Shadow Of Victory

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Saturday 30th January F is for Fifty Five..

F is for Fifty Five.....Today is my birthday and I am fifty five years old.! Surely not my "inside me " cries ...where did the last 30 years go? My body is feeling the advance of age but my mind..thoughts..heart and spirit are still playing catch up and in fact may never catch up as I intend to grow younger from now on. My gorgeous hubby tells me I am now in my mid fifties (!)and as he is rapidly approaching sixty I feel quietly confident he will always be older than me !!

As the years have swiftly whizzed by I find the actual day of the birthday can just drift by and not stand out from any other day but today has been a
"stand out"
day in many ways.....each small event bringing me much joy and a sense of being cossetted and loved and special. The day began ...

Hug from hubby and a whisper of "happy birthday babe " ( still a babe at 55 ..cant be bad )
Extra hour in bed to just snooze again...
Cup of tea in bed ...
Visit from number two son and girlfriend bearing flowers and perfume and cards.. (those of you who know number two son will know just how much that is a blessing !! and something very special )
Cards and flowers...( love tulips )
Tickets to see The Sound of Music...(yiipppeeeee )
Friend bearing Starbucks and pain au chocolat ( oh she may never know how that reached deep into my soul and made tender the sore bits )
Time spent with women sharing what a privilege )
Hospitality showered upon us over lunch...( cant express how that hour was so precious )
Fish and chips with my man...( we love Wetherspoons..I am such a cheap date )
Cinema..Book of Eli...thought provoking and poignant...
Facebook greetings from so many friends...
Looking forward to my family all sharing time and space as we lunch together tomorrow....(this is a gift in itself and I know deep gratitude that we can be together )

Birthdays....there have been so many of them and so few which are
"stand out " days...but today this day of reaching my mid fifties has been such a day...I am increasingly aware I have so much to be thankful for and for today I am just that...thankful.

Hebrews ch 12 v 28 says this

Therefore , since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,let us be thankful,and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe .

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thursday 21st January F is for Faith

F is for Faith and with each day that passes this week I find I am growing in Faith...God has been very evidently with me each day as friends have gathered here to pray for Cat and Nick and each evening as we have gathered as a community. There is something about the
"two or three gathered in my name..there I will be also "
that builds faith into our spirits and certainly for me I have felt Gods spirit do a new work in me.

I have run out of thank you words for those of you who have taken time out to stand with me " in the gap " for my daughter...I so appreciate you all...this morning I was pretty certain I would be on my own and had just sat down with the candles lit and the bible open and the doorbell went..followed twice more so we were four today .We did business!! We found a well known passage...Romans CH 8 but read it from The Message version and boy did that sound different so we ran with it and prayed through it. Gods word is like a double edged sword !!

Each day we have met we have also included everyones children and for me to be able to pray for so many peoples children has also given me much joy. Our children are all so very precious and as mums we feel every one of their hurts and want to hold them close....that's fine when they are 5 or 6 years old but when they are adults who have made mistakes or have a deep need it is much harder to hold them close and sometimes the only way to do it is to pray.

This evening the worship again focus-ed on the words
"the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me "
And once more we prayed for that power to release us from sin...from things that have held us captive for years and we spoke out words of faith. I spent a fair bit of time praying about my food addiction and asking God for that same power to not only live in me but to bring me complete freedom.Over the week as I have fasted I have felt a measure of release from addiction and in faith I am believing that God is doing a new work in this area.

As an aside ...for the first time that I can remember the meeting was attended by ALL the Elders and at one point Ben asked them to come to the front and to pray/ they spoke I felt a real sense of holiness in the words they spoke. They spoke out big things for us as a community and as individuals and looking at them I knew that God had called them into a team for "such a time as this"..As they stood they probably weren't aware that they represented a powerful body of men and that for me they inspired immense trust to follow them and to take their words and direction into my spirit. I feel a sense of privilege in being a part of a community led by such a Godly group of guys.

I am still writing in my journal on a daily basis all that I am thinking through and praying through this week and once I make sense of it I may blog a bit more. I keep on saying that "writing is my best chance of happiness" and for me to write helps me process it all . So many times I have heard God speak or show me something and I haven't kept a note of it and then lose out on the ability to work and pray it through.Even as I type this my memory is in overdrive lest I forget ...but I guess I must rely on God to bring to remembrance that which He wants me to understand.

F is for Finally.....I would love to hear how this week has been for you ..whether you have fasted or prayed or not...My prayer is that God will keep on filling you with His Holy Spirit on a day by day basis as you live out your lives in the light of His holiness.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Wednesday 20th January F is for Fear and Failure three of fasting and all urge to eat has gone but hey I am still desperate for a telly fix and a fiction fix.!! Isn't it strange the things that are not wrong in themselves can have such a hold on me. I would never think I am addicted as such to these things but as the desire to do them is so strong I can only assume there is an element of addiction there.

I am so glad that I am participating in this week and so grateful for friends who have come alongside me to pray each day and for the evenings when we gather as a community . This has opened up the way for God to speak and to bless me so deeply so far.Today my bestest buddy came and together we knocked on heavens door and read and shared scripture and shared what we felt God was saying and allowed the tenderness of God to touch our innermost being. I was deeply touched when she prayed not just for Cat and Nick to have a child but for me to be a grandmother.

For Cat and Nick ...I ache in a way I find it difficult to express as they have walked this journey for the last 2 years but somewhere deep in the deepest recess of my heart there is also my own anguish about being a granny.In the same way that I know Cat struggles with her friends and peers having babies whilst her arms remain empty I have watched most of my friends and peers become Grandmothers over and over again.So to have prayer today for this was timely and I am grateful that my friend was prompted to do so.

So...F is for Fear....and F is for Failure These have always been F words that have caused me huge problems in the past but I know that God is doing a new work in me this last couple of years and tonight as we worshipped I knew God was speaking to me about this again. I knew God was "applauding " me .! We were singing the words of the song "take me as you find me ..all my fears and failures..fill my life again " and as we sang I found myself weeping as the truth again was impressed upon my spirit....That God takes me exactly as I am ..tomorrow...nothing I can do in any way will cause God to turn away from me...I will always be welcome in His presence ...In the past I have often "run away" from God if there was any element of failure or fear in my life ..preferring to run first rather than wait for rejection...but one thing I am so grateful for is that I don't need to run away and that even when I know I have made a mess that I can still come into His presence and there are times when that truth is overwhelming and tonight was one of those moments.

I am continuing to fast and continuing to pray and continuing to read the bible for the rest of this time and will break my fast on Friday evening.I have found that giving God time to reveal His scripture to me has been an time to meet with friends has awakened a hunger in me for hanging out again with friends who will "take me up "...Simon B writes in his blog about being wise who you hang out with..who you spend time with... I have been so blessed all week with the great friends who have met with me and today has given me such a boost with prayer in the morning and a lovely and blessed time with an incredibly gentle and tender friend in the afternoon and then an affirming and challenging time this evening....and one of the goals I will implement from this week will be to actively seek out friends who I know will encourage me in daily seeking be "intentional" about who I spend time with.

One of my hopes and prayers for this week was that I would get closer to God...see Him more clearly and hear with greater clarity what He is saying to me and I am not disappointed. It seems as if every scripture I have meditated on... every paragraph I have read in the two books I am reading has truth within that has caused me to stop and think.I am so aware of the words we have been singing and each time we have gathered to worship has seemed like a personal conversation with the Holy Spirit .One of the things we asked God for this evening was a "fresh revelation" and my heart is already grateful for this and yet I know there is so much more.

If you are fasting and/or praying this hope is that you too will have had a fresh revelation and know more of Gods heart for you.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tuesday 19th January F is for Forgotten

F is for Forgotten.....In this season of fasting and praying I have forgotten how it feels to set aside time to draw near...I have forgotten the joy of praying with Godly women ...I have forgotten the sense of encouragement when Gods word is spoken ...I have forgotten the sense of expectation when gathered together with the wider community....I have forgotten what Gods voice sounds like.....I have forgotten just how much I need His presence.....I have forgotten the touch of His Holy Spirit....I have forgotten the need for the prophetic.....

So much is forgotten in the ordinary living of our daily lives. I am amazed that in just 2 days of fasting and praying I have drawn closer to God ...its as if a mist has been cleared away ..or the scales from my eyes...As I have shed the activities such as reading and watching I have purposely and intentionally set aside time and invited women to come alongside me each I have gathered with the wider community each evening...its as if I have been ushered into Gods presence.

Today ..I had the honour of praying with two lovely and Godly women ...women who have known me for decades and who were willing to give up an hour of their time to stand with me on behalf of Cat and Nick....and guess what..God showed up..."where two or three are gathered in my name ..there will I be also " We shared scriptures and knocked on heavens door and after they left I sat for some minutes just soaking in the knowledge that God is God.

This evening at the church prayer time the worship just drew me in as if I was on my own...some of the words of the different songs took on a new and deeper meaning.

By your mercy we draw near.
The same power that conquered the grave lives in me...The same power that rescued the earth lives in me.
How great is our God..sing with me.

All very familiar words but tonight their truth resonated with me in a personal and significant way. I love to worship and we prayed that we would be men and women who worshipped...Chris and I prayed for each other that God would open up new and deeper ways to worship...that we would be released to give God honour through the way we live and through the way we worship.

Ken B led us into a time asking God to speak to us prophetically..."in the ordinary everyday of our lives" and as we spent time praying this through I knew God was speaking to me...I will keep praying into this and blog later in the week when I have the whole picture.It is interesting for me to remember that it was a prayer and fasting time almost two years ago when AW prophesied to the meeting that it was time to "position ourselves strategically so that God could use us for such a time as this " On the back of that "word" I gave up serving in the stewarding team to concentrate on car parking and we all know where that led to.!!

Over the last couple of days as I have set aside time to hear and experience more of God I have "heard " two words....Silence and Mother. These are separate words not a phrase and I am seeking God for clarity as to what He is saying.One thing that happened this evening at the prayer time was a period of silence...not overly long where everyone gets uncomfortable or feels they have to fill it or move on..just a holy moment and it was as if Jesus was whispering to me.

"There you are "

It was as if he was seated next to me and had just leaned over to whisper in my ear..."There you are " Sometimes my life is so "noisy" and by that I mean it can feel as if I have lost His presence and so this evening as all the external "noise" disappeared then his presence and His voice could be felt and heard.

I still desperately want to read my novel..its typical in that I started a great novel last Friday and several times during today when I would normally have sat for half hour or so and had a good read but I know that as I "cleanse " my mind and spirit this week that I will have opened myself up to the infilling of Gods Holy Spirit.The same with telly..each night after the prayer meeting I would usually have watched an hour or so of telly...but instead of that I am blogging instead! As for food....I have had a low grade headache for this last 24 hours and have felt achy ..tired and shivery ..and this afternoon I had a lay down on the sofa and napped for half an hour. Fasting isn't easy...Praying isn't easy...leaving books and telly behind aren't easy either but I am rewarded with the presence of my Maker..and that has to be worth the sacrifice .

I am looking forward to the rest of the week..praying again for Cat and Nick and being a part of the wider community each evening.What a privilege !!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Monday 18th January F is for Food

F is for Food..a very apt subject for the week of prayer and fasting.This F word has been a major thorn in my flesh for decades and I so wish I could be delivered from it.Obviously NOT food itself but my unholy addiction to overeating and my sugar addiction.This week I have decided to fast till Thursday evening ...I am not doing a water only but allowing myself hot and cold drinks...and I am also fasting from telly and fiction.

Strangely enough it hasn't been a huge problem today with not eating but the need to read during the day and to watch telly late evening has proven to be the difficult things.I have always been an avid reader and have a reputation among family and friends to be able to read a book in a couple of days and if exceedingly good will read it in one sitting.!! This has always been due to my hearing difficulty as watching telly holds no pleasure for me if a programme has no over the years I have got very used to reading as a hobby. Telly watching has not been too addictive but I love crime shows and usually about 9 ish I will watch at least a couple of shows...I never tape programmes and we don't have all the fancy Sky Plus etc if I don't watch it then its gone and not a problem.

Today has been a day where I have picked up several Christian books that have languished over last month and also the Bible and spent time reading and meditating . I have also spent time with 5 lovely friends who came round to stand with me in prayer and intercede on behalf of Cat and Nick. I feel incredibly blessed that they took time out of their busy day to come over and pray with me...and felt Gods presence as we shared and prayed and read Gods word. What an encouragement.

Tonight has seen the first of the church prayer times and it was so good to hang out with the community of believers what I am part of share Gods word...I am intent on seeking God this week...for myself...for Chris...for my family..friends ...but mostly I am intent on seeking God for HIMSELF....I am intent on seeking a fresh revelation of His character...a deeper appreciation of Jesus and all He did for me on the cross...a fresh infilling of Gods Holy Spirit so that I may grow and mature and know the power to live a life of Godliness.

One of the books I am reading this week is by Susanna Foth Aughtmon and in the chapter entitled "I don't feel lovable " she says this:

If you want a brother or sister in Christ to keel over on command....when they ask how you are ....just reply.." I have been loathing myself in small increments today. If I could crawl out of my skin I would . I wish I was anyone but myself. I am not sure why God loves me . I can barely stand myself."

For me this rang true as I have not had a good day...apart from the hour when my friends were round I have felt on edge..narky...tearful....miserable....!( possibly as a result of fasting and sugar withdrawal ) I felt that the conversations I have had haven't been too great and that I may have upset people...I have felt very "touchy" and in fact if I am honest I have been feeling this for more than just today and possibly for weeks. Conversations I have all sorts of places and with all sorts of people have been misread or misunderstood and I have had to battle constantly with feelings of anger ..resentment and fear...and had to force myself to keep going when everything in me has wanted to turn tail and run.

Today and this evening it has been good for me to just admit these feelings to God..admit again that I am a sinner....ask for forgiveness..ask for His cleansing ..ask for His Holy Spirit to again fill me and enable me to stand firm once again. Fasting certainly concentrates the mind...focus-es your thoughts on Him and in turn as I invite God to shine His light into my heart and spirit and show me what He wants to change in my life . I have the feeling this week may well be a week where I am in the spotlight !

F is for Finally....I am heading off to bed shortly...I feel physically "edgy" but know this is just my body saying..feed me....and my prayer is that as I have fed myself today on spiritual food that the physical body will quiet down and get some rest so I can continue the battle tomorrow. God bless you as you perhaps walk this week in fasting and prayer along with me.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Saturday 16th January F is for First

Happy New Year...hasn't it been a weird couple of weeks with all the snow and interrupted life ??. But hopefully we will all return to some semblance of normality from now. It seems as if half of January has gone already and by the time we re-schedule all the cancelled arrangements it will be February.

So....F is for First....first blog of the year...cant quite believe its been a year since I started blogging !! This is just a short entry to say that
F is also for Fasting and as a church community Simon has called us to a week of Prayer and Fasting beginning on Monday and running through to Friday. There will be meetings each evening when we gather together and pray and I hope to see some of you there.

I am also aiming to fast from TV and Fiction novels for the week as I want to jumpstart the delay I seem to have had on getting started afresh this year and get myself focus-ed again on God and what lies ahead for me as an individual and Chris and I as a couple...both within our family and also with the church community God has planted us in.

F is also for Focus...I have also felt prompted to spend some specific time praying for Cat and may remember they are continuing on a journey to have a baby and begin their IVF treatment on Friday 22nd January ( I am believing the timing of this to be strategic as it is the end of a week when much prayer will be sent up to heaven ) and with this in mind I have invited some friends round to pray with me specifically for Cat and Nick at various times during the week of prayer. I wish I could say that I pray well when on my own but in all honesty I find I pray better when with others. If you haven't yet had an email from me with days and times and would like to come and stand with me then email or leave a comment and I will let you know details. It will also be an hour when you can bring your own specific requests to God and know there are others standing shoulder to shoulder with you.If you are unable to come and would still like to pray please again let me know and I will send you some bullet point from Cat and Nick and you can perhaps incorporate these into your own week of prayer.

Matthew Ch 21 v.21 says this

Jesus replied.."I tell you the truth,if you have faith and do not doubt,not only can you do what was done to the fig tree but also you can say to this mountain...Go throw yourself into the sea and it will be done.!..If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

F is for Faith...Focus and Fasting...

Lets believe together...and see whatever "mountains" we are wrestling with ....crumble into the sea as the God who created heaven and earth and raised Christ from the dead is worship-ed ....praised and petitioned .