Tag Archives: belief

How I Got A Criminal Record

prison

I commit crimes all the time.

I have always fancied myself as a criminal. Obviously, I am not actually a criminal; the thought of spending more than two months in jail cell makes me internally freak out. Despite my fear of prison (every time I drop the soap in the shower, I shudder slightly) I’ve spent my whole life considering the different crimes I would commit if I wasn’t a Christian.. There are quite a few. Fortunately, Jesus saves and as long as I follow Him, I shouldn’t find myself on the inside any time soon.

Despite not being on the inside in reality, there are moments where I commit crimes. None of them are particularly heinous; they are mostly petty crimes, but they all look to the same to my judge. Let’s call these crimes sins. God is my judge and He can see every single thing that I do; He is privy to the good things, the bad things, and the things that I am too ashamed to tell even my closest friends. It’s quite unfortunate that the being I love most sees the worst things that I do and takes them very personally because this means that at some point in every week, I am filled with mild to intense feelings of guilt.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

I understand why Adam hid from God. Although Adam knew the solution to his problems resided in God, he hid anyway. It was the shame, the guilt, the knowledge that he had done the very thing he had sworn he would never do that made him hide. I understand why Adam hid because I’ve hidden too; I have experienced the Adam moment. I have experienced that moment where God expresses (through His word) that he requires me to live a certain way. I have experienced that moment where I realise that what I want to do and what God requires from me are in constant conflict. I have experienced that moment where I choose the thing God hates in order to satisfy whatever whim or desire I have. Oh, and I despise it. I hate the fact when I am given the choice between choosing God or choosing myself, 40% 60% of the time, I choose myself. It’s not just the disappointing God factor that annoys me; it’s the fact that I lose. I say I won’t do something, I declare that I am free from whatever potential crime I am being tempted by and then the next moment, I’m committing the crime, wondering if God still loves me.

I hate to lose. I am winner. I am competitive and this Christian walk often feels like a battle I can’t win. I am tired of falling at the first, second, third and fourth hurdle. Last week I decided that I wasn’t cut out for this Christian life. I told Jesus that although I loved him dearly, I was never going to be able to be who He wanted me to be, no matter how hard I tried. I said I was sorry for wasting his time but our love story was to come to an end because I was tired of always being the one in the relationship that always messed up.

Just as I was throwing in the towel, I realised:

1) God knows that I’m going to get it wrong.

This journey isn’t about being perfect, it is about striving for perfection, striding towards God and having a heart that longs to do right by Him. That guilt you feel is awful but at least you feel it, you are not so far away from God that you do not react when you fall out of line. Instead you are contrite, you are disappointed and you want to do better. This is good. It means you care; it means there is hope.

2) I cannot do this alone.

I was right when I said to God I couldn’t do it. I can’t.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26

His power is made perfect in my weakness and when I am at the end of myself, that is when God can truly begin. I am not alone in this, Jesus is praying for me (John 17:9) and standing in the gaps, interceding for me (Hebrews 7:25).

3) God does not dwell my past crimes.

I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again

Isaiah 43:25

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:12

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Isaiah 44:22

No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

I don’t usually include this many verses but I really want to reinforce and evidence my final point. I don’t have a criminal record because of the grace of God and because of the greatest act of love known to man: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After you’ve apologised, let that thing go; it is in the past. Don’t dwell on it, don’t ruminate and don’t let it stop you from getting back again and running with Jesus.

All my love beautiful people,

Joy xxxxxxxxxx

The Day I Got Over My Break Up

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Although I wrote the piece below entitled ‘just.light’ late last year, every time I read it I remember the profound moment of clarity I felt as the Light finally overshadowed everything that I had been through.

God doesn’t always take away our pain, He often allows us to live through in it in order to reveal part of ourselves – hidden strengths, unspoken weaknesses, unresolved issues. He also uses painful experiences to reveal aspects of His person that we may not have experienced before – His peace, His faithfulness, His heart.

You may be going through a dark season at the moment, praying every day for God to take your pain away. Remember that every day you are being made stronger and a greater plan is at work which will one day make this process make sense; better days are ahead.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5

just.light.

Today I drove around a foreign land, I took in the landscapes and the beauty I had the opportunity to behold blew me away. I was in awe and mentally brought to my knees as I once again realised the beauty life had to offer. There is beauty all around us. In every moment of every day, I feel there is something beautiful to be found. Sometimes we have to look a little harder and push ourselves deeper in order to find the beauty, but it is there. In the silence, in the tapping of rain, in the roar of the wind, in the moving clouds, there lies beauty. Despite beauty being ever-present, what lies within us can act sometimes act as a mist and cloud our vision. For me, heartache did just that.

Although the words heartbreak and heartache are used interchangeably, they have come to mean different things to me. While I experienced heartbreak the moment that my relationship finally ended, heartache is what I experienced in the months that followed. The what ifs, the whys, the why nots made my heart burn and yearn for a time where my emotions didn’t suffocate me. The moments I would often replay in my mind had the capacity to make my heart swell until it felt too big for my body; the hurt would go as rapidly as it came but the overwhelming sense of sadness would stay. You see, there is no future in the heartache season, there is only here, now and then. The future ceases to have any real meaning, hope no longer exists and every day tasks such as getting out of bed become insurmountable.

heart. ache.

Then one day, that hollow feeling I had become accustomed to faded. The darkness that overshadowed every moment of light the previous months had offered me finally lifted. I woke up and the heartache had passed. And I finally began to breathe. I wasn’t numb anymore; I could feel. People don’t tell you enough how hard breakups are. They are horrible. You feel like you’re going to die. But then you don’t. You feel as though you are suffocating for most of the day and drowning at night and yet you still wake up the next morning. You wonder if you’re ever going feel to peace and have joy in your heart again.

And then it comes. He stops crossing your mind. You stop replaying the moments you shared. And you breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

You try to capture every moment by inhaling them because you never thought you would be able to feel again. You want to capture everything because you’ve felt so much pain that even the way you appreciate beautiful moments has been transformed. You breathe them in because there were times you couldn’t breathe at all without crying.

Today I drove around a foreign land. I saw Cyprus. I saw the beauty. No mist, no clouds, no darkness. Just light.

just. light.

Why I Came Out Of The Closet

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It’s 10:12pm and I have no idea why I’ve left writing this post to the last minute. I have work in the morning so I can’t even write it at 8am tomorrow (like I’ve been doing of late lol.) I’ve been tossing up potential posts in my head and none of them seem quite right. You see, this writing thing doesn’t come easily to me because I’m not actually a Writer – I am a lot of things but a Writer ….woah, easy there! Although I sometimes write plays, I never saw myself as someone who would write a blog post every week and I definitely didn’t think I would ever be writing about JESUS. It’s one thing to go to church on a Sunday morning but it is something entirely different to flood your social network site newsfeed with your blog, which tells everyone that you believe in someone you’ve never seen and can only feel, have never met but experience every single day.

How do you go about that without seeming crazy?

You don’t.

If you read my post about my atheist/agnostic phase and/or follow the blog, you will know that faith isn’t something that comes easily to me. Despite growing up in a Christian home, I only really found God during my first experience of heartbreak a couple of years ago. I have to thank God for that dark time in my life because without it, there would be no blog. During that time full of bitterness, hurt, rage and all the usual emotions one feels after their heart has been broken to pieces (lol, dramatic) I had to cling to God because I had no one else to cling to. My relationship had become my god; it was where I had invested all my time, my emotions, my energy, my heart – when it evaporated, my world stopped. I have to give God all the glory (that means ‘credit’ in Christian speak) because without Him, I’m not entirely sure what or where I would be. He literally picked me off the floor, picked up the pieces of my broken heart and pulled me back together again. The process was both painful and beautiful because I didn’t think those pieces would ever fit together again but somehow they did.

Despite this amazing victory, I didn’t really tell people about my experience, what had happened and how God had helped me overcome that period of my life. Back then I wasn’t confident in my faith and speaking candidly about this God I had only begun to experience felt a bit wild.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5: 14-16

Fast forward two years and I now have this blog, which forces me to shine my light every single week. It has forced me out of the closet – I can’t hide this aspect of my life anymore because you only have to stalk my Facebook to see that I am a devout Christian (still feels weird to place myself in that category lol). I think as a Christian it is easy to pretend as though we are ‘normal’ because our faith is not often demonstrated by something that can be seen, and there isn’t anything that outwardly distinguishes us from the rest of the world. Some of us use that to our advantage and seek to remain hidden. We don’t express our faith unless we are asked direct questions about where we keep going on a Sunday morning and we often conveniently forget that our faith is to pervade all areas of our lives. We do our best to stay on the fence about issues that the Bible speaks out against because we don’t want to seem to judgmental and we try and go to all the places our friends are going to because we don’t want to seem as though we are boring. I guess in some ways, this post is for those that are struggling to admit that they’re different and are still trying to find a way to fit into this world. Your faith isn’t weird, it’s a personal relationship with your Saviour which a beautiful thing – don’t be ashamed to share that aspect of your life, it is probably the most special.

This blog has forced me to come tumbling out the closet and now I can’t go back inside. Everyone knows my secret now, everyone knows I am a die hard Christian (which still makes me chuckle a little coz I definitely don’t ‘look’ like a Christian). That pressure can be tough – it means that when the odd swear word comes tumbling out of my mouth in the presence of others, I wonder if they question my whole life/blog. It means that I can’t be the raver I once was because I don’t want to be seen as a hypocrite. It means that I find myself wondering whether the crop tops I love so much contradict the Jesus I love so much more. It means that there is now a standard that I proclaim which I now need to live by no matter how difficult I find it.

This post is also for the person who is struggling under the pressure that comes with ‘coming out’. Everyone knows you’re a Christian now and the weight of that expectation has become burdensome. Remember, even on your best day, you will still fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) whether people see you fall or not. You won’t always get it right, but God sees your heart and really does love you. God isn’t calling you to look at those around you; He is calling you to look at Him. All we can do is keep striving and try to be more than what we were yesterday.

Lots of love,

J xxxx

Why You Keep Lying On Facebook

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In my Sunday School class, the question was once asked:

 If a man held a gun to your head and asked you if you were a Christian, what would you say?

 Now, of course the “right” answer was to scream “I LOVE YOU JESUS” and suffer the unspeakable consequences but over a decade has passed and I’m still yet to decide what I’d do simply because I never really show up in moments of panic, I freeze and scream internally until the moment of panic passes. Also, I believe that hypothetical responses are rarely indicative of what one will do when faced with the situation. This question came to mind this morning and although I still do not have an answer, it always causes me to think more deeply about life, what I am willing to die for and more importantly, what I am living for.

“They say ‘you only live once’ but what are you living for?”

I let my Mum use my Facebook yesterday and it was fascinating watching her read through my newsfeed; she could not understand why the people I knew felt comfortable sharing such intimate moments of their lives online. When she asked me why, the cynic within me arose:

“Mum, people want to show other people how happy and content they are, even if that means giving 500+ people access to the most sacred moments life offers.”

As I was saying this, I realised that most of us are living for the applause. We are living for the ‘likes’, the moments where others validate our actions. We carefully choose what we will reveal online in order to create what we feel will be the perfect image. Underneath the façade lies the real; the real moments of pain, confusion, frustration, anger, happiness and joy.

Although we cannot pick and choose the moments that God sees, we act as though He isn’t watching 24/7. We spend more time choosing filters on Instagram than filtering out the negative parts of lives and we spend more time controlling the way others view us than we do allowing God to take control and fix the broken parts of our lives – the parts that aren’t picturesque enough for the online world.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Hebrews 4:13

One of things I enjoy most about being a Christian is the fact that I am forced to have honest conversations with God. I can’t lie and I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. He sees right through the façade because He sees all. When I have no words to say, He still hears the pain I feel or the joy I don’t know how to express.

God sees.

My challenge to you today is to live each moment in light of the fact that God sees. I don’t want you to think of Him as a judgemental, domineering presence which seeks to dictate your every action and can’t wait to punish you, but as a loving Father (Isaiah 64:8), who is interested, concerned (Luke 12:7) and full of love for you (1 John 3:1).

Lots of my love & Happy Wednesday!!

Joy xxxxxx

Why Women Are Evil

mean girls

I didn’t know ‘all women were evil’ until my twenties. Likewise, I didn’t know ‘all men were evil’ either. Although these are generalisations thrown around based on an individuals encounters with 0.000000000000000000001% percent of the world (that figure is in no way accurate, I just typed as many zeros as I saw fit) they continue to spread like wildfire causing people who haven’t had negative experiences with the opposite gender to have unnecessary prejudices, reservations and biases. That’s the problem with generalisations though – they envelop and hide individuals under a blanket that may not representative of them at all; it leaves no room for their individual differences.

Let’s address some generalisations:

1) All women are after your money

What about the women funding their spouses’ lifestyles?

 2) All women want to be mothers

What about the women who have decided not to have children because they simply do not want them?

3) Beautiful women lack intelligenceshakira

 Shakira has an IQ of 140 which makes her a genius

 4) Smart women aren’t beautiful42-21828752

Meet Michelle Obama. 

5) Women can’t have it all (the husband, successful career, family, ADORING FANS)

beyonce 

Hey there, Bey.

6) These h*es ain’t loyal!

What about the women supporting their families, friends, communities, continuing to go above and beyond what is expected of them?

The generalisation I despise the most is the one that says that all women are evil, conniving, deceitful, underhand creatures who will lead to your demise. Unfortunately, as I was reading my Bible this week I stumbled across the famous story of Samson and Delilah which in some ways substantiated this generalisation. For those who haven’t read it before, I’m going to do my best to summarise (the story can be found in Judges 13-16).

Samson was set apart by God from birth to begin the deliverance of the Israelites from oppressive Philistines through the Spirit of the Lord which gave him supernatural strength. However there were conditions placed upon his strength; Samson could not drink wine, he could not eat anything unclean and he could never cut his hair.

Although Samson was strong physically, he had a weakness for women. His first wife was a Philistine. After the Philistines killed his wife because one of Samson’s violent attacks, he fell in love with another Philistine woman named Delilah.

Their relationship was one of deception from the onset as Delilah was asked by the rulers of the Philistines to find out the secret behind Samson’s strength so that they could attack and subdue him. Delilah plainly asked Samson what the secret behind his power was and Samson gave her false answers (so on some level, he must have know she could not be trusted) and each time, Delilah used the information to try and have him captured. Despite this, Samson continued to stay with her.

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything.

Judges 16:15-17

As he slept in her lap, she had his hair cut off. When he awoke he tried to fight off his attackers, unaware that the Lord has left him. The Philistines gouged out his eyes and put him in shackles and the once mighty man worked in a prison cell. While he had the potential to deliver his people from the Philistines, his story ended tragically.

Delilah is the perfect example of why women are evil; she betrayed him in exchange money, slept with him for personal gain, told his secrets and his involvement with her lead to his death. So are all women evil?

1) All women are aren’t evil

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

We all have hearts which means none of us are not above this scripture. We all have a dark side; thoughts that lie beneath that we dare not express and (thank God) cannot be heard, and we have all done very questionable things. Being evil is not determined by our gender alone, it is impacted by a multitude of different factors, the greatest of them being the decision to do evil things repeatedly. Some women are evil, some men are evil, that’s just life but all women aren’t evil, neither are all men evil.

 2) Learn the lesson once

When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.

Maya Angelou

How many times stab wounds do we need until we walk away from those who are stabbing us in the back? I’m all for loving people and being good to those who hurt me but I’m not for toxic relationships and maltreatment. Some relationships work best when there is distance involved. Samson should have distanced himself Delilah after she proved to be disloyal and deceitful but instead he continued to stick around. If he had adjusted the relationship in accordance with her behaviour after she had revealed her intentions, she would not have led to his demise.

3) God is first, second and third

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

Matthew 22: 37-38

Samson lost sight of the source of his strength and began to love Delilah more than he loved and revered God. When God is first, everything falls into place (Matthew 6:33). Don’t let things or people cause you to turn away from God and lead you to sin because at the end of the day, he is all we have.

4) There is always a second chance

But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

Judges 16:22

This part of the story brought me to my knees.

Why?

Because it perfectly illustrates the love and the mercy of God.

Samson had lost everything; he was broken, powerless and literally unable to see. He had abused the call of God and given into temptation time and time again. And yet, even in this state, God still gave him another chance. His hair growing again is symbolic of the second chance God gives us every time we let go of him in order to hold onto something else. He gives us another chance to get it right; he allows our strength to return and helps us to stand again.

For this, I am eternally grateful.

 

All my love on this not-so-sunny-Friday!

Joy xxx

P:S HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY TO MY LITTLE SISTER! You never read the blog so you won’t see this but I love you always!

Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
when time and space are through
I’ll be found in You

As I listened to this song yesterday, I began to cry. Life isn’t a bed of roses and it is prone to presenting situations that have the power to bring us to our knees. This song reminded me that with Christ I can, and will stand again.


I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

Why Am I Still Single?

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I’m not sure whether this has happened to you before, maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. If it hasn’t, I’m going to to set the scene for you:

 Your friend invites you to a gathering and to your surprise it’s not completely boring – in fact, it’s becoming the best night you’ve had in a long time. Conversation is flowing, everyone is having a great time and then the person you’re talking to you suddenly says:

 You’re so great – why are you still single?!

This startling (and arguably offensive) question reminds you of the not-so-subtle hints and questions you’ve been receiving in what were once safe environments.


It all began the year I graduated from university; I noticed that when the women from my church would pray for me, ‘a god-fearing husband’ was suddenly on the menu of blessings. From that point onwards, I began to notice a shift in other areas; young women I had known for years would drop sentences into our conversations such as ‘so when I get married’, wedding ideas were casually being thrown into discussions and my Facebook newsfeed became an array of engagement rings and relationship status updates.

What was going on? What had I missed?

Let it be known that I had no real problems with weddings (except that they were long and there was rarely enough food for everyone). Even though I wasn’t really sure why people were so excited about marriage (if it was so easy, why were there so many divorces?) my main concern was the assumption that because I was a woman and above the age of 21, I should be seeking a man to settle down with.

There is a deep-rooted cultural and religious belief that we are somehow completed when we meet our life partners and that this is when our lives truly begin but this simply cannot be true. As a Christian, our lives begin the moment we surrender to Christ and true completion can only be found in him. He is the One, our soul mate, our true love – and all those other mushy western concepts.

It is so easy to get sucked into that weird world of ‘waiting’ but before I jumped on the eager-to-be-married-bandwagon, I decided to ask myself a few questions:

 Do I believe I have an individual purpose?

God created me with wants, needs, hopes, dreams and most importantly, a purpose. Now while I believe that some of our purposes can be linked in some way to other individuals, I also believe that if our purpose were completely dependent on another, we would have been born in twos. Since we were not, I am forced to conclude that… wait for it…there are things that we have to accomplish as individuals and certain parts of our journey that we have to walk alone.

Am I lonely?

Loneliness is an issue we don’t really like to talk about because it makes us seem weak, feeble and needy, but it is a state that a lot of us experience – some of us experience it every single day. Every time I am lonely, I begin to question how far I am standing from God. It says in the Bible that God will never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:8) so whenever I feel alone instead of reaching for my iPhone, I do my best to reach out for him because he is always there.

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

Real, real, real talk: if you are Christian who is constantly jumping from one relationship to another because you desire constant communication and validation, I urge you to look to God; the one that stays and never leaves (Joshua 1:5) and the one that does not forsake (Deuteronomy 31:6). I hope that you will also come to see the finished work of the cross (John 19:30) as your constant source of validation. Remember that there was a man that loved you enough to lay down his life for you in the hope that you would one day come to love and accept him. He loved you even before you could love him. If that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit special, I don’t know what will.

Am I seeking to be the perfect spouse or am I seeking to be like Jesus?

Okay, I get it; you wouldn’t try and sit an exam without revising (unless you’re me and it’s GCSE time) so yes, it is important to prepare yourself for marriage. However, the Bible speaks more on striving to be like Christ than it does about journeying to become the perfect spouse.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Every time I feel like I am getting somewhere with God, I inevitably become complacent; a day will pass where I haven’t set time apart for him or a situation will arise where I respond inappropriately. There is internal work to be done and there should a constant movement towards the person God called me to be because that it my ultimate goal.

Have I forgotten that there is a time for everything?

There is no rush and there is no decree that I must be married by *insert arbitrary age here*

 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Doing things in my own strength and my own time usually has disastrous consequences. Sometimes I’ve got to shake myself and remember that I am  worth having and that my spouse will be worth the wait.

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Habakkuk 2:3


I know that my stance isn’t a popular one at the moment. I should be telling you to wait patiently in your bedroom praying, hoping that the One somehow finds your address and knocks on your front door but that would be poor advice. There are many other Christian blogs which will detail heavily ‘what to do while you wait’ and that’s great, it really is, I just feel that we have shifted our focus and have begun to idolise marriage. This is deadly  because it will never live up to our expectations or withstand the burden we are placing upon this sacred union. There are many more important things (outside of marriage) to be achieved and seeking God about those things should not be neglected whilst you ‘wait’. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but life revolves around Jesus – he is the One.

Your Single Pringle,

Joy xxxx

How Lil Wayne Taught Me To Love

253  I didn’t intend to write this post today.

It’s 22:49 on Thursday 17th July and this has to be posted by 10:00 tomorrow morning. I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t have the answer to the question I have been asking myself (and God) over the past few weeks: How Should I Love?

 You had a lot of crooks tryna steal your heart

Never really had luck, couldn’t ever figure out

How to love

How to love

-Lil Wayne

I never thought I’d be writing about Lil Wayne’s ‘How To Love‘,  (this is my least favourite song of his). It came to mind a few weeks ago and I realised how much I identified with the song – no, not the broken-hearted stuff, I’m talking about the not really knowing how to love part. You see, the way I love is so intense that I have had to learn how to moderate my love depending on the recipient. Few people can handle the intensity of my love and even fewer people can live up to the standards I set for those I love which inevitably creates a huge gulf between what I expect from people and what they can actually give me. I honestly thank God that He is teaching me the importance of having low expectations of people and high expectations of Him. Slowly but surely, He is becoming the first person I run to when I feel like a storm is brewing; He is my shelter from the rain.

You had a lot of moments that didn’t last forever

Now you’re in a corner tryna put it together

How to love

How to love

– Lil Wayne

I wonder why we think our todays will last forever when we can barely remember our yesterdays. The world around us is ever-changing and yet we somehow think that the relationship we share with another will transcend time. I blame Disney. I blame fairy tales. I blame the innate desire we all have to belong to someone, to be wanted and to be needed.

The woman in this song doesn’t know how to love properly. Life, unfortunately, has been unkind to her and she is sitting in the corner trying to figure out how to put the pieces of her broken heart back together, wondering how they even fit together in the first place. As I’ve said numerous times, heartache can come from many different people and in many different forms. For too long, we have been sold the narrative that heartbreak only comes when your one, true love walks out on you. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth for some of us; we’ve experienced heartbreak through broken friendships, broken families, Dads walking out , people we looked up to failing us – the list really does go on.

 Now you’re sitting here in this damn corner

Looking through all your thoughts and looking over your shoulders

-Lil Wayne

The thing is, our hearts do come back together again after they’ve been broken but we no longer view humanity in the innocent light we once did. We realise that people have the capacity to break us when we entrust them with our hearts, and we therefore shield ourselves from anyone who has the potential to hurt us. Although we try and form new relationships, a significant proportion of our time is spent overthinking and looking at the past to assess the parallels between what has gone before and the new relationship. This affects the how we love people. We love people… but not really. We share with people…but only the insignificant information that we don’t mind them walking away with.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been challenging myself to love people properly again. It took a friend to really show me that I was letting my fear of being hurt impact the way I interacted with people. As I mentally replayed the conversation we had (as I do with all important conversations) I remembered that we aren’t called to live small lives (I think I say this in every post) and therefore we must confront anything that seeks to weigh us down and make us fearful simply because if we are truly in Christ then we are meant to live freely.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

I know this is the part of the post where I’m supposed to list my tips but I just wanted to remind you that I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t have the answers – I am still figuring out how to love. Here’s what I have so far:

1) Stop Being Afraid

Loving people is really important to God because God is love. After commanding us to love Him, he commands us to love others. We can spend the remainder of our lives punishing the new people in our lives for the wrongs committed by the oldies or we can choose to set our fears aside and love without fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

2) There’s No Wound He Cannot Heal

I was afraid to love because I was afraid to be hurt again. I had to remember that God is the mender of broken hearts and specialises in pulling me back together again. That doesn’t mean I should throw myself into relationships but it doesn’t mean I should fear them either. Every time I tell God that I am afraid to love, he reminds me that I can never be broken in the way I once was because I no longer live my life without him, I live my life for him. Even if I am hurt again, this time, I have someone I can run to.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Psalm 18:2

3) Your Heart Is Precious

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23

Set boundaries, be vigilant, be careful. Your heart determines who you become and where you will end up so ask God to help you protect it from those who seek to break it. Be mindful of those you invest your time in and whom you give yourself to.


This is all I have at the moment. I honestly wish I had more for you! Feel free to comment and add any lessons you’ve picked up along the way, I’d love some help on this journey.

Loving you in the only way I know how,

Joy xx

What Would Jesus Do?

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Every Christian at one point or another is faced with the crippling choice: to sin or not to sin? When every fibre of your being desires something, how do you reject it and run in the opposite direction? Is it possible?

As Christians we know that we are called to be holy and strive to be like Christ but my questions regarding my faith are always quite practical; yes I KNOW what I am meant to do but HOW do I actually go about doing it? Unfortunately, this post won’t hold any practical answers to the above questions (sorry, maybe next week) but I do hope it sheds further light upon the character of Jesus, the man we should all be aiming to be like every single day. Yesterday I was saying to my drama group (whom I adore!) that all we can know of Jesus (with absolute certainty) is revealed in the Bible -which is why it is crucial to study and absorb the Word. How can I say that I am Christian yet have no idea what the Bible says about Christ bar John 3:16? Can we truly know Christ if we avoid reading His words?

There was a phase during the 90’s where all the cool kids wore wristbands with “W.W.J.D” (What Would Jesus Do?) written across them. In every difficult situation you were to look at your wrist and think…well…”what would Jesus do?” Wrestling with sin is something we have to do every single day so thoughts alone concerning what Jesus could potentially/perhaps/maybe on a good day do in our situation may not be enough but reading the Bible means that we can know who Jesus is and what he actually did.

For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God.

Hebrews 4:15

Before reading this, I knew that Jesus cared about me, loved me and understood me but I didn’t know that he once faced the same crippling decisions I face. Like Jesus, I long to please our Father in heaven but I often fall short because, well…I’m human. Even when I do my best not to sin, it usually happens at some point. This passage reveals that Jesus is not a stranger; he is not some distant, perfect being who has no idea what I, Joy, face on a day-to-day. Rather he is close, sympathetic and understanding. Jesus faced real issues! Of course, we know that he was killed but he was also persecuted and accused; tempted, hated, misunderstood, mistreated and betrayed.

Jesus knows how we feel and what we’ve faced and because of that, when we speak to him we shouldn’t hold back because we think he won’t understand our issues, instead we should be completely open, knowing that there is nothing we can ever face that Jesus will not understand.

Lots of loving,

J xxxxxx

 

 

The Day I Fell Off A Cliff

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On the 13th June I took my last ever undergraduate exam and simultaneously made the transition from student to graduate. For those who can relate to the seemingly upward hill struggle that encapsulates undergoing a degree, what comes next is only comparable to free fall. It’s somewhat surreal and yet exhilarating, a rush of excitement as you realise that you never have to take an exam again and a gulp of fear at the thought of having to plan your own future and shape your own destiny. The world is (to some extent) your oyster. As I look back on uni, the highs, the lows, and the in-between series watching and procrastination I am stunned at where God has brought me, and quite frankly who I’ve become.
I’ll give you some back story. When I started Uni I was an aspiring actress with my eyes set on the prize. After years of part-time training and auditions, getting through Uni was the final hurdle that once overcome, would allow me to push for an acting career with full force. Now, as I look towards the expanse of summer months, I’m waiting with baited breath for my banking grad scheme to start in September. Daniela doing a 9-5?! Who would have thought it? Definitely not me! The girl who enrolled in LSE in October 2011 is definitely not the same girl staring back at me in the mirror. Below are the bits and bobs that clumped together and resulted in the woman that writes this post. (Yuck I just called myself a woman, since when did I stop being a little girl who thought there was nothing she couldn’t achieve?!)

I learnt sooooooo much whilst at uni: here are the 3 things my degree didn’t teach me.

1) No man is an island
If you have any preconceptions about the kind of people that go to Russell Group Universities you can rest assure that I had the same ones. I’ve never considered myself to be extremely academic, and matched with my complete disinterest with current affairs, I took it for granted that I’d actually have anything to say to my classmates. I was so wrong. I had convinced myself that I could go through the whole 3 years without making any friends but looking back I don’t know what I’d have done without them. I’m so blessed to have been surrounded with people who hungered after God also, and the bible studies we shared and prayer sessions we conducted carried me through University. I can’t tell you the benefits of being able to tell someone about your problem and their first solution is prayer, but believe me they are plentiful. So often in our walks with Christ we don’t feel like we can completely be ourselves, but having people around you to reaffirm your faith is priceless. Some people think the fact that Jesus jammed (jammed=hung out) with sinners means it’s not necessary to have  Christian friends but don’t forget that the first thing Jesus did was choose his 12 disciples. I’m not saying Christians make better friends but having Christian friends can help you to become a better Christian.

As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend

Proverbs 27:17

2) You have to lean to deal with disappointment
First year was a struggle. Most of the pain was self-induced and stemmed from my lack of motivation for the discipline I was studying, but revision season was by far the biggest mountain of the bunch. I don’t think I’ve ever revised as hard in my life as I did in those 10 weeks before exams started. ‘Night shift, day shift, and every hour under the sun shift’ is the best descriptor of my revision timetable. I sacrificed my long-time lover (sleep) in exchange for hours on end with my nose deep in a book from the never-ending reading list. All that work only to scrape a pass. I remember opening my results and being hit with an overwhelming sense of disappointment as it sunk it that I wasn’t the high achieving student I’d always been.

Too often, when things don’t go the way we planned and we’re ready to give up on God in a heartbeat. Even if God promised you the very thing you haven’t received, you have no excuse to turn your back on your Saviour. Your journey with Christ isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you’re going to give up every time things don’t go your way, you aren’t going to get very far.

3) God orders your steps
When I was 18 I decided I was going to get ‘plans are made but our steps are ordered’ tattooed on my ribcage. I’m yet to get said tattoo but I can’t profess how much truth is in the scripture that my tatt is based upon. If anyone had told me that I’d give up acting I would have told them to stop cursing me with their negativity and block out the rest of their spiel. Now when people hear that I’m going to work in a bank they think ‘typical lse-er’ or ‘you’re one of those money-hungry types’ but they couldn’t have gotten me more wrong. I’ll tell you more about giving up the dream in a future post, but what I will say now is that, unless God has said it, it isn’t certain, and even when he has spoken, he can change his mind. I’m not saying that God randomly gives us instructions then completely redirects the courses of our lives, just for fun, but that lots of things last only for a season. Don’t ever get so set on something that when God is saying something new, you don’t want to listen.

A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Many times God won’t force his will on you, but when disobedience has landed people in the belly of whales, I think letting God lead the way seems like the wise option.


I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have made it. There were times where I thought I wasn’t capable and other times when I didn’t even want to try but God has had his way. To my everlasting father, I just want to say: thank you. You can learn a lot from your degree but nothing is worth learning without Christ.

Hugs and kisses,

Dani xxxxxxx