When Breaking up is the Best Thing to do

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Today I found myself texting a friend saying that all good couples break up at some point! She had just got back together with her ex, who is a great guy and I am so happy for them!

It got me thinking about how breaking up with my fiancé was the best thing we ever did.

Firstly, don’t worry, we are obviously back together – hurrah! But we probably wouldn’t be planning our wedding in September if we hadn’t broken up. Let me tell you why…

We met when he came to my hometown to do a years internship as a youth worker. It wasn’t really love at first sight at all, we worked together at lots of youth groups, I found he brought out my fun side and taught me how to celebrate life, I introduced him to “deep conversations” and he found that sometimes, only sometimes mind, he enjoyed them. Soon enough we fell in love with no clue the other felt the same (although apparently everyone else did!).

The only problem was that he had signed up to do mission work in South Africa in a few months time, and had no plans to come back to my home town. I was devastated to be honest, and prayed and prayed and kept trying to stop feeling things for him.

Then, on a sunny barbecue and football filled day (England vs Germany in the World Cup…. Not a great match but you can’t have everything!) he told me he’d fallen a little bit in love with me, that he knew we’d be far away from each other but he’d rather miss me as a girlfriend than miss me for no reason at all. It was amazing!

We gave the long distance thing a try, and anyone who’s been there knows it. Is. Not. Fun. It’s horrible, sad and so hard to do.

We lasted out the year apart, barely scraping through. He became ill with a parasite and I had started wallowing in self pity over being stuck at home in a horrible situation. We fought and fought and I cried and he distanced himself.

It was not the kind of relationship that was pleasing God, each other or ourselves. There was only one thing to do and that was to break up.

I have to say it wasn’t my choice. I was heart broken, absolutely crushed and at the time I thought it was the worst thing to happen to me for a long time.

I was wrong, it turned out to be the best thing to happen, we had gotten things all wrong at the start and needed to refocus everything.

To find out how we worked things out you’ll have to read my next post because it’s just too much for one sitting!

photo credit: Corie Howell via photopin cc

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What Trouble can Teach us

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I’m not usually a fan of this kind thing…. The over analysis of difficult situations and trying to find the most tenuous link to meaning, all to help us feel in control. As the preacher mentioned at my church on sunday “In this world Jesus promised us two things; that we will have trouble, and that he will be always be with us“.

So I try not to focus on the why is this happening and look for the where is He whilst this is happening.

However through spending time with my fiancé who is going through a rough patch health-wise I have seen areas where he is growing and how trouble is growing and shaping him. Let me tell you how…

My fiancé is stripped of the things he is best at. He is in hospital after having part of his lung removed
and sewn back together. He is stuck to a bed in pain, he can’t play sport, he can’t work, he can’t do youth work and he can’t make a difference to people lives like he always tries to. His identity for the last few years has been taken….. Now he is having to find his identity in God.

He has always been a person who is upbeat, positive and jokey. He is so much fun to be around! Yet now he is on drugs that make him feel miserable and depressed. I can see his compassion and understanding growing- this man is maturing!

He is mostly alone, because he is two hours away from family and friends. God is the closest one to him and my fiancé is forced to rely on him.

There is so much blessing going on through this situation – Jesus promised us both trouble as this world is fallen, before I would have focused on the bad and collapsed but now that I am watching for Jesus I am strengthened and can pray my fiancé through this time even when I can’t be with him.

what difficulty are you facing? Have you been focusing on the why instead of the “where is Jesus?”; if so grab the promise that He is always there and look out for Him, it may take time but you won’t be disappointed.

Self Help is No Help at All

Self Help is no Help at All.

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” The Message Matthew 16:24-26

This sounds like an extreme statement – OF COURSE WE NEED TO HELP OURSELVES! How else will we will be able to help people like Jesus said? How else will we have energy for Church work if we don’t look after ourselves? True points but the focus is off.

Even when we work as a Christian all day, working for others, caring for people, we can still have the focus on ourselves. We decide when we will help and who and which hour-long church activity to help out with. Is this letting Jesus lead? It sounds pretty planned.

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I’m sure Jesus loves that we incorporate help into our routines, and it’s an essential part of holding a church or community together, but what about the unexpected interruptions when people need help. What about when the deep relationships we are making with people take more from us than we think wise to give?

That’s when self-help is no help at all; we need to show self-sacrifice – that’s what Jesus did and that’s what He asks for.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” The Message Matthew 5:7

Jesus tells us an upside down God’s kingdom rule that works in our lives as Christians. When we wear ourselves out by personally loving someone, when we show self-sacrifice and care for others; God will care for us and He will give back far more than we gave out to those we helped.

 photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsombrerodepensar/6542794807/”>Alba Soler Photography</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Respecting someone Does Not make you a Doormat

Firstly, let me tell you, I once WAS a doormat, I know what it means to be a doormat and I am not a doormat now. A doormat knows they are being abused and they let it happen out of fear, low self-esteem and sometimes just for the attention they get from the abuser (that was my experience anyway, and I know that this is by no means true for everyone).

I have changed so much since those years of being controlled, manipulated and choosing not to fight back. Being an emotional doormat is an awful place to be, and I think the term doormat isn’t the most sensitive way of describing it either if I’m honest!

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What I have the main problem with, however, is when I am called a doormat for making a conscious decision to do things my fiance’s way.

I agree that in some of these situations he is not “right”, and his course of action is certainly not the way I would do something, but instead of moaning, pouting and shouting like my friends tell me to, I do something else. I go along with his decision (without complaining!). If there comes a time when I’ve explained my reasoning and it’s still important to him, I do what he’s asking me to do, I stand up for him when others criticize him and I trust that if it’s important to him then there’s a reason he’s making this call.

He is an amazing man who loves me so well, and for me a massive part of returning that love is respecting the wisdom he has; even when I don’t agree.

This has happened about 3 times in our whole 3 years together, because he wants my opinion and wants to make me happy so most of the time we do end up agreeing. Living this way makes me happy, because it’s my decision and my way of showing love – It does not make me a doormat.

A doormat has no choice who’s shoes are wiped on it, a doormat has no mind. The way I live might mean that I end up with the dirt of someone else’s decision clogging up my life – but that is because I’m choosing to let it be there.

I’m no doormat when I’m chosing to wash his feet – I’m being a follower of Jesus.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/theenmoy/8587980051/”>Theen …</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

The Curse of the Ugly Days

The curse of the “Ugly Day” is probably something most women experience. The impatient fussing in a mirror that just won’t show us what we want to see, the shrinking feeling inside as our faults feel lit up, on display, and, sometimes, the concrete hate deep in our stomachs directed at ourselves.

It sounds petty to admit how much I care what I look like, and how unkind words from the past still to this day really affect me, but the truth is I do care and some days I really REALLY care.

When an Ugly Day comes upon me I feel defeated, I feel ashamed and I am not a good advert for following Jesus. What a great plan of the devil to keep me under his control!

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Low self-esteem can destroy so many things in a person’s life. We become jealous of our friends, distant from our husbands (at the moment I’m just guessing!) and causes lack of confidence with new people we meet. Half the things that God would have us do, that we would be perfect at, we are too afraid to do. This is just plain poisonous!

Now unfortunately I don’t have answers which are life changing. I know that focusing on our positives is good, as is taking control of what we think/read/watch on TV – none of this is new or mind blowing stuff. What I think might help though, is to remember that this is a great way for the devil to keep us inactive. Basically, this is an attack which can have devastating results so he uses it a lot.

We can remember that we don’t feel this way because we are ugly, we feel this way because of an attack. You wouldn’t attack something useless, and you wouldn’t attack something that isn’t important. Women are made to be beautiful, and that’s why the devil wants us to feel ugly. Our strength is in our beauty, which actually has very little to do with what we look like; We are beautiful because that’s what God made us to be – if you feel anything else it is simply a lie.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandoncwarren/4306687693/”>Brandon Christopher Warren</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

Depression Days are Over

After a time of massive trial this is what God had to say to those people who ran to Him because of the trouble. These are amazing words and I hope they brighten your day!

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 Jeremiah 18-21

“Again, God’s Message:

“‘I’ll turn things around for Jacob.
I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes.
The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations;
the mansions will be splendid again.
Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows;
laughter will spill through the doors.
Things will get better and better.
Depression days are over.
They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish.
The days of contempt will be over.
They’ll look forward to having children again,
to being a community in which I take pride.
I’ll punish anyone who hurts them,
and their prince will come from their own ranks.
One of their own people shall be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own ranks.
I’ll grant him free and easy access to me.
Would anyone dare to do that on his own,
to enter my presence uninvited?’ God’s Decree.

22 “‘And that’s it: You’ll be my very own people,
I’ll be your very own God.’”

In people’s lives it seems that awful circumstances, pain and grief can either cause people to run as far away from God as they can or to deliberately push closer to Him.

If you are trying, even the tiniest bit, to love God throughout your trials this promise is for you – BE ENCOURAGED! 🙂

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/4320177321/”>Pink Sherbet Photography</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

A painted lemon is not an orange.

I read this post yesterday and it’s stuck in my head, I feel squeezed by circumstances in my life and this is reminding me to watch my reactions and what comes out of me as a result of the squeezing. This a really brilliant post, have a read and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

Living Sifted

Last night at small group, we were talking about “the fundamentals” of Christianity.  Everyone was tossing out simple truths that they easily stray from, and were acknowledging their need to get back to the basics.  It was a really good discussion!

The conversation led me to remember something I had heard once.  I couldn’t recall the whole story at the time, but I knew the general point was that when we’re squeezed by difficulties in life, what’s really in us is what comes out.

When I was thinking about it this morning, I remembered more of the details from the message I had once heard, and I thought I’d share here because it truly is fantastic material.

The imagery portrayed made this story really come alive.  So I’ll explain in the same way.

If you have a lemon, it has a tough peel on the outside that is yellow, it’s divided…

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