》HONOUR《

In June we are exploring HONOUR. (Also- It’s June whattttt- this year is flying!!) She Spreads Light are hosting our very first event at the end of the month based on honour so we thought that this would be a great theme to be exploring and digging deeper into what honour really means to us.
In the Oxford dictionary, honour is defined as  “High respect; great esteem.”, “The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.” Or “Something regarded as a rare opportunity and bringing pride and pleasure; a privilege.”

In the Bible, Honour is described through all of these definitions. The commandments describe honour in the terms of high respect..  E.g “honour your father and mother” – Exodus 20:1

By the definition of morals the bible says; “never tire of doing what is good” -2 Thessalonians 3:13

And finally in terms of privilege, firstly Jesus is a privilege, this world is a privilege, your life is a privilege. A verse that describes honour in terms of privilege is Ephesians 2:8-9- “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

I’m a person who likes to understand every definition of aa word and be able to relate it to something so apologies if you knew the words inside out, but it’s always nice to give your memory a refreshment!

So having all the important stuff out of the way. What does honour mean to me? I would associate honour with the first definition mostly- respect and esteem. So here I am talking about honouring your body and I’m excited for this. There’s many aspects to honouring your body. Today I’m going to be focusing a small part of the physical and mental aspect.

•physically•

As a physical approach, the body is what you see as a normal person and not a surgeon or even a radiologist. Real life isn’t Grey’s Anatomy, sadly but quite thankfully too. The bible tells us that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and we should treat them as we would a temple. We wouldn’t tell a temple it is ugly, nor damage it, and we wouldn’t leaves it to rot and wear away if it somehow gets damaged. Honouring our bodies are hard a lot of the time. It’s difficult to love yourself and it is difficult to believe that you are a masterpiece at times but it is the truth. I’m currently feeling like a massive hypocrite telling all of you to love yourselves when there are days when I don’t, and there’s days when I don’t believe that God wanted to make me this way. I know the truth but sometimes I don’t want to believe that truth. But so many of us are like this girl or boy, man or woman and quite possibly cat or dog.

When I was younger, my granny always gave my sisters and I £5 pocket money. I always would have been so excited to go to the shop after leaving to buy a new magazine. Although these magazine were aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. (think of TOTP, shout etc.). These magazines had covers and pages filled with celebrities, I remember getting a magazine and there was a poster of the High School Musical cast. I admired that poster with an admiration so deep-looking back it is so embarrassing. I remember wishing that I  could sing as good as Vanessa, I wish I had golden blonde hair like Ashley,  and I wish I was as intelligent as Monique, never mind being as pretty as them and as thin as them. Even today I still find myself looking at the magazines in a shop like cosmopolitan, vogue and glamour in which the covers are of beautiful, perfect, photogenic women, who have perfectly tanned bodies, clear skin and have no sign of fat or flaws. It’s so draining to try and love yourself in a world which doesn’t want to you love yourself, and a world which portrays women as having to be perfect and a world which poses a fake reality. I never saw any magazines which showed real women, which showed women who had problems.

As someone who has a body littered in scars like how an arena looks after a concert or how a field looks after a festival. It’s almost fake to say that your scars are beautiful. As a girl who’s scars are mostly intentional writing about honouring your body is a little bit or probably a whole lot laughable, but kind of a complete turn around and kind of humbling to know that I can still honour my body even after everything done to try and damage it and after every hateful thought towards it. Knowing that as much as I may have hated my body, it loved me back so incredibly much that it heals itself from minor bruises and cuts, it fights common infections, it keeps breathing it keeps going. Its comforting knowing that I am forgiven for ruining a masterpiece and that my apology to my body is accepted wholly. The body God made for you is a miracle in itself. Healing is another theme in itself so we’ll leave that for another post.

I am constantly amazed by the fact that god created us and handcrafted us to perfection, he even knows the number of hairs on your head. And I know you’ve probably heard this a billion times but its so incredible. I would hate to see a beautiful building falling apart, or a piece of art destroyed it would hurt my heart. So much. Even imagine your favourite, most sentimental, most beautiful thing you own getting damaged. This is what I imagine God feels when we don’t honour our own bodies and when we don’t love ourselves enough.

Looking at yourself in a different perspective can help you honour your body. For example, when your dress shopping for a big event, find the things that you like about your body in the dress. Or when you think things like I wish I was as thin as them or I wish my nose wasn’t like this. Tell yourself things like I love my eyes or I like that I’m short. Lets get one thing straight but. Beauty is not outward appearance.

Honour your body by doing the right things, like exercising, feeding it right and caring for it when it’s hurt. Rachel’s category, Take Care of Yourself is a really good read to dig deeper into the physical perspectives of honouring your body in a fitness aspect that I would honestly have no idea what to write about.

mentally

The first time I asked for prayer for my mental health I was 15, I was trembling , sweating and my voice was shaky. So shaky that I’m surprised that the girl could understand what I was saying. I was honestly expecting her to look at me and say “you look put together and happy, plus you’re too young to experience mental health issues; wise up. Is there something else you want prayer for?” but she didn’t; she went on and prayed, so deeply with so much love and so much passion. After she was finished we talked for a really short time and she was so supportive and really lovely about it. I’m honoured that prayer happened that night and massively proud that I plucked the courage in my introverted, shy, anxious being to get up, because it was a night which changed my perspectives on how the church really does view mental health and issues surrounding it.

Mental health is something not widely talked about in the church, but I think that’s it’s not that the church doesn’t want to support , more so the fact that it’s still a taboo and there’s still a stigma attached.

A word I remember so clearly from that prayer is joy. She prayed that I would find true joy in Him. True joy is unexplainable. It’s kind of like being with your best friend, at your favourite place, eating your favourite thing, listening to your favourite music and wearing your favourite thing- when nothing goes wrong and there’s no deep sadness that overrides that joy- but so much better. It like the adrenaline pumping through your body at a concert before the main act comes out- then they come out- then there’s screams- then they begin singing- then pure silence- pure peace. Joy is beautiful and divine.  Impossible to describe accurately. Joy is that peace that god provides. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I experienced true joy for a long time before I loved Jesus. See that concert and the favourite things those aren’t everlasting, they’re not going to be there forever after a few hours the adrenaline gone and the lights are back on and the arena is left littered and empty. Sure, there are a few dark days in-between the  joyous days, but He is ways there no matter how dark it is.  The joy He provides is permanent and eternal. A friend of mine explained Joy much better in a beautiful and honest post last night have a read to explore it more.

Peace is found in Him. Find Him and you will find peace. It’s so important to take care of your mental health. Honouring your physical body enables you to also honour your body’s mentality. Speaking love to yourself and speaking hope and speaking peace. Allowing gods voice to overrule the negative thoughts and allowing the worship to take over. Practicing self care is so good. Self care is as little as brushing your teeth in the morning to going for a run. My go thing for self care is pulling out my bible and flicking through the pages I’ve wrote in sand drawn on and also pulling out a box which holds all my letters, notes and just things I want to keep and reading them- some I read more than once or twice. Here’s a huge list of self-care.

This month I pray that God would break your heart for what breaks His, especially in how you see yourself and how you respect yourself as a person and body crafted by the one who loves you with all of His heart. I pray that you would honour yourself with such a deep love and respect that you would believe you are beautiful and that you are worthy and that you are a masterpiece. I pray that you find peace on god and allow him to overrule the negative and the things holding you back from living the life of love and the things holding you back from living for him.

We love you all so much and we are so excited for the rest of this theme to unfold into the incredible Honour event.

Lots of love, SSL. xo

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 

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 

comfortable

Comfort zones are comfortable and familiar. They’re not scary and we don’t have to take a leap of faith and we don’t have a rapid heart rate when we go into them.  That’s why we love them and rarely leave them. Leaving that comfort zone is sometimes almost completely debilitating and terrifying. I think many of us wait for God to tell us where to go or what to do next instead of just doing it when we feel that we want to, we wait until we feel comfortable to take that step.

I was watching a show when one of the characters said this and it kind of hit me:

“Everyday you don’t open the door, it gets a little easier to stay inside… no one can open this door but you.”

I just thought comfort zone. I think this is so true, I think that if you create a comfort zone and stay In it, it does become harder to leave it, it becomes harder to make dreams happen. A lot of us have beautiful dreams, but it’s so hard to carry them out and let them unfold due to this invisible box we have ourselves trapped inside. God will give you that dream and He will constantly speak to you and tell you to do it, but you have to take the action. You have to actually listen to him and believe that leaving that invisible box is safe, it’s not dangerous and it really isn’t scary. All you have to do is say yes. All you have to do is go and do it.

Nehemiah was like all of us. He had a comfort zone too. When the walls were destroyed in Jerusalem, he was shocked and hurt. Nehemiah prayed until God showed him what to do. God told him to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Nehemiah didn’t like that thought. He was uncomfortable with it and was completely out of his comfort zone. He didn’t want to do it, but he knew his heart was in this and that he needed to do this for God’s glory.

Having a comfort zone is okay and it’s okay to go home and let your soul be at rest for a while, but don’t stay there, lock the door and don’t let anyone in. When you feel your heart telling you to go do that thing, come back to faith and loving Jesus, start that bible study or even just as simple as going and talking to that girl you feel needs prayer. Do it, if not for you, do it for Him. He is calling you to take that leap of faith and step out of your all too familiar comfort zone. When you take a leap of faith, it will become easier to open the door.

Do it afraid.