Holy Saturday – the day in between

It’s Holy Saturday. The day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The ‘in-between’. We don’t like it much do we? I’m sure the disciples didn’t like it either. They had the horror of the cross behind them and the promise of the resurrection ahead of them but today they had to wait. Why? I’m sure Jesus was just as able to rise on Saturday as he was on Sunday. I believe God wanted to teach them – and us – something today.
We tend to have a ‘what’s next?’ attitude. We live in a ‘what’s next?’ world.
But God want to teach us that after what’s next is the in-between.
The majority of our lives is journey and not arrival. It is process before promise. There is purpose in the process.
As I’m writing this I’m sitting in the sun loving the life God has given me. I am thankful for Holy Saturday – the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The in-between. Let’s learn to love it because I’m learning that we spend most of our lives there.

I Am

I am not the books on my shelf
I am not the music on my iPod
I am not the clothes in my wardrobe
I am not the ring on my finger – or lack of it
I am not my weight or height or physical capabilities or disabilities
I am not my pay packet
I am not my postcode

I’m writing this down because I forget. I fall for the lie all that these things make me who I am. 

They do not. 
My life is hid with Christ in God. 
The I am. 
He covers everything I am not. 

You Are Not Broken

For years I carried around this belief that I was fundamentally flawed and I never knew how to get fixed. I tried so hard to not be broken that all the trying made the feeling worse. 

I felt so flawed. 

I was a Christian since I was a little child, I read my Bible, I sang all the worship songs, I was fluent in Christianese. 

But still this shadow seemed to haunt me. 

Then truth dawned on me. It was not a wham bam lightening bolt, more like a slow sunrise after a long, dark night. That truth was that I was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and God is not broken and God does not make broken things. 

I was not broken. 

For the first time in my life the shadow was gone. The light of the truth shone bright and the darkness couldn’t overcome it. 

Am I perfect? Nowhere close to it. But I am not broken. 

Do I let God down? Countless times. But I am not broken. 

Are you perfect? No. But you are not broken

Will you let God down? For sure. But you are not broken. 

Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and God is not broken and God does not make broken things.

You are not broken!

The Heart of the Matter

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The journey to the heart of the matter

To the coreIs long and arduous through layers of lies and pain

It feels like all we do is dig and dig

Because we’ve spent so long covering up

We are great landscape artists

Ensuring the surface is stunning

While beneath we die and waste away

It’s time to uncover

Recover

Restore

Lay bareThe matter of the heart

The substance we are all made of. 

Have a Mary Christmas

At this time of year, let us remember Mary. She was an unmarried woman who was chosen to carry the Messiah, and it was her singleness that qualified her. We musn’t forget God has a plan for us right here, right now in this season – wedding ring or no wedding ring.

This is what I wrote in my diary four years ago:

Have you given me an early Christmas present?? Like the one you gave to Mary. Have you given me something to carry and give birth to? Like Mary, nothing in my life seems terrible conducive to this. I’m young (ish), single and pretty hard up in the money stakes. But yet that doesn’t matter to you, only me. Don’t let those nagging voices of doubt drown out your voice of purpose. Don’t let me talk and reason myself out of this. You have put this in me. Help me deliver it. Don’t let anyone else write this book. 

Four years on and I did write that book. I’ve held it in my hand and have seen others hold it in their hands.

We must allow Him to plant a dream inside us and we must be willing to carry it through to completion.

Like Mary, this Christmas, may we respond, “Let it be to me according to Your Word” (Luke 1:38).

I pray you have a Mary Christmas.

Lisa Jane xx

Overwhelmed

It’s Monday morning and I am overwhelmed! I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from my friends and family regarding the release of my book. i am literally blown away! The kindness is awesome. The belief in me is incredible. Thank you.

But can I be honest? I am also overwhelmed on another level. I feel like \I have put my heart and soul in the writing of the book that I have run out of steam and I have no margin left for the promoting/marketing of the book. Honestly, I don’t have it in me to be enthusiastic anymore. I know this is the time when I need to be most enthusiastic but really don’t have that capacity right now, and as a friend said to me last night I need to sit in my pyjamas for two weeks and eat junk food and watch junk TV. Thank God it’s Christmas and I get to do that legitimately along with the rest of the world. 

Can I ask a favour of you? As my enthusiasm is waning can I draw on yours? 

If you are reading the book and you come across something you like could you take a photo or write a quote and put it on Facebook or Twitter along with the hashtag #thewomanontheshelf ??? 
If you have purchased the book, take a wee selfie with you and the cover and put it on FB, Twitter or Instagram along with said hashtag or tag me in the picture.
You can go on to the FB page of The Woman on the Shelf and share the quotes that are already up there. 
You can go to the amazon page where you can purchase the book and share that page on your social media.
These may seem like small things but its all ways spreading the word about the book – because it is good and there is truth in there that people need to hear. 

After Christmas I will put on an event to celebrate the book and thank everyone for the part they have played in it, but in the meantime all these little things would really be awesome.

The Best Kind of Emptiness

So I have finished my book and I’m sitting here with nothing to do which is a weird feeling because for the past four years I’ve always had something to do. The book was always there in the background. Even if I wasn’t working on it (which was quite often) I always as though I should have been working on it. But now it’s done. Finished. Published. I’m feeling strangely empty. But it’s the best kind of emptiness. Not the emptiness of never being filled but the emptiness of being full and pouring out every last remaining fragment. I could not have given any more. I’m completely undone. To date, 16 people have downloaded The Woman on the Shelf. I know I’m not exactly going to hit the New York Times bestseller list with those kinds of numbers, but huge sales was never my goal. It was about seeing through what God had asked of me. There is a huge sense of satisfaction that comes from starting something and seeing it through to the end. This was something I have never been particularly good at until now. But now I can say that I have done it. God asked me to do something and I did it. That’s what writing this book was about for me. Plus I had something to say and I said it. If you feel you have something to say you need to say it. Maybe it’s an email, a text, a phone call, a tweet or maybe you’re crazy enough like I was and you’ll write a book. Whatever you have to say and however you say it, don’t be silent. Someone needs to hear you – even if it’s you.

A little sneaky peak at my book

Here is a little treat for you all. From 30 November you’ll be able to read the whole book but for now this will have to do.  If you like it, share it.

 

book cover

 

 

The Daughters of Thunder

Let me tell you a story about a group of women who fully understood that there were people coming after them that would be affected directly by their actions.  In scripture they are known as the Daughters of Zelophehad.  Their names are Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah but I like to call them ‘The Daughters of Thunder’.  Why?  Jesus called two brothers, James and John, in his group of disciples ‘The Sons of Thunder’ because of their strength and tenacity, these women are a feisty bunch of single ladies who weren’t afraid to stand up and fight for their rights.

 

Their story is found in Numbers 27:1-11.  Their father died in the wilderness so they found themselves fatherless, motherless, brotherless, husbandless, penniless and not a little hopeless. The law at that time stated that if a man died without any sons his inheritance went to his brother regardless of whether he had a daughter, as inheritance was passed from father to son and not from father to daughter.  A woman was entitled to her husband’s inheritance but not to her father’s inheritance.

 

As single women, these ladies were facing complete and utter destitution.  They were living on the wrong side of the law.  What could they do?  Surely this was the end, but somehow among the grief of losing their father and the fear for the future they stood up and decided to challenge the very law that was holding them captive.  They went to Moses, the leader of Israel at that time and demanded that they be given the inheritance that they were entitled to. “‘Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the Lord, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers‘“ (Num 27:3-4 KJV).  Moses took their case before the Lord and God said that these women should receive their inheritance.  By standing up and refusing to settle for what life had thrown at them these women made history.  After the Daughters of Zelophehad made their request the law was changed permanently so that women could receive their father’s inheritance.  Because these young women demanded what was theirs, generations of women following them would never be destitute.

 

The Daughters of Thunder fought a battle and it was a hard one but they were’t the only ones to benefit from the victory that was gained.  They made way for many destitute daughters coming after them.  In the end their battle wasn’t just about them it was about the people who came after them.  I’m sure at the beginning Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah wondered, “Why us?  Why does life have to be so hard.  We have no husband and now we have no father which leaves us with no money. If we are going to get what we deserve we have a fight on our hands.  Why does this have to be our fight?”   Have you ever thought that? “Why do I have to fight this battle?”  Let me tell you something, in the midst of your war remember these Daughters of Thunder.

The Ultimate Personal Assistant

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1Jo 2:20
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

1Jo 2:27
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

2Co 1:21-22
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Where would we be without the Holy Spirit and His anointing? There is some misunderstanding regarding the anointing and there has been some bad press. Usually when the anointing is mentioned people give a little giggle and the words ‘spooky’ and ‘weird’ find their way into the conversation. However the Greek word for the Holy Spirit is ‘parakletos’ which means ‘One Who comes alongside’. Jesus Himself called the Holy Spirit the ‘Helper’ (John 16:7). What’s spooky about that? I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get!

If you want to live the life God is calling you to live you will need the help of the Holy Spirit – you will not accomplish anything significant without Him. Over the past year I have really struggled in my job. About 18 months ago systems were changed and I was completely overwhelmed. So much so that I had to go off work due to stress and anxiety. During my time off God really spoke to me about inviting the Holy Spirit to be my Helper. I took this on board and every morning I invited the Holy Spirit to come to work with me and be my Helper. Every task that was thrown at me I prayed silently, “Holy Spirit – help me with this. Give me wisdom, confidence, strength.” Whatever I needed at that particular time that’s what I asked for. One year on, the turnaround has been amazing. I am enjoying my job. I am good at my job! There was no way I could say that a year ago!

This same anointing is yours! Embrace it! Whatever is on your to-do list invite the Holy Spirit to help you accomplish each task. Whether it’s your job, studies, looking after your family, serving in church, whatever. He is your ultimate Personal Assistant!

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