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Never underestimate the small miracles

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Ephesians 5 gives us the perfect guideline for a Godly marriage / household. How do we do this when both of us are imperfect? We find it difficult to fulfill our roles to one another in marriage when one hurts the other, perhaps disappoints the other. We hold onto hurt from the past and count up wrong doings, building up resentment towards one another. Eventually, we find ourselves living separate lives, happy individually but unhappy together.

Ephesians 5:21‭-‬24‭, ‬26‭-‬33 NIV

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”.

This means, we love first and foremost, it means we put aside our own needs, wants, insecurities, pain etc and we unconditionally love. We love even if our husbands forgot to take the black bag out on dirt day, or if our wives forgot to make the bed. It means we love even though he / she said that hurtful thing. We made a commitment to share the rest of our lives together and in that commitment we are devoted to one another in love, putting the other above ourselves regardless of their imperfections.

What is love though? We think it’s a feeling, that butterflies feeling while still courting each other before marriage. We think it’s that honeymoon or “just got married” feeling. When that’s gone, we think our marriage is over.

Love is not that feeling. God is love, He loved the world so much that He gave His one and only son to save the sins of the whole world. Jesus went around preaching all over to multitudes of people showing them love every where He went. Love is a choice to be a number of things as we see in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Love is a choice to always be patient and kind, even when you don’t feel like it. Love is a choice to forgive others and keep no record of their wrongdoings. Love is a choice to always protect, hope, persevere etc. Love is not envious, love is appreciating when your spouse is better than you in some things. Love is not self seeking, love is putting your spouse above yourself. It’s these choices that help us to be devoted to one another in love, and to honour one another above ourselves.

These are choices we should be making on a daily basis in our marriage, to strengthen the marriage union. It may take unlearning some thought patterns, behaviours etc, but if you make a choice to get on the journey you’re already closer to a happy marriage God’s way.

Colossians 3:12‭-‬15 NIV

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

In this piece of Scripture we see that we are to clothe ourselves with these virtues, for everyone we meet. Jesus heart for the church, is the heart we wear in marriage. The design for what God intended for marriage to look like as mentioned in Ephesians 5, will follow after, as you continue to pray and strengthen your marriage.

My husband and I have been married 4 years and in this time we have learnt some valuable lessons through our mistakes, this is just to name one of them. Some have been harder to deal with than others but we are determined to work at it. There is no other person I would have rather experienced this with. We did a marriage course earlier this year, which helped us realise so much about marriage God’s way. We have found the keys to unlocking Eden in our marriage in Gods word, in Jesus Heart. I would encourage every married couple to attend one of these, all of them if you have to.

Learn as much as you can together about marriage God’s way, your relationship will bear much fruit from watering the right seeds in your marriage. Have the courage to ask God what it is about you that needs to change in order for your marriage to reach the next level. Pray for each other, pray for yourself, pray apart and pray together!

I trust you have found some encouragement and hope through reading this blog at least one married couple will choose a road of recovery rather than divorce.

Much love,

Di

I was reading in Matthew 9 when Jesus was going about doing His teachings and how when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, having been lost with no shepherd.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:35‭-‬38 NIV

I got to thinking about when I was lost and the first day I walked into my church having been astray from God for a while and needing to get close to Him again. I remember the friendly parking guys, the friendly welcoming team, and thinking this is great! Then, as we walked through the door and saw just how big the church was, we nearly turned to walk out, when a friendly usher came to show us to our seat. There were giving envelopes on the seats which we also loved, being shy of the only R10.00 we had to give that day. Then there was the worship vibe and joy on stage and the pastor who gave such a practical, very relevant message that everyone could apply to their daily lives. Last but not least, the Connections team being so welcoming and ready to chat and get to know us. The gentleman who met with us was so kind and genuine, patient listening to our story and even prayed with us. I got to see so many different sides to Jesus that night, His compassion, His welcoming, His joy, His friendliness, His kindness, His showing me the way. I knew I was home and I have never turned back and only grown from strength to strength in my relationship with God since that night.

When people walk into the church for the first time, they are looking to fill a void, find a sense of belonging or get close to God. Every little part each team plays is a vital role in serving, and it’s important that we help them to find what they were looking for. Every role, even if its small, is an important one in creating their whole experience at church. Serving is an opportunity to show Jesus’ loving heart to others, which plays a huge role in bringing them either to salvation or making right with God again.

Jesus had compassion for the lost, He showed them kindness and love. It’s an absolute privilege to serve and we should take the opportunity every time to show through our serving spaces who Jesus is, so that even though people may walk in feeling lost, when they leave they know they are found.

I personally serve because of what Jesus has done for me, He went the extra mile for us and laid down His life for us. We should serve others in the way He served us, going the extra mile and laying down what’s going on in our lives so we can show Jesus’ heart fully to others. We are called to serve others, and Jesus heart is for us to love one another, putting others before ourselves.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12‭-‬14 NIV

This was such a beautiful revelation for me of serving others and I pray it will give you some encouragement for the areas you serve in.

With love

Di

This song brought me to such a beautiful encounter with God, I felt the need to write a blog about it. It’s through hearing this song that I realised the fullness of the work God has done in my life so far and is still going to do in the years to come!

“And when I thought I lost me
You knew where I left me
You reintroduced me to Your love
You picked up all my pieces
Put me back together
You are the Defender of my heart”

The bridge brought me to my knees, knowing where I had come from before I really met God. My life has been one of much brokenness, listening to the lies of the enemy and acting out on those lies. There are many words that I can use to describe the theme of my life before God: Anger, Pain, Disappointment, Rejection, Hopelessness, Envy, Longing, Searching. There are many traumas, trials and disappointments that brought me to this theme in my life and I allowed it for way too long. God chose me and took me back to all those places where I lost myself so I could go and find me again. He picked up all my broken pieces and is making me whole again. Looking back on all my pain, God has been defending me the whole time without me even knowing!

“Hallelujah, You have saved me
So much better Your way
And hallelujah, Great Defender
So much better Your way”

God saved me from a life of searching for a place to belong, for a place to fit in. He saved me from a life of pain and darkness and brought me to a life of love and light! Doing life without God felt so dark and lonely, but doing life with God has brought so much freedom into my life. My way just caused so much more disappointment, it is so much better His way!

“And all I did was praise
All I did was worship
All I did was bow down
All I did was stay still”

All I had to do for this change in the theme of my life to take place was to acknowledge Him as Lord of my life, to surrender and start doing life His way! All I had to do was stay still for Him to finish the great work He started in me!

God is our defender! As we face the experiences we do in this life here on earth, He is there to carry us and work everything together for His good! He has taken all of my bad circumstances and turned them into sweet memories of how He was there to protect and defend me through them.

If God saved someone like me, He can save someone like you! He has already begun a great work in you, and He will finish what he started if you allow Him to!

I pray that you will encounter the love of God the way I have and find freedom from a life of darkness moving into a life of love and light with Him!

Yours in Christ

Di

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

When we face a trial it is so easy to get caught up in how tired we are from life’s circumstances. It’s in moments of trial that every weakness surfaces and our vision becomes blurry, our hearing is drowned with loud unclear thoughts. We become dizzy with thoughts of hopelessness, disappointment and despair. In all honesty we make it so much more difficult for ourselves than it needs to be. I learnt some truths for facing trials this year and I thought I’d share them with you.

Realign your thoughts

Satan is a liar and he likes to tell us lies, especially when life gives us an unfair hand. He likes to tell us that we are not worthy, that things will never go our way, that we are not strong enough to handle the situation. He likes to tell us that we should be angry at God because if He really loved us then why should life even be dealing us an unfair hand. He lies to us so much that if we listen we get tired and weary and can’t find hope to carry on.

The truth is that in this life we will face trials, of all different kinds. God doesn’t necessarily want us to be faced with these situations, but He does allow them because it’s through these trials that He teaches us our greatest lessons. We may face trials, but God equips us with the tools to be able to face them head on! It’s up to us to realign our thoughts, actually stop and think about what we’re thinking about, grab hold of those tools and use them to push through.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2 NIV

Grab your tools

It’s so important to spend time reading God’s word. One thing I have learnt about God’s word, is that its not just a book of law / guidelines but it’s a book of tools, truth, encouragement, hope and so much more than just law. It’s when we really spend time in God’s word, prayer and worship, that we come to know Him for who He really is. Like any other motivational video or piece of writing, God’s word is there to help guide us in every situation we may face throughout our lives. His word is truth! Satan may tell us lies, but the truths found in God’s word equip us to fight off those lies and negative thought patterns. As we read and get to know God’s word, we are able to memorise Bible verses / stories that will be of encouragement to us when Satan is trying to play his rude tricks on our thought life. When tempted Jesus quoted scripture, we need to be able to do the same!

I have had to face many trials this year alone, and now knowing the truth of God’s word, I have been better equipped to deal with them and see them through. In the past, however, I was so weak I struggled to see the strength and authority God has actually given me. We need to let go of the lies Satan tells us and focus on speaking life and not death over ourselves and the situations we face.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31‭-‬32 NIV

Take back your authority

In Jesus, we have authority over our situations. It’s just a matter of realigning our thoughts with Christ’s, and pushing forward in the authority He has given us. There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain, every stronghold, every lie and to move any mountain. We have the power of Jesus Christ to speak life into any trial / situation we may face.

“No weapon formed against us will prosper”

Luke 10:19

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 NIV

Find comfort

In the moment of trial, it always seems bad, but the truth is that God can work anything together for good. I find it comforting to know that He is working in the background to work everything together for good. We don’t necessarily need to know what’s going to happen next because it’s already been shaped together by God. Find comfort in Him, be still and know that He is God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 NIV

Surrender

When we surrender our trials to God He is able to move. When we surrender we are showing that we trust that God knows what He’s doing and has it all planned out. He promises to see us through every trial, to never leave or forsake us. It’s during our trials that He carries us, if we let Him! God wants us to realise that He is supernatural, He wants us to completely surrender all areas of our lives to Him and have full faith in Him. Let Him take the steering wheel!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NIV

Go deeper in prayer

God is a great listener, it’s OK to tell him how you feel as you face a trial. It’s OK to tell Him you’re disappointed, it’s OK to tell Him you’re afraid or tired. He understands we are humans made up of human emotions, He made us. It’s when we rest our thoughts and emotions on Him, that He is able to show us how much He loves us and how much strength we actually do have in Him. He brings us to a place of peace and our crazy thoughts settle and we’re able to hear His creative advice on what to do next. Don’t be shy to ask Him for guidance or to show you the way out. God loves it when we spend time talking to Him, when we take the time out of our day to spend with Him and go deeper in our relationship with Him. He sometimes will even use a trial to catch our attention to our prayer life.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12‭-‬13 NIV

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
James 5:13 NIV

Go deeper in praise / worship

A guest pastor at our church said something so profound: “The answer to our current problem is in our previous problem”. God has previously moved mountains, and He can definitely do it again! Take a look back on moments that God has come through for you before and remember that if He did it then, He is able to do it now. We serve an awesome, loving God who is worthy of our praise. I find that when I’m in worship, my thoughts silence and I’m focused on the goodness of our God. There have been many occasions where I have been singing a song I have sung for years, but suddenly there is one line in it that I never noticed before that will speak into my life. Worship brings us to a place where we let go of the focus on ourselves and put our focus back on God again.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28‭-‬29 NIV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 NIV

When facing trials it’s important that we realign our thoughts with Christ’s, surrender the trial to God, grab hold of the tools He has laid out for us, take back the authority He has given us, find comfort in Him and go deeper in prayer and worship! He has everything all planned out and before the trial came about, He has already planned the way out of the trial and complete recovery.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NIV

I trust these lessons will bring you hope and encouragement for whatever trial you are facing in your life at the moment. I pray you would find your strength in Him!

Praying for you!

Di

xxx

The moment I realised I had a calling on my life to serve God in speaking life and identity to others, my immediate reaction was – why me? I’m not cut out for that kind of work. I immediately looked at my weaknesses, my insecurities and suddenly all my failures seemed so much larger. I always felt there was a certain stereotype of person that God would use for this kind of work and I never for one second thought that I could ever be worthy.

This is our problem as humans, we focus on all the negatives in our lives. We focus on all our failures and bad circumstances and allow them to define who we are and what we can and cannot do. We do this so much that we are blinded to seeing how God can use exactly this to help shape and grow others.

Steven Furtick had such a beautiful message on failure and it really hit a button for me so deeply. “Failure is the hinge to the door that opens wide the grace of God”. I looked at my failure differently after watching this video.

God already knew I was going to fail, and how He had already planned my recovery. He used my failures for me to come to know His grace and a love so deep. If it weren’t for my failures, I would not have come to know the depth of God’s grace and love for me. I’ve always known it, but not to the extent I know it now. When we come to know God in this way, we are never the same again.

It got me thinking, I was always giving testimony to how God had saved my life so many times from various traumatic events. I forgot to notice how even my failures are a testimony of His grace and love for me and others.

We all have a past, and our past, no matter what that is, makes up part of our story. Our story is not just a story, but a testimony of the many moments that we have had divine appointments with God where He has saved us, shown us His grace, love and mercy. It’s through our stories that we are able to share of His goodness in our lives and help others to come to know Him and that same grace, love and mercy.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I love this verse, it doesn’t say that all things are good, but it does say that all things will work together for good! This means that God can use any circumstance, any failure, and work it together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

Even in the Bible we see how God uses a variation of imperfect people for His work. Elijah was suicidal, Joseph was abused, Moses had a speech problem, Rahab was a prostitute, the Samaritan woman was divorced, Peter denied Christ 3 times, David committed adultery, Paul persecuted Christians before becoming one, Zacchaeus was money hungry, and the list goes on. It doesn’t mean that because you have failed in an area or many areas of your life that God can’t use you. Jesus used a bunch of broken people to share hope to a broken world.

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Philippians 1:6
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

This verse tells us, that God has started a great work in us, and He aims to finish what he started! We can learn from our failures and God will see us through the recovery and right into His plan for our lives to fulfill His purpose.

Don’t underestimate the power of your story and how through your story God can speak deeply into someone’s life. Although God does not want for us to fail, God also did not want for those things to happen to us, He can use those circumstances and your recovery for a greater purpose. The same power that conquered the grave lives within you. You have the power through Jesus, to conquer your failures, be free from the guilt and shame, and step forward into what God has called you to do.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future!

Yesterday was just one of those days when all my wounds seemed to break open and for a short moment I had a bit of an identity crisis. I let my thoughts trail off into a negative space and everything about my day just didn’t seem to be going right.

I was invited to a friends house for a braai and to be honest with all my wounds cut right open I wasn’t really feeling up to it. I decided to go anyway and never did I for one second think I would be moved in the way I was. It’s mostly when we don’t feel like doing something that it actually ends up to be such a blessing, it was a great night of meaningful conversations and great fun starting off with a moment with a Chihuahua.

I had never been to this friends house before, so I was welcomed at the gate by their little Chihuahua doggie, Lilo. She is so TINY! I met her for the first time yesterday and so a natural doggies reaction is to protect her humans. The first thing I noticed was how she was barking and growling at me, really viciously, as if she really thought at her size she could scare me, who is about 30 times her size. She literally barked and growled at me as if she was a super big, strong and viscous dog. At first, when I saw her I wasn’t scared because of her size, but then I saw how confident she was and I thought maybe she can bite really sore and I felt a little insecure. In that moment, God spoke to me.

I realised we truly underestimate ourselves, we think so little of ourselves. We think we won’t have influence on people’s lives around us, and for that reason we won’t. This little Chihuahua knows her identity, she knows her passion (to protect her humans) and no matter her size she wants to fulfill that passion. She believes she is big, strong and can have influence and so she does. I was suddenly reminded of an image I saw on social media recently, which speaks for itself. (See below)

We need to believe in bigger things of ourselves, we need to find and know our worth. We need to see and know the influence we can have on the lives of others. When we look in the mirror and see a strong, confident and influential person, that is exactly who we will be.

God created us uniquely, He called us to have influence on those around us, to build His Kingdom. If He believes in us, then who are we not to believe in ourselves? It’s sad to think that the enemy knows more about who we were called to be than we do, that’s why he constantly attacks us in the area of our identity. He wants us to feel weak, to feel unworthy of anything great. He wants to rob us of fulfilling our purpose on earth. When we choose not to believe in what God says about us, we are opening that door to so many things that will prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Be sure to speak life over yourself, the truth of God’s word and what He says about how and why He created you. Stand firm in your identity in Christ and go and be influential in the lives of others. Believe you are strong, confident and influential. God believes this about you and He is not man that would lie, God only speaks truth. God gives us all the strength we need for any circumstance / situation. He equips us for anything we may need to face whether positive / negative. Lean on Him and not your own understanding.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

God can use such practical moments to speak to us. We just need to have our eyes, ears and hearts open to hearing the messages He sends us through people, animals, things, His word etc. Always be ready, He chooses such wonderful moments to share His thoughts with us.

You are who He says you are, believe it!

I’m on a little journey with God over the past few months on forgiveness and so I felt it might be good to share some thoughts on this topic. I must admit this has not been an easy journey, but it certainly has been a good one.

The pain caused by someone who has hurt us is debilitating. It robs us of our joy. We live in a place of resentment, sadness and bitterness. We hold onto the anger and allow it to bring forth unhealthy thought patterns. Everytime we see that persons name, we cringe, whenever we remember how they have wronged us, it hurts. If we hear a song, go to a place that holds memories of that person, it hurts. I’ve had some trauma in my life too which left me with post trauma and anxiety. It robs you from so much enjoyment in life.

Holding onto so many grudges caused me such pain and bitterness. In turn, I even steered clear from people who associated or reminded me of these people who hurt me. I guess I felt like I couldn’t trust them either, so I rather chose to avoid them in order to protect myself. The truth is, I wasn’t protecting myself I was only creating more bitterness in my heart. I was only making the list of people and places to avoid longer and it became a vicious circle that was just too overwhelming to stay in the middle of.

This year God has brought me to a place of removing the bitterness in my heart in order to make space for the things He has for me.

I learnt that the bitterness I have been holding onto is suffocating the room God needs in my heart. I learnt that there is freedom in letting go. When we can come to a place of forgiveness, we find freedom from holding onto that hurt and anger. When we choose forgiveness, we find freedom from that.

I’ve learnt three things about forgiveness:

The first is that its not always about them but more about you. It’s not about agreeing with what that person has done to you or accepting that what they have done is ok either. It’s about saying: “I forgive you”, choosing to let go of the hurt and pain it caused you and moving forward into freedom from it. Why hold onto all that pain and bitterness when all it causes you is MORE pain and bitterness? At the end of the day you are torturing yourself, doing this doesn’t make you feel any better about the situation. Holding onto unforgiveness is a sin and it torments you. Choose to let go.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

The second thing i learnt about forgiveness is a bit more of a tough one to swallow and I pray you will open your heart to accepting it. Whether tough or not, IT’S TRUTH. Jesus died for all of our sins, everyone, the sins of the whole world. He died for the liars, the thieves, the rapists and even the murderers too. He died for that best friend that betrayed you, He died for that guy who cheated on you, He died for that imperfect parent who hurt you. He died for everyone, to save us from our sins. Who are we not to forgive those that Christ chose to forgive and sacrifice His life for? This does not mean that it makes their actions ok, it also does not mean that it frees them from the consequences of their sin either, but it does free you from your own sin in this area. You see when we hold onto grudges, we fall into sin ourselves, when we don’t obey God’s greatest commandment to love one another as He has loved us – we are sinning. Choose to forgive and let go.

Colossians 3:13
“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Forgiving someone does not necessarily mean we now need to become “besties”, but we can choose to see them through God’s eyes and ask God to reveal that to us. We can, however, love them from a distance while guarding our hearts.

The third and most difficult thing I learnt is how important it is to forgive yourself. I am not perfect, in fact far from it. I have made many mistakes in my life and I have struggled to free myself from the guilt and shame. What we don’t realise when we hold onto guilt and shame is that we are actually holding a grudge against ourselves. We repent and ask God for forgiveness but then we don’t give ourselves the same grace that God has given us. This would seem like quite an insult to God for us not to love ourselves, when He created us in His image. God uses our mistakes and turns them into a great lesson, it’s through our mistakes that we learn the power of what Jesus has done on the cross for us and the depth of His love for us, by the grace and mercy shown to us by Him.

Mark 12:31 The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made and before we were even born, He knew all the ways that we would mess up. He also knew exactly how He would help us come back from those mistakes and turn the learning experience into something good to build His Kingdom. God forgave us, we should forgive ourselves and show ourselves the same grace He has shown us.

Forgiveness is a choice, it starts with choosing to live in forgiveness and choosing it everyday. When you choose to live in forgiveness, you are choosing freedom. Freedom from the bondage this hurt and pain or guilt and shame has held us captive in. I’ve started practicing this choice as and when incidences happen and I must say the freedom from new pain and bitterness entering my life is such a release. Old experiences will take some layers to peel off as and when God reveals this to me but just so glad I am on this journey and feeling the healing daily. It’s not always easy, but as the saying goes:- practice makes perfect. It’s a process of choosing to constantly change your mindset and choosing to love the way He loves, but it’s easier as you get deeper into having an attitude of forgiveness, grace and love.

Ephesians 4:32
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Choose to let go!

The topic of conversations with some of my friends lately have been around how important it is to be real! We tend to get so caught up with impressing people or social media, trying to fit in and at the end of the day we lose ourselves.

God decided the world needed YOU in it, so be you, without fear!

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

There’s no place or person I’d rather be right now than where and who I am right now! The things I am learning through various experiences are laid out on a map for me by God, to take me to the places and people He is leading me to! The deeper I go with God this year the more excited I get as I see myself unfold into who He has called me to be! That is not something that can be rushed along or wished further ahead, everything happening where I am right now is moulding and shaping me!

Everything both positive and negative in our lives God can use for His greater good, even the mistakes we make. We learn through every experience in our lives and we can’t be disqualified for being imperfect. He knows we are not perfect and will make mistakes but we have been made alive again through Christ and He loves us anyway! He created us in His image, He perfectly knit us together in our mothers womb, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! He has a perfect plan for our lives and every experience in our lives will equip us for that plan.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” Ephesians 2:4-5

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

If we think of every person on earth as puzzle pieces of a big puzzle. Each person / puzzle piece has a unique purpose to fit into the picture that the puzzle will create at the end result. If you decided to be someone else’s puzzle piece – there would be a piece missing in the big puzzle and the puzzle would be incomplete, there would be a hole in the picture. You have been created for a specific purpose in God’s plan.

Stand firm in the knowledge that God created you – to be you!

When we’re going through the storms of life we tend to complain alot and overlook the many things we have to be grateful for.

Over the past two years I have been on a self reflecting, healing journey with God. It have had many tough realisations, moments that broke me gracefully into realising I needed to change!

One of those moments was that I have spent all my time complaining and stressing over things that really aren’t that bad. I complained about everything, literally everything. I spent most of my time fretting over what I don’t have, comparing my life to others. I would scroll through Facebook or Instagram looking at other people’s lifestyles, seeing all the dinners, weekends away, fun happy moments. At one point I even thought about taking myself off social media because it was just too difficult to see, given what we were going through.

While everyone else was gaining things in their lives and building memories, we were losing things and becoming bitter about it. I felt so depressed, I didn’t even want to get out bed but I had to force myself some days to put on that prideful happy face to make sure others didn’t realise we weren’t ok.

There are two things that brought major breakthrough for me in this area of my life:

Breakthrough One:

At church in the past few months, we have been busy with a series called “Milk and Honey”. One of my breakthrough moments came through this series, when the Pastor said to us: “The Promised Land is not a place it’s a person..you can be in the promised land in your one bedroom apartment, in your double story house or in your mansion”. This is so true! I realised in that moment that what I was chasing after shouldn’t be a better lifestyle – but rather living life God’s way, seeking to better myself His way. My happiness did not need to depend on whether we had things or not, where we lived or fancy dinners or weekends away. I have met people along my journey who have much less than I do, but yet they are so happy and content, on fire for God and when you walk into their space you can really feel the presence of God there! They didn’t live their lives worrying about what they didn’t have but they were grateful for every small thing they received that would make their lives just that little bit better. It was about where they were at in their relationship with God, how much of their lives they had surrendered to Him and how grateful they were for what He had already given them.

Breakthrough Two:

I am partnered with a really great company, who gives us mentors in building our own online business. Part of the mentorship programme is mindset, alot of the advice and training I apply biblically. Another part of the mentorship programme is daily accountability and they encourage us to mention 5 things daily that we are grateful for. This was a challenge for me, as I didn’t feel grateful about anything in my life besides God. I felt like such a failure and everyday felt like a failure. I did this task anyway, so I searched high and low throughout each day looking back to find things to be grateful for no matter how big or small they were or insignificant they seemed.

One day, I couldn’t find anything significant that had happened in my day. I must admit I freaked out a little bit, how was I going to post my accountability with no gratitude! So I had to think how is my life different to others on this given day. I realised – it’s so cold and it’s raining. I may not have a big fancy home with beautiful furniture in it, but I sure do have a warm bed to sleep in and I’m sheltered from the rain. I sure did have a meal to fill my tummy, in fact I had 2 that day. I sure did have a warm cup of coffee to warm me up! I sure do have children, a husband and family. I sure am on a journey with God! Suddenly I felt happier about my day because I did have so much to be grateful for and having those things felt like more to be grateful for than any other success that could happen in a day. This is my life everyday – I have more than what some others have.

It made me sad to remember all of those who have so much less. There are some who have no shelter, who sleep on wet pavements in the rain, with a wet blanket and wet clothes. There are some who don’t have access to the kind of warmth we do on these cold days. There are some who cannot have children, some who are longing for a husband, some who have lost their families.

It all got me thinking, even those that have more, some of those I might be following on social media might not be happy with what they have either. When we seek after a certain lifestyle I guess nothing is enough.

The world always has something new to offer. We have a great phone, but then a new one comes out and we need that. We have a great car but then a new one comes out and we need that. Nothing we have just becomes enough. It’s never enough, there’s always something we going to wish we had.

I’ve learnt to become grateful for what I have even though it’s not a lot. I’ve learnt to stop seeking after what everyone else has that I don’t have. I have enough, I have my personal growth journey, the love of God, a family, a roof over my head, food, clothing and warmth. That’s enough! Anything that comes after that is a blessing stemmed from gratitude for what I do have.

We should live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, being grateful for our jobs, salaries, homes, people in our lives. We all have so much to be grateful for. Every one of us is more privileged than someone else we may or may not know. Blessing does not only come in the form of wealth, it can come in such small little things that we tend to overlook.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I would encourage anyone to do this daily exercise of listing 5 things you are grateful for every night before you go to sleep, and taking the time to thank God for those blessings! Doing this daily has taken me from a place of being bitter about my life to finding happiness and being content with my life and where it’s going. God deserves all the glory, thanks and praise!

“Enter his gates with Thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise, give thanks to Him and praise His name” – Psalm 100:4

We all want to fit in, but why not stand out?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5

Throughout my life I struggled to find a place to really fit in. At school, I had a difficult time fitting in. I wasn’t really great at anything except poetry. My grades were average, I wasn’t super talented. I was a middle class girl in an upper class school. If I look back now on all the activities I tried, I realise the reason I didn’t finish well was because I felt out of place. I didn’t really keep friends long. I tried hard to make friends but eventually because of my own insecurities and everything else I was dealing with, i rather made enemies at school. I became a rebel, whatever rule there was to be broken I would break it. I was teased alot at school, i was also the one teasing and being mean to others. My mom took us to church every Sunday and youth on a Friday night, these were my greatest memories of my childhood. If I look back now, I see a broken, out of control young girl that others struggled to watch make ongoing mistakes. Due to traumas I had no sense of self worth, I hated myself and it reflected into all my relationships at school. At 17, I fell pregnant in the middle of Std 9. Now I had a new struggle, fitting into motherhood at such a young age. I didn’t fit in and I rejected my daughter.

The workplace wasn’t much better. I am an extremely hard worker, a very driven person. I was also a very broken person looking for a sense of belonging, somewhere to fit in. I didn’t really fit in anywhere even in the workplace. The place where I felt I fit in the most were the dark places of substance abuse and love in all the wrong places. I actually believed my life was doomed for disaster and I became ok with it. I went through more traumatic experiences in my adult years and fell deeper into making bad choices.

My brother, planted seeds in my life, seeds that maybe I was worth more. He took me to church, I loved it there and so I kept going. I found God and tried to live my life for Him. I made friends, but I had so many issues and insecurities I think it was just so difficult for anyone to relate to me. My friendships were like roller coasters. I was living with so much guilt and shame, and all of these feelings were starting to surface. Ì don’t think at that point I was ready to deal with them and so I chose to self destruct and ended up back in the partying scene.

I fell pregnant again at age 21, I tried a second chance at fitting into motherhood but again I was just so broken. I hated myself even more at this point in my life and I ran away from it all, even God, leaving my daughter and son behind.

In my family, I even felt like the “black sheep”, not because they made me feel that way but because I had so much hatred towards myself. In my adult years I even found another family to call my family instead. The truth is my own family just had a few imperfections and I needed someone to blame so I blamed them. My parents picked up all the pieces I dropped, although imperfect, they were always there for me and my children. It must of been difficult for them to watch me self destruct the way I did.

I met my husband 8 years ago, I felt I didn’t even fit into this but I realised I wanted a change in my life and the way I felt about myself. I wanted to find a place where I belonged. This is the point where all the major self reflecting started. I had a man in my life who loved me unconditionally, through all my brokenness and strange ways. Suddenly I found God again and started growing – slowly self reflecting and ending one bad habit after the next. As I grew closer to God, I started believing more and more of my worth. I started recognising things within myself layer by layer that needed healing, fixing, removing.

The journey of becoming more and more who I was always meant to be, happens by self reflecting, with God. Surrendering these spaces to God and allowing Him to bring Healing and restoration, where it was never possible before. I am still picking up the pieces of my life of struggling to fit in and I am still on that healing journey! While I pick up the pieces, I have learnt that striving for fitting in / gathering material things is not what I need. What I have needed was wholeness in Christ. I am thankful for courage (not out of my own strength, but Christ) to share my story in hopes that others might be encouraged and strive for finding their identity in Christ.

As I get further on my Healing journey I realise I was called to stand out and not fit in. I am very aware that so many people have followed my life journey, and many feelings have come over them, sadness, anger, hurt, disappointment, worry, confusion, judgement etc. It is comforting to know that people who are following me have enjoyed watching my growth process, my Healing journey and have found some inspiration through it.

I am not perfect though, I am also human. Some days on this journey are more difficult than others. It takes constant training your mind, self reflecting and surrender to God to keep your feet firm on the ground where Jesus walked, reminding yourself of what He has to say about you. What I’ve noticed is that the road gets that little bit easier as you go along it and keep on that path. When I mess up now I don’t beat myself up about it anymore, I remember whose I am, that His grace is sufficient for me and then I learn from the experience and allow God to move in it.

You will notice there were 3 key people in planting the seeds of my true Identity – my mom, my brother and my husband. The past two years have been the most accelerated growth years of my life. I may have at times gone astray but the seeds they planted turned into roots. For most of my life I allowed the wrong seeds to grow, I gave them water and food. I’ve realised we need to chose our seeds, water and feed the right seeds and allow them to turn into roots and flourish from there.

Daily I make a choice to believe that I am who God says I am. Daily I make a choice to renew my mind. Daily I choose to find my identity in Christ and not be defined by my past, present or future mistakes. God called me for meaningful conversations with Him and others about Him! I am grateful for my journey through life, traumas, heartaches, mistakes, I am grateful for it all. I have been through everything I have, so that I can tell my story. God has turned all of this into a work for His glory and I look forward to seeing this unfold. It’s been an equipping process for my true purpose. I’ve found where I belong!

We have a choice in this life here on earth, we can choose to lose ourselves by trying to fit in where we dont belong or find ourselves by standing out where we do belong! What’s your choice?