Lessons I’m learning from: not losing sight of what is important!

‘Do not lose sight of what is important’ is a reminder that I have propped on my bookshelf, which came from a quiet time this weekend where I had been blinded with fear. The past weekend I spent in a fearful state because I believed a situation had happened that would have severe consequences. It did not matter that people had told me not to worry about it. Even when I spent time in prayer and I was being given incredible peace over the situation, I chose to remain in a fearful state. I wanted to believe that I had done wrong and that I was going to have to face repercussions for it. The truth was, the situation I was fearful about was not even real. I had made it real within my life. This reminder became a warning, that I had spent so much time trying to face a situation in my own strength I had lost sight of where my truth and worth comes from. Even in all my fear, I was being reminded that even if this situation had happened that God would not leave me or forsake me through it. That he still had authority over the situation, I could still trust in him no matter what was going to happen.

In being reminded to not lose sight, I needed to strengthen my faith further. To not allow this trial to overwhelm me; to stand against it with the truth and strength of God. I was talking to someone about the situation, they referred to it as a spiritual attack that was being used to bring anxiety and fear. There is significant purpose on being reminded to put on the armour of God, for even everyday situations can be used to attack us and deter us away from God. I know a fault of mine is that when I become too familiar with scripture then I miss the truth that is being spoken through it. For myself and for you reading this, may we remind ourselves what the armour of God is and its purpose. Ephesians 6v13-17 ‘Therefore put on the FULL armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ This is a person who is able to face any trial that comes their way. I love the reminder that there is no armour for our back, because with God we face our enemies straight on with the authority and the strength he gives us. It was how I needed to be suited up but instead I allowed myself to be overwhelmed with the situation. I was fleeing and had my back as an open target for everyone. I was not standing firm, being prepared to face the situation. I was losing sight of my worth and power that God gives me.

A further reminder was that these spiritual attacks come when our lives are moving in a deeper pursuit of God. When we are being asked to step out in a greater step of faith. If you go through the Bible, there are many examples of these spiritual attacks that come from various places or people. They are being used so that we question our faith and who we are. We need to stand boldly and to fight courageously against what is trying to destroy who we are. We don’t have our faith in Jesus because it is something fun to do, we put our entire trust in him and surrender all who we are. That is not an easy way to chose but we pursue it. We know that in each and every step we take, Jesus leads and guides us. Even when it is hard to see where our path is leading, we always have hope and love surrounding us. The things that we face in this world, no matter how hard or upsetting will never be the end of us.

A journal entry that I wrote over the weekend, spoke this this truth over my life. ‘Allow Jesus to be lifted higher than all your circumstances. Jesus is and always will be the good shepherd; who will guide you through all circumstances of your life. You are not rejected and alone. When you stray, call on the name of Jesus and he will bring you right back to him. John 10v14-15 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for my sheep.’ Jesus has been through all the trails and temptations we have been through, he understands. No season is too tough when you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.’

I was reminded that we are not complete yet, therefore, we are not perfect. To stop demanding that for ourselves and from others. That each day we need to allow God to mould us, to remove and to prune what is necessary. Within our own life’s we  have received unconditional grace and love and each day we can bless other people with that. We are all a purposeful part of God’s creation, may we never allow the enemy to tell us anything that would dim that truth. That we need to allow God’s truth to speak louder than any lie of the enemy. To always remember, that God loves and cherishes us beyond our comprehension. That no matter what we face in life, it cannot separate us from his love. Isaiah 49v16 ‘See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.’

May we not lose sight, of how powerful and loving our God is. We never face anything he has not prepared us enough to face, we can trust him in that. Life is not always easy but with the full armour of God and with his power, we can face each trail straight on.

May you all have a blessed week. May we support one another, we will all struggle but may we be people who speak purpose and hope over each situation. Remember you are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. xx

Embracing Life: Failure does not have to be disappointing.

Today I failed my driving test, for the first time. I made the error early on in my driving test; truthfully, I was too slow pulling out on a roundabout. I knew by the reaction of the test instructor that I had failed. However, I did not allow that failure to impact the rest of the test, I chose to put all I had learned to practise and to do my best. When I had finished my test, though I had failed, I could be proud of all the progress I had made. Though it was disappointing I had failed, I was not disappointed with myself. The instructor commented that there were many positives from my driving. To be able to reflect on where I had started to where I was now, I was thankful for all the experiences. Though I will need to further my experience on the road before my next test, there are many goals I have achieved this year.

An important lesson I have learned is that failure does not mean that I cannot do something. I am a confident driver but there are skills that I need to develop further. This is an important lesson that I need to take into all areas of my life. That when life is hard and I do not get things first time around; I should not have the belief that I cannot do it. I have a defeatist attitude, if I fail then I give up. This year I have been learning that skills, like driving, take time and patience. No one has ever got anywhere without failing, those who are successful have not always been successful. They have had many failed attempts to be where they are now.

Normally I would be really harsh on myself because I have not succeeded but not this time. This year a lesson that I have been learning within my faith is to show myself grace. I believe God has been teaching me this through his word and through the people in my life. I have been learning that my worth does not come from when I succeed or when I fail. That my purpose is in who God says I am and the authority that he has over the situations in my life. I do not have to label myself as dumb or stupid because I did not understand how to do something first time.  The incredible people who have spoke words of encouragement, even when I was struggling has been incredible. I feel blessed with the driving instructor who took me from knowing nothing to being able to understand how to drive and to have achieved confidence in my driving. There were many doubts that ran through my head and twice I was ready to give up. I have learned to have determination to push through what I believe are my limitations and to have grace towards myself while I do it. That when I am anxious and scared, to trust in God’s leading and guidance because with him all things are possible.

While I take time away from driving, to go abroad for my internship. I will continuously engage in reminding myself of the skills and knowledge I need. Therefore, when I get back I am ready to pick up where I left off.

I pray for any of you struggling, who have failed in an area of your life. To not label yourself as a failure. That you would be able to reflect on all the skills and lessons that you learned from that experience; that you would pick yourself up and walk forwards into new experiences. May we be people who will encourage one another. I know from all the kindness and advice that I have been blessed with this year, that I want to be able to pay it forward so that someone else can be blessed. That is an encouraging way for us to be. We will meet people in our life time who will trample us down and make us feel weak and insecure. May we not pay that forward to people. Life is hard enough without having to belittle someone else. Remember, failure is not the end. For some of us it will mean developing our skills further. For others, it may mean pursuing something different. While disappointment can be found in failure, it does not have to be disappointing.

Philippians 4v13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Keep moving forward,

Love Victoria. xx

 

Lessons I’m learning from: an anxious heart.

‘Your name is life, your name is hope inside me… hope inside me. Your name is love, a love that always finds me… Always finds me. Be lifted up, be lifted higher.’ Praises (Be lifted up), Bethel.

Truthfully, I started writing this blog with an anxious heart and it did not mean that I had stopped being faithful or that I was not trusting God. My chest felt super tight and I was praying through it. Knowing that God does not fail to meet me in those moments and walk with me through it. Before I started writing this, I was praying and being reminded of the truths of who God is and who he calls me to be. May we never believe that our anxious thoughts means that we are not trusting God but may we bring our anxious thoughts to God. Lift our perspective to a God who is mightier and far more powerful than anything we will ever face. Allow God to hold it and to speak through those moments. I am wrapping up this blog as I type this, the anxiousness that I felt has been lifted and I pray that this blog will be a blessing to you as it was to me, if you are struggling at the moment. For some of you reading this I know that anxiety is not something that can be easily removed. I pray that you will find some encouragement through this blog and wherever you may be, you will find people to help you cope and support you through your journey.

As human beings, we have our limitations and we are easily overwhelmed with situations that we feel are out of our control.  I was reminded of the passage in (2 Corinthians 12) where Paul has, what is referred to as his thorn and pleads to the Lord three times to take it away.  (v9) ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”‘. When my heart becomes anxious, I need to remind myself that my limitations do not limit God. There are incredible verses found in Isaiah that reminds us all of who God is, compared to who we are. (Isaiah 55v8-9) ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, , so are my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.‘ These verses remind me to keep trusting God. Where I see limitation and failure; I believe God sees hope and potential. I also know that the Lord does not disregard my anxious thoughts as not important, for he knows our anxious heart. This truth is proclaimed wonderfully through Amanda Cook’s song ‘The Clearing.’

‘You waited through the night. Stayed here by my side. Not anxious of the time it takes. You whisper to my soul, just three steps left to go . Patiently you show the way.’

In the Lord meeting us in those moments, he does not leave us there. Even in the anxious thoughts I was having, the truth that I was being prompted with was allowing all that was clouding my mind to be removed. I did not need to find my identity in my insecurities, for my insecurities were being used to bring my closer to the Lord. I love the next verse of this song because it shows the transformation that happens within our life, with the Lord’s guidance. It is never an easy journey but with God we arrive at a place that is far better than what we left.

‘I could make my bed, so many places I have been. But you said I was meant for more. So I’ll never settle now, for less than holy ground. What a life we’ve found here.’

The verse that has been a constant reminder throughout the past weeks is (2 Timothy 1v7) ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ When my anxious thoughts, my doubts and fears become too much I am reminded that they are not my over-comers. That I have been given a spirit that is not fearful or timid but is powerful, self-disciplined and full of love. That I can have the faith that no matter the mountain I come across, that the Lord is with me and I can be courageous enough to face it. That applies to anything I come across in life, it may never be easy and the outcome may be disappointing but it does not have the final say. God does! That is where my faith will be found, resting in who God is and not restricting my perspective to my limitations.

I am learning the need to stop being disappointed in who I am and having this fixed mindset, that my mistakes stop me from moving forwards. For that is not truth, there is always growth and renewed hope that is planted into our life. We are restored by God’s love and grace. Jesus did not die for us all so that we would burden ourselves with our mistakes and limitations. He did not conquer death so that would remain in that stale and broken place . We are given new life and new hope. We are given salvation as a gift, that is an incredible gift to receive and we did nothing to deserve it. That is a blessing that we can encounter today. We need to trust that our anxiousness is not God leaving us or forsaking us, he promised he would never do that. Anyone or anything that would whisper he would, is not speaking truth. Nothing we face in this life is beyond God’s power, he is the creator and he is the restorer. He knows our life from beginning to end. nothing happens that is shocking God.  (Psalm 139v16) ‘ Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ Let us not lose sight of who God is and who we were created to be. The world is a messy place but God is still working. We need to trust! We can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts but until  we come into that place of trusting and surrendering to God then it is all just knowledge. The world will tell us many ‘truths’ that we need to believe. The ‘truths’ that we are told are ever changing, it is not surprising we are anxious daily, fearful of what is to come. Everything we do on earth is fleeting, we cannot put faith in it. We cannot put our worth in it either. It is not everlasting. We can be faithful in the places we are put and in the work we do. We should not put our faith in it.

From an anxious heart to another. Our anxiousness is not our worth, may we speak God’s truth over it. May we deafen it’s mighty roar with the wisdom and love that God speaks over us. We are incredibly loved by a God who is love, we are his children. May we delight that God has authority over all things. May we remember that our spirit is not that of fear but one of POWER, LOVE AND SELF-DISCIPLINE.

‘We cannot grow when insecurities keep us from the life-giving oxygen of transformational truth. God beckons or invites me to change my mind-set from focusing on my insecurities and limitations to his security and limitless potential.’ Lysa Terkeurst ‘The best yes’

Remember you are loved and cherished. May you have a blessed week. God bless, Victoria. xx

 

 

Embracing Life: Don’t Rush

I had a driving lesson today, one issue I struggle with is that I rush. When I rush, I make mistakes because I forget to take in all that is around me. It made me think of my life in general and I tend to rush a lot through life. I always want to get things done so that I can move on to the next thing. Instead, of engaging with what is right in front of me. I miss widening my perspective because I am solely focused on the one goal of finishing. However, when things pop up that I did not expect I get easily frustrated and frazzled.

It is a goal that I need to set up in my life, to take life at a more steady pace. To be embracing the good around me and to be facing my problems with strength and courage. I need to remember that when I am behind the wheel, literally and figuratively, I am in control. I need to be aware of where I am and of those around me. I do not want to be the person constantly racing against other people and trying to be the better person. I want to work on being a better person for myself and living life with a heart of gratitude and engagement.

As I reflect on rushing, one place I have been slowing down this week is in my quiet time with God. Normally I would open up a chapter of the Bible, have a quick prayer and be done for the day. I have been learning the importance of engaging with the text in front of me. To meditate on the way that Jesus spoke to people, how the people engaged with Jesus and the truth that was being revealed. Not about making my Bible time about me but about learning about those people’s lives. Learning more about who God is and how to serve God and people better. It has been a real blessing. Even though Jesus knew that his death was near. He did not rush his encounters with people but met with them and blessed and transformed their lives. It is a calling for us to love our neighbour as ourselves and I am not loving my neighbour well if I am constantly rushing through life.

In embracing life, I need to learn to be a little kinder to myself. That although time is fleeting, it is not my master. That I can go at a steadier place and still get tasks done. To be honest I might enjoy doing it more, when I actually engage with the task. I am thankful for the advice that I was given with my driving and I will add that lesson to my life in general. It is a daily practise, that will need grace and peace to go alongside it.

On my goals I set up last week. I have been given an incredible opportunity to go into ministry work abroad. That has utterly transformed my life and my perspective on life. My driving is still a working progress and I am continously taking on board the advice I am being given. Lastly, I am continuing to learn about incredible people and how they gave used their life to bless and minister to other.

My goal this week is to engage with slowing done and going at a steadier place. To continue engaging in my quiet time and finally to make the preparations to begin the next step on my journey.

Keep moving forward,

Love Victoria. Xx

Lessons I’m learning from: Luke 15 (The lost get found.)

Luke 15 is made up of 3 parables, that all look at the theme of something being lost and found. While these may be familiar parables, I learned some fresh lessons through my reading of these.  v1-2 ‘Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”These verses give the context to the parables.I am not going to go into great depth of everything in each parable, I would highly recommend reading them for yourself. Here are some ideas that I explored while reading.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep.

 v4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? The 99 that were left in the open country could be trusted. They knew and understood the dangers of wandering off. As with the one who had wandered off, he had lost his way and was wandering into unknown dangers. The Shepherd knew the sheep could not save itself. v5 ‘And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.’. Even when he find the sheep he joyfully receives it back, protecting it and putting it out of harms way by putting it on his shoulders. They even have a party to rejoice this lost sheep being found. The purpose that the Shepherd poured into finding that one sheep, is a beautiful image of who our Saviour is. There are many people who have already been saved, Jesus does not stop there. He welcomes the sinner into his presence because he sees their purpose and their worth. In the context of this parable, the Pharisees can be seen as the 99 sheep. The Pharisees know what it takes to be righteous. They can choose whether to abide by it or not. The sinners have lost their way, they do not know how to find there way back without someone leading them home. That is why there is so much rejoicing because they are finally in the place they were always meant to be. v7 ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’.

The Parable of the lost coin.

v8 ‘Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and searches carefully until she finds it?’ . One coin has worth on its own. There is an intense amount of effort put into finding this coin, every area is searched so that the coin will not be missed. There is rejoicing when it is found. It reminded me of our own individual worth, our worth is made complete through Jesus. We are forgiven due to our repentance and the grace of God that comes through Jesus. Amazing grace, that we will never be forgotten or missed by God!

The Parable of the lost son.

The two previous parables put into a human context. One son is righteous and the other a sinner. The younger son was greedy and believed that he deserved to be granted what he had requested of his Father, despite the cost. v12 ‘Father, give me my share of the estate,’ so he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a far country and squandered his wealth on wild living.’ The younger son was very clueless and got lost in his worldly ways, he was not prepared for any misfortune. It leads to: his highest high, to lowest low, humility, surrender and salvation. v19 ‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.‘. He had his speech ready and his heart surrendered and was on his way home again. His father saw him at a distance and filled with compassion ran to him! He embraced him and kissed him, showing those around them that although what his son had done was dishonourable the Father was accepting him back and forgiving him.  He dresses him richly, reminding him of his worth and who he belongs to. This is what God does for each of us, he reminds us who we are and who we belong to. He reminds us that we are so loved, that we were worth dying for. That in our brokenness and mess, God saw hope that was made complete through Jesus. v24 ‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found,’ So they begun to celebrate.

On the other side, we see the jealousy of the righteous brother who is feeling hard done by. He has always been faithful but his goodness has never been celebrated in the way his brother was. Instead of rejoicing over the blessing of his brother returning and being saved, he feels rejected. The Father reminds him of all he already has, that he knew his worth and convictions so did not have to go running off like his brother. At this moment his jealousy was misleading him, he did not need to feel rejected for he was already part of something bigger. We have to be careful, that our jealousy does not get in the way or allowing new believers to thrive and come into who they are meant to be. We are not a rejected people, we are greatly blessed  because we are saved. May we not lose sight of that because we believe that someone’s portion is better than ours. v 31 ‘My son’, the Father said, ‘you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ 

I hope that you will have a blessed week and will continue to explore the passages found in Luke’s gospel. I pray that you will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge. You are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. xx

 

 

Sunset!

I was immersed in the beauty of this sunset this evening. Time seemed to slow down and my mind stopped racing. I was amazed at how the beauty of a sunset which is an ordinary experience is absolutely extraordinary. The way that it explodes all these incredible pastel colours over the sky. How it gave the water a new lease of life. How even those walking by, stopped to take in the beauty that was around them. We miss a lot in life because we rush around too much. In taking the time to embrace the beauty of creation that is around us. Reminds us that there is many things that are out of our control. However, the sun still sets at the end of the day and it throws out all this beauty regardless of how good or bad our day was. It reminded me that there can always be hope, beauty and life even on the darkest day. That God still gives a lot of purpose into each day and never stops showing his glorious creation to us. A beautiful blessing to end the week.Love Victoria. Xx

Embracing life. ( A new series)

(This is a new series that I am starting, that will be uploaded during the week. Alongside, the ‘Lessons I am learning from’ series.)

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This new series is a commitment for myself, to get my butt in gear and actually starting living the life I am blessed to have. I have been in a stale place for a long time, I stopped dreaming about the life I could have and just accepted that this was my lot. I am not dreaming of being any sort of millionaire and living a life of luxury. Instead, I want to learn to start enjoying life and actually sitting behind the wheel and taking some control. I fully trust that God is in control of my life but it falls on me to take action and have faith to walk through life. I have been imprisoning myself due to my fears and beliefs of who I am, it has led me to wondering what is my point of being here. Thankfully God’s good grace never fails to meet me in those moments. For too long, I did not realise that it was me, that needed to speak purpose into my life. Trusting in the promises and the truth of who God has called me to be and walking in that. The one promise that I am keeping at the forefront of this whole journey is 2 Timothy 1v7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.’ (NLT)

A little context to how I have got to this place to begin with and then I will speak about the changes I want to make. Truthfully, I have always been a little bit ashamed of myself. I was bullied from a young age, I can remember when we lived in Wales ( we now live in England) and this was before I was five I was bullied for my voice. That is something that carried on all through school. It was due to me having a deeper voice and I would pronounce words differently to my peers. In high school I developed horrendous acne, this was really painful and cytsic acne. I also had braces and dorky NHS glasses, I looked a picture. I felt insecure and people were cruel. As I went through my high schools years I started to struggle with understanding my school work. I would have an interest in what was being taught but I could never write it well on paper. My friends were always smarter and I felt behind. I got through school and even have a university degree (Yay), I even feel like I did not do the right thing at uni. I found out at University that I have dyslexia, which helped me to understand why I struggled through school but it did not make it any easier to do my assignments or debating in class.

All these things in a big and a small way have impacted my life. I normally act silly around my family and friends because I feel that I am not as intellectual and knowledgeable as they are. It is better to be known for something than just being dumb. When I do speak my words come out quicker then my mind has time to process, what I say normally comes out jumbled. Around those I do not know I am normally quiet but kind because I love people but I am scared of them getting to know me.

I am learning that what has happened in the past cannot be changed but I am in control of making positive changes for the future. Some will work out and others will not. I cannot change the way I have been made to feel but I can stop it from allowing it to impact the person I am becoming. I can learn to grow and embrace life again, to shake off everything that has been holding me down.

This series is a motivation to keep moving forwards. To set goals, that enable me to push myself but to love myself too. The way I began doing this was through getting rid of social media. Which sounds dramatic and weird but I have been off it for over a week now and I do not miss it. It gave me a negative mindset and I wasted too much time on it. The time I would have spent on social media is now spent reading or doing something productive. The next step is finding a new job/volunteering, in which I am going to learn new skills and embrace new challenges. I am currently in retail, which helps me pay my (few) bills but is not pushing me to be the best that I can be. I have grown incredibly complacent, I have accepted that because I am earning money then that is enough. Retail is not a bad, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in leadership in the job. However, I have known for a long time that I want to do a job that makes a change and that has a positive impact. That is one of the main reasons I started my blog. Not as a job but to do what I was passionate about as I awaited that job. I need to now have a commitment to start pursuing that, looking into different companies to see what they have to offer and what I can offer them, which skills are required. That is my first goal for this week, is to start researching these companies.

My second goal is to have confidence with my driving, in my lessons I am now at the point where I am working up to my test in a few weeks. That terrifies me. I feel like I cannot do it, which is an utter lie because I can. Driving is enjoyable but it something that takes experience and courage to do. I am going to be keeping that Bible verse from 2 Timothy at the forefront of my mind and trusting that I have not got this far to fail. When I make mistakes, that the best thing to do is to learn from them.

My third goal is to start learning more about the topics I am interested about. Learning about an important person or place that is significant for a certain reason. All our lives are important, they all have a story to tell. I love reading about how someone has used their life to bring about positive change and how they achieved it. I am interested to learn about what it means to embrace all that life can be. It may not always be easy for the individual but their sacrifice brings change for good. The world needs more of those people.

I am starting off with small goals because all my mindset and the way I live life is going to take a while to transform. As I start reaching these goals, it will enable me to push myself further and to step into new areas of life. I want the next few months to be purposeful. As I commit to this blog series, I will share with you the highs and the lows. How I am growing and developing. Maybe even what I have been learning about the people who have used their life for good. Possibly, you are in the same boat I am or you have been. It is important that we all learn from each other. Let us not do life alone but walk together with confidence and power.

Keep moving forwards,

Love Victoria. xx