Reflections of Grace

 

 

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I recall sitting, and waiting patiently for the gas man to arrive. The boiler had decided to go to sleep, clearly it needed a rest. I don’t think it was being sensitive to its demand on such a cold and wintery night, but needless to say a cold night was on the horizon. All wrapped up, with candles on, playing classical music in the background (I love classical music) and a mug of what was becoming my favourite herbal brew, chicory tea.  

Those who have visited my apartment know how cold it can be on winter nights. My apartment is an old build with poor ventilation, but quaint in every other way with traditional features. The architecture is why I fell in love with the property and although awakened to the downfalls of unbearable hot summer nights and smoggy cold winters, it was a ‘small’ sacrifice I was prepared to pay. And, to be honest, several winters had past where it became manageable with the aids of onesies, electric blankets, hot water bottles, candles, and hot brews. Lol – we made it work. Isn’t it funny the lengths you’ll go to when you want something to work desperately.  Until that one ‘horrid’ night; a cold apartment even when the heater was on,  provided mediocre comfort. 

 To my utter amazement I felt more warmth that night than I usually did on most nights. 

Looking back on the events leading up to that boiler breakdown, I could easily understand the reasons why.

You see life is a series of decisions. We can choose to suck on the lemons or decide to make lemonades out of our lemons. Don’t know about you, but I prefer to settle for the latter. 

I was going through a 31 day challenge of writing down the things I was most grateful and thankful for in my life. And as I looked around that beautiful decorated front room, I instantly felt tears of gratitude stream down my face. I recalled the nights we slept in a hostel, the many nights I was travelling with my young son looking for shelter because I was in desperate need to escape our current nightmare. The memories of temporary accommodations that weren’t fit for purpose, the days of living through a suitcase; all these memories came flooding at me. And at once, I was fuelled by a surge of warmth, one that came from within, not without.  Admittedly it was a very cold night. London was  7 degrees with a 70% chance of snow. It was freezing to say the least.

But as my mind escaped, so did my perspective. I have a shelter, a bed to sleep on, clean, running water (indisputably cold) but nevertheless, running water. I sat there for almost an hour, smiling and thinking up all the many blessings I was grateful for in  my life and how far He had brought us through. 

For some of you there is a dramatic shift that is going to take place in your life in the remainder of this year, if you will simply know hot to rest in the storms and the not so convenient weather changes.

I learned first hand that the sure-fire way to see the change that is promised, was for me  to change the position of my heart. 

This week whilst journaling my heart to the lord, I heard these words”take your eyes off  your circumstances and current situations, they will cripple your faith. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” ‭‭JOHN‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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You have no idea how timely this message was for me this week. I recall a time when I’d stay parked listening to john 15 in my audio bible. Desperately crying to the Lord to help me to remain. What does that even look like, I used to wonder? In chains to every spoken word, I refused to be unshaken and undisturbed in my pursuit when my desire is to remain in this word. My desire for change has been a desperate one, fed up with poor life choices and stagnancy, wishing my ‘aha’ moment would finally come. I’m sure we’ve all experienced such moments. Imagine driving to a destination, clearly getting nowhere fast. Desperately looking to get back on track only to realise you’ve been driving in a circle all along.  

Once on the right track you’d do what ever you possibly can to prevent yourself from getting back off track. You could liken this analogy to my  hunger to have this word being glued, permanently tattooed on my heart. To do whatever it takes to get it out there, and join the many clouds of witnesses that came, not only saw, but also conquered. The many that refused to allow their story to be written for them. The many that refused to have life keep them down. Despite my many knock outs, I’m convinced that with each blow Ive gained new muscles. Muscles I never realised I had before  and granted I don’t know how many falls I’ve taken, but the one thing i’ve never done is allow them to keep me stayed down.  My desire is to remain because everything else  means nothing to me. In this place, I’ve found living. The temperature in my apartment was unquestionably cold. But the heat I felt that night, and would love to have continually on the inside of me  is blazing.  

img_0841More and more I’m realising the power of this moment. The power in the now; right now. I see so many of the things I once hid my face from. Now this journey would allow me to sit in a place that others cannot, I see this grace at work, in my life, proving to be sufficient for the roads  I am to travel. 

My prayer for everyone reading this, is know that He sees you, you who is desperately seeking a safe haven. You, on your journey to finding restoration and craving for change. I pray that you are established and planted so deeply in Him. That regardless of your current situation and where you may find your life at today. Be assured that your story is not over because of one cold night. There is promise in tomorrow. I pray you find him on this journey, if you seek him with all your heart. And that you trust  the process and allow His word to build you up. Let boldness and courage come over you today like never before. That you might ask  whatsoever your heart desires, and when you delight yourself in Him.  Soon and very soon, you’ll experience your hearts desire. I’m on the same journey…

Signed, 

Finding my way 

Put the light on…

Hey friends,

May is slowly creeping on us, I cannot believe it. It was never my intention to be gone for this long. I have been thinking about sending out a hello piece, but struggled to find better reasons besides saying, hello. It is important for me that when I do decide to share a piece, it would always come from a now, and transparent place.

As someone who appears strong, confident and sure of herself it’s so easy for people to assume you have your shit together.

‘You always look so good, It’s hard to believe you’ve been through so much’.

Today I want to share a little about my battle with depression.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, let me re-introduce myself to you. And it all started with Hello…From the age of 16 I was diagnosed with manic depression. And for several years I was on medication for this illness.  My life revolved around psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, behavioural therapies, drugs, sex, alcohol and wrong friendships, with the occasional church visits. My life spiralled out of control as the years went on, and although outwardly it would appear like I was coping, inside I was perishing slowly to my death.  As the cycle perpetuated itself, I would soon become suicidal and attempted multiple times to end the pain, resulting in me being hospitalised on many occasions. Being dependent on sex and  drug abuse, would lead me to making bad financial decisions that consequently took me to rock bottom. The day would come when I was finally presented with the choice of life, or death. Surely, I was in no sound mind to make such a life changing decision, but one that was imperative if I was to stop this cycle of sameness. img_1536

8 some years, I fall humbly to my knees, thankful to God that I chose life. And that His mercies never gave up on me.

You are looking at a victor of mental illness, a victor of someone who did not know that the mind had to be renewed on a daily basis. That you do eventually become how you think. My thoughts were toxic to say the least, thoughts of abuse from a young age, thoughts of abandonment, thoughts of being unloved, rejected…

I do not pen my heart for follows, or likes. I  do this for you. You might be that  ONE person who feels that their life makes no sense. Fed up of the sameness and monotony of your journey. You might have woken up today wishing you hadn’t. Believe me, I was the same. Some days I begged God to take my life. Just so I wouldn’t have to face another painful reminder of the past, and its pain that left with it many invisible scars. So, before you end it all, throw in the towel, or decide to check out of this life. Please believe that there is a God. He loves you so much, and that He sent Jesus to die for you. I am living proof of His restoration.

Being transparent is so important, we cannot heal if we remain masked. I know for me I gravitate to people  who allow me to see their true authentic self. And the truth is said for those who have connected with me, in times past and even today. People are drawn to the real you, not the pretend you. For so many years i’ve shared my story in bite-sizes and it has been that level of transparency that have allowed me to form lasting relationships. Being courageous to dare to reveal, and refusing to skirt around my truth has helped healed so many, including myself.

Today I found myself struggling to get my day-to-day shores completed. All of the sudden, with no warning signs I found my self procrastinating on things that would otherwise take no time at all. Refusing to accept the truth, I phoned a friend. It was in our conversation, the heart of the matter was revealed. My transparent moment became the reason behind this blog. Through this conversation he told me to retrace my steps and rewind the days leading up to today. It soon became apparent I had been inconsistent with one of my daily habits, and the scariest part of it; was It could’ve been avoided. Had I known two weeks of missing the gym would’ve made such an impact in my mental health, I think for sure I would’ve reconsidered missing a day. But one thing I can say is that It is so important to be in tune with the triggers that cause you to revert. You must start to understand what your triggers are You have to protect yourself from these triggers. The same way you would protect your home with a burglar alarm system.  You have to set up a system in place that protects your mind at all costs.

img_1190-1Truth is I am human. I live in a body. My flesh is constantly throwing its dummy out of the pram desperately seeking attention. Putting the light on it and revealing its ugliness is one way of me fighting back. Today has been a wake up to the reality that yes, although I’ve come out of depression, after battling with it for 15 years without medication, or counselling.  It was sobering to say the least, and being awaken to my triggers is the greatest help. And my need for Jesus as my healer and constant life support is something I do not take lightly. I’m honoured to be His patient among many things. There is no doubt that day(s) like these will resurface. But I am living proof that there is a God. There is NO pit too deep that He cannot dig you out from. He will bring everything that this world has tainted and work it together for good.Since January I’ve been attending the gym 3-5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I’m no where close to my fitness levels or weight goal, but each morning at 6.30am I find myself down a familiar road, walking and talking with Him with no interruptions; just the two of us.  In the desperate pursuit to hear Him, and pour my heart out to the one whose ears are never deafened to hear me. You see some days, we just need an outlet. I have grown fond of this outlet over the years, the safest place I can share my heart, without shame, guilt or inferiority. That first sunrise, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the crisp air were all welcoming additions to entice my morning journeys to my new favourite place; the gym. Yes, the gym for me has become so much more than just an institution to build physical muscles and the delights of me one day fitting into my favourite skinny jeans. It has become my training field for so many of the other things I see Him working in me.

The contradiction of life is that I am experiencing one of my most fruitful seasons. Busy, productive and beautiFULL. Each day I am discovering His goodness in a new way. I even took the step of faith and started that new business which i’ve put off for quite some time. I’m also currently in the process of moving homes, and schools with a teenage son who is also on his journey discovering this gift we call life, and trying to figure out his purpose in the plan of God’s big tapestry. All the while finding my feet in many unchartered and unfamiliar fields, with different projects I will share with you all as time goes on. img_1322

I know it’s not always easy, and sometimes it feels safer to  hold back. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to be received if we were to put it all out there, So I understand. This is why it is so important to use wisdom and discernment. And even for me, I share a lot but there’s still so much that I’ve yet to disclose. This is partly because I am under submission to my fathers will. Whatever gets disclosed have to be for the greater good of revealing His goodness in my tests, and to give testimony of His goodness. Anything more outside of that, well for me is irrelevant.  Make no mistakes about it, the beauty in restoration is that it affects everything. Nothing remains the same. The exteriors and interiors must be demolished in order for the building (you/I) to be rebuild.

I see us living in restoration mansion together. I see broken men and women being restored back to wholeness. I see masks falling off, and laughter being the sound theme of the every room in our homes. I see scars being supernaturally healed, and relationships revived.

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Jeremiah 31:4

Once again I will build you up,  and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel. Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people

These words friends, have been the meditation of my heart this week. As clearly as I heard God saying to me that He himself will rebuild my life. I believe this to be the truth for every one of you reading this entry today. As I conclude for today I feel that someone needs to know that the God of heaven and earth is in the business of rebuilding, repairing and  reviving.

Stone by stone He will rebuild our lives. 

God is not wasteful, and nothing you have ever been through will ever be wasted. Lets ‘go-again’ and  get on this road trip together.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, let me re-introduce myself to you. And it all started with Hello…

Signed,

Jewelbygrace

 

Hello…

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My name is Jewel. I am marvellously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation.

Today I decided that I would finally stop running away.

I don’t know who you are. And the reason you’ve chosen to follow my blog. But I promise there is a reason. Together we will discover that reason and find healing and restoration by grace.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m tired of being that runaway kid. Sad to say, but I’ve run away for most of my life. Always shying away from things, commitment, in the fear of someone getting close to me, and inevitably hurting me. Pain has been an address I’ve been all too familiar with. So, in my defence running away has been my form of control in avoiding the pain. When you’ve come from a place of brokenness and abuse, you learn to protect yourself.

My voice was something I never liked to hear, or was never encouraged to share.

It’ll be 8 years in January when I made the decision to rededicate my life to Jesus christ. And what an interesting journey that’s been so far. I mean to tell you, it’s not like you’ve seen in the movies or even read in the novels. You have to personally take that leap of faith and get it for yourself. I would be doing you a great disservice if I were to even begin to explain how it’s been for me. This by far has been the most unveiling, therapeutic, self discoveries I’ve ever been on. I was born into a christian family, my father was a Bishop and part of the Oral Roberts board of ministers. He loved Dr Roberts so much he named me after his daughter, Jewel. I grew up as a church kid. I didn’t know much else and Jesus would become to me as real as the friend you speak to everyday. For me he soon became my hiding place, my safe place. Abused at the hands of those who were supposed to love and take care of me, I was at a loss. Everything I knew to be true, turned out to be a tale of lies. Trust was broken, my heart was in pieces.

In the year of 1997 I gave my life to Jesus, became radical and went evangelising with great desire and zeal but no knowledge. Soon my hasty feet will eventually miss the way. I wouldn’t say I gave up, more so fell into stagnancy. Church would be my place to hang out and socialise and very soon the place where hurt would reintroduce itself. This time I put on my running shoes and  ran so fast it would take over a decade for me to come back home.

One bad decision after the next I would find myself at a cross roads. 21 & chosen left holding the baby . Motherhood would be the making of me, allowing me to take ownership for my life.

We live with consequences but his grace enables us to live without shame, fear or guilt.

Today I decided to get back to journaling. I’ve kept diaries for as long as I can remember. Since I was a young girl in primary school, I’d write entires often. Writing was my happy place. The place I can pour everything on and I wouldn’t leave feeling judged. With my keyboard I feel invincible, yet vulnerable at the same time. Deciding to blog was a whole new  level of exposure. Let’s face it we live in a critical society with onlookers who would rather look for fault to find, than applaud your courage to stand.

I knew the time would come for me to open up again. I’ve been through too much to keep my struggles and victories to myself. There is purpose in pain, it’s a sad but true statement. It’s not to say I am incapable of being committed, more so in fear of once committed, I would loose control.

My God is not wasteful and nothing we have been through can ever be wasted. If sharing my journey helps just one person, then it’s all been worth it.

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Signed,

Introducing Jewelbygrace