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Maintaining your Identity in a Shaking World

One of the changes I have made in this season of COVID, was a change of vehicle. I sold my old car and bought a second hand car that has one main advantage over the previous car I owned:

It will be cheaper to maintain.

The previous owner of this Kia Sportage from the last decade, was a man who did all of the maintenance himself. He’s a friend of my workplace and is a man of integrity. Every single piece of equipment in the engine compartment of the car, or “under the hood” (as I would say in Kiwi lingo,) has a date on it- signifying the time when he last worked on or replaced it.

As he was showing me the engine parts in my car, I learnt the function of what they all were put there for. It was a very educational experience and one I hadn’t ever had since learning how to drive. The only time I really learnt about what the different parts did, was when they broke down.

And so too is life… if our bodies break down in a certain area, are we not alerted to the importance of maintaining their health and wellbeing?

When our minds start to fragment under too much pressure, if we are aware or have others around us to tell us something’s not right, we can find ourselves in a counselling office or psychiatry unit, again given tools to help maintain a healthy mental wellbeing.

In every area of our life, we have to come back to our original state of intent and then maintain that level of health and wellbeing. Though our bodies and lives will eventually decay, we can still maintain a level of conditioning to keep them working at their optimal state for the amount of years they have existed. Maintenance takes discipline and repetition.

But maintenance can seem tiring. It can feel like too much work, right? Yet to not maintain, is to sustain injury.

We are holistic beings too.. so like my engine is made up of many parts with different functions, WE are made up of many parts that all need to be maintained. This can feel overwhelming, but when we understand the nature of our holistic make-up and what it means, then we can better get our heads around the fact that once you work on one, there is a ripple affect to the others.

Let’s see how the Oxford Dictionary defines the word “Holistic”

Philosophy – Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Medicine – Characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/holistic

So interconnected are the parts of our holistic make-up that now research is proving more and more what the Hebrew writer of the letters to the Helenistic believers of Corinth, was trying to say. See the Greeks, (God love em coz I’m half Greek and that’s potentially why I’m so philosophical lol), believed that they could do anything with their bodies and it not affect their spirit, their community or their mind. They had a worldview that contradicted the Hebrew worldview that we are all interconnected, holistic beings that affect the whole being by neglecting to maintain one part.

While we are being subjected to a season of isolation and restrictions, certain areas of our lives are being affected that will affect other areas of our lives. Fear and anxiety can impact our physical immunity; social distancing can impact our mental health; restricted access to particular food groups can affect our bodily functions; financial breakdown can impact on our parenting while the lack of an educational environment can stifle our children’s self-esteem. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg..

Many have learnt how to adapt and reinstitute certain practices and habits in different ways (like doing work, church or gym workouts online) but there are still some areas of life that have gone neglected. And without maintenance of those specific areas, we may be discovering how the lack of support, availability or awareness of, those elements of our BC (before Covid) existence, are now affecting our wellbeing.

Well, let me say, there is hope. Like taking a car into the garage and discovering that a part of your car, just needs some fine tuning or a new replacement, your life CAN be running on all cylinders again- and maybe even better than you had ever had it running before.

Perhaps the fact that we have been deprived of the necessary pains that helped to keep us holistically well, will motivate us to not take those disciplines for granted and use them now to make the rest of our lives, the best of our lives.

b4a.mvmt is a Movement of Holistic Restoration and Extravagant Generosity. In my next blog, I’ll be laying the foundation of how Jesus came to restore every part of our being. You are welcome to come and be a part of this movement as we challenge you to rise up into all that God created you to be.

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The affairs of the heart when an affair affects your marriage

For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s probably a wife or husbands biggest fear (if fear plays a part in their marriage), and the greatest nightmare of anyone who has been affected by an extra-marital affair. Not only does it affect and break the heart of the spouse involved but the children, extended families and then the community.

We all know from celebrity affairs how much respect is lost for someone when they break their vow and sleep with another person. It puts a taint on their name that is often irrevocable. But with God, shame is always irrevocable and that’s why I share my story.

My story of being affected by infidelity goes back 15 years to just after my fourth child was born and I was a 25 year old, zealous youth leader in our church. I was a different person back then and so were the people involved. I was still insecure and had low self-esteem in regards to my body image and looks- and that was BEFORE social media!

I add all that to say, that when I found out my husband at that time had slept with another woman who I considered a friend, my self-esteem could have been shattered and my self-worth destroyed. But I can honestly say that I gave Jesus my broken heart.

Any default setting I previously had of running to smokes, or drinks or even food, for comfort all went out the window and I sought my comfort in the Lord and what He showed me at that time.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬


This became my meditation. These verses answered questions in my soul that wanted to bring justice to an unjust situation. Even thought the circumstances around me still didn’t make sense, the storm that raged within me was starting to settle.

Jesus was reminding me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. That even the flaws in my physical features were a part of His design. That He thought I was beautiful even though this act had sent me a different message. I was enough for Him, even though the lie of the affair was that I wasn’t enough for my husband, and that brought satisfaction to me.

He also reminded me that He knew that this was going to happen before I was even born. That it was numbered among the days I would live. While that could have made me angry that it shouldn’t have been that way, it actually gave me a sense of peace, in avoiding the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” thoughts that wanted to invade my mind.

If a loving God, who knew my heart and saw my husband cheating on me the day it happened, when I only found out 6 months later, was in control, then I knew I could trust Him with the next six months.

While I wanted everyone to hate and reject the people involved, Jesus reminded me that He too was rejected and betrayed by the very people He kept close to Him. I not only found comfort in that, but I respected and loved Him for it even more. He was sinless, full of love and always blessing His disciples and they still cheated Him. I was a young, insecure, angry, sin filled woman so I had no reason not to forgive, when I had been forgiven.

“Forgiveness gives up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” “Forgiveness releases my responsibility to judge that person for hurting me.” In this season, new pathways of forgiveness are forged. Jesus is the giver of forgiveness. We have to receive it freely in order to be able to give it.

I chose to stay in that marriage and forgive and birthed a beautiful boy the following year. I wouldn’t say that every woman should stay and that that is the noble thing to do. Every situation is different. But whatever you choose, choose to Give Him your Broken Heart and He will give you an ability to forgive like you’ve never forgiven before.

In Jesus name.

Prayer

Faithful God, thank you for your grace and for your mercy. Thank you for loving us unconditionally through our heart ache and pain. Thank you that there is no circumstance that we can face that you are unacquainted with. You’re our great High priest so we come to your throne room and find mercy and strength in our time of need. Help us to forgive when we don’t have it in us. Thank you for forgiving us for all we have done too. In Jesus name, Amen