Shadow Of Victory

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

August 18th p.s. to last posting

Today I had a look at one of JWGs blogs and want to use a quote from it as she sums up in one sentence how I feel about learning new things. Have a look at her latest blog in which she is describing her experience of learning BSL...British Sign Language...

The comment she wrote was this

"When you are a confident and successful learner you have no idea of the emotions that those who struggle to learn feel "

Hope you are all thinking about your "ruts" and making a move to the horizon.

Monday, 17 August 2009

August 17th Working through Willow

Chris and the pooch are home and we actually got 3 hours together before he has now gone to meeting...ho hum...still gives me a couple of hours to continue blog.I have been thinking through some of the main points raised by the speakers and thought I would just work my way through them over next week or so.

One of the most memorable one liners was from Gary Hamil...
"when you are down in the trenches it is easy to mistake the edge of your rut for the horizon"..
I may not have written down the exact wording but you get the gist of it. Everyone said how that impacted them as well...Simon mentions it in his blog and Ben D talked about it when he preached Sunday and I know that Chris says this spoke to him very clearly. Gary's session will be shown at the Summit in October so book in to hear it in context...have I mentioned it would be a good thing for you to come along?? I have been reflecting over the days since getting back I have been asking myself what "ruts" have I got so entrenched in that I prefer to stay down than get up and moving..lets see if I can make an honest inventory and will begin tonight with a couple of ruts.

*Leadership.....this is a big rut for me ...I still struggle to think of myself as a leader despite having led major ministries in the past and leading one nowadays. When we became Christians almost 25 years ago there were few women leaders around and certainly in our church the emphasis was on male leadership....altho I had initiated the deaf ministry it was Chris who would be invited to attend the leaders training meetings every month and once a term there would be a social arranged for "leaders and their wives" with the wives being the "add-on"....Over the years this changed and by the time I was leading the special needs ministry I would be a part of the training group but even 12 years ago when I became the first woman to lead a housegroup it still caused a couple of comments at a leaders meeting when one person remarked rather loudly "why are you here then Chris ill ?"...when I replied he wasn't the leader this guy didn't quite know what to say !! and when I took over leading the car parking ministry one of the first comments I had from within the teams was "whats a woman doing in a mans job ?" I have been confined to the "rut " of this thinking for many years and have decided that I am going to climb out of the rut and make for the horizon.

I hope you will sense my spirit in this next bit as I am not boasting in myself but in what God has put in me...I am almost hesitant to type this next paragraph but wanted to be as honest as I can... but this whole issue of leadership is so much at the forefront of my thinking due to being at Willow. One of the ways in which I could sense God confirming this gift in me was that the speakers at Willow were all gifted leaders mostly talking about leadership principles and as I listened to each of them I found myself stimulated..challenged..encouraged and could identify with many of the points made and examples given.After the fisrt session I knew I was supposed to be there and didnt feel as if I was a fraud .You will all know through experience that when attending anything that isn't relevant to you that your mind wonders..your concentration goes and you find yourself nodding off or tired out...well for me ..every session was new..fresh..exciting...I found myself expectant and ready with notebook and pen and those who know me will know I rarely take notes but I knew there was going to be some incredible stuff coming my way and didn't want to miss any of it.I transposed a lot of what I heard into the ministry I am involved in and have already made some decisions on how to implement them into the folk I lead and the community I serve.

The upshot of this particular "rut" is that I am admitting to myself that I AM A LEADER.....No longer will I hide down in the trenches but strike out for the horizon and take ownership of the leadership gifts that God has put into me and I plan to lead and serve to the very best of my ability and to look always for ways in which God can use me to build His church .

*Technology....again this is a huge rut for me ...almost too deep for me to even contemplate climbing out of but I know that God has spoken to me very clearly about this and that I must begin to edge myself over the top . For many years I have avoided learning new things eg I only learned to text on my mobile about a year ago !! This stems from several areas and they are rooted in a fear of failure...being thought stupid...and stress at the thought that once I begin to learn I need to open myself up to others to teach me. I am Miss Independent and would rather not ask for any kind of this would mean being vulnerable..I realise that the world is changing and technology is moving fast and I am definitely a dinosaur within my peer group.Even the wee lad I care for seems to know more about mobile phones than I do !! I have popped my head up over this rut several times over the last year but the "crossfire" got too much for me and I just ducked back down again. Way too risky.....

Let me explain what I mean by "cross fire" and I can use a completely fresh example...Iris and Fiona ..this isn't meant as any kind of dig at you ....honest..I love you guys so much and at times I feel as if you are my Aaron and Hur...
Exodus ch 17 v 12...
just holding me up when life gets too much but this example happened today and seemed a good way of explaining it. I mentioned I had got a new phone but hadn't even taken it out of the box as it was just too complicated for me to even begin to think about using it.I said perhaps I could get one of them to help me sort it out...there was a group of us chatting about it and having a laugh and comments were like "but its easy" or "all you need to do" and everyone was asking me questions such as .." what kind of phone is it?" "have you charged it " and altho this only lasted a few minutes I could feel actual terror wash over me as the "trench" beckoned me back down again.This actually manifests itself in a sort of "duck and run away" feeling ..I feel as if I have to get away and hide and I could feel tears threatening to fall....One of my biggest fears is being thought stupid and silly though it may be ..whenever I hear the phrase "but its so easy " or similar I immediately translate that into "then I must be stupid if I cant do it " No-one has EVER actually said that to me but when you are down in the trench it is hard to hear clearly.

God impressed upon me very clearly that it was time to get out of this "rut" and head to the horizon and this week I have set myself some long term goals to work through over the next few months learn how to upload photos onto FB and into the learn how to use my new phone and to believe in myself that
"all things are possible". Matthew ch 19 v 26
So if I happen to mention to you that I am trying a new thing please don't say
"but that's easy " try saying.."wow that's great Irene ...can I help with it at all?" I can just see Iris and Fiona watching me take the phone out the box and saying " did good Irene great box action there."" Hee you guys. xx

Finally ....two of the speakers were young entrepreneurs...(you can hear them at the Summit in October) and altho they didn't have a direct impact on me personally I couldn't help but be amazed at what they were involved with.I mention them only to share a comment they both made which struck a chord with me . Both of them mentioned their parents as being one of the most crucial influences in their lives...I think they said something like
" My parents believed in me..they encouraged me..they told me I could do anything...they put positive things into me "
and I once again felt pangs about the lack of such input into my childhood and can easily understand why I have so many "ruts" and fears of failure and being thought stupid. No-one really believed in me or encouraged me or spoke positively and therefor I have grown up never believing I could do anything ..becoming a Christian and beginning the journey of faith has been hard work for me in that I have had to
re-align my thought patterns and ingrained behaviour....and to believe in myself when no-one else had done so.

And finally ..finally (!)relating to the above of my other main areas of gifting is encouragement and I make a daily choice to encourage at least one person as I know that without encouragement peoples spirits can wither and die.This can take the form of a it or not I have a monthly budget to send flowers from Marks and Spencers to different people on so today organised it for a friend whose hubby is very ill.) and the children and young people I see daily will always have encouragement spoken to them and words such as "you did well with that scooter " or..." I love your hair " knowing these words of encouragement are all building unseen and as yet unknown esteem into their young spirits and letting them know that they are great !!If you are a parent can I strongly encourage you to believe in your children and let them know it as often as you can ..make a daily decision to speak into their spirits good and positive words. last words to you today ...think about your "rut" and make a decision to climb out and make for the horizon .Email me or talk to me so I can encourage you too..lets journey towards the horizons together.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

August 16th Waffling about Willow

I am still home alone as Chris wont be home till Monday afternoon...hopefully with Oskar the pooch too and then Andrew will be back has been a funny old time this last few days especially coming straight after have so much input and be amongst so many people to then being alone.! I am so grateful for good friends who have spent time with me over weekend and of course Matthew who is always good company too.

I wanted to share about some of the ways in which God seemed to take each of my worries and almost make them disappear...or at least fade into insignificance. I am hesitant to say I am completely changed as it wont really be evident till faced with another trip of a similar type but suffice to say that during the event itself I wasn't much stressed at all.

The people who we stayed with were magnificent and I had no trouble hearing them and hanging out with them.....they were interested in us and interesting to be around and after the first night time stroll to the bathroom when the squeaky floorboard sounded I just thought "there is nothing I can do about it " and just forgot it really.When the other guest from Bracknell arrived I thought I would feel self conscious about perhaps meeting him in the night but again God just seemed to step in and it didn't happen. Somehow or other whenever one of us needed the loo or shower it was open and available...I wonder if God orchestrates wee-ing??!!! and the hosts provided air yet another slight worry averted.

I have to commend the young guy who shared with us....he was fab and it was great to get to know him better ..altho we did take the mickey out of him a fair bit he was lovely and I was incredibly impressed with his outlook on ...Church ..marriage...relationships.....Oh that God would raise up a generation of young people with his spirit.

The anxiety about whether I would hear okay was immediately put to rest as the sound/audio in the auditorium was magnificent and altho the cameras didn't stay on the speakers faces every second I didn't miss more than the odd word or punchline and it didn't seem to matter where we sat the standard of audio was the same.I was able to relax completely after the first session and this in itself was a gift from God in such a huge and strange setting.

The worry about hanging out with the Bracknell gang had been alleviated somewhat before we went and Simon and Catrina had sent out a suggested itinerary to us all so that helped us to know that on certain days or evenings we would be all together or with our hosts etc and this worked very well from our point of view. Catrina also had a coffee with me before we went to share stuff like eg did we need coats..cardigans...what the loos were like..all the stuff girlies need to know !!!..Chris and I spent good chunks of time with our hosts and then on our own or with the others and we felt completely included. I have to say a big thank you to Catrina and Simon as the texted us daily to let us know where they were or where they were sitting.... and I felt they looked after us ...but not in a patronising way but in a genuine "we care about you." way .At each of the coffee breaks we generally had a few minutes with one or other of the group in between queuing for the was kinda cool to actually see a long line of guys waiting to pee...its not often the line for the ladies is the same length as the gents.!!
We also had a chance to catch up with old buddies the Dalziels who used to attend our church and it was lovely to hear about what God was doing with them and their children.

One of the most significant times that God spoke to me clearly wasn't in any of the sessions but at the end of the conference on the Friday evening we all went to a restaurant to eat together...again this usually would bring me out in anxiety and many times over the years I would have made excuses for this kind of social gathering and not gone...but I was determined to break through and as we arrived and 13 of us sat down I sat sort of in the middle so I would be able to hear from both sides and opposite me..( for those of you with no hearing disability this kind of strategy is probably completely alien but for me it is a minefield I have to walk through sometimes on a daily basis so I am well practiced ).The ambient noise was quite high as the restaurant was busy and music was playing and I panic-ed a bit and spent a fair bit of time reading the menu and thinking of how I could duck and run.In these times it is always when the enemy whispers other lies to me...its difficult to explain clearly but its as if I am cut off from hearing others and it creates a vacuum and because I am stressed I tune into the wrong voice.Usually the voice says stuff like..

*why are you here
*no-one will talk to you
*you will have to admit you are deaf
*they will make jokes and say ""(believe me when I say if I had 5.00 for every time someone said that to me after I explain I cant hear well I would be a rich woman )
*Just withdraw and ignore everyone
*make humorous remarks and hog the conversation

Anyway just as I began to shut down I heard a still small voice ...."I have brought you to this banqueting table and my banner over you is love".it repeated the words several times and I found myself looking down the table at one half of the group then looking up the table at the other and the table was long and well laid out with table cloth and nice glasses etc and it looked a bit like a banqueting table.....and I felt a deep peace settle over me. People talk about a sense of Gods presence being tangible and probably for the first time in many years I felt completely surrounded by Gods love for me. As the bustle of ordering and settling down finished I felt my whole body..mind and spirit relax and I can honestly say I so enjoyed the evening.It may have been the first and only time I will ever eat a meal with any of them but I will long treasure it as special few hours. Perhaps if you asked each and every one of the group they would say."yes it was a good evening " but for me it had a much more significant meaning than just another meal out.

During the evening I had a conversation with Liz G......I think she reads my blog sometimes so I hope I don't embarrass her too much as she may not realise it but the 20 or so minutes where we had an "over the table " conversation encouraged me in some unexpected ways. First of all I am probably old enough to be her mum and again my old way of thinking would have me saying to myself "she cant possibly be interested in me" and yet she showed genuine interest in what I am involved with and asked me some fairly pointed questions!! A couple of times I tried to deflect the conversation and she brought me back to what she had asked and queried my answers enough for me to really think about what I was saying....I was challenged about a couple of "ruts that I thought were my horizons".. As we chatted she shared some of what God was saying to her about her and I was just amazed at the maturity of this young woman!!...I felt as if I was in the presence of a giant ...I truly believe she and her hubby are leaders of a different spirit...the way Liz spoke about her children and her being a mum and how she felt God had gifted her in this season was a far cry from some of the mums I mix with in the course of being a childminder for the last two decades. This short 20 mins conversation has led me to believe I can sit at any table with anyone and

HIS banner over me will be love.

Yes... there were huge differences in who we all were in terms of age..experience..gifting...circumstances...leadership etc etc...but the one thing that brought us all to that table on that Friday evening was our faith in God and His love for each of us no matter what label we hang on ourselves other than son or daughter ...and for me all the other things on my worry list dissolved completely and the deep feelings of inadequacy which I had allowed to build a wall around me just crumbled under the banner of His love So Liz...if you are reading this...THANK YOU.

I will get onto the actual speakers at some point I promise but this conference for me was about far more than listening to the speakers...lets face it I can and do hear them every year at the Summit..(have I encouraged you to book in yet??) was about being who I all my fears and hopes and was about conquering a lifetime of was about allowing decades of wrong thinking being brought into line with what God thinks.This conference was about dropping our pride and being transparent and accepting financial help to get there ..about believing that people loved me/us enough to see beyond the mess of our debt and still say we were worth giving money to.It was way more than the was almost an appointment with God that he had ordained for such a time as this .!! I asked Catrina before we went "would this be a life-changing conference" and I am 100% convinced that it has been and will continue to be as I work through all that has happened.

Finally....thank you to those who have commented on the blog....if it fails to get published let me know or resend to I do feel that reading peoples comments also helps us to feel less isolated....isn't it funny that we all think we are the only ones who feel such anxieties and I believe it is a strategy of the enemy to keep us all silent and isolated and if my blog entries mean that you feel less alone and more "normal" then I am happy....and of course I am thrilled that I am not the only one who worries about their poos.!!!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

August 15th Worrying about Willow

I thought I would do a little time shifting and cast my mind back to the thoughts I had about going to Willow Creek...well I say "thoughts" when I really mean worries ..anxieties...fears...stress and other negatives too many to list.!Let me list some of them and add explanations as to why I felt that way and then by the time I get to the end of entry you will perhaps have nodded off to sleep..feel free to skip this entry...but then again maybe you will find one or two points that you can identify with.

1)...A basic anxiety I have carried is staying in strangers houses....we have for many years used hotels and guest houses when visiting relatives and rarely stay overnight in friends homes...if you have read my earlier blogs you will know I had negative experiences growing up in other peoples houses and bedrooms so perhaps this isn't too hard to understand.
2)...I have a hearing disability which makes it difficult for me to understand accents and knowing I was going to be staying with Americans meant I worried about understanding them. One of the ways I combat this is to waffle...withdraw ... take over the conversation or deflect it with humour.
3)...As a woman of mature years (!) I tend to visit the loo several times in night and I was anxious about disturbing the hosts...flushing the loo...or worse still bumping into one of them or the other guest whilst in my nightie and with my bed hair.(!)..wouldnt you know it but our bedroom was the furthest away from the bathroom and we had to walk past the other guests bedroom and the host couples walking on squeaky floorboards.!!
4)...Still on the topic of would we know when the shower was free?? and what if my poo smelled a bit.!!...(come on ..don't tell me you never think of stuff like this??!!)
5)...The other people in the Bracknell group were REAL leaders...I mean big time planters..
full time...paid...and included a senior pastor with 43 years under his belt (!) guess who??...and that was just our wee group of 13....the other 6,987 thousand...who knows what they were into or up to...what on earth were we doing there.?..Before we went I felt a complete "add-on".This is a central low key anxiety I have carried most of my life..always thinking I was of no great worth and certainly not to be included in anything important.(again you may have to have read earlier blog understand some of these anxieties.)
6)...On a similar note the group I was part of were all friends with one another...and some were even related and none of them ...did we socialise with...hang out with or exchange birthday cards with and only 4 of them were from the same church where we had some common again I was stressed that we would be encroaching on their time together...or would they "take pity " on us and spend a bit of time making small talk to ensure we didn't feel left out...crazy huh??
7)...I was anxious about break times and meal times and where would we sit...would we be left on our own...would everyone pile off to have high powered discussions about leadership or top secret strategy meetings from which we would be excluded?? From very early on in adult life I learned to be independent and to in some ways
"be in control"....If I made the plans then it ensured I wouldn't be excluded...but of course this was a different kind of grouping and one in which I didn't feel I had any control over. Add to this a long seated fear of abandonment and you may guess this was one of the most stressful thought I had pre Willow.
8)...With my hearing disability I rely on good seating ..good lighting..being near enough to see faces and read lips and in an auditorium that seated 7,000 you can imagine my anxiety level soaring.....what would the sound be like..the acoustic level..the screens...the cameras on the faces rather than panning out etc.I didn't want to say to the group I needed to be near front as then we may have been "forced " to sit on our own so I had made the decision on the Wednesday when we had the tour that I would go with the was more important for me to be included with the group than it was for me to face exclusion to ensure good hearing.
9)...Staying at the hosts home was also fraught with much would they expect us to much time would they want to spend with us..who else was staying..did they want to know about us ..really...or did they want to just provide the bed and get on with their own life...I have worried about this kind of thing all the time in the past and it had manifested itself in being quite unsocial...we rarely have people over for a meal because deep down I think no-one really wants to spend time with us....and as a consequence we rarely get invited to others and thus it confirms the mad thinking.!!

Ha...gotta tell you I have just been interrupted by a lovely friend Ruthie....bearing gifts of Starbucks,...which is Gods sense of humour that the minute I write about me thinking ..wrongly..about folk not wanting to spend time with me...up pops an unexpected proof of the way in which the enemy lies to us .!!! are Gods gift to me in more ways than one...not least the Starbucks.

I wonder if at this point you may all be thinking ...heavens this girl is woefully insecure.....or maybe I am just woefully honest.!!! I have said so many times in this blog that "writing is my best chance of happiness" and even as I write this I can sense the inner peace which God planted in my spirit whilst at Willow take a stronger hold of me and I am hopeful that
"He who began a good work in me will carry in on..." out for more blogs about how God worked in me whilst away with specific relevance to some of this list ....please feel free to email me or make comments....I like to hear from you...if only to let me know I am not alone....

Friday, 14 August 2009

August 14th Walking through Willow

Chris is away on business this till Monday so I thought I would do some blogging to keep me occupied. I am on my own in the house for first time in years....Oskar my pooch is at Mikes..Andrew in son in Budapest so totally solo...scary.!! Doors are locked and phone will be beside my bed..I don't think I will resort to a baseball bat but suffice to say I will be alert.

So....Willow...I am still processing the emotional and spiritual impact and will blog on these later but for now let me talk about the actual experience. I had no real idea of how BIG this place was....If you think Royal Albert Hall or Brighton Conference centre than you are still way too small...The campus is simply mind blowing.We went on the Wednesday with our host family and I was really pleased we did as it gave us an idea of what it looked like before the 7,000 delegates arrived.

The driveway is about half mile long and we passed 3 x Park and Ride car parking areas...Ho Ho....this is where people choose to park and get the bus to ensure there are plenty of spaces for the guests and visitors....The actual car parks were big they needed zones and numbers similar to airport remember where you parked. The boundaries of the car parks were too far to see and I think there are 4 main car parking areas.!! I took some pictures and once I get a tech person back will see if I can upload them...especially the signs.!! they have amazing signs eg Parking for single parents only ..permit required.!!

There is a coffee shop called Dr Bs...which sold amazing coffee...Costa and Starbucks eat your heart out...lots of seating areas including comfy chairs around a log fire. Plasma screens abound all over so no matter where you settle you could see what was going on. The book shop equalled a Waterstones easily and they have a fully functioning restaurant open all day every day.They have a lake and 2 waterfalls.. Ha Ha..yes this is a church I am talking about. Their High School ministry ...Elevate... has a fully equipped Gym complete with basketball courts and a stage bigger than ours at the Kerith Centre. I didn't go downstairs to Promiseland which is their children's work but was told it is huge.

We walked into the auditorium and I almost stopped I walked to the stage area and then turned to look up at the vast sea of seating I felt completely overwhelmed and tears rose in my eyes.As far as the eye could see there were rows upon rows of seats and all comfy cinema types of and upper circle with two extremely large screens at either side of platform and plasma screens hidden in ceiling areas for the upper circle areas.

The stage area itself had three tiers with a large area for main worship singers and speakers and several raised areas for different groupings of musicians.The lighting was magnificent and the settings were so professional it could have graced a West End or Broadway production. At each side of the stage through enormous glass windows the two waterfalls meandered their way down the rock settings as if they had been there for decades.

We just stood and gaped !!! Chris headed for the lighting and sound area and once he had gorged his eyes and tucked his covetous tongue back into his mouth we headed for the restaurant for some lunch.All around us were preparations for the conference..hordes of volunteers and staff unpacking boxes..moving stuff ..arranging..and at least 100 or so people spread around restaurant and seating areas just hanging out ..having lunch or a groups and several business meetings taking place with laptops enjoying the WiFi connections.

Everyone we spoke to...or should I say...everyone who spoke to us..were so friendly..and I mean friendly..once they heard our accent they wanted to know where we came from and we discovered several had relatives in Scotland and so we spent time with several different groups just chatting.In the coffee shop the woman who served me asked my name and we joked about whether she would remember me and my order once the conference started and 7,000 people came through the coffee shop.....and I kid you not..on the Friday evening she was behind the counter and even before I got to the top of the line she shouted over .."Hi you doing...?? Decaff cappuccino??",,I was amazed..totally amazed.

The volunteers who served over the 2 day conference made serving seem like a vocation..nothing was too much trouble and they always had a smile and a word to say no matter how long they had been there or how many people they had talked to they made you feel as if they were there just for you. Nancy Beach who is on staff at Willow and was the MC for most of the conference said several times that "volunteers are the true heroes of this event " and I can only agree . I made sure I thanked as many of them personally as I could..the guy serving the book store..the young girl in the parking lot..the student emptying the bins...true heroes as far as I am concerned.

A final word re the people we stayed with...the gift of hospitality was truly evident in this couple Fred and Doris Harlan..both in their 60s and been at Willow for years.They host several times a year and they blessed us big time. Fred had been on the Kerith website to familiarise himself with our church and listened to Simons sermon re The Peach and the Coconut and it took us a couple of days to twig but they served us peaches in some form or another at every meal time, including making us peach cobbler. They also had a small flag display of every country representing folks who they had hosted and had bought a Union Jack in honour of us. We were quick to put them straight tho that we were in actual fact Scottish and therefor a St Andrews cross really was the flag to display . We did manage to find the flag shop and bought one for them as a wee pressie...they were delighted with it.

Fred and Doris were not only interesting to talk to..they were also interested in us...our church..what we did in church life..our country ..and from the start they prayed for us daily..we held hands at each meal time and listened to them pray blessing upon us which was very special and unexpected and very natural to them.They were a wealth of information on the workings of Willow and if they didn't know something they spent time finding out and gave us the info next time we saw them. Fred's sense of humour was wry and dry and we shared ongoing jokes from one day to the next.Fred said he had the spiritual gift of "harassment" and this tickled us as we realised afresh how privileged we were to be guests in their home.

I hope this has given you a small flavour of what we experience on the practical level at Willow and over next few entries I will unpack a little more . There really was so much to take in and that was even before the conference began that I may still be mentioning stuff for days as God brings it to mind. Please do think about booking in to the Summit that is held at the Kerith Centre in October as altho you wont get the full personal experience of Willow you will definitely get the essence of the speakers and a fresh touch from God.

Let me leave you with a verse that God planted into my spirit during the conference and that I will share more of another time..
Song of Songs Ch 2 V 4 says this "he has taken me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love."

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

August 11th ..Detour to Willow Creek

Hello again...I tried to blog from America but those who know me will know that I can just about cope with techie stuff here in UK but big time NO NO in the States.!!

So....I am taking a detour via Willow in the next few entries as I want to process all that has happened and try and assimilate it into my life. It truly was an amazing privilege to be there and one I know will have huge repercussions on my future. If you are walking this journey with me my prayer is that some of what I share will be contagious and you catch some of Gods plans and purposes as you read .

I strongly encourage each and everyone of you to book into the Leadership Summit here in Bracknell...October 2nd and 3rd...details on Kerith Community Church website.I will only be able to give you a tasting a spoonful of soup from a pot to see if it has enough salt...!!! need to sit at the table and eat the whole book in to come along and hear the speakers and be changed.

Let me share some "one liners"...I heard something like 13 speakers over two days and they threw out these one liners which if you take and chew on will make your mouth water and hunger for more.I am not going to attribute them to anyone will need to come along to hear for yourselves.!!

The "normal" we ever knew or loved has left the building.
People aren't coming to church for a mild dose of God anymore.They want more.!
When you are down in the trenches it is easy to mistake your rut for the horizon.
Sometimes its not your sin which separates you from God its your damnable good works.
What can I give myself to for the rest of my life?
Common purpose is the best way to achieve optimum outcome.
Don't let fear prevent us from making bold moves.
What is my dream?
It is time for the church to get off its butt and be the hope of the world.
God is challenging us to go way beyond our comfort zone.
Misfits start ministry.....Marginals can lead masses.
Relationships trumps vision....we don't need more visionaries we need more relationaries.
Leaders are not called just to lead but to create a culture
It is essential to sometimes sit in the balcony and look at what is happening on the dance floor.
Say YES...every time I hear God ask me to do something.
Listen to God whispering to me.
Keep on developing gifting and do things that have eternal significance.
Stop complaining about lack of resources and be thankful for what we have.
T.B.U....True but useless.!!!
Who would have thought the sleeping giant could have run so fast.?

For next couple of entries in the blog I will be fleshing these one liners out and sharing some of what they mean to me ...altho it will take time for the impact of the conference to be processed into my life.Let me just unpack a comment that
one of the speakers shared that spoke to me re my blog...he said that a housewife somewhere in Ohio...( I think ) has a blog that has thousands of followers all over the world...she is an ordinary woman.... a wife and mom and just blogged about life and all its messy bits and good bits etc....but that somehow people were being drawn to she influences people almost on a daily basis without even leaving her home....I felt God whisper to me that I could also be "a woman of influence."I don't have thousands who read this blog....(yet)...but that I need to get ready ...get prepared....I have always found it very difficult to believe that anything I say ...write or do...can influence ..but God is speaking to me and I am choosing to believe it is true ...I am a woman who can influence others...

My prayer for anyone reading this blog ."I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you,I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day till now,being confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians ch 1 v 3-6

One last comment for today...I listened to a speaker called Dr Wess Stafford who is the President and CEO of Compassion International.....his title was "Leveraging your Past." For this speaker alone it was worth travelling all those miles and spending all that money just to listen to him. He has written a book called "Too Small to Ignore" which I plan to begin reading but the impact of his own personal testimony heard at Willow will be the most memorable moment of the entire summit.. I listened with my ears but also with my spirit and as tears fell relentlessly I identified once more with the pain of my own past...but this time my tears weren't because of what I too had suffered they were tears of great and deep joy that God and only God had healed me and as he talked about "leveraging your past" I knew without any doubt that with this blog and other things I am involved in ...workwise..churchwise and personally..I am doing just that...Leveraging my past .