A letter to the sower (Letters to)

rootsinyouI’ve never really been one for gardening. I suppose the fact that I don’t have a garden to speak of might have a lot to do with this fact. I don’t really understand hard soil and soft soil or what can grow at certain times of the year. But one week ago when I sat down with two friends and a cup of tea to study the parables, gardening seemed to become the topic of discusion.

Obviously I didn’t have a lot to say, not really able to join their enthused conversation other than to state how I really do like sunflowers and would love to grow my own vegetables one day. But I soon learned that I don’t need green fingers to know that I am often anything but ‘good soil’.

I have – as many others – often allowed myself to be so concerned with the thoughts, words and actions of others that I completely shut off the word of God – meaning that I do whatever others want instead of what I know He wants from me. On occasion I have even completely denied my faith having been too fearful of what someone might think of me because of it, of how I might be treated differently because of it.

My faith has ebbed and flowed through the course of my journey as a Christian and there have been many years inbetween where I have not stepped foot in church, nor have I so much as glanced at a bible. But when I am enriching myself, when I am immersing myself in the nutrients of His word, of Jesus’ teachings, in podcasts and Christian blogs, prayer and conversations with friends, I realize that we really can change our soil.

If you are rocky ground, you don’t have to remain rocky, if you are covered in thorns, you don’t have to remain thorny, if you don’t understand His word, find out what it means – don’t let it go to waste, because it will make amazing changes in your life!

As you would tend to a garden, so too must you tend to yourself. You hear the word, now let it soak in. Let it seep deep into you and plant roots into your everyday. Let it be your lifeline in this world. Let it be at the core of all you do and let’s start the journey to becoming good soil.

 

Today’s Letters To is A letter to the sower. Together with the lovely Ruth Povey, we have been studying the parables of the Bible so we decided to incorporate this into the weekly link up. Please join us, you can write as loosely based on the prompt as you please, and link up below!

Be your own cheerleader (Coffee for your heart)

In a recent conversation with a writer friend, I admitted that I felt as though writing was her calling, that I truly believed it was her gift from God, to be used in abundance with passion and fervent. I told her that although writing is something I enjoy, I just don’t feel as though it is my gift, I don’t feel as though I am writing with purpose.

And with this statement, in true Sabrina form, I was breaking myself. Essentially, what I was declaring, is that I don’t feel good enough. This is somewhat of a pattern for me, always feeling sub-par, always falling short of the mark, always thinking I am less than others.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you are not a writer, maybe your heart is called elsewhere, always drawn to act on urges, excited at the prospects yet always telling yourself you can never be good enough no matter how much you enjoy it.

When you choose not to push forward because of this, the only person holding you back is you.

When you apply for that college course, believe that you are good enough, because you are. And if it doesn’t work out, apply again next time.

When you so desperately want to sing, to lift a crowd in worship, believe that you are good enough.

When you watch that preacher, who speaks so deeply into your heart that it leaves a mark, and you feel filled with excitement and inspiration – believe that this can be you – because it can!

You can be who you want to be. You alone can act on your talents and strengths. You alone can stop breaking yourself down with the im-not-good-enoughs and the i’ll-never-be-as-good-as-thems.

We can choose to stop comparing ourselves to others, because let’s face it, if we didn’t think someone else was better, we wouldn’t have any one to inspire us, to drive us to do more and encourage us to be more.

If this sounds like you, then join me in being your own cheerleader. Believe that you are good enough. Learn from those who are achieving what you desire and know that one day, this can be you. Be bold, be persistent and believe in yourself.

Coffee for Your Heart 150I am linking up today at Holleygerth.com for her weekly series of encouragement – Coffee for your heart. Please come and share your words of inspiration with this fantastic group of ladies.

A letter to the one who challenges me (letters to)

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In all I do. In my everyday. You are challenging me. Shaping my character. Moulding mine to a servant heart.

I know this, and yet I fight hard against the unknown, constantly questioning why, demanding the answers only You can know. The answers that are destined to unravel before me throughout the course of time.

Sometimes I am faced with such moments of clarity as I see your hand at work in my life, when I look back at an event so seemingly unfair and pointless, and like a movie replaying in my mind I see You. I see how a You peek through the cracks, how your influence upon my circumstance can change someone’s heart, can influence acceptance, or create questions in others that you are just bursting with eagerness to answer, to begin new paths in new directions.

I have seen changes around me and oh such deep changes within myself and it is because of this that I now place my trust in You. It is because I am looking for you, that I can finally truly see You there.

For every moment of fear I am made faithful. For every moment of weakness I am strengthened in you. For every challenge, I am being prepared to support others like me.

You are shaping me into wisdom and knowledge. You are guiding me down the path I am destined for, a path designed by you.

And I pray that by Your mighty hand I can one day be your voice, your hands, your vessel and pour out your love on others like me, others who are not seeing because they are not looking.

I see neighbours who live in abundance, friends who land on their feet every time. I am learning that in being Your daughter, in being so loved by you I will continue to be challenged and cherished as You make me a person who can withstand, standing strong in Your grace.

So break me Lord, bend me into someone I am so longing to be, and through every fracture, every torn piece of my heart, every gut wrenching fear I will continue to praise you.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10

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I am linking up today for Letters To at Ruthpovey.me – come and join us with your ‘Letter to the one who challenges me’…we would love to read them!

On turning 27

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I can remember this day, 20 years ago. the 7th March 1994. There is a picture burned on my memory. It was the day I turned seven, and I thought I was such a big girl.

I wore a navy dress, a picture of snow white on the front and my face had been transformed into a puppy. I’m not sure why but nevertheless the pictures tells me I liked to pose with my tongue hanging out, pant-style.

Was it really twenty whole years ago that this little girl was me? Because I still feel like her now. Less innocent perhaps, but just as young and vulnerable. Perhaps some of the romantic dreams no longer exist, replaced with realistic ones and cares of adult life.

But somehow I know there is still a part of her in me now.

I wonder if she knew how life would look in twenty years time. I wonder if she knew she would have the most adorable little boy look at her as though she was the most entertaining thing the world had to offer. I wonder if she knew she would be loved. I know it’s what she dreamed of.

I wonder if she knew that mousy hair would be gone, transformed into blonde. I wonder what she would have said about that.

I wonder if she knew how much she would miss her grandparents when they left her nineteen years later. I hope she did.

That day feels a whole world away, yet this girl still feels so close. But one thing I know for sure, beneath that face paint and snow white dress, was one very happy little girl, and sometimes, when everything gets a bit tiring, I wish so hard that I could be her again.

A jar of generosity (40 Acts)

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This year I am taking part in 40 acts of giving back, doing good and living generously. Day one kicked off with Start a Journal, a perfect starting point to focus on all the wonderful things to be grateful for – to really pay attention!

Day two, is a jar of generosity. This is a jar to save, not for a rainy day, not for a new pair of shoes, but to be generous.

In a world where we can no longer afford to give money as we scrape through our purses each month for a spare pound to buy a loaf of bread, how easy is it to tip your loose change into a jar…to save to give.

To make the conscious effort to stow away small amounts that would go unnoticed, or be thrown into the bottom of your handbag until the two times a year you actually sort through and clean out.

When most of the world’s population is living on so little, how can we not feel rich?

Let’s lower our comparison. We may not have a fancy car, a four bedroom house, a tropical holiday each year, but hey…we have a flushing toilet! We have fresh water, we have access to medicine, we have a health system, we have food, and clothing and hygiene products.

We have more than we notice as we take our lives for granted each and every day. We thank God for all that we have but inside we are still longing for more. We are still wishing we could have what they have.

When we compare ourselves to others who have more than we do, we are only creating in ourselves a discontented heart.

And a discontented heart is not a godly heart!

So let’s give! Even when we don’t have enough. Because God will always provide when we are working to his plan.

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased

Hebrews 13:16

If you want to give but feel unable, then I encourage you to start a jar of generosity. Give slowly, piece by piece. What we don’t notice each day could be a blessing for someone else.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

If you want to take part in 40 acts of giving back, doing good and living generously then you can sign up at 40acts.org.uk.

When it’s time to build a bridge (and get over it) Letters To

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This week’s Letters To is a little later than usual due to life being just a bit hectic! Hopefully this will have given you a little more time to perfect those posts to share with us. Just click on the link below to join with this week’s prompt – A letter to build a bridge. We would love to read your thoughts.

When I think of building bridges I feel a pang of regret in my heart. Mainly because I know that I have burned a few bridges over the years. Bridges built through childhood memories of making mud pies and rollerblading and playing witches and princesses. Bridges that once stood strong and firm and which I believed would always be standing. Bridges which took me through barbies to boys, through secret diaries to secret hideouts.

I didn’t just decide one day to burn a bridge, it was a slow process, but nevertheless a friendship diminished was the final result. I built new bridges elsewhere and all the while I wondered what had become of the friend who taught me how to apply make up, who listened to backstreet boys with me whilst we wrote in diaries and then read them to eachother. I wondered what had become of her, and I felt sure I was better off.

She got married recently, and as I flicked through wedding pictures on facebook, and read lovely comments from common acquaintances, I couldn’t help but feel like I should have been there. I should have been there with her, standing by her side, brushing her hair and helping her squeeze into her dress.

It felt wrong that something life changing was happening, and I wasn’t a part of it.

I cannot go back in time and change how things played out, and I have built new and amazing bridges with wonderfully uplifting, generous and courageous women. I can build new relationships as I go, and I can choose to cling to them, to place new bricks where old ones crumble, to build us stronger and stable together.

Is there someone in your life you miss? Have you burned bridges you felt could never be rebuilt? Is there still a chance to make things right?

Sometimes we just need to build a bridge and get over it!

Get over that silly argument that you can no longer remember. Get over that hurtful thing she said about you. Whatever it is that is breaking down relationships, decide if it is worth saving, because one day it might be too late.

I urge you today, If there is someone in need of that olive branch, offer it, because in God’s eyes we are all equal, and we are called to love one another as we love ourselves, to be in community with others, to do life with others.

It might be a long ago friend, or that girl in your toddler group who sits by herself. Whatever it is that is stopping you from reaching out, get over it, because if we can put all the unimportant stuff aside, we can be building beautiful bridges.

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When it’s time to remember this side of life (Letters to)

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I wonder how things look for you now. I hope beyond hope that you are happy now, that things have become a little easier. It’s what I pray for each day, for you to know comfort and security, love and contentment.
I hope you no longer live in worry and fear of each new day. I hope there is much to smile about, much to be thankful for.

But I hope more than anything that you will not forget, because life can flip like a coin at any given moment, heads to tails, perfect to broken.

You mustn’t forget the lessons you learned on my side of life, the lessons that pulled you through. Like how to give your worries to God, because He can do the things that you can’t. And how the devil can sneak in through the cracks, through the moments of doubt, or the moments of I-just-don’t-care-anymore.

And remember how you prayed, hard and passionately, and how others prayed for you. How one of your most amazing friends made it her mission to pray for you everyday until life got better. Remember how it worked, how you learned that prayers can be answered, that God is listening.

I hope you won’t forget just because you have plenty to smile about now. I hope you will continue to pray through good times as well as bad.

Remember to be thankful for all that you can, and continue to be faithful, continue to trust in Him, the one who loves you so much and guided you through, who lit the darkness and led you into the light, who gave you back your happiness.

I hope beyond hope that you are happy, that you finally set a date for the wedding, that you can un-pause all the dreams you had for your life.

But please, always remember.

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I am linking up today with Ruth Povey at ruthpovey.me for our weekly Letters To series, this weeks prompt is a letter to a future me. Please come along and join us, the link will be open all week.

When there is a forever list of things to worry about (coffee for your heart)

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I like to think of myself as a true optimist, and with the year and a half I’ve had its a darn good thing, since I don’t know where I would be now if it weren’t for that positivity buzzing in my head. Let’s just say life has been tough recently for my little family, well maybe not for my 1 year old son who is spoiled and oblivious and takes delight in Nanna simply wearing a bowl on her head. But it has been difficult.

Sometimes I wonder how I am still clinging to any joy in this life, where atleast one thing goes wrong each week – and sometimes that means two car accidents in 6 days!

Although a self confessed optimist, I am also one of the biggest worriers I know. A bit of a contradiction I know but somehow this is so. Although I am the first to declare how -everything will be fine!- I am also someone who worries in circles until the anxiety makes me sick.

Does this sound like you? Do you feel like there is a forever list of things to fret over?

To worry, is to be caught up in the cares of this world, to be always looking forward at the worst case scenario and waiting for something that will probably never happen. The bible tells us that God doesn’t want us to be living in tomorrow, Matthew 6:34 says this;

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Let us stop living in the morrow, and start rejoicing for what today brings. Because all this tiresome worry is stealing our joy!

When we wake with a head full of gloom in the mornings, we are not seeing the glossy dew on the window pane, or enjoying the smell of a fresh morning after a night of rain. When you live all day long inside your own head, you are not noticing the miracles of today, the blessings to count and be thankful for. When you choose reclusion over community you are throwing away opportunities to feel better! Because nobody feels better trapped inside their own misery, alone and hopeless.

What brings you joy? Is it a hobby? A place? A song?

Go ahead and do it, go there, sing it! Do what makes you happy and rejoice that God is good!

Stop worrying and hand it all over to Him. Put the stress and anxiety into Gods hands and see how light you feel.

To worry, is to accuse of God of not caring. To take everything on your own shoulders and believe that you need to carry the burden yourself. Believe that he cares and be joyous.

And honestly, worrying all the time is just exhausting!

I am certainly not saying that these worries are not important, or that we should sit back and do nothing about them. But sometimes there is only so much we can do to help ourselves, and once we have done all we can, this is the point where we need to hold up our hands and say – God, it’s over to you now!

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

So let us not allow our joy to be stolen, let us put our trust and love in our Father and give ourselves permission to relax and enjoy the good things.

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I am linking up today with Holley Gerth for Coffee for your heart. Please come and join us with your words of encouragement at holleygerth.com.

When you choose not to pray (because what’s the point)

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When we are in need, when we are hungry for provision, for comfort, for understanding, we are told to pray. We are told to ask God for the things we need. We are told that He will provide. But what about when we feel we have been so disconnected to God that to ask for anything feels pointless. Because why would he provide for me when I don’t pray every day, when I never pick up my bible, when I don’t listen to His Word, when my life does not reflect his greatness?

It is well known that many people turn to God when in need, when we are relying on Him to fulfill our needs or save us from the grips of satan, but so many of us forget his presence when everything in life is going to plan. We forget that it is because of God that things are going well. We forget to say thank you. We forget to praise Him for all he has worked in our lives. God sits on the back burner whilst we enjoy his fruits.

Until we decide we need Him.

But there is no decision. We need him. Full stop.

We need him when we are happy. We need him when we feel fulfilled, when life appears to be falling into place. We need him through storms and through rainbows. We need him in every season.

But what if this sounds like you, and you suddenly find yourself in desperate need of His love and grace? Does this mean our prayers will not be heard? Does this mean that god will cast us aside in favour of those who have a strong relationship with him?

Does this mean it is pointless to ask him for provision?

God wants us all to be in relationship with Him – yes. He wants us to praise him in all circumstances, to grow in spiritual strength. But he is also our healer, our redeemer, our saviour, Father and friend. He hears our cries and wants to help.

Instead of worrying about how selfish our need for God is, let’s take our circumstances as an opportunity to start a relationship. Pray for your needs, but don’t just pray for your needs. Pray for others, even when there is only room in your head for your own problems. Open your bible. Read and soak in His Word. Fill your life with all things pleasing to God. Sing and praise and worship him in all ways.

Ask Him for provision, ask for help in a difficult time, ask for His loving hand upon your life. But don’t stop there. Because in immersing yourself in God, in building a strong and lasting relationship with Him, in learning His Word, you can find so much more than just provision for today.

So don’t decide not to ask, because you feel selfish, hypocritical or unworthy. Ask because He wants you to. And make this the starting point for an amazing relationship with The Father who loves you more than you know.

This weeks Letters To prompt is A Letter to the Hungry. The link below is now open and ready for your posts so please do join us this week! We can’t wait to read your posts.

When others ask how you do it and you don’t know how to answer (Letter to the tired)

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She told me how hard it would be. She warned me I would be living my days as a walking zombie. I thought it would be a breeze, work at night and mummy by day. I thought she was well intentionally exaggerating, but it didn’t take long for me to understand – ah…right…now I get it.

I like to call us the night ladies, since we primarily consists of tired, worry burdened mothers. We are the mothers you see with the bags under our eyes, or hyper on a night of endless cups of caffeine. We are the mothers who feed our children but forget to feed ourselves because we can’t work out when we are supposed to be hungry.

We continue to wash and iron and cook and play and we push that overbearing ache of three sleepless nights in a row to the back of our minds because there is just no time to be tired.

And when people ask me ‘how do you do it?’ With a look of complete horror, because they do…I roll my eyes and the only response I can muster is that you just do.

You just get on with it.

And I’m sure this would be the response of every night working mumma out there – you just get on with it!

And the truth is I really don’t know how I do it. I learnt in the first months that caffeine is not my friend, and a whole night of coffee and cola does not make a happy mummy the following day, and I have learnt that when that dull ache in your stomach starts to grow, it usually helps to eat a banana, or a brioche – anything to settle the grumble before it makes you sick.

I have learnt that a one year old is more than happy to watch cbeebies and play inside all day, and that this does not make you a bad mum – no matter what others might say – neither does staying in pyjamas all day.

I have discovered that I can survive on a two hour nap between nine hour shifts, and that sometimes this is easier than when I have had a full nights sleep.

I am learning that it is ok to co-sleep no matter who frowns at me for it. Because they might have the energy to rock a crying child back to sleep every few hours through the night, but after several nights with no rest, I want my boy snuggled against me where I know we will both enjoy deep and beautiful sleep together.

The answer is that I don’t know how I survive it, but that you find things along the way that make it just that little more bearable. You discover strength you didn’t know you had and a tolerance you would have said never existed.

You do it because you have to and you bite your tongue when others complain of exhaustion, others who are lucky enough to be the stay at home mum you would give anything to be.
You find energy to attend birthday parties and you drag yourself to church on a Sunday with a head full of cotton wool. You just keep going because it’s better than letting work consume you.

To the night ladies with your head full of worries and your heart full of guilt, with your eyes so heavy and your aching limbs. Let us stop feeling like sub par mothers, let us not listen to the little devil whispers that tell us we can’t possibly be good mums if we don’t have the energy to pick up all the toys and create a culinary masterpiece, or that not being there in the night when your child is poorly means you care any less than everyone else.

Let us be strong and know that we are doing what we can, let us be content, because God works all things for good, and we will be blessed for our servant hearts.

Linking up today at http://www.Ruthpovey.me for the weekly Letters To link up. This weeks prompt is Letter to the tired, please do come and join us, we can’t wait to read your posts!

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