29.4.13

Emotional Gravity - Introduction

Do you feel a constant pull in your life but cannot explain what it is?  It is gravity on your physical body but there is also emotional gravity pulling on your soul! 
   
Gravity is what keeps your feet on the ground.  It is a natural phenomenon and is essential to life here on planet earth.  Without gravity, chaos would result.  Every time you jump up, you experience gravity when it pulls you back down to the ground.  Imagine jumping up and then floating off uncontrollably!  We do need gravity. 
Legend tells us that in the 1600s, an English physicist and mathematician was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell upon his head.  As he sat rubbing his head, he started to wonder why the apple fell to the ground in the first place.  The man was Isaac Newton and this apple story led to his Theory of Universal Gravitation.
    I was sitting in the bathtub, crying my eyes out one dreary afternoon, watching my tears drop into the water.  As I pondered upon my melancholy I began to wonder why I was so sad so often.  This led me to my Theory of Emotional Gravity. This theory has not been recorded in any scientific journals and up to this point of writing has not yet changed any lives.  However, today might be the day that it does.  I hope that my journey in exploring the effects of my emotions and learning to control them will help change your life too.      What goes up must come down.  This basic theory of gravity helped me understand and control the emotions that had once ruled my life so dramatically.
    Life is in constant motion.  Life never stands still and will always involve change.  The sooner you accept this reality, the sooner you will be able to lead a life without too many disappointments.  There will always be seasons, and the tide will always come in and go out again.  The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, people are born and people die each and every day.  Life never stops.  Earth will never stand still.    
     The day life stops, or earth stands still, you will die. 
     So, with this in mind, why not try to find your rhythm in life?  Find your flow, figure out your pattern and then work with it rather than exhaust yourself trying to control it or stop it.  Life is meant to be emotional.  Life is by nature constantly moving. 

This is the introduction to Emotional Gravity which will be coming out in June 2013.  More about Emotional Gravity here or pre-order from Amazon.

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23.4.13

Being a Friend - Who Covers Transgressions

He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.   - Proverbs 17:9

In this day and age it seems almost impossible to find a friend who has a deep conviction about being a friend.  We live in a time when everything is disposable and this even applies to our friendships.  Too many women are only interested in being a friend if it benefits them but when their friend becomes too needy or simply doesn’t add value to their life, they move on.  As Christian women we need to be different.  Not only do we need to stick around and offer friendship in difficult times but we also need to go as far as to cover our friends’ transgressions.   This means that when they mess up you draw even closer to them and do whatever you can to cover their transgression.  Yes, you read it correctly, the Bible actually tells us to cover our friends’ transgressions.  If we take a look at the Hebrew text we will see that cover from this verse means to plump, that is, to fill up the  hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy) and conceal.  So it is blatantly saying that we should cover up rather than expose.   The word transgression in the Hebrew text means rebellion, sin or transgression.  So once again we cannot find any hidden meaning or other explanation, it means exactly what it says in English. It says that covering a person’s sin is the loving thing to do but to tell others about it separates friends.
    Consider your friendships.  Are you the calibre friend that can keep things to herself or do you need to spread the word and expose your friends sinfulness?  Sadly Christian women are the worse in some ways because they can disguise repeating a matter in prayer making it look noble but actually it’s just another form of gossip.  Be careful that when you share personal information about a friend for prayer purposes that you are not merely repeating the matter thereby separating you and your friend.  We don’t all need to know all the details all of the time in order to pray effectively.  Simply to say that someone is struggling is sufficient on most occasions.    If in doubt rather cover the transgression and only confide in your leader, husband or someone you can trust if you are genuinely concerned.
    Jesus is our ultimate example of covering our transgression because it is in Him, when we are covered by Him, that we are free.  It is as if He wraps His arms around us to form a cocoon and in this cocoon of His love, we are transformed and become a new creation.  We are embraced as a worm and release as a butterfly.  If Jesus does this for us shouldn’t we do the same for our friends?  Shouldn’t we cover them and love them until they are transformed?
    King’s David in the Psalms calls it the joy of forgives.  Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”  Blessed in this verse is translated ‘how happy’.  How happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Put yourself in your friends’ shoes, or perhaps you have already been there or are there right now.  How happy would you feel if you had another chance?  If you sin didn’t define you but was covered until you found freedom.  Its God’s place to judge but it’s our place to love sinners as Jesus did.  Let me finish off with the beautiful words from a man who called himself a great sinner, John Newton.  
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
    We were all once lost and blind and when we begin to see we will realise the value of covering other’s transgressions just as someone covered ours in the times when we were lost and blind.  Peter put it like this in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Find out more about Being a Friend here or about using our material to host your own Girl's Night here.

Being a Friend - Who Judges Herself

Did you know that if you judge someone else you are bringing judgement upon yourself? Yes it’s true and it’s a scary thought.  Also, the measure that you use to judge will be used back on you.  Not only that, but if we compare ourselves to other people we are told by God that we are not wise.
    I don’t know about you, but judging and comparing ourselves is just what we naturally do as girls! We are born that way.  From the earliest age I can remember judging others and comparing myself to other people.  We are taught to compare and compete at school, we are taught to judge.  It seems to be the ‘acceptable’ thing!  But not according to God’s standard.  His ways are higher than ours and if we are parents we should not conform to the world’s ways, we should save our children from the judgement of God by teaching them to show mercy to others from a young age.  So let’s take a look at God’s ways.

Matthew 7:1-2
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Ouch!  That says it just as it is, no need to try and find the hidden meaning in that, it’s very plain to see.

James 2:13
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

This one is plain to understand too!  We need to show mercy to people and not judge them.  Mercy wins, judgement loses.  If we don’t show mercy to others we will not receive mercy from others and from God!  This is a very serious matter.  I don’t know about you but I need mercy both from other people and from God.  I need mercy all the time.
    I have found the best way to keep things in perspective is to NEVER think of myself more highly than I ought to.  Keeping things in perspective is essential and if I even begin to feel pride creep into my heart I know that I am thinking too highly of myself.  If you are aware of pride it is easy to spot in your own life, so cultivate awareness and choose to keep yourself humble for God and before others.

Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

So how do we view others then?  It’s easy, yet again plain put in the Bible.  We view others better than ourselves.

Philippians 2:3
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Esteem means regard, respect, appreciate or value.  We need to regard people better than us, respect them as better than us, appreciate them as better than us and value them as better than us.
    Also, it doesn’t say to esteem only good people or worthy people, it just says people.  So next time you walk past a drunk person don’t look down at him and think yourself better than him because you are not drunk – you are not better than him.  Or if you walk past a mum shouting at her child in the street, don’t look down at her thinking that you are better than her because your child is behaving and you aren’t shouting – you are not better than her.
    We are in no position to judge, we have no idea why people are the way they are, we can’t begin to understand their heart and we most certainly don’t have it all figured out ourselves.  If we truly want to live in God’s grace we need to judge ourselves only.

1 Corinthians 11:28
But let a man examine himself...

1 Corinthians 11:31
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

It’s essential that we judge ourselves if we want to become the women that God wants us to be and the friends that our friends need us to be.  Judging ourselves does not mean comparing ourselves to each other.  We judge ourselves according to the Bible, God’s handbook for life!  God has set the standard for living and we need to do our best to measure up.  We shouldn’t feel condemned  when we realise we don’t measure up, we simply need to know what to aim for.
    When it comes to being a friend we need to make sure we intentional stop judging our friends and start to judge ourselves.  Not only will be become a much better friend but our friends will also feel safe with us.  There is nothing more hurtful and soul destroying that knowing that your friends judge you and talk behind your back about it.  Decide today to become a friend who will only judge herself.  

Find out more about Being a Friend here or about using our material to host your own Girl's Night here.

16.4.13

Being a Lover - With a Past

Before we can get into the fun side of being a lover we should take a look at the things that can prevent us from enjoying intimacy in marriage.  Sadly few people wait until their wedding night these days leaving loads of marriages scarred by unnecessary baggage.  It wasn’t meant to be this way.  We, like swans, were designed to love once and to make that love last a lifetime.  In Song of Solomon it says three times, “Do not stir up nor awaken my love until it pleases.”  Usually when something is repeated in the Bible it means that we really need to get it!  Many versions omit the ‘my’ from that verse but when you realise that the original text says ‘my’ you realise that what is being requested is a man asking the woman not to arouse him before it is the right time to be aroused.  There is a right time and a wrong time to be aroused.  Why?  Because once you are aroused it is very difficult not to want to go all the way and this is why the verse in 1 Corinthians 7:9 had to be added to the Bible.  It says, “...but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
    Awakening love before it is ready will either lead to a quick marriage or sin.  It is always best to take time to befriend someone before allowing love to be awakened.  Get to know them.  Pray about whether or not they are the once you want to spend your life with.  Remain objective before love hormones kick in and make you blind to the things you should see.  Sex before marriage diminishes sexual fulfilment within marriage.  You can find more about remaining pure in Being a Single Woman but now let’s focus on what to do if you have already awaked love before it is ready.

Sex Outside of Marriage
If you are in a sexual relationship outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage then end it immediately and stop hurting yourself.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”  Even though you may not realise it at the time, sex outside of marriage is harmful to you which is why the Bible says to flee it.  Don’t try to ease out of a sexual relationship – you cannot as you are united with the person. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can continue seeing each other but stop having sex – it seldom works and you will always end up in bed together.  Don’t justify your relationship by saying that you intend to get married and have asked God to bless your relationship.  Until the day that you marry you are unmarried.  There is no grey area – you are either married or unmarried whatever you say to justify your sin doesn’t make it any less sinful.
    These hard words are not written in judgement or to condemn, they are written by a woman who has been ensnared by sin herself and can vouch for the pain that results from sexual sin.  My plea to you to get out of the sinful relationship that you are in is for your own good.  Sex outside of marriage always leads to pain and consequences that are unbearable at some point in your life.  Perhaps they don’t rear their ugly head right away but they always come back to bite you.  I can only imagine how precious and beautiful loving only once must be - a treasure that I do not posses and will never know the beauty of.   

Sex with a Past  
Thankfully, God redeems and restores.  I will never know the beauty of loving once, even God cannot give that back to me, but He does other wonderful things if we remain true to Him and commit to sexual purity.  Here are a few things that can crop up if you have sex with a past:

Memories
God does not erase your memory when you repent of your sin.  Once you have made a memory it stays with you forever so be careful what memories you make.  Take responsibility for the ones you can control and for those that you have no power over, deal with them quickly so they don’t rob you of your joy and peace.  

Dealing with Memories
You might remember something but it is your choice as to whether or not you continue to think about the memory and allow it to affect you.  You can’t stop the memories from coming but you can choose what you do with them when they come.  Most importantly, you can change how you feel about the memories.  

1.    Submit Your Memories
When a memory comes to mind submit it to Jesus right .  Don’t linger in the memory or take a trip down memory lane with a past lover. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “...bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.  Catch the thought and give it to Jesus.  You can do this by simply saying so either out loud or in your mind.  It’s a decision you make and once you have given to Jesus leave for Him to deal with.

2.    Replace Your Memories
The next step is to fill the void from the past memory with something else, something positive.  Build your marriage by thinking about the right things and don’t entertain wrongs thoughts.  You always have the power over your own mind.  No one has brain washed you and God certainly will not even if you ask Him to.  He gave us free will so it’s up to us what we use it for.  Memories do come but you can choose whether or not you linger in them.  Replace bad memories with good ones, you have the power to do so.

3.    Transform Your Memories
God, in His mercy, can heal us from our memories so that we no longer have negative or upsetting feelings from them.  In my experience, He doesn’t remove the memories but He does remove the effect that they have on you.  This comes through healing.
   There is little you can do if you have a memory at an awkward time like during love making or on a date night so it’s best just to mentally submit the memory to Jesus and to replace it with something else.  However, you can create a private time with just you and Jesus where you can proactively deal with your memories.  In a quiet and private environment, allow yourself to go back to some of the memories that are bothering you and ask Jesus to go back with you.  As you relive the memory, ask Him what He has to say about it and ask him to heal you.  You will find this time with Jesus incredible and result will be transformed memories.  A healed and transformed memory means that when it comes to mind it has no effect on you.  Healed memories can be quickly dismissed and forgotten about.  Healed memories have no effect on your present.  They are merely stored data in your brain but have no real effect on your body or emotions.  

Behaviours
Many times our past dictates our responses and behaviours.  If you have been in a serious relationship you may find that you transfer some of that relationship into your marriage.  You  might find that you mistrust your husband for things that your past man did or you may treat him based on your past.  It is essential to separate your marriage from your past relationships and there are several ways you can tackle this:

1.    Seek Truth
It is easy to be blinded by strong feelings and in these times you must commit to moving beyond these feelings to find the truth.  Your marriage will be significantly robbed if you allow your past relationship to determine your behaviour in your marriage.  First you need to seek the truth about who your husband is and secondly about what he likes.
    Sex is very specific to the person so you will need to take time to learn about what turns your husband on, what pleases him and what he dislikes.  Don’t treat him as you have treated past loves.  He needs to be explored and discovered.  Seek the truth about him.                               

2.    Meditate on Truth
The best way to forget the things that you need to put behind you is the force your mind to think about the things that you want to become a reality in your life.  For example a past thought based on a bad experience could be, “All men are the same, all they want is sex.”  This past thought could be based on a lie that you have believed due to hurt.  The problem is that whenever your husband hurts you this lie will immediately rear its ugly head.  He will hurt you from time to time because he is only human, misunderstanding and misinterpretation happens and you are probably sensitive in some areas.  To get rid of this bad pattern you need to meditate on what you know to be true.  When you feel hurt change your thoughts to what is true, for example. “My husband loves me and when he desires to have sex with me it is because of his love for me.”
     The truth is that all men are the same in many ways and their need for sex is one of those areas.  All men need sex just like all women need to be loved.  Sex = love for a man.  This in itself is not a bad thing but the emotions that you attach to his need could be received as either a good or a bad thing.  Meditate on the truth so that your husband can be free to express his sexual needs without you chastising him for being a bad man.  This is just one example but a very common one, find what you struggle with and replace it with a truth phrase that you can meditate on.

3.    Act on Truth
Once you have begun meditating on truth you need to find ways to act on it.  Acting on the truth will seal the truth into your heart and before you know it the problem area is no longer a problem.  Treat your marriage as your first and only love.  Find out who he really is and what he really likes, making no assumptions based on past relationships.  Your behaviour towards him should be determined by him and by what you know to be true and right. No past should influence any part of your marriage.  Keep your mind focused on the truth that you have found so that the way you treat your husband is specific to him.  What turns one man on may offend another.  Not all men are the same.  Don’t treat your husband like your perception of ‘all men’.

There is much more that can be said but I will leave it with you to figure out.  If you are a lover with a past, deal with the past so that you can enjoy your present and have hope for your future.  Let me leave you with one little gem of truth.  Your sex life is the most important part of your marriage.  Don’t leave it to chance, be intentional, work on it and enjoy making love to your man!

Find out more about Being a Lover here or get in touch to host your own Girl's Night.

11.4.13

Suicide of Rick Warren's Son

I was shocked when I heard the tragic news about Rick Warren's son.  If you don't know who Rick Warren is, he is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, a very influential and well respected Christian leader.  If you’re unaware of what happened, here’s Pastor Rick’s letterWe would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to Pastor Rick, his family and his church.  There are no words to express just how sad we are with and for you.

I have decided to take this opportunity to share my story, which I have recorded in detail in my book, Hope's Journey, with you at a very special Girl's Night which will be hosted here in Cheltenham, UK and once recorded will be available on our YouTube channel.  If you can't make the Girl's Night and need support please feel free to contact me or get in touch with your local church or with the Samaritans

Facts about suicide around the world:
  • 1 million people across the globe die by suicide each year. That’s one suicide every 40 seconds.
  • More people die by suicide each year than by murder and war combined.
  • It’s estimated that approximately 5% of people attempt suicide at least once in their life.
  • Between 10% and 14% of the general population have suicidal thinking throughout their lifetime.
  • Suicide is the second biggest cause of death worldwide among 15-19 year olds.
  • 100,000 adolescents die by suicide every year.
  • Suicide is estimated to be under-reported for reasons of stigma, religion and social attitudes. Many suicides are hidden among other causes of death, such as road traffic accidents and drowning.
(Source: International Association for Suicide Prevention)

Don't wait for disaster to strike before you realise how real this problem is.