A Poem of Praise

Lord,
I know not what is ahead,
I walk towards your plan,
Light the path in front, I pray.

Wondering not wandering,
For you have gone before,
My heart looks for you.

Creeping all around me,
Your love seeps on through,
Though I feel so lonely,
Your provision never fails.

Even in the darkness,
When I feel lost and unknown,
You pull me closer day by day.

I’ve never needed more,
You give me food and shelter,
Connections you are forming,
I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

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Painting with light

It started with darkness.
Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty comfortable,
When I was there it didn’t feel huge,
Looking back I see that it was.

I made a choice.
A step into a room,
Leading to a step into a building,
Leading to a slow chain of decisions,
An invitation for the light to come in.

It happened slowly,
Slowly but surely a masterpiece began,
Light pushed some darkness away,
The creator took over.

He’s working on his painting,
Crafting the light in just the right places at just the right times,

I’m learning to surrender comfort for love,
A work in progress can be just as beautiful as the finished product.

Forgiveness, can you imagine?

If anyone asks me what my faith is based on, I’d tell them: the love and forgiveness of my heavenly father who has set me free.

Forgiveness. Thats what we receive from Christ. The ultimate forgiveness, setting us free to be and free from so much. Forgiveness that is ours to have and hold, to make us better people.

I don’t understand forgiveness yet. I’m a little bit closer to understanding today than I was last week though. I’ve made a huge step since one of my best friends challenged me, asking “have you forgiven him yet?”.

You see, I thought I’d moved past the hurt of breaking up with the guy I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. I thought I was good. For the first time in nearly a year, I reached out to him. I thought it would be okay. It wasn’t. I realised that he wasn’t hurting how I thought he was. He’d moved on and had been moved on for a long time. A spiral started and the next 12 hours were a write off.

During that time was when I was asked if I had forgiven him. I hadn’t. I haven’t got all the way there now. Until last week I believed that forgiveness was for the other person only. Until last week I thought that to forgiveness was letting the other person off the hook. Believe it or not, google taught me otherwise.

According to google, “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”

What struck me about this definition is that it focuses on the impact on the ‘victim’ rather than the ‘offender’. Thats a totally new way of looking at it for me. Remembering that forgiveness is for me, rather than the other person has transformed the way I think. I’ve always been bad at letting things go but by the grace of God I’ve been able to begin to learn it this week.

I’m not going to claim to understand God in any way shape or form but thanks to a very good friend I’ve been able to follow Jesus more truly by learning to forgive. What better way to bless others while increasing my own blessing from God?

As a Christian

As a Christian my beliefs are complicated,
I come as a mix of who I was and who I’ve become.

As a Christian I know I’m not perfect,
Just that I have an almighty father.

As a Christian I don’t have to follow a set of rules,
Developing a relationship comes first.

As a Christian I think that love comes first,
My God is love after all.

As a Christina I strive never to judge,
Only give love as I have received.

As a Christian I know the label may be misjudged,
But I’m called to be the opposite of expectations

As a Christian I disagree with conservative ideology,
Believing that Jesus was a fan of social justice.

As a Christian I know that I am loved,
And that is the best feeling in the world.

As a Christian I want to create change,
Though I cannot do it in my own strength.

 

As a Christian I have a calling,
Although I don’t necessarily believe that it has to be my career.

I am many things,
Wrapped up in a unique package,
My identities are ever expanding,
But one comes above all,
And as a Christian, that’s my call

Religious?

This post has come from a conversation with my mum where she referred to me going to church as ‘being religious’. If you’ve read my previous posts you probably know that I’m a Christian, but there was something about the label of religious that didn’t sit comfortably when it was applied to me.

The first thing I thought about was the saying ‘Christianity isn’t about religion, its about relationship’. I’ve heard the phrase a lot since I started going to a non-traditional/evangelical church and became a Christian, I guess its kind of a ‘trendy’ view. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the more I agree with it. From the outside, Christianity looked like a way of life: you followed a set of moral principles that were set out in the Bible. When I started actually reading the Bible and learning about Christianity, I realised it was about something so different.

In my mind, being religious is about rituals and rules that you follow. As a Christian, I don’t follow rituals to bring me close to God. My faith is based on prayer and the fact that Jesus died for me. Knowing this and getting to know and rely on God over time is the reason why I am a Christian. I go to church to meet with God and develop my relationship with him. For me, going  to church isn’t an act of being religious: it is a development of a relationship.

To other Christians, or people of other faiths, I’m curious what you think. Would you consider yourself to be religious or do you feel that it doesn’t apply to you?

The power of a group

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I truly found the meaning of this verse through the Christian Union at my university. I was very lost and lonely in my first year at university and, ultimately, it lead to me finding God and becoming a Christian but I truly don’t know where I’d be without the Christian Union.

Over the time I was a part of it, the group changed, a lot. I think I was probably the only consistent person who was there most weeks over the two and a bit years. It makes sense: a university Christian Union isn’t a stable thing, people graduate and other people join the university. I made some great friends within the group, especially in my last year, but the friendships weren’t what impacted my life the most.

Being able to be a part of a group, however big or small, who could come together for a bible study, a bit of prayer, and fellowship, had an impact. I was able to learn so much through reading the bible and listening to other people’s thoughts and beliefs from discussions, especially when I was first introduced to the group. They were the first people to take me to church, a type of church that I was very unfamiliar with, which opened me up to a new way of following Jesus. I was a quiet part of the group for most of the time and many people who went there probably didn’t know what an impact they had, but they had a huge impact on my life.

I truly believe that God worked through every person in the Christian Union to bring me closer to him and further me on this faith journey. I think the above verse summarises it so well. It doesn’t matter who is meeting, as long as they are a loving group meeting in Jesus’s name, God can and will do incredible things through them.

Getting back to God

I have a cycle.

Two weeks connected,
Two weeks not so connected.

I know it well now

It goes with my moods:
Two weeks good,
Two weeks not so good.

God holds me through the bad and the good,
Knows me at my best and worst,
Always within me.

I’m always travelling towards Him,
Running into his arms,
A sprint or a jog, is there a difference?

 

Journey

Year one.
Hope and expectations met with a fall,
Not understanding,
Why, how, when, who?
The brown book in my room,
Calling my name,
The courage of walking into it,
Introductions and small talk,
Laughs and hope rising once again,
Uncertain little steps towards something that might mean everything.

Year two.
A bit more sure,
A little bit unwilling but ready to give it a shot,
Finding new people,
Disappointments and surprises,
Slow but steady growth,
Growing from an imposter to a quiet family member,
Bigger steps that cannot be remembered.

Year three.
Excitement and trepidation,
What will this one bring?
Sure in the uncertainty of faith and family,
Coming back to family,
Finding new members,
The grief of moving away,
So much the same yet so much different,
Learning lessons about  His timing,
Finding more purpose,
Learning to trust only One,
Strides straight into the unknown.

The prayer of breath

One of the most influential preaches I’ve ever witnessed was on my church’s student weekend away. I don’t remember most of the preach, just this one part.

The speaker said that, in the past, the name given to God was almost like the sound of breathing. The letters and sounds that it formed had the same rhythm. Saying God’s name was like breathing in, breathing out. So, every time we breathe we say God’s name.

At the time that hit me hard, and its something that stayed with me for a long time. The joy that comes with the realisation that your breath, something that you do naturally, is actually a prayer. The act of saying God’s name. Its a pretty wonderful realisation.

As with most things, time moved on and I forgot. Recently though, I feel that God reminded me of this fact. I’d been going through a bit of a rough time, feeling a bit of a lack of connection and the preach just popped into my head, a reminder that I can always be connected and I can always know this, if want to.

So I just want to put this message out there, let people know that a simple breath is enough to bring you into contact with God, he’s always with us, we just need to remember it and allow His presence to comfort us.

What a wonderful God we have.

Hold On Pain Ends

I’ve always been a hopeful person, now I find sure hope in God. Its a pretty great add on to the adoption into the family of Christians, an amazing privilege that I’ve gained.

Hope means a lot of things. For me, its tied with trust in God’s plan and having the courage to run towards it. As I grow in my faith, hope is becoming more and more a God thing. Previously it was just a good thing, something that was ingrained in me anyway but still a bit wavering.

At this time, my hope is for the future. I’m beginning to distinguish between hoping and wishing. My hope, which is intertwined with God’s promises, is that I know my future will work out for the best. My wishes are different, I want a marriage and a family and a successful career, I don’t know if they will happen. I know that I will be okay, no matter what is thrown at me, because I hope in the Lord.

Based on the daily prompt