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

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Wrestling with God

A version of this post first appeared in my regular slot on the blog for the Association of Christian Writers, More than Writers on 16th July 2015

My post this month is inspired by having read a post on Crosswalk.com, How Wrestling with God will change you forever by Dena Johnson,. In it Dena talks about Jacob wrestling with God. She pointed out something I hadn’t noticed before (I love it when that happens don’t you?). She showed us how Jacob changed how he referred to God after his divine wrestling match.  Before his encounter with God we read this,

 “Then Jacob prayed, O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, 'Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,' (Gen 32:9)

After his encounter with God Jacob is given the name Israel and we read that, 
 “There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel [God, the God of Israel].” Gen 33:20 .

Before his wrestling encounter Jacob describes God as the God of his father and grandfather, but afterwards he speaks of more personally by referring to the God of Israel. Wrestling with God actually brought Jacob closer to Him.  

And boy oh boy can I identify with that. Over the last 6 years I’ve struggled with God, as I went through all kinds of pain, doubt and loss. At the time I was going through it I didn’t imagine it would have the blessed outcome that it did. I felt like a failure.  I was an evangelist with no faith, a food addict and my dreams were in pieces around my feet. Like Jacob I was alone, and like Jacob I fought with God for a blessing. But like Jacob I came out of my experiences with a far strong relationship with God.

While writing my book, He Never Let Go, about my experiences I realised that prior to this a lot of my faith was actually faith in the Church with God supporting this. Now my faith is in God with the Church supporting. I didn’t realise how much I was piggy-backing on other people’s faith until I found myself wrestling with God alone.

But I am so glad God trusted me with that experience. It has ultimately brought me much blessing. I have been freed from food addiction and am gradually getting back to some kind of ministry with my writing. Knowing that what I write helps others is a huge blessing.

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 at www.lyndaalsford.com
I recently started writing a regular email newsletter, Seeking the Healer, for those seeking freedom from addictive behaviours especially food addiction/compulsive overeating/binge eating disorder (see previous editions here). In it I share some of the things that I have learned on my journey to freedom that will encourage you on your own journey to freedom. I've already been blessed by receiving emails from readers who have been helped and are engaging more with God in their search for freedom - the ultimate blessing for me. If you would like to receive the newsletter please sign up here, or go to www.lyndaalsford.com where there is a sign up link on the home page.

If you are wrestling with God, please don’t give up. The blessing you receive is so worth sticking with your divine wrestling match. Stick with God, He will never let go of you. He loves you.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Don't give up

There are two video clips in today’s post. Do watch them as they are both so encouraging. They show different aspects about being in a race. 1 Corinthians 9:24ff and Hebrews 12:1-3 both show different aspects of running in a race, and they liken it to our journey of faith.  Read the Bible verses and watch the video. They speak for themselves really. Let God speak to you.

Hebrews 12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! The Message (MSG)

I always imaged these verses were describing a negative crowd of people, telling me how badly I was doing and to pull my socks up and do better next time. But today at our Church the preacher was describing how they are like this crowd cheering on Matt in his race. They are encouraging us. We need each other to cheer us on our way.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." New Living Translation (NLT)

In this video if Heather had given up when she fell she would not have won her race. It is tempting to be really hard on ourselves when we fall and to tell ourselves that there is no point in carrying on – I might as well give up (or am I the only one who thinks this…I suspect not). But in reality the truth is that we all fall. But it is how we react to our fall that makes the difference. We can lay there and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can get back up and keep running the race, like Heather did despite falling over, and like Matt did despite his physical limitations.

Maybe those of us who can be naturally stubborn like me can have an advantage in this. My stubbornness means I will sometimes refuse to let go of something. Seeking healing from food addiction is one such time. I was determined that I would find a way to experience the freedom of Christ in this area of my life. I didn’t stop running that race until I found what I was searching for. There were times when I fell over but I got back up again. At times I didn’t have people cheering me on around me but I sought out as much help as I could. And I made it to the end of that part of the race. I have been free for 3 years now.  If Jesus freed me He will free you too. Just keep on keeping on in your race. 

I am now writing a regular newsletter to encourage people to Seek the Healer for help with their broken lives. I will share insights that helped me on my journey to freedom to help you on your own journey to freedom. If you would like to receive this newsletter please subscribe here

Also there are two possibilities of meeting up in erpson. Firstly,  in an informal way, probably in London this autumn, with a group of others who want to share with each other. This will be mostly women with overeating problems but no-one will be excluded. Secondly, there is the possiblity that I will be leading a Seeking the Healer retreat in Sussex during 2016. 

Please contact me (leave a comment below) if either of these is something you wish to explore. Dates not yet confirmed but I hope to have the confirmed in the next few weeks or so.