Welcome to the Patchwork Blog! I hope you enjoy reading my random thoughts about life, Jesus and the freedom he offers.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Why Write?

This post was first published on 16th April 2015 on the blog for the Association of Christian WritersMore than Writers, for which I am a regular contributor. 

Amy Boucher Pye's post, The Lord is my Publisher, on the More Than Writers blog of the Association of Christian Writers got me thinking. To whom am I writing? I never planned to write a book, let alone write two of them. For me starting to write my first book was very much a cathartic and spiritual experience. I have written a spiritual journal for years as a way of helping me to work through my feelings and relationship with God. So when a friend, who knew what God had done for me, said "You should write a book" I decided to do just that. 

I poured out what had happened into my computer, as a way of giving it to God and it really helped me to make sense of it all. I learned more about my healing and began to wonder how God might use me in the process. 

However, I lacked courage to approach publishers with it and decided to self-publish. I have learned a lot of about self publishing over the last few years but the best thing I have learned is what a blessing it is when sharing your story helps someone else. 

I have written and self-published two books now. The first, He Never Let Go: The true story of a prodigal evangelist, describes how I lost and regained my faith whilst still working as an Evangelist in a lively church in West London. The second, Being Known: My journey to freedom from food addiction, describes how God set me free from food addiction as a direct result of how much closer I came to Him during the events of the first book.

The first time I got an email from someone who had been greatly helped in their own journey of faith because of what I had written I sat at my computer and cried tears of joy. All the hard work was worth it if just one person had developed a deeper relationship with Father God as a result. Since then I have had more of these emails, tweets, posts and conversations. Yesterday,  I had a conversation on Facebook messenger with someone who I didn't know but who had just bought my second book.  This person told me they had a problem with food and went on to tell me that it was the first time they had told any one of this. I was so honoured that my book led me to that privileged position of witnessing that important step in that person's life. Each such communication blesses me more than I can say. I can still be moved to tears when I hear how God has used my writing to bring others to more freedom in their relationship with God. 

If I am honest I have moments (sometimes long ones) when I start looking for worldly approval for my writing instead of being content to look to God and trust in His purposes for my writing. But then another person gives me feedback about how God has used my writing to bless them and once again I look to God and thank Him for the blessing of being able to bless others. 

I recently heard that Ellel Glyndley Manor in Sussex has put my second book, Being Known, on the list of recommended reading for their 'Steps to freedom from addiction' course. I was so blessed by this. Seeing others blessed by my story helps me to make sense of what I went through. I have been able to give God my pain and see Him bring new life out of the darkness. 

Amy is right. The Lord is my publisher. And this is why I continue to write. I want to help others come closer to Jesus. I want to share what I've learned about God’s Father love and compassion. I am blessed indeed that He has chosen to use me. All glory to Him. 

What's your motivation for the things you do?

Lynda Alsford currently works a GP receptionist and writes in her spare time. She has self-published two books. He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Lynda loves living near the sea in Sussex, UK and can't stop taking photos of the sun setting into the sea. Find out more about her at www.lyndaalsford.com or at www.patch-work-blog.blogspot.co.uk

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Pour out your heart to God

I was not supposed to be here today. At least not here in my flat and certainly not writing a blog post. I was supposed to be in hospital, having a total knee replacement. 

I was all ready. I had had the necessary blood test and I had begun to drink the unpleasant pre-op drinks. I woke up on Monday ready to fast and go to hospital. Then at 8.10a.m. came the call from the surgeon's secretary. He was unwell and off sick, so my operation was cancelled. I was devastated because I have been in increasing amounts of pain. 

I couldn't wait to get a new knee and to be able to walk again for more than 20 minutes at the most. I have been gradually, and slowly losing weight and I wanted this to continue. The weight loss has come to a standstill virtually without being able to do exercise. 

My first reaction to this bad news, having put the phone down, was to burst into tears. I then I called friends and family, talking through what I felt.  I rang work to say I would now not be off sick but coming in as usual. 

Then I got into the shower and while there I began to pray to my Father God in Heaven. I poured out my heart to Him. I told Him how I felt and asked Him to help me. 

By the time I got to work I was calmer and by the end of the day I was fine again. I had another date for my operation and had worked through all the upset. 

So why am I telling you this? It is because it took me until Tuesday to realise that I had not once thought about bingeing as a way to deal with those pesky upsetting emotions. I had worked through them all in a normal way without even a temptation to overeat. Four years ago my reaction would have been to binge before calling anyone, before praying and before being able to think through what I should do next. Food was my refuge. 

I am once more so grateful to my Father in Heaven for setting me free from food addiction. I praise His name. He is indeed my refuge. 

If He can set me free He can set anyone free. Trust Him, get to know Him and pour out your heart to Him. He is a much better way of dealing with difficult feelings than bingeing. I know for certain this is true. 

He is our refuge. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Counting my blessings

Over the last few months I have been trying to count my blessings more. I  have been trying to thank God for what He does for me more. I still have a long way to go but I am beginning to see the fruit of praising Him. The more I look to Him and praise Him for His work in my life the more I see it happening. 

God has been greatly blessing me recently. I started to get more pain in my knee than normal last autumn after increasing my level of exercise (from nonexistent to a little!). In the end I went to see my doctor and he refered me to the hospital. Within three and a half months I find myself on the eve of having a total knee replacement. My operation is at 12.30 tomorrow. I praise God for the speed with which it has happened and for helping me get a cancellation appointment for the surgery. I praise Him for giving me good friends and family to care for me afterwards. I praise Him for work letting me have the surgery at short notice. I managed to get a cancellation so it is extremely short notice for work. I praise Him for my friend Jackie, with whom I am staying  after my surgery. 

I have found that my level of trust is increasing as I take notice of all that God does for me. Taking note of all the good He does for me really does help me find more peace and trust.  It gives me hope for the future. If He has done this for me today, He will keep looking after me in the future. King David writes about this in Psalm 103, the first few verses of which are here. 

Psalm 103

A psalm of David.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

I recommend learning to count my blessings.  It really does make a difference. 

What do you thank Him for today? 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Finding Peace Within Your Heart

Sunset at Telscombe Cliffs, Peacehaven
I used to work with a Baptist minister called David, who used to be a pig farmer before he went into the ministry. He told me he used to find peace most easily by standing at the farmyard gate. When he found himself ministering in south west London he learned to find the farmyard gate within his heart.  I knew when he told me this that I had not found this kind of peace. 

The truth is I had not found my equivalent of the farm yard gate externally so it made it more hard to find it within me. I have now though. Since moving to Peacehaven in Sussex, I have found that standing on the cliff top looking out to sea brings me to a place of peace. It is my version of the farmyard gate. 

Now I have found that peace in an external place, I find I am learning to find it in my heart too. For years, I used to long for my own home and am blessed by living in my own flat now. But the longer I am there the more I realise that I experience peace more when I learn to look within, to the presence of God, bringing His peace with Him. 

What brings me most peace is looking to Father God. It is putting my relationship with Him first, making it a priority in my life. He is the author of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. It is a long journey to learn to look to Him, to His presence within me instead of turning to external things.

Sunny day in Peacehaven
We turn to places, people, things, drugs, food and drink to bring us the internal peace we long for but the presence of the Prince of Peace is what we really need. I wish it had not taken me so long to learn this.I had to learn to trust God with that deepest part of my heart. I had to learn to trust Him to be the peace I needed. As an act of my will I had to choose to seek God above other things. It is what helped me find the freedom of Christ in my food addiction. I learned to seek Him to deal with difficult emotions instead of overeating. 

It was a series of small steps. I had to learn to toddle before I could walk properly, let along before I could run. But now I am trying to make the most of what I have learned and seeking to spend time with Jesus. I am learning to just be with Him, no agenda, to simply enjoy His presence. It is what feeds my heart. I am learning to find the cliff top in my heart. 

What is your cliff top? What one small step can you take today to deepen your relationship with Jesus and bring that place within your heart?