CLINGING ON

imageI’m not going to lie to you … It’s not been the easiest of weeks 😦

I overdid it (3 things in the diary in one day!) = more fatigue = more susceptible to illness = even more susceptible to fatigue. It’s like a very vicious circle and I truly felt tired of constantly feeling tired.

A duvet day sounds a good option except when it’s not optional!!

I was in the ‘sorry for myself’ camp!! I know the theory of how “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God“, when he was greatly distressed (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV) but I was failing to put it into practice so I also felt a bit of a failure for not handling situation better.

As I thought about the right choices to make … joy, gratitude, when to push forward and when to rest, I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper

“Sometimes you have to make your own footholds in the rock face”

He reminded me of the recent story of freeclimbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, becoming the first climbers to scale the 3,000ft sheer rock face of El Capitan Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park using only their hands and feet to grip the cliff. It is the first time the mountain has been scaled entirely without bolts or climbing tools.

I’ve visited Yosemite and I would rather look up than climb up El Capitan any day!! In pre-fatigue days I tackled some of our much smaller local mountains but I would never dream of facing a sheer rock face.

I’ve felt trapped on the mountainside this week and my heart aches from seeing others face the mountains of their own difficulties – physical, financial, relational.

We’ve all been there. We know what it’s like to face mountains in our own lives. We know that feeling of barely hanging on by your fingertips.

But I felt the Father’s whisper that He knows too and He knows that sometimes those mountains are not just an invigorating hike but more like sheer rock face.

I sensed the Father was using the Yosemite ‘no climbing tools’ story to highlight that He has given us all the climbing tools we need.

So when it feels like there is no way forward or upward on that sheer rock face, nowhere to put our feet, He is reminding us to use those tools to make the footholds we need to keep moving and not stay stuck, to keep reaching up rather than looking down. Going back is not an easy option. It’s dangerous too.

The very area in our life that seems impossible to scale can be the very area God wants to use to give us a foot up if we use His ‘climbing tools’ to dig deep into the rock face.

He is our safety harness. No matter how precarious it all feels He has promised “He will not let your foot slip“.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; (Psalm 121:1-3 NIV)

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me.” (Jesus Culture)

WHO AM I?

imageYou’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, It’s who You are, It’s who You are.
And I’m loved by You.
It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.

Great words we sang yesterday morning at Causeway Coast Vineyard. Simple words but words that “call me deeper still”.

Words of love. Words of truth. Words of affirmation. Words of identity.

Over the past 3 years chronic fatigue has certainly brought me more than its fair share of frustration at times but in true Romans 8:28 style it has also opened my eyes to an abundance of freedom! And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ NIV)

Freedom from the slavery of finding my identity in what I do.

Freedom from the need to constantly compare myself to others.

Freedom from being conditioned by how much is or isn’t in the bank.

All such things are changeable. There is never a fixed point. There will always be a temptation to strive for more or settle for less.

The one constant in our lives is Him. He is the ONLY point we can fix our eyes where the view never changes.

For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. (Hebrews 13:8 MSG)

The only thing that can change is our outlook, how we see Him. Who He is cannot vary or differ!

“You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes

None of us knows what this year holds or indeed what each day holds but as the song continues …

“There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good”

The certainty of who He is removes the doubt we face and gives us freedom to surrender the control we cling to and trust Him completely.

“You’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, It’s who You are, It’s who You are.
And I’m loved by You.
It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.”

This certainty of knowing who He is – our Father, our good, good Father, our perfect Father, confirms the certainty of who we are.

We are not defined by success or failure, by health or sickness, by family or friendships, by qualifications, by career, by finances, by strengths or weaknesses.

“Even at the most difficult time of your life you can experience the intimate presence of God.” BIOY

I AM LOVED BY HIM. THAT’S WHO I AM.

What are your plans?

image“What are your plans for this year?” I was asked this question by a good friend just the other day.

My immediate response was to get through each day!

Chronic fatigue can interfere with the ability to make plans for the day but add a 3 month old pup into the mix and it’s hard to make any plans!!!

But the question struck me and has stuck with me.

What ARE my plans? And more to the point, Lord what are YOUR plans for this year?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

I am grateful for the new plans He has revealed to my heart over the past couple of days but as I’ve been reading over my journal from last year, my plan and prayer has been to keep pursuing the plans and purposes He has already started in me:

To wrap discipline round creativity through writing

To lean into leading others into life

To see people completely restored, body, soul and spirit

To see more creative miracles in healing

To grow in boldness, courage, obedience

To be a carrier of the Kingdom and live a life that brings heaven to earth

To have a heart that leans forward and toward all that He has for me

To know the freedom I have to eat from the feast of all He has prepared for me

To encourage and equip others

To live with a heart that brims over with joy

My prayer from exactly a year ago, Monday 13 January 2014, still stands … “Father, I’m hungry to learn more, to see more of your Kingdom released on the streets of our town and see lives renewed by your power and presence and most of all to see people come to know you personally.”

I did see this in 2014 but I want to see even more in 2015.

As Kay Warren says “My purpose is to make the invisible God visible”.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

What are your plans for this year?

Looking back to move forward

imageMy new diary 🙂 At the minute there are still loads of blank pages and empty days to be filled.

What will this new year bring? What does 2015 have in store? A question that has cropped up for many of us over the past few days.

I have plenty of things that could have filled today! Christmas decorations need to come down, washing and ironing baskets are full, the busy Christmas kitchen needs tidied, in fact the house looks like a bomb has hit it and it has in the shape of a waggy tailed Tess!!!

But all that will have to wait because today is a deliberately empty diary day!

For me each new year begins properly on the first Monday of the year and before I can move forward, I need to look back.

Back to 2014. Back to my journals with gratitude for all God has done, thoughts, words, prophecies, scriptures, quotes, prayers prayed and answered. A year of pages filled with His kindness, His faithfulness, His provision, His favour, His abundance, His blessing, His adventures, His guidance, His strength and His peace that even when things seemed out of my control, He was always, always, always in control of every little detail.

A review of last year provides a preview of this year.

As I look back in celebration, I can look forward with confidence.

When the view ahead is focused on His goodness, it clears away any doubts and distractions and disappointments that could could so easily clutter or distort the view.

Only He knows what this year will bring and my one certainty is the need to surrender control of 2015 to Him. But that does not mean I surrender my contentment with life by believing “I will only be happy WHEN … ”

As my diary says “create the life you love“. I can’t and won’t postpone life in 2015 until I know exactly what each diary day will contain.

The cover page reminds me that before I see what any day does or doesn’t hold, I have to be intentional in creating the life I love. I need to intentionally choose to live life NOW!

To choose rest over stress; relationship over isolation; contentment over cynicism; an awareness of His abundance over a mindset of spiritual poverty.

To choose to be satisfied with what I have yet remain hungry for more of what He has for me.

To choose to pursue His presence, His promises, His purposes.

I was reading this morning about the Beatitudes in the BIOY-Bible in One Year (an excellent app by Nicky Gumbel). “The Greek word used in Matt 5:3–11, ‘makarios’, means ‘blessed’, ‘fortunate’, ‘happy’ – the privileged recipient of God’s favour. Or, as the Amplified version puts it, ‘happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous, that is, with life-joy and satisfaction… regardless of their outward conditions.’” #BIOY

I choose to be BLESSED.

I choose LIFE-JOY.

In 2015, I choose to create a life I will love! I choose to be the privileged recipient of God’s favour.

Regardless of outward conditions.

Wisdom is the ability to make choices that will bear fruit in your life that you will enjoy for years to come.” (Joyce Meyer)