Receiving compliments gracefully

Can I ask you all something? How does one receive a compliment well? gracefully and yet not puffed up, accepting but not proud? I think this is almost harder for Christians to do, when we do something well, we want (or maybe think we ought) to give the glory to God, but then how to do that without being pious?
Last Sunday I led the service for the first time. It went well, I think ,and we had a debrief this morning that seemed to echo that (with a few minor details for next time, if there is one…). Lots of people came up and said ‘well done’ to me, people I didn’t even know. Which was lovely and affirming too, especially when I had been very nervous beforehand. But I just didn’t know what to say to people! Just a quiet ‘thank you’ was all I managed or possibly a ‘well you know it was God working through me, not me’ to which 2 people replied, ‘well I think it was a bit of you…’ to which there is no answer! To be honest I wanted them to just go away (which sounds incredibly ungrateful I know, sorry…) it made me feel uncomfortable. Gosh, I’m not in denial I think it went well, but it was just a few words on a stage, it wasn’t anything really meaningful or dramatic. And ultimately the point of the leader is to guide people into worship, into meeting with God, not standing up to be ‘seen’, so I just did what I was up there to do.

I’ve never been good at receiving compliments though. Maybe its a girl thing. If someone says I have cooked a nice meal, I seem to have to make a joke about it or make some trivial comment, if someone compliments me on how I look, I make fun of myself. What is that about? I mean I am a confident person, its not that I don’t necessarly agree with what the compliment is, but I can’t help myself… Is it what is expected of us? because if we accept it too easily then we seem arrogant or proud?

So how does one accept a compliment gracefully? I wish I knew….!

Urgent Prayer Request, please…

I don’t usually use this blog for specific prayer requests. Not sure why, just haven’t felt do do it really. However I am making an exception. If you feel able or can spare a few minutes could I please ask for prayer for a friend of mine. ‘N’ had breast cancer last year, underwent chemo and surgery, and was by the end of the year in remission. Throughout the whole thing I know she felt spiritually uplifted and really grew in her relationship with God hugely.
Sadly last week, after suffering some back pain, she went to her GP, only to be sent for a scan which then showed that the cancer had spread to her spine. The prognosis is that, whilst they can treat it, it is not curable at this stage. The best prognosis she can hope for, medically, is to go into remission again, defined as months or years. She is still only in her early 40s.
Tomorrow ‘N’ has to undergo a further scan to see if it has spread to her liver and lungs. Please could I ask you to pray for her, specifically tomorrow. As a church we will be fasting and praying tomorrow for the following, please join us if you can/or feel able:

1: that N’s pain will go and cancer will bow to the name of Jesus in N’s body, and for a complete healing and full restorative miracle.

2: that the cancer has not spread any further, eg: to the liver and lungs.

3: that they are able to go on holiday with N’s family (due in April) and it does not need to be cancelled due to immediate and necessary treatment. The holiday is signififcant for them as it is abroad to visit her family who they do not see that often, and for family celebrations.

Also, I add: please pray for her family, her husband and 3 children, for them to have strength and comfort at this time. And that God would be with her in a very real and present way, every step of the way.

Thank you for your prayers.

The healing power of God

I’ve been thinking about writing about my relationship with my husband for a while. I haven’t so far in any detail, because it’s not just about me but about us. But recently I have realised that our story is a testimony in itself. Having a long chat with a close relative about my beliefs recently, the one thing that really spoke to him was when I told him about our how I felt God had healed our relationship. And it made me realise how important it is to share our own experiences with those around us. It is so encourgaing to hear from others where God has been working in their lives. After all, you can’t argue with someones personal experience can you? You might not believe it but you can’t say ‘that didn’t happen’ because it is their experience…
Before I start I would like to say that this is just my experience. I am not making statements about marriage as a whole or what I think others should do, this is just what happened to us. And I make no apologies for the length of the post, it could have been far longer than it is!

So anyway… my husband and I will have been married for 10 years this September. We had been together for a few years before that and actually have known each other since we were 10, although only really became friends as teenagers when we both went to the same Church Youth group. We actually got together in our 20s, ( I already had a duaghter by this stage) we went out for a few years before moving in together and then getting married a yeat after that. Although my faith was shaky at that stage, when we said our marriage vows I meant them –  that’s not to say that I think people don’t mean them when they say them, but I took seriously the fact that I was saying thses vows in front of God and not just to those assembled.
So all went well for a few years, life was good. Then we had 2 more children, and they were a total blessing to us. BUT at the same time we were exhausted, we didn’t have much time for each other. The kids took most of our energy and part of this time I was working too. I can’t talk from my husbands point of view, only mine, but I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. In actual fact, I’m not sure I did before – I had gone from college to travelling, to having my oldest (when I was 21). I don’t think I had time to work out who I was or what I wanted out of life and then I became defined as a single mother, then as a wife and a mother again.
And I was desperate to get out. My life revolved around nappies and school runs and cooking and washing…. Don’t get me wrong I loved being at home with my kids, and I know that so many women aren’t able to do that, so I am grateful for that opportunity. However my brain just needed to work! It wasn’t content to be filled with baby mush and there’s only so many conversations you can have about nappy contents before you begin to go insane. (In fact I think most mothers do go a bit insane in those early years, its probably human nature, designed to focus you on your offspring.).
Anyway I needed something. Just something to get me out of the house. If we ever had spare time my husband wanted to be with me, whilst I wanted to be with no one. I had small people hanging off me and making demands of me 24/7 and I needed some time for me. Selfish maybe but thats the way it was. So when my youngest was 2, I started my own business (I never do anything by halves..). There are loads of reasons why I did this rather than find some part time job or do some voluntary work, but they are for another time. It was probably the worst and yet the best decision I have ever made. It gave me back myself. It gave me some direction, I felt like a new person. But it pulled me further and further from my husband. We now had even less time together and he had to help more at home. Though I should say he was totally gracious in the whole thing, he never complained and was always supportive of what I was doing.

So needless to say by now our relationship was really drifting, except that neither of us would admit it. Eventually I broached the subject. Can’t even remember how or why now, but I remember getting to a point and thinking I can’t carry on like this. I’m not sure how he felt at the time, I did most of the talking (no change there then..) but we both agreed that things were not good. We managed to persuade our parents to look after the kids so we could get away for a few days. This was lovely but hard. We talked, we cried, we were silent, we were distant. We both felt that there was little we could do to change the situation. A lot of stuff was aired and we were both very honest but at the end of the week all we could do was to say that we wanted to stay together, but that until our situation changed and the kids were older, there was nothing that we could do to change it. We didn’t disucss counselling/relate or anything like that but we agreed to just hang in there for each other.

We came home and not much had changed, if anything. We didn’t particularly make an effort. In a way as we had both admitted we couldn’t change anything until something changed in our circumstances, I think it meant we had an excuse not to do anything, if that makes sense. So we just drifted along. Six months later we had a big renewal of faith, which I have written about here. It was as we shared this experience, that I feel God healed our relationship, overnight. If you haven’t got time to read the link above, our renewal of faith was due to a builder working on our house who shared his faith with me. I would tell my husband in the evenings about what he had said during the day. Then finally after a few weeks I gave my life to Jesus and prayed with our builder. The following day I led my husband in the same prayer. He describes it as ‘as we fell in love with God, we fell in love with each other all over again’, which is a perfect description.
The cynnical among you will say it was becuase we wanted to fix our relationship, or because we were sharing an experience that we became closer. I am telling you that is not how it happened. We had accepted that our relationship was not going to change, we were resigned to that and we were not looking for a miracle answer. And it was the very fact that it changed so quickly. It was as if while we prayed, God renewed not only our hearts but our love for each other. The way we interacted with each other changed immediately. We wanted to be together, which was especially odd for me because I had spent so long not wanting to be with him, but to be by myself! We were able to relate to each other again. We found ourselves reacting to each other in ways we hadn’t done for a long time, just holding hands and things like that. Suddenly we were both very much ‘together’ again. And that has continued until today. So in a way we were right when we said until something changes in our circumstances it can’t change – it just wasn’t the change that we thought it would be! I cannot begin to explain how I feel about this, about what happened to us, except to say that I know God healed our relationship. For me there is no other explanation.

By the way, yes,  the photo above is us. It’s an awful photo of both of us but I love it because it’s us, happy, having a BBQ breakfast on the beach, which we both love :)

The curse of unforgiveness

We are currently doing a Lent study at church on Prayer, one session a week until Easter. It’s been pretty thought-provoking so far. Last night’s session was on The Lords Prayer, and the speaker particularly touched on the issue of unforgiveness. In the words of the Lords prayer:
‘..Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…’
apparently the original greek makes it more like ‘as we have forgiven those…’ie: past tense. But the main point being that we need to forgive those who have wronged us. How can we approach God if we have unforgiveness in our hearts? If we want to be forgiven we need to forgive first.

Thing is, most of us would say, ‘oh I don’t have any unforgiveness stashed away’.’me? no I’m not an unforgiving type, I dont hold a grudge.’. you know how it goes… but the reality is often very different.  Unforgiveness breeds hate and bitterness, and that isn’t a particularly Christian teaching, it’s just common sense. I mean how often when we are wronged do we feel angry, or bitter towards that person. What if days or weeks later the issue is touched upon? are the feelings still there? It’s so easy to build these things up into huge mountains.

But how hard is it to forgive? even when we really want to? last night a couple of examples were given of people who had forgiven others in absolutely awful circumstances, one where a child had been murdered but they forgave the killer. And yet when it comes to the simple, sometimes we fall at the first hurdle.

It was rather ironic then, that today an issue came up for me in a situation I thought had been dealt with long ago and I was instantly angry. In this issue I felt let down by someone, again, that I trusted. I had, I felt, given them an awful lot at a time when I would probably have been justified (although not in Gods eyes..) to be very angry with them. This situation now affects someone else who I don’t want to be involved as they would feel bad. So the only solution is for me to back down (I will be out of pocket, it is financial…) and let her get on with it. again. I feel thoroughly wronged. I feel like I have a right be to be angry. She is in the wrong. I know she is. It’s not fair.

BUT she is my oldest friend. I know she had her reasons for letting me down before. And I put on her things she wasn’t prepared to give, emotionally I mean. I built her up to be perfect, when she isn’t, she is human. So how much of this comes from me? I can’t really afford to do this, but then actually that isn’t the issue, if I’m doing the right thing I’m sure God will provide. The issue is that I thought I had forgiven her, I thought it was dealt with, but the truth is, it still grates. I still feel our friendship has been affected and I honestly don’t know if it will ever be the same again. But forgiving does not mean forgetting. Our friendship may not be the same again. But I will not let this fester in me and become dark and bitter. So I forgive her. I am not even going to go into what I am forgiving her for, because that makes me ignore my part of it. So I just forgive her. I will forgive her tomorrow for the same thing if need be. and the day after, and next week. and the next time I feel let down by her. I will go on forgiving because I do not want to be eaten up by bitterness, because I know it is not all her fault, I have a part to play, and above all because I want a relationship with my Lord and I do not want anything getting in the way of that.

Laying Claim…

This was the scene on The South Downs at 9.30 this morning.. bliss :)
Having been a bit of a couch potato recently, due to the stupid virus, this week I am claiming back my life. I am fed up with it and I am claiming Gods promises for me. I have needed this time to have a rest, aside from being ill, and there is part of me that feels God had it planned this way. But having read ‘He Loves Me’ by Wayne Jacobsen I’m not so sure. He makes the case that Jesus died for all the iniquities in our lives, he overcame death, it is NOT Gods will for us to be ill or suffer or whatever. I’m not sure I have got my head around all that, as recent posts will show. But what is interesting is that he says for many Christians it is far easier to accept that God might be part of something untoward in our lives, feeling that although suffering one is in His will, makes it easier to cope with. He says we should stand on the word and recognise bad stuff is not of God and fight against it.
I don’t know… but I do know that I have been feeling heaps better and I know God is prompting me to do a few things. One is to get up early to pray, which I used to do but stopped with the tiredness and the other is to start walking again. I love walking, I always feel closer to God when I am out in creation and it is the one thing that keeps me fit! Having done sod all for months my leg-tone is not what it was, and so when I felt the prompting, I was raring to go! I also felt prompted to go up on the South Downs (about a 15 min drive from our house) rather than go round the lanes as I usually do. And what a blessing it was. I didn’t go far (about 4 miles) but it was so beautiful, it was amazingly sunny, the sky was gorgeous and the birds were singing away! (even saw a buzzard). I prayed all the way round. I just opened my mouth and it didn’t stop for an hour. Tongues, intercessing, seeking Him. Wow, it felt so free. I just felt like God was really guiding my prayers, like I haven’t felt in a while. I sat down in a quiet spot to read and have some quiet time and felt so much guidance. I am leading at church on Sunday (eeekkk!! first time) and have been seeking Him about how and what to say, and this morning it just all came. I think this morning just reminded me to 1: be Obedient to his promptings and 2: Stand on Gods promises.
I know He has a plan for me, to propser me and not to harm me and I believe that with all my heart. The last few months have been hard and I’m not over the virus completely yet, but I will not let it define me. I will not make decisions based on how I might feel. I will be strong and trust in Him…

An interventionist God? Part 3

Third and last part of answering Phaedrus’ questions…

When it comes to things like the Tsunami, we can predict with 100% accuracy that god will not intervene in anyway. Why is this? Didn’t jesus say our prayers will be answered? as detailed in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16, etc., etc…?

I don’t agree, we cannot predict with 100% accuracy that God won’t intervene, just as we cannot predict with 100% accuracy the weather or where and when an earthquake will occur.
And, how do we know God didn’t intervene? How do we know it wasn’t going to be worse than it was? Can you say for sure, 100% that he didn’t? Or that he didn’t help save people who may otherwise have died? The truth is we just don’t know. Even for someone who doesn’t believe can you really say that you are 100% sure, that he didn’t intervene?

In terms of natural disasters (I have posted this somewhere else recently!) I think it comes down to the fact that God created our earth, with all its foibles. I am no scientist but I know that if the plates didn’t move the earth would not function as it does. For everything there is a reason (or season…). It still comes down to free will. We know, and have known for a long time which areas of the earth are more susceptible to earthquakes and so on, but we still chose to live there. Now I am not saying it was the fault of the people who chose to live there that they died, not for one second. But we cannot have it both ways. God created the world to work as it does, and when it does, do we blame him for it? That’s hardly fair is it?

In terms of prayer and the references you raise, all of the passages you highlighted are about faith. About trusting in God, Jesus is teaching them, and us, to trust in Him.  I can say with security that my prayers are always answered. They may not be answered in the way I want them to be, I may get a ‘no’ sometimes but I think God is still there listening when I pray. For example I may ask for wisdom, but does God give me wisdom, or an opportunity to show it? If I ask for strength does he make me strong or give me an opportunity to be so? (I read this somewhere recently and would like to give the credit to that person but I can’t remember where it was!)

I cannot tell you why some people are healed (and they very much are) and others are not. I do not know why bad stuff happens to good people, or why prayers are seemingly unanswered, why innocent children die at the hands of drunk drivers or why guilty men get off scott free in court. I don’t know, I do not profess to have the mind of God, but I have faith in Him, as a loving God, who has a plan for all of us, a plan to give us a hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11),

I also know that he can use all things for good. (Romans 8:28). Many Christians I know have suffered greatly over the years, but God has used that suffering in huge ways to enrich them and their lives and their faith.

I’m not even going to start on the whole force for evil/fallen world argument as we’ll be here forever, but that is another point..;)

An interventionist God? Part 2

Part 2 of the questions raised by Phaedrus in my previous post ‘What kind of God let’s that happen?’

Another answer is that divine intervention on such a large scale would leave no room for free will to choose to believe in god.. – But didn’t god and jesus perform miracles of this sort all the time according to the bible?? Did that take away the apostles’ free will to believe? In most of these cases the miracles were performed to prove their divinity to their followers. Even doubting Thomas was allowed to see the risen jesus and touch his wounds to confirm his doubts.

Indeed he did and much of Christianity is based on what Jesus did and what has been recorded about him. How would we know he was the Son of God if he didn’t do what he did at that time? The apostles were the founders of the faith. Their testimony began the modern church. They did not have the New Testament, they were it! Yet they still had free will to believe or not, and not everyone followed Jesus who met him. Not everyone understood what he stood for or who he was and there are plenty of examples in the bible of people who didn’t. Yes Thomas did ask to see the wounds, but as Jesus said

Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:27

I think this is the same today. Some people have amazing experiences where they believe they have seen Jesus or been to heaven, or had angels minister to them. As with Thomas, there are some people who have seen, and some who have not.
That is not to say I don’t believe there is a place for miracles in todays world, I do and I believe they do happen. People think that miracles and helaings died out with the apostles but it isn’t true, they are less apparent in some time periods or perhaps not reported but in the great awakening of the 18th century there are amazing testimonies of travelling preachers who saw amazing things happen. Earlier than that the Wesleys. John Wesley had amazing miracles happen during his ministry. Even just the fact that he was able to speak in the open air to literally thousands of people, with no modern equipment, no microphones, and yet everyone was able to hear him preaching – and often in the face of huge distraction, people often brought in just to make noise and disrupt the meetings. As I said in the original post, Heidi Baker in Mozambique is seeing huge miracles, even claims of people being raised from the dead – that is not the kind of claim you make lightly. I mean its not an easy one to believe is it?

An interventionist God? Part 1

After my post on ‘What kind of God let’s that happen?‘ I was challenged on the purpose and effect of prayer, amongst other things. It challenged me enough to make me think about the reasons why I pray. And I’ve discovered I do pray a lot, from my daily quiet time where I really feel I am growing in Christ, to intercessing for others, those that I know and those that I don’t, to the quick ‘arrow’ prayer when I am out and about. 
In this post, from last week, Phaedrus asked me several questions about Gods intervention (or non-intervention as the case may be). I felt challenged to think about this before blasting off my answers. So having had that time, I’ve been scribbling down my thoughts. The questions are his, and to read the full comment do click on the previous post above or right, but I have included shortened versions. As they are quite meaty I am going to post one a day for the next few days. It would be great to get some debate if people feel so inclined, as I say I felt challenged by the questions so it would be great to hear others view points too.

But didn’t he want us to know his plan? Isn’t that why the bible was written? So god wouldn’t be a mystery? Because he wanted worshipers?

What God wants is a relationship with us, not a bunch of robot worshippers. We worship Him because we desire to not because he asks it of us. Scripture actually tells us that we won’t know all of his plan. When the disciples ask Jesus if he is going to restore the Kingdom to Israel in the Book of Acts, he answers:
It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority”. Acts 1:7

I don’t believe that the bible was written so that God wouldn’t be a mystery – He is a mystery. In the Anglican church we use the words ‘we declare the mystery of faith…’ in standard services, and scripture states in several places that we cannot know the mind of God or always understand his actions. As He says to Job:
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” Job 38:4

If we believe in a sovereign God, then how can we expect to know why he makes decisions or how? Put it this way: if you look at any leader, do you really know why they make the decisions they do? Every leader will have things behind the scenes that they cannot divulge or that we cannot understand, that shape decisions they make. Sometimes those decisions may be unpopular but they have to stand by them knowing they have made the right decision in those circumstances. I think God is a bit like that. He wants the best for all of us and sometimes a decision for one person affects a lot more people than just the one.
Actually, Job is an interesting book because it shows that there is stuff going on behind the scenes that Job and his friends have no idea about and probably wouldn’t understand even if they did.

I think the bible gives us an excellent guide to human nature, in that it includes examples of amazing evil or wrong doing, and also examples of amazing good and giving or loving behaviour. It gives us a good moral code to live our lives by. People say the bible is outdated but it is not, my gosh it’s like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show (or Jerry Springer for the US audience!) in places. You can pretty much guarantee that if you have an issue in your life, it’s been covered in the bible…

A foray into incense

Yesterday I went to visit a different church. My VC has advised me to go and see some different ones. So I thought I’d start with something at the other end of the CofE spectrum to my own church. That is the very far end, practically in Rome..;) I went to St.Bartholomews in Brighton. Legend has it that it was built on the dimensions of Noahs Ark according to the bible, but I haven’t done my research to know whether that is true and most Noahs Ark depictions are shown the other way round – longer and not very high, but anyway I digress….
So I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be just like God to make me love it and want to go into that kind of church… that didn’t happen, much to my relief, I can just imagine my husbands face… But at the same time I didn’t hate it. It was actually rather interesting and I came away with a certain amount of respect for the ‘higher’ church. It was of course very theatrical and lots of incense, and when I say lots, my goodness my eyes were watering at one point, I could hardly see the person in front of me! But it had a real sense of awe and reverence which is sometimes missed in the more evangelical wing of the CofE.  When we went up to communion I actually felt I was approaching something higher and better than me. And the music was amazing. They had a full on choir, singing all the ‘in betweeny bits’ and the sound was amazing – as it is such a big building, so tall – there are no floors in it, its just one storey, it echoed all around. Quite impressive. Well, very, actually
I totally respect the place this kind of church has in the Anglican church, however, what I did feel was, that to a visitor, someone who had not been before or not often, it was all too rigid. Even the hand out told you where to sit/stand/kneel. Which was helpful to be fair, but I kept getting confused and missing the cue! so I gave up in the end and stayed on my chair. Obviously having been in a more traditional church for some time I was able to understand what was going on, but to a visitor it would have been incredibly confusing. This is my beef with some parts of the church (and not all the anglo-catholic ones either) that church should be welcoming and inviting. People should feel able to come and meet with God whatever their circumstances or knowledge of church. Even I felt awkward yesterday and a bit out of place, what would soneone who had no church background have thought?
I was trying very hard to be open and as I have said some parts I did enjoy, but I have to admit to stiffling a giggle when the Priest started singing the gospel, and it was an incredibly long passage… And another thing which does get me is the ringing the bell thing. I mean what is that about? It’s a bit like saying, well the Holy Spirit wasn’t here before but now I’ve said these magic words, hey presto, ring ring, and he’s here…  Perhaps someone can explain to me in better terminology what it is really for?
All that said, I know God was there, I could feel just feel His presence, particularly after communion. Which I was thankful for as I was beginning to wonder..;)

10 Lessons Learned…

This period of rest and recuperation seems to be drawing gradually to a gentle close. Well not a close so much, but I have been having less and less of the nausea and I seem able to do more things now without being exhausted, which is rather nice, to say the least. And on top of that it seems God is calling me into something new and whilst I am a bit worried about getting ill again and doing too much too soon, I know I need to take this leap and trust Him completely. And anyway, what is life without a few risks eh? dull dull dull…

So as I begin to move on, I have been reflecting about what I have learned over this time. If I am not going to make the same mistakes again then I really need to heed those lessons. These are my pearls of wisdom, particularly for women but they could mostly apply to men too! (although perhaps not no.9..):

1. Life should come in this order: God/Family, Church, work, other.
2. If you are tired, take a rest. Even if that is just 5 minutes sit down with a cup of tea.
3. Rest does not mean blogging/reading/housework etc. What it does mean is watching a movie,having a bath or some quiet time (for me this is true, it may be different for each of us. But I found it amazingly useful to actually think about how I relax and what I truly find restful. It was not what I first thought)
4. My relationship with God has grown hugely over this time. In order to keep that as a priority I need to take some time each day to seek Him. I think this is worthwhile for all Christians. After all how we can expect to hear from Him if we don’t even give Him time to listen?
5. Just say NO! Sometimes we have to, (I have to), say ‘no’. Saying no to a request does not make you a bad Christian, it makes you a sensible Christian and far more useful in the long run. Get over the guilt !
6. Similar to point 5, thinking of ones self sometimes, does not make one selfish.
7. You are not superwoman. Intelligent women often fall foul of this. We live in a world where women ‘who can’ are expected to work, be a mum and a wife and a host of other stuff all in one, and then become ‘More magazine Supermum of the year’. This ideal is, frankly, a pile of crap. We cannot do everything, something will have to give somewhere. And I know for me this was my health, and I’m not suggesting everyone who does all of the above will get ill, but we get affected in different ways: relationships with family/friends/temperament etc.
8. Ask for help. If you are overburdened or need help – ask for it. Loving friends would be happy to help out a friend in need without requiring payback. Those who don’t, either have very good reasons for not doing so, or are not your friend. If need be ask again or someone else. Do not try to be the Superwoman from no.7
9. Stop trying to be a man. Sounds stupid but so many women I know try to be all things and all roles. We do not have to be macho to prove ourselves. Women can be strong and solid without resorting to acting like a man. We have great characterisitcs and strengths that most men do not. Use them, rather then trying to take on the mens ones. And for goodness sake if its ‘that time of the month’ do not feel bad for bursting into tears at the school gate (which of course I have never ever done… ;) ) or some other nonsense. Hormones make us who we are!!
10. TRUST. After all God has a plan to prosper us and not harm us. Trsut in Him to do that, whatever crap life throws at you.