Sunday, 30 October 2016

Every Child Free From Fear

As many of you will have noticed, over the past few weeks, shops have been filled with ghosts and ghouls, witches and monsters, and all manor of ‘scary’ things. On Monday, many people in our country will celebrate Halloween. 

Now I am not a fan at all of Halloween and this time of year, for me, seems particularly dark.  

The trailers at the cinemas are full of dark and scary horror films

There are places people pay to visit with people dressed up in scary costumes and chase you around with knives and other weapons!

Children are encouraged to go and do, one night of the year, something which they are told is incredibly dangerous the rest of the year… which is knock on a strangers door and then accept sweets from them!!

The dark things in life are celebrated and revered and people even dress up to be like them!

Not only all that… and that is certainly enough to give me nightmares! But there seems so much more darkness.

Not only are the nights drawing in, ensuring we spend more time in darkness, but just this morning as I read the headlines I saw:
“Parents in search for missing student”
“Female middle aged and homeless”
“Boy and girl die in suspicious fire”
“Ex IS fighter says group is killing children”
“teenager stabbed to death at a birthday party”

Our world is full of darkness and many people live in fear.

You see darkness and fear seem to go hand in hand.

I have been pondering these ideas and the other day I was looking at some of the world that World vision do. Check it out at: http://www.worldvision.org.uk/
It is a charity that helps children all over the world. Their motto is

EVERY CHILD FREE FROM FEAR

They are encouraging people, this Halloween, instead of carving a scary face in a pumpkin to carve a simple heart. As a sign that you believe that every child should be free from Fear. 


My World Vision Pumpkin

But this Got me thinking… EVERY CHILD FREE FROM FEAR. There was someone who came into this world for that very purpose. There is someone who has already paid the price and righted the wrong so that EVERYBODY can live a life of freedom. You see we are all children of God and Jesus came to earth to make sure  that 

EVERY CHILD CAN BE FREE FROM FEAR.


John 8:12 says: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1 John 1:5 says: This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are 
passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.

And John Chapter 1 says:
Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.
    The Voice was and is God.
This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator;
    His speech shaped the entire cosmos.
Immersed in the practice of creating,
    all things that exist were birthed in Him.
His breath filled all things
    with a living, breathing light—
A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched.


Today you can have that light. The light that drives away all fear. You only have to ask!

Maybe today you already have that light…Well hallelujah!

But God call us to turn our own lights on and shine!
Matthew 5 says:

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither 
do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are all called to shine in the darkness and bring light so that Every child is free from fear




There is a beautiful song that gives this message far more eloquently than I ever could and the words are so powerful. They say: 

Candle of the Lord 
How great the darkness, how deep the need!
 How vast the problems of indifference, hate and greed; 
A world rejecting the truth once known,
 And slipping down into a nightmare of its own;
 Is there a light that’s strong enough to go, 
And metamorphasize the darkness that we know? 

I am a candle of the Lord, 
with truth and love more powerful than sword! 
O fan the flame, its single gleam diffuse,
 And let my spirit be the light that You can use.
 I am the candle of the Lord. Light me! 

 How bright the light is from soul to soul:
 A myriad tiny flames expanding to a whole.
 How strange the truth is when joined as one,
 And what a miracle this shining could become; 
It could transform the darkness that we know, 
And clearly light the way mankind must try to go

I am a candle of the Lord, 
with truth and love more powerful than sword! 
O fan the flame, its single gleam diffuse,
 And let my spirit be the light that You can use.
 I am the candle of the Lord. Light me! 

 Maybe today you would like to pray for the light to come into your life and drive away your fear.


Maybe today you would like to commit to be the candle of the Lord and allow you light to shine for others. 
video

Monday, 8 August 2016

To the women struggling with childlessness ... You are normal!

A little while ago I wrote a very personal blog about my experience with infertility and some of the issues surrounding it (If you haven't read it, take a look here: Motherhood challenge) I was absolutely blown away by the response to it. I received emails, texts and letters from people all over the world offering encouragement, sharing stories and asking advice. It was a very vulnerable place to be in, knowing everyone knew very personal details of my life and marriage, and it was definitely one of those 'shelter in the wings of God' moments, as, at times, it was very uncomfortable. However it highlighted to me that it was a topic often not spoken about, and over the past couple of days I have felt God calling me to share once again a few thoughts on this topic......So here it goes! 



You are not abnormal!

This is my biggest struggle as a christian woman tackling the minefield that is infertility. 
So many times I am led to feel that I am half a woman, less than perfect and a failure because of my lack of a child. 

As any of my facebook friends/instagram followers will know, I love social media! I love connecting with friends and family, I love meeting new people and I love using it as a platform to share about the difference God has made in my life. 

BUT

If I am truly honest, at least once a fortnight, I consider getting rid of it all! This is simply because it seems to start the internal discussion of 'Am I abnormal?' and 'Am I a failure?'

Some people who know my more eccentric side are probably at this point shouting "Yes you are abnormal!!!!" But bear with me...

You see social media is always full of pregnancy and birth announcements, (today there has already been two!) generic mum/dad challenges etc etc... and that's not even mentioning general "My kid's are the best" posts or even "my kid's are the worst" posts!

All of these are beautiful, beautiful things, and we should celebrate family, but on my weaker days, a voice in my head will tell me: "You can't even conceive a baby right, let alone give birth! Call yourself a woman, you can't do what every other woman in the world can!"

Some days it is SO SO HARD!

There are moments when the pain feels so bad that I literally struggle for breath! Sometimes all those feelings of hurt, grief, loneliness, self loathing and disappointment come pouring out as you see another tiny miracle born, and you wonder.... Will that ever be me?

This morning, if you are struggling with some of these feelings, let me tell you: 

YOU ARE NORMAL!
I am normal! Life is sometimes very, very hard. The bible is full of people who found life hard. The bible tells the story of many women who felt this sense of emptiness, BUT, in every story of hurt and sorrow there is a picture of God walking alongside them, drawing them close, picking them back up, straightening their crown and reminding them that they are royalty! 

ONLY GOD HAS THE ANSWER
God promises in his word that he has good things for me and you. It may not be children (although I will still pray faithfully for a miracle) but it will be for my good and it will give me a hope and a future in something eternal. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Sometimes this road can be lonely. For me, I tend to avoid those around me who are pregnant or having children as, quite honestly, it hurts! I don't want to feel jealous towards others because of what they have and I have found that there is a common misconception that, as a childless woman, I must 'want' the life of others. For me, I have an amazing hubby, a fruitful ministry and a fulfilling life. I don't want anyone else's situation,but I want a family of my own. However, by removing myself from nappy talk and baby showers I can save myself the pain...but that can be lonely.

But God is there! He will be your comfort and support. 
There are also lots of like minded christian women in support groups and on groups and pages all over facebook.... And there is me! I would love it if you shared your experience with me, or if I could pray for you.

But remember

YOU ARE NORMAL!



Friday, 15 July 2016

The agony of Terror

I woke up this morning to the news of the terror attack in Nice in France with a very heavy heart. As I lay pondering the situation, I considered the recent stirring in my spirit about the things I see happening. You see, the attack in France was horrendous and with it comes the awakening of anger and sorrow

But

What about the other places where terroist attacks have happened? Not just to our Western ‘Friends’ but the absolute fear and devestation around the whole world. In those countries we may never even visit. Those incidents that the news doesn’t even bother to report!

A very quick google search brought a worrying result…
Sources told me that so far this MONTH, not including the recent terrorist attack in France. There have been nearly 80 ‘terrorist attacks’ in our world. (I’m not getting into the whole what is terrorism discussion, but you get the picture!)

As I scrolled through this list that represents hundreds of lives and families, I was horrified to see many of them I had never heard of.

This morning, on facebook, many people have changed their profile to show solidarity with France. As I considered this, I was reminded of a Christmas I used to sing in the singing company (Children’s choir) The words say:

“Remember the children of the world, each one is precious , precious in his sight!”

Today I will not change my photo, but I will remember. I will remember every child of God (and that is ALL of us) that have lost their lives in acts of terror.

We live in a broken world. We all groan in agony at the things we see happening. As Romans 8:22-23 says:

“For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete




This morning, my prayer is this song and this plea…”Come into our world Lord Jesus”

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Exciting times!

Just over a year ago, after a lot of prompting from God, and a lot of support from my husband, I began writing a blog. I was coming into a new season, a season of ministry and I wanted to share my journey and experiences with those around me.

In this time a song had been resounding in my heart. It was a song that had been with me through some pretty dark days, but now, as I faced a new calling, it took on a new meaning.



I prayer this prayer with my whole heart, and over the past year Ephesians 3:20 has proven true



God has led me to a place which is amazing, rewarding, blessed, scary and tough all at once! I have learnt so much;

God has taken my passion for writing and has turned it into a ministry I never thought possible.

God has taken my passion for creativity and taken me deeper and deeper into the word through it.

God has taken my passion for people and put me into a place where I have the privilege of telling them about the life giving love of Jesus every day!

But also

God has taken my hurt and insecurities and used it to comfort others.

God has taken the scary and difficult times and used it to show me that I serve a powerful God.

God has taken my time of sorrow and used it to show me that he is a God of comfort.

God has shown me so much in the past year and I am so thankful for the blessings he has showered on me.
At this time of great opportunity in the Salvation Army, and a time of great excitement in my own ministry, I think this plaque I bought this week seems to sum it up well!


I cannot wait to see in a year’s time, what awesome things God has done!



Friday, 17 June 2016

Waiting on God

As many of you know I write devotionals monthly for  www.herbinderproject.com  and www.quitewomen.com and I recently wrote this devotional. I really felt this morning someone needed to read this x x x

                              
God’s word promises us that he will give us the desires of our hearts if we live a life sold out to him…but he doesn’t say when!

I remember when all my friends started to find long term relationships and get married. It was a really difficult time. The desire of my heart was to be a wife and a mum, but I couldn’t see how God was going to do it! I blamed myself for the long wait…I thought I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, funny enough!

But then I came to a realisation, a God given realisation. God asked me what I was focusing on; my desires or God. You see, we have to be focused on the right things. We must choose to fix our eyes on Jesus and continue to run the race. It is only in focusing on him, through the waiting, that we receive the things we desire and understand they come from him.

You are not alone! 

In the bible we see so many stories of people who lived a life sold out for God and waited to receive the things they desired. Sarah waited for a child, Joseph waited to be released from prison, Moses waited for his life to really start, Ruth waited to be happy again, Hannah waited for her promised child, and the list goes on and on!

I don’t know what you are waiting for today, but I do know that when we chose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the wait is a real adventure, and God will give you the desires of your heart in a way that knocks your socks off!


God gave me my desire for a husband after a long wait (and he was so worth the wait!) but God used that time to prepare me and help me be the best wife I can be. I am still waiting to be a mother and now I see the friends who found love when I was single now have babies, but I am assured that if I fix my eyes on Jesus he WILL give me the desires of my heart and it will be worth the wait!



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dream Big!

I am in such a blessed position! My husband and I are the commanding officers (pastors) of a wonderful church and community outreach, and the people are gorgeous!! In our short year in leadership in this place we have seen God moving in a really powerful way;

We have seen people coming to Christ,
We have seen people touched with the Holy Spirit,
We have seen people blossoming and flourishing before our eyes,
We have seen prayers answered in a powerful way,
We have seen God provide for our needs,
We have seen more and more people who are lost and desperate come through our doors

Yet

I  WANT MORE!

Recently at a conference I was challenged to dream big! To lay aside things that hold us back and press on to the goal.

You see it is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day flow of life. It is easy for the little things to become the big things, and then the big things seem to fade away. The devil doesn't play fair! He always plays dirty. 

BUT!

Today I am dreaming big. I am already praying for our new premises when ours becomes too small. I am seeing people sat in every seat on a Sunday, the mercy seat worn by repentant sinners. I am seeing healings and miracles in Jesus name and I am clinging to and praying over the words or wisdom and prophecy spoken over our corps in recent days! 

People have seen a resurrection church forming, they see a harvest ripe reaping and a revival sweeping across our town with us at the front with our flag flying high! 

Oh I am dreaming Big!

Why don't you dream big too today? 




Thursday, 5 May 2016

Finding your Bethel - Your place of Prayer

The English novelist Iris Murdoch once said “Prayer” is the most essential of all human activities” and I must say that this is so true. In the past few months I have really tried to focus on creating a regular rhythm of prayer in my life and I have seen just how essential prayer is to every moment of my day.

Around 9 months ago I attended a spiritual day for Salvation Army officers and envoys in the North West, led by Majors Mel and Kath Jones. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to pray and reflect. One of the prayer stations was on the Stone Pillar of Jacob. It talked about Genesis 28 when Jacob sees the ladder to heaven. When he awakes he says: ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’ and calls is Bethel which means ‘The house of God.’ We were encouraged to consider where our own Bethel is. In our booklet there was also a quote from Henry Nouwen about finding a place of prayer which has been on my mind ever since it says:

“As Jesus invites us, we need to find that private place for prayer. The more you pray in such a place, the more the place will be filled with the energy of prayer.”

A few months later Paul and I decided to watch a film called ‘War room’ which I had been told about by a few friends. If you haven’t seen it before… YOU MUST! It is seriously a life changing film! The film talks about the need for a place of prayer, a War room, where you can battle with the enemy and strategically pray into situations.

After watching the film, at 5 the next morning, I cleared out the cupboard under the stairs and made my very own war room.

Every morning at 6 am I shut the door to the world and spend time with the Lord. It has been a place I have laughed, cried, sang, shouted, worshipped, dreamed and battled. It is my own private place of prayer where I can take it all to the Lord. A place to journal, create and simply be. It is nothing fancy but it is truly awesome because it is where I meet with the maker of heaven and Earth!

In the film, War room, a man enters one of character’s war room, which happens to be a walk in closet. It is now empty, no sign of what it once had been, and as he walks out, he comments that it must have been a place of prayer as he feels it. This reminded me of the writing of Nouwen.

Every day as I enter my prayer space I feel God, I feel it in my soul that this is a place of prayer;

My very own Bethel.


So this morning, I encourage you, find that place. Take a hold of the essential nature of prayer, find your war room, and as you regularly spend time there, you will see the place be filled with the energy of prayer. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Worship in spirit and in truth


As I stood worshipping in our Sunday service yesterday I had a vision from God. The building of the Salvation Army in Mold is very unique. We have a charity shop and coffee shop on the ground floor and our worship hall is on the first floor. Through the week we have various acts of worship in the coffee shop and our hall is used for Sunday worship

As I sang ‘What a faithful God have I,’ God gave me a picture. It was a picture of the white walls in the worship hall. As we corporately worshipped together, it was like someone was pouring red paint over the walls. It started at the very top corner of the hall and seeped down the walls. The more we worshipped, the further the paint trickled down. It didn’t just stop at the floor of the worship hall but down to the walls of the shop and the coffee shop.

The more we worship him, the further the blood of Jesus will spread into everything we are and everything we do. So let’s worship God today in spirit and in truth. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Real Adventure!

Today is a good day!

The sun is shining, the daffodils on the table I am sitting at are blooming and beautifully scented and as I watch the daily like of my corps go on, I feel so blessed!

When I embarked on ministry, I knew it would be diverse, but some days it blows me away! Just this morning (and it's only 10am!) I have spent time soaking in his word, sent copious emails, written a bible study, picked up food donations to gift to a local church, sorted through some donations of clothes and had a sing song! 

Ministry is a great orchestra full of diverse instruments, from a simple triangle to an exquisite cello and a kazoo thrown in too! 

As I sit and observe the bustle going on around me, I see a member of staff give a lesson to a lad in his twenties on how to add up a bill as he simply cannot count. I watch my husband talk with one of the volunteers, just doing life together. I also see a family come in who are regulars in the coffee shop and have excitedly started worshiping with us on a Sunday too!

Today is a good day!

What a great adventure!

What a great privilege!

What a great God!



Thursday, 17 March 2016

Let's move some mountains!


Over the past few days I have spent some time on retreat with some fellow ministers in the Salvation Army. It has been a great time of teaching, relaxing, laughing and worshiping. It has been good taking time out of my (VERY) busy schedule and just focusing on what is important.

This morning in my War (prayer) room I was considering the testimony given at the end of the retreat. We heard great words about answered prayer, divine direction and a passion to see God moving more in our community.  One brilliant, Godly man stood up and told how God had healed him and taken him from a place with Cancer everywhere to one where they can't find any! He said if you ever want to know if prayer works, just look at me! AMEN!

I had testified about taking Joy in the Lord. That fabulous verse in Nehemiah says 'The joy of the Lord is my strength!', and I told of how God had been bringing great Joy to me in my ministry and how I believed it was strengthening me.

As I considered these thing this morning I read Mark 11 which looks at Palm Sunday. As it is coming up I thought it would be right to re-read this chapter. As I did I was struck by a story that comes after. It is the story of The cursed fig tree. It's not a story I particularly like, I feel a bit sorry for the old fig tree! But it was verse 20-23 that I thought were fab:

"20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. "

I love the fact Peter was so excited to see that God had answered prayer! It reminded me a lot of me. We pray earnestly to God for something and when he does, we are shocked! We serve a God who can do mighty things, and we can do mighty things when we call on his name. I have been writing, in the past couple of weeks, for the coming month of  Her binder project devotionals (Take a look at: http://herbinderproject.com/) and we have been looking at people who were persuaded that God would fulfill his promises to them (It is coming out for the Month of April so check them out!) Jesus Says We can move Mountains in his name if we have faith.

What Mountain are you facing today?

Money worries

Job insecurities

doubt

worry

illness

Cancer.

God can move it from you today. We just need to have faith, and joy that he will do it!  So lets start moving mountains today! Let me know what you are praying for today, as my friend yesterday showed,

Prayer changes everything!


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Enlarge your tent!

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. The challenges seem to be coming thick and fast and the devil has started to get a bit personal. But if you remember my word for this year is gratitude so I won’t bore you with any details! Instead let me share some of the great blessings the past few weeks have given me!

Sometimes do forget, or maybe don’t appreciate the little messages God gives or those answers to prayers that we have been praying for a long while. Today however, I want to celebrate them! Not only to share with you some of the Awesome things God has done, but by remembering these blessing I am building myself up for the things that are ahead

A couple of weeks ago as I was reading my daily devotional I was prompted to read Isaiah 54. When I got to verse 2 I read this.

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.


As I read it I felt the God saying to me ‘This is for you Alice, This is for you and your ministry’ I was a little taken back. My ministry seemed a little full already, with lots to do and very little time to do it. However God was adamant. I journaled it excitedly in my journal and mulled over what it might mean



The next day, as I checked through my emails, nestled among the various messages from Costco and The Salvation Army, I found an email from a lovely lady in America asking if I would write for their daily devotionals. WOW! My tent just got a bit bigger! If you want to take a look it is over at www.herbinderproject.com It is a fabulous tool to grow in faith and delve into God's word

The next day as Paul and I walked the dogs we prayed together. I asked that God would send to us people to the centre who didn’t know you, people who we could minister to, people who would be changed by the message we bring, Paul gave a big amen and we went on our way.

Every day in our coffee shop we stop for a prayer, but on a Wednesday and Saturday we take the opportunity to share a bit more of the gospel with the cumtomers in our pause for thought. This day was my turn and I talked about the cross and God’s unfailing love for us. I finished with a beautiful song called written in red.  Afterwards a man approached. Completely blown away by the song and the message that was given.
Paul and I sat with him for over an hour introducing him to Jesus. He went away walking on air, holding his new bible and a knowledge of God’s life changing power.

This was just two very small snippets. God is doing some great things. I could talk for a long time of the little blessings God is giving me.

Life isn’t easy and we can fall into a trap where we do not notice the prayers he answers or the promises he gives. Today I am praying that my tent will grow even larger. I pray that more people will come to know Jesus’ saving grace, and that people will share with me the great things God is doing in their lives. 

The devil will strike and I know he will still drag me down into the pit of insecurity and sadness.

But


I serve a bigger God and I will have an attitude of Gratitude and give God the glory for the great things he has done. 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Hiding behind my Father's legs!

There are days when we feel like we could take on the world, and days when we feel we couldn’t fight our way out of a paper bag! This morning I feel useless! In fact, worse than useless!

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many great things going on. I am seeing fruit in my ministry, my marriage and my family but I still feel like I want to pull the duvet over my head and never emerge. Maybe it’s tiredness, maybe it’s because I’m coming down with a cold or maybe I am letting the devil tell me what a failure I am (!)  but It all seems too much.

This morning, as I read my daily devotionals (If you are a woman on fire for God and looking for a great daily devotional check out http://herbinderproject.com/ it is fabulous!!) God gave me a message. As I read Psalm 89v8 I felt in awe of his power and faithfulness. I then received a picture of a child hiding behind their father’s legs.

I'm sure you have seen the scenario. The dad and child are out and the Dad has seen someone they know. The child becomes shy or unsure and the find the safest place they can to hid, behind their father’s legs! It is a place of protection and safety. Attached to those legs is a person of power, love and faithfulness.

Today

For a little while

I am hiding behind my Heavenly Father’s legs!

I need a bit of safety and a whole lot of love. I need to experience his faithfulness and be filled with his power. So when I am a little more confident, I can emerge from behind him and be ready to stand firm


And fight the fight! 


Friday, 12 February 2016

My Journey in journaling

Just under a year ago something happened that completely changed my relationship with God and shaped the way I live out my faith. Over lent I always try to take something on that will help others rather than giving up something, and I often participate in 40 acts. This is where you are challenged to do 40 different things and make an impact in your own community (Check it out at http://www.40acts.org.uk/ ) Last year, day 1 called me to buy a journal and make notes over the 40 days of lent. I bought a journal and started….

And I haven’t stopped!

I have written all sorts in my journal; prayers, sermons, notes, doodles, artwork and anything and everything that God has prompted me to do. As I started spending time pouring my heart out to the Lord on the pages of my journal I found my faith was growing, I started really looking forward to spending time with God and was glad to get up a little earlier in order to spend time with him.

Recently my expression of faith has been extended to bible journaling. I started to see some fascinating pieces of artwork on the pages of the bible whilst browsing pinterest (If you haven’t explored pinterest, do! It is amazing, but be prepared to lose hours of your time!) At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about drawing in the bible, I had always underlined etc but wasn’t quite sure if drawing in it felt right. However, I soon came to realise the depths of faith and meditation it can bring, and saw people’s faith being transformed by this simple act.

Not so long ago I bought myself a journaling bible and I sat with my pencils and colours waiting to create! I prayed and started to journaling and WOW! It really was an amazing experience, God spoke to me very clearly and I loved pouring out my heart and soul out through this artistic expression.



As I have continued to journal (I am still a newbie really) I have come to realise that what the finished piece looks like doesn’t really matter. The real point of it all is the deepening relationship with my best friend, my heavenly father.
There are some fantastic resources available on the internet and some great groups on Facebook. Through the exploration of bible journaling I have been blessed to find myself a part of an online worshipping community.



I would encourage you to step out in faith and try it, but more than that I challenge you to explore new ways to deepen your faith. Journaling may not be for you, but seek out a way to engage in his word. You will see fruit beyond expectation and God will use you to dream great dreams and soar to new depths with him. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

motherhood challenge

recently there has been a thing called the motherhood challenge going around on facebook, where you post up a number of pictures that you love of you as a mum and then tag a number of people who you think of as good mothers.  It all sounds very nice doesn't it?!? But for me it has proved a bit of a challenge...will if I'm honest each post has left me feeling lots of conflicting emotions;

happiness - at seeing so many beautiful children

sadness - that I am not a mother

jealousy - what do they have that I do not?!?

anger - why has God blessed these women and not me?

insecurity - does God not think I'm good enough? 

guilt - why can I just not be happy for them and scroll on?!?

You see two years ago.  my husband Paul and I decided we wanted to try for a baby.  Paul already has three daughters from a previous marriage, they are all teens and absolutely beautiful inside and out. I love them very dearly and thank God for them every day, but I wanted to be a mum, not just 'Alice...dad's wife!'

But nothing happened.  

Well actually a lot happened in life. my mother in law was diagnosed with terminal cancer,  I gave up my career as a teacher,  we followed God's  call to ministry with the salvation army,  went through various stages of growing up with the girls, moved to wales to run a church and watched my mother in law lose her battle with cancer.  Yes a lot happened.  but no baby.  

Whilst we went about very much enjoying trying to start a family(!),  I watched countless friends and family (and I mean countless! so many! ) announce their pregnancy, show pictures of bumps and baby showers and eventually smiling faces as their gift of joy was delivered.

but nothing happened for us. 

After a number of tests we were told we had unexplained infertility (great! ) and that because I had been so blessed by three beautiful step daughters, we we ineligible for any treatment under the NHS.
I cannot even begin to describe the pain and emptiness of it all.  Or the complete loneliness of the journey. Many friends have never understood why I had to cut myself off from babies and pregnancies and I struggle to understand the potent concoction of feelings that come to the surface at the most unexpected of times. 

But

through it all I have come to see that 'the joy of the lord is my strength' not a fake smile that you plaster on when someone asks you  'will you be next?!?' but that deep seated, rest assured joy that says my God is faithful,  he has plans for my life and that regardless of it all I am special in his eyes. 

is it easy?. ... definitely not!  some days it takes all my effort to just get out of bed!

do I have the answers? ... there seems a lot more questions unanswered than have been answered.

However

God has reminded me time and time again of this verse and I am trying to laugh without fear of the future.