Fight or flight 

In Jonah 1, God tells Jonah that he needs to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. This is all well and good until God says that he needs to speak against it and tell the people what’s going to happen if they don’t listen to God and obey him.

Nineveh was known as an ‘exceedingly great’ city, imagine going to speak down on it. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias, but this is like going to Buckingham palace and telling the Queen all the things you don’t like about her. It would be crazy and you would be hated by the whole world never mind just England. This is the situation Jonah is imagining in his head. I know if someone gave me a list of negative things to say about the queen to the queen I would lock myself in my room and never come out. I would definitely run and probably cry.
So that’s what Jonah done. He ran away. In a state of fear and probably shock that God would want him to do this. Jonah found a boat going to Spain, so there he went with a crew on his way to Spain in a bid to try to run from the responsibility God has put on him.

How often do you run from god? I know when god puts something on my heart, the introvert that I am tries to avoid it and just not listen to it and try as best I can to run from it. Especially if it was ask this person this but that person I don’t even know or i have never even talked to them. Or even when he says youre capable of this, do it. I know most of the time we dont set out to run and hide, but sometimes it’s just simply no. No god, i cant do that or no I’m not doing that.

Sometimes we just need a good shaking and someone to tell us we can do this. Just do it. It won’t be scary. It will be okay. So that’s what God done to Jonah. A storm was rising, the men in the boat were panicked and didn’t know what to do. They woke Jonah who was sleeping down stairs to see of he knew what to do. He told them what they needed to do in his stubborness. The men were like uhnn no way we’re not throwing you into the raging sea in the midst of a storm. Are you still sleeping or are you going crazy?? After trying everything possible, the men gave in and took Jonah and threw him overboard and the sea was instantly calm and the storm was over.

Then a whale swallowed Jonah.

Let’s be real. We can run as far as we want from god. We can continue to say no. But God will catch us and keep guiding us. Even when we dont think it’s guidance or even think hes not guiding us at all. The whale was like a safe place for Jonah, a place where he could just think about what he’s done and why he’s running and redetermine what he’s doing. Jonah was in the whale for 3 days and 3 nights.

Then he said to God:
“In my distress I called to the Lord , and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
…To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit…
Jonah 2:2‭, ‬6 NIV
And that was it. The whale spat Jonah up and he was free and forgiven. (Jonah 2:10)

God saved Jonah from sinking deep in the sea. He also saved him from wandering off further. God showed Jonah so much mercy. Jonah didn’t deserve the forgiveness and compassion god gave him. But god still was merciful.

I love this story and I love the meaning behind it. I love that no matter what we do. No matter how far we run. God always gives us a safe place. He brings us back to reality and keeps encouraging us. I love that he is real and that he  forgives even when we dont deserve an ounce of forgiveness. I love that our god is a forgiving god. I love that he is a merciful god.

SSL x 

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.

 

 

Who You Are

The first question in many interviews is “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” At this everyone freezes up a little and finally tells them the monotonous details of “who they are”; “I am 18, I go to Foyle College and I study music, english and RS.” But does that really tell you something about who I am, no, our identity is so much more than this, because it is through God that we find our identity.

Therefore, when it comes to thinking about who we truly are we have to think about who God is. When we are secure in Him we will be secure in ourselves because He is our everything.

God is Our Father

Therefore we are His beloved children who He loves more than any parent could ever love their children. Thinking of God as a father also shows the intimacy of our relationship, we do not worship a distant deity but an always present father.

God is Our Saviour

He saw us and thought we were worth dying for even “while we were still sinners.” God has saved you, you are redeemed from whatever is in your past through His grace. He turned our inadequacy into adequacy through His death.

God is Our Creator

I know it seems like an obvious one, but think about it. If God created us He made us just the way He wanted, every freckle, every hair was intricately designed. The fact that someone so special made us shows the sanctity of our life. You were created for a purpose.

God is on Our Side

You are strong because God is within you and will strengthen you. We all have those times where we feel alone, like we are fighting an uphill battle, but we mustn’t forget Romans 8:31  which says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” God is victorious, hold onto that hope that your future is secure in heaven, it will be ok.

This world constantly tells us how we should be defined; be our gender, our job, our race, our weight, our interests, our fashion taste (or lack of), our past, our mistakes, but none of these things are truly who we are. Dont look to the world to find your worth, instead look to Him who created you (I mean who could know any better than Him!) My favourite verses when looking at our identity is Ephesians 2:8-10.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

So when you feel inadequate, unloved or just a little insecure remember who you belong to, who created you.

 

New Path

I was doing things this week that required way more of God and so much less of me yet I felt so self absorbed. In my plans, my ways, the things I wanted to do. I was striving to please both. We all are if we are honest. We wait and see how much of our ways  we can squeeze into God’s plan. The reality is not very much. So we try and make it fit and walk around with discontentment. Because in reality we aren’t totally happy with trusting God when it really matters. We know the verses, songs and things we think we should think so we awnser people with learnt of phrases that we got from the preacher. We chose us. When really we should be pushing even further into him. We make excuses like I don’t have time or this is what God wants or I don’t know how to balance everything. So we just don’t try to balance things. We say these things to make us feel better but in reality we are just steering more and more away from God and further towards the one we claim we do not want. 

So what can you do? The question is if this is your story do you really want him? Do you want to want him? If your awnser is yes then it’s going to take time, commitment and dedication. Falling in love takes time. Building relationship takes time. Talking to your friend takes time. And the reality is you have the time. You just might need to sacrifice something to get it.

 Thus says the Lord : “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 

JER 6:16 ESV

Will you be like the people in Jeremiah? Will you stand at the cross roads and take the path that you know isn’t truly following the good way? Or will you stop and take the time to assess who you want to be and how valuable your relationship with Christ truly is? We all take the wrong path sometimes. We all have to make adjustments and choose the right path. We all have to chose to follow sometimes. That’s what we signed up for and I for one would rather be dedicated to the good path that leads me closer to Jesus than to walk on my own path. 

Love xx