Shame // Renamed

As Shannon said last week, we had the absolute pleasure to partner with IJM and Exodus NW in hosting a Nehemiah Night with 4 stations in March.

“Nehemiah never acted without praying, and
never prayed without acting”

The station I had the pleasure of leading was Shame Renamed. The purpose of this station was to pray for young people and the things that make them feel shame. To illustrate this station we used the imagery of having negative words wrote on rice paper and by dropping them into water, the word would disappear. For example, some of the words were unloved, hurt, ugly, worthless etc. All negative, heart wrenching words, but all real thoughts and feelings of young people. The words disappearing portrayed the accepting of the word, but also the acceptance that god has for it and that he covers you, he doesn’t see that negative word you think about yourself. He covers you with hope. 
During this prayer night, a word that kept popping into my mind was hopeless. I feel that god wanted this word to be prayed over so boldly and so deeply that anyone who felt this would know the the hope that god provides. In a city that knows the effects of this word so deeply, I’m so glad that we got to pray over these feelings and negative thoughts that so many young people feel. These words opened up such honest conversations between each group and I love that we were able to address these words in such a comfortable way and involving way.

It was so encouraging to hear the prayers of others for these words and I think everyone in each group was moved by the words each person had prayed. I think the station allowed a lot of people to take a small step out of their comfort zones and allowed themselves to listen to god and what he wanted to say through them for this word including myself.

I’m reading a book at the minute and the quote by mother Teresa “not all of us can do great things. But we can all do things with great love” really struck me. This night wasn’t about doing great things, or about changing the world but my doing these things with great love. By praying over these words with great passion. But by having such a massive passion, being world changers and doing great things but with great love. 

Even if you are covered in hopelessness, in hate, in worthlessness, in shame and in any other words that make you feel not good enough and not loved enough. There is always someone who is praying over you and praying that you would feel the love that god wants you to experience. Jesus welcomes everyone to the table. He welcomes you fully whether you are full of shame or full of love. 

All the love, Katelyn x 

Lent

IT’S PANCAKE TUESDAY!! I’m not sure you can tell how excited I am, but I’m pretty ecstatic, I mean who doesn’t love a good pancake? But soon it will be over for another year and then comes those 40 days of lent.

I have to admit sometimes I think lent is misinterpreted, people use it as an excuse to take up that New Years Resolution that only lasted a few weeks or to justify and motivate going on a diet. But there is SO much more to lent than going off chocolate.

At the very start of Jesus’ ministry he went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days and nights, reflecting, praying and preparing for the beginning of his ministry. Now Im not suggesting that we all have to fast for the duration of lent, however some do find this useful. The important thing is that we treat lent as a time of prayerful reliance on God. Therefore I really encourage you to pray and think over what you are going to give up or take on over lent. Ask yourselves what things are holding you back in your relationship with Jesus, what unnecessary distractions do you have.

When it comes to giving up something, sometimes it gets hard, in the times when its hard I encourage you not to complain but to turn to God for strength. This is such a great practice as we learn to depend more on God’s strength and not our own.

Also, over the last few years I have come across a new approach to lent, a generous lent-not a season of giving up but of giving. As I think of the amazing generosity of our father who gave us a saviour that we were so undeserving of, I am challenged to adopt God’s generous heart and obediently live it out. An amazing way to do this is through an initiative called 40 acts (signup link below). This initiative sends you daily challenges to do some acts of kindness for the 40 days of lent. Maybe this year instead of choosing an act of self-improvement try an act of unnecessary kindness-the impact you can make with one small act is amazing!

As you enjoy your pancakes think about how you want to spend your lent. I encourage us all to not think about what will benefit ourselves, but what will benefit our walk with God, and maybe also those around us.

https://40acts.org.uk/

Deliverance

Have you ever been in a situation that just sucks, like really sucks? Sometimes at these times our relationship with God can suffer, the devil places doubt in our minds, maybe “God is punishing me?” “If there really is a God how could He let this happen to me?” These are feelings that secretly a lot of us have probably felt.

Sometimes the only thing we can do in these situations is to find someone to relate to, someone who has conquered their struggle. The Bible are full of these. Take the story of Joseph. Sold as a slave by his brothers, imprisoned by the Egyptians and then plot twist, he is put in charge of Egypt! There is hope in this that, we will not suffer forever, that good will come from your situation as Romans 8:28 states “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

However sometimes this can give us the impression that we can only prosper and get on track with God once we have left our place of suffering, but this isnt the case. For instance, in Genesis 39 Joseph arrives in Egypt and verse 2 writes that “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.” Here we can see that regardless of our circumstances if we are faithful to God we will experience His presence, His favour and blessing right where we are.

So yes, in times of darkness we should look for the light and hope at the end of the trouble, resting in the knowledge that God will deliver us. However, as we look to a hopeful future we shouldn’t forget that God is with us amidst the darkness we can rest in Him as we suffer knowing that he suffers with us.

If you are in a time of sorrow or darkness right now, press into God’s presence in the present and look forward to the hope of a time when God will deliver you when “ He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

 

Less of Me, More of Him

Humility. Something so many of us strive to have, but recently I’ve been really challenged about how live humbly. So much of the time we try to be humble by being self-deprecating, but this is so far from what God intended a life of humility to be. I recently heard humility being described as “not thinking less of ourselves, but of ourselves less.” But how can we practically live this out?

The first thing we need to remember is to put God first with no compromises. Think about why you make compromises? Is it because you care about what people will think? Worried about how they will react? fear of failing? I know for me these are all reasons why I have compromised my faith. But the bible calls us to throw away that pride and remember that this life is not our own. A verse that always stands out to me on this issue is Galatians 2:20 which says

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”

This verse really challenges me that in all that I do I want it to be for God and not myself. Recently I was really convicted on the whole issue of dying to self and putting God’s plan first. I was at a bible study and there was a time of prayer, as I prayed I felt God telling me to prayer for the guy next to me. I got so caught up in my thoughts that I convinced myself not to do it, I was worried what he would think and ultimately let my pride stop me from pursuing God’s call.

Although this was obviously not what God wanted, it didn’t stop His plan. The next minute my friend got up and went to pray for him. At first I thought that should have been me, but soon I came to the realisation that it’s not about me. God didn’t let my disobedience stop him because I was not the most important factor in that equation, God was.

Only by God’s grace am I able to tell you this without being overcome with guilt. I continue to strive to live a life of obedience for God and to put Him first, but sometimes we fail and you know what that’s ok! We will all fall short of the glory of God on many occasions, but because of the cross we are forgiven for this and continue to pursue Him and let His kingdom come.

I realise I’ve said quite a lot in this post, but I really want to challenge us all, including myself, to think about the things we let take priority over God and pray that God will help us to always put Him first. I know it can be tough, and this might take a while but know that there is such freedom in letting God be Lord of your life and living a life of humility with God before you.