Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shedding...

When I was growing up in South Africa the seasons used to meld some.  You never really noticed whether it was Spring or Summer, Autumn (Fall for my American friends) or Winter.  There were small differences sure, but no really big ones.  One of the many things I absolutely love about living in the UK is the vast changes that the seasons bring.


I have learned to appreciate each and every season here with great joy and excitement.  I think it's teaching me about life.  I love spring, with bunnies hopping around the fields and new daffodils springing up as much as I celebrate barren, cold days and the crisp beauty that they bring.  Finding secret wonder in every day whatever it may look like, because there always is treasure to find.  I wonder if there is a lesson about life there.


Autumn brings crisp mornings and cool evenings after a long (well not so long in the case of this year) hot summer.  The sun seems to be a little more weary and rises a little later and the day draws to a close a little earlier.  We start to put our heating on for short bursts and steaming mugs of hot chocolate becomes something we begin to savour again.  



I've been keen to be a part of and take the {31 days} challenge this year but have been at a loss as to what I should do it on.  I've decided to do it on Shedding.  Thirty one days of Shedding all the things are dead and holding us back. 


Sometimes getting rid of the old, dead bark, leaves and and branches that cling to us...


Reveals the beauty of who we really are...



All that old bark, those dead branches and leaves that Autumn, or Fall if you prefer, is so very well known for.  Getting rid of the dead bits, so that new healthy growth can happen.  A beautiful, and oh so appropriate topic for me at this time, in this season, this year.  I've been spending a lot of time in John 15 of late, and it is something that God has been talking to me about.

  
I'm oh so excited to see what God does in this challenge, oh so very excited and hope that you will journey along with me!  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An open letter to the church...



Dear Church,

I love you.  You are beautiful and wonderful and amazing.  You are His beloved.  His bride.  No ifs, buts or wherefore's - I love you.

We sit, you and I, whomever you might be and we have coffee (well I have tea).  You tell me about the podcasts you are listening to.  You tell me about the messages that I 'should' listen to that I missed when I couldn't get to church.  You tell me about the books you are reading.  You tell me constantly about the wisdom you are gleaning from others.  How much you are learning.  The prayer meetings with friends who pray so beautifully and passionately.  The conferences.  Your passion overflows where there once was only a trickle....

I sit and I wonder how to tell you - I'm concerned.

I'm concerned because you don't tell me about things He's told you in the quiet places.  You don't tell me with excitement about the things that God has revealed to you, on your own.  The chapters of the bible that you can't leave - you've been stuck on the same chapter getting revelation after revelation for months.  You don't tell me about being in His Presence on your own...hour after hour.  You used to tell me about that...you don't any more.

You tell me about someone else's revelation that you are taking as your own.  They amaze you.  They enthral you.  They are incredible men and women of God...Heidi and Rolland Baker,  Winnie and Georgian Banov, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallaton, John Crowder, Rick Joyner, Patricia King...to name just a few - all of whom fought for their own revelation - hour after hour in His presence.  Oh the new books and podcasts!  You blindly follow your pastors, and leaders - accept their take of things as what is right.   Indeed if anyone was to disagree you call them rebellious - and arrogant.  You swallow what has been taught to you without further thought, and reproduce that.

You tell me you want to grow in the prophetic.  In signs and wonders.  I have to question - do you want it handed on a plate?  By one of these people?  Or, are you willing to sit at His feet for days on end and learn that actually - it's all about Him.  When you abide in Him...with Him...it flows. Because the prophetic and signs and wonders are, very simply Him telling secrets to His friend...Him talking to you...you doing what is on His heart.  Do you know His voice more intimately than your own?  Who do you want it from?

I know I sound harsh and angry, I'm not.  I'm simply and seriously concerned.  I see a church who is hungry and so to satiate her hunger she is willing to sit at the feet of those at the table and eat their scraps because she is under the deception that it is quicker than climbing up to the table and being seated there.

I'm not against learning.  Or reading.  Or listening.  Or conferences.  Or church sermons.  Nor do I feel I have all the answers.  I've done it all, and I do it all.  It feeds maybe 5% of my life.  The other 95% is fed by Jesus Himself.

How can you call yourself authentic when you are simply reproducing (or at best trying to reproduce) someone else's theology - someone else's revelation?  Why are you content with eating half-chewed regurgitated scraps from the table that are freely tossed away when you can be sat in the arms of the Father, sharing in the feast He has laid before all of you, hearing God's opinion on everything shared because your head is laid upon His heart.

It is His opinion you want first and foremost.

I wonder, when we call people to the feast, when we tell them about the feast that God has laid out for them, do we tell them that we are going to teach them to sit on the floor and scrounge for scraps?  Scarily, we don't even realise that we are doing this. We feed them from first contact, set them up with a 'discipler / pastor / mentor' to spoon feed them the ways of christian life after they get saved.  Do this, don't do that.  We repackage it, but that is what we do.  Pray, read your bible, read this book, listen to this podcast.  Stop doing this, start doing that.  I heard an individual who is in leadership in a church describe not so long ago a new christian.  She said, ' It's like she just sit's at XYZ's feet and laps up everything she says.  She'll probably be her personal pastor.'  I am CONCERNED.  We think this is okay?  We allow this and we teach people to sit at the feet of someone other than God Himself and lap up revelation from someone other than God?  We teach them to eat scraps.

We create leaders who think that somehow they have a greater position in the Bride than those who are not 'on the leadership team'.  We create leaders who think they hear from God better and get to dictate.  We create leaders who are more concerned about church governance and their own reputation (and lets not forget those leadership getaways where gossip is rife - but we repackage it with a different name - ie. sharing wisdom) and who judge more than they love.  We do this, because we modelled it in the first place.  Eating scraps.  Feeding scraps.  Worse still, second hand scraps.  Third hand scraps.  Those feeding on scraps, feeding their scraps without ever graduating to the table...who in turn feed their scraps...

The christian who is homosexual.  The christian who has an eating disorder.  The christian who is an unmarried mother.  The christian who swears.  The christian who doesn't tithe.  The christian who is living with their partner - unmarried.  The christian who has depression and anxiety.

We have pat answers.  Leave.  It's a sin.  A life lived in holy celibacy is better than a life lived in sin.  Give ten percent to us.  Stop swearing.  Be accountable.  Think differently.  Try this three step approach I'm not calling a three step approach.  Eat this.  Behaviour modification...change what the package looks like on the outside because I say so and it will look like I'm having an effect.  Meet my needs.

The inside stays the same.  We never teach people to spend time with Him.  Learn to feel His peace about situations.  Abide in Him.  Feed from Him directly.  It's not as easy and doesn't externally produce results quite as quickly.   We can't control them and their behaviour as easily - and there we have it.  Control.  We cheat them out of learning to KNOW Him for themselves, develop a personal and intimate relationship, learn to hear His voice....we cheat them out of true and deep personal change that only He can bring.  We cheat them out of experiencing HIM.

But in keeping hold of this control, in swallowing it ourselves we've lost the most precious thing He ever gave us.  Freedom.  Freedom to abide in His arms and hear from Him.  Freedom to sit on our knees and gaze upon Him.  Freedom to know His voice better than our own, be consumed by His eyes, be led by His hand.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I honour and respect the spiritual mothers and fathers that feed into my life - those who have fed into my life directly and indirectly.  Fini and Isi de Gersigny.  Sheila Atchley.  Sarah and Nathan Kotzur.  Heidi Baker.  John Crowder.  Shampa Rice.  Rolland Baker.  Kris Vallaton.  Danny Silk.  Mother Teresa.  Rob Rufus.  Rick Joyner.  John Paul Jackson.  Michele and Ruth.  These people have changed my life with their love and willingness to share into my life and the lives of others.  I honour leadership - I've just never been one to blindly follow.  I love conferences - though mostly I go to those I know the hungry will gather at because I know I will meet with Him in a different way - not for the teaching so much - though I love that.  I listen to messages - at church and specific places online where I know I will get the meat I miss so much.  I love reading books. I just filter everything through Him...all the time.  Constantly...before I digest it.  I don't do something just because someone at the pulpit tells me to - I do it because He tells me to.

And truth be told, mostly I prefer to get it from Him directly.  I love listening to messages and going YES!!!  That's what He's been talking to me about.  That was the case this past Sunday.  I listened to a message online and went...oh yes!  We've been talking about that - the Trinity and I!  He's talking to others about it too.  Or the book I'm reading that I didn't even know was going echo a lot of what He has been talking to me about - and then expand...and provoke long conversations with Him about things.  His conversations with me about the book have impacted me more than the book.  A few holy cows have been slaughtered in the process.

You see beautiful people - it's all about Him.  Him.  Him.

I'm concerned because there is more, and you are worth more than dog scraps.  You are destined for more.  Don't settle.  Don't settle.  Don't settle.  Please, don't settle!!!  You will get food poisoning, get sick, get malnourished...take off the blinkers and get up and sit with the One who has called you by name!

Lots and Lots of Love,
Ursula

Monday, May 27, 2013

Resurrection Year!!!

“I'm busy writing our memoir” he told me, “and we're calling it Resurrection Year.”

A memoir? Really? I could not help but think how utterly boring that sounded whilst at the same time feeling entirely guilty about feeling that way as this couple were essentially housing me, a virtual stranger when I was basically homeless.

Luckily the conversation didn't stop there, and within a few minutes I'd changed my mind (typically female it would seem) to being fascinated by the idea of this book. In fact, that conversation healed something inside of me.

This memoir, they told me, was to be about broken dreams, and more specifically this memoir was to be this couples story of infertility – one without a 'surprise' ending that included a baby. This couples story ripped straight through me and that night I told them something I'd not told anyone yet, and in the telling healing came.

You see, their story echoed a story I knew very well. A couple very close to me, had gone through this just a few years previously, however I was entwined in the story. I was so very angry with God when they couldn't have a baby, I was so very angry with God for dashing their dreams, and so very angry at myself for having being a part of raising their hopes up...and in essence causing these people so much pain that I lashed out at God in every way I could for over 2 years. I did not understand how God could be so cruel – or as Merryn puts it, 'Maybe God is just a meanie'.

At the risk of bringing up hurts, I'd not been able to speak to these people I loved and apologise...and yet I blamed myself.

So for the first time, sitting in Sheridan and Merryn's lounge, I verbalised it this writer and his wife. The conversation itself held so much grace...that something inside of me healed. I'm not sure this couple who had given a stranger a home, realised how much they were Jesus' healing hands that night.



Fast forward a year and I was given the opportunity to read the book that I'd been waiting a year for. I started it and almost called in sick just so that I could finish it. Unfortunately, life got very busy, very fast and until today (the day before the launch of the book) I've not been at my laptop long enough to read it. I started it again this afternoon and could not put it down...so to speak.

I love to read, and have read many books. Few times have I ever read a book as vulnerably honest as this one, whilst being beautifully written. I cried and I laughed...and I marvelled at the strength of this couple. I've been a Christian for 15 years (on Thursday) and have experienced my share of broken dreams...somewhere along the way in reading this book, and hope and healing sprung in a weary heart.

Sheridan has managed to fulfil a very tall order – to tell their story in a compelling, powerfully honest way that I have no doubt will bring healing to hurting couples who struggle with infertility, whilst somehow making it accessible to anyone who has had a broken dream – and lets be honest most of us can identify with that.

Sheridan and Merryn, thank you for being so very brave and sharing your story so vulnerably. Thank you for inviting us into your lives and hearts and sharing your pain, your joys...your realness. Sheridan, you have stewarded your gift well, and I can't wait to hear the stories of hope and healing that will come out of it.

I got an email about an hour ago in which Sheridan said, “Perhaps there really is some purpose to our pain. God does like to redeem it for the sake of others, doesn’t he? “ I don't think there is any perhaps to it in this case. I believe incredibly strongly that this book is going to change lives, and bring healing to many.

Tomorrow evening I am absolutely honoured to join Sheridan and Merryn in their home with a few friends to celebrate the launch of this book....with people from all over the world joining us from their own homes via webcast. Please do join in....the details of how you can do that are here.

If you would like to read a bit of the book before you buy, you can read a chapter here.

And....lastly, if you want to buy it, you can buy it here. Please do. You won't be sorry. In fact pick up a couple of books, I guarantee you will know at least two people you will want to give the book to after reading the story.

Now...I think I have a resurrection year to go and plan. It needs to be fun. It needs to be risky. I think I have a few ideas, but it won't have a Rupette in it, I'll leave that to the Voysey's!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On same sex attraction...


Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47

~~~~~

You will be a safe place for people who don't fit into the church. As Jesus is your safe place, you will create a safe place where there is no safe place and draw them into it and into Him.”

I was sitting in a room filled with prophetic people on my birthday in June 2007 and I thought I knew what it meant. I had an idea. You see I've never quite fitted into church very well. Heck, I became a Christian at 15 in a trance – you can imagine how well that went down. I see things many others don't see – angels, demons, visions, trances, heavenly experiences...they are things I naturally see and experience on a daily basis. I think differently. I view things from a different perspective. I'm drawn to people within the church who are different, who see colours differently, who see life differently...who don't fit the mould. I love their creativity. I love their individuality. I am attracted to people and their stories. I'm attracted to their hearts...not their race, not their colour, their religion...or their sexuality.

Nobody could have guessed what was to come in the years that followed that evening. What I would live through. What I would see. The 'on edge' people I would meet. People living a secret life as sadists, submissives, masochists, transvestites, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders – stories told to me filled with shame and guilt. I can't even tell you how many of those people are in leadership in the church – that was something I just didn't expect. Lets just say, not much shocks me any more.

Nobody would have guessed that I would have spent a few years living that hell for myself. I became the person most churches won't touch – and the one that did...the one I did approach one night told me I was going to hell, they told me I just had to 'stop' and that I was 'sinning' and was 'not okay'....and I remember how very helpless that made me feel. I remember how separated from God that made me feel. I couldn't approach Him like that. I remember walking home that night and the man I'd fallen in love with in May 2008 appeared beside me. I remember Him telling me that I was His, and that He loved me. As I poured out how I felt I was not good enough, and I could not change, He just repeated over and over and over again...I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. His lack of judgement drew me to him. I know what it's like to be on the edge of the church.

Roll a couple of destructive relationships (with men and women – and once both), a nervous breakdown and a stint with depression...and here I stand today. I'm well aware that recently homosexuality has been highlighted in the church. In fact, on Sunday my church (whom I love and is out of this world amazing) will be doing a sermon on same sex attraction.

It terrifies me. I can't decide whether or not I think they are being stupidly brave or bravely stupid. If I'm honest, I'm erring toward the latter – but I also feel there's a bit of the former going on there. As such, with my story, you can imagine I'm sitting on the edge, about what to expect. I haven't even decided if I'm going to be there.

I will be honest and say that I feel that any sermon on same sex attraction and homosexuality that does not concentrate on the fact that God loves people, and meets them where they are at, that does not focus on His grace and NOT on changing behaviours ...any sermon on homosexuality that does not celebrate peoples diversity...should not be preached. Any sermon that highlights how much of a sin it is, or how wrong it is does more damage than good. It heaps guilt and shame on people who are already feeling that...and that separates them from God.  People with same sex attraction within the church do not need to hear how it's a sin, or how they should 'stop it' or just accept they have to 'move on' from it - seriously they know all of this.  You do not have to repeat it.  

For a little while I've been okay not having a stance, but I've come to realise on this I need to have a stance. More specifically, I want to have His stance. So for days I've been asking God...what is YOUR stance on this? What do you want my stance to be? Where is Your heart?

This morning I woke up to Him telling me.

So this is where I stand – incidentally this is where I stand no matter who you are – not just concerning sexuality. This is where I stand no matter you race, your religion, your beliefs...your...well anything really.

Love never fails.

Grace is the answer. There is no end to Grace. Jesus did a REALLY good job of ensuring that.

Love never fails.

Jesus died on the cross for a reason, and if we have buts and wherefores we render what He did on the cross as useless.

Love never fails

It is not my job to judge, it's my job to love.

Love never fails.

It's my job to love people, it's the Holy Spirit's job to change people as He sees fit.

Love never fails.

It's my job to love people wholly and completely as they are, because that is how God loves them, no matter what their struggles are.

Love never fails.

I cannot be a safe place to people on the edge if I judge them or what they do.

Love never fails.

I will do my best to do nothing to hinder people from experiencing Gods endless grace and love.

Love never fails.

I will love people because I know that God loves them with an incredible passion.

Love never fails.

I will pull treasures out of people not highlight their weaknesses, whatever they might be. I am more than my weaknesses and so are they.

Love never fails.

I will value people for who they are and show them unconditional love.

Love never fails.

I will listen to people. Really listen. Without judgement. I will share their pain.

Love never fails.

I will always ask God what He sees in that person. I'll get His presiding perspective...that that is always good.

Love never fails.

God is Love, and that is why He is safe, and so I will dedicate my life to being that kind of safe place for people – even if it is offensive to the church.

Love never fails.

I'll be truthfully less than perfect and not be ashamed about my failings, because there is no condemnation in Christ...allowing others to be truthfully themselves, without feeling judged.

Love never fails.

I will let people have their own journey with God...and know He loves them more than I do, and is big enough to keep them safe.

Love never fails.

I will show compassion..and know that compassion has no buts at the end of it.

Love never fails.

I will not be ashamed of my story, because His grace and love is laced all through it. Beautifully. It is a beautiful story in the making and I will value and honour others stories no matter what point they are at.

Love never fails.

Love never fails.

Love never fails.

That is what I believe. That is my stance. One of the meanings of my name is 'mama bear' and it is interesting that mother bears are fierce in creating a safe place for their young. Interestingly it also means 'little bear' and I spent years in learning that I am 'just right' and seem to be growing up into a 'just right fierce protector' mama bear.

I will dedicate my life creating a safe place for those on the edge. I've tried to be the status quo...I've tried fitting into the boxes others seem to fit so easily into – but I can't.

I won't.

A friend of mine says regularly 'God loves us not because of what we do or don't do, but because of who we are – his creation'. He's hit it on the head.

My identity is as a beloved daughter of God, not as a heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, masochist, sadist, dominant, submissive, transgender, transvestite, monogamy, polyamorous...whatever you define your sexuality as (and there really is more than just heterosexual/homosexual out there – we just don't talk about it in church). He doesn't look at anyone and go....' yeah, there's that bisexual masochistic submissive polyamorous person I created' – he says, “See that amazing boy/girl, I think s/he's AMAZING. I created her/him you know...and these are the plans I have for her/him... We're right on track too...because, you know, I know everything and I'm big enough and love her/him enough to keep her/him safe...go love her/him won't you? Be my love incarnate made real in her/his life.”

I've not said where I stand now...that's a whole different blog, but essentially...it doesn't matter does it? Not as much as it matters that I am living loved and secure. That is what really matters. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Unlikely Lenten Youtube Goodness

Get out your tissues girl.

Or boy.

Or Woman.

Or Man.

Reader.

That works...reader.

Trust me, you want to get out your tissues.

But you will be oh so pleased you watched this.  




Today I discovered that YouTube fits into my little Lent experiment.

I see Him in this YouTube clip.

His love.

His grace.

His provision.

Abundant, abounding love in the midst of pain.

Compassion.

And an extreme gratefulness that my dad is still around.


His Beloved.

He and I, we walked up this road paved in gold together, hand in hand.  I marvelled at the fact that I was here, and it was gold.  For real.  With Him.  Always Him.  Beautiful houses lined the road, with place to play between, yet somehow we were the only people on this road...no cars, no hustle and bustle, no distractions, just He and I ...alone. 

"Ah, here we are", he said smiling, as we stopped outside a house, "this is what I wanted to show you."

"Who lives here?", I asked Him, thinking that as crazy as this experience had been so far, essentially I'd not be surprised if he said Ezekiel. 

"You", he answered.  "This is yours.  You live here.  You will live here.  This is your home that I have prepared for you."

I'll admit that I was floored for a moment.  I was ready for Ezekiel, I was not ready for me.  I always thought I was going to get a one bedroom flat in the bad area (or as bad as heaven gets) on some non-descript dirt road.  You know, the housing people decide it along with a list of your sins when you die.  Wait, was I ..was it possible...was I dead?  Oh sheesh. 

He shifted beside me, turning to look into my face, you see I'd forgotten for a second he knows everything about me..my every thought, even dirt road housing association thoughts. 

"Oh, you have so much to learn dear one, so much.  It doesn't work like that.  I don't work like that."

I blushed.  In heaven.  And wondered at that, you can blush in heaven.  Sheesh. 

I bounced bare footed on the pavement and turned to the One I love, "Can we go in, can we, can we, can we?"

Of course we could.  That is why He brought me here, he had something to show me.  I danced up the pavement to the big black door, marvelling at how the brass handle shone, and as I gripped it, and turned it to go in, I realised there was a big gold plaque on the door. 

I read it.

Beloved


WHAT?  What is THIS?  What is this DOING here?  What does this MEAN?

A hand fell on my shoulder and He turned me and tilted my face up to His, until I looked into His limitless eyes of truth and endless burning love, "It is you.  It is your name.  It is how I think of you.  You.  You are beloved.  You are My beloved.  You.  Just as you are.  My beloved."

In that moment, all the theology I thought I understood up until that point was rocked.  Destroyed.  Ripped apart. 

He didn't see me, and all my faults and sins when He saw me, He saw me...His Beloved.

I had a name in His heart and it was Beloved.  Dearly Loved. 

~~~

I have an admission to make...I wrote for more than five minutes on this one.  I could not help myself.  What I wrote here is part of an experience that I had over five years ago, an experience that rocked my world, where Jesus rocked my theology and beliefs about who He is and who I am.  

As much as I have messed up since, this has remained true.  I am His beloved.  That has never changed.  He has never stopped calling me HIS beloved.  His Beloved Always.

Heart. Stopping. Goodness. That. Shatters. You.

And so, after the five minute mark I kept writing.  I couldn't stop.

So...I am joining the Five Minute Fridays and Faith Filled Fridays parties with this blog entry...but I'll admit it, straight up, it took more than five minutes.

Have a fantastic weekend amazing people!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beloved....

Today...

I have a love message for you...such a beautiful, amazing, intimate love message that I just hope blesses you as much as it has me.

Happy Valentines day beautiful people...may you know the love of the Father deeper and deeper...may you know Love Himself.



This blog post is my submission to Thankful Thursday 'Celebrations' at...CamiKate CarinaSarah and Julia

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Finding God in Everything This Lent...

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I'm told that means its the beginning of Lent.

I have to admit I've never felt the need to do anything for Lent.  I know, that probably makes me a bad Christian in some books, but this year I've had a yearning to do something in the 40 days leading up to Easter.  Something...but I really didn't want to fall into the trap of the thing that just doesn't sit quite right to me about Lent...earning His favour.

So I've prayed about it.

I've read about it.

I've looked for books on it.

I've struggled with it.

I've talked to God about it.

I've tried to toss it aside.

I've tried to embrace giving up something.

I've tried to come up with SOMETHING.  To no avail.



And then yesterday, I found it..well it kind of came to me.  That thing He wants me to journey through with Him this Easter.  This Lent.  He wants me to find Him.  In the small things.  He wants me to hear Him...all day long in everyday life.  Because essentially, that's what He came here for, relationship with me.  24/7 relationship.  To be able to see him, and hear Him all the time....share with Him...listen to what He has to say...Love on Him...and be Loved on.  God in Everything.

God in Me.

Because I am my Beloved's and He is mine...and I want to see and hear everything He has for me every day.  I want to drink in every drop of every moment of this life He has given me...that He gave me on the Cross, and I don't know any other way to do it, but through this kind of relationship with Him.

40 days of seeking Him in everything, even the teeniest tiny thing.  The good and the bad.  Everything.

I'm so looking forward to what my post will be on Day 40...I'm so looking forward to what He is going to do.  To looking back and going...OH MY!

So, what if anything are you doing for Lent?  And if you aren't doing anything, but looking to do something, please...please feel free to join me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The simple joys of today...

Last night it snowed...big heavy flakes that only just settled on the ground enough that this morning there is a light covering of white and a whole load of slush.  

I love the extremes of winter more than the dull greyness of it, so really...I'm in my element.

Ironically I have daffodils all over my house, a promise of spring...because winter is starting to feel as it always does toward the end, like it's dragging out just a little too long.  Hope for better weather to come.

However, snow, and harsh, cold weather brings it's own pleasures, as did today.

So after the cleaning and the washing, the daffodil tending and getting ready for work this afternoon, I decided that I needed something nourishing and comforting.

I needed to whip up something with the things I had!  What did I have ingredients for?  Mushroom soup.

It looked something like this (because I forgot to take a picture!):


The recipe was pretty simple...and serves one...but my was it divine.

Basically I just chucked one chopped onion, one large chopped garlic clove, 1/2 punnet of mushrooms and some olive oil in a pot with salt to taste.  I sautéed all of that together until it softened and then added a couple of tablespoons of canned chestnut purée   Add veggie stock to cover and cook for about 30 minutes.  Taste.  Season some more.  Blend with a stick blender.  Sit at a table with daffs and some worship music on...and eat.

Oh my was it good.  I love that simple things, can taste good, and be ultra nourishing.  Love it.  

What simple joys or pleasures did you have today? 


The Whisper...

"Tell them", He whispered into my ear, "Tell them, I am Love and Love never fails.  I never fail.  Ever.  I'm really, really good at what I do.  Tell them I've heard, I've seen and it's okay, I've got it sorted.  Tell them, I won't fail them.  Tell them I've seen their pain and heartache, I've seen the depths of their despair  they can stop worrying now, they can stop doing...I've got the situation in hand, I've got them in my hand.  Tell them that Love never Fails...my Love never fails and that I'm really, really good at what I do.  Tell them that I am He who makes the impossible possible and I am he who will never fail you.  Tell them."



If I need someone to fix something, I call someone who has been highly recommended.  Someone with a great track record...someone I know I can be sure is going to get the job done.  I'm funny like that, heck, I don't even buy books without reading their reviews on Amazon.  I need to know that the thing that I'm investing into will bring the greatest return.  I'm not really into wasting my time and money otherwise.  

However, when it comes to impossible situations there is only One person who has a stellar reputation.  Only one.  There is only one perfect heart surgeon, perfect oncologist, perfect doctor, perfect potter, perfect situation-changer, perfect husband, perfect brother and perfect friend.  Only one.  

God Himself.

Love Himself.

He who is Love Incarnate.

He whose very nature is Love, whose every thought is Love, whose every desire is to Love you.

Endless Love.  He who has No-Limits Love.

He who loves you with every fibre of His supernaturally-always-good-all-the-time Being.

He who see's only you day in and day out and who burns with Love for you.

He who see's every single person as if they were the only person in the world, 24/7...that still blows my mind.

He whose love is greater than anything we could ever grasp.

Love come down.

Love who came and made residence in us so we could always be close.

Amazing Love.

Love that never Fails.  

Ever.

Only One with a perfect track record.

Only One that can love in a perfect-love way that is beyond our understanding.

He who loves you no matter who you are and what you are doing.

Only One whose love can meet the needs of every individual on this planet.  Only one whose Love is enough.

He who supplies all of your needs.  

He who loves you because He is Love.

Only One whose very nature, character and every motivation can be summed up by one word: Love.

He can't do anything else.  

He wants you to know that.  

Love never Fails and He is really, really good at what he does.  

~~~

I love link-up parties.  I love making new friends on the blogosphere...so that really works for me!  So...as such, I am contributing this blog to these parties (I'm too greedy to only go to one party!):


Have a totally fantabulous Monday everyone!  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hey Girl....

Hey Girl,

Today you tried to share the pain inside you and had it thrown back at you.  Pain that no eighteen year old should be feeling.  Deep pain that you have felt for too long.  You don't feel like you will ever achieve anything, you don't feel good enough, or loveable, or worthy.


Then, yesterday the only one that gets that pain died.


I want you to know that you are loveable.  One day, many years from now, you will have friends, and be loved for who you are.  One day that deep, dark endless pit of pain will go away.  You are different, it's true, but honey, it is in the most beautiful way ever.  One day, you are going to find a place where you belong.  One day, people in the church will look at you and understand, you and God, you just talk differently and always have.


I wish you knew the honour you have been given to see the things that you see, and talk to God in the easy-access way you do.  I wonder if you realise the power in your friendship with God.  I wish, oh I wish that you could, right now understand the fullness of the fact that God chooses to share secret things with you.  You see, you really are accepted.


Life isn't going to turn out the way you imagined, and no you are not going to be married with 4 children by the time you are thirty and live in a mansion.  Heck, you won't be in South Africa.  In fact, by the time you are thirty you'll have lived one of the greatest adventures out.  You'll have made mistakes, but you'll have lived your life with everything in you...and what a life.  Twelve years from now you will be happy.  It will be a journey sure...with a ride and a half.


If I could sit with you now, I'd take your face in my hands, look you in the eyes and tell you....



You are beautiful.  B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.  Your beauty is of the type that shines through honey.  You'll never be pretty...but heck...you OWN beauty.
The things God is going to show you, the experiences you are going to have, are going to blow your mind.  Everything you know in your heart of hearts to be true about God but that people will tell you is not true...it's true.  That Jesus you met two years ago is THAT good.  He is love, and he loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.  He's going to reveal Himself to you in the best way possible, oh honey....
You're going to be a safe place for people you know.  In all the turmoil.  You really are.  You're going to make people laugh...inspire joy.  People who have not laughed for years because of abuse.  You don't know it yet, but by the time you are thirty you will have an embarrassingly big collection of those stories.  You..you are a safe haven for people...you are someone who carries His love and joy like a lightning bolt.  You.
You are going to travel the world.  You're going to experience more colour and diversity than you could imagine.  It's going to expand your heart.  You are going to learn that things are not all black and white...and you are going to experience God's love in the most incredible ways, and be able to be that love to others.  
You...yes you...are going to mess up big time.  It's true.  You don't believe me, I know.  That's okay.  But you are.  You are going to do things you couldn't imagine doing, in in doing those things you are going to get a Phd in grace and love.  You are going to grow in Character in a way that I still think is bizarre.  You...yes you.  Your biggest mistakes are going become some of the most beautiful threads in the tapestry that makes up your life.
They are going to tell you that you are not good enough...that God can't use someone like you, that you don't have enough 'fruits'.  Essentially that you don't fit their mould. Honey, you were made to fit outside the box.  You were DESIGNED that way.  You know, you have a name on the door to your house in heaven....it's 'Beloved'...because that is who you are to Him...His Beloved.  So stop striving for others perfection...and be you...they don't have to like it, you are learning early on that God's opinion is the one you have to worry about.
They are going to call you arrogant...and try to beat you down.  One day, someone is going to explain something that is going to rock your world.  There is a very thin line between arrogance and boldness....you are bold...but sometimes people don't recognise it.  Arrogance is a heart condition, examine your heart, and if you are acting from a place of love...you are bold, not arrogant.  
You are loved.  I know..you don't believe that will be true of you.  But you are loved.  One day, 12 years from now, you will have strong, healthy, loving relationships...you will even love yourself.  You're going to have to fight hard to learn to accept that love though.  But you are and will be.  You are so very, very loved.  I happen to be very fond of you...you have one of the most incredible, beautiful hearts I've seen in an 18 year old.  I wish I could tell you that.  
It's never too late to have a happy childhood...in fact...please never lose your child-likeness.  It is beautiful.   
You are going to live a life of beauty honey...so grab it.  Grab it and suck the life out of every moment.  Life is a gift...and a beautiful one at that.  FEEL what you feel, it's a gift from God.  Seek Him.  Realise you are not so different and people really are not staring at you and judging you.  OK, some are, let them.

I want you to know that I know with certainty that life is going to look beautiful in the next 12 years.  I know this because I am you twelve years from now.


Jesus is crazy in love with you, and so am I


Lots of love

Me (the me that is you....)

PS.  In twelve years time you will be getting a puppy.  Just so you know.  An eight week little puppy to love and play with and train and love and have fun with.
 

~~~

"Hey girl" is a new series I'm going to be starting.  

It's going to be me, writing to women, friends and family (and in this case myself, although this will not be the usual case) who have over the years asked me questions.
  
It's answering the deep questions of a woman's heart, facing up to some of the really, really tough issues that are the deepest most vulnerable parts of us, and that the church doesn't answer or speak up about.  

It has been on my heart for quite a while to bring transparency into the places where the church very often will not go.  Or where women are to scared to ask.  


Friday, February 8, 2013

Bare

Naked.  Vulnerable.  Hard.  Terrifying.  Open.  Honest.  Raw.  Real.  Risky.  Intimate.  Uncomfortable.  Painful.  Bare.



God has always moved the most mightily in the seasons when my heart resembles a dry, barren, bare wasteland.  Those times when there are no shrubs covering my heart...covering the condition of my heart.  Brought to my knees with nothing to hide, it's often the most painful of raw times, Love comes crashing in.  Usually it's a journey in those times to walk out of it.  Digging out the old dry roots that won't allow new growth, watering the dry, parched land of my heart...soaking in His rain, digging and fertilising the soil, preparing it for new growth...it's work.

Recently, in fact since last year, I've had this experience.  Not only with God.  I've also gone through a season where I've laid myself bare to the people in my life here who care for me.  I've told my deepest darkest secrets.  I've risked ... and found deeper friendships.  I've found grace.  I've found love.  

Bare...an uncomfortable experience I'd deeply recommend to everyone.  



Healing.  Joy.  Beauty.  Love.  Strength.  Faith.  Friendship.  Growth.  Moulding.  Character.  Grace.  Intimacy.  Bare.  

~ ~ ~

There ends my submission to Five Minute Friday, but what a great topic for my return to blogging. You see I've just gone through a season of 'bare'.  Last year I overworked and had way too much on my plate and a few issues that God needed to work through...and I crashed.  I mean crashed.  The kind of crashed that means you stay in bed and can't function kind of crashed.  And blogging, was too much.  

I love blogging.  I've missed blogging.  But blogging was never going to be my healing, and blogging was simply too much.  Priorities.  I've learned about priorities.  

I may over the coming months and weeks reveal a bit more about that season, one I'm still working through....but for now...to those who do read my blog...


I. Can. Not. Wait. To. Share. Life. With. You.

Just sayin'


This is my contribution to Five Minute Fridays and Faith Filled Fridays.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Welcome


The Greatest Welcome in all Eternity...

I live in a Kingdom full of 'welcomes'
I was welcomed into a family who will live eternally
Welcomed into a Heart that is pure love
Welcomed into a reality far above anything I could imagine
Welcomed home, regardless of my past
Welcomed into Him who is Love...so that I might live from Him who is Love

Before I knew Him
He laid out the welcome mat
And opened the door
With the most incredible feast laid out inside
Oh, He is the Feast!

Before I was created
He paid the highest cost for the perfect present
Before I could have imagined
He engraved my welcome invitation on His heart
Simply so that...

I could be welcomed into His Kingdom
Into His heart
Into His love
Into Him

Love you Jesus!



This post forms my contribution to Five Minute Fridays


Messy Love

People regularly ask me what revival looks like. My answer is usually : 



Why? Because revival looks like love, and love, of the deep, unconditional, undeserving kind is usually messy. But what a mess! 

We are called, first of all to love God passionately, powerfully, deeply and intensely – we are called to live from a place of deep intimacy with God where we drink from His fountains of immeasurable, ceaseless, bottomless, never-ending love. 

Then, we are called to love EVERYONE else with that same deep, passionate, powerful and intense love. Revival cannot be birthed, or sustained outside of this simple truth. 

Ever. 

No move of God can be sustained outside of this, because God is Love, and He never moves outside of Love. 

Ever.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Army Gathers...

The clouds are gathering
The air is saturated with promise
Heavy rains promise to fall

From all sides they begin to gather
Coming together from far and distant places
The most unlikely crowd
Positioning themselves
They won't move
Till the rain comes

Thirsty they cry out
Desperate they kneel
Hungry they lift their voices
Come...Come...Come...
We wait for you
We long for you
We need you

The rains begin to fall
The shackles fall off
Their wounds heal
Love swells
And this motely crew rises up
Warriors of God

They Host the Presence of God
Twenty Four Seven
They speak and realms are released
Where they walk, the ground trembles
Storms are calmed and the blind see
They live, every second in response to the Father
Empowered
Filled
Consumed
Their very shadow brings healing
A people who release that which overshadows them

Everywhere they go
Destined to change the world
A people who do only as He does
Who speak only what He says
Who go, only where He goes
They are the Freedom Warriors
The carriers of Love

Can you SEE them?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Morning Musings...

Its just before 6:30 am this morning and I have to get ready to be at work soon...

I just wanted to say...I woke up early this morning to:


I also, simultaneously woke up wondering at the mystery that I am Hidden in Christ...yet He is in me.

How much better can it get?

As Kris Vallaton says...The fact 'I am Hidden in Christ - the greatest dissapearing act of all time!'

I think I'll just ponder on those things for the next few hours, can't think of anything better to do really!

Always Love


I touch Love...when Your hand holds mine
I see Love...when I look into Your eyes
I hear Love...when You whisper to me
I feel Love...when I lie here with You
I taste Love...when I drink of You
It's You...it's always been You
None can compare to You
I know Love...it's You!
For You are Love
Love incarnate
Love Divine
Love


You are...forever and always...Love.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Today...


You
Take me to blissful places
Ekstasis
My own personal brand of heroin
Always
I never want to go anywhere without you
Beloved
You are my reason, my desire, my very addiction
Beginning
There before time began, with your voice you created beauty
End
With the sound of rushing water you declared it finished and set me free
Inviting
You draw me into you, hidden, close, without barrier I am yours, and you are mine
Yeshua
My vision is taken up with you, your eyes consume me with burning love, I'm hidden in you

~Ursh~