Forgiveness is Freeing

I have already shared part of my story about what has happened to me in my past and how God has graciously worked in my life. Today I have the blessing of being able to share another aspect of my story with regards to the abuse that I suffered when I was a little girl.

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense [and] lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness. Wikipedia

Forgiveness will look differently to each person though depending on what and who they are forgiving. It is not an easy process either…or as clear-cut as Wikipedia outlines it. In reality, forgiveness is hard. However, I can also say, as hard as it is, forgiveness is freeing…


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There I was, standing in a spot where his grave might have been, and I’m griping tightly onto an A4 piece of paper. A piece of paper that held the truth of what actually happened to me during four years when I grew up too quickly.

Looking around, all I see is green grass with very few markings of where graves could be. I expected to see at least a head stone with his name etched into it…something that would make it real. But there was nothing. Only little numbered markers dotted around declaring where each person is buried. With there being no grave stone or a recognisable grave, I concluded that he had no meaning to his life.

To follow the rest of my story,  please join me over at Amy Boucher Pye’s website, and you will see how forgiveness was freeing for me.


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Amy Boucher Pye is an author and speaker whose award-winning book Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Home & True Identity (Authentic Media, 2015) looks at life in the UK through an American’s eyes. Her second book, The Living Cross: Exploring God’s Gift of Forgiveness and New Life (BRF, 2016), engages with biblical and modern-day stories of forgiveness and freedom in a Lenten devotional. She runs the Woman Alive book club and writes for publications such as Our Daily Bread and Day by Day with God.

To find out more information on Amy, then you can visit her website here.

Collect your apples and use them

I have 4 apple trees in my back garden. Each year they produce an amazing amount of apples. You would think now that I would tell you about the amazing amount of food that I am able to bake from all those apples.

Well, for those of you that know me, I’m not really much of a baker. It takes time and energy, both of which I have little of. I have grand thoughts of what I would like to bake though, and they look stunning in my mind – it just never reaches the plate!

What happens to the apples then? Well, I never collect them. I leave them to rot or to be eaten by the birds. Not intentionally though. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve already cooked all these apples in my mind! I just never get around to collecting them though.


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I went out into the garden yesterday and saw how delicious the apples looked, and again thought to myself that this year I must not waste them. Even if I don’t collect them for myself, I’m sure that I have a friend or two that would make use of them.

Daniel 4:12
Its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, And the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches, and all living creatures fed themselves from it.

An apple tree was designed to bear fruit. Why then waste what is provided from it if it can bring about further good things. If you have a fruit tree in your garden, why not collect the fruit from the tree so that you can multiply it and give good things to others. Or, give the fruit to other people so that they can multiply it and give good things to others too.

This is the same with our own lives. Each of us has unique qualities and gifts that we can bring to the world. It’s how we use them that makes a difference to people’s lives.

Something to think about…

Do you bear fruit that can bring about good to others? Think about the gifts and qualities that you have and see how you can implement them to help others.

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you have created each of us for a specific purpose. Help us to realise what gifts we have so that we can bring about a difference into other people’s lives. Amen.


You are reading a Five Minute Friday word prompt. This is hosted by Kate Motaung and is where a group of people write about a given word for that week. The word prompt write is “collect”. (Everything before the line break shows what I wrote in five minutes.) If you are interested in taking part or reading other people’s inspiring writes, then hop on over to the site.

Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zone

We all have something in our lives that has broken us in one way or another.  Something that is hidden deep in our closet that we don’t like to talk about or share openly.

It may be that you lost someone really close to you…

…Or your parents separated when you were younger…

…Or you had someone you looked up to and they made a comment towards you which hurt you really deeply…

…Or you didn’t have a great time growing up in school…

Whatever has happened to you, it has probably affected you in one way or another.  You may not notice it straight away, but what happened to you in your past affects how you are today and how you perceive situations you are in.


Let’s just say that you are someone who experienced your parents splitting up when you were younger, and you never saw one of your parents again.  This may then affect you in your own relationships with other people. You may not receive love very well from those that are showing it to you.  This then in turn could bring about feelings of rejection.

Or, you maybe someone that was bullied in school.  It may not have been physical bullying, but the constant name calling of how ugly you were…or that you would never amount to anything…the little comments behind your back in classroom of people threatening to “get” you after school.  This may then affect you on how you perceive yourself.  You hate to look at yourself in the mirror because you detest what you see. You are constantly trying to seek people’s approval.

You see how what happens in your past, which broke something inside you, affects how you react towards situations today?

If you are still reading this, then maybe I am resonating with you in what I am writing about.  If so, I want you to listen closely to me as I share with you a truth that you need to hear.  What happens in our past doesn’t have to define ourselves, or our future.

What happens in our past doesn't have to define ourselves, or our future. Click To Tweet

I believe, with a passion, that it doesn’t matter how broken we are inside with what has happened in our lives, we can still turn out to be beautiful people.  For me to believe this though, and for me to get you to believe this too, I need to be able to step outside of my comfort zone.

Do you know what this might mean though?  It means me sharing my deepest stories with you.  Stories that may open up my wounds and seep a little (and it may sting a little in the process too), but I hope that it may help someone to realise that they too can heal from their broken past and become beautiful.

Some of you may be thinking that sharing openly about something that is so personal is a little daunting and that you are not brave enough. I don’t think it’s about being brave enough to do it, and actually, I will admit this…it is down right scary for me to do this.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

One thing I am sure of is this…I have God by my side through every step of my journey. He will send me His Holy Spirit, not to make me afraid of what is going to happen, but to give me the strength that I need so I can step out of my comfort zone. In doing so, I hope the messes that I have been through in my life, become a message for you to give you a glimmer of hope.

Something to think about…

Can you identify an area in your life where you feel you have been broken? Consider asking God to show you how to use that brokenness to step out of our comfort zone to help others.

Prayer

Lord, there is an area in my life where I have been broken. Send your Holy Spirit upon me and give me the strength and courage that I need to step out of my comfort zone and to use those fragments of life to show others that you can piece together a beautiful picture.  Amen.

You are reading a Five Minute Friday word prompt. This is hosted by Kate Motaung and is where a group of people write about a given word for that week. The word prompt write is “comfort”. (Everything before the line break shows what I wrote in five minutes.) If you are interested in taking part or reading other people’s inspiring writes, then hop on over to the site.

Uncommon by Carey Scott – How this book is perfect for you in fueling your passion

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When it comes to spreading The Word, I am so pleased that we don’t have to do it perfectly, coz guess what? I’m not! I am so far from perfect, but then you probably already knew this.  My life is full of so many messes and I want to share with you how God has helped me to get through it all.

I have been comparing myself to other people around me though…I wanted to try and be perfect in the way that I can share how God has helped me in my life, but every time I looked at someone else and how they delivered their message, I always wondered why I couldn’t get it so perfect.

Why was I not good enough to do what they do?

“You were born to be different—to stand out. We all were, but we all won’t. You have to make the choice to live that way, not perfectly but purposefully.” Uncommon: Pursuing a Life of Passion and Purpose

Guess what though? God will use my messes whatever and turn them into messages the way that He wants them to be. Not the way I want them, or how anybody else wants them. My messy messages will still come out torn and tattered at the edges when I share them, but that is who I am.

I am not perfect.

I am an uncommon mess with an uncommon message!

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I’ve come to this knowledge with the help of one woman with a courageous heart. Carey Scott has penned her heart so well in her book Uncommon and it is launched today (Saturday 1st July 2017)! If you are one of these people that needs a little encouragement to be brave and to step out into the unknown then this book is for you.

“Uncommon: Pursuing a Life of Passion and Purpose is a battle cry for women to step out of the ordinary and live differently. It’s a blueprint for a life full of passion and purpose. And it has the power to change everything.”

Taken from Carey’s website, which you can visit for more information on her book.

Carey is so down to earth in person, and she is no different in her book. She shares with such honest vulnerability and still keeps it real. Through her book she will help to give you the power you will need to stand up and take hold of who you are in Christ, despite what hold your past has on you.

If you like what I have written here and you want to be encouraged to step out in your faith, then Uncommon is available to buy on Amazon now. You can also download one of the chapters on her website to see how great her book really is – don’t just take my word for it – have a look for yourself.


This post was inspired by the book Uncommon: Pursuing a Life of Passion and Purpose by Carey Scott. You can learn more about the book and order at http://careyscott.org/uncommon/

Steady As You Go

Life is full of ups and downs – wouldn’t you agree? One minute you could be on cloud nine with excitement about some good news you have received…and then next you come crashing down to earth when something drastic happens. It’s not that easy to stay steady when things don’t go quite the way you planned, is it?

2 Timothy 4:5
As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry.


When Paul writes to Timothy he gives him four directives that he should live by.

Be steady

My mum use to tell me this whenever I came to a situation that was beyond my control: “remember the three c’s – cool…calm…and collected”. It use to get on my nerves a little if she said it too much, but deep down I knew she was right.

Timothy’s first directive was to remain steady in what he was doing. He had to remain the three c’s – cool…calm…and collected. He needed to take seriously what he was doing in his life and remain focussed.

Be accepting of suffering

Accept suffering? Seriously? Now this is deep, but then Paul would know what he’s writing about after all the suffering he had endured. To name a few…

•He was in prison (and more than once);
•He constantly faced death;
•He was shipwrecked;
•He received whipping, flogging and was stoned…

…Shall I carry on?

Endurance is the ability to keep doing something difficult, unpleasant or painful for a long time. Like Paul, Timothy was instructed to keep steady whilst enduring his suffering…and he had to maintain the right perspective that would honour Christ.

Enduring our suffering and keeping the right mind throughout helps us to build on our character. This then in turn creates hope.

Carey Scott on her latest blog post “How to hold on to joy… no matter what’s trying to beat you down” reminds us how we can be steady and gain that hope…

“Friends, praise will always usher in joy when we’re struggling to find it. It’s a negativity-buster and gratitude-generator at the same time. And it will keep us tethered to hope… no matter what comes our way.”

Be an evangelist

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do and where you are…spread the good news of Christ. It might not be your forte to communicate with other people the gospel, but we are commanded to do so.

Anyway, if Jesus can use a tax collector, some fisherman and, wait for it, even a political activist…then guess what, He will use you! What you do does not stop you from spreading the good news of Jesus.

Be the winner…

…and finish the race. Keep on going, not just endure, but to actually finish what has been started.

It’s been heard often that when runners compete in a marathon, it’s the last couple of hundred yards that seem the hardest. Just as you see the finish line in sight, everything seems heavier.

When things seem heavier, there is always a temptation to quit, especially when it comes to doing what God calls you to do. Each new day provides us with new challenges to complete the race.

How do we overcome this? By keeping our eyes fixed on the prize…Jesus Christ. As we run the race of life and we keep focused on Him we find that He is actually running the race with us and helping us along the way.

Something to think about…

Is there an area in your life where you are struggling to see the finish line and it’s hard to carry on with the race? Don’t give up. Just like runners who need to train constantly to keep on going when it gets tough, so do we.

When you feel off balance, keep steady by using Jesus as your weight to lean on. You will never be too heavy for Him as He can handle any weight you pile on. So, keep on keeping on and don’t give up!

Prayer

Lord, I know that I am going to go through life at times and feel like the race is too hard to run. Help me to be steady on my tracks and to keep focused on you so that I can endure whatever I run through. Amen.


You are reading a Five Minute Friday word prompt. This is hosted by Kate Motaung and is where a group of people write about a given word for that week. The word prompt write is “steady”. (Everything before the line break shows what I wrote in five minutes.) If you are interested in taking part or reading other people’s inspiring writes, then hop on over to the site.

Reflections to encourage hope in our broken world

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