Trust

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Took this pic on my walk this morning. So lovely to be out in the fields again, funny how much we take for granted…

I was reminded of this scripture as I walked, just thinking about the path ahead and whether it was going to be uneven (and therefore tricky for me to walk on right now). We have some decisions to make in the near future and I am reciting this to myself. I just need to trust in him….

 

 

Miraculous Peace

Found a few quiet mins to vlog about the peace I feel filled with at the mo. Just want to say, and I know I say this in the video, but I don’t want this to be about me and my experience, but about what God is doing within it, so hope it comes across like that!

Also, got to be honest, was a teensy bit conscious of the neighbours so it’s a bit quiet – turn the volume up!

For I know the plans I have for you // Colouring Sheet

Another colouring sheet… ;)

The scripture for this one was suggested by Fran on the FB page. Got to admit initially I had no idea where to start with it, but as I began God really spoke to me through it. We are at a bit of a crossroads (or will be soon) with lots of things hanging in the air – largely because this time next year we’ll be moving and have no idea where to. This means home, church, schools, for me – work, everything will change. 

Through all the stuff with my back it has certainly made us reassess things and so we decided to ‘put everything on the table’, and ask God to guide is in what is still right for us. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! This will be a process that will take some time and definitely a heap of prayer but drawing out this sheet and colouring it in I felt so peaceful about it all.

The thing that sometimes bugs me about people quoting this scripture is that they take it out of context. The truth is God was speaking to exiles from Jerusalem (who had lost everything) and is telling them to bless where he had put them, he’s talking about putting down roots, about recognising where they are. THEN he says this, which is actually about the long term future (70 years!) for them:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

So this really spoke to me as I think and pray about our future, that no matter where or when he sends us, that we just need to embrace the here and now, recognising we are where He wants us to be…

 

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I’ve had a little bit of trouble with photographing these and uploading them as I’m still rather incapacitated but do leave feedback on the print quality etc. Seems to be a bit grey on mine but might be different on others printers. Also I tend to do them a bit faded so the lines don’t stand out too much – what do people think? In the colouring books they tend to be darker but my preference is not for that – thoughts on that anyone? which would you prefer?

 

Colouring Sheet // Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

IMG_20150624_200819One of these days I’ll be well enough to sit up long enough to actually get back to writing regular proper posts (by proper I mean deep, theological reflection obviously… ahem…). In the meantime here’s another colouring sheet. Got to admit this one’s a bit wobbly in places, I was obviously having a bad day energy and pain wise as I had to Photoshop it too, to cut out the mistakes!

Another of my fave scriptures, this design is based on a paper cut I did back in my artist days, from 1 John 4:18 and a slightly simpler design. As with the others, feel free to download and print for your own colourful creative use, or share with others.

Perfect Love

The ‘Worship’ argument

Some of the most ‘worshipful’ people I know are those who lead (musical) worship in charismatic churches. One of them happens to be my husband.

So when I read, as seems to be with alarming regularity, of negativity towards modern worship I get a bit riled. Frankly I find plenty of the old hymns dull and dirgy, we sing them because it’s right for that liturgical season and often people don’t even know them. But, I recognise the beauty and the diversity of the church and I don’t spend my time moaning about it.

Last night there was a Twitter discussion going on about modern worship, I read some of the tweets to my husband and could feel myself getting more wound up so I chose instead to sleep rather than enter the debate. But this morning I find it is still irking me, so it’s all coming out here…

…o0O0o…

Let’s start a few steps back…

Obviously worship is not just about music, I know that. Music is just a part of our worship to God and there are plenty of scriptures about praising and worshipping God through song and through music, but we are called to worship God whatever the season or circumstance. In the way we live our lives, or the way we deal with others, in the way we do our work and of course in the way we come before God. Our church services are ‘acts of worship’, everything within them becomes a part of that act of worship, from the welcome, to the liturgy to the prayers, to the preaching and of course to communion. I’ve said on many occasions one thing I love about the Church of England (which can make it a difficult place to be too) is its diversity. The church is broad and embraces different ideas, different ways of doing things, including worship. But for us all we are united in our love of God.

We have the luxury of being able to choose our place of worship just as we would choose a place to live. We find a place we feel at home where we feel comfortable, Loved, able to be part of something. So of course we will not always agree on the way we should form an act of worship and that’s fine. What is not fine is knocking other parts of the church. I mean we’re not talking about heresy here, we are talking about personal opinion! Just as I dislike dirgy hymns, some dislike modern worship music, but we all have a choice not to listen to it or engage with it! We have a choice to worship in the way we feel most comfortable which seems perfectly in line with the fact that God has created us all differently – isn’t it right that we would then approach him in our own different ways?

…o0O0o…

But just for the record… the worship leaders that I know have an amazing heart to worship God. They don’t just turn up to be part of the ‘band’, wanting to ‘look cool’. No, they spend time in prayer seeking God for the right songs play on any given occasion. They think carefully about the subject of the service that day or about what has been going on in the life of the church. They rehearse meticulously, they turn up to church hours before anyone else in order not just to set up but to rehearse and to pray, putting that mornings offering of praise into God’s hands before it’s even begun. Yes they want to do what they do well, and that’s why they put the hours in, but it’s not for themselves or their own glory, it’s about giving their best possible offering to God.

I know there will be some who lead worship who perhaps don’t take this attitude, just as there will be service leaders, musicians and organists in any church who don’t, but I have personally learned so much from working with this team of people who are so committed to just worshipping God and leading people into God’s presence, with the gifts that He has given them.

…o0O0o…

 

I was struck recently with the story of the Bali nine which you may have read about – men approaching death singing God and praising in the last few minutes of their lives. The two songs that we read publicly that they sang were the old hymn Amazing Grace and the new song by Matt Redman 10,000 reasons (Bless The Lord Oh My Soul). Seems a good example to me that those who were literally facing death chose to worship God, and in that moment they were enabled in that by singing two songs of worship written at very different times and by very different people, but both fulfilling their purpose as a form of worship to God and enabling people to worship him.

…o0O0o…

So next time you want to moan about the ‘Jesus is my boyfriend songs’, or the repetitive nature of modern worship songs, why not take a step back and think about the heart behind it. The heart of worship, the heart to seek God, the heart to enable others to meet with God, the heart to know God more. That’s what really matters.

 

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By the way these photos are from a worship event we did at our church called ‘The Altar’, it was 24 hours of worship, embracing many different forms including creativity, a passover meal, teaching, prayer, silence, and yes music. It was one of the most special times I have ever had, truly feeling in the presence of God.

Quick back update

Thanks again for all the nice emails/cards etc, here’s where I am up to…

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Selfie on my (short) walk

So it’s 2 weeks tomorrow since the surgery. Amazing really, seems to have flown by. Got to admit the first week was pretty grim, I was really struggling with the after effects of the anaesthetic and drugs etc. Since then it has been rather up and down, I guess I expected a gradual improvement but it has been very varied. However in the last few days I seem to a have turned a corner. I’m only taking paracetamol (and the occasional ibuprofen when needed), and I’m walking further. In fact today I walked round the field behind our house, it’s probably about 1/2 mile in total and included a stile (or perhaps ‘style’ as in my slightly limpy, incredibly slow walking way). It seems crazy to be measuring progress in such small steps but considering I haven’t been able to walk more than a few yards for 6 weeks, this is a massive achievement! I’m still spending a large amount of time lying down and I think I will be for some time yet, but at just 2 weeks post op I’m ok with this. Plus, I still feel an amazing amount of peace in all this, God is soooo good! (I’m planning to vlog about this peace thing in the next few days, much easier than typing at the mo!)

So, I’ve been measuring each day by making a list of small achievements and nice things in my journal so that I can remind myself when I’m having a bad day pain-wise of how far I have come. Here’s some of my faves so far…

  • The early days – spending hours listening to my 8 hour worship playlist on the iPod This totally got me through!
  • Managing to take a shower unaided! (on day 5 – oooh smelly)
  • Saving a bumble bee (day 10) (It was dying stuck by a window so I gave it a spoon of sugar water and it revived and flew off, made me feel so good that I had been able to do something useful in a time when there’s not much I can do!)
  • Being unable to sit for long I’ve been missing the sunshine, until I realised the garden table was the perfect height for lying on – hey presto makeshift bed in the sunshine :) (day 9) Of course it has pretty much rained ever since…
  • Realising I can put my tea mug in the top rack of the dishwasher (day 8) 
  • 2015-06-17 16.09.42Getting to grips with the ‘nimbus 2000’ (right) which enables me to do all sorts of basics (like putting on knickers which had been a tricky one!)
  • Errr, how can I put this, there was ‘movement’ on about day 5, which post op had not been happening… such blessed relief! (sorry for TMI lol!)
  • Praying for prophetic words for people and sending notes with them.
  • Watching all the Darren wilson movies – so inspiring
  • New coloured pens… the simple joys
  • Getting creative again for the first time in years
  • Discovering ‘suits’ on Netflix and that there’s several series to watch :)

So there we are. 2 weeks in and I’m improving, that’s about the size of it. I did a little vlog for my church family here if you want to know a bit more (foolishly shot in portrait, clearly my brain is not quite back to normal…)

If you are the praying type, please keep praying, I really do feel covered in it. Thanks.

 

Colouring Sheet / For the Glory of God

glorysheet2_JPGSo as I said, I have a few more weeks lying on my back not able to do much so here’s another colouring sheet! One of my fave sentiments – do all things for the glory of God. Not ourselves, or others, just to give Him glory :) (based on 1 Corinthians 10:31)

I’ve left more blank space in this one so you can be creative in the gaps!

Feel free to print and share. Not done many of these but I suspect there will be more to follow so please let me know of any changes that could be done to make these more useful, or make suggestions of scriptures I could do. I have a lot of time on my hands at the mo!

 

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Colouring as prayer – 10 tips

coloursquare1So it may not have escaped your notice that this year I’ve got a bit more creative again, and more specifically in the last few months as I’ve been laid up and off work with a bad back. I’ve been mostly lying in bed or on the floor for weeks, which has meant I can’t do much, and a packet of coloured pens and my journal has brought me much joy :) You can read about that in a selection of my posts over the last few months (check the prayer doodling category – see right).

But, with that in mind, I thought I’d share some thoughts on colouring as a form of prayer. Because I have wondered sometimes whether I’m colouring just because I’m enjoying it (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) or actually as a form of prayer. Colouring seems to be massively in at the mo for adults as a form of relaxation and de-stressing – which probably says a lot about our lives if we need to sit and colour to relax – but thats a-whole-nother-post. I doodle or draw or colour as a form of prayer and judging my the number of retweets and hits I’m getting on these posts others seem interested too. So here’s some ideas on colouring/doodling as prayer that have occurred to me over the last few weeks…

1) Actively make it a form of prayer. So for example, don’t just sit down and decide to colour, give it to God first, a simple prayer, offering the time to God. When I colour or doodle I always start by just giving to God as an offering so even if I don’t pray as I do it, I know and he knows it’s an offering to him.

2) You could put on worship music in the background while you colour.

3) Listen to the bible (thanks to @theVicarswife for this one) who told me she was listening to the bible whilst colouring on a certain scripture. If you don’t have an audio bible (and let’s face it who does!?) Bible Gateway has the option to listen to any scriptures for free and you can get it as an app for your phone/ipad etc too, so what you waiting for?!

4) Pray coloursquare2for people as you colour. For example I like to think of each colour or section/shape as a person or situation. As I colour in that section or every time I use a particular colour I pray for them. Or you could recite the Lords Prayer or the Jesus Prayer as you colour too, whatever feels right for you.

5) If you’re not sure where to start there are a couple of sheets on here you can print out and colour in, and I’ve got a few more weeks off work yet so there will probably be more! Just print one out and start colouring. But also there are lots of existing beautiful colouring books out there on the market, they may not be scriptural but you can still pray as you colour!

 

and if you want to be a bit freer than just colouring between the lines:

6) Doodle or colour on a particular scripture. I find this really helps me to focus on the words and mediate on them. Try drawing in lines first then colouring in.

7) How about colouring your way through a chapter or book of the bible? Ok maybe that’s a bit ambitious, so maybe take a verse at a time and doodle how it makes you feel, and colour as you go.

8) Be expressive. I usually doodle in my journal which no one gets to see except me (and God obvs). so I don’t  care if it looks a mess. Some pages are just scribbles but it helps to express what I’m feeling. You might find you need to express a particular emotion but can’t find the words, draw some shapes, colour them, in whatever way you see fit. It doesn’t have to look like anything, Get creative, create a glorious mess! it is so freeing…

9) Use shapes, lines and ccoloursquare3olours to express yourself. Anything goes. If you want to depict something specific from a scripture like flowers or animals, great, but equally you could just use squares, wavy lines, arrows, hearts, hey blobs will do!

10) Remember it means something to you and to God. It’s a time for him, a time for you so whatever you do you know he’s going to love it :)

 

Happy colouring!

More on praying and doodling here, here and here as a starter!

More Prayer Doodling (& a bit of colouring)

LoveSo I tweeted a prayer doodle I had been doing (in black & white) and the lovely @thevicarswife suggested I copy it before colouring so that others could colour it in. Seemed like great idea so that’s what I’ve done. As I’m still pretty immobile the B&W version is not the greatest, but I’ve printed and coloured a version of it myself and it works ok (all whilst lying down no less!!)

So here it is. B&W version just for show (left) and a larger pale one below for printing and colouring. I hope it will be large enough res to copy and print but if you want a better version drop me a message and I can email it to anyone who wants it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what love looks like and I love this passage in John 13. I mean if Jesus tells us to love as he loved – that’s pretty outrageous seeing as he died for us: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ he said. So what does that look like for us today, there’s the question?

 

Colouring Sheet

 

Outrageous Love