wildflowers

Something that’s been on my mind. Lately I’ve been scrutinising every part of myself every time I look in the mirror, and all I’ve been seeing have been the parts of me that I’ve wanted to change. But this truth has been starting to take root: I’m wholly beautiful. Not just the good parts of me – all of me. And some day I’ll look in the mirror and not see the parts that I want to change; I’ll see something created, growing, blooming & wholly beautiful — unique and incomparable like the flowers.

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exams

they’re coming up. power through.

happy accident

this photo was taken during heavy snow one morning. I was so excited, I wanted to get a good picture of the snow falling and the whiteness everywhere. This was my film camera so each picture counted. It was on automatic flash so it flashed when I took a picture since it was still a bit dark — I was devastated. I was sure that the flash would have ruined the photo. So I took another one without the flash. But when I got the photos back, it wasn’t the one without flash that was memorable – it was the accidental flash one that looked the coolest. I don’t exactly know what this post is about but I just wanted to share that happy accidents do happen and that you can get some pretty pictures even when you don’t get to control what the camera does.

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this was what the snow looked like without flash – the camera didn’t pick up the snowflakes without flash!

the whole story

On Sunday, I was baptised. And those of you who were there will have heard me speak a little bit about how I became a Christian and the difference having Jesus in my life makes  – but that is not all. There was so much more that I wanted to say, there is so much that God has done in my life (more than I could even fit in this blog post, but I’ll try and say a few!), and so many reasons why I decided to get baptised. So now I can say it here.

This is why I decided to be baptised:

So, you’ll know from previous blog posts I went to Swaziland in October, and was totally moved by the life-changing power of God’s presence, and of the hope Jesus provides to seemingly hopeless situations. So, I came home from this trip totally inspired and pumped for God. I was excited by what he was doing and wanted to do what we were doing over in Swaziland all day every day. So it was actually quite hard coming home to the UK, reverting back to normal life, going back to school. Coming home transformed from a trip and finding home unchanged was hard – I felt like my values had completely changed and yet everyone else around me still cared about school and other things, when all I cared about was what I cared about in Swaziland – mission. But eventually I learnt that God places me where he wants me to be, and that I can still be used by him to spread his good news back home – in fact, there is a need here at home as much as in Swaziland! So, the period when I came home from Swaziland was certainly challenging but it was the most I have ever clung to God in every second of every day, it was the most I had ever consistently heard his voice and guidance over my situation  – every day he was telling me things I needed to hear. But I still wanted a certain and definite change within me after Swaziland. I didn’t want to live any life other than the one God planned for me. So that was the first reason why I wanted to get baptised — I wanted to be permanently and undoubtedly marked by God’s Spirit, I wanted to be permanently changed, living my life for Jesus for certain. I wanted the purpose and passion I had in Christ to fill me up every day.

My second reason was similar, to do with the timing. Currently I’m in my last year of high school, so my future is unknown and uncertain. I wanted to make this declaration of my faith in baptism so that I can go into the future with the secure rock of my faith throughout all uncertainties and changes as I move on into my future, knowing that God is with me and guiding me through it. I also wanted to make sure that the future I am moving into is the one that God is planning me to live, knowing that he has great plans in store! I wanted it to be no longer me planning my life, but Christ who lives in me!

And finally, it was a question of joy. Those of you who know me, know that joy and hope and light are things that are immeasurably valuable to me. I realised, a while ago, that the purest, most authentic and fulfilling joy I have felt were at times when I’ve found purpose in Jesus, when I’ve been guided and filled with the Holy Spirit, when I’ve felt God’s love and peace. I became disillusioned with the fleeting joy of academic success, likes on instagram, validation from other people… because — in truth — when those become your main source of joy, they only end up stealing your joy. Because you become reliant on upholding this standard in order to gain the joy from those sources – it becomes a pressure, not a joy. I realised one day in my bedroom how empty that joy was, how fleeting and unreliable it was because it was based on things that were not grounded, that were not secure. But there was HOPE!! Because Jesus promises us abundant joy – he promises “life in all its fullness” (John 10:10) and he promises that nothing and no one will take our joy away from us (John 16:22)! This is REVOLUTIONARY TRUTH — we have access to a joy that is unconditional and unwavering. A joy that gives us a full life! A joy that satisfies and empowers and encourages! And this joy comes with a FREEDOM! A freedom from the need to perform a certain way in order to get self-worth or happiness, a freedom from constantly striving for something that keeps eluding us.

I have found purpose, peace, hope, freedom and joy because of my faith, and so, I decided to solidify and affirm that faith by being baptised on Sunday. It was the best decision I have ever made.

 

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surround yourself with truth

do it – it completely transforms how you see yourself, how you see your future, how you see other people, how you see the world. pursue the truth and then surround yourself with it, so that you can always turn to it when faced with lies.

joy

Missing the happiest kids I’ve ever met.
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I had never seen so much joy, I had never been greeted with so much joy. As soon as we stepped out of the bus when we arrived in Noah’s Ark, the kids had already run up to meet us and we were greeted by hugs and smiles and held hands. They were laughing and dancing with us within seconds and climbing on us, loving being lifted into the air. I had never felt so much love and joy seeing people I’d never met before, I had never been welcomed with so much excitement before. I had never had a heart so bursting with love and giddiness at these kids just overflowing with joy and laughter. I was touched by their unreserved and unconfined joy and their freely-given love, hugs and smiles. I want to be like them, able to take the hand of anyone I meet and begin dancing freely and joyfully with them, unhindered by fear of judgement – just reckless, uncontained joy and love.