Anchor, My

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There’s so many images that my mind conjures up when I think about God, in different situations and His work in my life. In this past week I have felt, more than ever, His position as anchor to my soul. I’m quite a physical person and often, when I’m feeling things emotionally or in my spirit, the feelings manifest themselves physically too.

I’ve felt kicked around this week, there’s been some wrestling. Wrestling with good and evil, the wrestle between darkness and light, between life and death. After feeling defeated, like there’s no fight left, I realised my need to re-focus on God. In these moments, I could feel Him as my anchor. In the midst of the tugging, the waves, the storm, I could never be pulled too far from my anchor. There’s nothing I, nor anyone else, could possibly do to pull me too far from the solid anchor to which my life, my soul, is tethered.

I’ve made it through another week, carried by the grace of God into the next and reassured that He is never too far. Nothing can move Him, and no one can touch me without His consent. The loving, kind, strong, merciful, gracious Father I’ve come to know, who knew me before the Earth’s foundations were laid.

And so, this is my song of the week:

It Changes Everything!!

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God calls us to care for, to love and to protect vulnerable children. Throughout the bible, he is calling us, his people, to act this out.

This won’t manifest itself in the same way for everyone. Ben & I have specifically felt the Holy Spirit call us to grow our family through adoption. For others it may be fostering, respite care, becoming a teacher or a social worker, or through political means, through policy, social justice, charity work, fighting against abuse, against child trafficking. To get alongside and support those doing these things. Spiritually, practically, emotionally. All roles as important as each other in Gods plan to set the lonely in families.

There are so many ways we can respond. I urge you to ask God how this is to look in your lives, to be open to the Holy Spirit, and to act!

As a church, we need families to wrap around vulnerable children with unconditional love and the rest of the church to wrap around those families with unconditional love. So that when we get to the end of our tether, you guys have already tied your tethers to ours!

Let me fill you in on my journey behind the motivation to respond to God’s call. And that’s our position, that we are all in fact vulnerable children that have been adopted. That God gave us redemption and salvation SO THAT we can be adopted as sons and daughters into his house.

Imagine you’re one of these people that gets crazy excited about getting the new iPad, you’ve saved up for a long long time, monitored the rumour websites, watched the keynote, camped outside the apple store for days until finally it’s yours! You own the new iPad. You’re excited, you bring it home, look at it and feel really pleased with yourself and that it’s yours!

But you don’t plug it in and you don’t turn it on. Knowing you have it gets you excited. But that doesn’t captivate your attention for long and you soon move onto the next thing. Sometimes, maybe after a conference or weekend away, you get excited again, take it out and look at it but again, but just owning it isn’t enough to keep you going for long. Especially when things gets tough!

And that’s because buying the iPad was not the purpose of buying the iPad.

This is my story. Not camping outside the Apple Store! But, this is how my faith has looked for a long time. Until recently, when God revealed himself to me as father and is teaching me about my position as his adopted child. And when we truly understand that, it changes everything.

It’s like I became a Christian again, after 10 years! It brings a longing and a desire to be with Him. This new understanding brings with it real relationship, true devotion and a sustained motivation to act, even when it gets tough, because I am now learning to live in the surety of my position and with the authority of “do you know who my dad is?”

God’s plan has always been adoption. It doesn’t end at salvation and redemption. He sent Jesus SO THAT we may be adopted.

The whole goal of Jesus coming into the world was to secure the believers adoption. Jesus jumped through all the hoops of the adoption process to bring us into His fathers house as God’s children.

Adoption means a transfer, you get a new name, you belong to a new family now. You get a new identity. A different way of recognition. It means you have new rights. There’s things you can do which previously you couldn’t do. We are joint heirs with Christ, we’ve been brought into the fold of the trinity with the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit. So we can say with authority and surety – “Do you know who my dad is? Who my brother is? Who my helper is?”

 So when that’s your motivation… it changes EVERYTHING!

(Part of ‘Adoption Sunday’ at Beacon Church London. Listen to the whole thing at https://soundcloud.com/beaconchurch/03-11-2013-adoption-sunday.)

How far have you come?

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As you can see, I’m well on my way to half marathon success. I have stuck meticulously to my training plan through rain or shine, aches and chaffs, thick and thin. With the help of a banana sandwich I pushed through my target of 9 miles and went for 10 at the weekend and to the surprise of many, it felt great!

The pressures of looming exams are weighing down and my life at the moment is revising, working, running. After my exams I still have 2 ½ years until I become a chartered quantity surveyor and as I’ve already been studying & working hard for 4 years, it is starting to seem like a huge chunk of my life with a long way to go still. This thought disheartened me and thus demotivated me.

Then I ran 10 miles.

And God said…

“Look how far you’ve come?”

From this revelation, my perspective changed, on running, on my degree, my career, my marriage, my friendships, my life.

By remembering how far I’ve come my journey forward does not seem so daunting or insurmountable. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I have. I’ve done a lot of things through Christ who strengthens me.

SHAMELESS PLUG: I’m doing all this crazy training to raise money for Christian Aid, who hate poverty and are doing something about it. If you fancy supporting me or them, please sponsor me here: www.justgiving.co.uk/sophierosemarie

The Greater The Glory

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When people hear of all this running I’ve got on, the most common response is ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or ‘Where do you get the strength & motivation for all this?’

I’m not going to lie to anyone, I am way off being classed as a ‘runner’ and every time I get my trainers on and squeeze into my sports bra and leggings I feel the need to take them off again and replace with my wonderfully comfy PJ’s.

Have no illusions. Running is hard. Yes, it gets easier with the right training and diet but I doubt it will ever be ‘easy’. If it were, it would have far less appeal.

I’ve come to find that I’m not doing this for the actual run itself. I’m doing it because of the quiet satisfaction that comes with sweat dripping off my face and streaming down my back as that personal best gets crushed, or the cheers from friends and family as I hobble across the finish line. I do it for the silent aches and pains I wear with pride the next day. If there were none of this, I would quite simply lose heart and hang up my trainers.

I then wonder and realise that the glory that comes after acheiving something is relative to the effort it takes, the perserverance required and the down right pain beit physical or emotional that drenches your journey until the glory and satisfaction that comes at the end.

Jesus models this to us perfectly. He undertook the most horrific battle, abuse, pain, suffering and death. Everything we ever did or will ever do wrong, transferred from our record to his in those moments as he took our punishment for us. Not just us… EVERYONE… EVER!

What happened next?

“Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2v9-11)

WOWEEE! He underwent the ultimate endurance and came out of it highly exalted.

As a Christian, I get this. What Jesus did, for me. My name was written on the hands that had nails driven through them, so, for me, when I get out of bed and hear the rain outside and feel the cold outside my duvet, I look up. I look at what Jesus achieved and what I can acheive.

I’m human and I love getting praise and congratulations but I want to declare now that without the strength I get from above, I would spend my whole life in my PJ’s, watching Eastenders and never achieving anything.

And so, as Jesus took my sin and shame, I want him to have any glory that comes my way because ultimately I couldn’t do any of it without Him.

Your Very Own Home

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When I left home at 18 and set my sights on the big city, I visited ‘home’ every month or so. By home I meant my mum’s house, where I grew up. It must of been somewhere  deep in my sub conscience that I kept calling my mum’s house home even though I didn’t live there. I was perfectly happy in London and living where I was, it felt like home. But I guess it always felt temporary, not knowing what would happen or where I would go next, I would always fall back ‘home’, to my mum’s.

I am now 24 and lived away from my mums for over 6 years. I realised just before Christmas that I no longer refer to my mum’s house as home when I was talking to my sister, who still refers to it as home. It struck me that my home is where my husband is. He whisked me away and changed my base, my home. My security. I would now fall back on to him.

God has been showing me recently where I should find my home and my security. My dwelling place is in Him, or at least it should be. At the end of the day, people are like dust, they fade away and let you down. You can fall back on them but they may not always be able to hold you up or be there to catch you at all. One thing I know for sure is that the Lord God goes from everlasting to everlasting. He is steadfast. Psalm 91 sums it up nicely…

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in God’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”

That’s right! — he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.

Yes, because God’s your refuge,
THE HIGH GOD YOUR VERY OWN HOME,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.”

Amen.

Caring Christmas Trees

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I’ve stolen this from Simon Allen’s blog (http://socialactionjrp.blogspot.com/), because he’s got some good things to say. For the last few years I’ve been involved in the Caring Christmas Trees project with Simon. It’s a great project which spreads Christmassy joy and helps the poor.

Simon gives 10 reasons to purchase a Caring Christmas Tree: –

1. Christmas is a great time to be generous to those in need.

2. The trees we sell are fabulous real Scottish freshly cut Nordmann trees.  These are the most popular selling trees in the UK.  We offer very competitive pricing as well.

3. The profit goes to the Jericho Road Project which houses very vulnerable rough sleepers in safe supportive accommodation.  We have 6 houses in the borough of Lewisham.

4. Volunteers, many who have previously experienced rough sleeping, are involved.  This includes distributing postcards, on the vans helping deliver trees and at the sites helping customers.

5. The Jericho Road Project provides about 4500 meals (3 courses) a year to people in need through the Feast which is our weekly outreach meeting.

6. The publicity helps promote the work we do to a much wider audience.  

7. We help people change but it takes time and commitment, let me tell you about one man who was referred to us about 4 years ago for support at the Feast and help with his benefits.  For the first year or two he did nothing to help himself, it was always someone else’s fault and he would sit around expecting others to sort out his problems for him!  However in recent times at the Feast he has become a brilliant helper.  He doesn’t need to be asked he does jobs such as emptying the bins and taking them out to the main bin.  As you can imagine, this is not a pleasant job.  He is not doing it because he has been told to do it but he has chosen to do it.  This story demonstrates that with time and a supportive environment people will change.  He has moved from being theproblem to becoming part of the solution.

8. Real Christmas Trees make a room and a house smell brilliantly Christmassy.

9. The Project creates opportunities for vulnerable people to go on holiday, we go to Chepstow in March and then to an event called Encounter Camp in June.

10. Finally, we even deliver the trees to your door for a small (ish) extra fee.

So what are you waiting for… order yours now!!

http://www.caringchristmastrees.com/selondon/

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