Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So Many Books

Moments before running back downstairs to make tea (yes, the meal) and then go to my sister's to read the Bible together, I take time to stop and briefly write my joy.
Mom and I just pulled three boxes out of the garage, as I start moving onto my books after sorting my clothes.

How can I tell you of my joy at seeing my treasures? For the first time in six months, I pulled my books out and caressed each cover - hardback, softback, shiny, smooth, rough, plain, decorated, cloth, plastic, laminate...

You who love books! My fellow writers and book lovers. Can you imagine what it is to have the sounds of the Tudors, the echoes of the World Wars, surround you after six months absence from almost any literature? One of the hardest things of this enforced absence has to be the zero access to my books.

With delight, I open a cover and inhale the scents...musky, dusty, old, new, familiar, and how long it has been.

Some of you will remember that I had two wall length shelves, two bookcases, one more bookshelf, two boxes full and my bed packed with books. And also, I possess over thirty books on WWII and the Holocaust alone - as further proof of my obsession. It has been so hard to be without them, and God has graciously restored them!

Thank You for this time, during which the only Book I could read has been Your Word. Thank You for having installed a desperate hunger for Your Word in my heart during this. And thank You - THANK YOU - for giving me back my books!

In Christ,

Today, Today, is a Most Important Day!

Today was a nice day.
I spent it trying to make a great impression on my bedroom. I partially succeeded. ;) Which is nice, because my bedroom and I don't get along very well, so learning how to deal with it and make the right kind of impression was good!

Also, I learned the meaning of "when I became a man, I put away childish things." However, I photographed them before disposing of them. Here are a few.

I photographed my favourite mother's ring (yes, she is my favourite mother, and it's my favourite ring of hers :P) and her engagement ring that I'm using as a purity ring for the present.

I also created an American corner in my room! See if you can spot what you gave me! Papers going into frame in the near future. :)

Then my sister came round and dropped off my niece while she went to fetch prescriptions from the chemist.

After that, we went shopping. Mummy bought me three pairs of earrings!! They are so pretty!

So many things to be depressed about. SO MUCH MORE to be praising Him about!

~In Christ,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love's Pain

A conversation with a friend earlier revealed some rather home-hitting truths about the perspective of love's place in life.

You know, it's can be respected and admired by many different people but without a word from the person who means the most to you, it still doesn't take the ache away.
And writing that, I realise where the problem lies....
God has to mean the most to me. He has called me His beloved. His wife. His daughter. Treasured. Precious. And so, starving, hurting, I HAVE to go to the only One who can fulfill that need.
God also gave us the desire to be wanted by that one special person, yes, and I know He did. But until it's His timing to be fulfilled, He wants us to turn that desire towards Him. He will fill it if we trust Him. Wrap us in His love and ease the pain. And...and He wants us to make Him the centre of our lives. Especially our love lives.
Is the desire for a partner wrong, if you're not letting it consume you? I think that when the desire for a partner is before God's time for it, then it HAS to be turned towards Him.

Isn't it funny? One of the main parts of our lives is pretty much always the one section of our life when we compartmentalise God.
Somehow, when it comes to loving someone, we seem to think we can handle it on our own - one of the most tricky and murky waters of this life.
LOVE, not the saccharine emotional feeling, but true love - the choice - the love that chooses to love - is Divine. It gets its continuing source from the One Who created and is the essence of love.

I wrote once, a long time ago, in my diary, "How can God fulfill the desire to be held close in someone's arms, to feel a real embrace, a real kiss?"
In a way, He can't. But He can diminish that longing with the overwhelming magnificence of His presence. He created us with feelings and longing and desires. They aren't wrong. But what you can do with them can be wrong. When you choose to turn with them to God, seek His comfort and bare your heart and longings to Him, He surrounds you with His presence and diminishes the helpless wishes - not obviously, but simply as you become lost in His presence. He is the ultimate fulfiller.
He is the One Who needs to mean the most to you. When the desire for human love is no longer first in your's surprising how free you become. (I'm not there yet, but I've sensed it. It's not far away.)

I think that's all I've thought for now. I keep thinking about stuff like this, and it's like unresolved shadows for ages. :P Sometimes I share the shadows, but not often. I feel I need to share this one, I pray it blesses you. :)

In Christ,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Today's Adventure!

Today was a sad day and a happy day.

Several goals were missed, and others were accomplished. Although very tempted to be down by the ones I missed, it's better to choose to be glad over the ones finished and not to be so blinded by the present I miss the repairable future.

So! To share the happy part. :D

Mom and I went to town this morning, Mom to the doctors and me to the meet up with her in an hour. However, I had a few other ideas of what I wanted to accomplish in an hour - AND I DID THEM ALL! :D :D :D

Heading down Lichfield Street and across the Arboretum Island, I went to the Walsall Centre for the Deaf. When we drove past it yesterday, I noticed a sign up - BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE COURSE, for beginners. YAY! This was one of my goals when I got back to the UK, to learn sign language!
Met at the door and guided upstairs by a deaf man, he took me into a room where a rather harassed looking lady was on the telephone. Turned out she was the only one in that day, but she told me to leave my name, address, phone number and email and a lady called Tracy (who is deaf) will be in touch to let me know when the course starts in September. :D HOPEFULLY it will be compatible with a job...

Heading back into town, I went up to Wilko's and bought an alarm clock. I wanted to buy one as soon as I got back, to get me into my routine of getting up at quarter to six - which is something I'll need to be doing with a job, anyway! The idea of this section of the routine, for now, is up at quarter to six, shower and dress in fifteen minutes, Bible read for an hour, then walk the dog and pray for half an hour or so. :D It's ticking down at the foot of my ladder right now, and has a lovely, annoying ring. :D

Moving from Wilko's, I went into the market to get something for a special lady in my life. You know, sometimes they really need reminding that they ARE precious, and beautiful, and loveable, and admirable, and respected, and treasured. Especially in really dark times in their lives And words don't always do the trick. :)

After that, I went into the bank and changed my bank account so that I could start to pay a minor thing for myself instead of Mom doing it.

Then I headed to Tesco's where I met Mom in the carpark. :D (Yes, not parking lot!) We headed for home, where Joseph's friend Derek had arrived, then later, my old next door neighbour Auntie Dot visited and watched a load of my photos and videos... :P Poor Auntie Dot!

Also! My sister gave me the email address of someone to send in my CV, and next week they go through the applications. If you pass that, they call you in for an assessment. If you pass THAT, then work starts on September 5th. O.o Please pray for that!

My bad things were that I got nothing done in my room today, nor did I get any Bible time in or any real prayer time. Which is...very saddening. Tomorrow, that will change, God willing.

I was so excited about what I've managed to accomplish, though! #dohardthings in the small things! Be faithful in the little things, and you'll be building the foundation for big things! Even if you never accomplish them, someone will! Nothing is ever lost with God!!

In Christ,

You Make Me New!

Eleven months ago, I took my first steps outside of my house alone, as I took the dog for a walk around the streets I used to travel with my ex-best friend Gemma, on the start of what would become much-loved and much-sought prayer walks.
There's something about walking, walking for a long while, that clears your mind, uplifts your spirit and gives a sense of independence. No other method of transport can do that to you (and if you think about it, walking is the only one God designed us for!).
Eleven months ago, I was depressed, broken-hearted, enslaved to several addictions, heavily emotionally dependent on several people and doing anything within my power to flee from and numb myself to emotional pain, even if it meant inflicting more.

Within a year, I have gone from walking those streets to taking my first taxi ride, first train rides, first bus ride and first plane flights (subsequently eleven flights!) on my own. :D
Within a year, God has brought people into my life who have changed it. He has brought me face to face with the end of my ways and turned me back to Himself. He has turned me from a frightened little girl in an adult's body to an emerging butterfly, dealing with the struggles of life one by one in His grace and rejoicing in the painful blessing of seeing His Hand in it.
Depression has given way to seeing the gold threads in the dark weaving, my heart is being healed by cutting off my past and leaving it behind me, by making choices to face pain and overcome it, by turning to God in every situation. Addictions are breaking as I give them to Christ. Emotional dependence is slowly wearing into dependence on Christ. I won't deny it hurts now and then when the people I look to for advice and to be there aren't, but it's changing so that I go to God with that hurt and then He comforts the other.
The joy of seeing pain and then looking for God's Hand in it is...immensely freeing. Not to be so afraid of it any more!

I won't deny that this is an intensely hopeful post. :P That I still struggle, and that I'm acutely human. :D
But...watching what God's freed me from...and watching Him pull me closer...and learning...and struggling...and growing...and being that butterfly fighting free of the cocoon....
All I can do is say, "Lord God, You are amazing....wonderful...confusing beyond compare, consuming in entirety...what You're doing to me...less than a speck of dust in Your sight...I don't understand, I can't understand, and all I can do is worship You with all that I am! My life is Yours, do with me as You will for Your glory!"

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for me, who pray for me, who have influence in my life, who know little of me but have influenced me in some way. God bless you all; I can only name but a few of you. God BLESS you! Thank you so much for your willingness to be used of Him!

Twas grace that brought me safe thus far - and grace will lead me home!
How great is our God!

In humble awe at the incredible mercy of the Hand of God,

Thoughts at the Airport

Standing at the airport in Houston...okay. Okay, maybe I wasn't standing. I was...dancing. Yep. To "Caramelltanzen" (:P), "Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble, then to "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Our God" and "No Chains on Me" by Chris Tomlin.
By the third time round of Chris Tomlin, I was very much aware of God's presence around me, to the point of looking around and wondering why no one else could sense it.

I noticed a couple of people watching me after a while. I suppose a young woman in two long, loose dresses and a t-shirt with long hair and no make-up dancing publicly was a bit noticeable. :P I used to care, but I try not to any more. Have you ever noticed how restricting caring about people watching you is? You try to blend in. Or else, stand out in a way that fits the mold. Make up. Clothes that aren't too extreme. Moving in the approved way - walking, not skipping, or dancing.

As I watched the people around me, I realised that so many people try to fit into the normal mold in their own way - or who subconsciously subscribe to it - that very few people stand out.
I remember one passenger clearly. An older lady, American, talkative, with big glasses, an open, friendly face, grey hair in a plait with a big dark red rose stuck in the middle of it, wearing trousers and pulling a big carry on. She came over and spoke to me twice, and gave me a bit of her history.
Her open friendliness, her hairstyle and her talkativeness were the things that made her stand out to me.
Another passenger I remember. A foreigner, a man in his twenties, that sat in the chairs next to me. I asked him if he was aware of an internet spot as I had to email Mom. He replied, "I not speak any English," and pointed at another person. Then a few minutes later, he moved seats to further away. I saw him glancing back a few times, so I don't know if I scared him off. :D
His language barrier (and his apparent fear of me :P) made him stand out to me.
A girl who was using the other plug socket. She was your average teen, pretty, with those horrible clingy leggings and the insecure air.
Two boys who dragged their feet in their trainers along the ground, so much so that they nearly tripped over my computer wire. Their apparent apathy in life stood out strongly.

Most of those people were instantly forgettable, because they did not stand out very strongly from everyone else.
Those that I noticed were mostly only because I spent time looking around and observing them.

We as Christians are pilgrims through life. Missionaries sitting in a departure lounge waiting to take the 'plane to Heaven. When we're walking through the airport, how do we stand out?
Is our open friendliness blazingly bright for Christ?
Is our language so different to that of the world, that, like Christian and Faithful in Vanity Fair, they cannot understand us?
Is our clothing so radically different that we are visibly Christ's? Visibly clothed in His radiant blood?
Are we so confident in Christ that we are no longer insecure in ourselves because we are aware we represent a Higher Power, and are possessed by a Higher Power?
Are we full of eagerness and vitality for life and reaching for the adventure in God, or is our apathy in life and our limp "hoping for life to start at some point soon" draining any energy or spirit?

I'm not necessarily recommending standing in an airport dancing to invisible music while wearing three layers of clothing. :P
I'm just wondering, in our efforts to make the world feel comfortable with us being around so we can witness to them and be user friendly (James 4:4) (which by the way, never works) is there any way that the world can tell we are Christ's apart from when they ask our religion or what we do on Sundays?
Is our language that of the latest pop idol or programme on TV, or speaking of Christ and lost in His radiant beauty?
Does our clothing advertise the most popular fashion label, or direct attention to our human form, or are we obsessed with standing out (uncomfortably so) in our dress for Christ? Clothing reflects the inside.
Music (which is becoming a high conviction point for me)...does it subconsciously or blatantly share the ideals of the world, or even just good morals, without proclaiming the Name of Christ?

The film Time Changer, I believe, expresses more potently what teaching morals without the Name of Christ did to the last and present generation.

To be perfectly honest, there are only two points. You can go all out for Christ and accept the scorn of the world, but be visibly recognised for His, or you can hide your Christianity in an attempt to blend in with the world. Sure, you can probably subtly hint Christ more, but the person who stands out for Christ to the limit will go on the wildest adventure with God.

One of my favourite verses happens to be Acts 4:13. It talks about Peter and John, brought before the council for the radical act of healing a man in the Name of Jesus. "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."

Peter, a man who had denied Christ in fear of the opinion of men. John, who had followed Christ faithfully, although even he did not believe the resurrection at first. Fishermen. Unlearned.
They took a radical step of faith in God when His Spirit gave them the power and the message. They stood out from the crowd to risk all for Christ.
And the person that follows Christ to the limit in every area of life, even if it means no compromise, no blending in?
The world will recognise that person, that "they have been with Jesus."
I want to be that person. Are you with me?

In Christ,

Who Am I?

Linked to me earlier today by my big brother Jay Lauser.

“Who am I?”
By Dietrich Bonhoeffer (March 4, 1945)

Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell’s confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
trembling in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Who am I?” in Letters & Papers From Prison (New York: Touchstone, 1953/1997), 347-8

Thursday, August 18, 2011


My latest playlist is called Happy Ones.

My consistent happy playlist at the minute is formed up of:

With You - Mark Willard
Ever, Ever After - Carrie Underwood
Haven't Met You Yet - Michael Buble
Sing, Sing, Sing! - Chris Tomlin
Our God - Chris Tomlin
No Chains on Me - Chris Tomlin
While I'm Waiting - John Waller
Joyful, Joyful - GoFish
God Has a Plan - Bethany Joy Galeotti
One Life to Love - 33 Miles
Don't Give Up/You Are Loved - Josh Groban.

Isn't that awesome! :D

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lessons from Home!

As everyone knew, the anticipation of arrival at home was worse than the actual reliving. :P

Here, I'm back home with the people I am deeply and intricately connected to with ties deeper than normal love, and God has enabled me to keep my eyes on one thing at a time.

However, I wasn't expecting the fear to start again...or the Rebelution to cure it.

My brother, Joseph (more commonly Jose) asked me to do a hundred and one things for usual. Most I passed off as impractical. Which is, thankfully, true. Then he asked me to help him build five model battleships which he'd been saving until I came home, and he wants them built by the weekend.

You've seen the models, right? Those plastic, fiddly, bitty thingies with glue and paint and stuff galore? I could probably cope with the glue and the paint. But not the tiny fiddly bits you breathe on, and they fly away. Especially with Jose.
Besides, this would interfere with my nice little laid out schedule.

My instant response? "I'm sorry! I'm really not a model person!" A flash back of the Rebelution "I'm just not a shower person!" came in, along with the knowledge that I probably could do this, and it was more realistically the fact that I wanted to put my comfort above helping my brother.

I even tried to ease my conscience with telling HIM to do hard things and go ahead with it, but that wasn't very helpful.

I carried on with my unpacking, getting more and more afraid as Joseph started to drop small bits of the model (he IS quite good at this, don't get me wrong!) and use several bad words (which he did NOT pick up from my family. Unfortunately, the streets and cadets taught him a few). His temper was rising rapidly and I could see a fight coming.

I was hugging Rob's licence plate, Jess's pillowcase, Caty's bag and something else by the end of it, near tears and wishing I hadn't had to come home.

I'd put my CD of Chris Tomlin (thank you, Mother Gatley!) on as soon as I got in, and Jose decided he was going to throw his paper bombs at it and "start a fight" because it was too rocky.

I said something to the point of, "Do you know how hurt you're making me feel? I can't even listen to something I like cause you don't like it!"

Even as we stood there, I knew that as a Rebelutionary and as the mature adult I want to be, I had to make a decision.

He went back to his models; I followed, awkwardly patted his back.

"Is that the mast? Where does it need to go?"

He shoved the instructions at me. My response?

"You'd better show me, cause I'm just not an instruction person." Then I really did start to laugh. I'll show him this post later and I think that will explain it.

I sat down next to him, and applied the glue to two skinny pieces of plastic, attaching the base to his model ship.

What happened next shocked the daylights out of me.

He hugged me, apologised for cursing and asked me to pray with him for forgiveness - right then and there. I prayed with him, and then he finished off with, "And Lord, please pave the way for us to go and live in the States, since that seems to be where everything's heading."

My mouth literally dropped open for about two minutes.

See, I'd discussed this with Mom when we walked the dog about five minutes ago (briefly and disconnectedly) but Jose had stayed home and didn't have a clue.

And next? He went and pressed rewind on the CD player to the Chris Tomlin song he'd been bombing. And he did that twice.

Jose never responds like that normally. God gave me a clear choice whether to behave like a selfish child or take a step towards responsible adult, and in return, He gave a small hint of approval towards the step I'd like us to take, and gave me my music back.

Isn't that totally awesome? God, You are higher than ANY other!

Monday, August 08, 2011

I Hate Modern Christianity!

This blog post has been coming for four weeks. During the "message" yesterday, it exploded.

Why do we need CCM in the church? It's cause it's the only time that people feel ALIVE! To get some kind of psyche to get feeling towards God, we have to use music to feel alive. Why?

The CCM is rarely based on God. It's all based on us and on our feelings towards God. "How lovely is the Lord" is probably the most you get in the first line - then "how my heart longs for and EVEN faints for You." "I love You endlessly." (Like we do...?) How WE feel towards God. Why is there nothing like the wonder of the hymns of 'Love Divine', 'Amazing Grace'? No soul repentence, little adoration of God. It's all spiritual sensuality - because worshipping by feeling is the only way people feel alive. The reason people sleep around so much before marriage? Because in their boring lives, it makes them feel ALIVE. The music does the same thing spiritually. It controls the emotions and how people worship. How did things change?

I bet people hardly even notice what they sing any more, as long as it has words addressed to "You", or what could probably be more correctly referred to as the Unknown God. The music makes them feel worshipful.
It all relies on the beat.

I look around at the Christians during the "sermon", more popularly, the "message". They're falling asleep. Mobile/cell phones are out. People stare at their feet. Girls play with their hands or fingernails.
Why are there no men? The boys so weak a girl can lead them? Partly to do with what the Rebelution spoke about yesterday. They don't set themselves any higher standard because they're unconsciously/subconsciously influenced by the world's standards. The world provides more excitement than the church, and why? And all the church does to compensate is bringing in rock bands. Drum kits. Teen groups. Youth outings. Barbeques!

The most exciting parts of Sunday for people are the "worship" time and the "fellowship" time afterwards - more accurately it could be called the gossip time. How much of the sermon do you hear being discussed afterwards, compared to the latest fashion trend or "who's going with who"? Little to none! Why?
The guy who "spoke" the "message". Don't you hate that? What happened to the designated man of God, the "preacher" who "preached" the "sermon"? Preaching is a gift of God's Spirit on selected few. So many "feel" a "call" to the "ministry", which turns out to be little more than misguided passion which gives them a chance to air their opinions on God's Word, not to reveal what God has shown them through His Word.

The way you can tell? Milk vs. meat. Where do you see the church shifting on its seat in conviction rather than boredom? When the Spirit of God moves, He brings brokenness before healing. Conviction of sin, before repentence. Milk? "God so loved the world, He gave His only begotton Son". Beautiful, heartfelt, life changing Scriptures that have been pulverised by years of use and misuse by misguided "evangelists". You want to evangelise? Focus on letting God change you, and He will do the rest.

Milk. "You need to be saved". Saved - from what? Or a commentary on several verses - personal opinions.

But the church give little option as what to do with the passion. You can go into the ministry, become a missionary, join the worship group, or become part of the leadership team. That's about it. How about reaching out in faith to God and WAITING ON HIM! Yes! Patience! Not the I CAN'T WAIT GOD YOU HAVE TO MOVE NOW! You WAIT!

And time limits. I'm sick to death of hearing about time limits. Where did the times go where people were so starved for the Word of God that they would spend the entire DAY in the church listening? When people were so starved in their souls that they would forget about their stomachs?
"I'm just checking the clock, otherwise there will be a lot of burnt dinners at home." And people shift, and smile, and look at the clock too. "I have fifteen minutes left." Since when did you confine the Spirit of God to a ticking clock?

There was a man talking about an organisation he'd formed yesterday, to help teens in their "induction into adulthood" process. Good idea, wrong procedure.
It's a good idea, to have a ministry for teens 18-24 who don't know what to do with their lives. It starts too late. People need to get involved before that. And it needs to be practical to be applicable to EVERY DAY life. Doing the SMALL things, not just the BIG ones! I'm not ripping the experience. It's a good idea. Good ministry. But to give people a "passion boost"? Then you hit mundane life again. WHY is there NO ministry that reaches out to support that? (Oh, I forgot, that's the church's job.)

Life is NOT all about the exciting experiences! Exciting experiences are selling points. People will go from on to another just to get a thrill because something in their lives is missing! They haven't learned to find joy in the small things, because when you're doing small things, over and over to the best of your ability and unto the Lord, you find joy in simply serving God where He has called you. You can go get involved in the thrills. But the excitement as always will fade. You'll always be looking for something new. Learn to find joy in the small things God has given you to do - and look and WAIT on Him to lead you to bigger things - IF that's His will. And people with ministries - I know you're dreaming big, and I don't want to discourage that. But STOP. SELLING. IT. ON. EXCITEMENT.

Back to the CCM. I have no problem with CCM now. I just have problems with CCM in worship. As my friend Rob Klingler said, "They (CCM songs in worship) are just basically love songs where they replace 'baby' with 'Jesus'. Talk about taking the Lord's Name in vain! Probably very few even realise that they're doing it, and those that do, don't."

I wonder how many even realise what it entails, or how building their Christianity and Christian walk with God off soppy sentimentality affects their life in God.
I see men in the pulpits near tears. Not because of the seriousness or the weight of the burden God has laid on their hearts, not because of the gravity of the souls God has placed in their care, nor because of the conviction of sin, in themselves or the hundreds of lost out there on their way to hell, but because of some emotional, sentimental point they're bringing out in their opinions on the Word of God. It's not wrong to be sensitive, but there's a line between sensitive and sentimental.

I'm stronger than a lot of the guys that I know, in a way - emotionally. I wondered why. But couldn't it be that the church is raising men to be sentimentally centred on worshipping God rather than by faith and His Word?

How many churches today promote the reading of the Bible, and yet, the Scriptures are read off a screen rather than from the Book? Are you going to read it for yourselves, or are you going to be reliant on the "priest" mediating between you and God?

To quote a good film, (Cromwell, 1970), "We need MEN with fire in their bowels who fear the Lord and not the Enemy!"
We need men who leave the church shifting in their seats with conviction, not with boredom.
We need MEN who preach fire and brimstone, NOT TV shows.

I am sick to death of hearing "speakers" ask the congregation whether they watch a certain TV show, highlight the main points for those who don't, comment on it, and then mention the little subsection they wanted to apply to their "message". Where are the examples from the Word of God? Since when do you take a fantasised reality example from the world, and attempt to apply it to God?

Pain brings healing. Pain brings growth. For the butterfly to come out of the cocoon, it must struggle. For the patient recovering from a near death operation, there will be a lot of pain. If there is no pain in your Christian life, may I suggest that you just might have fallen asleep in your chair listening to your comfortable Sunday morning sermon? Or that you may never have been touched by the Spirit of God in the first place?

Pain hurts, and we're tempted to flee from it. The church that preaches a comfortable gospel, a happy family that interacts in a gossip circle and perhaps once a month evangelism on the streets, with youth clubs, and mother-and-toddler groups, and ladies' meetings, how often does it get you writhing in your seats with conviction of sin?

Are you coming to church out of a sense of duty, or because it's part of your regular Sunday morning routine, or because you're STARVED for the Spirit of God to cause pain and growth in your life?
Death is never easy. Dying to self causes pain. When you're tempted to lash out at the cause of the pain, just remember - God's trying to change you. Don't complain about His tools. Because preachers are human too, and easily discouraged with the burden they have to bear.

Preachers, men who have been called of God with a burning passion to feed the people of God, who know that their job is to cause pain and not to put cushions on lives - keep going. Keep leaning on God. The way is hard, and your job is harder than most. Don't give up. We need it. We need the pain, the fire, the refining. God has called you.

Speakers, men who feel an impulse to share their thoughts on God's Words, and the application in their lives - I'm sorry, but it isn't a sermon. Get out of the pulpit and leave room for God's men.

God, raise up men, real men, who will set Your church afire with the blaze of conviction and repentence. Change the hearts of the people of God so that they will starve for the Words of God and accept His correction with eager sorrow so that they may be found to be growing daily in You. Change the church so that our desire will be to seek after You, and not after emotional contact with our feelings. Reach out and set the church ablaze.

In Christ,

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rebelution Conference (1)

Well, I was going to do one blog post. :P Then I decided to do the excited squeaky one first and the more serious thoughtful one (as such as my flimsy butterfly brain does in thoughtful areas) in a second post. :D

Here are some of my tweets from Twitter.

Strange how I can't spend a week outside the ER. >.> Gashed my foot open on a metal door and fainted today. #coolstuff

Yep, I appear to LOVE the Emergency Room! I was in there last Sunday in Texas, and back there today! During the lunch break, I went to go back inside the building, opened the door - onto my toe. I was instantly aware of the pain, but toughed it out as usual. I thought it was a graze as I walked across the lobby, then the blood started to well, and it was dark red - and kept coming. I stopped and called for Carolyn and Grace. Another woman, Jennifer, stepped forward and asked if I needed help. I said, yes please, and they looked at my foot and sent to fetch the nurse who was there - Becky.

Next thing I remember is they wheeled over a wheelie chair and I sank down onto it, and then things started to get tingly/fuzzy in my head. I tried to convince myself I was making it up, and I remember waving at the Rebelution teen staff sitting behind a table as I was wheeled into the back room. Grace stayed with me, holding my hand. I asked for water, as everything was blurrish, and I thought if I drank, I wouldn't pass out. I had three sips, and then the stars and stripes really began. I went, "Whoa!" and threw my head back and closed my eyes. There was a strange time lapse, almost like a dream that I vaguely grasp the shadow of, and then the next thing I remember is the sensation of rough carpet against my face, a blue wall and some fish, my head humming.

I woke up on the floor muttering "Where am I? Don't leave me!" Grace was leaning over me, whispering over and over, "It's ok, I won't leave you. I won't leave you." I just kept repeating, "Don't leave me!"

Everyone else was kind of a blur, although I was aware of motion around me and then a sharp stabbing pain in my foot.

Next thing I remember is them talking about calling 911 because I blacked out. The only things in my head were Mom's freaking out when she heard about THIS escapade, the insurance having to pay for the second time in a week and that we were already in debt and if the insurance paid, I'd have more debt to free us from when we got home. Grace kept telling me not to worry about it, but I think I was nearly crying.

(Tweet): Someone also said later that when I fainted, I called out for my grandma. O.O I...don't have one any more? And I wasn't close to the one I knew!

I rolled over and two firemen and an ambulance woman came into the room with a stretcher. I laughed, saying, "Oh dear! It's not THAT bad!" Which kinda broke the tension. Again, I don't remember much, although I did get Carolyn to take a few photos of me surrounded by the dear church staff and the ambulance and firemen. They stuck plastic pads on me to check my heart, pricked my thumb TWICE (the nurse did it the first time) and checked my blood pressure. They thought my foot would need stitches, but I refused to go to the hospital as I didn't have my travel insurance. I had to sign a document assuring them that my heirs, successors, dependents and so on would not prosecute them for my refusal to go to the hospital. ^_^

Apparently my flipflop had a pool of blood on it, & it is stained red.

Mother Garner arrived and took me to the hospital, where they cleaned off my toe (yes, I cried :P) and then the doctor sent it for an X-ray - of which I have two disks! :D The lady was very friendly and kind to me. They wheeled me back into a room on my own, while the doctor and the nurses tended to a guy who'd been rushed in with heart pains and wasn't very happy about it, so I prayed for him and them while waiting. They came in with paperwork for me to sign, the doctor told me to keep my foot up (uh, yeah...right) and then more paperwork. Then they let us go at 3:20, I was back at the Rebelution Conference. :D

Now, the thing I forgot to mention that was really cool, was that Alex and Brett said that the person who came the furthest distance would get a t-shirt, free. I was going to sit down, but Holly H. told me to stand up...and the Garner girls wouldn't let me sit down. So I stood.

"Where do you come from?"
"...Great Britain..."

Finally Brett got back up on the platform (after checking the overflow room) and said, "My geography's not that good, but I think Great Britain is the longest distance!"

Isaiah Garner very kindly (TWO ADVERBS!) stood in line and took my t-shirt to be signed. So I have Brett Harris's signature on the back. :D

The church staff were so wonderfully (TWO ADVERBS!) kind about my foot...I was hoping to get the Do Hard Things book with a donation of some change, but sitting in the back room eating lunch/dinner as we were waiting for Mother Garner, I was bewailing the fact I probably (adverb) wouldn't be able to pick one of the church staff overheard me.
He not only went and got me a copy of the Rebelution Conference Tour DVD because I was going to (at least) miss Session Three, but also got me a copy of Do Hard Things and took it to get it signed for me. When it came back, I was so thrilled and touched to read what it said inside!

The inside signature reads:
"To Sian
The Lord bless you!
Together in the fight!
Alex Harris 2 Tim 2:22
Brett Harris 1 Tim 4:12"

Following, excited tweets after we got back home after Session 4:

The Rebelution was...totally awesome. Honestly wish I had my own computer so that I could tweet some of the pics over.

As it is, I'm going to attempt to create my own video of it and upload it. The worship was totally amazing.

I got a t-shirt free because I came the furthest distance. ^_^ #greattobeBritish

I also managed to apply it as I sat there listening (and I listened without thinking! It was more blessing than most sermons have been!)

So anyways, expect an applicatory blog post to be upcoming. :P Cause I cut my foot open, they gave me a book and DVD free too. :D Thank You!

Wanted the "Do Hard Things" book for a while. Thank You, Jesus, for my foot!

AND Brett Harris signed my t-shirt! And I recorded three of the four sessions. YAY for MP3s! So there's all the non-important stuff.

It was freakingly AWESOME how many OYANers were there today. Rachel/Nairam, Grace, me, Timothy/Shadow, Aubrey K., Josh/Wooton & Ambirdie/Quoth the Raven!

So! There at long last is blog post 1! Hopefully I can sort out blog post 2 and 3 for you tomorrow before landing in the UK!

Unfortunately, when I get back to the UK, blog posts will probably be diminished even more. Just as a warning.

Thank you for reading my blog! Writers, enjoy the insight. ;)

In Christ,

Friday, August 05, 2011

And Grace Will Lead Me Home.

Climbing up onto the rough log fence, I stretched my arms out for balance and looked down at my feet. The surface was slippery. Two logs, roughly fitted together with a nail through the ends, formed the basic, repetitive structure all around the edge of the playground.

I like adventure, to some degree. Daring feats like climbing wobbly tree logs and walking on them, or dancing around a shop aisle laughing at people's expressions. Yep, I love being nineteen and having the freedom to do that. I also like the internal lessons God teaches through it.

Like today.

I soon realised that by walking carefully, watching every next step I was going to take, would lead to overcarefulness and I would fall. By walking confidently with arms outstretched for balance, and consciously quelling the fear of "I'M GOING TO FALL!" inside, I was LESS likely to fall than if I gave every conscious moment over to the fear that I was very likely to fall.
By taking my eyes off the log and keeping them on my feet - but not too much concentrated on my feet - I was making sure of my step without devoting too much thought to it. I was trusting my feet to take me, while knowing I was likely to fall.
By knowing I could fall, and yet having the faith that I wouldn't, and knowing that if I did, I'd get back up and get back on those logs, the lessons I learned were faith and trusting.
By the time I'd walked all the way around the edge and back, my arms started to hurt from the constant outwards position. But to keep my balance, they were going to have to hurt.

I know there are holes to be picked in my theory. It's just an interesting one. :P

Fear is one of the biggest giants I have to face in my life, and it's only recently I started picking up on it. It's really amazing how many things I'm afraid of. If you know me well, you know that to cope with it, I usually put on a tough-guy act to cope, and can seem practically heartless in a very sensitive situation. Also, if you try and get close to me when I'm scared, I attack. Frightened people can be very defensive. :P

Fear is something that can knock you into a cowering, introverted heap where you refuse to get back up again.

This morning I visited a counsellor, thanks to Mother Garner. I was afraid to, but after some very recent events in my life, I've decided it's time to grow up. No more hiding. No more running. No more pain to deal with pain. The responsibilities I face when I return home require an adult, not a girl. It's time to face the pain. To learn how to deal with it. To move on. I leave some very dear friends in my past, and I don't know if God will ever bring them into my life again. But I trust Him to work things better than that.
I wasn't scared to face the counsellor, like I thought I'd be. It's time to deal with my past, private life, and with my past public life. To heal from it and to face the future with hope. For the first time today, in a long while, the pain is eased a little.
And...and I have hope, that someday I'll spend some time without pain again. I expect scars from the wounds. But I'm ready to stop living in the pain, and instead use it, to reach out to others through it. I don't want to be lost in it any longer.

My arms are going to hurt as I keep them outstretched, reaching out for God. But that's no reason to give in.
My mind is going to concentrate on my next step instead of on the main feat I wish to perform, but I have to constantly focus it back on God.
And my trust is going to dim, and I'm going to want to cower back into that ball. But to glorify God and to allow Him to use me, that hedgehog is going to have to uncurl.

My favourite verse of John Newton's hymn, that I'm starting to love more daily:

"Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
T'was grace that brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home."

God bless,

Twas Grace That Brought Me Safe Thus Far

Yesterday I left Houston, Texas, on what would be the final lap of my journey through the United States. I flew from Houstin to Austin, from Austin to Dallas, and finally, from Dallas to Kansas City International. Here I spend two more weeks, until starting my flight back to the United Kingdom on August 15th. I arrive home on August 16th.

As the family I stayed with passed out of my vision and I began my long walk to my gate, I cried. Trying to accept that all of it was over and that I was probably never going to see these people again was very hard. I don't think it's any good trying to write it like a story, because who wants to hear of ragged sobbing that would ease off and then come back? :P
Needless to say, I was feeling very alone, very young and very afraid. Then this dear lady walked by me, stopped and said, "Do you need some tissue, sweetie? I know how you feel, I was crying my eyes out a few hours ago."
The kindness of it touched me and I started to cry again. God was still looking after me, and showed it through the simple kindness of a lady passing me some tissue.

Boarding the plane from Houston to Austin, I sat next to a lovely young lady named Jordan. She didn't exactly get my life history, but enough of it to know that it had been a tough ride.
I told her about the writing forum, and gave her the links to and names of some of the books. We shared some things and I hope to meet her again on Facebook someday. God showed me kindness in this also, otherwise I probably would've cried through the flight.
On reaching Austin Airport, I managed to get online for a while before boarding my next flight. It was quite a short flight.
The flight from Dallas to Kansas was the worst emotionally. I cried through the entire boarding process (yes, this is getting rather embarrassing to admit) onto the plane - badly enough that the flight attendant who was checking the boarding passes asked if I was all right.
Sitting down, I found I was next to a lady in her 40s/50s. She had her daughter in front, with her grandson, and what appeared to be her son-in-law and another grandson two seats ahead.
The grandson was a cute, chubby red-headed boy of about two years old. Don't you just love them - the kind that stand up in their seats, and peek around the chair to pipe out, "Hello!" I beeped his nose at one point, at which he exclaimed, "You're silly!" XD
The first thing that caught my attention was when she passed her daughter a child's book on Jesus. Of course, that could be just America for you, but...
We started chatting after a while - starting because of my crying, again. It turned out that she WAS a Christian, and from what I could tell, a sound one. Her name was Melanie. I told her, roughly, what was going on in my life right then, and she promised to pray for me over the coming year, assuring me that it would get harder, but that God was with me - and also, strangely, to keep on with my writing because she could tell I was passionate about it (apparently my eyes light up when talking about it!) and she believed God was going to use that.

It was very heartening and encouraging to speak to both Jordan and Melanie on the flights. God used both of them to distract me from my grief, to bless me, and to remind me that He was still there, watching over me and caring.

There IS an "ever, ever after," and a happy one, even if the world tells you it's not smart. Because one section of your life ends, it doesn't mean life has. There's always joy to be found where God is, and that's where the happy ending comes in.

Trust Him. He's caring for you.

God bless,