Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion… Video repost: a medical perspective.

I stumbled across this on YouTube, a medical perspective on Jesus’ crucifixion and suffering… I won’t say too much because this needs to be watched. We know he suffered but the extent of his suffering, for me was never fully understood until it was broken down in this. I’m incredibly empathetic and have a very low pain threshold in general and this made me see how physically agonising this would have been for Jesus – my heart broke and tears were shed at how he suffered… And for us… It’s a timely reminder as we near Easter… it’s another reminder of the magnitude of His sacrifice – in sacrificing His life; Jesus was blameless and innocent and endured great shame, suffering and agonising torture… It still blows my mind, that he endured that for us – He gave his life and suffered for us, for our sins, our mistakes, our brokenness. There really is no greater love than the love and sacrifice of Jesus… (My heart aches for Him.)

Thank you Father God, for sending your only begotten son into the world. Thank you for His light, his love and his life. Thank you for your mercy and grace. I’m sorry Lord, that you suffered an excruciating death – you took on my sin and brokenness and died in my place… And by your blood I am made whole… And even in your death you were obiendient and knew God had a plan. Thank you father God for raising Jesus from the dead, for allowing Him to live and move amongst us in spirit. We have not been forsaken… And I know I could not do this life without you. My heart is yours, today, tomorrow and into eternity. Nothing and no-one can separate me from you. In your glorious name I pray, amen, amen and amen.

Holy Spirit ❤️

Can’t help but feel that the Holy spirit is an extension of God’s love for us. We’ll not be forsaken or forgotten as we’ll have access to the one who’ll lead us to all the truth, and give us the words we need when we’re lost for words… And enable us to remember your word. I love this so much. Thank you Father God for all of your love, for Jesus and the Holy Spirit – your gifts are so good and filled with all of your love and care. ❤️

Delight in the Lord

I find this picture depicts my delight and awe in the Lord and the world he’s created around us… On those days when you really stop and think about it!! Pew-pew!! The sound of my mind being blown!! He’s that good all the time. Thank you father God!!

Delight in the Lord’s creation! It’s perfect as are you for He crafted you ❤️❤️❤️

Breaking the silence // Enough is enough // This stops with me // International Women’s Day // Trigger Warning

*Trigger warning*

Yesterday, I took one for the team and it was International Women’s Day but I had no idea… So, this is for all the fabulous women I know – my sisters and those incredible women I don’t know.  (But also my brother’s, so keep reading.)

… But first, I just wanted to say what I love about being a woman.  I love that there is the camaraderie and bond that can occur between us women. And I was reminded of how great this bond can be.  Last week, I watched my son participate in the athletics carnival and I was so glad I was there to support him.  But what I witnessed outside of that brought me so much joy. 

So, in keeping with tradition the boys ran first, followed by the girls – and it was such a joy to watch the girls race.  Some girls literally ran to run their own race, while others stuck with their friends and walked the track while laughing and talking about – who knows what.  One girl even skipped up the length of the track – she was literally running her own race by doing her own thing.  I saw in that moment, that it doesn’t matter how you run your race, just as long as you finish it and get there in your own way.  I also loved the fact that no-one told them off – no one said – you can’t run the race like that.

I also loved seeing the stark contrast between the girls and the boys.  The boys just ran from start to finish – focused, determined and on a mission.  Some stopped to walk out sections to catch their breath, and some encouraged their brothers to keep going.  But like I said, the boys just ran the race with focus and intention and determination, while the girls did their own thing and still got there in the end.  I could see with the girls, there was a camaraderie, a bond, a sisterhood.  I got it. I understood it and it brought me so much joy in seeing these young girls enjoying being with their sisters.  (Now of-course this is not to discount that men can’t have a brotherhood, but I am simply speaking from what I saw and experienced too.)  This moment reminded me of how much I love and am so grateful for my sisters – and especially my own sibling sister and the incredible women I have met over the years.  I have learnt so much from them and about myself too.  I am grateful for the love, tears, laughter and whatever outrageous situations and randomness we have experienced and shared together over the years – whether we met in early childhood or last year, I am glad we did – cos being their sister – like those girls on the running field, fills me with that much joy.  So, this – my dear sisters, this is for you and I implore and encourage you dear brothers to continue to read this too.  This is as much for you as it is for my sisters.

… So… yesterday, something was brought to my attention that I felt needed to be discussed.  I’ll be honest, I found it confronting and I was like – ‘oh, I can’t even go there – especially as a Christian woman…’ 

First of all, here is some context. I had recently become aware of one of God’s promises over my life in bringing me to a spouse and the knowledge that he is close. However, I still have to wait for our paths to connect.  And lets just say, I have been single for a majority of my adult life – so the promise of something being close makes me feel really impatient.  Over the years, I have been in and out of relationships – and one quite toxic.  And by toxic, I mean experiencing sexual coercion, being coaxed, and pressured into things and even things happening without my knowing, thus pushing the boundary of consent to being non-existent.  And then being gaslighted – manipulated psychologically to create doubt and question my own memory, perception of judgment of situations…

(… I’m just going to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult this is to write – like I feel sick, right down in the pit of my stomach.  I want to stop and runaway from writing this… but I know it needs to be written.  I’ll keep going…)

… So, you could say, I don’t know what it looks like to be in a loving and healthy relationship… and whenever I am reminded of God’s promise, my response is – ‘I don’t even know how to do relationships… How is this gonna work?’ … I still do not know.  What I do know is this is in God’s hands – it may look impossible to me – but I know he is in the business of making the impossible possible. 

Nothing is lost in God. I now know what ‘love is not’. And I feel, I will know what love truly is, when it occurs with the person God has intended for me.  These negative experiences have also led me and allowed me to know and experience the love of God – of Jesus – his love is perfect, unconditional and never-ending and never-changing.  So, I also do know what ‘real love’ can look like – but I just don’t know is how to apply that kind of love to ‘real-life’… Not yet anyway.  But I am willing to try.

… Anyway, let’s get back on track, so instead of trusting God’s word and waiting for the man he has intended for me.  I found myself getting impatient and taking matters into my own hands… for context, I sometimes go in cycles of contentment/discontentment in my singleness. 

It might look like this:

                        Phase 1 =>   Content within my singleness and circumstances.  I marvel at how far I have come as a single parent by the grace of God – because I know I could have never gotten here without him.  In this phase, I enjoy all aspects of my life, my son, my girls and our camaraderie and Jesus – always.  Then, there’s a shift.  Enter phase 2.

                        Phase 2  =>   I start to notice what I do not have.  For me, this looks like noticing other people’s relationships.  It’s noticing the doting husband over his wife – it’s noticing how he may comment on a Facebook pic – how much he adores this photo of his wife.  It’s noticing the smaller things, like a husband being attentive to his wife such as rubbing her back as she experiences waves of nausea due to early stages of pregnancy… it’s then knowing that this wife, this woman, this sister – has someone she can trust and confide in after a long day at work or with the kids – she has that one she can debrief life with.  Someone she can be intimate with – not just in a physical sense, but it’s about showing all of herself from silly to serious, in a place that is safe and stems from trust.  And in this space, he can be all of that too. It’s about feeling safe together in their vulnerability.  It’s knowing they have a best-friend in each other who they can do life with – in all it’s ups and downs. 

In this phase, I experience grief – it’s grieving what I do not have and feeling like I am missing out on something so special and unique.  And perhaps it hurts more because it is such a deep desire to have that thing that I have never been privy to knowing or experiencing.  (I also want to make it clear, that jealousy is never a factor in this and nor would I intend on breaking what a couple has – what they have is theirs and solely unique to them…) But maybe I can express it this way, there was once a woman who had two children and she so desperately wanted another baby – a girl. It was a constant prayer for her.  While trying for another baby, she experienced a few miscarriages and they were quite traumatic experiences for her and consequently experienced grief in that loss too.  In her pain, she often expressed how hard she found it going to church and seeing all these new babies or pregnant wives with their delicious baby-bumps.  That grief became so intense there came a point where she had to withdraw herself from social situations, as the pain was too hard for her to face.  People thought (ok – me, I thought) her grief was a bit extreme as she already had two beautiful children, a devoted husband – blah-de-blah.  I appeared to lack empathy, yes but…underneath it all, it annoyed me… and perhaps it was because I understood her grief more than I wanted to acknowledge.  That grief she felt, I too felt when all I could see were these couplings – it accentuated what I didn’t have and wanted so deeply – like how she wanted another baby.  I got it but it just came out as something else.  (FYI – that woman eventually had her prayers answered, she got her baby girl and I have no doubt in my mind, her wait – as excruciating as it may have been, was well worth it.) … So, that second phase is grief and then that leads into phase 3, action.

                        Phase 3  =>  Action.  This involves downloading the latest dating apps, attempting to search for the ‘one’ – because I don’t know how to meet people outside of my home/work/church bubble.  In this phase, I meet people on-line – it’s incredibly superficial as it involves ‘swiping right to like’ or ‘swiping left to dislike’… sometimes – ok most times if I ‘like’ the look of someone I will read their profile and if I like that then I will officially ‘swipe right’.  Then people will reach out and send messages and you chat.  Then some lead to dates, some don’t.  In most instances, in this phase, I will get over the superficiality of it and delete my profile, deactivate my account, and uninstall the app (in that order) before I have a chance to go on any dates.  Yeah, I get over it very quickly… and yes, I have been through these phases several times over… then I let it go and eventually return to phase one.

To say the least, yesterday, I was in phase three – after experiencing the grief stage again a few weeks prior and despite being reminded of God’s promise, I wanted to fast track the waiting period to bring about his promise a bit sooner – because –  fun fact, I am impatient at times. Yep. I am.

I downloaded a couple of apps and put together my profile.  Within minutes, my phone was pinging, and messages were filling up my inbox one after another.  I almost couldn’t keep up with it and found I wasn’t able to respond to everyone.  Then there was one man who said hello and commented on thinking I was sexy (now I’ll just add, I’m a fairly modest person and I like to wear things that cover me – I love scarves- so it’s not like as though I’m revealing a lot of skin or whatever – just to be clear, it wasn’t about what I was wearing ) … I can’t remember if I replied but thought the compliment was nice – what woman doesn’t want to feel desirable – ok, so this is where it gets uncomfortable.  I am already uncomfortable… later he sent another message which was quite explicit – like I can’t even repeat it – but we’re all adults here and have an imagination, and I don’t need to repeat it.  All I wanted say was ‘eew – gross!’ I didn’t but I certainly thought it – probably not the most articulate or mature response but I had the self-control not to react with that response.   A few hours later, he sent another message that was even more explicit than the first – if it is even possible but it was.  In the scenario, what was described, made me feel like I had been reduced to an object – but something basic in value – devoid of any meaning and connection.  The scenario made me feel as though I had been reduced to a sexualised object, stripped of autonomy and consent – which accentuated his dominance and authority over the situation.  The scenario was written with an undercurrent of sexual aggression – almost verging on violent.  It was as though he had transcribed a scene from a pornographic film.  I could see it without having seen it – and I was disgusted by this, that I could be reduced to something so devoid of meaning and value… I left it… I didn’t respond initially because I could see what he wanted was to get my attention and respond – he got it – but not in the way he wanted me to respond.

I handed this over to God knowing this is bigger than me – ‘how do you want me to respond to this?  Holy Spirit – lead me and give me the words you want me to respond with…’  I left it for a little while – then I had the question rise and circulate my mind to ask him – ‘how do women usually respond when you send them messages like that?’  I thought, ‘wowzers, that’s very direct.’ I don’t like being direct.  So, with that question in mind, I formed a response – it involved thanking him and valuing his honesty and softening it with a ‘I’m not into the McFlingy-kinda-thing’ and asked how other women usually responded with messages like that?

He turned it back around on me, saying, I made it sound like he sends those messages to women all the time.  I thought, but how am I to know?  People can say anything and mean something else…  He kept re-iterating I had ‘sex’ appeal and that’s why he wrote what he did – and it was then about how I was going to respond, and he knew how he wanted me to respond.

My response… ‘well, I wish I could be that woman and give you the response you’d like… but I cannot partake.  As a woman I like to be validated but not sexualised.  I know it’s a fantasy but it’s not my fantasy.  Sex can be sensual and beautiful – but not like that.  Soz to be the buzz kill (Insert squinty laugh emoji).’  I found in initiating these boundaries then opened up the communication which on seeking understanding as to why I was on that platform and what I was after etc – which allowed room for more conversation to happen with aim to get to know each other.  This took us from being shallow to being a person with depth.  But when pushed to meet for a coffee, I still decided to say, no thank you.

… If I can go back a minute, when I downloaded the app – I was fully aware that I was being impatient and apologised but still invited God into this situation – to guide me to the people I need to interact with… I realised after the whole encounter – that was the situation I needed to step into.  I could have not responded at all – completely left it and not touched that situation.  But I felt… asking that question of him – how do women usually respond to that – would convict him on a much deeper level and make him stop in his tracks and think about potential effects and consequences – which – now, I can see that kind of conviction can only come from the Holy Spirit – because that’s how He works.  Whether the man re-evaluates how he approaches women on that platform or not is not in my hands but I know that I planted a potential seed for change. 

In this situation, the question that kept re-surfacing for me was – what if it’s not just me? What if this is a recurring thing for him? How is that affecting other women and what kind of image is that leaving with women and their perception of men?  Will they think and believe that all men are like this?  Then, will they think, I must stoop to that low level with the hope to be ‘loved’?

Something thing that bothered me in this situation, was that I have never seen myself as being ‘sexy’ – (and I touched on this in one of my previous posts and this was due to having all self-confidence stripped away due to toxic and unhealthy relationships.)  So, to then be thought of and seen in that light – and read the actions associated to what it means to be ‘sexy’ to another person in that explicit context made me feel incredibly de-valued…  and perhaps it was made worse as I had come to know my own true value by the grace and love of God.   I had finally come to a place of true self-acceptance and knowledge of my value. So to see how easily it could potentially be stripped away again, I knew (without knowing) that I could not let this slide.  I didn’t know it at the time – but my response to him was saying – enough is enough – this stops with me – this stops with me.  It’s like, if you witness bullying or someone makes a racist comment, and no-one says anything – the silence is basically giving the person permission to keep bullying or permission to continue making those derogative comments.  So, in this situation, I felt so devalued in being objectified for sexual gratification.  And it hurts more in knowing, there is so, so, so much more to me than all of that – and if I had kept silent, my silence would have given him permission to continue doing it to other women. 

In this moment, raised my voice without yelling to maintain my integrity and establish boundaries in what is and is not acceptable.  I broke the silence for my sisters.  I did it for the next generation of women – for those girls running and skipping their own race on the running field – so those darling girls can still be that joyous as women.  I said it for my brothers, so you can know what we want – we’re not that complex or complicated – although we are at times.  What we want… ok, so I will speak for myself… what I want is to know your heart.   I want to be able to go to those vulnerable places, I want to be able to trust you so that I can show you all myself, from my silliness to how easily I can be annoyed by the sound of your chewing or whatever.  (I am easily annoyable.)  I want to know that I am safe, and I can trust you with all aspects of myself.  I want to be loved for all of who I am – unconditionally… and all I can say, is that it takes time to get to know someone – it can’t be established in a five-minute meeting online or over coffee.  It takes time, so take the time to get to know the person and there’s no rush and there is more to a relationship than just sex.

… Initially, when I set out to write this, I thought – I shouldn’t be writing this, not as a woman or as a Christian…we can’t talk about sex – especially when content is so graphic. (Or that’s how I felt.) And I kept wondering, where are you in this God?  What are you wanting me to say in this?

I did a basic research search and found some information on pornography addiction.  A couple of that stuck with me were that pornography addiction may lead into domestic violence due to aggressive and violent nature of content as it alters expectations of how sex should be verses reality of what is experienced between a couple and this may have lead on effects to poorer mental health outcomes (American Addiction Centre 2021 and Petriangelo 2019). 

In the American Addiction Centre’s (2021) page on porn addiction, there is a Ted-talk embedded into site on 3 reasons why Ran Gavrieli stopped engaging with pornography. It included that it promoted sexual violence and aggression – physically and verbally. It diminished a woman and promoted the man’s power and authority over their encounter.  It said by engaging in this kind of material it placed a demand on the sex industry thus more content being produced – and making it appear that this kind of sexualisation is acceptable.  His reasons extended further than that – and it was about removing the sexualisation of women and the sex industry and replacing it with something that is emotionally safe and emphasised, this is not be confused with boring and highlights that laughter should be included in this intimate space… I liked seeing his rationale and thinking.  I liked it coming from a man – because I felt his response may sit better with men than if it came from a woman.  If it came from a woman, it may be seen as ‘just another woman on her soap box with a thing or two to say – insert eye roll’… I may be a woman with a thing or two to say, but I hope that you will be open to listening to Ran Gavrieli.  So, I implore that you watch that video – it is confronting but this needs to be talked about to bring about change.  Not just for me, or the women I know but for the daughters in the next generation… But also for my son – our sons in the next generation too…

… Then this morning, it occurred to me, I was given the answer to my question – where is Jesus in all of this? So, with thanks to the Holy Spirit, I was reminded that Jesus is about representing the oppressed.  Jesus is about freeing the oppressed.  Jesus represents the oppressed as he was oppressed – and he overcame the world and his own death.  Jesus was in this because he wants this sexual oppression over women to stop.  I do not know how to stop it on my own – only Jesus has the true power and authority to stop it.  But I can take action by breaking the cycle, the silence and saying – enough is enough – and this stops with me… and this stopping isn’t just for me – it is for my sisters; my dear friends – other women, it’s for my own mother, aunts, sister and her future daughters and those joyous girls in the next generation on the brink of womanhood… This stops with me and the start of something new starts here. 

I pray for my sisters – that you will join me in this – join me in saying enough is enough.  I pray that my brothers will support what I am saying just as Ran Gavrieli said – enough is enough.  Jesus stands against oppression – He is in this and we need to talk about this.

… I feel there is more to this, but for now – this will do… and it is a start of something new.

May God bless you and keep you always. Xx.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

If you have felt distressed/triggered by any of the content here – I encourage you to reach out to support hotlines in your local area.

For Australia:

ReachOut.com

https://au.reachout.com/articles/domestic-violence-support

1800respect for issues relating to domestic violence and sexual assault https://www.1800respect.org.au/

References/links

  1. American Addiction Centre, 2021, ‘Behavioural disorders/porn addiction’, PsychGuides.com  https://www.psychguides.com/behavioral-disorders/porn-addiction/ (Viewed 8/3/2021) (*this link contains Ted-Talk with Ran Gavrieli*)
  2. Alarco, R, Iglesia J, Casado, NM, Montejo, AL 2019, Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352245/
  3. Pietrangelo, A 2019 ‘Everything you need to know about pornography ‘addiction’’. Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health/pornography-addiction

Useful websites for further info:

https://www.dvrcv.org.au/support-services/national-services

https://www.australiacounselling.com.au/symptoms-treatment-pornography-addiction/https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/basics/porn-addiction

How sweet it is to be loved by you (Jesus)

I want to stop and thank you Jesus! How sweet it is to be loved by you!!!

How sweet it is to be loved by you!

May we take a moment to bask in this gloriousness and give God the highest praise of praise for the love of Jesus!! His love is divine and perfect and fills my heart so!

I can’t even write this because all I want to do is dance and praise you!!

So my dear readers, I’ll try and keep it short and ever so sweet.

Over the last few years, I have struggled – like I’m talking the last 11 years I have struggled with self confidence in who I am. My inside never seemed to match my outside… Or I never liked my looks – or my outside never matched my inside. I don’t know which way it truely went but I never thought of myself to be beautiful and I never believed I was on the inside either. Let’s just say, this stemmed from life and being rejected and hurt by life and failed, toxic relationships. Perhaps I placed too much emphasis on the need to be validated and loved externally. I was looking in all the wrong places because I didn’t know better and consequently the girl I once was was crushed by life. Thus crushing my self confidence, self worth and value. It meant I didn’t see myself how others saw or see me or even how God sees me. That was definitely something I struggled with…

To say the least, God has been doing a heart work on me and without me truly knowing until I saw it. About two weeks ago, it was my birthday and I noticed a shift. I actually felt different, more content and grateful in reaching another year. This contentment followed me throughout the day and it was the best birthday I had – not based on the things I did but it came from my heart posture of being content and focused on God.

Then this week, I did my hair and makeup and I had been listening to a song on surrendering my heart to God. (I’ll post it – it’s a beauty.) I took a photo and I was blown away by the woman I saw in the photo. It was me but I’d never seen myself as I did in that picture before. For what I felt on the inside was shining outward. They matched. I looked at this woman who was not the girl she used to be and I felt so much love towards the women I had become and will continue to grow into. I’d never felt or experienced that level of contentment before… And all I can say, is that shift came from God because I didn’t come to that on my own… His love and truth transformed my heart- to knowing I am loved, I am valued and treasured by God. The woman I saw, was how God sees me – the fearfully and wonderfully created being he had intended to create. For the first time, I saw it and I believed it – not in a conceited or proud kind of way – but in truthful and gentle kind of way. It was as though God replaced my eyes with Jesus’s eyes, so I could see how he sees me… Like I said, this level of transformation or heart shift can only come from the grace and love of God.

I say this and share this to say, Jesus love you and sees your beauty too – whether man or woman – he sees your beauty and perfection… And maybe, you don’t believe it right now – but like me, there will come a day when you will. I pray God may heal your heart, transformation your heart and open your eyes to the wonderful human you are. I acknowledge and am sorry for whatever pain or things you have endured in this life that have changed the perception of yourself – but the truth is you are loved, valued and so treasured and created with great purpose to love. But first, we must properly love ourselves and see ourselves as God does – so we can see and treat others with love. I pray your heart’s and minds may be transformed into love. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. Amen.

In parting, I say, thank you Jesus for loving me – thank you for being there when I needed someone. Your love is great and pure and I thank you for loving me.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within…” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)

Wherever you are in the world have a wonderful day, morning or evening. Much love to you from me. Xx

Elizabeth New.

I am deciding to love this year unconditionally.

Today, I am met with another complete rotation of the sun – making it my 38th year!! … A girl never reveals her age but I feel it’s necessary as I never imagined reaching thirty-eight – I never imagined my life the way it is now but I know it is as it’s meant to be because I came to know Jesus… God has sustained me all these years and that glory and praise is returned to him… I may have no idea what this next rotation of the sun will entail in full but I feel excited to be here. I know while there’s still breath in my lungs God is not finished with me yet. I have more to learn, more to earn, more to grow and more to know in God. I have more love to give just as it is freely given to me. I have more things to create and more memories to make and more adventures to go on, more to laugh with and find joy in!! So, I’ve made the decision to love this year unconditionally – I’ll love it before I even know it in full – before I know what it entails. I’ve made the decision to live this year in love… I don’t know how that will translate in daily life but I’m committing to the decision and see where I am led!! 🥰❤️❤️❤️🥰

I will endeavour to make it look something like this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(1 Corinthians 13)

May you have a wonderful day, morning or evening – wherever you are in the world. Xx

I also just have to share this gem!! I may have had it on repeat – it filled me with so much joy – so I’m passing on the joy – happiest of days to you!!

God Hovers over the Darkness

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, ‘let there be light’ and there was light.  And God saw the light was good.  And God separated the light from the darkness…” (Genesis 1:1-31 ESV)

… I was going to do some studying and found myself procrastinating… So, decided to take full advantage of procrastination and do some writing – which was really praying.  I didn’t really know what to pray into, my situation hasn’t changed (besides my resignation – yes that happened.)  But my prayers are the same – even my prayers for the world and friends and family have not changed much either.  In short, I felt like I was repeating myself.  So, I gave God praise and thanks for bringing me into a new day – I thanked him for the light that we have in the world to prevent darkness from taking over.  None the less, as I was praying, the Holy Spirit took over, as He often does and this is what came out and felt it needed to be shared… But first as a little aside, the bible often refers to darkness as everything that is evil, corrupt, and sinful in the world and without God (essentially).  However, in this context, I came to know that the darkness that is referred in the writing below, is about the troubles we have in this life. It is the kind of darkness that is associated with uncertainty and troubles we are faced with in life.  Jesus himself said, that in this life we will not be without trouble.  It is an expected thing, but He will give us a sense of peace that will overcome those troubles – that will surpass all understanding.… He – Jesus is the light that hovers over our darkness…

Without further ado, this is what was written:

“… Light shines to prevent us from being in complete darkness.  We are never truly in darkness.  In these moments, there is always a little bit of light – the light from the moon and stars – the light that leaks under the crack of a closed door.  There is always a source of light.  There is always a little bit of light… unless you are in a dark room intended for (photo) development…

There is a season for both.  There is a season for both – there may be times where you think you are in complete darkness – but your eyes adjust and you can see – but still, in that space there are pockets of light – pockets of hope.

Then there’s a season where you are plunged into a darkroom.  In this season you cannot see – no matter the length of time you try to allow your eyes to adjust – but here you need to rely on other senses – sense of touch, your hearing, memory – your memory acts like a map location of the room – you even have to go at a slower pace – so you don’t stub your toe, so you don’t drop the film and the film can be unwound, removed from the camera and placed into a cannister to be taken into the developing room.  Here you will fumble. Here care needs to be taken – so the thing you are holding on to is not dropped into complete darkness.  Then you will be forced to search the room – until you find it.  If you find it.  The dark room requires careful precision – to allow for the development process to happen.

Development takes time.

Development takes time.  It is not instant. 

It is not instant.

But in here – the development room – the light is different.

There is light but it is different.  It is subtle – it is gentle – because this development process needs gentility – it cannot be rushed if you want to develop the best pictures.  It cannot be done in full or harsh light – this light is gentle and humble – just as you are – gentle and humble.  You may scoff at this, but your greatest strength is your humbleness and your gentleness.  The world is loud and makes a lot of noise, but your gentleness is a great and revered strength.

Do not allow the world to steal your gentle and humble nature – do not conform to the ways of the world.  Do not listen when they say you’re not enough or that you lack confidence because you are not loud enough or don’t make enough noise in this world.  The world is noisy enough – the world is loud enough… You are in the world, but you are not of the world.  You do not need to be like the world. 

You are enough.  You are enough just as you are – you lack nothing.  Do not let the world steal your nature – keep your heart soft.  Forgive – for your heart – not for the benefit of those that hurt you.  Forgive – you do not need to let them back into your life – just forgive them for your heart.  The world will say, this is unforgivable but… Gently, I say, just forgive them for your heart and continue to love – never stop loving. 

Never stop hoping. 

Never stop dreaming. 

Never stop laughing and finding joy. 

Never stop. 

Keep persevering.

Keep going.

Keep going.

If you’re in the darkroom waiting to be developed, preparing for development – here, you’ll be getting ready – to remove the film and transfer it to the cannister.  Be careful in here and remember your other senses will be heightened – use them.

If you are in the dark room and ready to be developed – in here the light will be different – the light is softer – it changes how things look – you may not see the images clearly – until you are taken out of the dark room into the light of day.  There you will see the work that has happened while you were in the dark room – and the images will be perfectly crafted.   Whichever stage of development you’re in, take care – this stage calls for a change of pace – no need to rush.  No need to rush – even if you feel a sense of urgency to get through the development process – it’s ok but go at your own pace.  You may need to take more care – but you will get there.

Stay humble.  Stay gentle – do not let the world steal this from you – especially when you may not look or sound like the rest of the world.  Keep going my love.

Keep going, my love is with you.

My love is with you.  My love is with you.  My love is with you. 

My light is with you.  My light is with you.  My light is with you…

God’s love and light is with you.  Jesus is with you.  Jesus is God’s light and love, and He is with you.  God hovers over the darkness, He will guide you, protect and sustain you.  He is always with you and will always provide a source of light.  God was there at the beginning – hovering over the face of darkness.  He created light – and separated the light from the darkness.  Just as He will separate you from the darkness of your troubles with His love and light.

Remember this:

…When I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness; the Lord will be a light to me (Michah 7:8 ESV)… For it is you who lights my lamp; the lord my God lightens my darkness (Psalm 18:28 ESV)…

…  The night is far gone; the day is at hand.  So, then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12 ESV)… (and then you will know where you’re going)  … Jesus said to them, ‘the light is among you for a little while longer.  Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you.  The one who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may becomes sons of light’ (John 12: 35 ESV)… I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness (John 12:46)… And I will lead the blind in a way they do not know, in a path that they have not known I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.  These are the things I do and I do not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16 ESV)…

… In this life, we will have troubles – we may find ourselves plunged into darkness, but we will have peace.  We will not be forsaken, and we have access to a great source of light and hope – Jesus.

…Thank you, Jesus, for your great light in the darkness.  Thank you, Father God, for your love and your light through Jesus – thank you for separating the darkness from the light.  Thank you for giving us a source of light – so when we are in the night – it is never completely dark.  Thank you for dark – for without the dark we would not have access to the light.  I will say that again – thank you for the dark – for without it, we would not have your light. Thank you for hovering over the darkness – thank you for never leaving us in the dark.  Thank you for guiding us – for making us slow down so we do not drop that thing you want us to develop in the dark room.  Thank you for your gentle and humble light.  Thank you – thank you for Jesus – I cannot thank you enough for your light and love.  You are worthy of all the praise and glory – for all the magnificent things you do, have done and will continue to do.

Thank you, Lord, – my heart is yours and I surrender it you – so you may transform it in the dark room.  I may not be able to see your work clearly, but I know when I step out into the light of day, I will be able to see the exquisitely crafted images you have created in me. I cannot wait to see your work.…  Continue to lead, guide, and transform the blind.  Continue to hover over the darkness and separate the light from the dark… (Oh, my heart aches and swells at your goodness and faithfulness…)  In Jesus’ glorious name I pray, amen.  Amen. Amen.

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Elizabeth New

2021

Re-share Video: It’s not safer in the shallow// what are you anchored to? Michael Todd// Transformation Church

This convicted and challenged me in ways that can only be done by the Holy Spirit and felt urged to pass it on. It seems that God is calling us into a deeper relationship with him, calling us to be truly anchored in Jesus and calling us to trust in Him in ways we haven’t before. To me, this is a wonderful double edged sword – it’s both exciting and terrifying – to let go of the things we want to control and surrendering them to God.

I am right in the middle of this myself.

I am in a position (job) that I know is not my place, it served a purpose as a transition job – to enable me to see what is not me – and to show me that it would lead or push me into where I am meant to be. I am in a position that isn’t held down by a contract – and in that space there was uncertainty, confusion and anxiety about the future. I thought, this is surely a spiritual attack – for God does not intend us to feel uncertain, confused or anxious. I prayed into this and it was revealed to me, or more, my perception was flipped, by the grace of God, to see that there was freedom in that space – I was not bound by a contract which meant I had the capacity to decide to go or stay. I could persevere as we’re called to do as followers of Christ or I could step away and trust God that doors will be opened and I will move into the next opportunity – and that it doesn’t end there.

I was also reminded that I had a future – even though I can’t see that far ahead – all I can see is the confusion, uncertainty and fear that comes with it. But how amazing is God’s grace – His grace in providing that freedom of choice. I have known the last few weeks that I have needed to step-away and trust God. I have known that I cannot pretend to put on a happy-face in an environment that is only going to suck the joy out of me. God will sustain me and Jesus is my strength and my joy but… I know I cannot pretend. I know I cannot sacrifice my joy for the expense of experience and money. I cannot do this because my son needs me, my family need me – my friends and community need me and at my best.

As I was watching this sermon, towards the end – I had a vision of myself letting go of the rope I had been holding onto and I knew (again) what I need/needed (it hasn’t happened yet) to do… In a moment of hot transparency, I’ll admit I was/am scared to let go. I am scared that once that door closes – that’s it. I am scared of going back to where I was financially. I am scared that I won’t move forward but will go backwards. I’m scared to let go – I’m scared to fall backwards into the trust fall – because what if I am not caught and keep falling? These are legit fears. Fears that God has been working through. I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NLT):

This is what the Lord says, ‘you will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord…”

I may not be able to see it now but God has a plan and a future for me – one that is good and not filled with disaster. And the same applies to you too – where ever you are and whatever you’re going through – His plans for your future are good.

To me, this is a reminder that says, in those days of waiting and longing to be moved out of this season and into the next – pray and He will listen. Surrender all your thoughts, worries, concerns – hand them all over to your God – your heavenly Father. He will listen. Your words will not be forsaken – you will not be forsaken. If you search for him with all your heart – through prayer, the word, and worship and you will find Him. He will be found by you and you will truly know that you are not alone in what you are going through – He’s right there with you. He always has been there and always will be there for you and with you.

He has a good future planed for us – and I look forward to seeing what that is.

So, with that in mind, I am going to let go of this rope that I have been wanting to hold onto – slowly uncurl my grasp and see the rope rush through my hands led by it’s weight – I let go completely splaying my fingers and moving my arms outward and away from my body. I let go. I’m free. I’m scared but I trust you God. I can’t do this on my own or in my own strength – but I trust you. You are my strength. I pray that you too will make this declaration over your life – and pray that this settles in your heart and may God grow your strength and trust in him. In Jesus name, amen…

… And so, the message, in the video below is a reminder of what or who are we anchored to – that it is about letting go of our own ropes – and trusting God (as frightening as it may be to let go and trust) with all our heart. And when we’re firmly anchored in Jesus – we won’t be tossed every which way when the storm comes. (And even more than that – it’s about being or showing that anchor point to others when they’re in the storm too. Passing on the love of God.)

The Hand of Jesus

The hand of Jesus is upon you. He draws you close. His hand cups your cheek.

This morning, in church I took a moment to close my eyes and be in the moment as the church sang their praises to God.  During this still moment, I saw the hand of Jesus cup my face and his forehead rest upon mine.  I was so touched by this intimate moment; I was overcome with emotion.  I wanted to share this with the church but felt I needed to stay in that moment… to unpack that moments meaning.  It meant that Jesus was/is near, his touch is tender, and gentle – filled with love – his care is in his gentle touch.  His care is in drawing himself close to you – forehead upon forehead – so all you can see is him.  So all you can feel is his warmth, and his breath upon you.  He draws himself close to you so all you can see is Jesus.

His hand, his gentle touch upon your cheek says more than these words ever will.  These actions say, “I care, I am here, I am with you, I will wipe away your tears.  I will rest my head on yours – keep your focus on me dear child.  Be in this moment with me – be in my presence.  Be in my presence.  Breathe with me.  See only me.  See the change in your own breathing – there is peace in this moment – keep me in this moment – be and breath with me in this moment – stay in my presence.  Stay in my presence.

To me this says, regardless of what you are going through whether it is a small trial, a big trial, or maybe you are in a season of smooth sailing – keep your eyes and focus on Jesus.   He is already there with you, he is close to you, the hand of Jesus is upon you, in fact – he is so close that he is blocking your vision of the turmoil of the world around you – my dear brothers and sisters, I implore you to keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. 

Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3) … Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)…. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2)…  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8). 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you, Father for all you do.  Thank you, Holy Spirit for your guidance and promptings.  Thank you, Jesus for being a lamp upon my feet – for lighting my path and that I may follow you. I know I cannot do life without you.  Thank you, Father for Jesus – my life is so rich and blessed and all the better with Him in it.  Father, thank you that your love flows freely through Jesus – he draws us closer to you. 

Thank you for this moment, for making it known that the hand of Jesus upon our lives – not just our lives – but, his hand is touching us personally.  Thank you, for his love, his warmth, his comfort and peace.  Thank you that Jesus draws himself so close to us that he will block our vision of the turmoil in the world and our lives. 

Redirect our focus back to Jesus when we drift and get distracted by the world – redirect our focus back to your word, back to your presence through prayer and worship – send us running back into your great Holy and loving presence. 

We will keep our eyes, mind and focus on you Jesus – our peace rests with you – you renew our minds.  We love you dear Lord and Saviour with all our hearts, mind and body.  In your name we pray, amen. Amen.

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Author: Elizabeth New

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