Tag Archives: help

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

My Dad Was A Pastor…I Was An Atheist

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My Dad was ordained as a Pastor the year I was born so my earliest memories are of him preaching to hundreds of people about the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. I have grown up watching him teach, preach and do his best to share the love of Jesus with everyone he comes into contact with. I could honestly write this whole post about how great my Dad is because he is my hero; he was the first person who showed me what Jesus could potentially look like and through his love and instantaneous forgiveness no matter what I did (and I’ve done some pretty bad things) I grew up having a firm understanding of the love of Jesus Christ.  Love you Dad! (He doesn’t read my blog so won’t even see this mushy introduction – awkward.)

Despite his consistency, relentless pursuit of God and being a model Christian, my questions regarding our faith in God began around the age of 13. “Daddy, how do you know Jesus is real?” “Daddy, are you sure?” were questions I would ask him regularly. I was in church every week and I was half listening to the preaching and although at times it made sense, there was one underlying obstacle that I kept encountering: How do we know that this is real? How do we know that God even exists? This could all be a lie! I would look around my church while everyone else was worshipping and often feel isolated and lost because everyone was ‘in the spirit’ but me. If I kept missing this spirit, how could it really exist?

My questions continued to grow and the fear that I was believing a really amazing fairytale became greater than my faith. I asked those around me what their thoughts were on Jesus and I got unhelpful and opaque answers:

Me: how do you know Jesus is real?

Friend: He just is!

Me: I’m sorry, what? How does that help me?

Friend: You just have to believe

Me: SORRY, CAN’T YOU HEAR ME? THAT IS THE PART I’M HAVING TROUBLE WITH

My heart grew cold, I switched off during the service and my life stopped reflecting the Christ that I once believed to be true. It was as though this belief in Christ was a club that I just couldn’t join. I wanted so desperately to believe but I couldn’t believe in something I couldn’t see so I simply stopped believing all together.

I don’t know when exactly my belief in God returned. I didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly have all the answers I had searched for during my teenage years. All I remember having were pockets of faith here and there, prayers now and again and life shaking events that brought me to my knees and caused me to run back my default setting – belief in a higher power. There was a need to believe that my pain would one day make sense and that it could not last forever; that need kept me searching. Although I actively sought all the answers to the questions I once had, one day I had to accept that I would never obtain the answers that I longed for.

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them,“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Mark 10:15

Children aren’t cynical, they ask questions to gain knowledge and to increase their understanding, not to disprove your argument. This scripture says that we have to become like them. Children ask questions but more easily accept the response; there is no pride, just innocence and a willingness to trust that what is being said is true. When they are told that the answer may be beyond them or the answer is yet to be discovered, they accept that too. I had placed my own limitations on God – he couldn’t do the things the Bible said he had done simply because I couldn’t imagine them happening and because I could not conceive them in my own mind, they simply couldn’t be true. But to be honest there are many things I cannot imagine that happen all around the world every single day and my disbelief or ignorance doesn’t make these occurrences any less real.

The honest answer to the question “how do you know that God exists?” is that I will never truly know. I will never be 100% sure that God exists because I have never met him face-to-face in the way that I’ve met other humans. I have, however, had very real, life-changing encounters with him and I can only point you to the broken person I used to be and show you who I have become in the hope that you will see and believe in him also. People from my past don’t recognise who I am now and at times, I don’t either. I am different because of him.

To the Christian having trouble explaining to people why you believe in a God that you cannot see but can only feel, I implore you to connect people with your experiences with God, not just your faith in him. Sometimes as Christians we want to show people the finished product but we don’t want them to see  the wounds that lie underneath our clothes which speak of the battles we had to face in order to become the person the world now sees. Our scars are important and our stories make our faith make sense to someone who simply cannot fathom the depths of our belief. My story speaks of car crashes, heartbreak and hours in A&E wondering if I was going to live or die -and that’s only the last four years! You may not believe that your story is dramatic or glamorous enough, and it may not be the rags-to-riches story-stand-up-on-the pulpit-and-everyone-cries-because-you’re-such-an-overcomer type of story but it is yours. Your story is the reason you have faith so be brave enough to share it and be strong enough to keep believing despite the questions you may still have. We will always have questions but the beauty of God is that he can handle them.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xxxxx

Why I Stopped Trusting Men

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It makes you sick when you see people lie and steal and cheat their way into getting what they want in life. We’re told that it’s dog-eat- dog world but the last time I checked, no-one was barking and cannibalism was still frowned upon. FYI we are not dogs and there is no reason to behave as though we are. Is it true that we’ve got to sell each other down the river just so we can get a little further along the stream? It’s like life is one big competition and it’s not enough for a person to win, they have to see you lose. I guess I should put a disclaimer out now, when I say I’ve stopped trusting men, I’m referring to the genderless man: I have absolutely no trust/faith/belief in mankind (myself included).

I guess it would be interesting to hear about how this one guy broke my heart and how that has put me off all men, but we have bigger things to worry about than my love-life (which is non-existent just in case you were wondering! Jesus is my main squeeze, my side dish and my dessert- for all who were just about to begin a Facebook search to find out about my imaginary mystery men). What really scares me is that we’re living on a planet thriving with Judas Iscariots waiting to sell out their ‘bestie’ and ‘ride or die’ for less than 30p let alone 30 pieces of silver. It’s crazy because we’re all running individual races and yet people are still misguided into thinking that knotting other people’s shoe laces so that they stumble, will help them get ahead.

Newsflash: you won’t win your race because I have lost mine. We aren’t in constant competition. It brings me no pleasure to see you fail, and my success doesn’t make you any more or less of a failure.

The one thing I can remember from P.E (apart from Hockey is really difficult and Rounders isn’t fun unless you’re batting) is that during a race, you have to keep your eyes focused on the finish line. The speed of your neighbour isn’t of concern to you, the ground that you can cover is most important. What’s worrying is that we’ve become so focused on our individual races that we think our lives should revolve solely around pleasing ourselves. Every day on twitter it’s; “do what makes you happy” and “cut out the people who don’t bring you joy,” but what about loving your enemy and helping out those who hate you? We have switched focus from, obeying what God tells us to do, to, focusing on leading a life that brings us ultimate pleasure. What if Jesus had lived by that mantra? What if Jesus hadn’t put his desire to fulfil the will of God above his desire to please his flesh?

While I was reflecting during Easter weekend, I just had to give glory back to God. Jesus was sent to Earth, with a mission and a really important one at that. Jesus was tasked with taking on the sins of the world and offering himself as a sacrifice on behalf of all of us so that we’d have the opportunity to fellowship with him; it would have been catastrophic if he failed.

So often we’re given huge tasks from God, tasks that our bigger than ourselves, and when push comes to shove and it gets painful and the future becomes daunting and we ask God if the cup can pass us over.  Unfortunately some of us fail to emulate Jesus and put God’s will before our own; instead we withdraw into a quiet corner and tell ourselves we wouldn’t have succeeded anyway.

God doesn’t call us to specific tasks because we have great C.Vs  and impressive skill sets, he is giving us the privilege of being a small piece in the masterpiece he’s already created the blueprint for. Being used by God is such an honour and yet we’re so at peace with routinely letting God down, consequentially forgetting about the people that we’re inadvertently letting down by not following through. I don’t trust people because people are fickle. They’re like Judas; with you one minute, and selling you out the next. Promising they will be there one minute, and bailing on you the next.

I’m so grateful that I can put my trust in the only man that’s never let me down. He said he was going to give up his life for the Earth and he came through. He said that he was going to forgive my sins and everyday he comes through. He said that he was going to surround me with his love and everyday he fills my heart with it. He said that he was going to never leave me or forsake me and there’s not a moment when I don’t feel his presence. He said that he was going to wipe away my tears and when I’m weary he gives me rest. He said that he was going to use me to do great things and here I am writing this post.

I serve a God who is so much bigger than me, for who words aren’t enough to capture his unfailing love. I trust God because he said he’d do it and he did it, and if there was take-two, he would do it again.

Psalm 146:3-5

Do not put trust in princes, or in human beings, who cannot deliver. Their life’s breath departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans die. How blessed is the one whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Love ya plenty

Dani xxx