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29.5.11

Beauty with a Purpose














Today I had the privilege of speaking to our church about beauty!  This subject is very much on my heart, so much so that we have a whole conference centred around beauty this year.  It is essential that both men and women understand the value and importance of a woman's beauty.  She is not beautiful for nothing, she is beautiful for a purpose and she can either use her beauty to empower the man in her life or she can use it to rob him of his power.  Have a listen to what I spoke about here.
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27.5.11

Passion & Purity - Diamonds from Coal

I found an interesting article of how coal turns into a diamond on buzzle.com; I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I will make a clear point at the end, it is truly fascinating. Thanks to Sonia Nair for contributing to this chapter.

“It is difficult to believe that any relation exists between the dark brownish-black lumps of coal and shimmering diamonds. The common element (*1) between the two is that they both are made up of carbon. The element carbon exists in the earth in three different forms. One is the amorphous form (*2), which lacks the crystal structure. Another form of carbon, termed as graphite (*2), has hexagonal crystals. Diamonds are the third form of carbon and these glittering gemstones (*2) sport cubic crystals.

Relation between Coal and Diamonds

Coal, which is an amorphous form of carbon, is not made of pure carbon. It is made up of complicated organic molecules of decomposed plant and animal material (*3), which have been compressed for millions of years in the earth's crust. Coal is subjected to various geological processes, which change its chemical composition and transforms it (*4) into its nearly purest form called graphite. This process requires suitable conditions (*5) and millions of years (*6) to take place. Diamonds are formed deep inside the earth, where the temperatures and pressures are very high (*7). They are transported to the surface of the earth by the molten magma.
If both diamonds and graphite are made up of carbon, then why do they look different? (*8) The answer is that the arrangement of carbon atoms in graphite and diamonds differ, giving them entirely different looks. While carbon atoms are arranged in a hexagonal manner in graphite, in diamonds, each carbon atom is linked to four others in a tetrahedral manner.
Hence, graphite is like sheets of carbon atoms, stacked one over the other and diamonds have a pyramid-like structure. The flat sheets of the graphite can absorb lights of different wavelengths and hence are opaque and black. The pyramid-like structure, found in diamonds, lack this ability and are transparent and sparkling.

How does Coal Become a Diamond?

The conversion of coal into diamond is almost impossible (*9). Even though there are carbon atoms in coal, the amount of impurities are so high, that it takes millions and millions of years for the coal to transform to its nearly purest form - graphite. The conversion of graphite to diamonds takes some more millions of years. This transformation cannot take place in the earth's crust, as diamonds are formed deep inside the earth (*10). The procedure takes place about 100 miles below the earth's surface, where coal is subjected to various geological processes. It is believed that coal is exposed to a temperature above 2,000° F, and a pressure almost 50 times higher than that of the earth's surface. Any variation in these factors may affect the formation of diamonds. A dip in the pressure or a hike in the temperature may result in the dissolution of the diamond or a partially-formed one. 

Even when diamonds are formed through such a process, it takes another 2000 to 3000 years for them to get carried to the earth's surface. Molten magma brings them up and cools them off to form rocks in the form of veins, which are known as kimberlite. Hence, kimberlite veins are considered as preferable sites for mining diamonds. It is also possible that the diamonds are further transported from the kimberlite sites to a distant area. This is possible when the kimberlite erodes with time and the diamonds in it are carried away with the resultant sediments to distant places. However, rough diamonds are mined from the kimberlite sites and nearby areas and are polished to bring out the sparkle in them.

How coal becomes a diamond has raised quite a few doubts over the years. People find it difficult to believe something as ugly as coal can be transformed into something as beautiful as diamonds (*11). However, even though this is possible, one has to understand that it is not an easy process. It takes millions and millions of years for Mother Nature to produce one diamond. Approximately 100 tons of mud needs to be mined to produce one carat. So, how do you turn coal into a diamond? It is impossible, and you cannot do it yourself, it is a natural process, which takes millions of years (*12).”

I love this article and became so excited when I read it! It’s not that I am into coal or diamonds or any form of science. It is because it works as a perfect metaphor for what God has done in my life. 

Can you believe that diamonds come from coal? He takes the filthy, messy, black sin that we give to Him and he processes it into precious diamonds. He takes our rubbish and makes priceless gems out of it. He takes what the world writes off and makes us into His most prized possessions. Let’s take a look at all the words I highlighted in this article to draw a comparison of how God makes diamonds out of us. 

*1 The Common Element

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in His own image

The common element between coal and diamonds is that they both are made up of carbon. In the same way the common element between us as “coal” and “diamonds” is that in both stages we are made up of God (God is spirit). Does that make sense? We were made in God’s image. When we are living in sin and messing about with our life, ignoring God, we are still spiritual beings. Then when we become diamonds, we are still spiritual beings. That is the common element, but the process is what makes us either stay coal or forges us into beautiful diamonds.

So let’s take a look at the process...  

*2 Three Different Forms

Ephesians 2:1
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins

Amorphous form

We all start off dead in trespasses and sins. Our life has no shape or form, it is lifeless and amorphous. This is our initial form. We are all born this way. We are born sinful and remain in this state until we choose to do something about it. Not one of us on this planet started out any different. We were all born in a state of being separated from God by sin.

As graphite

There comes a very special day, the day of our rebirth, the day we come alive again! We are all given this opportunity too. Even though we are all born sinful, we are equally all given a choice as to whether or not we stay this way. This is when we gain structure in our life. A characteristic of graphite is that its cleavage is perfect in one direction. I don’t want to get too technical here, but cleavage has nothing to do with breasts here, in my own words it is a geological term for the cracks that allow the graphite to split apart. Basically my point here is that when we come to Jesus, all our cracks point in one direction – to Him. But this isn’t the final stage, when we get born again we have aligned ourselves to His will but we are still not yet diamonds.

Glittering Gemstones

Diamond making is the process that occurs after we have surrendered our life to Jesus. This is the part that takes time and pressure. The final stage though, is a glittering gemstone – a diamond. We all have the choice to become diamonds or stay as graphite.


*3 Decomposed Material

Romans 6:2
...How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

In order for the diamond making process to begin we need to have molecules of decomposed material. That is easy; this is the dead stuff in our life that is causing us to rot, namely sin. We all have that, which means we all have the potential to become diamonds. Sorry to all you goody-two-shoes out there, without it you cannot be a diamond ha ha.
But seriously, there is not one of us alive today that doesn’t have sin in our life which is rotting away our insides. It is with this sin that God transforms us into a beautiful diamond. Only if we allow Him to, He gives us free will every step of the way and will never force us to be anything that we don’t want to be. I don’t know about you, but I want to be ALL that I can be!

*4 Change and Transformation

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

With God our sin is merely a tool for Him to bring about change and transformation. As we allow Him into our life and keep our eyes focused on Him, He transforms us.
When God changes us it is permanent, there is no going back. Have you ever heard of a diamond reverting to coal? That’s because it can’t happen. It is simply not possible. When you are a diamond, truly a diamond, you won’t go back to being coal. I was a Christian and I went back to my worldly ways several times. That is because I was still graphite; the process hadn’t been completed in my life.

*5 Suitable Conditions

James 4:6
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

In the past I really tried hard to be a good Christian girl. Despite my best efforts, I failed, repeatedly. I failed because they were my efforts. The conditions weren’t suitable for diamond making because I would have become proud of my achievements.
It’s so simple, He does it all for us. We couldn’t do it if we tried, all we have to do is admit that we were wrong, say sorry about what we did wrong and allow Him to start the diamond making process in us. If we are proud and won’t say sorry or that we were wrong, He will resist us. No diamond can be formed without there being suitable conditions. Humility is a very necessary condition for God to be able to transform us into beautiful diamonds. 

The story continues with some amazing similarities between the God process in our life and the diamond making process, find out more by reading the rest of this chapter in Passion & Purity!  More info on the book here or purchase it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
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24.5.11

Being a Woman - Who is Grateful

Bottom line – a grateful woman is beautiful and an ungrateful woman is plain ugly! Harsh? Maybe, but entirely truthful though. I have encountered both sorts of women and I have been both sorts of woman too. I actually feel more beautiful when I act in gratitude.

How many of us know exactly what we are entitled to? We often make demands from people because we are entitled to things from them. This sort of attitude is the opposite of a grateful attitude. 

Sadly I have a good example to offer. A while ago I was involved in organise a surprise for someone. Her friends and family and I spent weeks planning and going to great lengths to pull off a spectacular surprise for her, making sure that all her dreams came true. I had never seen such an array of beautiful gifts and the party that we prepared was simply perfect. One hundred candles were lit and strategically placed in the garden, champagne glassed were hired to ensure everything seemed magical and her favourite song was on pause, ready to play as soon as she arrived. It was all simply perfect. Gifts were given, the party was enjoyed but soon hurt started to set in. One of the women who went to a lot of trouble to buy gifts and organise the party mentioned that she didn’t even say thank you for the gifts or for the part, another left a bit upset, nearly in tears saying how he felt that he was being treated badly. 

I too got really upset when I felt that all my hard work was expected. It was as if none of it was a surprise but all of it was exactly what she felt entitled to. At the end of the event there was more sadness than joy as the receiver of all the attention and gifts displayed no gratitude what so ever. I even wondered if some of the people who had gone to a great deal of trouble, left feeling a touch of bitterness or hurt. My way of dealing with it was to remind myself of the grace that Jesus had lavished on me even though I didn’t deserve it. This woman had love and gifts lavished upon her that day but she had done nothing to deserve them. At the end of the party, after the hurt had subsided, she would also received forgiveness and would continue to receive love from all the people she hurt. Again, nothing she deserved but something she received anyway. 

This is grace.

Grace is the only word that made sense of it all but grace is also the one word inspires gratitude in me. In times like these, when I see the ugliness of an ungrateful heart, I remember that I too once needed grace. I most certainly didn’t deserve what Jesus did for me but He did it anyway. He reached down from heaven and lavished His love upon me. At first I expected it – He was God after all and that is what God should do! Then I abused it by being an ungrateful prodigal. It was only when I had spent all His blessing and mercy that I came back to Him, empty handed and ashamed. It was at that point that I finally began to understand grace, it was then that I first truly became grateful. Since that day I have determined to cultivate a grateful heart towards God and towards my fellow human beings. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I can clearly see the beauty of a grateful heart and the ugliness of unthankful heart. I see now that the Bible tells us to give thanks in everything because it is a beautiful thing to do. It is not a rule to follow but a key to becoming a beautiful woman. Not only is a grateful heart beautiful to behold but it is a beautiful thing to receive. 

My daughter, Lorah, has taught me the beauty of a grateful heart. It is by observing her that I was inspired to become a more grateful person. All my life I had been one of those people that felt I was entitled to things. As Lorah grew up I watched how she never claimed what she was entitle to but rather she responded with absolute gratitude for all things, big or small. Her gratitude made her look so beautiful and I longed to have this beauty too. She inspired me to be more and I knew that if I cultivated an attitude of gratitude I would inspire other to be more beautiful too. 

Slowly and painfully I chipped away at my attitude of entitlement and replaced it with gratitude. It was hard work and took sincere effort but it was worth it. As I chose to find things to be grateful for I realised how much I had been missing in my life. Joy and peace has been lost in the past because I used my entitlement to get through life. Being grateful is so much more liberating, it changes how you see things and people, it brings greater joy and surprisingly is a lot less work than claiming what I perceived as rightfully mine! Best of all, I could tell that I was a nicer person to be around. 

People like to be around people that make them feel good. Of course they do! Why would you want to be around someone that makes you feel bad? A grateful person always makes the giver feel good about giving. One thing that significantly impacted me in this area was a card that Lorah wrote to me. It was not my birthday or any special occasion, it was simply a day that Lorah chose to express her gratitude to me. Here is what she said:

Dear Mommy,

Thank you for being such a great mother to me.
Thank you for always being there for me.
Thank you for always doing your best to give me what I need.
Thank you for never giving up on me and for believing in me and never letting me settle for second best in my life.
Thank you for all your good advice.
Thank you for supporting me in everything I do.
Thank you for always steering me back in the right direction when I get lost.
Thank you for listening to me when I need to talk.
Thank you that I can tell you anything and you will never judge me.
Thank you for cleaning the house every day.
Thank you for cooking us dinner every evening.
Thank you for getting us organised all the time.
Thank you for driving me around if I need to go somewhere.
Thank you for going all the way to Cirencester to pick me up if I am ill at college.
Thank you for all your help at band practice.
Thank you for letting me sleep late on Saturdays.
And thank you that even though you already do all of these things, you still offer to help me with the little bit of work I have to do.
I love you lots and lots and I am so grateful for everything you do!

Lots of Love
Lorah
xxx

Doesn’t that make your heart melt? The part that got me the most was that she thanked me for cleaning the house and cooking dinner – something that she could have reasonably expected from me – of course, I am her mother. Mother’s are supposed to do those things and yet she even chose to be grateful for the things she could have rightfully expected from me. I treasure these words, they mean more to me that so many other things in my life. Her expression of gratitude changed me forever. Her expression of gratitude exposed my heart that demands what it is entitled to. Thank you so much Lorah for showing me the true beauty of a grateful heart.

The Being a Woman book and worksheets are available here.
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23.5.11

The past... a long, long time ago



Yes that is me on the left in the purple wig!  There was a time when I was a clown.  Many years ago, my friends and I had a great time face painting and performing as clowns to earn a living. Just a little bit of useless information for you for a laugh.  Have you ever done anything interesting to earn some money?
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19.5.11

Passion & Purity - Rebuilding my Soul

14 December… Dear Jesus, Now I don’t know if it’s just people like myself who have had a rough background with men or if women with normal backgrounds go through this too, but I have realised that there is one last area I need to deal with in order to be truly free and to truly love myself! The area of course is men! This journey has been amazing, You have been so faithful and have been so gracious and I am already so much freer than I was when I started this journey. Recently though, I have realised, that there is still a big part of me that needs male attention and approval. I still need to be noticed and need to be liked by men. Although I am more mature now than when I was a teenager and don’t run around wearing the shortest possible skirts to gain male attention, I do still have exactly the same need as when I was a teenager - the need for male love and attention. I’m sure a large degree of this is normal, we were created to grow up and pair off, most of us were made with the desire to be married and to have a family. I say most of us because some men and woman of God have chosen to remain single and seemed to be quite content doing so. 

I am writing this section from my heart, from the place that needs your work God, from the place that is still a little bit messed up from my past life. It’s easy to have a warped perception of men when your dad has abused you. It’s easy to feel insecure in relationships when you’ve experienced divorce, either by your parents’ marriage breaking up or your own. It’s even easier to use all of that as an excuse and spend your life with a victim mentality. The hard part is picking up the pieces and putting them all back together again and asking You, God, to show me the truth about men. I have had a wonderful year where you have showed me what it’s like to have a real father and a real husband. You have filled the gap in my life where I have in the past, relied on a man. You have provided for the girls and I in so many ways, and as I write this now, I still feel totally and utterly bowled over by Your goodness. 

But unfortunately it’s not all material and financial provision; there is also the heart factor, the emotional aspect of men that I need to deal with. I have come to the place where I don’t need a man to take care of me financially, where I don’t need a man to make me feel secure and I don’t need a man to make me feel safe. You have taken me down a road where You have completely revealed Yourself to me, and I am so very grateful! 

Now back to the main point. You have been faithful, You have helped me build an awesome life as a single mom and I haven’t suffered one bit financially or materially due to the lack of a man in my life. I am, however, struggling with the emotional and physical need for a man in my life.
As I said previously God, I am not sure of how much of what I am going through is normal and how much is a result of my past. I realise that there are many girls out there that are balanced and whole beings, who are single and long for a man to be at their side. It’s normal for a girl to want a guy to put his arm around her in the movies, to call her up just to say goodnight, to kiss her and love her. I think that is normal and all of us who are single would like that from a man from time to time. 

The part that I want to get rid of is the intense desire to have a man’s approval. I have in the past become a completely different person just so that I can become who I think a particular man would want me to be so that I can have his approval, love and acceptance. This is unacceptable and quite frankly, it looks desperate. I don’t want to be desperate, I want to be complete and whole and NOT LOOK for any man that will have me. I know I have to get to the place where I realise who I am. That if the man in my life doesn’t like me, then he’s not the man for me and I’m not the girl for him. That should be the first and most important part of choosing a partner. If I have to change any part of the core of who I am to get love and acceptance, then I am going to lose my identity and potentially lose who I am. I would then end up being an emotional wreck with a major identity crisis! I know this to be true because I have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ enough times, haven’t I God? Not a pretty picture :( The other thing that I am realising and learning about men and woman, is that we need to appreciate each other’s differences, and embrace the fact that we are all unique in our way, instead of trying to change to be just like him. 


The food illustration is a little area that perhaps we are willing to change (although totally unnecessary, differences are good, healthy and keep life interesting) but what other areas do I compromise in? The way I dress. He doesn’t like skirts, so I stop wearing skirts. He doesn’t like red, so I chuck out all my red clothes, before he discovers that I own red clothing. He likes an ambitious woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. I suddenly focus on my career. Life takes a whole new turn as before I would have been focused on being a mom, but now that’s not going to get me any approval, so the kids take a back seat and the career comes first. 

This works both ways. I had a male friend who gave up his best friends, stopped leading a house church group and hurt many people, just because he wanted a particular woman in his life. He too had a rough start in life - his mom and dad divorced when he was young and then his mom died while he was in his teens. Things were tough and were affected how he related to women and made him desperate for a woman’s approval and love. 

I desperately don’t want to be desperate Lord, please help me rebuild my soul.

Find out how God tenderly rebuilt my soul by reading the rest of this chapter in Passion & Purity!  More info on the book here or purchase it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
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16.5.11

Being a Woman - Who Has Enough

My Facebook status recently: 

"I am so happy :) Even when I am not happy I am still happy - how does that work lol x"

I think the apostle Paul had a similar Facebook status back in his day:


Philippians 4:11-12
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

I realised recently that I am truly content - I have enough! It came to my attention when I was going on an hour long journey to see a friend.  The journey was mostly on a long straight motorway, so my mind was free to think and pray.  As I drove I thought about what I felt like chatting to God about.  I scanned my mind for any area of need in my life as I hadn't had much time recently to pray for myself.  Item after item went through my mind until I declared,

"God, I have no need, you truly have supplied all my needs!"

It was such a beautiful moment when I realised how truly content I am and I thanked God profusely for all the beautiful things He had given me.  My smile slowly turned to a frown, not because I became unhappy but because I began to pray for others.  All the contentment that I had quickly highlighted all the lack in other people's lives.  The world is broken, people are hurting and my heart was grieved with the sad state of many women that I have grown to love.  Yes I have enough, but to live in this contentment for the sake of my own personal gratification would destroy the very contentment that I have gained.  

Paul goes on to say what he does with his contentment:


Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

If Paul was content then why does he even need to be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him? He needs Christ to strengthen him because he isn't living a life of self satisfaction but a life of serving others. Like Paul, I too have enough, but I only found this contentment in my life when I stopped trying to get satisfaction and started living my life to serve others.

Do you feel like you are content and have enough at this point in your life?

The Being a Woman book and worksheets are available here.
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A Bug Collection

I recently received this DVD set for free from BookSneeze®.com to review. Max Lucado has done a fantastic job of bringing spiritual principles to life through his Bug Collection stories. It's so much more than children's stories, he really finds a way to tell the truth and teach spiritual principles. My children love these DVD's but I too have been changed through them. As an adult I have been challenged about my identity, my value and my purpose through the cute bug stories. I highly recommend these DVD's to you for your little ones and for yourself, they are available from Amazon :)
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11.5.11

Passion & Purity - Rescued by the Prince

Pain consumed me but I quickly learned where to run to for safety. No longer did I find myself sitting on the bathroom floor with a razor blade. Times of getting totally drunk were over. I had a new strategy – to run! Not to run away but to run to! When I started to feel a wave of remorse, regret or guilt I would run to my strong tower.

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Imagine a little girl falling over and bruising her knee. She slowly gets up and starts to run. Where does she run to? Does she run away from or does she run to her mommy or daddy? Of course she doesn’t run away, that would be strange. She longs for comfort and something that will take the pain away. She runs to the one who will do just that for her. It is instinctive, she doesn’t have to weigh up the pros and cons and make a wise informed decision. No of course not. She falls, she gets hurt, and she gets up and runs to her daddy. 

As soon as her daddy becomes aware of the situation he puts his arms out to her and lifts her up. He is concerned and asks where it hurts. His first reaction is concern not judgement. The father doesn’t say to the little girl, “What were you doing wrong to have fallen!” He is not concerned in the slightest at this point about what caused the pain he simply wants to soothe the pain for his little girl. Perhaps later on or another day he might have a chat with the little girl about what she did wrong to cause the pain. His only motivation of course would be so that she didn’t hurt herself again, so that she could avoid danger.

God is no different from any loving parent! He is a daddy. When we run to Him He will pick us up. When we are hurting He will be concerned about the hurt first, not the thing that we perhaps did wrong to get hurt. If He does tell us off for doing something silly it is only because He doesn’t want us to get hurt again. He is a loving Father, the perfect Father, our dream Father. Best of all He loves us, totally, utterly and completely. I quickly learned how to run to Him when my heart was aching. Every time I felt hurt I would call out to Him. I would sometimes just say,

“Father God I am hurting so badly right now.”

I would sit in His presence and allow the warmth of His embrace to hold me. Unless you have ever needed God like I did, you may not know what I am talking about. Try it. Go and sit down somewhere private and ask God to be with you. It is so precious; you will see what I mean. It’s like a hug from heaven!

Jesus made this possible. Jesus is my prince. Jesus made a way for me to have access to God whenever I want. My sin separated me from God because God is perfect and can have nothing to do with the filth of my sin. Jesus came to earth as a human, fulfilled the law that was required by God, took the punishment that I should have had thereby paying the full price for my sin. The wages of sin is death. The price I was supposed to pay for my sin was death. I deserved to be stoned and beaten to death. That was what the law required. Jesus rescued me; He took my place and paid the wages of sin. He died so that I could live. He did it knowing that I would take Him for granted. He did it knowing that I would turn my back on Him several times in my life. Knowing everything about me, He still died a horrible death, so that when I needed a hug from God I could freely go to Him. I am so humbled by His grace. I didn’t deserve what He did for me and there is no way I can ever repay Jesus for what He did for me. My aim is to love Him as much as I can and lead the best possible life that I can from now on. Not because it will make Him love me anymore – He already loves me to the maximum that it is possible for Him to love me. Not because I think it will get me points to get into heaven. Oh no, I am sure of my place in heaven even on my worse days. My aim to live a great life is purely to bring Him pleasure. I want to make God happy. I want to put a smile on His face. I want Him to know how grateful I am for everything that He has done for me. 

I am rescued by my Prince and I am eternally grateful. So on the days when I was suffering with the consequences of my poor choices, I ran to God. Not because I deserved the attention He would give me, but because I needed a daddy to run to that would pick me up and love me and tell me that everything was going to be OK. 

The Hebrew word for tower from Proverbs 18:10 is ‘migdal, migdalah’ and comes from the root word ‘gadal’ which means; a tower (from its size or height); by analogy a rostrum; figuratively a (pyramidal) bed of flowers: - castle, flower, pulpit, tower. 

I don’t have to wish life was a fairy tale – it is! My prince isn’t imaginary - He is real and He has rescued me! And to think that I wasted most of my life searching for love in all the wrong places, while Jesus patiently stood by waiting for me to come to Him!

After running to Jesus I few times I started writing things down. I loved writing and thought it would be a great way to monitor my progress. Most of all I expressed myself best when I wrote so I kept a diary that was specifically for me and Jesus. Instead of writing ‘Dear Diary’ I wrote ‘Dear Jesus’. Here is a letter that I wrote to Jesus and His reply... yes He replies to my letters too.

You will have to read the book to find out what I wrote to Jesus and what He wrote back, find out more here or purchase it on Amazon.com or pre-order for a 1st June release from Amazon.co.uk.
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10.5.11

Being a Woman - Who listens

We all listen to someone and believe what they say, who do you listen to and what do you believe?

Genesis 3:11
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?

God asked Adam and Eve the same question! He asked them who spoke to them and told them a lie that they believed and acted upon. Nothing has changed since then. We still listen, believe and act. The process is not the problem but what we listen to is where the problem lies. If we want to become the woman that God wants us to become then we need to listen to what God wants us to listen to. There are only two options, either we listen to and believe the truth or we listen to and believe the lies. Our actions will be an outcome of what we listened to and who we are, our core identity, will be determined by what we listen to. Have you ever considered this? It’s a powerful concept isn’t it? 

The Bible says that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If we want to be free women we need to listen to the truth and choose not to believe the lies. Lies are easy to find, turn on your TV or flip through a magazine. Here the lies screamout at you that you need to buy things on credit or that you need to be a size 0 to be acceptable in this world. I wonder, if one day when we meet God face to face, he will ask us the same question he asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” Or “Who told you that you were fat? Or “Who told you that you had to use credit to shop?” or “Who told you that you were unloved?” or “Who told you that you were unacceptable to Me?”

Who are you listening to? To be the woman that God intended you to be you have to listen to the truth. The truth can be found in the Bible and once you start to realise how amazing this truth is you will be blown away. For example, did you know that God finds you incredibly beautiful? Yes you! No this is not meant for some other reader, this is for YOU! This is what God says to you today;

“How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful!”

I didn’t make this up, it’s in the Bible Song of Solomon 1:15. He also says this to you;

“You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.”

You can read about this truth in Song of Solomon 4 in The Message bible. God is crazy about YOU. And this is just the beginning, the Bible speaks of how he has made very special plans for your life and how much he wants to take care of your every need including the beautiful clothes that you want to wear . The Bible is an awesome love letter from God to you,  where He tells you every single truth that you need to know. It covers things like parenting, gardening, healthy eating, fashion, love, romance, career, beauty, friendships, history and so much more. If you love soap operas read about Sampson and Delilah, if you love romance read Song of Solomon, if you like action adventure read Joshua, if you like documentaries and statistics read Numbers and Leviticus, if you like comedy read about how God had to use a donkey to talk to someone and how Elijah had to walk around butt naked for three years to make a point to the Israelites. If you like thrillers read Revelations or if you like drama with happy endings read Job. You can even get all these Bible stories on DVD these days. 

Reading your Bible, watching Bible stories and listening to preaching is a really wonderful way of listening to the truth that God wants to tell you. What are you listening to? Consider what you watch and what you read, who your friends are and who you allow to influence you.

The Being a Woman book and worksheets are available here.
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7.5.11

Passion & Purity - Dating Games

Where on earth did the torturous ritual of dating come from anyway? For me dating seems like a rather cruel way of finding love. You can’t do so many things but your hormones are raging and want to do it all! You have loads of protocol to follow but in essence all you can think about is getting married. Of course you can’t tell a guy that or he will run a mile... well some guys would and some guys wouldn’t. I have observed my daughter go through her first dating experience and I feel so sorry for her, it can be so confusing and so wonderful all at once.
As far as I can tell, in the Bible you only had betrothal and marriage. There was nothing in between to send you on an emotional roller coaster! That sounds kind of nice to me. You see someone you like; you watch them from a distance and perhaps become friends. When you think you want to spend the rest of your life with them you get betrothed for a year and then get married. Nice, clean and simple. No breaking up, making up and all the issues in between. I came across a great article by Kimberly Powell about the history of dating which I will share with you with her permission.

“Where would we be without romance? What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Beginning with the ancient Greeks' recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word "eros" to describe carnal love, and "agape" to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love.

Ancient Courtship

In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice - when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Hence, we get the word, honeymoon. Arranged marriages were the norm, primarily business relationships born out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances.

Medieval Chivalry

From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today's courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry. During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse. Chastity and honour were highly regarded virtues. In 1228, women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.

Victorian Formality

During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal - almost an art form among the upper classes. An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation. Even after being introduced, it was still some time before it was considered appropriate for a man to speak to a lady or for a couple to be seen together. Once they had been formally introduced, if the gentleman wished to escort the lady home he would present his card to her. At the end of the evening the lady would look over her options and chose who would be her escort. She would notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card requesting that he escort her home. Almost all courting took place in the girl's home, always under the eye of watchful parents. If the courting progressed, the couple might advance to the front porch. Smitten couples rarely saw each other without the presence of a chaperone, and marriage proposals were frequently written.

The chapter on Dating Games continues in Passion & Purity which is already available on Amazon.com and available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk, more info on the book here.
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6.5.11

Conference Payment Plan

Hi lovely ladies,

I am so excited about our upcoming King's Daughters Conference and I don't want anyone missing out!  So to make things easier I have come up with a weekly payment plan for you which is only £2 per week!

It's easy to get started, simply book your ticket today for £3 and then pay £2 instalments for the next 16 weeks.  You ticket will be paid in full in time for the conference and you can collect you ticket at the conference doors on the 10th September.  So don't wait, get started today here.

Have a fantastic day!

Love
Angela
xxx


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4.5.11

Girls Night Out



Last night we had our King's Daughters Girl's Night with our new friend, Wanja, at her stunning African Experience restaurant in Gloucester.  Where do I begin, it was such an awesome experience.  Let's start with the food.  Usually I don't like to eat in restaurants because of all the preservatives and nasty things that are added.  I also don't like all the oils and sugars that are used so I tend to eat at home mostly.  BUT  Wanja cooks with fresh, natural ingredients and she avoids using lots of oils and sugars.  Her food tasted just like home cooked food which was fantastic. After the meal at C & W's African Experience you are left feeling full for the entire evening because the meal is so wholesome.  We really enjoyed our meal and we will definitely be having more Girl's Night there again.

AND to add to the experience, Wanja joined us after dinner and shared her story with us.  Not only did we leave with a full tummy but a full spirit too!  Her testimony of God's goodness is amazing and I highly recommend that you visit her and ask her to share her story with you too.

They are currently in the final stages of the Barclays One Small Step Competition, please vote for them and spread the word.  Well done Charlie & Wanja, C & W's African Experience truly is an authentic African experience in every possible way.

I am so very excited because Wanja will be offering her authentic African food to our delegates at the upcoming King's Daughters Conference.  Just when you thought things couldn't get any more exciting, they did!
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2.5.11

Passion & Purity - Lies of Love

You are worth it

22 October... Dear Diary, Today I bought myself a gold necklace with a beautiful gold cross pendant! I am wearing it now as I write this and it feels foreign hanging around my neck, like it doesn’t belong on me. It doesn’t feel like the sort of thing I would wear at all, way too fancy. The fact that I bought it for myself, for no reason, and for no occasion, is totally and utterly just not something I’ve ever done. It all started yesterday, I had some time while waiting for a train so I did some window shopping to pass the time. I looked at all the beautiful jewellery that was for sale in the jewellery shop. It never crossed my mind to buy any of it; I was simply looking as usual. I realised that there were a few items that I really liked and so I wrote down the catalogue codes just in case someone ever asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Today however, something unusual happened. I had a strong feeling that I should buy this particular necklace for myself. Naturally I dismissed the thought at first as preposterous, why on earth would I buy a gold necklace for myself? The urge persisted, so I thought perhaps God was urging me – but why would He say that? Surely if He wanted to give it to me, He would find a way to give it to me through someone else?

Again the thought persisted and I felt strongly that I needed to see myself worthy of this gift. I needed to realise that I am special and I am worth gifts of gold and it’s OK to feel that I’m worth it and it’s OK to buy myself a gift! So I passed the jewellery shop again and had another look at the beautiful necklace. Eventually I asked the sales assistant if he wouldn’t mind taking it out so I could have a look at it. Naturally I pretended that I was buying it for someone else and asked if it could be returned if the person I was buying it for didn’t like it. My motivation was fear, I was scared I was making a mistake and being completely silly. After some deliberation, I bought the necklace. It was a bold step but the result was that I felt like a princess all the way on the train journey home. Just knowing that I had bought it and that it was in my bag waiting to be worn as soon as I got home, made me feel so very excited. When I arrived home I took another look at it and then put it on my neck. As I did this, it dawned on me... I was being refined like gold. It was a wonderful revelation but I was aware that the heat of the refining fire was going to be unpleasant! I also knew that it was going to be worth it in the end. Nervousness, mixed with excitement, decorated my thoughts as I considered the path that lay ahead of me. 

Since that day I have come to understand a little bit more about how valuable I am. God has shown me that it’s OK to need love and attention. The problem was never my need for love and attention but how I got that love and attention. God gently showed me that He made me that way, it was a part of His perfect design and it was not something that I should try and remove from myself or shut off. My need to be loved and cherished was a good thing; in fact it was a God thing. 

Frank Sinatra sung a beautiful song called ‘All The Way’ and God chose this song to speak to me about my need for attention. I was thrilled to know that it was alright for me to need love, that is was OK for me to want to be desired. I listened to the song over and over and over again until I really believed that I was worth loving. For four weeks, while at holiday at my mother’s home, God reprogrammed my mind with one simple Frank Sinatra song! 

The message was strong and clear – I am worth it. Over and over again God kept telling me that I should stop trying to be good enough to be loved and that I should stop changing into who ever men wanted me to be. Have a read of these lyrics, even better if you can find the song have a good listen and let it soak deep into your heart. It’s a beautiful song, perhaps you can hear the voice of God in it too.

Frank Sinatra - All The Way

When somebody loves you
It's no good unless he loves you. all the way
Happy to be near you
When you need someone to cheer you. all the way

Taller than the tallest tree is,
That's how it's got to feel
Deeper than the deep blue sea is
That's how deep it goes if it's real

When somebody needs you
It's no good unless he needs you, all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in-between years, come what may

Who knows where the road will lead us
Only a fool would say, but if you'll let me love you
It's for sure I'm gonna love you, all the way.

So, if you'll let me love you, it's for sure I'm gonna love you, all the way, all the way
Isn’t that such a beautiful song? The words make me want to melt and when I listen to Frank Sinatra sing it I am left breathless. Even more so when I remember that God wants me to know that He is going to love me ‘all the way’! 

When you realise that God’s love is so much deeper and stronger and real than that, you are left to wonder how on earth we could possibly understand His immense love for us. I realise now that God was trying to tell me how much He loved me. At the time of my brokenness I could not receive this sort of love, but God in His tender mercy has truly loved me all the way. In order to capture the essence of what I wanted to say to you I played this song whilst writing and was completely overcome by the love of God. 

Yes, He did want me to know my worth and to understand how it should feel when I was loved by a man. But He also wanted me to know His love. God, it appears, is a big soppy romantic!
He must be, why else would He have gone to so much trouble to tell me that He loves me? Why else would He have put up with all the hurt that I caused Him? Why else would He have gone to all the trouble of creating this beautiful universe for me to live in? Why else would He sacrifice His only son just so I can still be loved by Him even when I have sinned? 

Jesus truly is the lover of my soul now, I have discovered a love that satisfies, a love that completes me, a love that doesn’t disappoint and a love that goes all the way.

This is what dictionary.com defines romantic as:

–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or of the nature of romance; characteristic or suggestive of the world of romance: a romantic adventure.

2. fanciful; impractical; unrealistic: romantic ideas.

3. imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure, chivalry, etc.

4. characterized by a preoccupation with love or by the idealizing of love or one's beloved.

5. displaying or expressing love or strong affection.

6. ardent; passionate; fervent.

—Synonyms
extravagant, exaggerated, wild, imaginative, fantastic.

Take a minute to meditate on these words. Yes they may be from the dictionary but they are also in the Bible, have a read of the book called Song of Solomon... you may be in for a surprise when you see how romantic Jesus really is! 

The lie the enemy would have you believe is that God is pointing a finger at you. You may have done some seriously naughty stuff in your life, just like I did. Guilt might be controlling you and telling you that there is no way God would or could ever love you. You are too filthy, you are without hope. THESE ARE LIES from the pit of hell. I must tell you that you are one step away from being completely clean. You only have to do one thing to have your entire slate wiped clean. 

Just say sorry!

It’s that simple.

Say “Sorry God for the life I have led. Sorry that I didn’t love You back the way You have ALWAYS loved me. Sorry that I don’t really know you but I am ready to begin a relationship with you right now. I am sorry for not believing that You sent Jesus to die for me. I found it all a bit farfetched, but I realise now that you did this so that I can come back to you and be loved by you.”

If you said sorry from your heart, in whatever words you chose to use, I can assure you that your slate has been wiped clean. No matter what you have done, you can be forgiven. No matter how far away you are from God you can get closer. 

I am living proof. 

More chapter snippets about how I found God's deep love for me will follow soon, find out more about the book here
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