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.

 

☀️

Advertisements

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.
☀️
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.

who I am

Prelims. This year’s pressure has been different. Last year, I was stressed because of the impact my Highers would have on my future, but this time, Advanced Highers have less impact in determining my future. At least, I can theoretically get into universities without them. But this year holds a new struggle. This year, I was exhausted and dreading having to repeat what I did last year, but I felt like I had to. I had to keep up this standard that I had set last year. I had to prove myself. I felt like if I didn’t work as hard as I did last year – nearly over-working – then I would be letting myself and others down. It was a pressure that I was putting on myself to perform a certain way, get a certain grade, to be perfect. But it was paralyzing me from finding joy amidst prelim stress, I was guilty for the time I spent not revising, and when I was revising, I could barely bring myself to do it because I was so overwhelmed by the work I thought I had to do. But I wasn’t satisfied – I didn’t want it to be a period of time where I had no joy.  Because no matter what, I will continue to face struggles and stresses in my life, and I don’t want each time to be a period of no joy.

So I tried to find some truth to hold onto. Truth that tells me that I don’t need to strive and overwork and stress to perform a certain way. Truth that tells me that my worth isn’t defined by how I do in school. Truth that tells me who I am. Here it is:

Proverbs 31:25

She is strong and is respected by the people. She looks forward to the future with joy.

I am strong and I have a hopeful future – I am not afraid of what might happen, I am excited by the adventures ahead.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

You are all people who belong to the light and to the day. We do not belong to the night or to darkness.

I am full of light – I belong to it. I belong to light and hope and joy – not darkness, fear and sadness.

Romans 5:11

11 And not only that, but now we are also very happy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we are now God’s friends again.

I AM GOD’S FRIEND! A FRIEND OF THE THE CREATOR OF THE WORLD!! HOW COOL!

Galatians 4:6-7

Since you are God’s children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, “Father.” So now you are not a slave; you are God’s child, and God will give you the blessing he promised, because you are his child.

I am not only God’s friends – I am his child. I am protected and loved and valued by the creator of the whole world. He loves me and pursues me through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He knows every detail of who I am – each quirk and feature of what makes me unique; and he loves it all, because he created it.

Philippians 1:6

God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.

God is living and working in me. He is doing a good work in me – he is making me into the person I’m supposed to be. I’m a work in progress – but I’m a good work, on good progress.

Hebrews 10:39

39 But we are not those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.

I am not lost!!! I am found and rescued and guided!

1 Corinthians 15:10

10 But God’s grace has made me what I am, and his grace to me was not wasted.

My. Life. Is. Not. Wasted.

1 Samuel 16:7

God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.

I have a beautiful heart – I am more than what I look like. I am my heart, and mind, and soul, and spirit.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

Brothers and sisters, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you, because the Good News we brought to you came not only with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with sure knowledge that it is true.

I am CHOSEN! I am LOVED!!!!!!!

Philippians 2:15

You shine like stars in the dark world.

I have an impact on the world around me – I am a light and a hope. I shine.

AND THIS ALL APPLIES TO YOU READING THIS TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ ❤

I hope that this is some hope to you – you are so much more than your grades, your appearances, or how others see you. You are worthy and loved and special – the creator of the WORLD says so!

 

why i love the colour yellow

yellow is joy — it is the only colour that seems to shine a light of its own. it is bright and opens eyes to see – it doesn’t hide, it is bold and happy. it is content and warm. it is unapologetic — it doesn’t want to be any other colour. it’s the colour of the sun, and honey, and sunflowers, and yellow paint. it’s the only colour that continues to be bright when it is a cloudy day – it seems to make its own light. it is joy.

 

the post about the new year

Every New Year I write something on this blog, normally talking about what my New Year Resolutions are and about the hope and excitement I have for a whole new year of exciting things lying ahead of me! Here we are again – and I still have that same hope and excitement and expectation for what the new year will hold! What adventures I might have, what new people I might meet, what new things I’ll learn about myself… It always excites me when I think about where I could be with my faith in a year’s time — what kinds of adventures God could be taking me on, how He might be using me! I love thinking about where I want my relationship with God to be this time next year, how I want to be living out my faith… It’s always the same — I want to level up with God! I want to hear more of His voice and see Him shaping the lives around me as well as my own! I want to be daily filled with and led by His Spirit —–

There’s the key: daily.

The things we do daily are what will shape where we are this time next year, no matter what our goal is. There’s something really wise that my dad always says this time of year when my mum and I start talking about our New Year Resolutions: he says that we shouldn’t wait for the new year to make resolutions, we should make resolutions every day. If there’s something worth changing, or something worth striving for, why wait until the New Year? And that is so true! When we think of the huge goals we set for ourselves as the year stretches out ahead of us, it’s quite daunting. How am I ever going to get to the place where I want to be this time next year? It feels so easy to give up already. It’s hard to be patient and perseverant in pursuing these goals when they seem so far away into the future – if we think our goal is far off in the end of the year, we lose sight of the truth that our choices each day have impacts on where we are at the end of this next year. It’s easy to become shortsighted and passive rather than daily intentional with reaching our yearly goals. So by making New Day Resolutions, it is much more achievable to do what we are striving to do, and we become much more intentional and active in pursuing what we want.

For me, I have a few New Resolutions that I will be reminding of myself everyday this year:

  • Plug more into God – continue to read His word every day, but to also sit and wait on God. To pray continually and learn to hear from God by waiting and listening.
  • Love deeper and wider and more freely – I want to be overflowing with love for everyone around me, I want to give more, I want to speak more encouraging words to people and to always be ready to listen.
  • Be aware of myself and to act accordingly – I want to be aware of when I’m stressed and to take time to find peace again; I want to be aware of when I’m feeling down about myself and to take the time to pick myself up again – be that by writing myself a little pep talk, reading God’s word or thinking of things that I like about myself; I want to be aware when I’m not loving others and to shift my focus back to how God sees the people around me, and how I should see them.
  • Be more thankful and savour the moment, enjoy the details of right now.
  • To be more thankful for others and to let them know it — I want to do things like writing thoughtful, earnest letters of the details of why I love them. I want to be genuine and kind and insightful and to build people up with my words.

So, I hope this lil’ blog post encourages you to make daily resolutions to get to where you want to be this time next year and to live life more fully 🙂