Just Do Something

Yesterday, I started reading the book that my dad sent me for my birthday, entitled “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung. The whole premise of the book is finding God’s will for your life when you literally have no idea what it is. Now, you may all be wondering why my dad would send me a book about this sort of thing, but he had serious reason to. I had dreams and aspirations but I don’t think owning a library is a realistic one… and I was struggling with what was coming next for me; the future was a scary thought.

On opening this book, I was surprised (in a good way) at how blunt it was. It lays life out on the table and explains how there is too much going on. We have too many choices so we are lost when it comes to making the final decision. This got me thinking.

I am only half way through reading it, but already, I am aware that there are times when you just have to step out in faith and trust that God will be there to hold you in the decision that you make. When it comes to it, we really just need to bite the bullet and actually make a decision because otherwise we will be sitting and waiting around like melons, waiting for God to tell us our life story when He’s probably not going to tell you. 

So, that means, I just need to make a decision about what I am going to do when I get back to the UK in July. I know God made it clear that coming to South Africa was the right decision, but I think this time, I have to make the decision. I can’t wait until the last minute to choose so I might as well just do something. It doesn’t mean I don’t need to pray that it is still the right decision, but it does mean that I might just have to go with my gut on this one. 

Sometimes, we just need to do something and once we look back at how we got there, we will see the hand of God at work. It just may not be as obvious in the moment – no writing in the sky this time!

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Joy In The Simple Things

What makes you happy?

Is it your career, your friends, family, the sun, a good night’s sleep even?

There’s a whole bunch of things that you can try and build around yourself to increase your happiness and often it comes with the expectation that it all has to be perfect. According to a recent study done at Princeton University, it’s said that a person can’t be truly happy unless they earn a salary of at least $75,000 per year (£58,485/R981,480). Now, if I’m not mistaken, that’s actually a lot of money – more than the average person would earn anyway! So does that mean that I can’t be happy or show any signs of pure joy because I don’t have enough money to put a smile on my face?! I know I’m no scientist or epic researcher but I’m pretty certain that statistics like that are wrong. 

When you experience true joy, there’s nothing like it. There is this feeling inside of you that is completely unexplainable; it is an incredible affair. And I have found that it is made up of so many independent elements – it’s never just one thing that makes me joyful. But joy is different for everyone, so how can there be an algorithm for how to get happy? I know that a career won’t make me really happy but for some, they thrive. 

Yet, what if I told you that I knew where you could find joy. A joy that would be unique to you and would fill you right to the core? A smile would light up your face often and tears of laughter would run down your cheeks rather than tears of sadness. That’s what I want in any case! And the best part? You can get it for free! I know, that sells anything to anyone these days. 

It says in Psalm 34 vs 5, “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” The definition of radiant is: shining or glowing brightly. And apparently a glowing complexion is quite desirable. 

I Peter 1 vs 8 says, “you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” If anyone says they don’t want to feel that, they’re probably lying because that sounds pretty awesome.

There is something about having an encounter with God that fills me to the core with such a joy that I physically cannot stop laughing. Like, belly laughing. And I can’t explain what’s going on inside. It’s just God making me happy!

Feeling that joy for myself makes me want to see everyone else feel the way I do because there’s honestly nothing better. No career, no amount of money, no relationship will make you feel as happy as God will. Moreover, if you want it, all you have to do is ask for it. It’s as easy as that. He wants to give you this “inexpressible and glorious joy” because it’s His desire to see His children happy. I’ll take it any day.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner laughing…

Easter Camp 2017

For all of you beady eyed readers out there, you would have noticed that I didn’t manage to post last Wednesday. Honestly, I know that any excuse I give will not mean anything to you, but I was not as organised as usual and I had to pack for Easter Camp, get a few last things done for work and then go out to the campsite for the leaders’ braai. I know, I know… I could have written a post beforehand and scheduled it to go up but that just seemed like too much effort! 

So this week, I know I have to make it up to you all. Which means you will want to see pictures, which I have (makes a change!).

Over the weekend, I was at Easter Camp, which is basically what it says on the tin, if you weren’t quite sure what it was. But if you are still confused as to what it is, it is a camp for young people to go to, where they will encounter God over the Easter weekend. I had the privilege of being a leader and on the worship team and I feel so blessed to have gotten to know the people I did and build new friendships with God at the very centre. 

Before I go any further, I would just like to mention how special the worship team have become to me. Over the past few months as we have been preparing for the camp, valuable friendships have been made and I treasure each one of you. You make me very happy and I am going to miss spending my Monday evenings worshiping with you all. 

But getting back to the point – the question you will all be asking is, “did God move?” And I can answer whole-heartedly with YES. So many young people gave their lives to God, encountered the Holy Spirit for the first time and were able to forgive where they have been wanting to for so long. The only real words I have to describe what happened are these: it was so evident that there is a loving Father who cares for His children, filling them with peace and joy so they are overflowing. I just want to honour Jen (the camp speaker) for really listening to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to do what He wanted to do, even if it meant doing things a little bit differently. It meant that God was able to speak into lives and move like I haven’t seen Him move for a long time. 

Although the campers were able to meet with God powerfully, it has to be said that it was in no way just for the campers. There were many leaders at the camp, including myself, who could share testimonies at the end of how God broke in and impacted our lives. Personally, I have never felt as much joy as I did over this weekend; I have never been able to dance and I have always felt so trapped when it came to letting go and just having fun with dancing. But now I can’t stop moving and there is a fresh sense of joy running through my veins that surpasses all understanding, and no, I haven’t been able to stop laughing. It has made me feel truly alive – it is something I pray that all of the people around me will be able to experience too.

I won’t carry on for much longer because I understand that reading long blog posts can be quite a challenge! But before I go I want to thank the people that worked so hard to make Easter Camp possible and let them know that they are well and truly appreciated by all that came into contact with you. 

Happy Birthday To Me!

Over the weekend, I celebrated my 19th birthday. Now, I know that the first question on everyone’s lips will be “did you take any pictures at all?” And you will all be very pleased to know that there are hundreds – well that’s what it seems like anyway. So, today’s post will be a run down of all that I did to celebrate my birthday here in South Africa.

Friday 31st March
Youth was cancelled on Friday night as it was the first night of the Easter holidays, but instead the guys arranged for there to be an Alice in Wonderland themed Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for me so that the kids could get involved in the partying. I have to say, the cakes were all very tasty and I very much enjoyed having a bit of fun with all of the kids at youth. It felt very special, actually.

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Saturday 1st April
No, I am not joking. My birthday is definitely on April Fool’s Day. Very unfortunate, I know. 
I was treated to breakfast in bed – first win of the day. I don’t know what it is about other people making your breakfast for you (marmite on toast and a cup of tea, if anyone is wondering) and bringing it in to you just as you wake up, but it makes it all taste so much better. That’s definitely a tradition I am going to want to keep going. I then got to open my presents as well; I was spoiled rotten!

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Then I got dressed for the day and FaceTimed my parents who were able to send over a package for me back in February. I heard it slosh when I first put it away so I was praying that there was a little bottle of Plymouth gin in there. It was either that or they were playing a very cruel joke on me, which I wouldn’t put past them to be honest. Luckily my prayers were answered!

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After I had finished talking to my parents and my brother, I got that we were going to take a trip to the beach so that I could have a swim on my birthday, something I have never been able to do before this year as it has always been waaaay too cold. It was a really nice day so Chloe and Brogan managed to get a bit of a tan. Literally nothing happened to me – I am still as pale as a ghost. Maybe translucent is a better word to use here? 

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Wakaberry was our next stop. For those of you who have no clue what this is, it sells frozen yogurt where you can add toppings and it’s quite nice. But this was a very quick stop off because I had an appointment at the tattoo parlour to go and get my second tattoo! It is Morse code for hope.

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By the time I had got that done, we were all famished and were in desperate need of some really nice lunch, so we made our way to Sanook. As usual, I had a pizza which was absolutely delicious. And as it was my birthday, I thought I would treat myself to a cocktail. I mean, why not?!

Once we eventually got home it was 4pm and I was shattered. After a brief time of chilling out, Chlo told me that I must go and get ready for a little party they were planning. It was so nice to see some friends and braai with a G&T in hand. And the cake was flipping tasty too!

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All in all, my South African birthday will be one that I look back on fondly and I just want to say thank you to everyone who made it so special.

Too Many Photos…

Over the weekend, I was able to go and stay out in Kidd’s Beach again with the Monaghans. I know that it is only a stone’s throw away from East London, but it feels a million miles away. There is something about it, whenever I go there, that makes me feel so at peace and see God’s craftsmanship in everything. 

A prime example of this was on Sunday evening as Brogan and I went sunset chasing. The colours that lit up the sky were just beautiful and of course, as Brogs was there, we took well over 100 pictures! Although we did go out with the intention of taking a ridiculous amount of photographs, as I was sat on the rocks, I got a good look at all that was around me. The only thought running through my head at the time was “how can people not see that this was created by someone who wants you to see him everywhere you turn?!”

As well as that, whilst Brogan was being photographer extraordinaire, I was reminded of just how good God has been to me since I moved out to South Africa. No matter where I go, and whose home I am in, I feel very much part of the family. Sitting down at a family dinner, I don’t ever feel like I’m invading because I know that everyone is more than happy to have me there. 

But now I am aware that I have been talking about these photos for what seems like forever and you haven’t actually seen them – so without further ado, here they are! (Well, a small selection of the many that I have.)

Looking Forward

As much as I want to be living in the present and not have to think about what is going to happen in the next few months, there is no way that I can avoid thinking about it. Without even making plans, there is already a lot for me to do even before I leave South Africa! So to think that I have to decide what I am doing after that makes my brain hurt.

In 3 1/3 months, I am going to have to get on two planes by myself to head back to the UK, one from East London to Johannesburg and the next from Johannesburg to London, Heathrow. For those of you that have been reading my blogs for a while now, you will know that the thought of getting on a plane terrifies me, so that thought of getting on two by myself freaks me out even more. But in all reality, I am feeling much more settled than I ever thought I would, however, I think that is because people have been praying for me.

When I get back to the UK, I will be heading straight to Newday, a big youth camp, with the intention of serving. You have no idea how excited I am for that, also as it means that I will be able to see friends that I haven’t seen for a long time! Without even thinking about the amazing God encounters that will happen there, I am already pumped for a week of pure excitement.

BIG SHOCKER:
So here I am talking about the little things that are going to happen when I get back to the UK, but I am also going to be doing something that nobody (not even me) expected me to be doing, just because of my attitude towards it last year.

If you know me well enough, then you should have guessed what it is by now. Yes, I am applying to go to university to do a Certificate in Education. Thankfully, it is only a year long course so I won’t be stuck studying for years, but the hope is, it will give me a little bit of an extra edge and something that I could potentially fall back on.

Anyway, I feel that’s enough for today. Some of you will already have fallen off your chairs when you found out that I am voluntarily going to university, so I won’t give you anymore surprises today!

When Excitement Builds

Firstly, I must apologise for not writing a blog post last week. To say I was busy is an understatement but that is no excuse! 

I have been in Cape Town for the last week at the Advance Africa Conference. It was a brilliant time of input, hearing about how we can grow in maturity as Christians. It was well worth being at but I have to say, I am very tired after having my days filled!

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But, now that the conference is over, I can clearly feel a sense of new enthusiasm for what I am doing here in East London. Not that I wasn’t enthusiastic before, but there is a feeling that I can’t explain that makes me feel like what is going on here is incredible. 

It is crazy to think that I have been here in South Africa for 8 1/2 months now and I am constantly amazed to see how far I have come in my walk with God and how I have grown as a person. Some days, I look at myself and see a completely different person to the one that arrived in East London last year. And I love it; I love the person I have become and I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me get there! My outlook on life has completely flipped and the person I can see myself becoming is exciting me so much right now. 

Those of you that know me well, know that I have always been the sort of person who is concerned about not knowing what the future holds and scared that it is not going the way that I wanted it to. But over the last couple of weeks, I have begun to feel so excited for a future that I know nothing about. And whilst that would have freaked me right out this time last year, I am so content with that fact that God has it all and knows just what is going to happen.

I am excited to see where God takes me, all the people that He will bring into my life and what He is doing across the globe. I cannot explain how much my excitement is building!