10000 HOURS to REWRITE THE STORY

imageA few years ago I was very glad to be off school at this time of year but this morning I was equally glad to spend half term back at school, not teaching Spanish but doing some painting – DIY that is. I’m so not artistic!!

It’s all part of the 10000 hours project Causeway Coast Vineyard is running all this week to REWRITE THE STORY.

“We’re inviting our community to give 10,000 hours to help rewrite the story of our city. During this week, together we will make a huge impact on the lives of individuals and institutions. You can signup with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours to get involved in various projects ranging from painting and gardening, to cleaning and giveaways!”

I am thrilled to be a part of this as a few years ago I felt God show me a picture of children of CCV leaving the the old Dunnes Stores building we were in at that time, spilling out onto the nearby precinct and with chalks, they were writing words of their vision for the city, words of hope and renewal, on each of the paving bricks of the street.

This picture took place on Queen Street leading towards the site of the plaque marking the former 1859 revival in our town and I felt God say that not only were the children “rewriting the story” for revival in our town again and this new story would be even better than the old story but also they were rewriting the story of our town in recent years so that the stories of poverty and family breakdown among others would be stories that belonged in the past and not in their future.

So this week children who are off school for half term have been turning up at school after school in our community to “rewrite the story” by spending their holidays painting school buildings and classrooms and doing what they can to help with the tasks each school wanted to get done. And they even allowed us bigger kids to join in on the fun 🙂

This morning I had the privilege of working alongside a 2 year old who would be following his brothers to attend that school right up to a 15 year old who wanted to go give back something to the primary school he used to attend!!

It’s only day 2 and there are so many stories to share but this is one of my favourites:

‘We went for a family walk yesterday after church in Mountsandel Forest, when our 1 year old saw a bottle on the ground, pointed and said ‘oh oh’! Thinking about what was said on Sunday morning, Rachel (4) and Ben (1) with a little help from myself, decided we’d go back today and go on a rubbish hunt. We collected 2 bags full of rubbish and enjoyed a lovely chocolate treat afterwards! We had a really fun morning and Rachel was very excited to tell everyone what we were doing as they walked past.

I love that all our family is getting involved, from the 1 year old right through to the almost 81 year old!!!

Even the local press are sharing the story!! And you can read more at http://www.causewaycoastvineyard.com/highlights and at #10000nc

I noticed a headline this week that said the north of Northern Ireland was the “third worse place to live in the UK”. I didn’t bother to read the full story because I think that is being rewritten, don’t you??

PS the kids didn’t just do painting … during their tea break time, they prayed for one of the team who had learnt from the physio the day before that his back problems were caused by one leg being shorter than the other. Not anymore!! That story is rewritten too :-))

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A reminder …

imageI feel like this is Part 2 of last week’s post – ‘Hard pathways, the sequel’!!

On Friday morning I found myself back in the forest again with Tess more out of duty than desire! Thanks to an antibiotic I was feeling worse before I felt better!! Like the Monday before, instead of stepping it out, it was more a case of getting one foot in front of the other! But this time I had the opportunity to pray with two lovely ladies – a double portion!

The hard pathways do overflow with abundance! (Ps 65:11)

As I thanked Him for these opportunities, I remembered the name of one of the ladies I prayed with meant “Gift from God“, and the longer form of the name means “God has been gracious“.

Father you have been so gracious to me and you ARE so very gracious to me all day, every day, everywhere I am and everywhere I go. Thank you that at a time I felt overwhelmed, you allowed me to pour your love over others and in the process it splashed all over me too!!

Thank you that these encounters are a gift from you as my weakness encounters your strength, and my despair encounters your hope and your presence.

The second lady sent me a lovely message later that day. “Meeting you today was God’s reminder to me that He still has great things for me, that His goodness doesn’t run out or get all used up.”

It was His reminder to me too!!

I STILL HAVE GREAT THINGS FOR YOU

MY GOODNESS DOESN’T RUN OUT

MY GOODNESS CAN NEVER BE ALL USED UP!!

And it’s His reminder to YOU!!

It reminds of the song … Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.

And it reminds me of something else … how frustrated and upset I felt when chronic fatigue first hit me and I couldn’t walk my beloved forest a few years ago.

BUT now I am physically able to walk there again.

PLUS I now have the company of JOY on four legs, Tess!!

PLUS He gives me opportunities to release His JOY as I speak or pray with people.

PLUS I get to be filled with His JOY in the process.

This truly is a GIFT FROM GOD. God has been gracious.

THANK YOU THAT YOU REDEEM AND RENEW AND RESTORE BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS!!

I realise I have no idea what you are walking through in your life, whether lately or for far too long, but I do know that He promises to walk with you and will never leave you nor forsake you.

Thank you Lord that you not only restore what has been lost or stolen, but you make all things new and the replacement is even better than the original!

Hard pathways

imageI missed last week’s post as I was enjoying a lovely week in France with great weather, food and wine. We all feel different on holiday but for me it has a huge imp act. The sun gives me much more energy and so when I come home, I struggle to adapt to a lack of brilliant blue skies and the return to my more usual energy levels.

Today’s damp weather hasn’t helped and this morning as I was walking in the forest with Tess, I felt very achy and tired.

I’ve had a few opportunities to pray with people in the forest but this morning I wanted someone to pray for me!! But then I felt a wee nudge from the Holy Spirit and realised maybe I needed to keep my eyes and heart open for His opportunity to pray with someone else.

I turned the next bend and bumped into a forest friend I hadn’t seen for a few months. As we walked the path together, she said she was glad to see me as someone close to her has been dealing with fatigue for several years now and she wanted to know what had helped me cope.

As we chatted and walked along I was able to pray for her relative and for my friend. I also got to tell her just what I had been thinking before we bumped into each other and how it was a huge co-HIM-cidence that we happened to meet this morning.

So there in the pouring rain, we both caught a glimpse of the Son and His amazing love for both of us.

Just before I left the house I had been reading Psalm 65. Verse 11 has been very special to me since the struggle of the early days of fatigue

“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”
Psalms 65:11 NLT

If it wasn’t for Tess, I would not have been anywhere near the forest this morning, especially in the rain at 9am and I was so tempted to turn back but even the hard pathways overflow with abundance!

I certainly felt different at the end of the walk, than I did at the start.

Reminded that His purposes for me are always greater than my pain.

Even when I feel empty, He refills and refuels me as I reach out to others.

God took the very thing I was struggling with and turned it around so I could come alongside someone else and see Him release His comfort to them, and in the process to me.

When we feel too weak to fight for ourselves, His grace gives us the opportunity to take a stand on behalf of others and in the process we find ourselves strengthened.

Thank you Lord for your abundance.