The Skinny on being a Bride-to-be

So you’ve just got engaged, you’re on top of the world, you can finally start putting into motion the day you have been dreaming of since you were 5 years old and the day you have been mentally planning since you were 16 years old.

So you start off slow, gathering ideas and attending wedding fairs, sipping Champaign, trying on gorgeous gowns this is AMAZING!

But then after the initial few months have been and gone, you get down to the hard graft of actually making this day happen.

You realize that there is more to this wedding planning lark that just trying on dresses, it’s actually pretty hard work.

You are expected to be a fashionista, choosing dresses for you and your bridesmaids, not forgetting the men who after 10 minutes of shopping are already bored. You are expected to be an interior designer creating the most beautiful room your guests have ever seen and that’s not forgetting to decorate the church too. A chef, choosing meals that will cater for your guests varying dietary requirements. You are the world peace keeper managing to gracefully accept the many ideas your friends and family have about your day whilst trying to ensure that it is also what you and your groom want. You’re the banker and financial advisor, yes let’s not forget that the majority of us are on budgets, and trying to explain to your groom that this really is how much a photographer costs is just one of many hurdles. You need to decide who you are inviting, do we really need your second cousins dog groomer or shall we just send them a piece of the cake, don’t even mention the seating plan! Before long it’s starting to feel like a full time job.

As if this wasn’t enough, brides today are expected to look like models, thin, effortlessly elegant and glowing on their wedding day. Are we putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure or is this just ‘what you do’ when you get married.

I am getting married this September, in 68 days to be specific but who’s counting! I have found myself just over 2 months before the big day thinking, right so I guess I should start a diet then. And I’m challenged by this. I am fairly content with my body, I eat things in moderation and I look after myself, so why is it that as brides we feel we need to change ourselves for what is ultimately one (very special) day when the man we are marrying has always loved us the way we are, is it for us, our groom, for the photo’s or is it just what is done?

When looking at ‘wedding timelines’ outlining what needs to be done I have persistently seen ‘start exercise regime’, ‘start beauty regime’, ‘start diet’ as far as 6 months in advance. Sure we all want to look our best, we want to radiate beauty and have a bridal glow on our wedding days, but are we taking things too far?

Because I know that our wedding day is not going to be the most special day of our lives because we managed to match the ties to the bridesmaids dresses, not because we managed to book that band that everyone likes, not because I managed to lose half a stone and Adam got his hair cut, and it won’t be ruined if the flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle, or because the caterer forgot to serve that wine with that course that you spent 2 hours choosing, not because it rains or because you woke up with a spot…it will be the most special of our lives because we get to say ‘I will’, because this day is celebrating the love we have for one another, because this day is about celebrating with those who you love that God brought you together and you get to promise to be with one another for the rest of your lives.

So the rest of it (as lovely as it is) isn’t important, relax, your wedding day will be the happiest day of your life without that stuff. If by the end of the day you got to marry your best friend, the love of your life and he is your husband, then everything went well. So in my opinion we need to be kinder to ourselves, you’re doing a hard enough job as it is, don’t put yourself through more than you need to because you know what you will look beautiful and you will be glowing because the smile of a woman who has just married the love of her life is the most beautiful thing in the world!

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Challenging Stereotypes

Over the last few months, God has been putting on my heart, the homeless, the broken and the lost. Before now I have not been ignorant of these people, but neither have I felt a particular passion for them. And over these last few months I have become more aware of the homeless living on our streets. I have now started to see them for what they are; individuals, Gods creations, intelligent people, people that need to be treated just like you or I.

Here is my point…

Some of us walk past a homeless person, we don’t like to acknowledge them for fear of being begged for money, we want to get on with our own lives and don’t want to deal with the taboo that is the homeless.

Some of us may stop, give them some change and walk off feeling a sense of accomplishment, and by that act of giving money we can suppress that guilty feeling that we may get seeing the homeless on our streets.

Some of us many prefer to give them something to eat or drink, after all they may use the money for drugs and alcohol and we wouldn’t want to encourage substance misuse.

Some of us may even offer them an umbrella or a coat in cold weather.homless man

But have any of you stopped, knelt or sat down and spoken to a homeless person? Have you shaken their hand or asked their name? Have you given the time to learn about their life and listen to what they have to say?

Have you asked their preference in food or drink, offered to let them select a coat they would like you to give them, asked for their permission to sit down? They have the right to be treated with respect, dignity and be given a choice. They deserve more than the loose change at the bottom of your purse or the old coat you no longer use, they deserve to be treated like anyone else… with love.

My fiancé Adam is currently backpacking around the UK. He took no money, food or technology; he is simply relying on God to provide for him. Adam is living of the goodwill of others and like anyone else, needs food, warmth, interaction with others, and to be shown love. Adams journey away has made me even more aware of how we treat people on the street, on the side of a road, and how we perceive them and therefore treat them.

So my challenge to you is this; whilst giving to the homeless is a good thing to do, why not stop and have a chat, sacrifice some time, shake off the stereotype and spend some time with a homeless person, you may learn more than you think.

For the bible says;

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Matthew 25: 34-40

Believe

Over the last few months it has become apparent to me that when we put our faith and trust in God; he delivers.

I think we can all read the bible and learn of the many miracles Jesus did and feel that these miracles only occur in the bible; this is not the case. In the bible there are many examples of the faith people had in Jesus such as Moses and Esther, I don’t think a lot of us have that same faith anymore.Image

Yes we can say, please Lord help me find a car parking space, but is that true faith? We can say, yes Lord I believe you have the right job for me, but is this the faith we hear about in the bible? We can fall into the trap of thinking; how can we trust God with everything; I have bills to pay, a car to run, clothes to buy, children to feed, in the time the bible was written they didn’t have these concerns. But you know what; they did, and they trusted God despite this, and he did provide.

People in the bible trusted the Lord with their lives, they left themselves completely open to him and surrendered all control to him, and they were vulnerable to Gods will, and God was able to work miracles because of this!

My boyfriend Adam is one of few individuals who I know has complete trust in God and I continue to be in awe of his faith in God!

For those of you who don’t know, Adam is coming to the end of his contract at Beverley Minster, he no longer feels that this is where God wants him and so for the last few months we have been praying for direction.

Not long ago, God told Adam that he wants him to build a house and open it as a place of sanctuary for the homeless and the needy. Adam had no qualms or worries about leaving his job at Beverley and has no worries about how or when he will build this house, Adam completely trusts in God to provide and work through him.

You see so often we look at our lives from an earthly perspective, but have we ever stopped to look at our lives from a heavenly perspective. What does God see? Yes we managed to re decorate the kitchen and we got that car we always wanted, we went to church and did the coffee once a month, but what did we do for God? God does not measure our value by our money or possessions, he measures us by what we say and do, if everything was stripped away, what would you have left?

So how often then is it that we can truly say we have put all our trust in God? When we surrender ourselves to God, he can work, he can work miracles. For God says;

“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Matthew 17:20 

The God we read about in the bible is the same God we pray to today, and he can work those same miracles…if only we would let him.

Handmade by God!

Today as part of my nursing course I had the opportunity to spend the day watching open heart surgery. This was not my first time in surgery however today I was really struck by how perfectly and intricately we were made.

needle-and-thread2

I have spoken a lot in the past about how we see ourselves, our inner beauty and feeling confident in our own skin, but today I want to share with you my passion for anatomy…and no, this is not a science lesson!

One of the reasons for wanting to become a nurse was my passion for anatomy and learning more about the human body. The human body is more intricately designed than any watch, more efficient than any ipad, more complex than the internet and more mind blowing than any space rocket.  The medical world are constantly learning more about how our bodies work and I continue to be amazed by its intricacy, how can people doubt there is a God when his amazing creations lie as evidence for us to see everyday!?

cardiacpulminary machine

Today one machine that was being used was something called a cardiopulmonary bypass machine (don’t worry I wont be testing you on this!). The purpose of this machine is to temporarily take over the function of the heart and lungs during surgery. Even with all the most up-to-date technology and the biggest steps in medical science, we can still only create a machine at least 50 times the size of a heart to do the same thing.

This to me is clear proof that our technology is no comparison to Gods creations. Remember how big computers used to be, now we can virtually carry one around in our pockets. Our advances in technology have been phenomenal, but there is no doubting in my mind that God is the greatest inventor and creator, we are the most  up-to-date technology there is, and we are not man made, we are handmade by God!

Remember, the bible says;

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”

Psalm 139:13-14

Does Size Matter?

Last week I heard of a popular high street store introducing ‘normal-sized’ mannequins into their displays. Some of you may not know but most of the mannequins we see out shopping are between a UK dress size 8-10 when the average size of a woman in the UK today is between size 14-16.  mannequins

It is my belief that God made us all shapes and sizes because variety is fantastic, how odd then that the fashion world chooses to idealize one dress size. This move towards ‘normal-sized’ mannequins has shocked the fashion world and raised questions such as; ‘does this condone obesity’?

My opinion is that this should come as no shock to anyone, if the fashion world wants to appeal to a mass market of customers they need to accept that every shape and size is beautiful and worthy of representation in their stores.

These mannequins are a more accurate depiction of how women look today, and I think this is to be celebrated. This also raises the question, does size matter? I say no, whether you are a size 4 or a size 14 you are beautiful, whether you are 4ft5 or 6ft1 you are beautiful, apple shaped, pear, curvy, athletic shaped you are beautiful and God handmade you because he knows that individuality is what makes us beautiful.

I hope that this is the first of many movements towards a society where every shape and size is seen as beautiful, and we all feel we can be ourselves without feeling we have to conform to an ‘ideal’.

Sex…Sex…SEX!!!

SEX, it’s not something we talk about that often, yet its everywhere we look in magazines, on TV, in music video’s, we are surrounded by it, but yet we don’t talk about it…why not?

sexLast night at a youth group I helped at, we talked about sex and relationships. We discussed what we thought society thought of sex, and what God thinks of sex. The lists couldn’t be more different. We found that a lot of young people felt that if you weren’t ‘doing it’ you were labelled as boring and uptight. We found that a lot of people felt that society and the media portrayed sex as something meaningless to do with whoever you want whenever you want, it wasn’t something special, it was just…sex.

When we spoke about what people felt God thinks about sex, word such as; sacred and special came up (no pun intended).  People said God thinks sex is something to treasure, something to do only with someone you love and are committed to.

This threw up another dilemma, commitment. What is commitment???

The oxford dictionary defines commitment as;

The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, a pledge or undertaking, an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action”

 The Urban dictionary defines commitment as;

“Something men are frequently afraid of.  Proposal of this will most definitely end a relationship, sticking with something long after the mood you have said it in has left you”

 So is commitment, being in a relationship, being engaged, being married? Or is it something boring, something restricting, something you don’t want to do, and something you are scared of. Commitment has come to mean something that will tie you down, something old fashioned and boring. I think the promise of commitment has come to mean something you say but can walk away from if you change your mind, have we lost the meaning of commitment completely?

But you know my opinion of commitment is very different. Commitment for me is something I strive for, I want to be committed to my boyfriend, I want him to commit himself to me. Commitment is security, something special, if you commit your self to someone like you never have and never will again, and they commit themselves to you like they never have and never will again… isn’t that exiting and special???

I think we all need to remember how, sacred and special sex is, it is something to save and look forward to for when you meet that special someone that will change your life for ever!