The Lie I Believed for Almost Fifteen Years

I’m happy to have Alice Stanford, a fellow blogger who hails from across the pond (UK) guest write for us today on Grace Lace and Polkadots. Alice believed words spoken to her by a friend when she was a young teenager. Read how they affected the way she looked at herself. I pray you are encouraged by her story. Take it away Alice!

 

 The Lie I Believed for Almost Fifteen Years

People lie to us all the time, sometime we are aware of it, but often we aren’t. Sometimes we can embarrassingly hold onto lies for far too long.

When I was about thirteen years old one of my “friends” told me that I should never wear my hair pulled back from my face. She told me that it didn’t suit me because “I had a huge forehead”

Despite no one else ever commenting on the size of my forehead, or ever being concerned about it myself, I decided to believe her. And, until recently, never wore my hair pulled straight back from my face.

Isn’t it amazing how those few little words impacted me. Of course I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they changed my life, but they did change the way I wore my hair for almost fifteen years!

I don’t think we fully realise the impact our words can have on people’s lives. If we did, I think we would all, myself included, be a lot more careful about how we use them.

We need to be careful of this and we need to responsible for this. I think this is especially true if you work with children or have them. The words that you say to them can and will shape their futures.

We also need to show some caution in accepting the words other people say about us. Not everything other people say about us is true! (I know, shocking, right?) They have their own agendas and insecurities which impact the words that they say. Who knows, the thirteen year old style expert who thought she could tell me how to wear my hair maybe had forehead issues of her own?

I personally think that if one person says something about your character that you don’t think is true, you can pretty safely set it aside and ignore it. But if multiple people say the same thing about you then maybe you should start to pay attention.

Literally everyone I have known well enough to invite into my home/ room / has seen my desk at work  would say I’m messy. So think that “Alice is messy” is probably a pretty safe assessment of my personality. But one person telling me I have a huge forehead is maybe one I should have ignored a long time ago.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

The other lies we can safely ignore are the ones that go against what it says in the bible.

Lies like you are useless, you are worthless or you are a failure.

You are none of those things

You are precious, you are beautiful, you are chosen and you are loved.

 

Alice Stanford is a teaching assistant living in Nottinghamshire in England. She has a degree in applied theology and loves serving in the church community. You can read more of her writing at www.mesetfree.com
Alice, you are indeed beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
If you would like to read more from Alice be sure to click on her link.
Helena
Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.
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When the Dream and the Job Don’t Match/Journal Goes To?

PC: Pixabay

Does your work history seem disconnected from your aspirations and dreams?

Recently, I heard a gentleman talk about how his dream was to be a rock star. He started a rock group, but to make ends meet he worked in a record store. Then he worked as a bank teller, seemingly getting further and further away from his original dream.

Later he was offered a job with an advertising firm. He said he didn’t know the first thing about advertising but was offered the position because of his knowledge with the music and record industry and with banking. You see, the advertising firm had a client who promoted rock groups, another client who was in the record store business and, they also had clients in banking. This firm needed his experience. The experience that had seemed off course to his dream.

While at the advertising firm he learned the ropes of the business. Now he is in partnership with two other friends, friends he has made though his previous endeavors. Together they run their own advertising business. A business they consider their ministry.

He still loves to play in a music group, but instead of desiring to be a rock star, his joy and desire is to lead others in worship of the One who is the Rock; Jesus.

Most of us an relate in some way to his story. I know I do.

It was interesting to hear how the dots connected one job to the next, each one preparing him for his current position both in business and church.

How the dots connected for my Friend

A few years ago the nearby town of Mayflower was hit badly by a tornado. Many churches and organizations helped with the clean-up, the church I call home being one of them. A friend of mine was among those helping, his help went beyond the initial  clean-up. For two years sponsored through his church, he was there for the people, lending a ear for those who wanted to talk, giving spiritual counsel as needed and helping in anyway he could. When the position ended he went to work for a local ministry in their editorial department. He had grown to love the people of Mayflower, so when his church talked about starting a campus in that town my friend and his wife were eager to help. Little did they know at that point they would become the campus pastors. A heart dream from his youth being fulfilled.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him. Psalm 37:23

Does the dream in your heart and your current position seem disconnected? If so, seek direction from the Lord. Does the dream stem from Him or from selfish desires? Does it line up with the scripture? Are you willing to surrender your dream to Him?

Take heart, if the dream is from the Lord, He will connect the dots as you follow His lead. Each step of the way the Lord refines, molds and shapes us ready for the fulfillment of His dream, His plan. His dream becomes your dream.

Encourage a friend by sharing this post.

Winner of the journal giveaway is…….Cindy Hansberry. Congratulations Cindy!

Next weeks book giveaway is Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able. Be sure to check back in for entry details.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Throw or Carry Your Burdens?

Book giveaway details in post. Enter to win.

I have just returned from my first ever trip to Canada. What a beautiful country! Admittedly, I only saw a small portion of this vast land, but the portion I saw was awesome.

After being reunited with my childhood friend Glenda, and meeting her husband, Andy, at Calgary airport, we made our way south to their home town of Okotoks, just 11 miles away. Okotoks, is surrounded by prairie with a view of the Canadian Rockies rising up to meet the sky in the distance.

I looked out of the car window and I was amazed at the bright, almost florescent yellow fields that greeted me. It would not be the last time I would gaze upon the glimmering yellow canola fields as they were present in abundance.

The vast openness of the prairie was a source of delight and wonder to me. With only a handful of trees dotted here and there, I could literally see for mile, upon uninterrupted picturesque mile. Its beauty rolling out before me in a never ending carpet of green and yellow, reminded me of a verse found in the book of Psalms. (18 vs 19)

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delights in me.

Sometimes life feels so closed in, we worry and fuss, we busy ourselves with details and we wonder if reprieve is possible. The air we breathe is stuffy, our oxygen saturation numbers are low, spiritually speaking; and we gasp in an attempt to survive. Our thoughts and eyes are clouded and we feel trapped, unable to hold our head up: Life has become heavy and burdensome.

That is not how Jesus, wants us to live.

Learning to Live Light

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us, if we are weary and burdened to go to him. He promised to give us rest. He asked that we take His yoke on ourselves and learn from Him. He said He is gentle and humble in His heart. For the second time within the three verses He reminds us that He will give us rest. He tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

I don’t like living closed in and worn down with a heavy burden. The Lord knows I spent way too long in that condition. Give me the open space of His love and the lightness of His yoke. Such a better way to live.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

It’s true! Jesus cares about us. He wants to rescue us and bring us into the spacious place of His rest. So why doesn’t He just do it?

Here’s why!

We were given free will, that means we have the freedom to choose. We can choose to stay weighed down by life, longing for rest, gasping for air. Or, we can choose to cast our burdens and anxieties on Jesus. (Google Dictionary definition of the word cast; to throw something forcefully in a specified direction)

It’s a choice. It’s up to each one of us whether we live feeling trapped or not. The solution is found in Jesus. Ladies (gentleman), let’s get good at forcefully throwing our concerns, burdens, anxieties, disappointments, and all that weighs us down straight at the feet of Jesus….and goodness me! Please leave them there.

Before I sign off it’s time for a book giveaway. Real Love in an Angry world: How to Stick to your Convictions Without Alienating People, released in July, author Rick Bezet, Pastor of New Life Church (NLC) Arkansas.

To enter: simply signup to follow me on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page. That’s it! Nothing complicated. Winner will be announced Monday August 7th and will have until 10pm central time on Wednesday 9th to respond. No response and I will choose another winner. Those already following Grace Lace and Polkadots FB page will automatically be entered.

Join me next week as I travel into the Canadian Rockies.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

Inviting Friendship: Part 1

Three times, through three different people over a course of a few days the same message came to my attention.  It was one of those listen closely moments.

The subject was that of being a friend, maintaining friendships and reaching out to others in friendship. Which is something I don’t do well, at least not as well as I would like.

Wise Words From Three Wise People

Rick Bezet in his new book, Real Love in an Angry World encourages us to show hospitality, love each other, see the potential in others and give honor.

Christine Caine in First Things with Christine, says “I cannot imagine venturing through life without great relationships! Our courage often comes from the encouragement of others, which is why we’re not suppose to live this life alone.”

Ginny Heisler, a friend from church posted on Facebook (I have her permission to share with you), she wrote;

“I have come to the conclusion that group texts, social media comments and Snapchat stories have given us all the illusion of friendship. Sit down with me and have a cup of coffee while we talk about our dreams, fears, struggles and triumphs. Have dinner at my table, I’ll cook. Play cards (or chess) with me in the park. That’s friendship! That’s how you build a relationship. That’s how iron sharpens iron.”

I get it we all need friends and we need to be a friend. The problem I find is that we are all so wrapped up in our own little worlds. I know I am! We are on the move, running to and fro work, taking and collecting the kids from school, attending church small groups and trying to have a home life. Seriously folks! Who has time for real friends?

I have a lot of friendlies in my life. You know, the people who are more than acquaintances, but don’t quite make the real friend status. We know each other’s name, we pass pleasantries when we run into each other at the grocery store or church and that’s as far as it goes. Friendlies!!

People need real friends because so many of them don’t have real families anymore.” Rick Bezet

We live in a mobile society, no longer do we live our entire life in one town where everybody knows everybody. We move for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s because of family dynamics, a job change or simply because we are adventurous but, the outcome is the same. We don’t have roots with our new neighbors!

“Friendship starts with an invitation.”

Developing acquaintances into friendlies then into real friends takes time. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It takes planning. Not all acquaintances will become friendlies, and not all friendlies will become real friends. But it is worth the effort, one I am willing to invest in. Will you join me in proactively reaching out in friendship to others. I mean what’s there to lose? At the worst they will remain acquaintances.

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other. John 13:34 Msg

When Jesus lived on earth he was a people person (he still is), he was approachable, friendly and kind hearted. Don’t mistake those qualities for a push over. He spoke to the crowds, but he also went out of his way to speak to the one. He poured into the lives of his disciples, he knew their potential even when they didn’t. He reached out in love.

Isn’t that what we should do? See the potential in others and invest our time and energy by encouraging them. By being there when they are going through a hard time? By laughing with them when they celebrate? Isn’t that what a friend is for to share the bad as well as the good times? To lend a listening ear and a tissue when needed? To want the very best for them and to love them through the ups and downs, and if we are honest with ourselves isn’t that what we want in a friend?

Until next time

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What has helped you to make new friends and maintain the friendships you have? Feel free to comment, we learn by sharing.

 

 

Father’s Day: Simple Pleasures

He stooped over his cane as he walked, his once sprightly gait was now slow, but steady. I watched from a short distance away, he was determined the rising incline of the bridge was not going to win. Not that day, or any day soon.

It didn’t matter the bus he needed was already at the stop, he couldn’t go any faster even if he wanted to. The bus would have to go without him even though it would be another hour before the next.

The man I call dad, the man who use to carry me on his shoulders when I was a child. The man who worked double shifts down the coal mine to provide for his family. Now moved at a much slower pace.

Each time I visit home I notice the changes in my dad. His muscles are not what they once were when he mined for coal. His face a little thinner, his hair though still plentiful is not as bushy as it use to be.

Time Waits For No Man or Woman

Time ages us, it moves on whether we want it to or not. We may not notice the subtle changes in ourselves but believe me they are happening; to all of us.

My dad will be 91 years old this year, he has seen much in his life time. The days of his youth shepherding sheep and helping in the family vineyard took a turn when World War ll came to his part of Europe. He exchanged his shepherds staff for a gun, fighting to protect the freedom that was soon to be taken away.

Moving to Wales after WW ll meant learning a new language (English) and a new craft; coal mining, way below the surface where the sun doesn’t shine. A job he would do all his adult working life, one far removed from shepherding sheep. A job in which he lost friends due to caving in of the rock wall, a risk he took everyday in order to put food on the table.

He didn’t seek riches or position, rather the simple pleasures of life; family, friends, food and good health. These are still important to him. When my four year old grandson took the journey over the pond to visit his great-grandfather a few months ago the one thing they did together was to walk hand in hand down a country lane to feed a horse…picture that a 4 year old and a 90 year old walking together enjoying a simple pleasure. No generation gap there!

They Were Young Once

Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:2

When we look at an elderly man/woman, let’s remember he/she has lived and probably seen more changes in his/her life time than we may see in ours. Give honor to our elders, be courteous, be kind, be patient, be respectful. Remember they were young once and one day you and I will be the elderly.

I pray when I am 90 years old that I will continue to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Hopefully there will be a 4 year old great-granddaughter or great-grandson in the picture.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

Give From the Inside Out

Generosity comes in all sizes from a large financial gift to an unexpected smile from a stranger. Throughout scripture we read account after account of people giving both out of their abundance and their need.

Red tartan had made a comeback once again and I was glad I had kept my jacket. There was a slight chill in the air making it a perfect day to wear it. Updated jeans and top and who would know the jacket was from the eighties…no shoulder pads for this girl!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38NIV

I stopped at the Welcome Center in the church foyer to say hi to a dear friend, she too was sporting red tartan only hers was on her purse. I told you it was fashionable.

We talked for awhile, red tartan being part of the conversation, she asked me if I liked her purse?

I did.

As we talked she emptied the contents onto the Welcome Center table. I thought it a little strange but kept on with our conversation thinking she must be looking for something hidden deep in the recesses of her purse.

All of the contents lay on the table and I mean ALL. my friend picked up her purse looked me straight in the eye and told me she would like me to have her red tartan bag. There wasn’t any hesitation on her part, no waiting to get home and change purses before offering. It was straight up lets do it now.

I hesitated to accept.

What was she going to do with the contents from her purse? How was she going to get them home? Here they lay spread out on the table. She on the other hand did not see it as an issue. I wasn’t looking for a purse, though, you know we can always use another one. I accepted because she wanted to bless me and I was not going to deny her the privilege of being a blessing.

This lady, my friend Joelda ,has blessed many people over the years. Sometimes it has been with a particular gift, other times a word of encouragement or a scripture verse. She is the lady you go to if needing to be covered in prayer. The wisdom the Lord has given her is beyond her years, she would be first to say that she is not that wise but really she is. She is humble, she always gives God the glory for what He has done in and through her life.

Giving Joelda Style

Being generous has nothing to do with our bank account or our possessions, it is an attitude of the heart. I think we all could learn from Joelda:

Give without hesitation

Give from the inside out.

Always be thankful for what we have no matter how much or little it is.

Own our possessions but don’t let them own us.

Be generous and bless someone today whether it is with a material or financial gift, a word of encouragement or scripture verse. Be available to cover someone in prayer and always give God all the praise.

My dear friend is leaving Arkansas to live in New Mexico, she will be greatly missed not only by me but by all her have known her. Albuquerque is getting a gem, she has certainly been a treasure to us in Central Arkansas.

To the saints in New Mexico concerning Joelda; “I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.” Romans 16:2NIV

Do you know someone like Joelda, someone who gives from the inside out? Would love to hear about your friend, leave a comment on this site or on my Facebook page Grace Lace and Polkadots.

Until Next Week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Out of the Mouth of Babes

“10 back 3 in. Crowded today girl!!!” That was the text I received from my friend Tammy. She was right church was busier than usual, and as I was slightly running behind my normal schedule I appreciated her saving me a seat even if it was not our usual 7 rows back, end seats…anybody else sit about the same place every week?

Holding the hands of both my grandsons I quickly made my way to the church side entrance. You would think that I would have parked my car on the Children’s Church side of the building. Not me. I’m a creature of habit and so parked on the office side entrance. This meant I would have to cross through the foyer to get to the children’s area, not my brightest idea.

As we walked among the crowd my four year grandson declared, “Look at all the customers Nana.”

In many way he was right. We all come at first just to look, to browse, to see what is on offer. All hoping to find that something special that will add purpose to our lives.

Some find their special something on the first visit while others return many times before they find theirs. Each realizing special is not a something but a person. Jesus. He is the special in our lives.

Unlike going to the store with credit card at the ready, we cannot buy Jesus. He is not for sale! No amount of tithing or giving will pay our way into His presence. We cannot earn our way in through regular attendance, or working our fingers to the bone as volunteers. He is not for sale and cannot be earned.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22 NIV

The only way into God’s presence is through Jesus, He has already paid the price for our salvation when He bled and died on the cross for us. Just as when we first believed and accepted His gift of salvation so we need to continue in His gift of grace. We could not save ourselves before we asked Jesus to be lord of our lives, so why do we sometimes think we can fix ourselves without Him after salvation?

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.”  Romans 8:15 NIV

So, dear Sister-in-Christ lets stop struggling to free ourselves from what only God can free us. Rest in His salvation, know He has us and is for us. The battle has been won. Truth is waiting for us to receive just as we did when we first believed.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Join the conversation and leave a comment, look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to share this post and hit the like button if it has encouraged you.