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Borrowing Strength

Written by Everyone  | 

This is the blog post WE WROTE TOGETHER!

 
Everybody goes through hard times whether it’s a day, a week, or a life season. So we all understand the feelings and the depths of the low times, but we are also all able to offer encouragement to each other and cheer each other on from that place of understand -  and this is the post that does just that!
 
This week I struggled and was feeling quite dragged down by life, my tank was empty but I still wanted to show up for you and for this community. 
So I posted a Facebook live video and asked for your help to write this post for anyone feeling like life is kicking their butt right now - and you showed up for me and for our community and we are all now a little stronger and more encouraged to keep going. How cool is that?!
 
So if you are like me and in need of a pep-talk from your community, encouragement from a friend then read on because this blog post is for you, from us with love and courage…..
 
Keep showing up... you don't know what is on the other side of you being present in this moment. Who you are and what you have in your hands in enough. Don't get lost in the big picture, one step in front of the other my friend… - Jo

It does not get much more BRAVE than a woman choosing to fill her own tank when she is overwhelmed by a world that requires way too much of her at times. You are awesome. Enjoy some Vitamin D! - Tana

Take a deep breath know you're in the presence of God! - Diane

Good self care in this season is essential. But we often need some encouragement to see and do it the first few times before we start clicking into it. Have a great time doing something different. - Sue

Make a decision to stop and breathe. Ladies, we work hard, we love hard and we often sleep little. Stop and enjoy a moment, no guilt only joy. - Beth

Slow down, stop doing anything you don’t absolutely have to. Use a slow cooker, get a cleaner, plan a day to do nothing. Run John 16:33 through your head over and over. Lots of love #beenthere - Elizabeth
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in ALL thy ways and He shall direct thy paths.” KJV - Janny

I love being part of a team - building each other up and sharing the load. Knowing other people are on the journey with me keeps me going! - Emma

Young busy Mums often get over there heads suddenly — be thankful for the good health you share & for an understanding husband not everyone has one & remember the best is yet to be ...... and you don’t have to be Wonder Woman every day - June

I'm here for you, always! - Steph

In His presence is light, love and calm. He has you in the palm of his hand - Mary

I know I'm not A BraveGirl, but women, just remember: You are somebody's reason to smile! - Nathan

Take another deep breath. - Ruth

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or flat etc I play worship music, then I sing it and I pray (doesn’t have to be much prayer) and I keep soaking in the words and singing them and praising God. I trust God to fill my tank (often in these times God says something loving/encouraging to me)...He always fills my tank! You got this! God’s got this! Much love and blessings! Xx - Aimee

Advice from another slightly overwhelmed mama of three- We have to keep being real with each other and keep showing up each day...by the grace of God that is usually enough to get us through the season of overwhelm xx - Marina

Breathe! You can do this. Take the time to replenish. - Karyn

"When I'm overwhelmed, when I'm lost at sea, still You're there right beside me. When I can't see clear, all around is fear, still You're holding me." Our God is Emmanuel, God with us in the overwhelm, holding us, walking through it with us, covering us, loving us in it all. As we continute to face Him, He provides the hope, the ideas, the strength and grit, and at times the humour to keep going. - Esther

Strive for Peace within yourself with God at the centre. For God is our strength and our perfect peace, we can give everything/anything up to him and take a step back knowing he's got this! - Jessica

God is good. You are good. Life is good. You are doing ok girl - you’ve got this! - Steph


Posted by Everyone

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The Darkest Hour

Written by Nicky Geldard  | 
They were sweet words, but murderous intent lurked in the shadows, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” [1]
 
Obsessed with power, Herod was troubled when the Magi from the East visited Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?”[2] Herod himself was King of the Jews![3] What did these strange visitors from foreign lands mean? Yes, he ruled under the ultimate authority of Rome, but for all intents and purposes, he was in charge of Judea. If another ‘king’ had been born, he needed to know.
 
Herod was not a man to trifle with. Politically astute, a gifted soldier, and responsible for many illustrious building projects, Herod was internationally recognized for his prowess.[4] Yet beneath his obvious accomplishments was a sadistic and cruel madman.[5] When he first became King, he executed 45 members of the Sanhedrin (the traditional Jewish law-making body), apparently because they opposed his appointment.[6] He also had his favourite wife, Mariamne, strangled under the false accusation of adultery. Three of Herod’s own sons were murdered by his orders as he suspected them of plotting against him.[7] And these were just some of those who suffered at his bidding.
 
Paranoid, deeply troubled and brutal, Herod had no intention of going to ‘worship’ a babe granted his title. So he asked the chief priests and teachers of the law for an exact location - where would the Messiah be born?[8] They revealed Bethlehem as the place where King David’s heir would arrive. In secret, he then called the Magi back to pinpoint the exact timing of the child’s birth.[9] There was a two-year window to account for. Herod had a plan, but it was not to bow down. It was to destroy.
 
If books could capture and transmit sights, sounds and smells, then the grief arising from the three verses in Matthew describing Herod’s massacre in Bethlehem would be too much to bear. After reading it once, I don’t think I would ever be able to open my Bible to the account again. Bethlehem was not large and scholars agree that there were perhaps twenty to thirty babies aged two and under who were slaughtered by Herod’s soldiers on that dreadful day. The panic, the drumming of hooves, the desperate attempts to conceal children – it is beyond imagination. Evil arrived in Bethlehem a mere two years after Love was born.
 
Fast-forward thirty-one years and we find a survivor of Herod’s demonic plan. As a child, Jesus had been whisked away to safety, just evading the terror in Bethlehem.[10] But all these years later, Darkness rejoiced that he had not escaped altogether. Jesus had been betrayed, tried, mocked, and hung on a Roman cross. His death would complete (the now dead) Herod’s mission – destroy the pretender, snuff out the light, extinguish hope. For it wasn’t just the intention of one man to retain power, Hell itself intended to rule the hearts and minds of man. Victory seemed to be at hand.
 
Crucifixion was a form of execution reserved for the worst offenders. “It was officially accepted as the most painful and disgraceful form of capital punishment, more so than decapitation, being thrown to wild animals or even being burned alive.”[11] Victims were often flogged or tortured before being crucified. Leather whips, with bone or metal imbedded in the cord, would be used simultaneously by two soldiers to exchange blows across the body. This beating was limited to forty lashes as it was believed a person would die from anymore. Often the skin would be so damaged that “arteries would be lacerated and organs would be exposed.”[12]
 
Jesus’ hands were nailed to the crossbeam, his broken and bloody body hoisted onto the vertical stake that was then erected upright. Without blocks for his feet to rest on, the weight of his body would have dragged downwards, prohibiting breathing and circulation and leading to both brain and heart failure. With the blocks, a person might linger for up to three days.[13] It was a tortuous way to die. One of mankind’s most sinister imaginations.
 
But the worst was still to come. Deuteronomy 21:23 says that, “anyone hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” And Jesus’ agonized cry at three o’clock in the afternoon confirmed this. It was a devastating reality, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[14] His Father, the One whose company and communion he had enjoyed for all eternity, had turned His face away. And Hell received with glee the only one who had ever threatened its power. Separated from God, Jesus experienced a spiritual death more gruesome than even the horrors of the cross. The Messiah was completely alone, bearing the guilt of all sinners. It was an indescribable abandonment.”[15] It was His darkest hour.
 
It is these two stories that form bookends around the life of Jesus: Herod’s incomprehensible slaughter of babies and the atrocities of the cross. These stories contain the combined message of Christmas and Easter. It is these two stories that reveal the depth of our depravity, the power of our sin and the reason Jesus came to earth. We were tearing ourselves and each other apart and we desperately needed a Saviour. These stories also throw up a mirror. We recognize Herod’s sadistic legacy in the brutality reported daily on the evening news: terrorism, school shootings, dictators – the list goes on and on. But even the best of us have our moments. We want what we want. We are selfish. We all get a little headstrong at times. There is no escaping it, none of us are blameless.
 
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Do you hear that? While we were still sinners.
 
While we wander away from him. While we do our own thing. While we hurt the people we love. While we betray trust. While we harm ourselves and drink ourselves silly. While we proudly declare that we are not in need of him. While we were still sinners…
 
Jesus came. He took on our pain. He offered healing and wholeness. This was (and is) a Saviour we could relate to. This is a Saviour who knew what it was to be troubled, to mourn, to lose, to be betrayed, to suffer, to be separated. Indeed, he experienced what no man or woman will ever have to feel: the complete abandonment of God. Because Jesus willingly gave up His life, we will never walk alone.
 
Hell’s victory was short-sighted. What was seen as a death-blow to God’s great rescue plan, was in fact the fulfilment of an ancient covenant. Three days after Jesus was crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb, Life stirred and Light dawned. He was alive again. And, this time, the darkness had no comeback.
 
One of the great themes of the Bible is redemption. God had always intended to provide a way back for those who had wandered away. Our deepest darkness does not exclude us. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
 
So, be encouraged this Easter. Together, the story of Christmas and the story of Easter proclaim this truth: however deep your secrets, however dark your night, however much the weight of your guilt, your debt is paid. Jesus’ darkest hour was the price He paid for your freedom.  
 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 
 
 
 
Just a note: If you are reading this and have questions about Jesus, the meaning of Easter or how to let go of pain and/or regret, then find someone you trust, someone who knows Jesus, and be honest with them. Alternatively, there are churches throughout New Zealand celebrating the message of Easter this weekend. Be brave, walk through the doors and seek out a friendly face. Any church advertising an Alpha Course is a good place to start. Our prayer is that you will find hope this Easter and begin the journey of knowing Jesus. He is Life, He is Love, He is the reason we can be brave.



[1] Matthew 2:8
[2] Matthew 2:2
[3] Archaeological Study Bible, pp 1630
[4] John Drane, Son of Man, pp 20-21
[5] Logos International Bible Commentary, pp 15
[6] Drane, pp 21
[7] Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, pp 1610
[8] Matthew 2:4
[9] Matthew 2:7
[10] Matthew 2:13
[11] Archaeological Study Bible, pp 1757
[12] Logos International Bible Commentary, pp 317
[13] Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, pp 1852
[14] Matthew 27:46
[15] Max Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary - Matthew

Posted by Nicky Geldard

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Making International Women's Day Count

Written by Steph Redhead  | 
What does International Women's Day mean to me?
 
It’s been an inspiring week for women on social media as the celebratory tributes and uplifting quotes were posted to mark International Women's Day.  I loved it! I got goose-bumps and watery eyes and felt proud to be a woman and inspired etc etc etc….
 
But is that enough?
 
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and rightly so, but that is not all!  The second part is the call to action, which seems to not be so highly published or glamorized. 
 
2018 in New Zealand is a special year as we mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.  It was on 19 September 1893 that all women in New Zealand over the age of 21 were given the right to vote.  The FIRST self-governing country in the world to give women the right to vote in parliamentary elections! The fight and sacrifice of those women 125 years ago is definitely worth the acknowledgement and celebration - I would like to think that had I been alive back then I would have been right amongst it all too, fighting the good fight alongside great friends and sisters!  But as I ponder that thought... I realise that there is still a fight going on now… and actually I’m not involved.
 
 I’m all about acknowledging and celebrating International Womens Day but I seemed to have overlooked the second part of it - the call to action. We have to celebrate where we have come from but unfortunately we are still not ‘there' yet. There is more to be done, more battles to win, and more prejudice to overcome.  So I guess it’s not enough to just acknowledge and celebrate.  After we are inspired and uplifted we owe it to the women that got us to this point to ask ourselves, what can I do?

 

 
3 Ways to Make International Women’s Day Count:

 
1)  Acknowledge and encourage the women in your life.
Let's stop copying, comparing and competing with each other! We all have unique gifts, talents, abilities, personalities, skills, and experiences, not to mention life purposes and callings! I want to be a woman who see’s and celebrates that uniqueness and takes the time to encourage and cheer on the individuals rather than let it intimidate me and my life.  So what if after this week of celebrating all of women kind, we break it down a little and decide to get in touch with just a couple of women in our own lives and acknowledge, encourage and celebrate them. We could let them know what we love about them, and what we are proud of them for, and what we are cheering them on for the future. 
We are stronger together and that culture shift from competing to celebrating starts with us.

2)  Educate yourself on the current fight.
We owe it to our sister suffragettes from 125 years ago to at least be aware what our current fight is and seek to understand what is going on.  This year we are seeing two very powerful campaigns - #metoo/#timesup which is addressing physical and sexual harassment, abuse and violence towards women, and also #pressforprogress which is addressing gender parity and inclusiveness.  So maybe next time we go to check Facebook why don’t we first google #metoo #timesup or #pressforprogress and spend a few minutes reading and see what we can learn.
 
3)  Get involved somehow.
I get it - we are all “too busy” or have a million reasons why we can justify not getting involved.  We leave it up to the Helen Clark's and Jacinda Arderns of this era to pioneer for us and challenge those stereotypes and fight the fight.  But actually no one is asking us to run for Prime Minister or even to vote for her to become Prime Minister if we don’t agree with their party’s politics.  BUT we can ALL play a part in raising the bar when it comes to the conversations we are a part of that discuss HER (not her politics or policies).  We need to stir up our courage and speak up when the talk becomes derogatory or personal etc. Regardless of our political affiliations, we could all have her back as a woman.
Perhaps getting involved is not a massive task to undertake or a risk to life or limb. Perhaps getting involved is incorporated in our every day life but we need to do it with more awareness and intention.
  • We get involved when we challenge conversation around us about women that is not ok.
  • We get involved in the way we raise our children and speak to them about these things and model behaviour.
  • We get involved by what we engage with on social media and what we share for others to see and engage with.
  • We get involved when we sign petitions to the government or take part in surveys to help research and understanding.
There are many ways to get involved but these are a few options that don’t take much extra ‘work’, but if we all did it we potentially could see a significant shift happen in our lifetime - what a privilege!
 
So perhaps on this international women's day we still acknowledge and enjoy the celebration and the inspiration and the goosebumps, but we also embrace the challenge in the call to action even if it’s just small steps first.  We owe it to the sisters who got us this far, and we owe it to the sisters who haven’t even been born yet,
 
I am woman - hear me roar!
Let’s do this!
 

Posted by Steph Redhead

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