Thursday, 27 September 2012

"If My Heart Was a House You'd be Home"

If My Heart Was a House, Owl City
Some people say home is where the heart is. I didn’t used to understand this. It was just something people said. But now I believe it, and it gets more true every day.
“Home”. It is a word often used in positive descriptions, and it’s often associated with happy memories. I am lucky enough that home creates feelings of love, comfort, security and happiness. I think of my parents who have been there through everything and who love me unconditionally. I think of my sister who I love to pieces, and who I always learn something from. I miss her when I am not at home, and frankly if she could come to uni with me I would love it. I think of my mad little Jack Russell, Tilly who is always there to welcome me home, happy and bouncy. I think of my house, the walls which tell the tale of growing up, good days, bad days and generally average days. I think of the marks in the doorway made when my sister and I were measured after our growth spurts and the creaks in the floor boards when you walk down the corridor. Each home tells a story, one of pain, pleasure, ups and downs. And when a home plays such a major part in your life, how can it not capture your heart?
But in today’s society, the meaning of the word “home” is becoming distorted. A word which should conjure positive emotions is instead doing the opposite. More and more, people are trying to escape their home because it has hurt them. Home has become a poisonous, dangerous word and something which should be avoided. It is no longer a place of belonging and security, but of instability and rejection.
Bearing this in mind, where does that put the church? As a place which so often uses “home” and family metaphors to describe it and the relationship its people have with God, is its future in danger? Does this make church simultaneous with the places one tries to escape from? Does that make God the same father figure who inflicts pain? Does this mean church drives out stability and acceptance? Is church, therefore, a place where battles rage and peace seems miles off? How do we keep people coming to church and being part of it when we have to wrestle with its negative connotations?
I believe, that as a part of the church and as the children of God, it is more important than ever to demonstrate the true meaning of “home” and “family” through our actions. We need to show it in the way we welcome new people into church, and in the way we accept and love them unconditionally. We show “home” through the security we have in Christ and his word, and through the way we honour one another; not just on a Sunday morning, but in our daily lives too. More than ever the world is crying out for help. It is crying out for love. As people of God who know the unconditional love and security faith brings, we need to stand for the values which seem to be getting lost in today’s world, where it is often every man for himself.
This was talked about on a Sunday at my church. This is their vision for the future, to make church a home again, not just a house. To make church a place of unconditional love and acceptance instead of judgement and coldness as it has been in the past, and all too often in the present.  My heart is with Jesus, and to be a part of a church where I can celebrate his love and mercy with others who feel the same way is amazing, it truly is coming home.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lessons Learned, Wishes Made...

Photo taken by Matthew Morton
This summer has been incredible. I have been lucky enough to visit 3 countries in 4 months, meet some incredible people and learn that God's plans can be crazy and wild and untameable. And while this is daunting, it's crazy exciting and I am learning to desire adventure. This summer has also given me some vital reminders and new desires. Below I have listed some of them. I hope they don't bore you!

1. Since I have been saved, my life has become something amazing, something precious and something worth fighting for. It has become something which is no longer my own but given to Jesus. I am His and he is mine. Forever. 

2. I love Jesus and I fall deeper every day. 

3. I am spending more and more of my time with wonderful inspirational people of God who I can talk to for hours, and more often than not we can simply end up being in awe of Jesus and talking about the amazing things he has done in our lives, and speculate with excitement about what he has planned for our futures. I love that. It is amazing. I treasure these conversations.

4. I am realising that often, the most precious memories are made in the most ordinary moments.

5. Patience really is a virtue... but asking God for more of it, means being put in situations which require it.

6. I cannot wait to be back at uni.

7. I want to be fierce. I want to be wild and crazy for God. I want to have the tenacity to persevere until my prayers are answered.

8. I want the courage to step out and obey God.

9. I want to be a better imitation of Christ and his love.

10. And most of all I want to always keep the knowledge of God's love and power locked in my heart and running like blood through my veins.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Mission Statement

September. It is a strange time of year; the end of the summer and the start of something new. The end of a heady, happy few months and the beginning of a sober minded school/college/uni year. Some years the transition is simply one of school year, but other times like GCSE or post a-levels, it is a time of huge change and adjustment. For me this September is very different to every other one. Last year I was heading off to a brand new place, 4 hours away from home and I was terrified. This year I am heading back to that place, which I learnt to call a home and no longer seems alien and scary. But I am also experiencing the joys of being in a proper house, with new house mates and a new year at uni. I think at this point in life, most people get asked the question "what do you want to do?" or "what is your aim?". My answer is simply that I do not know.

However, in terms of our relationship with God, wherever he sends us and wherever he calls us to (even if you don't know that yet) He calls us all to a common thing: to live out the gospel in our lives. That is our ultimate goal as Christians, to be perfect imitations of Christ. Of course we know none of us are perfect, but this is where we humble ourselves and allow God to make up our weakness with his strength.

As a "woman of God" I believe an important part of my mission, is to change society's perception of beauty. Someone wrote for me once, that I am called to "rest in the beauty that God has given me, and to redefine beauty," so it can be that which God sees: beauty which is seen in the very heart of worship and the very knowledge of the Truth and the confidence which comes with that. It is so easy to overlook the heart, and become obsessed with outward appearances, and outward measures of who we are in Christ. When in fact, God can see into our very souls and he delights in us. He calls us his children, and has so much more love for us than we can ever know. As a people of God, we are chosen and called to not just "know" this truth, but to delight in it, and live with the confidence it brings. After all, God's "Perfect love casts out fear." 1John 4:18. And that is what our society's obsession with measures of appearance and success are rooted in: fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of being unloved. If we could live out the truth we know, then we would be a stark contrast to the harsh measures that society imposes, and real beacons for God.

So, in short, my ultimate aim is to live out the truth that saved me, every day for the rest of my life.I am aiming high, but I know with my God anything is possible. After all, with Jesus, every day is an adventure filled with infinite possibilities!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


In life, it’s so easy to lose sight of what matters,
Objects, pleasure, jewels and treasure,
They are offered up on a silver platter,
Their accumulation, worth and weight,
These all become our measures.

Objects measure our strength,
Cast onto our shoulders as loads for a donkey,
Then pushed onwards but not upwards, and to what ends?
To gain more, but why? When it will only make us fall.
We hit the dirt and the silver is tarnished.

Pleasure measures our loyalty,
It calls out to us like a siren in a storm,
And from the dirt we respond as if it’s royalty,
Bowing to its captivating beauty, but never seeing its true form,
For pleasure, once sought, quickly becomes pain,
And we are only loyal while we have something to gain.

Jewels measure our beauty,
And in their rich colours and perfect lines,
We catch a glimpse of perfection,
And we feel it our duty to chase that beauty,
But when the colours fade and we bend, then break,
We are reduced to flesh, and once more abandoned to the earth.

But love measures our heart,
It sees its depths and reaches far beyond its dreams,
It chases the truth and is patient right from the start,
Love fills oceans, and flows through the streams,
Which wash the dirt from our clothes and unite us in peace,
With our Lord and maker, our God the creator.
Helen Rambaut