31.12.21

Saved by grace, a new creation, on purpose for a purpose. I am free with a future and a hope!

Angela De Souza 2021

I've considered deleting this blog many times but can't seem to let it go for some reason. Perhaps because it contains such an important part of my life and I'm hoping that somehow my 'scribblings' can inspire and help others going through some of the things I've been through. So, I continue to hold onto it for a little longer.

Tonight, 31st December 2021, I reflect on not only the year that has passed but the many years before that too. I love to look back and reflect before plotting the way forwards into a new year. So I've pulled out all my journals and as I flip through the pages I am in awe of how far I have come. 

Only today I found myself chatting with Jordan about the importance of not comparing ourselves with others but without past self, and as I look back I am amazed and how far I have come. I can't help but go back to that day. The day that I hit rock bottom. I had been a Christian for 10 years at that point and yet still found myself on the floor with a razor blade in my hand trying to end my life. I had made such a mess of it all and had no hope or reason to live. That was Christmas time 2001, 20 years ago! 

Imagine in I had succeeded, these past 20 years would not have happened. It's a sobering thought.

I always say that I was born again in 1991 but saved in 2001. For most Christians, it's the same date but I am a bit stubborn and it took God 10 years to make a point. The difference is that for the first 10 years of my Christian journey I tried so hard to be a good person and to be a good Christian, I desperately wanted to please God and be accepted by all, but I kept messing up. For 10 years I tried my absolute best but proved that I couldn't break free from who I really was. My human nature kept pulling me back into my usual destructive cycle. 

Saved by grace

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

The Bible is clear, we can't be saved from our own works, no matter how hard we try. Salvation is a gift. On that night, as I tried to take my life, I didn't respond to a preacher in church inviting me to be saved, I didn't pray a special prayer to be saved, I didn't go through a religious ceremony to be saved, I cried out to God and asked for help. I told him how I couldn't do it anymore, I didn't know how to live. I didn't really want to die but could see no other option. It's a long story and I don't want to retell it yet again, you can read about it in my book Hope's Journey. The point is that I was saved. Truly saved. After 10 years of trying things my way I finally tried God's way and all it took was a humbled cry for help to kickstart the process. 

A new creation

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am a business speaker, I love to talk to groups big and small and inspire them in business and personal growth. Something I often say is that there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme, an overnight success takes about 20 years

The same is true of becoming a new creation. Being saved and allowing God to work in my life didn't mean that He waved a magic wand and I became a new creation! It meant 20 years of obediently listening to his guidance and responding to His loving discipline. It's taken me 20 years to go from a worm wallowing in my sin to the beautiful butterfly I have grown into. I can say this because I know it's not pride, I can say this because there is no way I could have done this myself, the first 10 years of my Christian walk have proven that. I am God's handiwork.

On purpose for a purpose

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10

As I page through my journals and reflect on the past 20 years I am filled with gratitude. So much gratitude. I am not who I once was and I will continue to be made new. I now have an amazing life and a future to look forward to. I am not saying this because my life is rosy without any problems. In fact, this year of 2021 has been the worst year of my life. Perhaps one day I will be able to write about it but it's too painful to share at the moment. I am not exaggerating in any way, it truly has been heartwrenchingly horrible and the problems I am suffering will continue into next year. The Bible does say that "in this world you will have trouble" but it also says that "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." and it's this peace that I hold onto knowing that "all things God work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I am free

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all... are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I wrote a book called Free in 2011, I'm not sure if it's any good I might have to revise it at some point, but I honestly felt back then that I was finally free from so much that had ensnared me in the past. Looking back I am amazed, if I felt free then how can I articulate how I feel now as it's freer than free. I guess that's what the Bible means when it says we are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next and  if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.

A future and a hope

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

And so as I reflect to set myself up for a new year I am reminded of one of my favourite verses when I was first born again in 1991, Jeremiah 29:11. Back then I believed it but after what I have been through for the last 30 years, the ups and downs, the good times and the bad times, I can see that this has always been true. That He has been working in me every single day of my life to bring me to this point and that there has always been a plan. I have been saved by grace on purpose for a purpose and I can't wait to see what the next year holds and how His plan continues to unfold in my life. 

No matter what the future brings I am saved by grace, a new creation, on purpose for a purpose. I am free with a future and a hope! 

Happy New Year!

I would love to hear your reflections on this past year, on life and anything you would like to share too. Leave me a comment below.


Love

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8.3.21

A Relationship Is Not a Destination But a Journey.

Families that play together stay together!Relationships of any kind can be incredibly rewarding and equally challenging. One thing that really robs us of good relationships is unrealistic expectations, especially those that we have absorbed from the movies! 

We watch beautiful romantic stories at the cinema and hope for something similar or watch a sitcom like Friends and wish we could have such fun friendship circles. But truth be told, the relationships both personal and professional that we see on our screens are for entertainment purposes and shouldn't build our definition and expectation of the relationships that we hope to have in real life. 

Our society is very much accustomed to getting things quickly and instantly these days. 3-minute microwave meals, instant text messaging and an entire life story in a 90-minute movie. I can't help but wonder if we expect our relationships to be perfect instantly and when they are not we give up and move onto the next one.

A relationship is not a destination but a journey.

We want the finished product but God gives us the raw materials to build with. He didn't give us chairs and tables, he gave us trees! He didn't give us clothes he gave us cotton, leather, wool, and silk. He also didn't give us trees fully grown or children as adults, it all starts smalls and grows from a tiny seed. So why do we expect a relationship to be fully grown and fully formed when it starts - that goes against everything we know about how God does things.

God gives us the opportunity to grow a relationship and to work on it until it's fully formed. It can be a rewarding and exciting journey as people come together with this understand and mindset. They agree to be patient with each other as they get to know each other and help bring out the best in each other. When one shows weakness or lack of character the other can point it out lovingly or gentle cover it and allow God to highlight it in His time. 

Imagine how beautiful the world would be if we had realistic expectations of our relationships and went into them with a commitment to grow the relationship from seed form to maturity. 

Would you join me in building quality relationships as best we can? One of the things we like to do to build our family relationship is play games - families that play together stay together! What do you enjoy doing to get to know people and build relationships? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas so we can all learn and grow together :) Building quality relationships take time so enjoy the journey.


Love

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20.2.21

With Jesus I have Enough

#iwd2021 #choosetochallenge

As I sit here pondering on all I need to do to build this amazing business I'm building I am acutely aware that 24 hours in a day is not enough, in fact, one lifetime is simply not enough to pull this off! I am deeply passionate about what I do and equally fearful that I can't do what I want to do. 

Then I'm reminded of the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fish from Matthew 14:13-21. It wasn't enough. The disciples couldn't not feed the hungry multitudes with these few pieces of food. They even calculated that they would need at least 8 month's wages if they were to pop into town to buy food. The lack baffled them. I can just see them scratching their heads and looking at Jesus when he said, 

“They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said.

And the rest, as we know is history, miraculous history. Jesus took the not enough, gave thanks and broke it. Somewhere in the breaking of the bread became enough, in fact, it became more than enough, because there were 12 baskets of leftovers.

My encouragement for you today is to understand that the breaking is essential to the multiplication. If you feel broken. If you feel like your life is being ripped to piece. If you feel like everything is coming apart, put on some happy music and dance around like never before, because you are heading to a more than enough place. You are in the multiplication process. What you're about to see is more than you can ever have asked for or imagined!

My prayer for you and I today is that we will remember to take our not enough and bring it to Him. In His hands, it will be enough. 

Lord, I place my 24 hours in your hands today, in faith, knowing that it's not enough to do what I need to do in one lifetime, but in your hands, it's more than enough.

Now you, you pray you're not enough into His hands and see what He will do. I would love to hear what He does, please leave me a comment below so we can celebrate together.

Just remember, it could take time, multiplication is not always instant and there were instructions give that day, perhaps these instructions apply to you too.

  1. "He directed the people to sit down on the grass." Are you very busy running around or is your mind constantly racing? Perhaps you need to sit down on the grass, in fact Mark even calls it the green grass, ring any bells? Take a moment to sit down, listen to what he has to say to you.

  2. "He broke the loaves." Are you willing to allow Jesus to break something in your life, break it into little pieces? Surrender that which you are holding onto and allow Him to break it.
Watch this space, I am expecting my miracle with my not enough 24 hours in His hands, what have you placed in His hands? Let's pray for each other and believe in what God can do.

Love

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14.1.21

Date Night Game - Love Snap

Love Snap

Eric and I started having a weekly date night very early on in our marriage when we discovered that we worked all the time and had stopped having fun together. We love working together and if we didn't intentionally prioritise romance, we could easily slip into being business partners and good friends... which is dangerous for any marriage - romance is important! 

So to keep the romantic spark alive and ensure that we keep dating and enjoying each other, we set aside Wednesday evenings for date night.

16 years of marriage flew by, date night remained fixed in place on Wednesday evenings throughout these years but it had slowly drifted into a default steak and movie night. So I came up with a bright idea, rather than being stuck in a rut let's spice things up a bit! Let's take turns to plan date night each week. So we set up a routine where we would alternate who prepares date night each week and part of the night has to include some sort of activity that will enrich our marriage.

This was the best idea ever and we have never looked back! Date night is now the highlight of my week again, it's always fun and it's so lovely to see what we come up with each week.

Eric and I have both been caught searching the internet for date night ideas and have found there to be very little out there, so we decided that it would be a good idea for us to share our ideas! So it's with great pleasure that we introduce our Date Night series right here on my King's Daughters blog. I can't wait to share some of the fun games we have come up with. Now, before we take all the credit, I must confess, Eric and I both pray like made for creative ideas, and I believe many of these are God-inspired or we would have run out of ideas long ago!

Last week's night date night almost flopped - badly! Despite praying throughout the day I had nothing! No great ideas, no inspiration and to be honest, not much love in my heart, it was just a meh day that carried over into a meh date night. It was my turn to prepare and other than a lovely dinner I was fresh out of inspiration. So I put on a nice fireplace scene on the TV since we don't have a log fireplace in our current home and my plan was just to hang out and chat. We seldom get a chance to just relax and chat so I thought it would be a good idea.

Bad idea!

It went horribly wrong, the conversation didn't flow and I ended up feeling like a complete failure. As I sat feeling sorry for myself I prayed and said,

"God please help me find my way back and somehow not completely flop this date night."

Crickets... God seemed silent!

Then I suddenly had this idea;

"Do you want to play cards?"

Not a very original idea but Eric said yes and at least we were connecting and we had a bit of fun with rummy until the big idea hit! Love Snap! Oh my goodness we had so much fun. I haven't laughed so much in ages or felt so loved. It was a definite winner so I will share the rules with you. Give it a go, I promise you, you will have so much fun!

LOVE SNAP

Buy a traditional pack of cards here.
Play according to the usual snap rules with a twist. 
Every time there is a heart 'snap' you shout out LOVE instead of SNAP and the winner has to tell the other person what they love about them.

Yes, it sounds super cheesy but it's oh so much fun. Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Love

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