Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

A New Name July 20, 2012

It’s not often that I’d ever recommend a book that I’ve not read myself, but I’m about to make an exception. Today marks the publication of ‘A New Name’ by Emma  –  and all I want to say is go buy it! I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy. Through reading Emma’s blog over the last year, and getting to know her just a little bit, I can truly say that her honesty about her struggles with anorexia, and the way in which she points to Jesus in them, is truly amazing and a real testimony to God’s grace. Eating disorders and mental illness are so oftern taboos in the UK church, so even if it’s not something you struggle with, then do go have a read. This review gives a brilliant overview of the book. So have a watch of the promo video then hop over here and buy!

 

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Singing what you feel July 18, 2012

Filed under: Christian Life,Mission Trips — Sarah @ 6:34 pm
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This time last week I was leading a team on an English and Bible camp in lovely hot and sunny weather (total shock to the system to be back!). Before I went, I’d anticipated so many problems and issues that may arise (none of them did, though others did come up!) But the biggest thing that I faced, and hadn’t expected (stupidly) was to face my own sin.

About a week and half ago, I was laid on bench halfway through a really tough day. Despite the laughter I could hear from inside the house, I felt awful. I’d just had a couple of really hard conversations and all I could do was cry. I’d wanted to be a great leader – to love the team and the students we were working with. I’d prayed that would be the case. And yet it wasn’t. I’d tried everything that I could think of to do. I couldn’t even put what I was thinking into words.

A friend introduced me to some hymns by Indelible Grace and the one below, ‘I asked the Lord’ (written by John Newton) really sums up where I was. I was in verse 4 – feeling the hidden evils of my heart. I’ve listened to the song over and over for the last 24 hours and it’s made such a difference. Worship songs are great, but sometimes we don’t feel the emotions that many of them focus upon and singing them can feel hypocritical, or like I’m a failure for not feeling those things. Sometimes they can focus us back on Jesus, but sometimes as has been the case for me this week, singing my experience and real thoughts and feelings has fixed my gaze so much more firmly on Jesus. (If you fancy downloading some of the songs for free and legally then have a click here!)

Have a listen to it here:

And here are the words:

1. I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

2. Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

3. I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

4. Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

5. Yea more with His own hand
He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

6. Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”

7. “These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

 

Grace March 3, 2011

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 4:01 pm
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I’ve  been lucky to work alongside some reallygracious people of the last couple of weeks – old and new friends alike and it’s really modelled to me what grace looks like in certain situations. When mission week is not properly planned and things go wrong – what does it look like to love the people involved graciously and not condemn but encourage?

I so quickly forget the goodness of grace and just how boundless and free it is.

Grace is amazing, and I’m really praying that through God’s power I can model salvation by grace alone to the students I work with.

 

Lavishing January 10, 2011

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 9:45 pm
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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

This the beginning of the passage which we looked at as a team today and the verse which a friend sent me in a card today too . . . and it’s so encouraging! Not only are there two exclamation points (which as MJ pointed out isn’t very common in the Bible) but we are ‘Children of God’ because of the love that has been lavished on us . . . not just given us a little but overflowing all encompassing love that never changes. Amazing! And I love that John follows the statement with “And that is what we are!” because it does seem so shocking that we, sinful selfish human beings, can call ourselves the children of God – but not because of what we’ve done, but because His love and sacrifice which he chose to lavish on us!

 

Overawed by Grace . . . . again June 20, 2009

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 5:08 pm
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Todays one of those days when I just feel like an idiot for messing up, and for forgetting just how radical and broad and life changing the gospel is. For seeing how I have made it so narrow and legalistic in some areas so its glory just doesn’t shine through. How I have limited it and it’s effect.

That is what is so amazing about grace. Even on days like today, grace covers me – Praise the Lord. Was reminded of the words of this song which really do sum up how I am feeling!

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

God has known me from the beginning of time, he knew my heart and what i would do and yet he still chose me to bring him glory on earth. He paid for my sin, brought me from death to life and knew that I would still be sinful and selfish and so grace, over time transforms me by God changing my heart and even when it feels like I can’t go on he gives me the strength and best of all . . . . the grace knows no limits!

The gospel really is good news!

 

Grace December 15, 2008

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 5:21 pm
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There’s been a few times over the last week or so when I’ve forgotten just how amazing grace is. Knowing that because of the cross, God fully accepts me for who I am knowing that I am sinful and do still ignore him and don’t deserve it at all. I remember at Relay 3, Mo saying that grace is slippery and as soon as you think you have got it, it slips through your fingers again. That is so true! There’s been times where I’ve not treated other people with grace at all, times I’ve not been treated with grace by others, and I’ve then not treated them with grace back and so on! But, the thing I’ve done the most is not apply grace to me. By thinking what I’ve done is so awful God doesn’t want anything to do with me. That is so not true – the cross covers EVERYTHING and I was reminded of that by this picture in Ferndale. The only thing is, it should say “unending chance” instead of “second chance”!

pict22361

 

Battling Unbelief October 6, 2008

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 2:16 pm
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As a thank you for being a volunteer cook at Forum, I was given four new books from IVP, which was very exciting. Picked up one of them last night because of the title alone! ‘Battling Unbelief’ by John Piper. Before someone reads too much into this and thinks I’m doubting my faith – be reassured that that’s not the case, but actually there are times when I, like everyone else (I’m guessing!) do feel like ‘but can it be true’ and it just seems ludicrous.

And, I kinda thought I knew what the book would tell me but the first couple of chapters showed me I was quite wrong! I was expecting it to be along the lines of there’s so much proof, we can be assured that the gospel’s true and that it would be a really reassuring book in that sense. But, it’s another book on grace which obviously in itself is amazingly reassuring. Dealing with future grace and past grace and the fact that it is that, that we so often don’t believe in. And it’s so true. Whenever I have doubts most of them are to do with can God’s promises really be trusted. Grace really is something that I am never going to be able to have a proper grip on – it does always seem to just slip away.

Also, the book starts with the reminder that “No one sins out of duty. We sin because it offers some promise of happiness” and that the lie is only broken when we realise that God is the one that is more desirable. This wasn’t the only thing that I wasn’t expecting in the early chapters as John Piper (AKA Pipes) starts to deal with the things that cause us to disbelieve the promises of God. The first one is anxiety which I thought was really strange. He talks about it in a non Medically defined condition way, in terms of when we constantly worry about things. It is being anxious that so often leads us to sin as we doubt in God’s promise in some way. This link is something I’ve never ever realised before. So found this really new and shocking. I’m probably fairly well known for being a bit of worry wart especially when it comes to making decisions and so the thought that worrying is causing me to doubt in God’s promises is well…shocking.

Pipes backs a lot of this up from Matthew 6, which strangely enough I found myself quoting to someone else in the last week who was doing nothing but worry about things! I knew worrying was pointless which is what I was saying from Matthew 6 to my friend, but Pipes takes it one step further by making the link with that doubt or unbelief in God’s future grace and promises, or in some cases past grace. Really challenging to as he encourages us to “sever the clinging roots of sin that ensnare us”. This is only the first chapter as well!