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 

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 

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.

 

 

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 

Knowing your Why: Healthy Eating

For some of you you may have just read that title and rolled your eyes, but dont worry this isnt going to be a post about the wonders of kale or the life-changing experience of eating Avocado (to be honest I dont like either of these things) Listen lets be real, I love chocolate as much as the next girl and thats ok, never restrict yourself, instead treat yourself. But I do believe eating well is so important.

As Christians we recognise that these bodies are gifts from God and therefore we should take care of them in order to honour Him. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”, he does not exclude eating and drinking from this verse, but instead says that it too can be used as a form of worship. Treating your body well by sufficiently nourishing it is a great way to express your gratitude to God for the body he has given you.

Furthermore, God has created things for us to have dominance over, not for them to have dominance over us. Therefore, although it’s hard we shouldn’t succumb to every food craving we have or eat whatever is in sight knowing it’s not good for us. Something that really challenged me recently when exploring this topic was that “self-control” is a fruit of the spirit, we are called to be disciplined, and what a way to exercise this but by choosing to eat well.

Although I am a big advocate in eating right I think it’s important to say that this is NOT the be all and end all and that I am far from perfect. Yes I may instagram my pretty acai bowl or a great salad or smoothie, but I also treat myself to the odd McDonalds-it’s all about balance. Our ultimate goal is to become more Christ-like not to always eat healthy. 1 Timothy 4:8 says “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” Paul acknowledges that being healthy is important but that our ultimate goal is a strong faith not a strong body.

To whoever needs this today.

Anyone who knows me or even just follows my Instagram knows that I love sunsets (probably more obsessed but let’s not pretend I’m that weird). Anytime there’s a gorgeous sunset I usually get a snapchat of it from multiple different people. Or even sunrises, during the winter months when the sun is just rising, I’ll be walking into school and my friends will turn to me and say did you see the sky, and I’m like duhh yes as if they don’t know me.
When I think of these things; sunsets and sunrises I just think Wow. How intricate each of them are. How different and unique they are to the one the evening before or the morning before. It amazes me beyond measure (and you probably know that if you’re with me when a vibrant sunset catches my eye- I freak out a little bit- I apologise for that).
Let’s get real here right now. This universe was created by HIM. This galaxy was created by HIM. This world was created by HIM. Therefore, these sunsets and these sunrises are HIS art. HIS masterpiece. HIS handiwork and we all know they’re beautiful- beyond beautiful. God makes incredible things. Beautiful things. You know what else He created? What else He dreamed up in his heart? And what he knitted together so beautifully and with so much love? take a wild guess…

YOU.

The one who created jaw-dropping sunsets, the one who created Space. He also created you. Can we just think about that for a while. I find it so astounding. That we are one of His many, many, many masterpieces.
Each of us are uniquely formed, with our different gifts and talents, with our different laughs, with the different ways we talk, and the different ways we interpret things. You are just as unique as the sunsets every night.
He calls you a masterpiece. He created you. you are His masterpiece and His pride and joy. (Ephesians 2:10)

I recently read a book called “Love does” by Bob Goff and in the book he mentions that he had bought a painting that was so expensive he had to save up for ages. He loved it so much, he hung it up in his home, with young kids running around wild- risky or what. And by no surprise it got damaged. Bob said that this didn’t change the love he had for the art, that it actually made him love it more, even with the dents.
I think that God loves you like that. No matter what you do, He still loves you and still forgives you.  No matter what. He loves His masterpiece as if He paid thousands for you. God made you so extraordinary and just one of a kind. He holds onto you dearly, protecting you and keeping you from harm. He loves you that much. You are still His masterpiece even with a few bumps and scrapes (or a lot). You are a beautiful because He created you.

Jeremiah 31:3

Love always, SSL team. xo