encouragement

the introverted people person

the introverted people person

Recently I’ve realised that there are a host of people out there who are called to people, but are naturally introverted themselves.

This is me. I never realised it was me until I found myself day dreaming of quiet vistas, lakes, forests, mountains and isolation. I don’t know if I changed over the years, or it’s just been highlighted by the fact that I have less time alone due to being a mother, and having a business.

It’s a difficult tension to balance when you are called to connect and to genuinely touch heart to heart with others, while also needing space and time alone and quiet, in order to fill up so you can cope with the people you’re called to!

Passionately Pursuing our Purpose

Passionately Pursuing our Purpose

I have just completed walking through the 30-day devotional ‘Dreaming’ which was released in March of this year. Following the completion of the ‘Dare to Ask’ book, I was led on this crazy adventure of God, of not only making the music that the book is about, but also on a journey of understanding that this journey of ‘Daring to Ask’ is comprised of a journey within itself.

Dare to Breathe...

Dare to Breathe...

Breathing. 

It's an involuntary action that we do whether we're awake or asleep, thinking about it, or not, resting or running, happy or sad. We all breathe. Sometimes we are more aware of our breathing patterns than at other times. We may try breathing exercises or be intentional about slowing our breathing down for health reasons, but we all go through a large proportion of the day without thinking about our breathing. 

What about the breath of God? What effect does that have on my life? 

Dare to Move

Dare to Move

It occurred to me recently how so many of us are essentially sleepwalking. 

We go through life, without really participating in it.

We're sat at the game and watching it unfold before our eyes, without ever rolling the dice. We walk through the garden without really ever stopping to see what is surrounding us, and we miss the scent of the flowers, and the feel of the wind on our faces. 

Overcome Me

Overcome Me

Being overcome by something doesn't usually have positive connotations. It implies succumbing to something, giving in to something that is too strong for us to withstand. It's not something that comes with choice, it's something that overpowers us and that goes against our will. 

This is a picture painted with the colour of fear, and doesn't appeal to even the strongest of us.

What if that is exactly what needs to happen? 

Dare to Delight

Dare to Delight

For some of us, waking up and delighting in the Lord comes more easily and naturally than for others. I myself have struggled for years with guilt and a feeling of condemnation that I haven't found it easy to spring out of bed at 5 am in order to spend 2 hours with God. 

Dare to fight

Dare to fight

My attention has recently been drawn to David and his confrontation of Goliath. We know this story, some of us have heard this story since we were small and have grown up with David being a hero to us. We've loved this image of a shepherd boy defeating a skilled, warrior giant! And so we should! 

Dare to Fly

Dare to Fly

A few years back, I went to a women’s meeting where the topic being spoken about was the desert. I remember that the speaker went into great detail explaining the extent of the process that a caterpillar goes through in order to transition into its new form – a butterfly.

Designed for Vulnerability

Designed for Vulnerability

I just got home from 10 days away on the Ascend Carmel program, where I serve on the leadership team. Many amazing things happened during this 10 days, most of which are not my stories to tell. But the thing that most impacted me about this 10 days away, was the courage that the participants showed in being vulnerable. 

The power of choice

The power of choice

Recently I was faced with a choice. For me it was clear which was right and which was wrong, and my head never had to debate which the right choice was. It was obvious and clear.

What surprised me was how much my heart and emotions had to debate the choice. 

Own it.

Own it.

Recently I've been thinking a lot about how we have to walk through lessons and seasons more than once.  It's a shame we don't learn all we need to learn the first time we encounter a lesson. Like children, it seems that we need constant reminders and experiences that help us re-learn the lessons He needs us to learn. 

The Desert Cry

The Desert Cry

Desert is a dry, difficult place to be, with little or no physical refreshment to the body. Hot sun, dry heat, no water, and dangerous conditions, it's not a place to get lost! But for some reason God wants to 'allure' us there.

Why?

Won't you break me?

Won't you break me?

"Made of clayI pour myself outI don’t have the strengthSo Lord I ask, Won’t you break meI’m alabaster..."  

The woman with the alabaster jar has to be one of the most well known and loved stories in the Bible. It talks of a woman scorned, who should have been turned away and rejected, in the culture of the day, she was known to be unclean, she was thought to be embarrassing herself, and was a woman.  All reasons for her to be forgotten. But she isn't forgotten, she is remembered, and Yeshua said himself that she would be remembered through the generations.

Who's on the throne?

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throne of your heart"There is space only for youOn the throne of my heart.I long and yearn to sit at your feet.Just to be with you,Just to stand in your presence,Just to see you in your Glory,Just to hear your voiceThis is all my soul desires"It's really easy to say that we love God, we adore God, we put no one else before God, we worship God, we serve God, and a thousand other things about how we interact with God.Recently I was challenged about really, who, or what is on the throne of my heart? Who or what is taking that space from, or sharing that space with Yeshua?For me, this challenge came in the form of food and exercise. After having 3 kids I was determined to take control of the situation, get fit, lose weight and live more healthily. I threw myself at it, working out daily, trying many different eating programs which left me rigidly following plans which had no 'give' to them. I enjoyed it! It got results! I got fit! I gained muscle tone! I made it to many personal goals, like running 5K! I did it! right?Wrong. I reached an all time low, emotionally, when I realised that if I was going to maintain this weight loss and fitness level I was going to have to deny myself constantly, discipline myself relentlessly, and have no leeway for the rest of my life. That isn't living. That is slavery.I was desperate - it was something I'd struggled with since I was a child, I cried out to God, and it came crashing in on me - I had never sought to hear what God's opinion was on this matter. I had tried to fix it completely humanly, completely scientifically, and it wasn't His way!Over the next few days and weeks came a very deep and at times, painful process of realising how much I had put things before Him. Even when it was with good intention, and a 'right' desire - to be healthy and look after my body. I suddenly felt freedom for the first time in my life in this area, and once I understood that God had made a way for us to live healthily, without plans, calorie counting, restricting myself, without viewing foods as 'good' or 'bad' - and guess what? I was free and I lost weight.The amazing side effect of weight loss isn't what I'm writing about here, I realised how many times I'd not run to God when I felt down - I'd run to a chocolate bar. I had this horrible realisation that I'd put a piece of chocolate on the throne of my heart, rather than the Almighty creator of heaven and earth. Chocolate.For you it may not have anything to do with food or exercise - it may be music, work, technology, money, friends, ministry, family - it could literally be anything - where do you run when you want comfort?It's hard to run to God because it's usually the moments when we need to run to him, that he feels furthest away! So we find a quick fix, which usually becomes a crutch without us even knowing or noticing. We shove things between us and God which fix us for a few minutes, or even hours, but it doesn't deal with the root.For me, the root was emotional - I was a comfort eater, and I didn't even notice! I had no idea how many times a day I ran to food instead of God, and until I found a strategy to distinguish between my heart needing to be fed, and my stomach needing to be fed. Up until this point I couldn't tell the difference, and used my self made comforter for both - food. Now I learned the difference I could feed my heart on God, and my stomach on food. Both in their rightful - and enjoyable, places.Recently a good friend and co-worker quoted "The final question presented to humanity is this: Who will you worship?". I was worshipping food, fitness and the ideal of being thin and muscly, and I didn't even realise.Whatever gets our most attention is what we worship. Those things can be good things - like our families, being a good mom, being a good friend. But if those things become slightly too emphasised, and it becomes a crutch where we gain even the smallest amount of identity, then they've climbed up onto that throne and have taken the place of the King. I'm not saying we should deny who we are, I am a mom, there is an aspect of that being my identity, but it's not the summation of who I am, it's a part of the calling and role that God has for me. My identity, the essence of who I am made to be, is wrapped up in Him.As I've walked through this process it's becoming increasingly clear to me that this is what God does with us. He gently peels things away, he strips us back, getting rid of the 'stuff' we wrap ourselves us in. He wants us to be who he made us to be - without all the bolt-ons we add. He's stripping us back to the original design, and yes, he'll use all we've been through to enhance that, and teach us things, but we think we can outsmart God so often. We think we can help Him out by adding things to the already perfect recipe. God didn't leave things out when we made us - he got it right - exactly right.When we clutter up our throne room, with little bits and stuff which we think we need, the process of emptying, ordering, stripping back and restoring get harder and harder, more and more painful. Some of those things have taken up residence in your throne room for decades! Those are hard things to root out - but you see, the King wants a clear throne room, with no distractions, where he can speak, and you hear clearly. Where you can run to Him and not trip, where He can love you, and you can not share it with anything else.The question is - are you willing to clear the throne room? You may find unexpected things sitting on your throne - like I did. You may already know what sits on your throne. In either case, the King is ready to be given back his throne, He's waiting on your acceptance of this challenge to gently re-order your throne room, and let him take up permanent residence.  

Fresh Oil

Fresh Oil

Let the pressure be just right.Let the darkness be fleeting and never lonely,So that what comes forth is pure, and an oil you're pleased with"

On a recent family visit,  I had the privilege of  seeing my son operate an ancient olive press. He followed the instructions given to him perfectly, and pressed a few (not quite ripe!) olives and we saw the beginnings of oil coming forth from them.

Ever since then, the enormity of the meaning of the olive press has been made more real to me than ever. The struggle that each olive goes through to produce this precious oil, is such a representation of what God is doing with us. We need to be squeezed, refined, and put under pressure in order of that pure offering to found in us.