The Heavy Weight of Expectation 

I’ve been thinking lately about the burden and joy of expectation. This is just my thoughts as they come, so take them as you will. 😊 Feel free to comment. 

I said to my friend on the way to a fun event in London recently that I think I sometimes ruin things by setting my expectations too high. Like we are going to a gig, or it’s nearly my birthday, or I have a trip home of a holiday coming up and I get so excited and look forward to it and romanticise it so much that sometimes the real thing is a bit of a let down. I normally still enjoy the thing, but I have this thought in the back of my head that I imagined it better.  Or I am dreading it being over. 

Christmas is a classic example of this. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Christmas mostly because I have 2 whole weeks with my amazing family. But the build up is so long; shops have the decor in already and it’s only October, I feel like I should have got gifts already, tickets need to be booked and my the time it comes around I’m already getting sad it’s nearly over and I have to wait again. And if the food isn’t perfect, people don’t love my gifts or I’m too tired or full of cold to enjoy it as much then I feel sad. 
We have this running comment when I visit home – my mum says “You’re always going and never coming”. And I feel like it’s true. I get home and I’m counting down the days until I have to leave because the time is so precious. We’ve been looking forward to it for so long even at Christmas it doesn’t seem like long enough. Life goes so quickly and we are bombarded with things to do, things we should be doing, fun things others are doing and it’s so hard to live in the present, enjoy the moment and not get too caught up in expectation. 

I think media (social and otherwise) has a huge share in the blame for unrealistic expectations. I’ve seen a bunch of articles lately about how because of unrealistic portrayal of women in media, cyber bullying etc girls as young as 7 are feeling inadequate about how they look and feel more judged and stressed than ever before. I’m sure it’s true for guys too. It’s been said before, but social media shows the ‘highlight reel’ of someone’s life instead of the ‘behind the scenes’ and we try and aspire to that even though it’s impossible. Beauty and life bloggers 24hour stream their lives and it seems perfect and amazing and we forget it’s heavily edited, hugely subsidised by ads and only a fraction of their lives. And we get depressed because our lives seem messy and broken and flawed in comparison. 

But comparison is the thief of joy. And expectation that is unrealistic will cripple us. 

Expectation can kill relationships. Friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, new aquantances, family and even with God. When I’m getting to know someone (especially of the opposite gender) and I like them, it’s so hard not to expect too much too quickly. I can see all my own flaws, everything that’s wrong with me, all the ways in which my life in complex. But with them I want them to be perfect. I want them to never let me down, never hurt me, never mock me, never doubt me, never dislike me. I want them to never show they are “too perfect” as I feel rubbish in comparison. But I don’t want them to be judgemental, mean or odd or stupid or anything I don’t like, even though I can be all those things. I imagine it to be perfect like a Jane Austin novel ending and then I do something foolish or they say something harsh and I am crushed. I don’t want to do anything to ruin my expectation and I certainly don’t want to let down theirs so I try and do everything I can to be my best. Or better than my best. But it’s not always realistic. 

I’d rather have a beautifully flawed relationship than a flawed ‘beautiful’ one. 

Elizabeth Bennet had it right;

I guess the ‘world’ wants us to be perfect right away, to always get it right, look amazing, be hilarious, be skinny, be well educated, be a high achiever, be fearless, be flawless. And I am sure we all agree that that expectation is exhausting and it’s not achievable for anyone. 

I read the other day about a new club in LA that will only let “attractive people” in and my heart broke. So many people have so much more to offer than how they look. Or even how smart they are, how much they can do, how many achievements they have.  For me; how kind they are, how compassionate, how genuine and generous they are is far more important. 

God is perfect. He will never do the wrong thing, his grace is for all and his love never ends. But even of God we expect too much. We think that means will never allow us suffer (even though his disciples did duh). We think he will give us everything we desire even if it’s not best for us. We get disappointed in Him and start not to trust Him. But that’s the real test of our expectation. Do we trust God? Do we trust in His grace and mercy despite the pain and suffering we see or endure. Do we believe in his unending love? Or do choose sin instead of grace and wallow in the sadness? This is a question for myself and a challenge for myself too!! How much do I expect of God. I can expect Him to always love me, always forgive me and for mercies new each day. But that doesn’t mean I can expect life to be always be rosy. I can’t expect to do whatever I want with no consequence. I can’t expect to live in a fallen world and not see the suffering of humankind hating and hurting itself. 

I have been doing the 1,000 gifts since I read the book and currently on about 1700. It’s so great to remind myself to be thankful for the really small things because it helps to put things in perspective and thank God for even the things I don’t feel like being thankful for. It reminds me to be grateful in all circumstances, which helps keep my expectations slightly more real. It’s so hard though. 

I want to have realistic expectations of myself. I pray for that today. To see myself as God does but not as the picture perfect world expects me to be. 

I want to have realistic expectations of my day to day and life. I pray for that today. To know it can be beautiful and blessed and amazing but also can be tricky and hard and messy. 

I want to have realistic expectations of my family, friends and people I’m getting to know. I pray for that today. To know that people can be amazing, they can love me, surprise me, do wonderful things, but also they can make mistakes, let me down and be human. 

I want to have realistic expectations of God. I pray for that today. To know he is perfect, always good, always loving and gives grace and mercy. But that He is also Just, omniscient and omnipotent. That if life doesn’t go as planned or I feel let down by God its that my expectations were unrealistic and the world is fallen, not that God has let me down. 

I pray those things for you too today. I pray we are thankful for all the good things we have, all the love God and others have given us, and that we level our expectations but also allow ourselves to be surprised if they are exceeded. 

Seasons 

Ecclesiastes 3: A Time for Everything 

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

I’ve been thinking loads lately about seasons. I’ve had this blog on my heart for a while, but perhaps with today’s #Brexit it’s been more on my mind as we enter into a new season as a country.

What is your favourite season?

Personally I like elements of them all. I love the promise of Spring with new flowers. I love Summer with the longer days. I love the fall colours and Autumn days as we head towards winter. And I adore Winter for the log fires and of course Christmas. But there’s also elements of them all that are hard and unappealing. Spring is so far from the next Christmas. Summer- hayfever and bees – need I say more. Autumn can be horrible weather and long days. Winter = being cold and catching colds. 

As the verses above say there is a season for everything. But if I had to choose I’d choose winter because even though it’s full of sickness it also has Christmas, which means 2 precious weeks with family. A hard season but a sub text of love and happiness.

These verses are often read at funerals to remind us that everything including human life is seasonal. Everything comes and goes. There’s a season for everything. But is that really reassuring when you are in the hard dark seasons of life? When it’s the times we’re dying, uprooting, killing, tearing down, weeping, mourning, giving up, throwing away, in silence, hating or at war, does it really make you feel better that it’s perhaps only a season, with a new one round the corner? For me, as with the seasons this is often changing. I find comfort in knowing that better times are to come and that I’ve had much worse seasons behind me. But it’s also worrying sometimes that the hard season could be long lasting, one another harder one ahead of me.

Look at your ‘frequently used’ emojis. What are they? Do they reflect your whole life? Just the last year? Or just a few weeks or seasons? Mine are so random. Lots of smileys and animals and the queen. And the sick face. But also a Lemon and a bee because for the last 2 days I’ve had Lemonade on repeat. My ‘frequently used’ phrase today would be Brexit but that’s certainly not the word that would sum up my year so far. I use the word lol all the time in text and tweets but I’m not always actually laughing out loud- not as much as I would want anyway.

This perhaps is more a sign of living authentically via social media but it also shows that what is true or takes precedent in one season, is not necessarily defining of me or my life as a whole.

Every January I end up blogging about my resolutions or goals. The past couple of years I’ve had certain words that are key for my in this season. This year I’m speaking the word ‘Revival’ over myself as it’s a word I need to see in my life. But even half way through this year I don’t feel I’m in a season of Revival and may not be for a few years.

Life is seasonal but even within the space of a week or 2 we can see Spring Summer Autumn and Winter.

I’ve had seasons in my life (particularly earlier years) that were really really hard. Times of weeping and mourning and giving up. At the moment I’m in a season of ill health and the trials that come with that. But I’ve also had beautiful seasons of grace, abundance, love, restoration and hope. And I know that those times could be ahead.

I see seasons around me of real pain for others. Seasons of war for our nations, fighting and killing. Seasons of fear and terrorism and pain. But I’ve also witnessed in my life time seasons of change, overcoming, revolution, progress, and hope. History is a tapestry of seasons. And I also know that ultimately in the future there will be no more tears…

For me it’s much more comforting to rest in and rely on the unchanging Lord. Today a lot of my friends have been posting Bible verses reminding us of God’s security, consistency. We have built our houses on the solid rock not the sand; which in times of trial or uncertainty is something to dwell on. Perhaps instead of worrying about the seasons; focusing on the hard ones and praying for a new one, I should set my eyes on the One who created the seasons, the One who holds it all in His hands and who tells me there is a time for everything.

“I am God. I change not”. Mal 3:5

This is Living Now

What are you passionate about? What can you invest more of your life in today? Let’s try and do away with the irrelevant, the worry, the time wasting, and the mundane and invest our love and time in the things that matter most.

There’s this lovely little elderly lady who I see almost every day getting on and off my bus.  She looks so sweet; in a pale pink coat down to her knees.  Soft grey-blonde hair perfectly pinned up.  A typical sweet old lady you may think.  Yet her shoulders are so completely hunched so that she literally faces down to the floor.

I watch her and think.  I wonder about the kind of life she used to lead.  Perhaps long ago she was a dancer or athlete.  Maybe an artist, a mother, a teacher, who knows? Perhaps on the inside she is still bubbling with life and vitality, but restricted now by her earthly body.  And I wonder some more.  How does she pin her hair so perfectly each day?  Does she have family or people who care for her?

And then I wonder further.  Am I really living now?  Me, sat on this bus, listening to music or trying to put on my mascara without jabbing myself in the eye.  Am I making the most of every breath, of every moment, of every day that I have in my currently rather strong and healthy body?  Am I grateful enough that I can walk upright and see life in all its beauty?

Now, I do struggle with my health, and with my body.  Sometimes I could scream with frustration as my desire to do all that God has called me to do and my heart and passion for life has a full on, out right battle with my body, just wanting to lie down and rest.

And I wonder is this how people feel as they get older and their body starts to fail them?  Do they still feel like a child or teen trapped in the body of an older lady or man? Now please don’t get me wrong; I know that elderly people can be living life to the full.  I know an 83 year old lady who when it snowed over Christmas jumped right on to a sledge.

But there is just so much isn’t there that can stop us ‘living now’!?  Debt, worry, age, infirmity, business, work, travel, kids, cleaning, admin, life, life, life.  Sometimes life itself and the daily grind can limit the way we truly live.

And what is ‘living now’.  Is it travelling around the world, bungee jumping, perfecting our studies, marital bliss, earning millions, finding the perfect job, being the perfect person, fame, power, or more? How do we know when we are truly ‘living now’?

My friend showed me a video yesterday that is really powerful.

It got me thinking once again about the rapidity and fragility of life.

“How much time have you spent worrying instead of doing what you love? What if you only had one more day? What are you going to do today?”

From when I was young and my half-brother committed suicide, I felt like I understood the delicacy of life as well as most people.  I had times, when life was certainly fragile, certainly on a thread.  When I was in a serious car accident a few years ago I thought of nothing but death for days (morbid but honest).

Until I became a Christian and felt safe in eternity (and even sometimes afterwards) the thought of death used to terrify me.  Only the other night I lay awake thinking of the forever nothing, the darkness, the ‘no more’ and had to remind myself of the eternity, the light, the Lord, the forever worship.

Yet even with an eternal future secured, surely we must be living now.  Today.

John 10:10 Amplified Bible says:

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

The Message Bible describes it as “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

What does this real, full, overflowing, life of yours that you dream of look like?

I know as well as anyone that life isn’t all you always hope or dream it will be.  But our lives are intended for His glory.

Yesterday I attended a vision day for an amazing online community of people striving for Jesus (dltcommunity.com/).  My friend Luke spoke about Ephesians 1 and highlighted v11-12 (emphasis mine):

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.  
Luke spoke of how society calls us to be popular, rich, have as many followers as possible, the ‘perfect life’.  But Ephesians tells us that it is in Christ alone that we find out who we are, and what we are living for so we can be living now.  So we can have glorious living.

What are you living for?  What defines you currently?  This very day what do you get out of bed for? What are you putting your time, energy, money, heart and life into? What are you living now for?

There is an amazing ‘Mumford and Sons song lyric’ – “Where you invest your love, you invest your life”.

Where do you invest your love?

The busier I get, when I’ve been feeling really unwell and lay in bed all day watching Netflix, and as I get older I find I am challenged by this more and more.  Where am I investing my precious time and love and life?

I would say I have a few main passions.

-I am passionate about justice.  I long to see the slaves of today set free, the hungry fed, the captives in every sense of the word released, the vulnerable protected and cared for, lives saved, equality for all, and a better world (quite a big ask).

-I am passionate about family.  I am passionate about my family but also the church and beyond embracing loving fellowship.  And above all, those without family; orphans, widows, those in the care system, the lonely or the lost, set in families.

Psalm 68:6 NLT- God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

– I am passionate about seeing broken shattered hearts and lives fully and completely restored by Jesus.

-I am passionate about Jesus and seeing more people saved by his unending grace and love.  I believe in a God who can see my passions fulfilled because my heart breaks for what breaks His.

What are you passionate about?  What can you invest more of your life in today?  Let’s try and do away with the irrelevant, the worry, the time wasting, and the mundane and invest our love and time in the things that matter most.

You lead the way, God You’re right beside me
In Your love I’m complete
There’s nothing like living with You
This life You created I choose
See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to colour all around
All is new, in the Saviour I am found
This is living now

‘This is Living Now’ Hillsong Young and Free

Every Day is a Blessing

“Happy moments – those moments when you feel fully alive – certainly exist.  They swim by us every day like shining silver fish waiting to be caught”.  – Alice Steinback

So, it’s 2015 already which I find a little terrifying.  I haven’t posted a blog for well over a year for many reasons, but the New Year seems a good day to check in and reflect on all that’s been happening.

As always, a little naively perhaps I enter into the New Year with a new sense of optimism and gratitude for all that has happened.

I love sharing the highlights of the year gone by, sharing my ‘Resolutions’ and goals for 2015, and as always hope that this year I will blog a little more.

So here are some of the highlights from 2014.  Whilst in some ways it has been a difficult year health, finance wise or sometimes personally, I yet again still find I have so so much to be thankful for!!!

  • Continuing to manage my health and work situation. I’m so blessed to have a job I really love.
  • This year I have read lots more than I have for a few years. I’ve also been practicing my Ukulele.
  • I kept a journal all 2014, which was really rewarding and a discipline.
  • My family life continues to grow and amaze me and I am so thankful to have such an incredible and loving family.
  • Things with ‘Restored for such a time as this’ continue to develop and I am excited for what the future holds with it. http://www.restoredfor.org.uk/
  • I am so thankful for every day small blessings. Those lovely ‘silver fish’.
  • My small involvement in the ‘Home for Good’ campaign especially at the beginning of the year in admin/ social media was a real blessing to me and it’s amazing to see it become a charity and watch God working through them.
  • Feb 9th– Seeing Taylor Swift at the O2 with my bestie was awesome.
  • My 27th Birthday celebrations were really fun with friends and games at home.
  • 18th March- My trip home to see my amazing family was brilliant including seeing my family grow and celebrating a birthday.
  • Doing the ‘100 Happy Days’ challenge on Instagram even when I wasn’t having the best day really helped me to focus on the good.
  • 12th April- A trip to Chester to see some incredible friends and their amazing babies was so awesome!
  • 14th April was another amazing time at home with tons of fun including baby Ducks!
  • 1st-3rd May Getting to go to Colour Conference after being blessed with a ticket and train fair was incredible! I had the best time and really learnt lots and grew close to God.
  • 23-25th may ‘Glamping’ at Big Church Weekend was amazing. We experienced worship, sunshine, rain, and fellowship.
  • Starting my Pilates class was fab and a great way to help with a former ‘resolution’ of trying to get more fit.
  • My holiday home in June was brilliant especially seeing my family’s business grow.
  • Giving away my ‘Giving Key’ and all that it involved including seeing it passed on to someone at IJM was really amazing!  http://www.thegivingkeys.com/blogs/news/15666580-fuel-others-faith
  • Quality time with amazing friends.
  • Watching Hillsong Conference online and the preach at G-Live ❤
  • Watching lots of brilliant TV.
  • My lovely friends Hen Party and their incredible wedding which was such a joy.
  • A trip home in August which involved games, an ice cream parlour, a new baby donkey, shopping and lots of fun.
  • Sept 6th a lovely 3 course meal and entertainment at a hotel with my bestie.
  • Reading loads of amazing books including ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ The Hunger Games series again and more.
  • In October winning tickets to a pre-release fan screening of the new Nicholas Sparks film. We got goodies and James Marsden showed up which was cool.
  • Sharing about Restored at the A21 A-Teams gathering was a real blessing in October.
  • Celebrating Compassion UK’s 15 year anniversary, seeing us reach 95,000 children sponsored, our ‘Vision Day’ and the work Christmas party were all highlights.
  • Taking part on the A21 Campaign ‘Walk for Freedom’ across London was amazing!!
  • Another trip home in November was great!
  • 4th December collecting 6 bags full of toiletries for A21 girls and UK shelters, praying and writing Christmas cards was a special day for me.
  • Christmas at home 2014, with parties, food, games, church, family, friends, animals, snow, mince pies and an amazing NYE Tudor Mystery party was an incredible time!!

 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder” -G.K Chesterton.

 

2015-01-04 17.52.13

 

I have always many ‘Resolutions’ for the New Year.  So many of them I don’t come close to achieving, but I like to set the goals anyway and see how far I’ve come.  These are some of my hopes for 2015:

  • To love my body and help it heal and be healthy.  (I am starting a new Pilates class closer to home which may help).
  • To read even more including all of the Jane Austin novels and the Bible in a year.
  • To be grateful and try and cherish every moment, even the hard ones and they make me thankful for the good.
  • To try and be more creative, practice my Ukulele more and develop my creativity.
  • To work hard and dedicate myself to my calling at my workplace.
  • To manage my finances better.
  • To invest more in my relationships including giving more time, more of myself, and visiting friends more.
  • To be more ethical in my purchases and lifestyle where possible. Continue to expand Fair Trade purchases.
  • To be more aware in current affairs and world issues and more active in praying/ helping.
  • To focus on a develop my passions and callings.
  • Learn more.
  • Love more!

I think it’s so easy to feel like we are never doing enough or being the best that we can be.  I certainly feel that daily.  But I am so grateful for all that I have, the opportunities and spheres of influence, the passions and talents I have, and above all the amazing God I love and serve who has given me a heart for justice.

I aim to make 2015 count.  To be thankful.  To be loving.  To fight for justice.  Or if nothing else to fail trying to make the world a better place for 2016.

The Love of Living (And Listening to Boyce Avenue)

I have to say… I LOVE life!!   Now don’t get me wrong, I have bad days, and some very bad days.  But some days I can’t believe how amazing my life is.  Some days I can’t believe how blessed I am.  Not only just to be living and breathing on this incredible planet.  Not just to be living in such a privileged country, and town.  But also because of my incredible family, friends, Church, the job I get the privilege of doing, and all the little things day by day that I cherish.

I have in recent months and years, to be honest, been a bit poorly.  Not the kind of illness that I know some people struggle with.  And most days I thank God that I am well enough.  But I do have days when I find life that little bit harder.   And it’s during those times that I appreciate all the things I have all the more.  I appreciate so much that I can receive free medical care.  I love the fact I have a warm, bright house full of all sorts of comforts.  I love that I have healthy food, incredible housemates, wonderful friends and colleagues, and an amazing family who are only a phone call or train ride away.

During times when I feel low or poorly, and on good days too, one thing that is a real source of comfort to me is music.

Growing up, I hardly ever heard music.  We didn’t have a cd or tape player.  Occasionally I would hear things at friends houses or school.  But unlike most kids today, I didn’t have an ipod (or even a walkman).

Later, in my early teens, I would lock myself in my room, and when the world around me was one reality; and saying one thing, music could speak a whole different reality to me…straight into my soul.   Until my late teens I never really explored music in all it’s glory.  But when I did… a love affair began.

Now, I don’t in any way profess to be a music connoisseur; and my taste to some people may be awful.  But I find music so emotive, so uplifting, and such a blessing.  Worship music in particular can see me transcend in a way little else can.  Again, in my late teens I was so blessed to be able to listen to music such as the Hillsong or Soul Survivor CD’s.  My mum would get me worship CD’s and I soaked them up.  Now I can’t believe that I get to be part of Hillsong Church, and experience amazing times of worship every week.

My love for live music began in Church.  It then spread to the little gigs and times of worship at summer camps and Spring Harvest.  In August 2006 I got to go and see Switchfoot (my 1st real musical love) at the Shepherd’s bush Empire.  It was my first ever gig, and a new kind of love began!  I couldn’t believe the power and presence of music in that kind of setting.  It was electric.  In March 2007 I went with my friends for my birthday to see Einadui- a classical piano player (mum would be proud).  Again it was a completely new experience for me.  When he played along with a string quartet and we sat in the balcony, I honestly thought I could be in heaven.

My gigging days took a slight sabbatical until 2011.  I then went to the Xfactor tour (don’t judge) and to see Taylor Swift with my mum and sisters; both at the M.E.N Arena.  Both so much fun!!!

Now living in Surrey, being so close to London, and having some wonderful gig loving friends, I have been able to go to so many more.  In the past year or so, I have seen Benjamin Francis Leftwich (a great acoustic singer), Ben Howard (a brillaint musician!), and I went to see One Direction (again no judgement) who were supported by my favourite band- Boyce Avenue.

That gig was really special for me.  Partly because I had missed a Boyce Avenue gig in the November because I was really poorly, that I had been really looking forward to.  So the fact that they were supporting One Direction, whose music makes me super happy, was really exciting.  It was also really exciting because after the gig, me and Nisha bumped into Boyce Avenue and got to say hello!  I honestly felt like I was being treated to make up for the fact I had missed the previous gig, I was really upset to miss.

On the 21st June 2012, I got to go and see the wonderful Boyce Avenue again.  This time at their headline gig at the Hammersmith Apollo to 5000 people!!  In the days building up I could not have been more excited.  And if you know me at all, are my facebook friend, or follow me on twitter, you probably never want to hear about them again.  But I really love their music, and both the cover songs that they do (some of which have had millions of hits on youtube) and their original music especially – I just LOVE!!  They are a really genuine humble band, who make brilliant music, all themselves and all for the love if music.

http://www.youtube.com/user/boyceavenue?feature=results_main

 

We finished work early, and me and my lovely friend Nisha went on the tube to the Apollo.  I was so super excited I could have burst.  And even whilst we queued I was so excited.    ” Beautiful people of LONDON it’s almost go time! Let’s make the Hammersmith Apollo erupt tnite”- @boyceavenue   Here is a picture of me with my ticket…

 

Whilst we queued we got our VIP lanyards (super cool I know!)  Once inside we went up to the bar to wait again for a bit.  Whilst we were waiting we could hear Tyler Hilton (one of the support acts) doing his sound check which was really cool!!   It was so fun hanging out with Nisha and I was so excited.  As part of our package we got to meet the band before the gig, which was so great.  We were ushered into this little side room, which was a bit surreal.  The band signed our lanyards and we chatted a bit about their gigs.  I even got a soggy flower given to me  😉  We took a picture with them, and got given a signed poster.  Again, it may sound silly, but I felt really blessed.  It’s not every day you get do do things like that…

 

 

We were able to go straight into the venue.  We grabbed a drink then went straight to the front row!!!  It was amazing to be that close.  And before long the place was packed out.

The first support act Alex Goot was great.  Really adorable..  The second support act I was really excited about too!  Tyler Hilton is a musician but also an actor from  my favorite program ‘One Tree Hill’.   I’d been listening to his music loads before hand and really loved it!!   He has a really husky voice.  He did a brilliant set including a great cover of a Coldplay song.  He also took a little video of the crowd and added it to the music video he made earlier.  Here it is…

 

And here is a little video I took of his performance…

 

 

After a short break, Boyce Avenue came on!!  I was so happy!!

 

 

 

Here is one of the little videos I took…

 

They did all my favourite songs.  Some brilliant covers, and all their amazing new music including ‘On My Way’, ‘Broken Angel’ and ‘Dare to Believe’ which my favourites.

 

‘On My Way’…

 

 

Here is the music video for ‘Dare to Believe’.  Whilst you’re there check out all their amazing covers and original music!!

 

 

 

 

Boyce Avenue took this picture of the crowd during their set!

 

 

I couldn’t believe how close we were and what an awesome gig it was!!  They are amazing musicians.  We had such a great time. We got a cup of tea and headed home.  My ears were ringing and heart pumping for ages!!  🙂

 

 

Boyce Avenue tweeted the next day- “Last night was huge 4 us & dedicated 2 everyone worldwide who has ever supported us. #London #weloveyouall

http://boyceavenue.com/

So blessed to have great days like that in my life, and amazing music that I can share with wonderful friends.  I will blog again soon about some of the other amazing music I am listening to at the moment, including some artists who I am going to see soon.  But for now I will say goodbye.

x0x0

Joy

As a little follow on from what I wrote in my devotional about joy, I came across this quote at Evening College and just had to share it.

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased. (The Weight of Glory, 1949).

Image

 

I just love this imagery and know exactly what it means.  I never had a proper holiday until I was 16 and before then could not imagine what it would be like, even when described.  Before I knew God I didn’t understand what true LOVE or true JOY or true happpiness looked like.  I was ‘content’ as so many are making mud pies.

Let’s share God’s joy today with those who havent fully grasped it!!

xxx

What Is Love? <3

 

“Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.” Hamlet Act II Scene II

 

I love this quote!  I heard it the other day whilst watching a mushy chick flick and it got me thinking – What is love?

There are so many images of love in our society; shown in films, novels, famous couples, couples celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries, modern day heroes who sacrifice themselves for others.  And then there are so many examples of a severe lack of love.

I see so many examples of love in my day to day life; from my friends bringing me flowers and treats when I’m ill, my sister telling me she misses me, my Compassion sponsored child sending me a beautiful letter, hearing from an old friend, or listening to an incredible love song.

Sometimes experiences of love are far more profound- Being part of a best friend’s wedding.   Holding your baby sister when she is 1 day old.  Having your sponsored child ask you to pray for his family.   Crying with your friend when they are having a terrible time.  Seeing a child at kids club laughing when normally introverted.  Being told you are loved, beautiful and precious.

And sometime experiences of love are life changing – Being able to worship at a best friend’s wedding.  Watching your baby sister seek Jesus.  Seeing 80,000 Children sponsored through Compassion UK.  Praying passionately with your friend who is having a terrible time.  Hearing a child at kids club saying they believe they are loved by God despite their circumstances.  Knowing you are loved because you are taken into someone’s home and cared for, knowing you are beautiful because they still say it when you are stood crying in a changing rooms feeling hideous, and knowing you are precious because you are shown it every day in so many ways.

 

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13. 

For me, I never know love exists more truly than when I experience 1st hand the Love of God, and the love that flows from His people.

I believed in love truly the first time I realised just how much God loves me!!  As much as I see good examples of love, I would really struggle to believe in TRUE LOVE without the love that God has for me and the rest of the world.  Our little examples of love are mere reflections of the intense, overwhelming, everlasting love that God has for us!!

 

What are your experiences of love?  Do you believe in ‘True Love’?  How do you know you are loved?  What is love?

 

I will end with a verse a friend gave to me.  A promise of love from God to his people long ago, and a promise of love from God to me for today and the days to come…

“I have loved you with an everlasting LOVE, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  I will build you up again”  Jeremiah 31:3

 

 

Lovely gifts from friends
A letter from my sponsored child Julio
My Sisters Wedding
LOVE
My crazy Family
Worshipping at my friends wedding