princessemmablog

A Work in Progress: Walking with Jesus

In Someone Else’s Shoes: How Falcon Camps broke my heart… and changed my life

falcon photo0001

In the summer of 1996, I spent a week at Halls Green activity centre a few miles down the road from my home in Kent that would change my outlook on life for good. I’d just finished my first year at Cambridge University, and hadn’t been a Christian very long. I had enjoyed a wonderfully sheltered, privileged childhood, and had gone straight to Cambridge from my private school. It is safe to say my experience of life was extremely limited; I didn’t know anyone whose life experiences weren’t pretty similar to my own.

As a young fresher and a new Christian I had become a member of St Andrew the Great Church (StAG to its friends!), a large thriving student church in the city centre. As the university year drew to a close, we students were encouraged to spend a week of our summer holidays serving on a summer camp. I did a bit of research and discovered Falcon Camps.  These are Christian camps for underprivileged kids who wouldn’t otherwise get a holiday. They take place in a variety of amazing locations across the country, and aim to give children and young people a fantastic break as well as to introduce them to the God who made them, and who loves them so very much. Straight away I knew that that was where I wanted to go. I applied to join the team at Halls Green Falcon Camp, was accepted, and so began a journey that would change my view of the world fundamentally. Carry on reading…

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You Can’t Kid the Kids

“Mummy, why did you lie about liking Mrs Davies?”

Whoa, hang on, what?!

“Er… what do you mean? I do like Mrs Davies!”

“Then why were you talking about her with Sarah’s mummy behind her back? It didn’t sound as if you liked her.”

Oh dear. Rumbled by a 7-year-old with big ears and a highly developed sense of justice.

One thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is that children’s noses are phenomenally good at sniffing out inconsistencies in our behaviour. They may not remember us asking them to make the bed or put their school uniform away but they will definitely remember something that you’ve said that you wish you hadn’t. They will also run this regrettable utterance through their database of our previous sayings or actions to see if they match up. And if they don’t, they will notice. We underestimate the attention they pay us- what we say, what we do- at our peril. Carry on reading…

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Fishing Expedition

 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

John 21: 4-7, NIV

I love this story about the risen Jesus and his rather confused and overwhelmed disciples. What an emotional rollercoaster they had been on over the past few days, especially Peter. They had witnessed one of their close friends, Judas, betray Jesus to the authorities. They had seen their beloved Master die a gruesome death. Despite previously claiming that he was ready to die for Jesus, when it came to the crunch Peter had denied three times even knowing him. Carry on reading…

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It’s Good to Think: being a Godly Geek

I have a confession to make- I’ve always been quite lazy when it comes to using my brain. I’m lucky in that I’ve always found it easy to learn, and when I was at school, if you were good at memorising facts and regurgitating them, you could do pretty well. (When I arrived at Cambridge University and they expected me to actually think for myself I very nearly came unstuck, but that’s a whole different blog post!)

One thing that God has been teaching me lately is that he wants to engage with all of me, brain included. I have always been quite embarrassed about being academically able (or a geek, swot, teacher’s pet, and a whole load of other less polite terms that I could mention but won’t- I’ve heard them all). For some reason intellectual prowess is definitely not as socially acceptable as excelling at sport, or music, or drama, or anything else. Recently, though, it seems as if God is releasing me from that embarrassment, and has been reassuring me that he made me this way. I can (and should) be using the gifts he has given me, unapologetically. Carry on reading…

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Worth the Wait

I am not a fan of waiting. I feel myself getting irrationally impatient with the person at the front of the queue at the supermarket who seems to be taking an interminably long time to find their purse. If I post something on Facebook or twitter (or even a blog page!) I’m looking for a pretty instant reaction. As I’m watching my children take an age to put on their coats and shoes to go out I can feel my blood pressure rising. And it seems that I’m not the only one. A 2009 study conducted by TalkTalk looked at how long it took people to reach their ‘point of impatience’ in a variety of scenarios. Apparently the average UK resident loses patience with being kept on hold after 5 minutes 4 seconds (I’m sure the 4 seconds make all the difference!) We don’t like to be kept waiting by our friends for longer than 10 minutes, and  we expect our texts or voicemails to be responded to within 13 minutes and 16 seconds. Mark Schmid, communications director at TalkTalk said

“The speed of the online world is making us less prepared to wait for things to happen in the offline world, causing people to reach the ‘Point of Impatience’ earlier than ever before.”

(TalkTalk, 2009)

Since the Princess Project was born in 2011, God has been teaching me a lot about the importance of waiting. Starting the project had been a deep desire of mine for so long, that once it finally started to become reality, I felt more impatient than ever before. Carry on reading…

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Free to Fly- The importance of loving our children unconditionally

Pretty much all parents would agree that they’d like their children to be happy. Many would say they would like them to be successful, too. But how do we define success? I think we need to be careful about over-emphasising the achievements of our children. Let me explain what I mean by that.

If we focus too much on their achievements, be they academic ones or in the field of music, drama, sport or anything else, they can start to believe that that is what defines them. We so often pigeon-hole them- ‘She’s my brainy one’, ‘he’s my little budding footballer’, ‘she got all the looks in our family’, ‘he’s the funny one’. If we’re not careful they start to adopt these titles for themselves and thus place limitations on their expectations of what they are capable of. Carry on reading…

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In the beginning…

The first words of anything are always the hardest to write, and this blog is no exception. I know what I’d like to write in the future (and I know that I would love lots of people to want to read it!) but it didn’t feel right launching into something with no preamble, and no explanation. Why am I writing this blog? Why should people read it? Who am I, anyway?!

Put simply, I am on a journey, and I would love to share my travels with any kind and interested folk who care to read about them. Unfortunately my days of actual travelling (as in the go-to-different-(preferably sunny)-countries type) were somewhat curtailed by the expansion of our family and shrinking of our income (not that I would swap my two gorgeous girls, or the husband, for a life of jet-setting, of course… but I digress). No, the type of journey I am on is a rather more abstract one. I became a Christian at the age of 18, and have been travelling ever since. Sometimes the route has been quite smooth, like a gentle ramble through the Kent countryside on a warm day in September. Sometimes the terrain has been much less even, more like stumbling up Snowdon in the fog. Sometimes I haven’t had the faintest idea where I’ve been going at all.

The past two years have been rather different. After a good many years of what has often felt like aimless stumbling about, I finally feel like I am starting to walk the path that God has made for me (or rather, that he has made me for!). 2 years ago I took a step of faith. I acted on a passion that God had placed in my heart, that had been welling up inside me for a long time. I stepped way out of my comfort zone, and founded an organisation to come alongside and support new mothers, especially those young single mums often isolated within our communities. I was also challenged to go deeper with God, to get to know Jesus better, to spend time with him daily, be filled with the Holy Spirit, read my Bible. I have discovered (better late than never) that doing things in his strength is so much better than doing things in mine.

All this has had a profound impact on me. I honestly think that if I had looked at the future me two years ago, I would not have believed it was the same person. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul writes “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” I used to be crippled by that spirit of timidity. Now I find myself speaking up, being bold, being confident in my identity as a daughter of the Living God. I am very much a work in progress (goodness am I!!) but God is gracious, and transforms us ever so gently and gradually into the people he has designed and called us to be. I’d love it if you could join me on my travels.

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