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Thankful for the team.

e5ebab19bdbcc7fe06a5b4f3f2be3762--stuff-stuff-walk-by-faith.jpgMy sleek hair had turned into a ginger frizz ball and I was sweating like a mad woman as I took part in the little known Olympic sport housed inside the Hillsong Conference team cloakroom.

In this hot box of belongings, I took on a triathlon of walking, squatting and number locating, and by the end of the night my entire body was complaining.  But you know something, I don’t think I stopped smiling.

I had the privilege of working on team to check in hundreds of bags belonging to incredible servant hearted people working their butts off to welcome home thousands of Christians from around the world.

It gives me joy to know that I was playing my part so they could do theirs.

I am in awe of what we get to do. I realised tonight as I sat to process that God just keeps pouring out the blessings, the more I receive the more I feel his heart of grace. Because this girl loves a blessing but she never did anything to deserve them!

Tonight was pretty special too. I got given a bible verse on the way out of conference. It was the same verse God gave me when I had convinced myself I was going to Nigeria and not coming home.

I’d been told that I’d be kidnapped or killed.

It was in a tent in a field where a girl who had never heard from God was given a verse to share with me. A verse that spoke to my heart completely and gave me courage and confirmation that God was not sending me to die. He was sending me to love and live.

That same verse was handed to me tonight as I walked out of the nose bleed section of the auditorium.

‘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 hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11

I’ve just noticed it’s the same verse I’m wearing on my pyjama top.

You know the devil loves to plant seeds of doubt and fear into our lives. He’s not into encouragement he’s into disparagement, he talks down, belittles and lies to make you doubt your calling.

It’s in those moments when he’s pressing you down that you stand up tall, remember who is on your side and tell the devil ‘nope! not today!’

I know this verse in Jeremiah is my Father God encouraging me that he’s not done with me yet, there’s more to come and again I need to get out there, love and live. I’m glad he has the plan and he also has the strength and bravery I need to be obedient.

I want you to remember that serving God is not always pretty, convenient or safe. Living a life that honours Him means coming out of your comfort zone and getting your hands dirty. It’s not an easy road, it’s one that requires you to rely completely on God knowing the plan, trusting He is on your side, cheering you on, speaking life into the certainty of your future.

Living this life with Him means you get to do life with the most amazing bunch of beautiful, vibrant, servant hearted legends you will ever meet.

None of us perfect but all of us chosen to change the world for the better. I am so thankful that God loves this hot mess and has blessed me beyond measure with the friends I get to share it with.

So, a quick shout out to my lovely team!

I am so proud of you all, you make me want to be a better me and a more loving servant to our father God. You inspire, encourage and love me and I am baffled as to why but I love you guys for it!

I spent most of the night tonight pointing each one of you out to my friend saying ‘that’s my friend [insert name] they’re amazing!….’ Feeling emotional and proud that I have the privilege of calling you friends.

This girl is finally home.

 

 

 

 

 

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Life’s loving motivators.

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As I looked at the assault course in front of me all I could think was this:

‘It’s total wipeout NI edition and I’m going to die.’

Yes I was being melodramatic, yes I could swim and yes I was thankful that if I weed myself in fright the water would hide the evidence.

At the same moment as being nervous I was also excited. It’d been a while since I took on a challenge that I wasn’t sure I could complete. We do that sometimes don’t we? Avoid the things that scare us and take on other things that we know we can accomplish with at least a little bit of confidence.

In my borrowed wetsuit I lined up to jump the 10ft drop into the icy water and with my brain telling me ‘nope!’ I told it to ‘shhh’ as I flung myself in.

Shortly after that, somewhere on the north coast of Northern Ireland on a huge inflatable assault course, I was doing my best beached hippo impression. My legs refused to propel me anywhere and my arms were far from cooperative as I tried to lug my not so petite frame onto the first actual obstacle! At that moment I was unsure what to do. Do I carry on, or do I maintain that I’m happy bobbing here in my life jacket with a cheery ‘you guys go on ahead!’ attitude?

My Upper body strength was non-existent, turns out my training schedule of writing and eating cake had not fully prepared me for the challenge. Note to self: get back to the gym!

But do you know something? I laughed so much! I learnt so much. I overcame a little bit of that voice in my head that told me I couldn’t and was helped along the way by two extraordinary women who loved me enough to drag my behind onto the inflatables and wouldn’t give up until I’d completed a circuit with them.

‘You can do it!’ became the phrase of the hour!

Confession: In moments of challenge I struggle asking for help.

My two crazy NI companions taught me something – that I should ask more and be unashamed to do so!

Doing things solo doesn’t always make you strong, it makes you alone.

Ironically I have a saying on my wall at home that says ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’

Even more ironically my last blog post was on the same topic!

… for so many of us asking for help comes with a cost, the cost of our pride. Since that experience on the doorstep I’ve learnt that asking for help isn’t a failure, it’s an incredible strength. Allowing someone into your life to help you achieve something outside of your gifting is far from a weakness – it’s wisdom.

When will I learn to read signs (or re-read my own blog posts!)?  Turns out I’m a slow learner!

The literal obstacles in front of me meant I couldn’t go alone or fast, but with help, I could get further than I imagined.

And after I’d achieve the goal and jumped off a giant inflatable cliff hand in hand with my own personal cheer squad I felt awesome!

Some people possess the amazing gift of making you want to be a better person.

Not in a competitive sense but in the sense that you want just a little more of what they have. Whether it’s that extra capacity to love, their generosity, their optimism, they make you want to be more and do more in life.

These are life’s loving motivators. They’re rare, so if you find one, don’t let them disappear. No matter the distance or the time not speaking, check in with them again. (I mean it, get on it now!) As I’m proving in the blogosphere – we all need constant reminders and support to carry on through this life.

Our loving motivators in life are the ones that ‘bare with’ when you’re stuck, they hold out a hand to pull you through the next obstacle or become your biggest fan club in the moments that you face your own hurdle.

They’re not afraid to share their vulnerability with you, helping you be brave enough and strong enough to share your own.

These are the kinds of people that I want to be more like. I want to love more, have more patience, coach more, be one of life’s loving motivators.

Let’s face it, if there were more people who loved in the world there’d be less to fight about, more goals conquered and more lives transformed.

This work in progress girl has had an epic week.

She’s walked llamas, body-boarded for the first time, drunk her bodyweight in tea, had heart to hearts in power cuts, eaten cheesecake the size of her head, seen sunsets and rain storms, been challenged, loved and treated like family, walked the story of CS Lewis, enjoyed chicken with old friends and played boardgames with new ones and she’s been to Barry’s. (She’s also regained her NI accent in places!).

All in a weeks work when you’re friends with this amazing girl!

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Thanks Morrison 😉 x

Locked out

As I stood on the doorstep with my arm lodged in a letterbox trying to grab the keys to open the door, I made a mental note – there has to be a blog post in this.

The irony of turning cat burglar in an attempt to rescue the dog I’d managed to lock inside the house was not lost on me.

As I look at it now it was a day full of fails, highlighted only by the fact my awesome friend Katie had come to visit from Ireland for the weekend. She was now freezing in the car taking photo’s of the epic ginger fail that was unfolding before her eyes.

Stood on that doorstep I became determined that I wouldn’t be moving until I’d open the door. Determination turned to stubbornness as I rooted through the car for various implements to jab through the letterbox in an attempt to reach the lanyard attached to the  keys so I could yank them out of the key hole.

Koby, my chocolate Labrador Christmas companion, sat in his basket completely unfazed by the drama, every now and again he’d get up and retrieve dropped items that I’d accidentally dropped through the letterbox.

It took almost an hour, a bruised and grazed arm and the fact that I was freezing for me to concede and google the number of a locksmith. I didn’t realise it mattered so much to me to be able to solve a problem myself until that moment.

£68 and 20 minutes later the locksmith had not only arrived, he’d used two minutes of that time to prop open the letterbox and use a gadget to turn the key in the lock. In an embarrassingly short amount of time he managed to do what I’d been failing at. Then hey presto – door open and we are greeted by slobbery dog hanging out in the doorway.

How many times in life do we get so fixed on trying to solve something ourselves we forget that help even exists? While standing on the doorstep of life with our hands through the letterbox of experience we refuse to turn around and just face the fact that we need help.

I think it’s because for so many of us asking for help comes with a cost, the cost of our pride. Since that experience on the doorstep I’ve learnt that asking for help isn’t a failure, it’s an incredible strength. Allowing someone into your life to help you achieve something outside of your gifting is far from a weakness – it’s wisdom.

Time and time again I am faced with impossible things in this world and I have to ask for help. That help isn’t always from others around me. It’s mostly from my ultimate helper and guardian. I have come to understand that some of the most powerful prayers begin with ‘Lord God, I can’t do this on my own, but with you I can do anything!’

So don’t walk this path alone, don’t be afraid to ask, it’s not weakness – it’s wisdom.

Paul writes it perfectly in 2 Corinthians when he says this:

 

(The Lord said..) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

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In case you were wondering ,… this is Koby!

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An this is Katie 😀

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Get to it! #Kenya

Sometimes facing our fears is not just to prove a point to ourselves – it’s to inspire someone else so that they can be brave too.

I don’t know how long you’ve known me but, believe it or not, I used to be painfully shy. When I announced that I was going abroad with a team on mission the first time a good few people were shocked.

I wouldn’t have said boo to a goose back then, now I am learning day by day to be a little mouthier (in a good way!) and to encourage others – if I can do crazy things like this – so can you!

So yes, I am going to Kenya this time and I am SO EXCITED! It’ll be incredible to see another beautiful country and to no doubt learn so much more than I can process.

But remember, this isn’t some exclusive club, it’s about having a heart for people. I want to encourage you, if you have a desire in your heart to get out and see the world – go for it!  If you have a heart to change this crazy, hurting world – get to it!

Don’t let the desires of your heart remain on that bucket list!

Remember – being brave isn’t about feeling courageous at the time, often it’s looking back and seeing the journey you’ve come through, realising you’ve done something you never thought you could.

So sign up, get fundraising, volunteer, do whatever it is that’s gathering dust on the list. We are given precious little time on this earth to be the change so we need to take every opportunity.

And finally, know that you never go alone into any of these huge adventures. God loves you and goes with you, step by step.

 

If you’re looking to do something wild then check out :

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Or if you’d like to support my trip please visit here:

 

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It is well with my soul.

As I walked through a building that was once so familiar I had a sudden hit of what I can only describe as saudades. This is a Brazilian word that literally means a longing of the heart. We don’t really have a word for it in English but for me it’s the kind of feeling as though your heart is being squeezed. Continue reading

The call of love 

As the small boy held the stone aloft ready to throw his mother yelled across the grassy bank. ‘Keiron – put that stone down! Come here now!’ 
Head bowed he slowly made his way across the park to his mum, his lip quivered in anticipation of the telling off that followed. Tiny step by tiny step he closed the gap. 

Seconds later a father called out to a second child, ‘Daniel come here son!’ 

The second boy scampered across the grass at speed and jumped into his fathers lap. His dad let out a grunt as the boy hit him full force in the chest. 

Kieron was now only a quarter of the way to his mother, taking the tiniest of steps. A little girl looked up and questioned ‘Why did you shout at him?’ 

Before she could receive an answer she skipped across the grass and met Keiron at the half way point. She spoke softly in his ear took him by the hand and walked him to his mother. 

Instead of shouting at the child the mum told him to sit down, put a protective arm around him and drew him close to her side. What followed was not a telling off but a gentle question: ‘What were you doing Keiron?’ 

Tears sprang to the little boys eyes, tears of relief and then of apology as he realised that launching a rock at another child wasn’t what he should be doing. 

Looking on at the unfolding events God spoke to my heart – this is what you are like. 

When you think you are in a good place with me when you hear me call you run and fling yourself into my arms, happy, contented, boldly because you know you can. 

But when you know you have done something wrong you are hesitant, you dawdle and procrastinate thinking I’m going to scold you! You end up needing some encouragement from a friend, or a loud poke from the Holy Spirit before you bring yourself home to me. 

My beautiful child, come boldly before me in good times and bad. I’ve loved you, I love you and I’ll always be loving you. 

When I call out to you, when it feels like I’m shouting, when your conscience seems to stab you through the heart in the midst of your sin, it’s not because I’m angry, it’s because I love you! 

Please know that God’s not angry with you, He wants you to come to Him in any and every circumstance. So call out to Him not just in the good but in the bad too.