Mercy.

 Mercy is what we as a blog and community are exploring this month. Mercy is a confusing one, especially after just looking at grace. i am always mixing it up with grace in all honestly or just plain thinking they’re the same. 

Mercy is another word that we use all too often when we dont even know the meaning of it. We want to make this word as clear to you as possible and help you understand it as we also understand it more.
Mercy is defined as: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within ones power to harm or punish”
So basically, that means being forgiven or shown love even when you have done the worst thing, even when you don’t deserve it, even when we deserve to be punished.
This is what God’s mercy is.

Grace and mercy have similar definitions but they’re most definitely not the same.

Grace is: ” God blessing us even when we don’t deserve it. -extending kindness to the unworthy.”

Mercy is: “God not punishing us even when we deserve to be. -deliverance from judgement.”

Mercy is when you’ve ran from god, but He still loves you and He still forgives you. Mercy is when you’ve committed the worst sin, so bad that you shouldn’t be forgiven, so horrifying that you couldn’t even imagine God loving you or forgiving you ever again, but He does.

Has a friend ever done something or said something that hurt you so much that you couldn’t bare to even think about forgiving them or even saying it’s okay. So you both just fall out of friendship instead of forgiving eachother and moving on. Or even maybe you’ve ‘forgiven’ that person and you’re still friends but you’re not as close anymore, and there’s still that bitter feeling there. That’s how humans work.
God doesnt work like that. Once you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven, once you’ve done that bad thing, He still loves you and He will still forgive you. There’s no bitterness and there’s not a thought in the back of His mind saying, but she done that or he did this, i cant forgive him or I cant love her again. He won’t fall out of love with you, He simply forgives.

He loves you and wants you to know that. He wants you to know that you’re forgiven no matter how terrible that thing is you’ve done.
Know this. Know that He forgives you, even when you deserve to be punished, even when you don’t deserve the love He gives you. 

I pray that this helped at least one of you understand this word better and understand the real, truly amazing and beautiful meaning of the word. 

Love, She Spreads Light xo 

Makeup must-haves

In todays post, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my all time favourite makeup products. This is basically a list of products that I would recommend which is perfect for those of you who are looking to try new things or are starting out in makeup.

Foundation-

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This foundation is one of my favourite drugstore/affordable foundations because it has a lovely medium but buildable coverage but still looks natural. I also love that they have a good shade range so there is something for everyone- including all of us with a fair complexion. I like the idea that they have two different formulas; one formula is more suited towards normal to dry skin ( the one I tend to go for), the foundation itself is glowy on the skin and doesn’t sit in any dry patches. They also have a foundation formulated for more oily to combination skin types that has a matte finish if you are worried that dewy foundation might not be flattering on your skin type.

Concealer-

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This concealer has literally been the only concealer I have used for years, I’ve lost count of how many times I have repurchased it and it’s definitely one of the best affordable concealers out  there! At only £4.19, this concealer has great coverage for using on both any imperfections or redness you may want to cover up and to use under the eyes to cover up any dark circles. I use the lightest colour which is great for fair skin, however this colour can also be used by those with light to medium skin tones to brighten under the eye. Finally, this concealer is great because it has great longevity, lasting all day, it doesn’t crease or move when set with powder.

Highlighter-

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If you haven’t yet tried highlighter, there’s only one drugstore highlighter you need to worry about! The sleek highlighting palettes are one of the best and ne of the most reasonably priced highlighters you can get your hands on. My personal favourite is the solstice palette because the colours are just stunning. This palette of mine is very well used and will give you a very intense glow when you spray your brush with a bit of setting spray or a natural glow if you use it sparingly. I tend to use a small fluffy brush to apply the product to the tops of my cheekbones, down the centre of the nose, cupids bow and wherever else you feel like it.

Eyeshadow-

I couldn’t just choose one eyeshadow palette so here are a few of my favourites depending on your price range and what you tend to go for.

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All of these eyeshadow palette have very high pigmentation and blend nicely into the skin and the shadows themselves are all very smooth. If you are on a low budget and only wear eyeshadows on a rare occasion, I would recommend the Tanya Burr eye palettes as they have a nice range of very wearable colours that are easy to use. If you are a makeup lover, you need to try the Morphe palettes, they are great value for money and there are loads of colours to choose from depending on what shades you like to wear. The ABH palette is a little pricey, however the quality of these shadows are out of this world! The shade range is stunning and has a nice variety of mattes and shimmers. You can easily recreate those gorgeous rusty red eyeshadow looks and warm brown smokey eyes you see all over Instagram, because chances are they have used this palette.

*note* – They do not currently sell the Tanya Burr Hollywood eye palette, however, there are other gorgeous alternatives in her collection. I decided to include this as I am a fan of the brand and the eyeshadow formula!

Brows-

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This little brow kit is great for beginners as it is affordable and it comes with a wide range of shades ( suit everyone!), it also means that if you don’t exactly know what shade you like more, you can try different colours and even mix shades to create your ‘perfect brows’. Another reason I love this kit is that it comes with a brush and a mini pair of tweezers to its great for travelling as it has everything you could  ever need. The colour fairy cake; which is an off white shade with a tiny bit of shimmer can be applied on the brow bone to highlight the brow, the shade pebble is great for blondes and lightening other colours, the shade chestnut is great for redheads and warm brunettes as it has a warm tone to it and the shade hot cocoa is great for dark hair and can be used to darken the other colours. Personally, I use a mixture of pebble and hot cocoa for my eyebrows.

Mascara-

This is quite a new mascara from Maybelline, but I have been obsessed with it as soon as I tried it on, this mascara is great for achieving the voluminous lashes of your dreams!Maybelline mascaras are in general some of my favourite affordable mascaras out there, I love the lash-sensational mascara and The Falshies mascara range.  The wand is tapered at the end which means that you can get right in at those inner lashes and its also great for the lower lashes. This mascara isn’t clumpy at all and is very easy to apply, it is also quite easy to remove with an oil based makeup remover such as Garnier 2 in 1 makeup remover.

Lips-

These have a lovely velvety formula and dry down matte for a long lasting liquid lip, I like them because they aren’t drying on the lips and aren’t too thick, so they are very comfortable to wear but still very pigmented. They have a very extensive shade range, from nudes to bright to vampy dark lips- there’s something for everyone!

Shades from bottom to top: Ruby Woo (retro matte), relentlessly red (retro matte), viva glam x Ariana Grande lipstick (matte), Brick-o-la (amplified lipstick), kinda sexy (matte), flamingo (lustre).

Another one of my favourite lip products are the MAC lipsticks they also have a huge range of colours and formulas so that if you don’t like matte lipsticks, then they have crème sheen and lustre formulas which are more creamy and light on the lips. The retro mattes are extremely matte and very long lasting, however slightly drying on the lips so make sure to apply a lip scrub and lip balm before use to get the best finish. The matte formula is much less drying and feels smoother on the lips but is still quite long lasting with great pigmentation. I adore all the colours and use them all regularly, if you are looking for a good quality lipstick, I would definitely go for MAC! You are bound to find the perfect colour for you because they pretty much have every colour under the sun.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you get some great new makeup loves, Lauren xx

 

 

Welcome Home

Sweet One. Stop striving. You know that feeling when you are simply so tired. When the world isn’t in colours because your brain doesn’t actually have enough energy to compute them. When you feel empty and lifeless and full of regret. When you believe you are the sum of; the words you have said and those that have been said about you. It is so easy to get bogged down in the ideas of others, the pressures of who people want you to be and what they want you to do. And you know the worst bit about it – sometimes you don’t even realise the pressure you are under and how it shapes who you are becoming.

There’s a quote that says only diamonds are created under pressure. Yes that’s true – but I don’t believe we were created to be lifeless rocks that are admired and sold for a fortune. Things crack under pressure too – they break. Most of the time when something is under too much pressure it breaks and causes a disaster. So tonight I’m not going to write about some flowery, cliché quote in the hope that you will find truth and motivation. We are going to delve into the deep grit of the bible. The ugly parts, the parts we don’t understand – the whole thing. Why? Because all scripture is fundamentally written by the hands of men but the heart of God.

That means that what is written and what the bible says – is the truth. It’s the truth. Even if we don’t understand it, even if our culture screams something else at us, even if our hearts really struggle to believe it – it is truth. God has written this beautiful book for us – for you. For you to open it and be inspired, to get creative, to be encouraged, built up, corrected – because he loves us. The depth of God could never be more beautifully expressed that the harrowing image of the cross. So for all of you tonight who feel beat up and spat out this is for you. For you – who feels like you are crumbling under the pressure. Know there is a way out and his name is Jesus. His arms are always open to welcome you home.

The underlying theme of Hosea is that you are valuable. Value isn’t something that you have. It’s something that you are. God so divinely knit you together to be you. Because you have something locked inside of you that only he can unlock. Something that the whole world needs. Something beautiful. Value is part of your character – things that you touch become valuable simply because you are there. The people around you are so valuable.

Gomer was valuable, Israel was and is valuable. That’s why this book was written. To fundamentally reveal to Gods people that they’re chosen, that they’re valuable. That therefore what He has for them is greater than how they are currently living.

Gomer made huge mistakes everyday – she ran, she betrayed, she hurt others and hurt herself. Sound familiar? She got lost admits what she thought she deserved because she didn’t realise that she was made worthy of something so much more.

She didn’t realise that every dream that goes to waste finds new life before his face – he gives all you could desire and so much more. – K.DiMarco

 

In our first blog post about Gomer’s story we saw how she never believed her life could end up the way it did. God wrote this book about a whole nation not one individual – Gods power can redeem a whole a nation for he plans our rescue before we even want him. He is able to rescue you. When we let him in, we see we have value beyond anything that could compare.

So Hosea and Gomer. I hope you have enjoyed it. Words can’t express how much of a privilege it is to create something that I love for a community of people I love. Live knowing your name is value, that God doesn’t create anything to be wasted. You are always welcome home no matter how many times you wander.

Hosea 14 –
O Israel, come back! Return to your God!
You’re down but you’re not out.
Prepare your confession
and come back to God.
Pray to him, “Take away our sin,
and accept our confession.
Receive as restitution
our repentant prayers.
Assyria won’t save us;
horses won’t get us where we want to go
We’ll never again say ‘our god’
to something we’ve made or made up.
You’re our last hope. Is it not true
that in you the orphan finds mercy?”
4-8 “I will heal their waywardness.
I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out.
I will make a fresh start with Israel.
He’ll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring.
He’ll put down deep oak tree roots,
he’ll become a forest of oaks!
He’ll become splendid—like a giant sequoia,
his fragrance like a grove of cedars!
Those who live near him will be blessed by him,
be blessed and prosper like golden grain.
Everyone will be talking about them,
spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods.
From now on I’m the one who answers and satisfies him.
I am like a luxuriant fruit tree.
Everything you need is to be found in me.”
9 If you want to live well,
make sure you understand all of this.
If you know what’s good for you,
you’ll learn this inside and out.
God’s paths get you where you want to go.
Right-living people walk them easily;
wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.

Show up.

I often hear people say “if I walked into that church, it would fall down around me.” I don’t know if anyone else really says this, but I’m going to explain what it means to me when people say it. Some of my relatives say it a lot, especially when there’s an event involving a church like a wedding, a funeral or a confirmation. It means to me that the person feels they have too bad a life to enter the church doors, they’re not pure enough, they do things that are ungodly, they’re just not a good person full stop. My heart breaks when I hear people say this, because personally I think that’s what people think of God and the church. So many people think that the church is a dictator, a judge. People think that when they sit in that church , the pastor is just sitting there judging them, judging their past, judging what they do, just judging and dictating what’s right and what’s wrong.

You do not have to have a perfect life to have a relationship with Jesus
. I find that one of the most amazing things about his grace. Knowing that when I walk into a church on a Sunday, I am loved, I am forgiven I am known and the church building most definitely will not fall down around me. I do bad things, I say bad things I act ungodly sometimes. That doesn’t change His undeniable grace over me. And it doesn’t change for you either.
Maybe you want to know God more , maybe you want to go deeper and maybe find a church to help you do that. Maybe you have already asked Jesus into your life, but you don’t go to church. Maybe you’re afraid of the judgement, maybe you’re afraid of not having anyone there with you that you know or maybe it’s just too daunting to take that step. It is scary. I know it all too well.

My friend and I recently started going to a new church. We are both the biggest introverts you could get, it’s hilarious. On Saturday night our conversation goes something like this:

“Are you going to church tomorrow?”
“I’m going if you’re going”
“Cool, see you tomorrow”

Then, we will go on a Sunday to church and after we’re too afraid to talk to anyone else, so we talk to each other complaining how stupid we look with no friends in church.
Or It will go something like this:

“I cant go to church tomorrow, I’ve got something on”
“I’m not going either then, I have no friends. I’ll be a wee spare spoon”

Yep, “wee spare spoon” were the exact words too. (that basically means loner/by myself) if one of us don’t go to church on Sunday, the other won’t because of the fear of not having anyone there with us that we know. Another thing is if someone is out the night before, they might say “I couldn’t face the church today because of what I was like last night, I just couldn’t.” The fear of being judged in our minds is greater than Jesus at these times. But let’s get one thing straight. God’s grace is so much bigger than the fears. Even if someone doesn’t go to church because they were out too late, or even if they just don’t go to church because their friends not there or maybe, they’ve turned up to church with a hangover, even if you’ve done the worst imaginable thing. The church will not fall down around you. His grace is so great, your life doesn’t have to be perfect to have the privilege of experiencing that. The church isn’t judging you and God isn’t judging you.

“20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

-Matt 18:20

Show up.  no matter how big the fear is. Your fear may be big, but your God is bigger!

Filling the void

20170418_182214Most of us have a period of time when we’re journeying through life with Jesus, that we feel distant and feel unloved. No matter how much faith I have and no matter how much love I have for  Jesus, there is always that one patch, that week or month or however long, where you still love Jesus and you still have so much faith, but there’s something wrong, there’s something that is stopping the love of Jesus from filling you up and you start to feel unloved and abandoned. I remember when I first became a Christian, I loved it, I was so filled with joy and felt so incredibly loved, but not so long after, it disappeared, it was almost like Jesus just left me in the middle of the night with a note to say He doesn’t love me anymore.

I found things to fill the void that I thought Jesus had left. Going back to things that were so evident that I wasn’t okay and I wasn’t happy. Some days are harder than others and that’s okay, making mistakes are okay because his grace is so good and He has an undeniable mercy for each and every one of us. But that doesn’t mean that we should go and do these things out of anger or hatred or because we’re feeling unloved, and we shouldn’t keep going back to these things because they might fill the void, but they won’t give you the joy that Jesus gave you before.

***

Dear Hosea,

I’ve left.

Don’t come looking for me. I don’t love you anymore. I’m exhausted with you, I’m sick and tired of the kids and changing nappies and cleaning up puke in the middle of the night. I’m sick of you loving your God more than me, and giving him more attention than you ever gave me. I’ve left the children with the neighbours and left.

Bye.

-Gomer”

That’s the letter I left to Hosea. My husband, the man I thought loved me.  I mean he did love me, I think he did. He saved me from the utter mess of my life, he said the vows “till death do us apart.” I don’t really know what love is, but it felt like love, until recently. I didn’t feel loved. I was completely exhausted and tired of him, his preaching, how could I be a preacher’s wife if I didn’t even know God if I don’t love him and he didn’t love me? Hosea loved to preach and loved to give his audience more attention than me and his kids. I don’t understand how he could name his children “unloved” and “not my people”, how heartless could you be? Yeah, maybe I did cheat, maybe I was unfaithful to him but I don’t understand how he could know that, so surely it wasn’t that.

Hosea left for work one evening. I got the chance, and I took it. I left the kids next door, wrote a note and left. I went back to my old life. I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t wait to see everyone again and be welcomed with open arms and smiles. I thought I was the easy way out. I thought this would be the way it would be. I thought the paths would be straight and flat, with no obstacles in the way, but they weren’t, not like usual. The paths I knew so well became paths that felt like I never traveled before. I was completely and totally lost. I didn’t know where to go. I couldn’t go back to Hosea. He would never forgive me. So I was homeless. Left completely alone on the streets. No shelter, no clean clothes, no money. Nothing.

“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’”

Hosea 2:6-7

Then something amazing and unbelievable happened…

~Gomer.

***

You see, we are more like Gomer than you would ever believe. If we said that Gomer was us and Hosea was God, would you relate? Definitely. Gomer felt distant, she felt unloved, she felt exhausted. Gomer Felt these things. She wasn’t these things.

These things she felt made her feel somewhat empty, so there she went and found something to fill that void. She left her world behind. Her husband, her children, her home, her new life. And she went back to her old life. The miserable, homeless, poor life where she spent her nights sleeping around just to get by and buy a meal. She filled the void by sleeping around and getting just enough money to eat.

Hosea loved Gomer incredibly and abundantly, just like God loves us undeniably. We often find things to fill the void whether it be alcohol, relationships, sex or drugs when we feel distant from God and when we feel he isn’t with us. It’s so important to know that when we feel like this, He is still with us and He does still love us and He wants you to be happy. We know that He will never leave us, so why do we allow the devil to make us believe it? He is always there and He will always love you. Stop looking for something to fill the void and start looking for Jesus. I Promise it will be completely fine!!

SSL. x

*It was an absolute privilege to carry on in Shannon’s Legacy for part 3 of the last 2 parts. I pray that I didn’t take anything away from her beautiful adaptation of the story, or indeed the Original story and I hope you enjoy part 3 as much as I enjoyed writing it and as much as you enjoyed Shannon’s posts.

– Katelyn.

 

 

Take Me Back

When I came to church for the first time – I hadn’t really grew up a church kid. One of my first experiences of a kid’s camp was leading one. Whoever was doing the memory verse used to say it in all different voices? Remember that? That’s where I’m going with this.

God is at work in your circumstances. (Normal)  GOD IS AT WORK IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. (Shouting) God is at work in your circumstances. (In a whisper) God ooh eeh ahh – is – ooh – working – in – eeh ahh – your circumstances. (That’s a monkey – in case you didn’t catch that).

BUT SERIOUSLY. God is at work in your circumstances. Sometimes you just need to hear that. Timing cannot diminish His love or His power to work within your life. The next instalment of the story of Hosea and Gomer proves that. Our lives are living proof of it.

 

She ran away. I don’t really know if it was out of fear, shame, or pride that she did it. To be honest the reason for running from me is not the reason I pursued her. I didn’t chase after her because I wanted to know why she ran from me – why the life I had offered her wasn’t enough. I simply went after her because I loved her; I didn’t love her past and I didn’t know about her future. But I knew I loved her. I didn’t even go after her because of the kids or her responsibilities. I didn’t go after her because I wanted to control her like so often other church men paint a picture of. I wanted to go after her because I loved her with a love that felt like peeling of the layers of an onion and crying at the release of every layer. Because each layer revealed something even more beautiful about her. When onions do what onions are supposed to do they create an incredible flavour that nothing else can create. So could Gomer if she was only given the opportunity.

That’s the thing about Gomer. There is something inside of her that I am willing to fight for. What she believes she deserves is not what I have bought for her. The price I have paid for Gomer has led to sleep-less nights and empty pockets. It has led to me giving everything for her and the truth is I don’t hold it against her that she ran. All I want her to know is that in me she finds full safety, full protection, and the fullness of provision – because I know her better than anyone else.

Then God ordered me, “Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.” I did it. I paid good money to get her back. Then I told her, “From now on you’re living with me. No more whoring, no more sleeping around, you’re living with me and I’m living with you.” – Hosea 3 v 1-5 MSG

Hosea.

You see Gomer was never created to whore herself. She was bought with a price, she was cherished. Hosea was willing to give everything up for his wife. Just like God gave everything up for us. He created a world with you in mind. He sent his son with you in mind. He thought you worthy of His love, He thought you worthy of His son. He sees the inside you. Not the one plastered with a smile but the true darkness that goes on behind closed doors. He sees that part of you and says I love that part. I love the darkest, dirtiest, most shame filled parts of you and I am going to send my son to die for you so that I can love you back to full life.

God seeks us out just like Hosea sought out his wife. He seeks you out because you were never intended to live in shame. You were never intended to believe lies that you are worthless and unworthy of love. You were never created to be dictated to by your surroundings. For Hosea and Gomer it didn’t look like God was working in those circumstances. It looked like the world had won and that Hosea should just give up. But just like God he didn’t. He pursued Gomer. God pursues you. He is NEVER distant. He is NEVER bringing you shame. He is full of grace – waiting to love you back to life.

SSL Team x

His Grace covers you. 

Hey, you. 

I think that often we remember parts of our past which are broken. The parts which aren’t particularly positive memories and the chapters that aren’t really nice to think of. I know that a lot of us have broken pasts, many of us are going through a patch which is so cracked and so broken that it is so hard to even piece together a few steps. Whether the brokenness is right now, in the past or in the future, it’s relevant to us all.

If I’m being honest, sometimes I think things like why did God save me when I did this and why does He love me when I do this and why did He choose me and why… and the list goes on and the whys get longer.

I’m continuously baffled by the love and mercy God has for us, even when we still sin, we still do bad things, we don’t do as much for Him as we could and should. I am still bewildered at the fact that He loves so deeply even when He knows the deepest and darkest low in our life.

I am still perplexed that He forgives the humanly unforgivable. He forgives the worst sin, He forgives the deepest hate, He even forgives us for the devastating and disastrous past we’ve lived.  But He does. He really does. It is amazing and it’s incredible and it’s kind of unbelievable, but it is so true and so real. And so is His Grace.

By His grace. Our pasts are forgiven. The addictions, the sorrow, the hate, the brokenness. It’s all forgiven. We receive the most grace in the brokenness. He seeks us in the brokenness. I was watching a video a while ago  and it says “once we experience Gods’ love, our broken past is nothing but the proof of gods grace.” How amazing is that?

God sees you. He sees the loving you. The you who texts that person that looked a bit sad, the you who buys a coffee to a stranger, the one who lives for Him and shows His love. When looking at you, He doesn’t look at you and be like “nope I can’t answer that prayer, you done that bad thing last year.” He doesn’t say “no I’ll pass this time because she didn’t give that guy on the side of the street any spare change.” He also doesn’t look at you and say “no i can’t forgive them because their past is too dark.”  He doesn’t see your past. He doesn’t look at your past or the wrongs in your life. He has those covered. He doesn’t leave us in that brokenness. All by grace. Forgive yourself because His grace has already covered you in mercy and love.  He says “yes, I love you and I forgive you” and continues to say it, even after the 13th time, even after every single time.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Lots of love, from all of us at She Spreads Light. X