Quarantine Update: What’s Next?

What’s lockdown looking like for you at the moment? Have you got back into swing of a normal life or are you still feeling really cautious?

I’m sort of in the middle. Of course I’m still cautious and careful but yet I am thankful that I have been able to get back to normal living in some ways. The start of quarantine started off very slow. Family walks, endless Netflix, university assignments, blogging and filming at every possible chance. Things are looking a bit different now. I’ve been to see friends, I’ve completed the majority of my driving lessons, I’ve finished first year and passed with a 2.i!

During lockdown, one on the things I had time to give a lot of time and attention to was my relationship with God. After the ups and downs of first year, I felt very distant from God. Delving deep into His word, spending time in prayer, finding guidance in older mentors and sharing struggles with my Christian friends that a lot of young adults can relate to has really given me the push in my Christian life that I need. When a lot of people prophesied “2020” vision, I didn’t think this was what was meant, but now I understand. My eyes have been opened.

I am relatively excited about moving into a house next year. There will be challenges, I am sure of it, but I am confident that I will overcome them because of my reignited faith and not be overcome by them. I believe the next year will fly pass and I am excited to get stuck into some new books on my course as well as some personal reads.

In terms of my blog, expect to see posts, same with my videos, maybe not so frequent as you’ve been used to, as I would prefer to take my time to write genuine, honest blogs and create videos that will actually have some lasting impact.

Overall, I’m doing well, I can’t complain and I hope you all are making the most of your time right now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian – Part 3 – To this day

Fast forward many years and many ups and downs that I will cover another time, we get to the present day. I am very much walking with Christ. Sometimes I’m vigorously sprinting, sometimes I’m reluctantly crawling. Sometimes I’m so hungry for the Word of God, sometimes I’m merely peckish, sometimes I feel like I am full. This is what this three part blog series is actually about. Feeling full. The truth is I can never be too full with God. When God is in it, there is no limit – ever. That’s even for those who know the Bible back to front and can quote scripture faster than I can quote Drake lyrics. I’m definitely nowhere even near to being that kind of person in my journey with Christ yet. I’ve fallen into laziness, relying on the fact that I have years of church experience and years of being in a church environment to get me through this Christian life. And it is not enough.

Here I speak with complete honesty. I have met someone who is an example of being absolutely hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. Someone who has not had the same positive life and church experiences as me. I love this person very much. I can honestly say that in the beginning, when I started sharing my journey to faith with him, and he shared his journey to faith with me, I thought it was me that had the passion and hunger for Christ all the time. Plot twist, it most certainly wasn’t!!!!

God has humbled me so much and allowed me to realise that me intensely studying the Bible, praying, fasting and living according to grace and the Word of God in one breath whilst relying on my upbringing and prior experience in another breath, when I perhaps feel down and deflated spiritually is not enough. This is not the way I’m suppose to live! Maybe this is perhaps where I fall into temptation?

I want to understand Christ more, I want to live in the truth of the gospel day by day, to glorify His Name and to live a life according the purpose that He has given to me, but the battle between spirit and flesh is ongoing and rather intense. This is not an excuse, but a reality. Fellow Christians, can you relate? Of course you can. This battle is written about in the Bible so many times – read Paul’s letters in the New Testament, it is a battle that is not and will not be hidden from us because it is so real to our very existence. But Christians are also called not to be of the flesh, but of the Spirit. In fact, we are told that we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit (Romans 8:9). This indicates to me that is a choice, a choice that I will live to make everyday of my life, everyday of my life. I refuse to define myself as being a complacent Christian as I seek everyday to be more like Jesus.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian – Part 2 – Back to Christ

Growing up as a teen was difficult. I won’t lie, I can’t lie but during a lot of secondary school I didn’t connect with God, I was too concerned with friends – who weren’t actually friends, cute boys *eye roll*, my appearance, popularity, gossip and all the other things teen me indulged in. I used to be the kind of person to mumble something that mildly resembled a prayer before I went to bed each night, as some sort of recognition of God’s presence but during the day, it was all about me. I thought all the excitement of school and teenage life would be all I needed to live a cosy life. I’d keep going to church on side, because mum and dad wouldn’t just leave us home alone every Sunday, but I wasn’t really exercising my faith. My Bible had collected more dust particles than an old doll in an antique shop and I was pretty sure my prayers were as genuine as some reality TV shows I watched. I watched the relationship I had with God crumble right before my eyes, because I was too concerned with what everyone on the outside thought of me. I became so distant with my parents and my older brother because of my selfishness, my self-absorption and outright denial of having an issue in the first place. By the grace of God alone have those relationships now been fully restored to above and beyond what I could have imagined.

Around about the age of 14, I experienced the lowest point in my life so far. Call it a teenage meltdown, hormones, teen anxiety or whatever you like, I was low, and I was very unhappy. I’m not going to go into details about it, maybe another day, in another blog, but just know, I was in a very dark place. I didn’t call out to God in this time, I didn’t think He was there, and if He was, that He would be interested or that He could change my situation. I looked for healing in people and their approval, which could have never in a million years fill the void that was in the middle of my being. I went to a church festival at the age of 15 with the church my family had recently relocated to. It was not long after I had the complete breakdown, I think it may have been 2 or 3 days after it, but I went anyways, feeling broken and completely helpless.

I’m confident in the fact that I did not leave that place in the state that I had come. I felt the Spirit of God moving in me, literally, I didn’t know what it was then, but looking back in hindsight, I can confirm it was God. I was led to speak to this lady, to this day I cannot remember her name, but she led me into a prayer that allowed me to allow God in to change my life. I remember I was shaking heavily, I had never asked for prayer over my situation, I hardly spoke about it in full with anyone to be completely honest. Apparently I didn’t need to tell her everything either. She asked me straight away whether I had anxiety and whether I wanted prayer. I told her yes and yes please. So she prayed and I responded. From that moment, I stopped shaking and felt this inner peace that I only remember feeling at the age of seven when I came to Christ and was baptised. I felt like a child again, His child again.

I went back to school a different person, a new creation as the apostle Paul refers to it in 2 Corinthians 5:17. People noticed the change in me, some rejoiced with me, some weren’t too keen on it, which did discourage me and some were open to understanding why and how everything had happened. I had highs and lows throughout my journey as a re-committed Christian, lots of highs and lows. I still don’t always make the right choices – I have often made very wrong ones, to say the least. But I can honestly say that since that day, I never felt completely separated from God like I once had.

Part 3 is out now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian: Part 1 – Growing up “Christian”

These two words shouldn’t really co-exist. A Christian really shouldn’t be complacent. However, I can be very complacent….. and I’m a Christian. I grew up in the church, different church assemblies, but I was always in church. I know that doesn’t equate to me being a Christian. It doesn’t matter if I spent every spare minute I had in church. Standing in a church doesn’t equate to my salvation, nor does spending time in church equate to me actually being the person that God has called me. The fact that I was brought up in church does, however, add to the reason why I, personally, have become quite complacent. Here’s why:

Being in the church environment literally from my first days even breathing independently from my mother meant that I was always surrounded by the Word of God. As in always. My parents are both committed Christians with incredible testimonies of their own. Without a doubt this became the foundation for my understanding of the Bible and of God himself. Thankfully, being a Christian was never forced on me, or my three siblings. In contrary to many claims about kids raised in church being “brainwashed”, I can wholeheartedly confirm, that we were not! We were always taught that we were to make our own decisions regarding our faith as in the end it was going to be our choice. Believe me, we all have our own personal journeys and all four of us has made both a personal declaration and public declaration (through baptism) of our faith in Jesus.

I chose, as in actually chose to be baptised at the age of seven. Yes, I was young, I’ve been told that so many times, but I vividly remember when I first believed in God. I asked my parents if I could get baptised, assuming they’d say no, because I was young and inexperienced (my older brother was actually younger than me when he chose to get baptised!), but they didn’t say no. Instead they ensured that I knew what I was declaring and understood my personal reason for becoming a Christian. I was a bright kid, some would say I was years above my age, so I could honestly say I was ready.

Part 2 is published now – didn’t want to make the blog too long!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Late Night Shenanigans: When you’re not the best at the party.

I’ve been thinking recently about the things that I am grateful for. The list is vast, but sometimes I pause to give God thanks for the beautiful and amazing things that I have been blessed with, it always seems as if my mind wanders into dangerous territories. I start dwelling on the things that haven’t made me happy, the people who have said things to hurt me and the awful things that I’ve seen, heard and experienced. Suddenly my intention of acknowledging the many great things in life turns into an internal rant about the challenges I face. Anyone relate?!

Whether or not you look the best at the party, whether or not you aced a first or an A in your assessment, whether or not you have the latest, most fashionable clothing doesn’t compare to the things that actually matter. Sometimes I go to parties and feel like the most unattractive person in the room regardless of what anyone says – it happens sometimes. But when I compare that to the wonderful gift of family that I have, my hairstyle and makeup failure at one singular party doesn’t matter anymore. There have been times where I’ve felt like the outsider within friendship groups, but when I think about the people who feel they can lean on me when things are going downhill in their life, whether or not they post memories of me on their story becomes so very small.

Don’t let the little things (that without a doubt seem big at the time) get in the way of all the incredible things you have to be thankful for. Show gratitude always, keep your head up and don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Greatest Day in History

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:5‭-‬6

Happy Easter you lovely people!!! Resurrection Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross – he defeated sin and rose up up from the grave so that I can live in freedom. Tens of thousands of Christians across the UK and millions of Christians around the world use this day to remember what Jesus has done for them, not only in their personal lives but for the whole entire world!

I will never be ashamed of the gospel and I will never be ashamed to declare my faith both here, on my blog, and in my daily life. My blog, of course is not merely faith based posts, I post a bit of everything, from education to relationships to lifestyle but my faith is very central in my life and I would believe I would be hiding a huge, crucial part of myself if I did not share it.

Whatever you’re doing today or however you’re choosing to celebrate this bank holiday weekend I hope you are all keeping safe and staying happy – even in quarantine!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Know Your Worth

In many aspects of our everyday life, we do not give ourselves enough credit for who we are; a lot of us do not know our worth or sometimes fail to recognise it. If we treat ourselves as if we are worth less than we are, we leave room for self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence which can lead us down some tricky paths.

You were created for a purpose, regardless of what others believe about why we as humans are here. You are not an accident and your life isn’t just happening for no particulat reason. You find your purpose within your worth, so to know your purpose, you have to first know your worth.

No matter how much your friends, family and loved ones tell you how much your worth, in the end you have to know it for yourself. I personally find my worth accoring to who God says I am. I am chosen, loved, cared for, free, wonderfully made, saved, rescued, ransomed and redeemed.

In what or whom do you find your worth?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My faith and me: What do I believe?

The connatations of Christianity in the Western world does not euqate to it’s meaning or value to those who actually believe. Being born and raised in church I have seen so many variations and ideas regarding being a Christian. Living in a secular society, where faith and belief is seen as an outdated concept, it’s sometimes difficult to convey and declare my faith without being met with a bunch of complicated questions.

I can stand and say that now at the age of 19 that I am a firm believer in Jesus. He is my God, my saviour, my helper, my healer, my peace, my joy, my strength and He calls me His friend. I am who I am because of my faith, and I will never be ashamed of it.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

I love all people, that’s the main value of Christianty, and one of the most important commandments. I aim through my life and through my blog to spread the love that God has given to me.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Beauty of Christmas!

Hey guys! Merry Christmas!! What’s your favourite part of Christmas? Is it the decorative lights? The presents? Spending time with your family and friends? I love all of these aspects, as most people do, however, as a Christian, Christmas to me is so much more! Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ through joyful songs, generous giving and all round fellowship and collaboration with those in my community is what truly makes my Christmas special. This year, today in fact, I had the absolute pleasure in helping out at a Christmas party/meal for those who are less fortunate than myself which was organised by my incredible church family. Giving back to the community and sharing this special holiday with those who are short of either company or money has definitely been one of the major highlights of my Christmas.

Christmas for most is a season of peace, love and joy regardless of faith and beliefs. I hope all of you out there experience the peace, love and joy that you well and truly deserve. I wish endless laughter and happiness to you and all your families!

Will be back with another blog in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Love Always,

Shadz xo