imageForget George Clooney’s nuptials in Venice. The wedding of the weekend was here in Coleraine!!

We had the enormous privilege of attending the wedding of our lovely friend Georgina to her handsome Matt 🙂 It was such a special day filled with joy and celebration of God’s goodness to them both. Since then I’ve had the chorus of a Gabrielle song going round my head …

Dreams can come true
Look at me babe I’m with you
You know you gotta have hope
You know you gotta be strong

Dreams can come true … don’t give up on your dreams! I’m sure Georgina would tell you that too.

As Bill Johnson posted this morning “Once you stop dreaming, you start dying“.

It’s no secret I enjoy the odd Bill Johnson podcast! In a recent one he spoke of “the need to refresh my list of dreams” … the need “to create some part of my life that God can breathe on, to step out courageously, to broaden my opportunity for His blessing”.

What would I include on my list? I dream of seeing God set people free from ‘hidden’ illnesses such as cancer, depression, ME, fibromyalgia as I pray for them; I dream of climbing the Mournes again; and I dream of travelling with Andy to as many countries beginning with ‘A’ and ‘S’ as possible!!

We should take care not to categorise our dreams between spiritual and natural, big and small. Every dream is significant, they all reveal Him and illustrate a life of hope.

Bill Johnson describes biblical hope as ‘the joyful anticipation of good which creates an atmosphere for faith to grow and attracts the promises of God’.

My husband, Andy, not only writes out his dreams, he also finds a photo or an image or a scene that helps him visualise them. One of his current dreams is to use some of the psalms David wrote on the run, hiding in caves, and record them in some of our local caves!!

This is his picture for his ‘cave’ dream.

A few years ago Andy had a dream to do a house concert tour in USA. To illustrate that dream, he happened upon a picture of a beautiful lake in America with a kayak being rowed across it. Not only the dream became a reality but so did that picture!! It’s a long story … but on the trip we spent a very special morning in a kayak on a lake in the beautiful mountains near Cardinal Village in California 🙂 GOOD times!!! GOD times 🙂

Dreams can come true … You know you gotta have hope

Maybe you’ve run out of hope because you’ve run into disappointment time and time again. Rather than finding ways to keep your dreams alive, you’ve buried them so they would die once and for all.

But we serve a God who specialises in resurrection!!

Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, so He is calling your dreams back to life again. Why?? Because they are His dreams for your life too! He is whispering to your heart ‘dare to dream again’. Every dream the enemy has tried to snuff out, He wants to set alight in you again. Why?? Because …

Dreams can come true … You know you gotta have hope

What is on your list of dreams?

I hear Him saying it’s time to resurrect those old dreams but it’s also time to dare to dream some new ones too.

Dreams can come true … You know you gotta have hope

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. (‭Psalms‬ ‭39‬:‭7‬ NLT)


Cut it out!!

image53 and still learning! This week I learnt that I am wheat intolerant 😦 I knew I felt better when I didn’t eat bread products but now I’ve learnt it also means avoiding cereals, pasta, cakes, biscuits etc. I’m learning just how many things I took for granted have wheat in them! Much label reading required!! I’m learning to be thankful for the healthy food and wee treats I can still enjoy rather than focus on what I can’t have.

As soon as I found out I need to cut out wheat completely for at least four months, I could immediately ‘taste and see’ a big slice of delicious crunchy granary toast with butter and marmalade!! Hmmmmm … I’ve learnt the things that are toxic to our body and health are the very things we end up craving.

We are body, soul and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). As John Wimber said we are not grapefruits but chocolate milkshakes. A grapefruit is divided into separate segments, but in a milkshake everything is mixed together. ‘A much more Biblical concept of how body, mind, emotions and spirit interact.’ (Andrew Myatt)

Food can feed your moods and your moods can dictate your body health.

Foods and moods can be both good and bad.

In the Psalms David confesses “Then I realised that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.” (Psalms 73:21 NLT).

Paul writes of habits that damage our physical and emotional well being in Galatians 5 “repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalising everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on…” (Galatians 5:19-21 MSG).

What about gossip, bitterness, envy, anger, anxiety, fear and those other harmful habits we can easily overlook – the need for approval, finding our identity in what we do, equating success in life with possessions … their very toxicity makes them more appealing and addictive.

Sometimes what appears good on the outside can be harmful to you on the inside.

I thought multigrain bread, bran flakes, muesli were all good for my health but they were actually doing me harm.

Doing things for others is great unless it’s feeding your craving for approval; even serving can be harmful if your identity is found in what you do rather than whose you are; a fear of saying no because you think more of what others might say, rather than listening to what your body, soul and spirit are whispering to you.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG)

A few months ago I had a dream in which I found out about changes I needed to make to my diet and how this had a huge impact on my health so I could ‘direct my energies wisely’ and I’m grateful that cutting out wheat could do this. Maybe God has been highlighting some things you need to cut out too so your body, mind, emotions and spirit are all healthy.

I’ve been reading the book “When God prunes you” by Andrew Myatt, a friend who leads Oxford Vineyard. He writes “God prunes us to make us more fruitful. The word for pruning can also mean cleansing – God making us holy so we can share His life… If we allow God to deal with our inner life, it allows more of His life in us, leading to greater fruit. That fruit may be greater ministry success, or it can be more importantly a deeper relationship with the Father leading to more peace, obedience, grace and wisdom.”

Don’t know about you but I would much rather cut things out than miss out on these!!

Back to school

imageA few weeks late but this Thursday is the first day back at school for these wee guys …AND me!! They  don’t seem as nervous as I do!

It’s been 3 summer breaks since I last taught Spanish to over 700 kids in 9 different schools and now I’m going back to ONE school for ONE morning a week.

Back in June I felt a wee nudge about going back to work for just 2/3 hours a week. The next day I bumped into a school principal who asked would I consider coming back for 3 hours a week! Answer to prayer!

I must confess I’m not good with change. I’m ok in A or B but not so good in transition. It can feel easier to stay in the same place rather than move into new territory.

I was happy to enjoy the good weather last week and delay the return to jeans and winter boots but I would feel much less happy (and cold!!) if I was still sporting shorts and flip flops in December!

Maybe you too are nervous that what you have now is not enough for this new season, but God knows all we need for the journey ahead. When you doubt your energy, strength, hope, joy isn’t enough remember His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Message)

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

He is our more than enough.

As Paul says in v10  “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Most people work at least 30 hours a week and I’m writing about doing 3!! But I started teaching Spanish for 1.5 hours in this same school in Autumn 2001 and it all grew from there!

I’m excited for the other pathways God has for me as I start this new journey.

Are you contemplating something new for this new season? Whether it feels like a small step or a giant leap; going back to something you used to do or moving into something completely new … DO IT!!!

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for The Lord rejoices to see the work begin”. (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)

Start something new in your week that leaves you stronger. 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

The N-ICE bucket challenge

imageLast weekend Andy and I stopped at the Applegreen services on our way to Dublin for a quick Costa. I remembered the last time I was there I’d prayed for a gentleman and felt a wee nudge to look out for someone else. I have to confess I waited till I was about to leave and then noticed a lady on crutches wearing one of those huge plastic ‘boots’ as a result of a broken ankle. Turned out she was on her way to her daughter’s wedding in Italy so I had an opportunity to pray with a fellow ‘mother of the bride’ 🙂

It’s not difficult to know that someone with crutches needs prayer but how many people do we pass by whose pain is emotional rather than physical. Not so obvious but still feels crippling. People who look totally fine on the outside but inside are struggling with brokenness and pain.

Chronic fatigue has helped me understand this more. This past week alone I’ve spoken with people who are coping with bereavement, broken relationships, fibromyalgia, caring for elderly parents, financial pressure …

A handful of people but a mountain of situations they are facing. I’m sure you know of other people and circumstances, maybe even your own.

Many people have been doing the “ice bucket challenge” for great causes but I would like to encourage nominations for the “N-ice bucket challenge“.

My dear English teacher, Mrs Mitchell, always insisted we use alternative words to ‘nice‘, so appropriate substitutes here would be ‘helpful, considerate, gentle, gracious, kind’. I think the Spanish word for nice sums it up nicely, “simpático”.

NICENotice, Intercede, Care, Encourage

Father God, help us to see with your eyes and notice what people are going through below the surface. Open the eyes of our heart too Lord so we intercede for them and their situation. Let us live out the definition of intercede = to act on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition. Father, by our actions and compassion, may we reveal your love and how much you care and know exactly what each one is going through. And Lord as we open our mouths please will you fill them with your words of encouragement and life.

The first stage of the ice bucket challenge sees others pouring ice cold water on the person nominated. For the N-ice bucket challenge, let’s pour out buckets and buckets of His love, joy, hope, grace, peace, strength and mercy on others.

Proverbs tells us “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)

This morning I spent an hour with a friend who is also dealing with chronic fatigue and is constantly in physical pain. As I prayed with her and The Lord poured buckets of His love and peace on her, the pain in her neck and shoulders left. Not only did she feel ‘refreshed‘ but so did I!!

When we tip those buckets, we get splashed too!

I read a quote this week, “Sometimes we need someone simply to be there … not to fix anything in particular, but just to let us feel we are supported and cared for”.

Who does Father God want you to be NICE to?

You can’t fix everything but you can introduce them to or remind them of Someone who can!!

Fill your buckets 🙂 and offer ‘a cool drink of water’ to someone who’s ‘worn out and weary’. (Proverbs 25:25 MSG)