Together. Always

This year I’ve come to understand what it means to be content. Not complacent but being able to look at my life and smile truthfully. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, in fact this has been one of if not the most challenging year of my life. I’ve had to balance multiple commitments with work, church, fellowship and a thesis that may have robbed me of most of my brain cells and self esteem.

What’s responsible for this contentment has honestly been the faith community I’ve found myself in. Not only did I find a women’s fellowship which has taken me leaps and bounds over the limits I had put on myself and my relationship with God, but I’ve found a community of young people where Christ knits us together in love and fellowship. Both groups have lifted my confidence in myself and have helped me address my own insecurities. They’re not the reason I’m writing though.

I watch a lot of faith conference talks, apologetics and sermons on YouTube and on occasion I’ll look into the comments. YouTube comments 80% of the time contain the less attractive traits of humanity but these video are almost always filled with encouraging comments and thought filled discussions. On one such occasion there was a plea from a 13 year old boy who explained how he kept trying to follow Jesus and be good and holy but he felt like he was never good enough for God’s love. My heart broke for him because if you’ve ever been accused of being too hard on yourself this boy was exactly that.

The response was the most honest out pouring of love for this boy who felt so alone and so persecuted in his own heart. I commented as well and afterward he wrote to me in thanks. I told him that I could empathise with his fears and that the response from all those who commented was exactly what family is. The church is a family. Not the building, not the denominations, not the arguments but the individuals who live and love Jesus are a family. God through his love gave us a family we never would have thought to ask for. Brothers and sisters who want to walk with us on the path to holiness and people who genuinely want to see us get to heaven.

I was telling my dad about the youth group I’m part of and when I described it to him these were my words:
“There’s such a genuine atmosphere of love and acceptance. I think this is what it was like for the early Christians. They were a community of believers who loved God and each other.”

I really believe the Holy Spirit gave me that.

It’s because of this experience that I’m so passionate about church. It’s not just time out of your week to sing some songs, say some prayers and listen to a encouraging words. It’s an opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries and be part of a community that doesn’t pressure us to be anything other than what God made us. It’s friendship, faith and family.

It doesn’t always play this part and no church is perfect, they’re all lacking in something but they are human. If God is the foundation then they will not fall and instead He will raise them up.

We all need to get our churches to that place. As individuals we need to be those people who love, encourage, serve and support all leaders in the faith not just those in our respective churches and denominations.

Family doesn’t begin in the united joys of heaven. It begins in the day to day wanderings of this life. Take from this what you will saints, but all I ask of you is to love. Love like Jesus. Love like a friend who would give everything up for the sake of a neighbour.

The Little Things

One of the worst feelings we must experience as humans is being sick. Whether it be a flu, cold, infection, whatever. There are few things we dislike more than being ill in any way, shape or form.
Over the past few days I’ve been fighting one of the worst colds I’ve had in years. I think what made it worse was having no one there to fight it with me. No mother to make me soup. No father to talk to me. No brother to make me laugh. No dog to comfort me. I haven’t had to be so sick and so alone before, as far as I can remember.
I’ve been trying to close the gap I’ve been feeling between the Lord and I recently (obviously self-induced) and so I’ve been sleeping with my Bible beside me and listening to The Good Christian Music Blog on YouTube (beautiful songs, I highly recommend it). Earlier today I went to the kitchen and one of my housemates had washed my dishes because she knew I wasn’t feeling well. We had a really good chat as well, just getting to know each other. Then a favourite song of mine by Jeff Schneeweis came on.

I realise that I’m just listing things that happened today but for me it’s the little things that make me happy. I’m not one for crazy gifts or huge declarations so these little things really brightened my day.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m in a good mood when I’m singing. I haven’t been able to sing for a while because of this cold but I sang this evening. What better thing to use your newly recovered strength on than singing? Especially when that singing is completely dedicated to God. It’s such a good feeling and it really has made me feel good.

I pray that you’re all healthy and well, I praise God for your lives and for the gifts and talents He has blessed you with. Smile! It’s the little things that can make someone’s day.