walls, building pride or judgment and holding pain, resentment, unforgiveness. But God so gently beckons us to come to Him and be real with Him because He promises not to judge us. 

The wicked watch the righteous, and seek to kill them. The Lord will not forsake them to their hand, nor condemn them when they are judged. Psalm 37:32-33

We just need to let Him in, be real with Him, release our hold on those self-defences and let Him restore us again. 

Continue in our honest and heartfelt expression. 

The Substance of Absence

I’m gonna be really raw and honest here. Just a quick health warning. 

‘Fear is the substance of things not hoped for.’

I read the above in a book that God clearly highlighted for me to buy this weekend. It made me stop in my tracks. 

Fear is the substance of things *not* hoped for. 

For a long time, actually as long as I can remember, I have struggled with social anxiety. At times it has been so bad I have basically been a recluse. I would feel this state of panic stepping out the front door, I would freeze at the thought of speaking to people and I would quickly spiral into a state of depression and inadequacy. 

Other times I would have some relief, either some self-medicated solution (hide behind someone else, hide behind a facade, hide behind my self-efforts…) – actually yea, hiding came into it big time – or I would receive some freedom in prayer and ministry…

But I have never seemed to be able to fully maintain it. 

The thing is – if I’m totally honest – I don’t actually have any expectation for people to like me. I don’t think they’ll want to be my friend and I certainly don’t think they’ll find me fun to be with. My self-esteem has been so low it has not allowed room for hope. 

So I’ve been drawn to people who just need someone who will care for them, you know, broken people who are looking for compassion – because that I can give. 

Or at least, I thought I could. 

Turns out my own insecurities don’t hold up too well under the storms either and compassion not rooted in love may as well be false. 

If I have no hope in building friendships and being able to relate to people well it’s because my faith has been placed in the wrong god – a god that ends in death and does not embody perfect love. A god that is neither a perfect father, nor a source of life, nor unconditional love. 

And that is not who my God is. 

I feel challenged to the core. I have so much to learn and so much more to love. 

But hope is the key. 

So strip off that striving girl and let hope arise. 

But also a Lion

Let us not forget the Lamb is seated on the throne, He is victorious, He has overcome. 

I am so often so tentative in approaching people, decisions, new things… but we were made to be courageous. Ironically some of the best decisions I have made for the sake of the Kingdom have been when I have just gone with it. When it didn’t even cross my mind to think of how I would be received but I chose just to be strong and to step out.

I’m fascinated by ballet and occasionally do a little Pilates and there is a real focus in these activities on developing and strengthening your core. Because when your core is stable, the moves just come that much more naturally. 

I believe it is like that with God. He works on restoring and strengthening and empowering our core so that we can move with agility, grace and authority almost like it is second nature.

Which it is. 

#BornAgain

And in that place we can find we have the strength, that inner roar, of a lion. 

Sure we will come up against our battles, but the Lord will remain faithful to us there. He will vindicate us of all wrongs and give us grace when we need it most. Because He continues to fashion us and form us into His likeness. 

Hallelujah!

Jesus reigns. 

The Lord’s Leadership

The Lord’s leadership in my life is perfect, in Him I am complete. 

He causes me to rest when I need to receive His nourishment, He teaches me the unsearchable depths of His stillness.

I am renewed and made whole. 

I walk in right paths because He delights in the honour it brings His name. 

And yes, I do walk through those valleys of darkness and despair, but I will not lose hope. The sound of His voice is my comfort, His hand of discipline both strengthens and shelters me. 

He even lavishes His love upon me in the midst of my enemies. He provides for me, He covers me, and my helpless response is to love. 

I have no doubt that His extravagant goodness and intentional mercy will always be my safeguard, for all the days of my life,

And I will be found secure in Him, forever. 

~

Psalm 23

The Growing Season

I’ve come to realise I’m in a growing season. 

In my mind I’ve been telling myself (in my usual very, very hard on myself fashion) to ‘just grow up girl’. But God is gently reminding me that growing takes time; you can’t rush it. 

At Christmas I was given some really precious gifts. Little did I see at the time but each one of them has been profoundly significant in what God is saying to me right now. 

My brother bought me two plants. One of them was a boxed ‘grow your own’ bonsai tree. Now, bonsai trees take their time. But, being as trees, they grow strong and are rooted in their ground. And this one for sure starts from almost nothing, just a few tiny seeds, hidden away in their box. Seeds which are unseen and which will die in the soil before they ever reach the light. 

And let me tell you, this seed had her dying season. 

The other plant was an aloe vera. An incredible little plant with healing properties which survives with very little water; it just needs the light. 

Now if you’ve been reading my posts over the last few weeks you may have picked up on a note of healing that has been going on in my heart. And as I was worshipping the Lord last night I felt like I was crying out for the dryness of the place where I live, crying out for His rain, hearing Him whisper to my heart that I was like His rain and He wanted me to minster like the rain; like a healing oil that is sent from heaven. 

~ No hiding in your box now, let’s step in to your new identity in Him ~

And then I was given these beautiful lavender crystal earrings. And as I was praying with my housemate the other day I felt God speaking identity over her and telling her she had a ministry with young women and that as she shone, young women would come to her and she would cause them to shine too. I saw all these young women in dirty, worn clothes surrounding her and as she shone I saw that from each women emerged this dazzling lavender crystal, gleaming in the light…

And here I am with lavender crystals in my ears. 

And the truth is, there’s no condemnation. For so long I’ve been battling myself into submission in this last season but now I feel God just whispering to my heart, “Grow beloved, grow”…

And it’s bringing me to life. 

Empower Your Bride

Sometimes – actually no – quite often, Jesus comes and catches me completely off guard. 

And its not as if I wasn’t wanting Him to come, it’s just that when He comes and I hear His voice, I hesitate. In that very moment I feel too vulnerable, too exposed. 

So many opportunities I have missed for those moments of fear and hesitation, but there’s something about His voice that I can’t continue to resist. 

He speaks, my heart comes alive. 

So I get up and I go, ‘Ok Jesus, ok, I’m gonna come, just wait a minute!’ But then I get there and it’s too late, He’s gone. The moments passed. 

I missed it. 

So often the flood of condemenation comes rushing in right there. The shame and feeling of sorrow. I let Him down, why couldn’t I have said yes? Why didn’t I love Him better?

I have a choice in that moment. Give up and go home, or keep pressing on, keep that heart awake. 

Keep that heart awake. 

There is no one as beautiful as Jesus, nothing that can satisfy like Him. For all my sin and failure and for all the world around, He will always be the song that keeps playing back inside. He will always be the rhythm of my heart. 

So press on. 

And pray. 

For when you choose to respond, when you choose to pursue, His response to you will empower you. 

Turn your eyes away for they overpower me. Your hair falls in waves… Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women, I would still choose my dove, my perfect one – the favourite of her mother, dearly loved by the one who bore her. The young women see her and praise her; even queens and royal concubines sing her praises: ‘Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?‘” Song of Songs 6:5&8-10

~

If this post spoke to you I recommend reading Song of Songs 5:2 – 6:10

Love x

Overcome

The other day I wrote a blog post called Lambs. You can read it here if you like:

https://lovenourishnurture.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/lambs/

Today I had a worship playlist going in my room and, after having popped out to get a drink, I came back in to hear someone enthusiastically singing out ‘The Lamb has overcome!’

The Lamb has overcome. 

Well it just struck me. There was me, having felt so vulnerable this week, so much like a lamb amidst wolves and there was my response right there – the Lamb has overcome. 

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. He had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus know that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. John 13:1-5

Jesus knew who He was. He didn’t doubt His identity as God’s Son. He knew where He was seated and He knew where He was going. He knew He had authority even in the face of the worst possible experience anyone would ever have to go through in human history (let’s not forget that only Jesus would ever know what it was like to exchange a pure connection with the Father for the sin of the whole world in that moment on the cross). 

And in that knowing, He became like a lamb. Even towards the one who would ultimately betray Him (having in fact already made the decision to).

Later on in this passage, Jesus had what might have seemed like a mini breakdown.

Understandably. 

Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and He exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” The disciples looked at each other, wondering who He could mean. John 13:21-22

…You don’t have to feel strong. 

It’s ok to feel vulnerable in the face of the war. It’s ok to tremble, to cry, to be deeply deeply troubled. 

It’s ok to be a lamb.