What does your bloodline say about you?

I love my parents. I had an unconventional, if slightly turbulent childhood at times however if it wasn’t for my Mom and Dad I would not be here today, and for that alone I am so grateful! The picture perfect family of a married couple and their 2.4 children are so rare they are practically on the endangered species list. A couple who have made it to ten years of marriage are hailed as heroes as the divorce rates rise in 21st century Britain, however it is for good reason and in extreme cases for safety that some couples choose to or are forced to separate.

Over my three decades on this earth, I have learned that there are so many men and women, boys and girls who have lived through parent relationship breakdowns, abuse, neglect and the resulting dysfunctional family unit. It is not the norm to live at home with mom and dad, much less to have a good solid relationship with either. Secrets, lies and heartache are central to more families than ever, and the cycle simply keeps repeating as hurt people hurt people and we perpetuate the past for generations to come.

If you are dealing with the secrets of your past, processing the scars of abuse that happened so many years ago or are agonising over the heartbreaking split of your parents, please know that I am not going to write and tell you to that everything is going to be OK and to move on and forget about it. Your past pain is very real and very valid. You have every right to feel sad, anxious, depressed or even angry about what has happened and I would urge you to seek professional help and counselling to process things fully in the right way.

However, I want you to know that you are not defined by your parental bloodline.

Your parents are human. Humans mess up. They have done ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden when Eve persuaded Adam to sample fruits that were not his to take. Please understand that I am not making excuses for those who have hurt you, whether they let you down, neglected you, hit you, abused you or did all of the above to you or the ones you love. The mistakes made by your parents are not yours. They are not your fault, nor are they your burden to carry. My friend, I want to tell you that although our lives are indeed shaped by the circumstances that surround us, they do not define us and we can choose to change our mindsets and direct our lives in a different direction.

Your biological mother may have abandoned you at birth, your earthly father may have favoured the local pub over time spent with his child but beautiful one, you have a supernatural, heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally, perfectly and completely. God created YOU in your mother’s womb, He knew every detail of you whilst you were formed and has not taken His eyes off you ever since.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” Jeremiah 1:5 NLT

‘You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ Psalm 139:13 NLT

Whether you know God or not, you have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus, who died on the cross for you. His death, His shedding of blood has given YOU a NEW BLOODLINE.

No longer are you known as the son or daughter of parents that failed you, if you accept what Jesus is offering – a relationship with God – you can have a new bloodline, a new heritage, with a perfect heavenly Father. You can be free of the guilt of your past, you can remove the shackles of shame that have bound you and kept you from experiencing a life lived to the full. Why? Because that it exactly why Jesus came to earth;

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV.

I don’t want to belittle the burden you have carried during your life, I only mean to reassure you that there is a meaning and a purpose to your life regardless of the turbulent start or tumultuous journey you have faced. And the first step in discovering that purpose is surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ. I promise you, you will never regret it.

R

Let’s keep running the race

inclinetraining

I love running. The fact that I even profess that has come as something of a surprise to me however. I have never been what you might call a natural athlete, always the curvy girl (or downright fat in my university days), however I have always been fairly active and enjoyed the great outdoors.

Exercise and I have had a somewhat tumultuous relationship in the last 30 years, with spurts of activity before my wedding and after the birth of my first son when it was clear that breastfeeding and healthy eating was not going to get me back to my pre pregnancy state. However I really got into fitness and running in a big way last Summer and have been particularly committed to getting fit in 2015. Taking the obligatory pre-fitness regime photographs was painful, but I was ready and raring to go with 5k runs, regular workouts and a moderate nutrition plan all mapped out for the next few months. However only a few weeks in I was already getting despondent. I couldn’t understand why the scales still weren’t telling me something different, why my clothes didn’t feel any looser yet. Worse was yet to come, when after three months I still didn’t feel that there was anywhere near a significant enough change in my appearance to match the discipline and effort that I had put in.

My CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) and hubby, Dave, was super supportive, telling me how great I looked and how he could really see a difference. He reassured me that I had shaved inches off my face, arms, back and hips (that troublesome mum tum appears to be the last thing to go!), but the most vital thing he kept telling me was that I was embarking on a lifestyle change, not a four week wonder diet to shed weight only to regain it shortly after. Dave also reminded me that if anything, I was likely to put on weight initially during my fitness programme as I was asking my muscles to hulk around my excess weight on all these runs and work outs, therefore the muscles would have to bulk up to accommodate the additional load. In time, when they were larger and stronger, and burning more calories, these muscles would then start to burn the fat away and begin to reduce in size and elongate, giving me the strong, toned physique I was longing for.

I think that our journey through life can feel so much like a workout programme, especially when we are walking with God and testing new boundaries and developing new skills. It is only when we are physically pushed that we learn, grow and strengthen. Our muscles must first bear weight and pressure in order to grow. During the workout itself the tissues will endure injury and tearing in order to knit back together and grow larger and stronger.

When we are going through tough times at home or at work, or simply turning away from our old ways, the physical pain and despondence we feel can seem unbearable and endless, and everything within us screams run back to the beginning, to the familiar ways, to our old self. God promises that He will never give us more than we can bear, (1 Corinthians 10;13-14) but he also tells us that living a faithful life is like running an endurance race. There is no sprint finish, we must run, and run, and run, through traumatic childhoods, through failed relationships, through abuse, through addictions, through dysfunctional families.

“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT

When I run uphill, my legs burn incessantly as my muscles bunch together and force my legs to continue pounding the tarmac. It is only my sheer will and determination that stops me from walking, because I know the elation that awaits as I reach the summit and start to go downhill. Ah yes, the stretch is my favourite part of running uphill. When your legs are screaming at you to stop, your lungs are burning and the sweat is running down your brow, you suddenly start to descend. As gravity pulls you faster, the cool breeze fans your face, rushing into your thankful lungs and your legs stride out, stretching and elongating your bunched up muscles with each footfall.

In life, faith in God is the driving force that will see us up and over that obstacle. Faith in the fact that Jesus loves you, He died for you and He is with you every single step of the way will push you through the pain barrier, help you to press in and run on with endurance to reach the summit. And then, when you have fought with all your might to get there, God’s abundant, immeasurable grace is like the gravity that will remove the pressure, ease your struggles and speed up your journey.

God knows where He wants to take you in your life, but He also knows that you need to do some learning and growing on the way, and the only way that our faith muscles grow is by bearing weight. If you are under pressure today, carrying a heavy burden or desperately trying to run from a past, a sin or an addiction that keeps catching up with you, don’t despair. God sees you clenching your fists and pressing on, and He will guide you and strengthen you as your muscles begin to repair and rebuild during the uphill struggle. But the most beautiful miracle awaits you on the other side of that hill. Rest assured that when you reach the summit post workout your once flaccid faith muscle will now be strong, and your toned limbs will be able to stretch further than you could possibly imagine in to all the things of God that are awaiting in your future.

” I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.”
Philippians 3:12-16 The Message

The best is yet to come. Stay strong my friend, as a son or daughter of the King you are in training for reigning.

R