Sunday, 6 December 2015

Trust Him

I saw this today on Pinterest and it seemed so good I couldn't help but share it! :)


It really made me think: am I truly content to rest in the Lord and His plans no matter what that means or where I end up or how it may differ from how I think things should go? Am I living my life trusting in God and His provision regardless of my circumstances?

I like the descriptions of each of these as well. Having a "yes" and going ahead with something we want is great, it is "much desired". But when the Lord puts an end to or stops our plans from happening it can sometimes be a demonstration of His mercy and grace as we may not know all the implications (he might stop us from being somewhere where a car accident will happen for instance). Sometimes we may want something to happen but it's a case of waiting, and waiting . . . and waiting some more! Then other times there may be no clear solution at all and all He wants us to do is trust Him when we don't have a clue as to what's ahead.

In each of these situations we are given a chance to glorify God - isn't that an amazing thought!? Doubtless we all fit somewhere in there. I for one find myself in the "not yet" category in some areas of my life, and "trust God" in others, and a week or two ago a "no" happened that in some ways is a blessing and in other ways is frustrating! What struck me as interesting though is that none of these are ultimately a negative outcome. Sure things may not happen as or when I want but GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL. He is still soverign! 

Which means that no matter which way things are going my response should be only to glorify Him more for the ways He is at work, to continue to look for opportunities to serve Him. To realize that our ultimate aim is to glorify Him and point others to Him.

I have challenge for myself at the moment. Rather than looking inwardly and feeling sorry for myself, I want to instead be seeing each "yes", "no", "not yet" and "trust Me" as different opportunties to continue to glorify the Lord. I want to be praying that He will help me to fix my eyes first on Him and trust that everything else will then fall into its proper place. :)

God bless!




Sunday, 29 November 2015

Emotional Overload!

It's been a weekend to remember but also full of changes that have left me at the end of it feeling a strange mixture of happy yet sad and just generally emotionally overwhelmed.


Something I've been thinking about amidst all of this is how emotionally drained and overloaded I tend to feel when grappling with changes or just dealing with too much at once and facing uncertianty regarding the future. Okay, a lot of it may come down to introvertedness and being a fairly sensitive person, but more recently I've been wondering how much of it actually comes down to my trust in God (or lack of it). 

You see, how can I be truly happy and content with what is happening in my life, the good and the bad, if I am constantly worrying about how things will end up and feeling the need to be totally in control of it all? How can I trust others, let alone myself, when I can't even trust that God already has my future in His hands? It's a recipe for disaster and frustration at both myself and others as well as the Lord when things don't go the way I want or when I simply can't accept how He is working in my life and the lives of others!

Don't get me wrong: it's okay to be more sensitive than the average person and to feel emotions deeply. Its okay to have crying or laughing sessions when trying to adjust to different circumstances or changes in my life. After all, there are blessings in these things too: for one thing being this way has helped me many a time to realize when others may be feeling that way too and need a bit of encouragement. But I've been learning that problems come when I let those emotions be in control and grip me, filling me with fear and a mistrust in the Lord and that He is control and holds the future in His hands. 

Reader, are you, like me in the process of growing up and struggling to emotionally adjust to changes in your life? Maybe you too want to be in control of it all and don't trust that the Lord already knows what is ahead? I don't pretend to have all the answers or even many Bible verses to share but I am reminded of my favourite one: 
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:4-7
Praying that you too are able to continue to trust in Him no matter how you feel or what your emotions tell you!

God bless!


Monday, 9 November 2015

Wisdom from Ruth Bell Graham

I saw this today on Pinterest, and thought it was pretty cute, but also with a lot of wisdom behind it!


God bless!


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A Letter I Wish I Could Send to My Teenage Self

Dear Teenage Violet,

I want to write this letter to you today to reflect on who you've become but what I wish I could tell you were I able to sit beside you right now.

I wish I could tell you that now that your older self has her future all sorted out and neatly packaged. It might come as a surprise where your older self is, and that the reality is she doesn't but her life is still exciting while unexpected! At the moment, you might be both sure you have your future sorted out, and be excited at what is in store, and yet at the same time terrified at not knowing entirely what's around the corner! Well, I have news for you . . . that doesn't stop once you become an adult! If anything plans change, you change, and everything becomes even more uncertian! But don't be anxious - focus on the Lord and make Him your priority and trust Him that everything will work out for your good even if it isn't always easy. Realize that all of life is an adventure in learning to trust the Lord and that He's got you and so focus on one step at a time and trust Him with the rest.

Consider carefully once you finish your schooling what you want to do. Don't go to university and get in debt only because everyone else is, or because that's what you are being told to do by society or others. Recognise that your actions will have future consequences but at the same time don't over-think it but again trust that the Lord will help you each step of the way. Persevere with your schooling knowing that it will feel like forever but will really be over in the blink of an eye.

Don't be so focussed on finding your future spouse. Trust God with that part of your life! That day will come eventually if the Lord wills it, and while I know at the moment being of an "eligible" age feels miles away, trust me when I say that it goes so, so fast and before you know it you will be watching friends your age or even younger getting engaged, married and having babies. Rather, invest in the wonderful people the Lord has already placed in your life and take the time to develop life-long friendships. 

Trust that the Lord will bring your man along at the right time and in the right way without you needing to force it to happen. Don't obsess over how your love story will play out or the "right" way to date or court, or be so quick to judge the way you see other people date/court, rather have a humble, teachable spirit especially as you have never been there yet. Be slow to create presumptions as to how you feel this should be done and don't create unrealistic standards for a guy to meet. Expect a best friend who is perfectly imperfect, someone who is a sinner like you but whom the Lord can use to teach you so much about Himself, but recognize that this may not always look like what you expect and be prepared to let the Lord suprise you in this area! Yes, do start to think about your personal standards, as that is so, so, so important, but don't let it stand in the way of being open to let God be at work in your life in new and unexpected ways.

Focus more on grace than legalism. Remember that Christ has saved you and extend the same joy and love you have through this fact to others. Do spend time with the Lord, and allow Him to sanctify you but don't look so critically at everyone else in the process. Trust that He is with you even though He doesn't "feel" near. You've got some rough days ahead but also bright sunshiney ones, so realize that what is most important is not your circumstances but rather your relationship with the Lord. Find your ultimate fulfillment in Him, not in anything or anyone else as only He can ultimately satisfy you, you were made for a relationship with Him, so make your life all about that.

Read as many theological/Christian living/Christian autobiography books as you can now! They will have a big impact on your faith as you grow up and you will never regret it!

Sometimes its okay for you to stop trying so hard to achieve that excellence grade or an A+. Sometimes its best to be avaliable to reach out to other people, especially those who are hurting or just need a friend. Being avaliable for the Lord to use you is far, far more important than just focussing on being the best academically or at work. But don't slack off either, realise that you need a balance of both, but ultimately invest yourself in looking out for people and their spiritual wellbeing and trust that the Lord will help you with the rest.

Try to learn important life skills already and don't be stuck-in-the-mud stubborn about it! Get your drivers licence as soon as you are able and go for it! Please, please learn how to sew and cook and clean, all while you are young. You have no idea how many headaches you may have over not knowing these basic skills one day. 

Don't be so anxious that you loose the joy and peace that the Lord has given you. Never loose the joy - this doesn't always look like a smiling face, but rather that deep seated peace and trust in Him.

But more than anything else, make your life all about God and bringing Him glory no matter what you do or what choices you make. Keep spending time with Him and trust that if you have Him ahead of you, you don't need to fear but He will help you not to stray!

God bless you!

From,


("Older" Violet in her twenties)

Friday, 16 October 2015

When Feeling Anxious about the Future

When I was a child, I guess I had a rather idealistic view of growing up and becoming an adult (as all children do to some extent). As the adults around me seemed (from my young perspective) to have life all neatly sorted out and perfectly packaged into boxes, I naturally assumed that becoming an adult would mean life would all somehow come together and I'd just know exactly what to do. I'd mature suddenly, know the answers to everything, study exactly the right course, never get badly in debt (and if I did it would magically sort itself out), I'd get my dream job, then prince charming would come along at the perfect timing when I had figured everything else out but not too far along for me to feel too lonely. He'd sweep me off my feet, we'd get married and I'd wear my dream wedding dress, we'd have babies, grow old together . . . and so on, and so on, I'm sure you get the picture.

Image from Pinterest

Except I'm learning that adulthood, and to a certian extent the Christian life, is not quite like that.

That in fact it is less certainty and more learning to trust God in each and every uncertianty, knowing that He will work all things together for my good. That He is always ahead of me, and nothing in my life happens coincidentally. 

I'm learning that the creater God wants more than anything else for me to have a living relationship with Him and that part of that is that He wants me to trust Him and that He is good no matter how confusing and out of control life may appear. I'm also learning, perhaps the hard way, that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence and that unless I find my contentment and am wholly satisfied in and through Christ, I will always be restless and full of discontent, constantly filled with jealousy and comparing myself to all that others have that I feel I lack. That even were I to be granted all of my dreams, I would still feel empty and searching for more, were it not for Christ. 

I'm safe in His hands - what a wonderful thought! Image from Pinterest
I'm not saying it's bad for me to have these dreams, and indeed they are good ones to have! But problems come when I let my dreams be in control and stop me from being content with the here and now that God has placed me in. When I stop seeing ways He may be wanting me to serve Him right where I am, not just looking at where I want to be in 10 years' time. It's having an attitude of surrender to Him, with my past, present and future. For far too long, I'm realising, I have lived in a vicious cycle. I will grow discontent with life and unfulfilled dreams and buy into the lie that "I'll finally be totally happy and satisfied if . . ." First it might be going to uni, then getting a dream job, then having a boyfriend, then getting engaged, then getting married, than having a baby and then (I like to joke to myself!) undoubtedly if I had kids there would be days when I'd want to tear my hair out and would wish I was single again!

Cultivating these attitudes unfortunately stops me from reaching out to others in the way that I know Christ would want me to and instead makes me jealous of everybody else, coveting their lives and what they have even though I know deep down that their lives are not perfect either and getting what I want will never fill the void that only Christ can full.

Today I was thinking about how worried I am about what to do with my future and I was reminded of this Bible passage:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." ~ Matthew 6:25-34 ~
It  really challenged me to see all the confusion over what to do with my life from an eternal perspective. We can waste so much of the precious time God has given us here striving after things that ultimately would have no eternal value, or we can waste time always so obsessed with coveting what our neighbour has that we stop resting in Christ as our ultimate treasure. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else! 

Reader, I'm tired of living in this way, tired of not living in a way that reflects the cross and my Lord who died upon it for me. I want my life to be all about Him and not about me and simply what I want, I don't want my life to be wasted. I want my tombstone one day not to be declaring that I had a full and enjoyable life (great though that may be!) but rather that I have gone to be with the Saviour I love and lived my life for. How awesome would that be, what a great testimony! 

I know I've waffled on a lot tonight but this was swirling around in my mind and I hope it has challenged and encouraged you as much as thinking about it has challenged me! God bless you dear reader as you continue to serve Him.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Not Having a Drivers Licence

I'm one of those few young adults in their twenties (it seems anyway) who doesn't have a full or restricted drivers licence yet. So, for the benefit of anyone else in the same boat or those wanting to extend a bit of sympathy for those of us who don't yet have a licence, I thought I'd write up some of the benefits and disadvantages of it (because yes, believe it or not, there are benefits to not having a car!)

Benefits

  • No car related costs - no having to pay for insurance, fuel, maintence etc.
  • You never have to pay for gym membership: after all you are biking and walking everywhere!
  • Time: you're forced to slow down and take a breather frequently be it by waiting for the bus, taking a long walk across town or whatever, and this gives you the opportunity to be planning ahead or having a good long prayer time. :)
  • Being able to spend lots of quality time with friends while getting excercise! It's great to have at least one other friend who doesn't have their licence who can walk with you everywhere, you get to know them so much better and have lovely long chats that you never seem to find time for any other way!
  • Never paying for parking or having to worry about moving your car! :D 
  • No worrying about doing something wrong by accident and getting caught by police or having a car accident that you are responsible for (unless you have a learners in which case this doesn't apply as you are worried about this all the time)!

Disadvantages

  • Having to explain to every second person the embarrassing fact that yes, you're in your twenties, and no you can't get to that place this time as you can't yet drive yourself anywhere, which is often met with a "wow, what century do you live in?" look.
  • Always feeling the expectation from others that at your age you will already have your licence and if not that you will get it very soon (being a history student I just try reminding myself that people have lived without drivers licences for hundreds of years).
  • Being reliant on your parents, friends and even workmates to get places. :(
  • Inconvienience: you can't just jump in a vehicle and go anywhere. If you're a female you can't go anywhere in the evening (such as Bible studies) without arranging things in advance. You can't go visit people out of town easily either.
  • Having to endure the reality that friends who are much younger than you have a lot more freedom and independence than you and are able to be adults more easily.
  • Bad weather can really mess with your plans, and often you have to cancel things just because the weather turned bad and you now can't get there without getting drenched.
  • Huge chunks of your day vanishing by you just trying to get places (a bus across town and back can end up taking about 40 minutes to an hour of your day).
  • Having lots of friend who'd like to take you somewhere and would be willing to if they could but who can't as they're on their restricted.
  • Being bound by timetables, or running late to things because "the bus was late" or even worse "I missed my bus".
  • Not being able to go to something you really want to go to simply because you can't get there without a car and don't want to bother anybody about it by asking for a ride.
  •  Public transport costs: I have the benefit of living in a place where buses are free for university students so this isn't an issue for me but in many other places this can become a real dilemma. 
  • Having a learners and always worrying that you will NEVER progress to anything more because all your friends picked up driving far faster than you and worrying that your licence will expire first and you will have to start at the beginning again.
Hope you found that somewhat humourous but with a lot of truth! I think I might try getting on with this as the disadvantages seem to be outweighing the benefits at this point in time! Please pray for me that I would continue to work at it and that I would get there (eventually)!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lessons I've Been Learning Lately

Some things I've been learning lately:

Love is a choice, it is not just something that "happens" or should only be directed towards those we care about but something the Lord commands us to do and extend to everyone! We all have our unloveable moments but what greater way to demonstrate the gospel practically in our lives by extending forgivness and love even when others don't always deserve it.
GRACE is so, so, so important in the Christian life! Far more important than I ever realised it was when the Lord first bought me to Him. HOWEVER, when you begin to learn the importance of grace, it is easy to slip into compromise in areas where holiness and living for the Lord DOES still matter! May He keep me ever close to Him so I can make the distinction of how to best live for Him! 


 We go through different seasons in our lives, where things can take a sudden and unexpected turn and throw our plans into disarray (upsetting this girl who loves to plan everything out way in advance)! While it's good to make plans I'm learning that its important to be content no matter what the situation or how differently things turn out and to "rest in the grace-filled arms of God"  knowing that He's working all things out for His glory and our good! The future is a scary place especially when you havn't a clue where you're going to be or what you're going to be doing, but if you are His, God's always right there ahead of you and helping you to make decisions that honour and glorify Him.


Seasons change heaps when you're in your 20s, and you have to be ready for the reality that people come and go, get married, have children, move cities, and so on. I'm learning to be content that I may not be in contact with some friends as much as I used to, but that doesn't make them any less my friends, the Lord just now has us in different seasons of our lives and that's okay! :) 
With my best friend at her bridal shower
We can live life with a "when I get what I want then I will be truly happy" attitude, and yet when God graciously gives us that one thing, we quickly turn something else into an idol. He alone is where ultimate happiness is found even though He gives us much to be thankful for in this life!

Comparison is the thief of joy: I'm learning that when I'm always comparing myself to others I'm never very happy and may miss the many blessings the Lord has showered into my life. Also the more I look the more I find people wish that they had what I do when my life is far from perfect! We all have our own struggles and so I'm learning that rather than being jealous or comparing myself its important to become so focussed on Christ and Him being everything to me that all these things are not signficant in comparrison.

Enjoying a cup of tea!
Never to lose the joy the Lord gives! Not necessarily a permanant smile on my face 24/7 but that deep-seated contentedness that only comes from the Lord. Sometimes not losing the joy may mean learning to just relax and spend time with Him. :)

Bubble tea with friends! :)
Be prepared to change.  I'm a stuck-in-old-ways kind of a person, but in the Bible we are told to put off the old man and put on the new! If you are a Christian, this means you have to be open to criticisms and change. I'm the kind of girl who likes to hold fast to set opinions and ways of doing things so this is really hard for me: I don't like being told I'm wrong about something and can be really stubborn and proud, and I tend to have an "if I've always done things this way it's got to be right" mindset. As we mature both in age and in our faith we may end up changing our opinions on some things and its easy to get conscience stricken and confused when something we may have once seen as a sin we find we have Christian liberty in or vice versa. Again, I need to trust the Lord, that He's got me and while I may slip up if I keep seeking Him and what He says in His word, I needn't fear. :)

A quaint church I did a history research project on lately
Try not to overthink things. Sometimes it pays to just relax, have that cup of tea, a soak in the bath, read a book, tinkle away on the piano . . . :)

Life is short: once you hit your twenties, its a shock to realise that most likely you have already used up about 1/4 of your life! Wow! 

Little me :)

Live for eternity: not just the temporary, this world, the here and now. When we meet the Lord how sad will it be to think we've wasted the short time we were here! 

Two great books on this topic
 As you can see, growing up certianly means you learn a lot!  


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Welcome to this Blog!

Hello there!

Welcome to my blog! I am an ordinary young lady whose life has been shaped and continues to be shaped by God's glorious grace! I have a deep love of history, literature (especially from the nineteenth century: Charles Dickens is one of my favourite ever authors!) and classical music. I am drawing to the end of a Bachelor of Arts degree and as I move into adulthood I am excited to see just what the Lord has in store for me! :)

Over the last few years, I have enjoyed blogging - first at a blog called Violets and Daisies done with some friends and later at a blog called Rejoice in the Lord always! which was aimed at encouraging Christians encountering trials in their lives. While I have enjoyed each of these blogs, and will continue to post at both from time to time, I feel as if I have outgrown them somewhat and I feel the need to create my own little space on the net, where I can write my own musings on any given topic as it comes to mind. 

As for the title of this blog: it feels as if I am entering a new season of my life and that one of the lessons the Lord seems to be teaching me is that of grace. You can read some of my earlier musings on that here, but in essence I am learning the importance of grace in the gospel, and that it is so easy to get side-tracked from that. So, please join me and pray for me as I record here the journey of a young lady learning to rest more in God and His grace! I'm not yet sure exactly what I'm going to post here, but much of it will I imagine be lessons I am learning both through life and through the Lord's word and my own personal readings, with the occassional "just for fun" posts. :) I imagine I'm going to cover in a devotional-type style topics relevant to many young women wrestling with living in light of God's grace: topics such as legalism/liberalism, dating/courting/marriage, inspirational Bible passages, about friendships, Godly living and so on. I also love reading other blogs so no doubt as I come across great articles I will be sharing those too! :) Oh and I can't forget random posts on some of my favourite hobbies, be it music, history, reading or whatever!

Feel free to visit this blog's Facebook page here at https://www.facebook.com/godsgloriousgrace for regular updates on posts! Please bear with me while I take a while to set up both this page and the blog. :)

To finish, here is a quote by Martyn-Lloyd Jones that I have found really encouraging lately as it really sums up the lesson I have been learning in grace!


God bless! Praying that as you read this blog you may be drawn closer to the Lord and that He may encourage you through it to live more for His glory!