May Week 2 - PREPARE

May posts #4

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‘Prepare the ground.’

If you prepare the ground for an activity of a situation, you do something that will help it to happen. You make it easier for something to occur or be developed. #cambridgedictionary 

Something can’t come out of nothing, it’s impossible. Whether it’s a new lawn you’re dreaming of or something exponentially more exciting, it won’t come about simply because we want it to. No, it takes preparation, time, often a bit of dismantling and a lot of bloody hard work. 

What do I mean? Ok, metaphor time... bear with me. 

I order to plant my lush new lawn I need to lay down seed. In order to lay down seed I have to prepare the ground. And preparing the ground requires a shovel, hard work and the best part of a week. 

I can’t skip from wanting a lawn on Sunday to scattering the seed that night, it simply wouldn’t work. Without the proper preparation, the seed (which my idea depends on) would fail. Without preparation the seed, just like our dreams, would be wasted. 

See, often our dreams ideas and hopes take not only a lot longer to come into being than we’d like, they also require approximately 1000% more hard graft and effort on out part than we imagine too. Often this part of the process is longer, harder, more painful and more involved than we’d like. Often a lot of work has to be done in our lives and hearts before they are ready for the seed of our dreams to even be planted, let alone grown into fruition. 

To go back to my lawn, the three stages of preparation needed to get the ground ready for seeding were thus: 

1. Dig up. Using your shovel, break up the ground, dig it over and enrich it so it’ll be a lovely nutritious home for your seed

2. Firm up. Once you’ve got the ground healthier, you gotta stamp on it to make it a firm foundation and even surface for your lawn... nobody wants a bumpy lawn!

3. Water. Adding water is the final stage in preparing the ground for your seed: now it has everything it needs to thrive. 

And I think these apply to the process we go through too. 

I order to prepare us for the hopes we have, in order to make our lives a place where those dreams can thrive... things have to be broken, enriched, strengthened and nurtured. 

  1. Think about that first stage - dig up. You’re using a shovel to break open the top layer of soil, unearth the ground beneath it and mix it all together. You’re quite literally turning the soil on its head, in order to make it fit for purpose. When we’re talking about the foundations of our hearts, often things have to be broken into or exposed in order to be fixed or healed. Think about it, how many times have you been set on exciting path... (think Uni, or a new job) you begin all hopeful and then the rubber hits the road... you thought you were capable but now, with deadlines and higher demands you’re forced to learn and change - in that process you discover hidden parts of yourself, go through pain and learn from it, and at the end of it all your a better, stronger person. Or motherhood... when sometimes, in order to be a good parent you have to sit in a dark room and break, sob and let it out... 

Parts of the process are hard and painful. They are necessary for us to become the kind of person that can carry the reality of the hope we hold. We learn things, let go of things, find new ways of doing something, or are totally changed in the process of going from hope to reality. We get vulnerable. 

  1. Then, once we’ve been turned over and broken up and enriched, we need the foundations to be solidified. Ever had the worst year ever... and come out of the end of it with little idea of what you just went through but KNOWING that it was important... that you are stronger? 🙋🏽‍♀️ That’s cause you’ve just been dug up and then firmed up. 

You gotta walk all over the freshly dug dirt to make it solid again for seed. Sow seed onto freshly dug ground and you’ve got a loose, uneven base for your lawn... higgledy piggledy in a not so great way... the kinda way that will result in a failed lawn. 

The foundations have to be firmed up again. That’s the moment when after all you’ve gone through, you begin to feel like you can stand again. Like you can face things. Like you can rise. 

  1. Last in this preparation season is the watering. No seed yet, but we gotta water... why? Because after such a disruptive stage, it’s important to make sure that the ground has all it needs to be a successful home for the seed... nutrients is vital to the health and success of the seeds we plant.

So... our foundations now have all the nutrients they can get in order for our hope to flourish.

Preparation is the painful step of the process. It can be short or long. Whatever form it takes in you... hold onto the hope that lead you there. Preparation always leads somewhere, by definition. You can’t prepare for something if nothing is coming... luckily God always knows, and will lead us if we let him. 

 

Dig into HOPE

So you’ve read the HOPE email which has set you up for the week… but you wanna dig a little deeper into those quiet time prompts, or have some juicy bible passages to think about?

Well… here we are. 

Using the Real Talk section of this week’s email as a starting point, I thought some pointers might be helpful 

Firstly, as a reminder… 

Real Talk:

Our hopes and dreams are the most personal thing we hold. If you know Jesus, you know that all our hope comes from Him, and him alone. It’s his power at work in our lives to make things new, make dead things alive, and to plant the seeds of purpose in our hearts. I imagine that while you read through this some things came to the front of your mind - things you’re hoping for... believing for... Why not take yourself, and a bible or worship song and a notebook and pen to a quiet place, sit down and write out your hopes. Then pray, asking God to show you which ones are from Him.

Not too long ago I went through a season where I felt utterly hopeless... like I was totally empty. God was all I had. In that season I was able to ask God what he wanted to plant in my heart because all of my ideas had come to nothing. In his kindness and love he gave me dreams that I know we now dream of together. Maybe, if asking God which of your dreams are from him feels a little complicated... perhaps get really brave and ask God to empty your heart of things that you’re holding on to, and ask him to fill you up with hope for the things he has for you. Then write them down... and allow them to take root in your heart. Knowing what we’re believing for is POWERFUL. It’s where our purpose comes from, and where the fuel for our decisions is found. Press into God, and he’ll draw near to you... and you can begin to dream together.

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So, why HOPE? 

Hope is the reason for every decision we make. It’s the driving force behind it all. 

I believe Hope comes only from Jesus, and that in him we find all that we need. It is true too, that he has specific things in mind for us to do in our lives… there are things he made you for that no-one can do. We all dream, we all hope. We have deep hopes that form the basis of our ideas of the future. Here is a chance to bring those in alignment with Jesus and his hope for your life.
It’s not easy or painless to open up our hopes to an all powerful God who can, with our permission, turn things on their heads… it’s vulnerable. 

But, if we’re ready, it could be the making of us… 

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First things first… 

All of this is optional, but if you wanted to delve into these areas, perhaps these would be useful - 

  • One excellent drink 

  • One comfy chair 

  • One music player 

  • One bible (paper or electronic)

  • One notebook 

  • One writing device 

  • Some alone time 

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Bible verses.

Take these as a starting point… But please don’t just take my word for it - look into them in your own bible, read around them and see what God is saying to you through them.
I believe that these hold promises for your life. 

  • Deuteronomy 31:6 - ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified..for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (Read Deut 31:8+23 and Joshua 1:9)

  • Hebrews 6:19 - ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…’

  • Jeremiah 29:11 - ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ 

  • Hebrews 11:1 - ‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…’

  • Ephesians 3:20+21 ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…for ever and ever, Amen.’ 

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Music. 

These songs may help… 

  •  Come to the River - Housefires 

  • House on a Hill - Amanda Cook (Bethel Music)

  • Get Your Hopes Up - Josh Baldwin (Bethel Music)

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Friends, as I wrote these emails and structured these posts for you, I felt God invite me on this reminder journey too… with you. I think he wants us all to be reacquainted with his process of bringing about change and growth in our lives… and I know that with the current season I am walking through, I need this reminder more than ever. 

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So, together, shall we step in?

Pop a comment below if you’re IN with me… it would be wonderful to know who’s on this journey too. 

You are strong and brave… 

Let’s go. 

Anna xxx