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Restoring Life Foundation

Restoring Lives - From Adversity to Destiny!

Reflections




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Black History Month

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on October 4, 2011 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Last Saturday we celebrated my father’s 70th birthday, and as over 100 members of family and friends sang happy birthday and made tributary speeches, my eldest brother acknowledged my father’s steady influence in his life.  In his speech he mentioned uncles and other men in the local community, that in his youth he had looked up to;  and the way that over time their contribution to his advancement in life had paled when compared to the steady and sure love of his father. He ended his tearful speech by declaring my father as his hero in black history month. 


As I Look back over my years and see my own journey of wholeness and healing, I too have been led to admire the strength of a man who never ran a marathon: except that of a love which lasted the distance.  Who never made any scientific discoveries; but uncovered the heart of his Princess daughter.  Who won’t be mentioned on the queens honours list, but deserves the honour of a king and the respect of a noted leader. Who won’t go down in history as a major mover or shaker; except to his wife, a little band of children and grandchildren who carry his love, DNA and affection?  To all the great men and women of colour who have struggled against the evil of prejudice, racism, and a false identity to uncover something that slavery could steal and the modern age couldn’t erase I salute you, and pray that this month as we remember our past that Jesus our saviour will effect a healing of the transgenerational trauma that we experienced through the Maafa (African Holocaust ). 


Not forgetting that our past does not determine our future. But rather that it is in the tie to the Lord Jesus Christ, our spiritual not natural DNA that defines us and His power that enables us.  Thus making us greater than all our circumstances, for He who the Son sets free shall be free indeed; as you connect to your past this month, please remember that the message of the cross is one of Unity in diversity.  That you and I are one, connected through the bond of love God the Father displayed; to reconcile us back into relationship  with Him and one another through Jesus Christ His son. 

 

My Beautiful Face Katie Piper

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on April 13, 2011 at 7:34 AM Comments comments (0)

From Adversity to Destiny

Last night I watched the channel 4 show “My beautiful Friends” which celebrates amazing people struggling to come to terms with their disfigurement. Katie Piper who was disfigured after having acid thrown into her face the champion of the show, epitomises so much of what our tag line represents. She like so many others is not allowing her circumstances to determine who they are or what they can accomplish. Pain, adversity and even disfigurement do not have to destroy a person’s life, but it can inspire and motivate yourself and others to rise against and above it.

 

Paul was a disciple who suffered much in his journey but he chose not to lose heart through it, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 he says, Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Katie Piper disfigurement and her bravery in facing it head on has caused me to reflect on my own disability and the shame I carried for nearly four years after a number of eye operations went wrong.

 

The scarring on my face though minute in comparison to Katie’s kept me hidden under dark glasses from Dec 2002 when I had the most recent batch of eye surgery’s to replace an implant in my eye; until 2006 when God set me free from the shame. Reflecting on my own journey I discovered that I could relate to the childhood teasing which resulted in me being excluded from school on a number of occasions for responding to taunts with my fist.

 

I could also relate to the difficulty some of the people involved with the program experienced, just stepping through the door. For me facing the public without dark glasses expecting them to remark on my appearance or at least stare, was at times a huge hurdle I had to jump; once I escaped the prison in my mind, I found a greater level of freedom in many other areas of my life, through leaving the dark glasses at home.

 

Acceptance

 

At the heart of all this pain is that of acceptance and belonging, what was true for me in the playground of yesteryear is true today. We all just wanted to be loved and accepted and have a desire to belong. The great news about this is that Jesus died that we might all be part of His family, in Romans 8:14 says that if we allow God’s Spirit to guide our life we are sons. It was for this reason to restore us to God that Jesus became a man, that we might know God as Father. Not like our earthly father but, like the father we always needed.

 

God desires that you accept yourself as you really are, warts and all; others as they really are, and Him as He really is. It is from this place of total acceptance that deep and meaningful relationships can be birthed. Living in the shadow of others opinions and expectations of who or what we should be is soul destroying. Like Katie we all have a purpose, and our greatness is buried somewhere inside of that, sometimes the first step in finding that purpose is accepting that person in the mirror.

 

We are told that to become part of God’s family we just need to confess Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who is God in the flesh, turn away from doing our own thing and follow Him, His life and His ways. When we do that we gain everything that is eternally good for us and are free from the eternal consequences of sin.

 

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

God Accepts You

If you are struggling with self acceptance and would like to get to know God who came that you might know His love and acceptance why not contact a local church who can help to introduce you to the Father who loves you or say this prayer below:

Dear Father God,

I recognise that I need Jesus to save me, I accept that I have lived opposed to your ways which are best for me and that makes me a sinner. I turn away from my old life and turn to you. I accept Jesus as the one who made this possible for me and invite Him to be my saviour. I accept that when Jesus died on the cross He took everything I ever did wrong and paid the full price for my wrong doings. I accept your invitation to become Your Child and invite you to be my Father, please send your Holy Spirit to guide me into a deeper relationship with you.

In Jesus’ Name I pray

Amen

If you just said this prayer from your heart Welcome to God’s family. Please find a Christian church that can further help you with your growth.

 

Identity In Christ

If you are a Christian struggling with acceptance of yourself see the list below from Freedom In Christ Ministries; for personalised version of these scriptures and so much more see http://www.personalpromisebible.com/bibles/free-samples.html

• I am loved 1John 3:3

• I am accepted Ephesians 1:6

• I am a child of God John 1:12

• I am Jesus' friend John 15:14

• I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17

• I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17

• I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19

• I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27

• I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1

• I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14

• I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10

• I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1

• I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17

• I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12

• I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21

• I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7

• I am God's co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1

• I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6

• I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18

• I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16

• I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5

• I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4

• I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5

• God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13

• I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5

Road Blocks or Stepping Stones?

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on March 24, 2011 at 7:53 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Last week whilst collecting my youngest son from his friends house I stopped to chat a while with his mother and another lady also collecting her son from their house. Through the discussion it became apparent that the host was experiencing some difficulty getting sufficient work in the current climate. This self employed mum worked in the personnel field and for the most part had previously been able to secure enough contracts to meet her needs. However the cuts in local and central government budgets had led to a vast reduction in the use of her consultancy. As the conversation developed, I didnt say much but listened attentively to try to understand fully her perception of the situation.

Whenever we encounter a problem it can either cause us to panic because it is seen as a stumbling block, or grow and be seen as an opportunity, and a stepping stone. This mother seemed to be in panic mode which was effectively hindering her ability to recognise her options.

My Glass is

In 2002 I went on maternity leave and gave birth to my beautiful Isaac. I was working as an IT manager at the time in a large London university. During my maternity leave which was about a year in total, a number of changes occurred. The directorship of the IT department was held by a consultant who had occupied the post for many years. He was paid a daily rate which was costing the university a tidy sum; whilst I was away they merged my department which provided services for University staff with the department responsible for providing services to students and removed the consultant director.

Half Empty

This was from our perspective a recipe for disaster, the primary reason being our dissimilar operational values. We prided ourselves on first class service and had very good relations with faculty and would go to great lengths to ensure a good level of service was maintained. We had always been aware that student support did not value service availability, in the same way as we did and that the merger would have catastrophic effect on the goodwill we had developed with our customer base.

 

Half Full

To cut a very long story short the differences in values became a source of conflict, and the level of service that the customers on both sides of the fence received became unreliable at best. I spent a year and a half in a place of frustration, dissatisfied with my work and desperate to get out. The upshot of it was that through a miracle God gave me an absolutely amazing redundancy package at the end of 2005. This stumbling block became a stepping stone into ministry training and my new life.

Responding Positively

Our ability to correctly handle these apparent blocks and diversions is key to us living victoriously and being the people God created us to be. This can also be the difference between being a good or bad witness. All change can be challenging but as we rise up in Christ we will soon find that nothing is impossible and that He is with us as He promised.

So what about this mum and her dilemma; towards the end of the week I made contact with  her about her dilemma and recommended the following ideas which might be of use to you if you are facing a similar situation:

Diversification

If you are experiencing a squeeze in your market have you considered that your answer might be to diversify? It is possible that the information you have gathered through working in the industry and talents you have developed could be put to work in another format for example, someone might be willing to pay you good money if you published your insights and knowledge in a magazine, blog or book.

Repackaging

Have you noticed each time your favourite product has a revamp so does the price. Suddenly the cereal or juice has a trendier look and a price to match. Do you need to take another look at the way your product or yourself is presented to the market? Can you offer your services through another media like Skype, email or online; I have found it possible to even minister and do deliverance this way.

Expansion

Did you know that the introduction of the breakfast menu in McDonalds was in an attempt to expand into a new market? Their intention was to try to catch those making an early morning dash to the office, in addition to their focus on families at tea time. Who are you early morning equivalent?

Don’t labour in vain

Or maybe like me it is time to change career all together. I fully recommend a brain storm to begin with and it goes without saying seeking God’s guidance. I’m always reminded that no matter how great we are at coming up with our own solutions and gathering our own thoughts, it is the Lord who gives the right answer. The message puts it nicely with “Proverbs 16:1-3 (The Message) Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good. Put God in charge of your work, and then what you've planned will take place.

 

Wonderfully Unique

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on March 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM Comments comments (0)

Throwing down  the gauntlet

I attended a planning meeting for a teacher training day in a local community school yesterday, whose objective was to investigate how teachers might be informed on culturally diverse practices in the school environment. As expected tokenism arose in the form of the possibility of days that focus black history and accomplishments. Whilst this is appreciated, my thinking was "how much could be accomplished in a one day event, if in the other 189 -200 ethnicity is ignored or misunderstood?" So I threw down the gauntlet, with an idea which I hope will be considered. I asked the question “how about rather than just one day with a focus on diversity, the whole curriculum being diversified?” "How about moving away from eurocentricty in the classroom and introducing true diversity. Library books that are culturally diverse, reviewing history from a multicultural perspective, integrating viewpoints, literature, images, poetry and materials from multiple cultures and races".  

Price to pay

I picked up a real sense of caution, particularly when they reflected on the ability to get some of the older teachers to buy into the idea and the likelihood that resistance would be encountered with this move. But wherever men or women are brave enough to travel unchartered territory there will always be casualties, as well as great lessons to learn. Surely though, it is much better to have the casualties with those that are on the journey to retiring from the profession, rather than risk dismissing another generation to tokenism, an mental assenting to the truth that all men are created equal rather than a internal value of equality. This move shouldn’t be in response to feelings of guilt about the barbaric treatment of our ancestors and the slave trade, but rather a desire to stop the inequalities that today’s children are experiencing. This move, a brave one, requires a readjusting of power which the majority have to be willing to relinquish, and also a sensible response to the new positioning.

Variety and beauty

We must remember that diversity does not have to equal division or demise, but it is the variety of notes that makes Handel’s Messiah so glorious and the multiple strokes of Da Vinci that makes Mona Lisa so beautiful to behold. This is the kind of music and portrait that we as a people can create within our neighbourhoods, schools and country. I see that in all God’s creation variety brings such depth; it is the multiplicity of colours shapes and sizes that makes the difference between average scenery and one that is breathtaking. Likewise it is the multiple flavours and textures that make the difference between fast food and a gourmet meal.

I am not an advocate of the melting pot approach but of the salad bowl where variety is seen and appreciated. It is from this perspective of every human being, every culture, every race having value and a beauty of their own, that I encourage diversity in schools not as something to be feared but something to be gained.

Wonderfully unique

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139), unique in all my ways. I have true value and unique gifts to share with the world; I add to the world like no one else ever could. To appear to be something or someone that I am not just to fit in would be a disservice to my creator (who planned and formed me  first in his mind, then in my mothers womb), but also to myself and the world at large. I would rob them of that uniqueness, the subtle nuances of my tone, and view of life, all would be worst of because of it. Though on this side of eternity I might not fully appreciate the unique beauty that I bring to my family, community and world, I am old enough to understand that it is there. I searched long and hard enough for myself to not be willing to hide who or what I am in order to gain popularity or acceptance.

 It should be noted that  acceptance of another cannot truly begin without accepting self first. When you are secure in who you are it is from a position of power that you can securely move into the worlds of others, not deviating or altering but just being.  If you are still searching for yourself maybe this poem by Jacqueline Peart will help you on your journey.

Looking for me

Looking for me

Anyone found me?

I’m looking for me!

 

I’m a little girl masquerading as a woman.

I got lost along the way, wanting to be all for everyone, leaving none for me.

Anyone found me?

I’m looking for me!

I’m a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend, my different roles I play so very well,

An Oscar winner I could be.

But has anyone found me, the real me?

Because I’m looking for me!

I’m professional, I’m witty, some say charming as well.

But has anyone seen me?

I’m looking for me!

Like a pressure cooker I’ll explode if I don’t find me soon.

Has anyone found me? I’m looking for me...

Ssssssh, my child,

Before you were born, I named you and ordained you.

Rest with Me a while, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

You are who I say you are.

When you search for me with your whole heart you’ll find the Me you’re looking for.

you can!

What happens when you think you can’t?

You can.

What happens when you believe you can’t?

You can.

What happens when everyone else...

You can.

What happens when you...

 

You can.

But what if you’ve...

You can.

What happens when I really just can’t?

HE CAN!

He was just waiting for you to cast your can’t onto Him so YOU CAN!

 

The Day Off - When you are weak then you are strong

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on March 10, 2011 at 6:53 AM Comments comments (0)

I recently attended a conference on healing hosted by a church a friend of mine attends, I worked regularly for the visiting ministry but my attendance at this conference was one of moral support to the organiser. As I entered the reception I was warmly welcomed by familiar faces, when the ministry director approached me about helping out with ministry that day I swiftly declined saying “this is my day off, I am here to receive”. My reason for this approach was two-fold I was feeling a little burnt out and some personal issues were taking their toll, and so in my estimation it was probably best for me to sit back and let God use this time to restore me.

As I settled down in my seat near the front of the church, about ten minutes went by before the official registration started, and the arrival of curious attendees. Very soon after registration began, familiar faces from the visiting ministry filed in all with the same question, "are you ministering today?” to which I repeatedly said "no". As the church began to fill, a petite older gentlemen pointed to the seat next to me and asked me whether it was OK for him to sit down, I smiled and welcomed him to my row. Pretty soon the entire church was buzzing with anticipation as registration was nearing the end. Somehow, and I can’t remember quite how, I became very deeply involved in conversation with this older gentlemen. Before long we were discussing intimate details of his journey as well as the many roadblocks and dead ends he had encountered. Without noticing I began expounding on scriptures, God’s promises, purposes, and His truth for all His children. As I did I witnessed a miracle, the countenance of this man changed dramatically , his slumped back, downcast face changed, as he piped up “these are some of the answers I have been searching for over 10 years of my Christian life” I was amazed at his response and felt blessed to have been so helpful to him.

As the day drew on, many other answers were offered and grasped with two hands by this unassuming older gentleman, such that by the end of the day I had spoken to and coached others who were sitting close by and had been listening carefully to my answers and his responses. As the conference came to a close I fed back some comments to my contacts within the church, before I left pointing out areas of discipleship that might be of assistance to their members. On reflection I recognised Gods affirming hand, reminding me that my purpose is in every facet of my being, running from it would be to deny my very self, also showing me that my willingness to respond to the call no matter how I was feeling inside had left me energised and empowered.

I left the church with a warm fuzzy feeling and chuckled to myself, “I see what you’re up to” I said in a loud voice recognising the hand of God at work throughout each encounter I had that day. “Day off huh” I laughed there is no such thing in the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong

1 Secret To Defusing Sibling Discourse

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on March 10, 2011 at 6:28 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Being at home alone with my two sons that are on the journey to manhood can at times be daunting. Their physical prowess means that within a few short years they are likely to be stronger and fitter than their 40 something 5ft 4" mother. Therefore handling their misdemeanours and disagreements meant I needed to adopt a more strategic approach to resolving conflict within our household. On the occasion that I found myself refereeing and being the bodyguard to my youngest, throwing myself in the way of the oncoming traffic of my preteen; I noticed that I very quickly became out of breath. This was compounded by the fact that I had had to make a mad dash up the stairs to separate them in the brawl. I found one secret response that instantly defused the situation and allowed me to take back control.

That response is Laughter.

1.) I have found that exaggerated laughter immediately after I have separated my boys instantly changes the emotional atmosphere in two ways. Firstly it considerably calms me by releasing happy hormones; this laughter also gives me some thinking time to regain composure and control of the atmosphere.

 

2.) It causes a temporary distraction in my sons and deflates some of their anger.

 

3.) This gives them both an opportunity to back away from the situation without losing face, or see the funny side of their behaviour, clear their head and be ready to talk about the cause of their conflict, and work towards a resolution.

 

Try it, this works everytime for me.  Let me know of any other secrets you have discovered.

1911 - 2011 One Hundred Years On...

Posted by restoringlifefoundation on March 2, 2011 at 8:47 AM Comments comments (0)

March 8th 2011 marks the global centenary year for International Women’s Day – 100 years since the first International Women's Day event was run. More than one million women and men attended rallies in 1911 their purpose was to highlight women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. During the 100 year struggle many legislative changes have occurred and whilst women can be found in every field of professional life the struggle for equality still goes on.


Whilst we have come a far way, we still have a long way to go to end violence in the home, prostitution, the slave trade, the career glass ceiling, opportunities for women in church leadership, poverty, and a whole lot more. We will all have our own opinions about how we can resolve the inequalities, a first step that we can all take this year is focus. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, join me in marking the journey so far.

Celebrations will go on at various events throughout the year; however you can begin your focus right now in some of the following fun ways:

 

21 ideas for you at Work/ College/Home: 


 

  1. Have a lunch with other women where you can celebrate your womanhood, inspire, encourage and motivate   each other.
  2. Have a goal setting session where youcan talk about the goals you have and the ones you want to accomplish.
  3. Have a bible study and discuss  inspirational biblical women, Like Deborah,Mary, Abigail, Sarah,  Esther, etc
  4. Meet up for coffee or a drink with a girlfriend.
  5. Host a Restoring Life Foundation workshop.
  6. Have some friends around for  dinner and  discuss modern day women who have inspired you and how you might learn from them, like MotherTeresa, Maya Angelou, Margaret Thatcher, Sonia Carson (Ben Carson’s mother),your school teacher, the lollipop lady, etc
  7. Have a movie night and invite your girlfriends over, and watch a chick-flick of course, some great titles:  One night with the King, Waiting to Exhale, Not easily Broken,  Fireproof, Woman thou art loosed, Shirley Valentine.
  8. Have a pamper day at a spa or simply have your nails, hair, face  or something else done.
  9. Go for a jog, do an exercise DVD, bike ride or to the gym with a girlfriend.
  10. Go for a walk in the park, and re-connect with God and his plans for your life.
  11. Plant some flowers or even a tree.
  12. Pray for women in oppression.
  13. Mentor a younger woman, or be mentored by someone who inspires you.
  14. Join a book club or start one yourself.
  15. Have your daughter’s friends over for tea.
  16. Write, a poem, song, your autobiography, tweet or an article for your blog, Facebook or Bebo account.
  17. Attend a personal development seminar.
  18. Take your daughter (or in law) out for a meal and share some experiences from your childhood or your feminine wisdom and survival skills.
  19. Commit to serving the women in your  family, church, local community, at a refuge, or with a women's charity.
  20. Get involved with womens rights on a local, national or international level.
  21. Attend a International Women’s Day event hosted by someone else see link below.


 

Whatever you do HAVE FUN being women and remember to post your photographs on the Restoring Life Foundation website or email them to me at [email protected] so I can create a collage of our 2011 celebrations.

 

For further historical information about International Women’sday see link below:

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/iwd_factsheet.pdf

 

 For a link to registered International Women’s day eventssee link below:

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/search.asp?country=221

 

 

I am celebrating with women I love how about you?

 

     

 

 



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