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! :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Short Sight and Scars

This past weekend, I attended a Youth Conference (along with one of my UK besties, Stephanie, and my twin, Joseph) at Bethel Free Baptist Church in Birmingham.

What I was expecting ran something along the lines of:
1) Listen to preaching and be fed
2) Sit awkwardly on the sidelines and fail miserably at interacting
3) Spend the weekend watching and listening

What actually happened was totally different.

God moved this weekend. I watched young people recommit their lives to the Lord. I recommitted my life to the Lord. I gave Him the burden of my broken heart and prayed for release.
It's still broken, but He's got the burden of it now and the joy is...unspeakable.
I watched my Stephie change from a girl who is shy and self-controlled, though happy, start singing in public - something she would never do even if I begged, though she'd do anything else. I watched as she stepped out on the streets to witness - which she was scared sick of. I watched her cry, and go to the altar, let go and surrender and talk through issues, make friends...I watched God glow through her face, literally.
The power of our singing and Nathan's playing the choruses and songs because of the joy in our God that flowed out while we were on the streets caused people to walk by gaping. It has been so long since the joy of the Lord flooded me that powerfully, and I am blinking back tears as I type.
I watched young people reach out to me, when it's usually the other way round - Curtis, Kaine, David, all breaking the ice and oh, my gosh, you guys are so utterly _amazing_. Thank you so much.

God moved. I prayed to surrender. I believe I have and that He will continue to do so in my life, the life that I want - desire most, to be completely sold out to Him.

Then it was over...
We hugged goodbye...exchanged last few words...drove away. Stephie stopped with me until today...and I had the joy of watching her running off to read the Word every few minutes, exclaiming as God showed her something new, talking about the difference and the joy this weekend has brought to her.

Oh, but. I left my glasses at church. And my contact lenses. My eyes were dry after the weekend so I tried/am trying to avoid using the couple I have left.
Walking around half blind has been somewhat an exercise in both faith, confidence and thankfulness. In fact, on Monday I made it my goal to find things to be thankful for regarding my current forced reliance on my actual weak eyesight.

I found several, not including the fact that my left eye's vision has sharpened a little, although my right eye makes me feel like a helpless wimp. :P

It also enables me to be thankful for both the ability to actually see at all, and the technology that gives me clear sight - when I finally get my glasses back! :)

One of my joys in this has been seeing things closer to my face and appreciating them more; in particular, when it's drizzling lightly, I can see the rain next to my face, falling, looking almost like it's doing some crazy, joyful dance.
(I admit, I've been complaining too, especially as working on the computer today has really strained my eyes and my nerves. :P I did apologise to my colleagues for grumpiness - and God!)

My eczema was pretty bad yesterday. As I was scratching my irritated arm, I bent my head to look at it - and for the first time, I saw it.
Ash saw the look on my face.

"What's wrong? You look horrified."
I swallowed.
"I am."

Then I briefly explained.

You see, I used to be a cutter. Self harm. For two years. But by the grace of God alone, I've stopped. Oh, there are still times I want to. Still times when the agony of the pain inside, especially when I lost the man I love, cried out for anything just to numb it and let me breathe.
But I prayed. And fought. And God held me. He really did. can be done. I'm testimony. You can stop cutting. And I don't care how bad it gets.

Because I bear the scars on my body to prove it.
I knew about the one on my leg, from the last time (bar courts) I ever saw my dad - the day we raided our old home and had forty five minutes to get our personal belongings out under police escort.
I never saw the ones on my arm.

Til yesterday.

I always thought it was a miracle, how they healed so invisibly. Those thin, neat lines. So many. And my skin's so delicate, I don't know how I missed them. But the light caught them, my skin was clear enough to see them, and my short-sighted lack of glasses brought them into view.
I'm scarred more than I thought possible.

I thought it was just my heart and my leg. I bear more than that.

It took a few minutes to sink in. It still is, slowly.

I just want to say something, right here and now.
I'm not ashamed of my scars. Oh yeah, I regret them. I wish I'd found or figured another way to deal with the pain. I also know that what I went through was extreme and that it's only God's grace - alone - that I've come through as clean as I have.
I also know they have done, and will, bear testimony to the grace of God's work in my life.

Don't hate your scars. Those who despise you for them are less for it. They have never walked the paths you have.

Use them. Because God uses all things in your life, if you give them to Him. The burdens. The pain. The loneliness. The tears. The crosses. He's already carried your sins to Calvary and He will help you as you live your life. Keep surrendering.
Because He can use your scars.

As we learned this last weekend, let go of your past, of your bitterness, of your pain. Make sacrifices of them to the Lord. He is attracted to your weakness, and He loves you for it.
God can't use people who are mighty in their own strength. He wants people who are empty vessels, poured out and weak for Him to fill with His glory. He shines through those who don't obscure Him for their own glory.

You know the way to use them? Put your glasses back on. Look past them. There's more to you than scars. These are the marks of your past. Bear witness to God's grace as you stride forward into the future, your hand in His and your footprints in those He's already marked.

If you want to talk to me more about this, leave a comment or message me. I'm always here to talk and listen, even though i'm slow.

Oh, and by the way. My anniversary of a year since my last self harm is coming up in June. I'll be celebrating it publicly. Join with me. :)

We serve a God Who sets the captives free.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Holes Unfilled - A Ramble

There's a hole in my heart that cannot heal.

Most of the time, I'm running. I'm learning to run with a smile, now. God is, slowly but surely, teaching me to find joy in every circumstance; to see His blessing Hand throughout the sadness.

There's one problem I'm still having, though. It's learning to praise Him for the pain.

I can thank Him for using the pain - and have, even to using the loss of the one I loved most, for I watched Him do it even as I lost him.

I run from pain. Hate it. And now I'm running from him. From every single memory that he was ever in. I reconstruct my life and future without him, focusing on keeping busy, being productive, serving God. But the hole is there. And I run.

It's harder than it should be to store everything away. When Taylor told me that to break free of the darkness and despair, I had to love, I randomly picked someone and tried to love them with God's love because I felt I had to.
I didn't realise the attachment to him then. When I did, I tried to run from it. And then God transformed it, and showed me so, so much of Himself, as through loving him, I began to love others with His love.

Suddenly the memories jar, coming up randomly. A Facebook post, his hug, old conversations. Words he said burned into the screen and stamped indelibly on my mind.

The hole is there. I ignore it, run a little further, smile and plan. And it grows bigger. I pray for him, for others and read God's Word. It still grows bigger.

Finally I'm praying about the ache. The loneliness. The place I believe God's called me to that I don't understand. Why. Praying for him.

I don't understand. I can't.
If loneliness is material for sacrifice, and pain, then so is the hole. This hole that won't heal.

God doesn't desire happiness, I was taught. He desired my sanctification - my becoming like Christ. How dull that seemed. A life with a long face just to become like Jesus.
I didn't realise that joy was to be found in that desire - the desire God promised to fulfill. The desire to become like Jesus. He IS Joy. And joy gives you happy in the sad.

I'm not asking Him to fill the hole. I'm asking for the grace to stop running from it.
I'm not asking Him for him to come back. I'm asking for God to be with us.
I'm not asking for my happiness. I'm asking for God's holiness.
And I know that what God does with both of us is best for us. His will. Ultimate, reigning supreme.

God does great things with broken hearts.
I hate keeping coming to Him with tears streaming and that huge hole threatening to swallow me. I know that's what He wants.

I'm just going to close this with a couple of notes taken from Bro. Brian Beaver's message on Sunday.

"God is not attracted to the abilities that you have. God is only attracted to your weakness. God is attracted to everything that runs cross grain to what we call attraction.
You need to:
1) Accept the thorns in your life.
2) Own the thorns.
3) Use the thorns.

The only way you're going to be strong is if you become weak.

The thorns make you appreciate the roses. We often thank God for the roses, but we don't often thank Him for the thorns.

“In order to have a tender heart, it's best your heart should bleed.” The thorns that God places in our lives is to make us appreciate the good times. Every mountaintop experience has a valley. Sometimes God gives us thorns, and we need to learn to accept them. Use the thorn in your life. God means it for good."

Two different kinds of thorns, mayhap, but it spoke to me.

God bless,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Singles' Valentine

There's just something I want to close up today's mass of posts (particularly on Facebook, though also attempted on Google Plus and a few on Twitter) with, before I go to my corner chair with my fluffy blanket and Sherlock Holmes DVD.

I truly hope that today has shown, not just from me, but from the others who have been (and on the other side of the pond, still are) participating in our Singles' Valentine, where our hearts and love truly lie.
Being single is not something to be morose and sad about. It's a joy to be able to focus heart, life and mind in, around and on Christ. Even if we feel the sting of rejection, or not being wanted, we know there IS Someone Who wants us, Who made us, Who rejoices in us, and Who loves us completely. Today is our day to celebrate loving and living for Him.

He has loved us unconditionally. His love drove Him to die for us, to bear all our sins, and to conquer death by rising from the grave. But that wasn't the end of it. No. For His love never fails.

This photo is going on my Hair page in a few minutes, but I wanted to share with you the significance of wearing the white rose in my hair today.

Roses symbolise different things, but my main understanding of the white rose is that of "love surrendered" or "love dead." When our love is fully surrendered to the cross, nailed to the submission of Christ and laid at His feet, He can use even this, the most precious thing to us, for His glory.
I don't love the guy He called me to love, any less. That's not what I mean by "love dead". I mean, even this has to be surrendered to Him. Fully. Not in half. Not by hanging on to the smallest fraction of Him.
It's His love. Given to me. Shining through me. He IS Love and He is within me. The love that He gives to me are gifts and shadows of that greater - Himself.

And so I rejoice in His love for me today, and give my love to Him. Love surrendered.

"Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee."

Hope to see you at our next Singles' Valentine event come February 14th, 2015, as we celebrate Him. And thank you so much to our 43 attendees this year - and those who actually posted and shared stuff.
One year nearer Home. :)

In His blessed Name and love forever more,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fighting Songs

Pain has got me smothered in a choking atmosphere. No matter where I turn, something else hurts me. There's no light in the darkness, and I'm convinced that God has turned a blind eye or deaf ear - or worse, that He doesn't care about me at all...that I'm not really His child. I want to run, find some dark corner and curl up with my misery and find ways just to make it through to another day.

I just want to run. I hate Who I've Been. And somehow, somewhere, someday, I've got to. I just have to. I WILL Survive.

But it's time to choose...the harder choice. How do we make it through pain? Who gives us the next breath? Who is the Source of peace and joy? Only there are we going to find any rest.

Come, Now Is the Time To Worship, for after all, only In Christ Alone can our Hope be found. God wants us just as we are - and the only way to even begin to fight the monster is to wield the Sword of the Spirit - and focus in on the Lord.

No matter how defeated and down I feel in my life - God is with me still and with Him, overcoming whatever I am facing IS possible.
So often, life kicks me in the teeth. So worn out, face down in the gutter and I can't look. Focusing in on the misery, I forget to focus where joy lies but He never gives up on me.

In the end, the secret of life is letting go and giving it to God. Then we can live life to the full - our eyes, hearts and minds focused in on Him, and our joy overflowing as we lose ourselves in His glory.
Let it all go. Completely.

So how is it possible to get out of the pain? Very often, it's not. The most important thing is to keep our heads above the water and keep swimming - maybe like a dying duck - but not to stop.
Remember God has not forsaken us.

Counting your blessings is a good one. Make yourself look up, look around. The crocuses, the blue sky, the sun...there are 10,000 Reasons for you to find. Then start looking for the good in the bad ones.

God will break through. He is stronger than any storm you are facing. He knows the pain where you've been and He WILL carry you. He is greater than Satan. Greater than the world. Greater than the overpowering darkness. He is Light; He is Conqueror; He is Lord.
Our God is Greater and He IS Mighty To Save you from whatever mess you are drowning in.

You are More Than Useless. God will pick all the broken pieces of your heart up and He will weave them to create something beautiful.

Let It Go. He's been in the business of fixing messes since Adam and Eve sinned and destroyed perfection. And yes, He is very capable of healing you.
Not only that, but this is going to make you even stronger, like gold refined.

There's still work for you to do. Keep going. Crawl another step. You're shining brighter than you think. In weakness, He is made perfect. His light shines brightest when you are most crushed but you keep going for Him. And He will help you. He has promised. He will Raise You Up to be more than you can be.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~Romans 8:31-39

Perhaps you're longing for the day you can go home as much as I do. I can't even begin to imagine what it will be like to be free from this turmoil and the chains of my weak spirit and sinful heart. But someday, we'll be home. Someday soon. Every day is one less day to that day. Our Ever After.
And then, only then, we will find our place in the Son.

In Christ,