Shadow Of Victory

Monday, 25 February 2013


Its amazing how and when God speaks to me....sometimes I "hear " him in my spirit or when I am reading his word..or worship-ing....and other times he just leaps into my heart and begins to show me a truth in a new way. I love it when this happens and today it happened so unexpectedly .!!

I was driving along the M4 and in between here and Reading there are roadworks for a couple of miles with a "go slow" fifty mile speed limit. So I slowed down and began to drive within the limit and I noticed at the side of the motorway is a sign that says


This must be a sign we have all passed many times and certainly I haven't paid much attention to it in the past yet today it zapped me ! For the rest of the journey I began to "hear " God speak into my life and what is going on inside my spirit. You see for the last few days I have begun to work on a "preach" that I am doing on 3rd March...its just a 10 min slot at the 7pm meeting at church . As I have worked on it with my mentor and rehearsed it and absorbed it into my heart in the hope that when I speak that it touches people and I felt God say to me that ...

".just as I have had some major work done in my life over the last 20 plus years it has only been possible because of the

"Free Recovery " offered to me through the sacrifice of his son Jesus but also that I had to

"Stay in the Vehicle "....

Seems a weird kind of thing to understand but I knew immediately what God meant....the  "vehicle " was ( and still is ) the church...the community of believers that God has placed me in for such a time as this....

We are not meant to travel through roadworks at high speed and recklessly...we are meant to slow down and if there is a problem we need to stay with the vehicle !!! I know for sure that I would not be in this place of wholeness and restoration if I had moved away from the vehicle or if I had ignored the free recovery !!

I would love to think that this coming Sunday at each of the meetings ...9am 11 am and 7 pm when there will be speakers at each of them sharing what God has done and is doing...There is plenty of room in the vehicle known as Kerith Community Church and the Free Recovery is always there for everyone .

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Grannys Gap Year (11) Tears for Souvenirs

We are officially half way through the year of Academy now . So amazed to think I have completed six months and only have six more to go. What on earth will I do when it is over ?? I am trying not to think about it and just want to enjoy every moment of this God given year. I would be less than honest to say its not been hard. Finding the time to study,write,research and serve amidst a life that is already busy with work and family has been a constant tension and I know that I am very aware that I am not as young as I like to think! I get more tired  as I struggle keep going . Yet it is a good "tired" not a soul searing "cant go on tired " more a " God please help me " kind of tired.Next week is a reading week which for me basically means I don't have to be at Academy for the two days in the week and don't have to serve on Sunday at the end of the week but its likely that my life will just expand into those gaps and I am pretty sure I wont actually do much " reading".

The title of this post " tears for souvenirs " is a real throwback to an old song by singer Ken may well have been covered by others but he is the singer I remember mainly because my mum had the record. I am talking an old 45 vinyl and if you have no idea what that is then ask someone over 45 years of age! In the song the lyrics say something like this

"Tears cant mend a broken heart
 Lets forgive and forget
 turn our tears of regret 
 once more into tears of happiness"

Each week that's gone by in Academy I have asked God to open my heart and give me ears to hear and eyes to see and have concentrated on learning all I can from the leaders who have shared their hearts with us all . As I have studied scripture and  I have written notes and assignments and I have given precious time to serving each week with Konstruction Krew and  served behind the scenes as part of the Academy ethos and as I have chatted and spent time with the other students and watched us all grow closer as time has gone by I have shed so many tears ,I seem to cry so much more these days and realise that God is once again softening my heart. Maybe I was dry and thirsty and didn't realise it ? Maybe I had grown hard hearted and didn't know it ? Maybe I had gotten careless of my salvation and took it for granted without being daily thankful? I don't know exactly why the tears seem to flow so easily,but I have come to welcome them and not to be afraid of them or embarrassed.

Today I heard two of the students share their "preach" and both were completely different yet both challenged me in different ways. The first talked about " building " ... challenging me to look at what am I building my life on? The second spoke about "favoritism"... challenging me not to judge people on what they do but on who they are .Then I listened to one of my hero's who "critiqued" their talk expand more on what they had said. Later we had several other leaders whose words all seem to link to one another and form a theme all the way through the day. I found myself once more crying !! I have spent last hour or so on my own just reflecting on why the tears are flowing and asking God if he can show me why I am so weepy and as I said earlier I started to sing this song in my spirit. Now usually I get a churchy kind of song which resonates on repeat in my head but this time it was a golden oldie from the Diddy man !

This is what I feel God is saying and doing in my life .....Over the last few months I have been doing a lot of thinking ,talking and writing about my past and realising that my tears over what was so hard to live through can never  "mend a broken heart " and as I have once more prayed through all the tough times and spoken out about them God "turned my tears of regret into tears of happiness" and that only God could have accomplished this. God...through his precious son Jesus and the gift of grace given to me through his death and resurrection is the reason I have been enabled to turn my regret to happiness. So all I know is the tears may just keep on flowing and I may look back in times to come and say it was a year of tears! But I believe that I will know them as "souvenirs " of what God is doing.  I still have six months to go so who knows how many tears have still to fall or how many tissues I may have used by Graduation Day in July.!!

Three other very small but significant things happened today that I will end this blog entry with.
One of the students said something which has taken root deep into my soul and later she leaned over and wrote something on my notebook. The combination of both the written and spoken words she shared have caused my spirit to be thankful of the restoration I have known. Let me share them briefly with you ...she first of all said something like..

"You are a challenge to me because you have such contentment with your life "

Then she wrote on my notepad ....

"Always have a friend who has the gift of wisdom (and you are mine ) "

and finally the thrill ( sad person I am ) of getting my assignment back with the word  "Distinction" written on it. "tears will be souvenirs" of this Academy Year.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Locust Years

This last two weeks I have been working on what our church calls a 10/10 Sunday. This an opportunity for people who the elders / leaders feel have something to share with the church community. It takes the form of 10 people speaking for 10 minutes each over the three meetings. Usually it is 3 at the 9am meeting plus 3 at the 11am meeting and 4 at the 7pm. I have been asked to speak at the 7pm meeting and given the verse from The Lords Prayer "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us " (shameless plug to please come along and be a smiling friendly face at the 7pm meeting ).

I have worked on the talk for this last two weeks batting drafts to and from my fabby mentor Val Cottee and yesterday we agreed it was as ready as it ever would be so I can sign off on it and let it soak into my spirit for when I actually do the jolly thing. At the moment I am calm ,cool,and collected but I guess nearer the time I may be a little shaky and a bit of panic may slip in so please do feel free to pray for me . I was preparing this "talk" God began to speak to me from this verse in Joel .There are of course loads of different translations and there are two that I like....

NASB says this... "Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten"                    
NLT says this......." The Lord says ; I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts "

In my 10/10 preach I speak about the years of my childhood which were chaotic and mostly full of pain and confusion and as I grew up I had no real idea of what a family was supposed to be like or how to relate well to others and I was full of hurt and anger and bitterness. I talk about the way God intervened and how over time I began a journey of forgiving others and being forgiven myself . If I am honest there were many times I wanted to run and hide from God and from my christian friends as hurt after hurt surfaced . There were things I had not shared with anyone else and I found myself almost grieving for the family I never had and wondering if I would ever know true restoration. It was a times seemingly impossible to go on but God was with me every step of the way reminding me of his love...showering me with his grace and bringing restoration and healing.

Now....28 years later I can look back and see that Gods word is true.!! I may have "lost out" big time on my childhood being a growing and nurturing experience but somehow I have been enabled to create my own family and its with great joy I can say that I have loved Chris for almost 40 years ( and each year feel more and more deeply in love with him )..we have three amazing grown up children who all have spouses/partners and we have two grandchildren and a third one expected very soon who fill our hearts and lives with great joy. We may have had some tough times as they grew up ..especially as I was dealing with some fairly traumatic memories but I look at what I came from and look at where I am now and I can say with deep gratitude that God is good !

If you were to ask me what my favourite activity is ? or what I would choose to do for a weekend or day out I would always say..spend time with the family . It isn't always easy to get all of us together at one time but ask them what I say and they are sure to say "when mummy has all her chicks in the one place there she will be smiling and happy ". My family of birth and childhood may not have been the best but I can see the truth of the "word " from Joel ...that God surely has "given me back  and made it up to me " for the years the locusts have eaten .

The photo with this entry is one of my family taken in 1962.. when I was 7 years of age...yes that cute little girly in front is me ! and its the only one in existence of our entire family. It was shortly after this photo that the family really fell I treasure this photo ...altho for years I couldn't even look at it as the pain and hurt and anger made it too hard but now I can look at it and let my heart and spirit keep on releasing grace and love into the past.I encourage you to come along to one or all of the meetings on the 3rd March...not just because I am speaking (!) but because I know that God can and will use each of the speakers to bring truth into your lives. See you there xxx

Monday, 4 February 2013

Grannys Gap Year...(10)...Be Blessed

Our second assignment was a choice of a written one or we could speak it. I chose to write but several of the Academy chose to speak and at the beginning of our term we had the three brave students do their spoken "letter". The assignment was to write a letter to today's "global church " basing it loosely on Paul's Epistles. Speak words (or write words ) of exhortation and encouragement with a touch of Pauls direction. It was a fascinating topic and one I actually enjoyed doing..altho at present  I don't yet have it back so no idea if my marker will have enjoyed reading it.
The three students all presented completely different styles and different topics and were all sensational..I have so much respect for these "youngsters" and especially the ones for which English is not their first language.
To digress slightly and then bring myself back to the point of this blog entry...for many years Ben Davies  (who led Kerith before Simon Benham ) would often end his sermon by asking each section of the church to "look at me " he would say  "let me see the whites of your eyes"  or similar and then he would speak a blessing over us all. It would often be from scripture eg Numbers Ch 6 v22 which says

 The Lord bless you and keep you ;
 The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you ;
 The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace

Every time Ben did this I would feel as if God himself was blessing me and looked forward to him doing this.

So...back to the Academy speaking assignments and  one of the overseas students Arvydas (RV)was speaking and every few sentences he would use the words

Be Blessed

I am not sure how many times he actually said this but it seemed as if when he did he caught my eye so it felt as if he was saying it directly to me!! I have no idea really what else he spoke about as I was so focus-ed on those two words .( so just as well I am not a marker)

Be Blessed

It so reminded me of the blessings Ben D used to speak over us and I truly believe there is some kind of spiritual impartation when people speak such words and since RV spoke several weeks ago I feel as if somehow I have been blessed way more than normal even altho life is is hectic, is pressured.
(we have somehow managed to move house in the last 3 weeks too) I am overwhelmed at times with so much to do and so little time...I have a 10/10 preach coming up and a spoken assignment still to write..there are numerous boxes still to unpack in the garage ...I have no idea where anything is in the new "to do" list has a life of its own and multiplies overnight (!) and yet RVs words resound in my mind and spirit on a daily basis... Be Blessed..Be Blessed ..Be Blessed

In the midst of all that my daily life consists of ...I am recognising tmore and more that Gods blessings are tangible and real. I have a great family.. I have great friends..I have a great job ... I get to be a part of a great Academy gang and serve with an incredible team on Sundays watching and being a part of  "Inspiring a Generation for Christ" I have food to eat...clothes on my back...a lovely comfortable and warm home ...and so much more than I can ask or imagine.

Since RV spoke I have been keeping a "blessing" jar and each time I reflect on Gods goodness I write out what I am feeling and pop it in the is already filling up. It may just be a small thing ..perhaps my grandson laughing which always fills my heart with joy..or it may be an encouraging text..or some flowers or a meal with friends for my birthday...or a lovely cuppa in bed with Chris...or just 20 mins of peace and silence with my bible. All Blessings...we just need to look for them with fresh eyes .

I don't think for one moment that RV or indeed Ben had any idea of the impact their words have had but I know for me that it is so important to bless people with the words of our mouth and although I cant speak them to everyone who may read this I can write it in bold and capital letters in the hope that you will also feel as if God is imparting his blessing upon you .


ps.. I also have to say that RV has the most amazing ability to hug....if you have never been hugged by RV then seek him out and have one ..they are just the best hugs ever.!!