Thursday, 31 July 2014

Join the Mission

    A few months ago I wrote about my struggle with discerning my vocation in a guest post over at UKCatholicgirl. Around a year ago God showed me that the ideas I had about my life and my career post-university were not the same as His ideas. He never does anything by halves, and almost overnight He wiped out all of the plans I’d devised, leaving confusion and frustration in their place. As I grew closer and closer to graduating without a solid plan for the next step, I found myself learning the hard way that God is sovereign over all things! 

    Anyone who knows me knows that I hate not having a comprehensive plan, but as my acceptance of my own lack of control over my future slowly grew I began to realise that God’s plans for me will always be bigger and better than any I could dream up for myself. Into the darkness, God brought light…

    From the 20th August I’ll be joining the Sion Catholic Community for Evangelisation on their Youth Foundation Year, along with several other young people. Over the course of 11 months I’ll be taught, guided, challenged and hopefully moulded into being more like the person God wants me to be. I’ll also have the opportunity to take the Gospel to over 10000 students in high schools around the country… and I’ve honestly never been more excited about anything in my whole life!

This is where you come in…

    The community invests £4500 a year (equating to just under £450 a month) into each of its foundation year members – which covers accommodation, food, mission resources, community transport, formation and prayer days – but to do so they rely entirely on God’s providence. Approximately half of the funding of the community comes from donations from individuals – either one-off donations or regular monthly donations. Regular monthly donations are hugely helpful to the community as it provides a stable income to allow planning for future months!

Here’s how you can get involved…

- Share in the mission through prayer and intercession on our behalf.
          ‘Brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured. (2 Thes. 3:1)

- Commit to providing a certain amount of money each month.
            ‘Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all you produce.’ (Proverbs 3:9)

- Pray about what you can offer as a one-off donation.
          ‘Each one must give as he has decided in his own heart.’ (2 Cor. 9:7)

- Join our journey and receive regular updates on how God’s been at work.
            ‘Give, and it shall be given to you.’ (Luke 6:38)

If you’d like to team up with For Such A Time As This and join the mission this year, drop me a message at to let me know (and so that I can send you updates throughout the year!), then post cheques addressed to ‘Sion Community’ to:

Esther Rich
The Ark of the Covenant
110 Potters Green Road
West Midlands

If you’re a UK tax payer, I can also send you a gift aid form so that we can claim an extra 28p for every pound you give!

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support.

May God bless you all abundantly!!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Why Prince Charming is a lie, but real men aren't...

    If you’ve never heard the song ‘Lead Me’ by Sanctus Real, listen to it now! At this point I could easily stop writing and let the lyrics speak for themselves… 

    I LOVE this song, but I can’t listen to it without getting emotional. My friend and I cried to each other over the phone when we first heard it. 


    Because it hits a sore spot. It hits that wound in all of our hearts that bleeds the phrase ‘how come there are no real men anymore?!’ Most of us have heard it asked. Nearly as many of us have asked it ourselves.

    God created us for union and communion with each other. His unmatchable creativity is such that he designed us to fit together perfectly in every way. Our lives are the most fruitful and we feel the most fulfilled when we’re exercising that complementarity. We need men in our lives – not just husbands, but fathers, brothers, friends – and they need us. We unlock an extra level of potential in each other.

    Sometimes as women we put far too much pressure on men to become the ideal we think we need. We’re often guilty of underestimating just how difficult a job they have! Supporting us and leading us takes an immense amount of strength. But that strength comes from God alone, and must be continually renewed through prayer and abandonment of self.

    Disney has taught us to expect perfection and settle for nothing less. But Prince Charming is a lie. No wonder the divorce rate is rising so rapidly: we’re in for a serious shock if we marry with the false belief that the men who swept us off our feet and carried us to the altar in their strong arms will retain that guise of perfection for long.

    No man is flawless (neither are we!), and expecting them to solve all our problems will only end in more heartache. Christ called us to love one another as He loves us. That means that the most fruitful relationships will be built on grace and mercy rather than pressure and judgement. We’re called to love each other including our flaws, because without that merciful love no relationship can survive.

    Disney’s version of ‘Mr Right’ may be far-fetched and idealistic, but deep down we do have a natural longing to be supported and guided by a strong man – spiritually, physically and emotionally... and that’s no coincidence! What we long for is actually the root of what men were intended to be, we just don’t realise it. We want them to be strong and gentle and decisive and loving all at the same time… and they can be! But to benefit from that, we have to allow them to develop those strengths. To have a ‘real man’, we have to allow him to be a real man.

    Culture insists on mourning the loss of ‘real men’, but perhaps it’s simply the definition used that needs challenging. A real man isn’t one who works out twice a day, earns a six figure salary and buys extravagant presents with money he won’t miss.

A ‘real man’ is one who will lead you with strong hands even when that means humbly admitting his mistakes.

One who will discerningly make sacrifices for the greater good of your family.

One who seeks guidance from his heavenly Father instead of relying on his own strength.

One who’d rather walk you to Heaven than drive you around in his Porsche.

One who looks at your heart before your physique.

One who prays for you, not just pays for you.

One who strives to protect your purity not conquer it.

One who loves you as Christ loves His Church.

… and these REAL MEN EXIST!