Tag Archives: God

It’s A New Year And A New Me

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New year new me has quite literally become my slogan for everything. People offer me unhealthy food and instead of politely refusing I respond with:new year new me. Before people have even finished offering that slice of fluffy red velvet cake smothered in cream cheese icing and I get a chance to start salivating the way you are now, I interject with new year new me.

They follow up with questions…

Oh are you on another diet Dani?

One slice of cake isn’t going to kill you is it?

How long are you going to be on this thing?

Instead of humouring their inquisitions I offer another new year new me and let that be the end of it. To everyone who’s wondering, It’s not just another diet, one slice of cake won’t kill me, but will most definitely lead to another, and I’m going to be ‘on this thing’ for the foreseeable future! Eating well is all part of a lifestyle change that brings me one step closer to being the Dani I want to be.

So we’re five days in and I’m quite proud that I haven’t dropped the ball. I’ve been eating little and often and enjoying getting fuller on less food but I can’t help feel like I’m giving a half truth ( which translates to a complete lie ) when I utter the words new year new me. Yes I’m heading in the slimmer direction but what about the new me that’s closer to God, that’s kinder, more forgiving, reads her bible everyday and meditates on it? What about the new me that’s not afraid to stop a stranger and speak to them about Jesus? What about that girl that’s on fire for Christ instead of the girl in 2014 who was simmering away on low heat?

I want 2015 to really be a new year that produces a new me. I don’t just want it to be the year I got into shape. Knowing me diets will come and go, and weight will fluctuate, but the important changes, the ones that depend on me consciously pursuing my saviour, need to be a no-going-back-can’t-believe-the-girl-I-used-to-be-cheers-to the-girl-God-has transformed-me-into-kind of change.

This year I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and step into my destiny. The destiny that includes spreading the gospel near and far. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I don’t expect to see a miraculous transformation overnight, but this is a declaration of the pursuit of God that starts now.

What are your New Years resolutions? Are they the usual, stop smoking, start the gym, get a better wardrobe kind of changes, or have you decided to make this year, the year that changed it all? God promises a transformation (in Christ there is a new creation, old things are passed away, everything is made new) but what are you going to do to see it happen?

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

When you want to get slim you have to change your eating and adapt your exercise regime. If you want to see a change in your walk with God, you’re going to have to make some changes.

Today I commit to the daily renewing of my mind (opening up my Bible to meditate on the words within)

Love lots

Dani

Why We All Hate Interviews

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Interviews are the GCSE exams of adult life. Funnily enough I quite enjoy exams, and yet this week (which has felt like interview galore) made me realise I don’t hugely enjoy being interviewed. It’s not so much the awkward trying-to-figure-out-the-appropriate-strength-to-clench-someone’s-hand with, at the beginning as the; sitting across from people and having no real idea what they’re thinking, that makes me squirm. Then it’s the wait to find out how well you performed to make matters worse…

Every phone call makes you jump.

Every email makes your heart race.

You spend all day bracing yourself for the worst and wishing you could escape this stage of the process.

I guess this is why a lot of people hate interviews, and probably why many Earthlings, hate exams. We’re all very aware that they’re a necessary evil to progressing in life, the mandatory hoop that we all have to jump through, and yet sometimes we feel that the bar is set so high and that we’re never ever going to succeed, that we don’t even try.

Problematic?

Definitely.

If we are so afraid of failure that we don’t endeavour to pass, how will we ever get to the destinations we desire?

The consequences worsen once we start to look at our walks with Christ as one long test and our faithful God becomes the quizmaster. Yes, one day God will judge us (James 4:12), there’s no secret that we are supposed to obey the rules God has put in place for us (John 14:15), but that doesn’t give us a reason to put our journeys with God in the ‘passing a test’ category. Could it be that some of us don’t even try with God because we are so sure we aren’t going to ‘perform well’ in the test of life, we give up trying to ‘live right’ and accept the distance we feel from God as ‘our lot’ in life?

The difference between a life long interview and our walk with God is that God isn’t sitting across the table from us, marking us on what we say/do, God is sitting right next to us whispering all the answers in our ears. Having an open book test is never going to be as scary as going into the exam hall knowing everything depends on how much you can remember. God wants you to succeed in this race, he walks with you every step of the way because he cares that you get to the very spot that he destined you to arrive at.

Don’t give up on God because you feel it’s not worth the effort. No matter how many times you feel like you’ve flopped and the interview has turned sour, remember that God will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” Deuteronomy 31:6

Remember the prodigal son: our father’s arms are always open awaiting our return.

Love ya like cake and ice cream!

Dani xx

10 Signs It’s Time To Walk Away

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We all think we are unique until we find people who are just like us. These people may not be identical to us, but they’re similar enough for us to connect with them. They make our lives make a bit more sense; they make us feel as though we are not alone. We love and fear the same things as them, our heartbeats quicken during the same moments and the burdens we have carried on our backs suddenly become lighter because now we can share them. These people become our lovers; these people become our friends.

Most relationships do not remain as beautiful as they are when they begin. I believe that in all relationships there are ups and downs and true connections can only be built in the furnace; it is there that we discover our strength. However, when you spend too much time in the furnace, fighting, grieving and hurting, you have every right to question whether it’s time to walk away. A few weeks ago I wrote about my decision to fight for my friendships and in the last paragraph I wrote that there was indeed a time to walk away. A close friend of mine read the piece and asked, ‘so how do you know when it’s time to let go?’ I sent her multiple Facebook messages and then thought, ‘heck, why don’t I turn this into a blogpost?’ So here I am, blogging a new list.

Now, now, now, before you get excited (we all love lists) I want you to know that this list has been informed by my limited life experiences. I’ve been accused of some of the below (some honesty for ya!) and I’ve experienced some of them also. BTW: please don’t finish reading this list and immediately start burning bridges because you agree with every single point. If you do have someone in mind before AND after you’ve read the post, seek God, spend time praying for him or her, for yourself and about the situation, then make a decision.

Also: This is just my opinion.

OKAY. LET’S GO.

1) When you prefer the memories you share to the person standing in front of you.

If you prefer how they used to treat to how they currently treat you, there may be a problem. You are holding onto the past.

2) When you find yourself constantly altering yourself to suit their needs.

Now, I’m all for compromise. Relationships flourish when both parties alter themselves just a little bit. However, if you’re walking on eggshells around them, and constantly watching what you say just in case it rubs them the wrong way, you may have a problem. You shouldn’t be staying silent because you want to avoid an argument.

3) When their words hurt you more than they heal you.

Words are powerful:

The tongue can bring death or life those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 18:21

If their words make you wince and die a little, if they insult you more than they heal you, if they push you down to the point that you don’t feel as though you can’t stand, it might be time to put on your running shoes.

4)You feel inferior around them

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

5) When spending time with them becomes a painful chore.

Friendships should be enjoyed. If you walk away from said person feeling drained, they have probably withdrawn more from you than they have deposited. Under special circumstances (heartbreak, bereavement, loss of employment, general life horrible stuff) this is fine. It is not, however, the norm. Friendships should be fun, not arduous work.

6) If they don’t ask you how you are but insist on speaking about themselves for hours on end.

This one in itself isn’t really a deal breaker but I want you to know that you matter. How you feel matters. Your day: matters. Your life: matters. Even though someone forgetting to ask how you are may seem unimportant, it often shows a lack of care and consideration. WARNING SIGN.

7) Everyone keeps telling you to walk away

If everyone around you is saying the same thing, it just might be true. Stop ignoring the voice in your head AND the voices of your loved ones. Take a step back and evaluate the situation.

8) If you’ve spoken to them about their flaws and they refuse to take the constructive criticism on board.

If someone is hurting you and you haven’t spoken up about it, you are partly to blame (sorry, not sorry). Is the person a mind-reader? It is a completely different story if you have sat them down, voiced your concerns and they have carried on treating you in the same manner. If you haven’t given them the opportunity to change, don’t walk away so hastily. A conversation could be the difference.

9) If you’re hoping they’ll one day wake up a changed being, ready to love you in the way that you deserve.

This one is sad because your relationship hinges on a moment that may never happen. The ‘one day’ you are hoping for may never come. This just might be it (this post is becoming such a downer). There are many people in the world that will love you right now, just as you are.

10) *insert YOUR reason here*

As you were reading this, someone sprang to mind, right? If I’ve missed it in the above, still evaluate that individual’s presence in your life. I think a part of us always knows when someone may not be good for us, even if we aren’t ready to fully accept it.


Every so often, the people we love the most have to become the memories we shared together.  It’s taken a long time but I have finally accepted that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean that the relationship remains the same. While forgiving people is mandatory (Matthew 6:15), staying in toxic relationships is not. Sometimes we have to walk away and love people from afar. It doesn’t mean that we love them any less and it doesn’t make what we shared with them less special; it just means that we no longer walk with them. And that’s okay. It really, really is. It’s okay to journey without them. It’s okay to thank them for the lessons. It’s okay to pray for them. It’s okay to look ahead armed experience and wisdom. It’s okay to let them go.

Thanks for reading maaaan.

Joy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Day I Realised God Was Not Enough

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I’m not quite sure when I decided to take my relationship with God seriously. I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment but my awful memory would never allow for such an accurate collection of a meaningful and life-changing event. Heck, I got baptised two (?) months ago and I’ve completely forgotten the date (I want to write it down because my sister said it’s my new birthday – HOW CAN I NOT KNOW MY OWN BIRTHDAY?). Fortunately, I remember why I began to take God seriously. Yes, I had grown up in a Christian home (blah, blah, blah) but it was the church that I attended whilst at university (shoutout to AUDACIOUS!) that propelled me into my faith. Every Sunday the preacher would reveal aspects of God that I had previously been unaware of and it made me want to dig deeper so I sought Christian literature, sermons and the likes in order to increase my knowledge of my beautiful and awesome God.

The nature of my previous job was such that I was able to decide what time I would rise and start my day. Even though I could have slept in for hours, I chose to arise at 6am every day and spend time with God for at least two hours. I would wake up, worship for 30 minutes, read the Bible for 30 minutes, read a Christian book and then go into a deep time of conversation (prayer). I never felt tired and I never felt bored – I didn’t even fall asleep during the prayer section of my Christian workout. The growth I experienced was exponential because the more I learnt about God, the more I realised how much I didn’t know about Him which caused me to want to know even more about Him. It was a beautifully, visicous cycle which contributed massively to the young woman you see read today.

Then Life Happened.

When I say life happened, I don’t mean some life-changing event occurred (well, a few did but whatever). All that really changed were the demands on my time. I was working late and waking up early and I couldn’t spend hours face down on the floor pouring my heart out to God because I had an 7.40am train to catch that would leave regardless of whether I was seated on it or not. Waking up to pray became a chore because sleep had to be sacrificed. Yeah, God sacrificed His son for me but to spare 30mins of extra sleep every morning was apparently out of the question. No longer did I spend two hours praying, instead I began to read my Bible on the train. Unfortunately my train journey wasn’t long enough to really get into anything so our time together was over before it begun.

I set a couple of goals last week that would have at least ensured that I prayed before I leapt out of my bed but the implementation of these goals was feeble at best. My awesome God who I once could not get enough of had been moved down my list of priorities. I got out of bed and started my day without thanking the One that had woken me up. On some days, I even read short devotional via the Christian apps on my phone instead of reaching for the Word itself because there just ‘wasn’t enough time’.

I was really challenged yesterday afternoon. God didn’t send a special angel to let me know that I was getting it wrong and it happened so subtly I could have missed it. I was walking down the road on my way to the *I can’t remember where so insert a destination here* and I took my phone out of my pocket and thought “let me call Dani and tell her about…” As I began to dial, I thought:

Have you told God the things you are about to tell Dani?

….No

Even though I was on my Christian apps, scanning the scripture and tweeting away in the mornings, my non-stop communication with Him that had ceased. God had stopped being enough for me. I hadn’t told God how I was feeling that day and all the rapid changes that my life was undergoing. At the beginning of this year, God was enough for me, He was all I had, all I wanted and all I felt I would ever need. Fast forward nine months and I was reaching for my phone before I had even considered reaching for Him. As this truth washed over me, I put my phone away and spoke to God. I told Him my news. I told Him about every moment, every fear, and every joy – I told Him everything.

Some people say it isn’t how long you spend with God but the quality of the time you spend with Him that is most important. There is some truth in that belief– if your prayers last hours but your words are empty and your heart is cold, of course the quality over quantity rule applies. However, if God has become an afterthought, if your time with Him rarely exceeds 5 minutes a day and yet you claim to love Him with all of your heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37) then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

Don’t worry; I’m there too.

All my love,

Joy xxx

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.

The Day I Went Completely Blind

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If one more person asks me what I want to do with my life I may just have to go into hiding. (It’s either that or start a fight and seeing as I’ve never had a fight in my 21 years of living, hibernation seems the safest option). Firstly It’s a really unfair question, why would I be any closer to figuring out life just because I’ve graduated?! Secondly, it’s rather intrusive, why do you want to know my 5 year plan, what ideas are you trying to steal? And lastly it’s really unbelievably annoying. Every time someone asks I pause and take a slow steady breath as I figure out how to best put ‘I haven’t the foggiest clue’ in the most creative way. I used to offer, “I see myself in strategy in the distant future”, or “ultimately I’d like to consult charities”, but now I’ve given up trying to convince people that I know what I’m doing and reply with “something that pays my bills” until the other person changes the subject. Shoot me for not having direction but I really am tired of pretending to know where God is taking me.

When I was running my own life A.K.A the time before I met Christ, I could tell you exactly what I wanted to be, but one day I gave it all up (decided to follow Jesus) and the clear path in front of me went from being a fuzzy haze to a pitch black hole. When I was 11 I started to lose my sight, and here’s my version of the benefits of living blindly.

1)You don’t always have a clear sense of direction

I was one of those children that could tell you exactly how their life would pan out if everything went according to plan. From the age I was going to go to drama school, to landing my first major role, I could even tell you when I was going to get married and let having children interrupt my thriving career. Then I gave my life to God and my tune slowly changed. It went from adding ‘God willing’ at the end of sentences about my plans for the future to, actually asking God for life direction to letting God plan my day. I’d wake up having agreed to spend time with particular people or honour invitations to events and when I’d lay my day before God to see what he’d got planned his response was something along the lines of “oh you thought you were going to be doing x, y, and z today… lol nahhhh”.

Now when people ask me where I see myself in 5 years time I want to reply, God hasn’t shown me that far ahead, and be done with the questioning. I think there’s a thin line between waiting to hear what God has to say on a matter and using waiting on God as an excuse for being lazy but we can’t let that put us off seeking God’s face daily.

2)You have around 0% control

Have you ever played that game where people are in pairs, one person is wearing a blindfold and the seeing person has to lead the blind one to a destination with just the sound of their voice? If so then you know what it’s like to live according to what God is saying via the Holy Spirit. No matter how tired the blindfolded person is of following and how much they want to be in control, it would make no sense for them to start giving directions. I think we forget that God can see the future because when he’s telling us to turn left, even though we’re busy wearing our blindfolds and so can’t actually see what would be best for us, we decide to chip in and convince God that we should be turning right.

The amount of times I’ve ignored God because what he was saying seemed illogical and then after realising that he was right had to repent, I’ve given up thinking I know better than Him. ( I know, why would I even think that in that in the first place?!?!) What you lose in control, you gain in the certainty that God knows what’s best.

For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord . ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

3) You’re forced to live by faith and not by sight

So there’s pros and cons to living blindly but even when things seem like cons as points 1&2 do, the overall result of living blindly which trumps everything is that: You become completely dependent on God. When you’ve stopped relying on what your eyes can see and started listening to God’s voice it doesn’t make sense to stop listening half way through the directions and decide you can do it yourself. I think it’s because we have such tendencies to take over that God doesn’t reveal every step of the journey before we begin. Knowing us we’d assume we knew better despite the blindfold we’re wearing. Of course everyone likes direction and feeling like they’re in control of their own lives, but handing the keys over to God and sitting in the passenger seat mean you’re being taken care of by the king of kings, lord of Lords, creator of the whole world, alpha and omega who can see your whole life and wants what’s best for you.

And the Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
And Moses said to him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not take us up from here.Exodus 33:14-15

Moses didn’t want to go anywhere where God wasn’t going to be and we can learn a lot from that. For some of us, the way we make decisions is by asking “how much money will it make me” or “what are the chances of receiving an opportunity like this again“, but what about asking God what he wants? Nobody wants to end up half way down a path and realise that they’ve gone in the opposite direction from God’s plan.

Following God does feel a bit like you’ve lost all sense of the vision you once had but what you gain is so much more than the pleasure of knowing where you’re going: knowing that God is with you.

Love ya like yam and corned beef stew

Dani xxxx

The Day I Stopped Being A Law-abiding Citizen

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As a Christian that’s been brought up in the church things can get tricky when it comes to deciding what’s wrong. Lots of people will hold beliefs based on their perceptions of God or what they feel convicted of and you aren’t always sure whether going against their 11th commandment is sinful or just choosing to live life differently.

The usual culprits that cause confusion:

“That’s an ungodly hour to be on the phone”

“Christians shouldn’t drink alcohol”

“Parties aren’t events you should be attending now you’re saved”

“Don’t be alone with a person of the opposite sex after 6pm”

The list goes on, and suddenly you’re not sure where Christianity ends and option and culture begins. I remember when I was having an argument about one of my piercings and had to highlight that the other person not liking something didn’t automatically mean there must be a deeper sin behind it.

Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. Romans 14:13-14

I think being reminded not to judge is a key part of this scripture. As we’re pointing the finger at our fellow Christians for choosing to talk on the phone late at night or for not having their ears pierced, we have to remember that each of us have our own convictions that should guide how we live. We don’t know the journey that God is taking someone on, so how dare we try and force them to become a changed individual overnight and not allow God to lead the process of transformation. Similarly when people abide by rules that we consider irrelevant, who are we to tell them they’re wrong for doing so?

I stopped feeling condemned of the rules that I couldn’t find in my bible when I realised that I didn’t have to walk through my faith, looking like the image of a Christian imprinted in the minds of others. With the bible in one hand and the Holy Spirit in my heart I could live according to the word of God and the convictions I felt in my heart.

For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

The little rules that we argue over are somewhat irrelevant in the grand context of accepting Christ’s love and showing it to others. Let’s not have others say that Christianity is about ad-libbed rules and regulations. In my experience of God, there’s more to life than not getting tattoos or deciding to have adventurous piercings.

Live out your faith according to the way you feel led by the word of God.

Love and hugs and kisses

Dani xxx

Why Long Distance Relationships Are Doomed To Fail

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This week I went on a mini holiday with some family friends. We were a few hours drive away from home and living in a little village, small enough to be excited about seeing a Tesco Express on the “High Street” and big enough to see fellow shoppers at the checkout that weren’t our neighbours. Aside from Britain’s usual performance of really bad weather, there was just one issue that affected us all, and made us feel like our drive to the coast was really a twenty-hour plane ride that had deposited us half way around the world.

Issue and first world problem: we had no phone signal.

I know what you’re thinking:

Who cares?

There are bigger problems, at least you were on holiday.

The whole point of being on holiday is that you get away from your normal life and that includes your friends.

All of the above are true, but it didn’t stop me from spending hours trying new positions to place my phone by the window, and spending every moment in the world outside the house having conversations with the people that I missed. No, this whole post isn’t about my need to be in constant communication with my friends, what this week taught me is that if maintaining a long distance relationship with a loved one is hard, maintaining one with God is near on impossible, here’s why:

1. Feeling far away stops you from searching for ways to be close.

When I first arrived I thought the signal difficulties might be temporary. Is it just me or does your phone struggle to find signal when it’s in a new environment? Sometimes I go somewhere new (which is in all honesty very rarely since I’ve adopted this old age lifestyle that consists of never stepping outside my flat) and just when I want to call my network provider at the annoying lack of signal, my phone jumps back into life and gives me a strong enough phone connection to send SnapChats. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be the case this week. As I walked around the holiday home, wondering why my phone wasn’t responding it soon set in, how far away I was from being able to contact anyone and after a while I stopped looking for possible pockets of phone connection with the same enthusiasm. Calling people had become a myth and after successfully letting my family know I was alive and well, conversations had to be high on the importance scale for me to attempt dialling. This may have worked for the week but this is an unacceptable attitude for us to have with God. We can’t allow ourselves to stop seeking him after we’ve searched for a while and still don’t ‘feel’ him.

When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says The Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14.

The bible says that when we seek God, we will find him, and we have to hold onto that when we feel like we’ve been looking for a while. Unlike phone signal that might never reveal itself, God is more reliable than any network provider and if you feel distance don’t stop seeking to be close. All God wants from us is a relationship like no other in which love for him and devotion to serve him fills every crevice of our hearts. That kind of love is going to take pursuit so don’t give up when you don’t feel like God is near.

2. You won’t ever find a replacement for God on the holidays you take from him.

In life we’re used to having options. You can go on holiday and replace your entire friendship group with the friends you’ve made abroad. In fact, long distance relationships are a good get-out clause for those looking to escape the relationships they’re in as they play the long-game which eventually results in growing apart from the people they are in relationships with. We, however, are in no position to do the same with God. We can decide to distance ourselves and only communicate with God when we need something from him, but when we come to the realisation that we need God in our lives, it’s the same God that we ran away from, that we’ll be running back to. The mere thought of running back in that prodigal son fashion can deter us from taking the first steps so why make things difficult for ourselves in the first place? In the presence of God is where we ultimately want to be, so if we stay close, the less time we spend umming and ahhing about how we’re going to reduce the distance that we’ve created.

3. God wants to be close to you

This is what Christ says to us:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. -John 15:4-5

We don’t like to feel like we need anybody but having God in our lives is a need we can’t flee from. Whenever I get depressed and start questioning life and my purpose of waking up that day it’s because I’ve decided to walk a few paces from the presence of God. I can hold my hands up to saying I need Christ to function, and if you know you do too, then remaining in him seems like the best thing to do.

Continue reading Why Long Distance Relationships Are Doomed To Fail

I Stalked Her Because I Loved Her

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘only God can judge me’? Ghetto tattoos aside, I am reminded that I should ‘judge not lest I myself be judged’ ,and up until very recently, as far as I was concerned that ‘un-judgemental’ lifestyle was the life I was living. I accepted that I wasn’t perfect, I wouldn’t let someone’s imperfections stop me from being nice to them or showing the love that I would show to anyone else. Then I met someone and realised I was living a lie: I did judge others, and quite frankly, I did it every day. I guess my excuse was ‘been burnt once, don’t want to be burnt again’, but since when was that an okay mantra to live by? It just sounds bitter from all the girls using it as their excuse to not trust men and a little pathetic from all the guys who use it as their reason for not taking girls seriously. Can we all grow up?! Once you get passed secondary school the idea that you can write off a whole group pf people for the wrongs of one becomes questionable and by the time you leave university it just becomes ludicrous. So why was I still operating on that basis?

Last week I got off of my self-righteous high horse that I didn’t even realise I was riding on.  I shall explain

As I was on my way home and changing tube lines on the underground I saw a tiny woman who was looking bewildered at the foot of the stairs. Her hair had been roughly scraped back and she had a big cut on her forehead. I probably would have walked past but I’ve been studying love lately but I knew I’d have sat thinking about her for the rest of the evening. So I stopped and her story began. Normally I offer to buy homeless people a meal to avoid giving them money to fund addictions but that wasn’t going to be an option today. By the end of the story I had gathered that she needed money for a bed for the night and she was £8 away from her target. My insides squirmed, £8 wasn’t money I wouldn’t miss and it was an awful lot to trust someone with. I’m along the masses that are distraught when they walk past people sleeping rough and the thought of leaving this woman without a bed for the night was stopping me from just giving her a pound and wishing her the best. So I found a compromise. I offered to go with her to the homeless shelter and pay for the night directly. But then I was met with a string of reasons why that wasn’t a good idea and she said she’d rather not have the money than have me follow her around for the night. Had never considered that my act of love could have come across in a stalkerish fashion.

That was it, the terms of the deal had been explained and it was a take it or leave it situation. Had this not been after 11 at night and were she sitting on the pavement refusing food I would have just walked past feeling like I’d done everything in my power to help but this felt different. She told me she understood why I couldn’t trust her and the shame seeped in.

So I opened my wallet. I didn’t trust her any more than I had when we first started talking but I decided to bet my tenner on the benefit of the doubt. She may have used it for a bed or she may have not, but I had given her what I had, giving her the choice to abide by her word.

The rest of my journey I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Every day God gives us his love and entrusts us with things he knows we’re going to abuse or take for granted and yet there isn’t a day where he stops giving. Imagine showing someone love in a relationship where your other half, won’t even reciprocate your love by not doing things to hurt you. Because I’d been conned by homeless people in the past( refusing me purchasing them travel cards when that was the very thing they had asked for money for or admitting the drink they wanted money to buy was alcoholic) I couldn’t help but paint them all with the same brush and decide handing over money was no longer an option, but, how does our love, riddled with rules and regulations, fare to God’s unconditional love? When we encounter people that don’t fit the profile of the usual people we would show love to, our actions are filled with excuses galore.

I would give you a pound BUT…

I would let you share my umbrella BUT

I would forgive that person BUT…

I would lend them money BUT…

I would sit with you at lunch BUT..

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”  So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Hosea 1:2-3

When God told Hosea to go and marry a prostitute there were no buts. Where do we feel we get the right to screen who we show love to when God loves us all the time. It’s so easy to love the people who look like us and talk like us but what does it say about us when we can’t love people who don’t fit that mould.

Prostitutes have a lot in common with homeless people. Many of us have preconceptions about how they got to this place in their lives and even those of us that aren’t religious have a holier than thou attitude. You may feel like people ‘deserve’ their lot in life but if God loves them anyway then why can’t we. Who are we to put conditions on a love that we don’t deserve ourselves?

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8

We have no claim to the love that God gave us so. There may be a long list of buts in our heads regarding someone but if God loves them, then so should we.

Mucho Loveio

Dani xxxxx

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