Exchanging worry for peace.

Before I became a Christian I would worry. Every day. I was a worrier. Big things, little things, things I needed to do and things I could do nothing about.

Then my shoulders and neck would stiffen and ache until they stayed that way all day and would wake me at night.

I wouldn’t even notice but I’d be holding my breath.

But now I have exchanged worrying for praying.

For God doesn’t want us to worry and we all know that worrying in itself will do nothing. The bible tells us that God wants us to give all our worries to him.

Giving our worries to God is all about trust. As a non believer I couldn’t do this; my experience tells me that only as I started to get to know him and began to trust him, to realise that he was interested in my life, could I give him my worries too. In return I would receive peace. The unexpected peace, peace that makes no sense, peace that the bible talks about.

Today, if I feel my neck tensing up again I remember that I’m forgetting to pray about it. It’s as though I am gathering up my concerns and those belonging to all those dear to me, (who talk to me about life) and it’s as though I’m holding them all in my arms and knowing that if there is one more thing then I will drop them all onto the ground and they will smash into a thousand pieces. But they will still be at my feet.

So I pray.

And if I pray and talk to God, the Holy Spirit, who intercedes, will gather them up. It’s as though the Holy Spirit will sweep up all the pieces and tip them all into a wheelbarrow and trundle them over to the cross. It’s as though there is a hole at the foot of the cross and that even in the winter, when the ground is hard, the Holy Spirit will tip everything into the hole and bury it.

And then I am filled with beautiful peace.

The hole at the cross is so deep, my aching arms could never reach those pieces.

I have forgotten some of those worries. They are buried. All gone.

But others are still there, or new ones and when the thoughts come, I pray again and give them to God.

Again.

God isn’t worried. He sits. He isn’t pacing around, he is seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms and knowing that comforts me.

So I pray again and then there is praying and waiting and trusting.

We all find waiting hard but God tells me it will be ok. And then there is more peace. My shoulders soften and my breathing becomes slow and deep as it should be.

Sometimes if I forget this, I read my poem over and over until I remember that on my own I can do nothing, but if I trust and know that there is God then I have real peace, the peace that can only come from God.

 

The Storm

Take me from the overwhelming storm of endless thoughts in my head

crashing like waves across the rocks

and the not knowing,

to the cool, calm waters in my soul,

heavy with the weight of eternal wisdom

and the Destiny

and the promise of all that is yet to be.

Let the me inside rest in the calm waters

and float in the place where the water laps in my ears,

so that the only sound is the muffled echo of the ocean’s depth

And the only thoughts are of You.

I am still again.

Peace.

Your Peace.

 

Vicky Warnes.

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Mark testimony 08/05/16

Wow! Another story of Faith and Obedience to Gods call.

We do serve an Amazing God

 

Mark testimony 08/05/16

 I didn’t have any particular faith while growing up. My Dad, a tenant farmer, was probably more concerned with the practicalities of life. Not particularly Christian, not particularly atheist. Stuck in the vast swaths of ‘never really considered it ‘ I suppose. Jesus was mentioned at Christmas, because it was expected, but that was about it.

Church was a very small part of my Grammar school education, over shadowed by achievements on the rugby field, the sciences and results, results, results. Cold pews on a Wednesday morning to be talked at in assembly & Christmas carol services… it was expected.

As slightly angry teenager whose passion was art, I sought solace in music… some fast, angry and loud, some slow and, frankly, miserable. And it fed me to a certain extent. I got a reputation that worked quite well with my ‘Tortured Artist in a lonely Garret’ image of myself.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life and as important relationships began to fall apart yet again last year, it became obvious to me that I was also struggling with a cycle. I could build things up, but eventually I always came crashing down to place that wasn’t pleasant, but was very familiar.

So I began a journey in earnest. A drop in centre at Samaritans, a drop in at the Doctors for more anti depressants but they weren’t answers. A hand of help, despite all expectation, from my now fiancée, Ronnie, but still I was looking everywhere else for a solution. Personality tests, TA counselling…they satisfied for a few days, but just resulted in more questions.

Then Ronnie wanted to return to church: she was examining her life too, but from a different place, from a childhood and a lifetime of Christianity. I don’t believe her faith in God has ever faltered but I think her faith in people has. She never pushed me when I questioned her beliefs, merely told me to ask God. And I was curious. So we looked at church websites, and there on St Nics homepage was an Alpha course starting in 2 days time. It sounded like a place to get answers. And the timing was, errr, coincidental.

I started looking into this Bible thing. Something I hadn’t done since school. I still believed the deceptions… fairytales and legends, rewritten like Chinese whispers by a church with its own agenda. But I found that to be untrue. As a historical document the Bible is unprecedented. We have a more certain documentation of the events in the New Testament than we do of Cesar, Homer or Plato. All these factual figures written about 500, 1000, 1500 years after their deaths. The New Testament was written within living memory of Jesus and we have documents from within 100 years of the originals.

It raised Questions: if its message was so persecuted by authority why didn’t people just stand up at the beginning and go ‘I was there, that’s not what happened.’ Why, like the majority of ancient documents, wasn’t it lost? Why did the message spread so fast?

And so onto the Alpha course, where I, admittedly, struggled with the concept of the trinity for a few weeks until I finally figured out that I had no hope of completely understanding the concept of God. Imperfect analogies are the best I could do. In fact, if I could understand it, what would that say about God?  That he wasn’t much different to us? That didn’t make sense….

We discussed Jesus’ sacrifice and the change from Old Testament Laws to New Testament Grace, something I don’t think anyone had explained to me before. And I finally managed to separate faith from the church and from religion. I started noticing those ‘coincidences’ in my life and I felt the knocking on the door. Actually it was more an impatient hammering… And when I opened the door a little, I think a foot was firmly stuck in the gap. I believe, in the end, giving my life to Jesus became inevitable. And I had, for the first time I can remember, a feeling of peace.

In the last 3 months, I have read a lot. I have listened to a lot of very good apologists on you tube, and I have prayed. And, of course, we found Kings.I’ve come quite fresh to Christianity, I think: I haven’t a lifetime of confusion and baggage and in some ways that makes it easier. I thank Jesus for being so patient with me and being with me everyday, and I thank God, my father, who I can rely on to pick me up, brush me down, put a plaster on that scraped knee and set me on the path again.

A Journey to Adult Baptism

After reading Arthur’s article I realised that it is so much more than just a blog but a testimony of faith and obedience. In a world that might not fully understand Adult Baptism I found his journey refreshing and encouraging.

My Journey to Adult Baptism
By Arthur Pember

I was settled, content but after attending a Methodist church for thirty years I felt God was telling me to move on. My idea was to go to local churches and see which I would choose. I mentioned this to a friend who asked me to try Kings. I arrived one Sunday morning. Upon entering the church I was warmly greeted by the members on the door.  People came up to me both before and after the service, eager to welcome me and make me feel at ease. I enjoyed the service and noted how good the music was. I was so impressed that I attended for the next few weeks, then decided this was the right church for me. There seemed a peace and calm as soon as I entered the church.  After a while I joined a house group and soon settled in. It was like having an extended family. They care for each other and help in practical ways when needed. At Kings there are constant  prayers. You could approach a Leader, or there is always someone nearby willing to pray with you.

I have been going to Kings for over two years. Recently Mark spoke about making a commitment to Kings and adult baptism. Being a Methodist I had never thought about it but as Mark spoke it became clear to me that it made sense to declare my love of God. I went on a Unite course, during which Mark asked me my opinion on adult baptism. At first I was unsure but after praying I knew this was the right thing to do. I spent time with Mark and soon the actual day loomed. The church was quite full and friends came from the Methodist church to support me. I was worried about full immersion and being lowered back into the water. God came to my aid over this as the bathing pool sprung a leak and there was only a few inches of water left in the pool. I knelt in the pool and water was poured over my head.

It is now a week since I was baptised and I feel a different person. I want to tell everyone I meet about my experience and I am more relaxed in my ways. There is still a ring of peace above my head. A number of things have happened to me in the last week.

Sunday – I had a bad holiday and for weeks I had been seeking improved compensation from the travel agent. There was a message on my computer when I returned home after my baptism asking me to contact  them which resulted in an increased offer.

Monday –  I had a call from The Beacon Centre who want to run the carpet bowls sessions being closed by the Council that I am part of.

Tuesday  – I am not usually good with computers..Today I set up and claimed Gift Aid for Arnold Food bank.

Wednesday –  I was in a car with a friend A car came speeding out of an opening and I was convinced there was going to be a nasty accident. Thanks to my friend’s skill and God being with us the car missed by centimetres.

Thursday –  I went to the garage with a problem with my wing mirror. They stated it was covered in my warranty.

Could these be coincidences, I think not. Thanks to our Lord.