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5 minutes with Nicky ...

- What's your favourite bible passage and why?

I think that “Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction and constant in prayer’" from Romans 12 is up there.

This is quick and deep. It summarises how to behave and BE in all circumstances. You can meditate on this for a very long time and still not plumb the depths. This is the rubber hitting the road when you have met Jesus and understood the gospel.

Also, at the moment , I am on a road of discovery of the Psalms and how to pray and sing them (ie. not just read or study them). Psalm 62 and the part that says ”pour out your heart before Him” is something I am pondering a lot at the moment .

Praying has NOT been easy for me….ever. I have needed help from others, books, wise elders, and a marvellous retreat I help with, to get me actually turning towards God. And then I neglect to do it again……I know I am not alone in this!

God, in His grace, is teaching me to learn how to pray. It is grace, grace, grace all the way down !!! It is a loving heavenly Father I get to spend time with and His brilliant, loving, saviour son the Lord Jesus. His Spirit even HELPS me pray. So why wouldn’t I want to do that? Why do I still find it hard? Why do I avoid it? This is what I am working on…and He is working on in me! I am talking with others on the same road. These verses help a lot. (As an aside a couple of us are coming to Sydney next March to provide a retreat for people about these things. Will leave an email at the end of this article…so you can contact me if interested!!)

- How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?

This question assumes that I do! There are LOTS of internal and external, “shiny things” that distract me from Him and focussing on Him.

Things that help me to keep turning towards Him and focussing on Him are not rocket science…

  • Hang out with people who help you fix your eyes on Jesus. Church, a prayer triplet, talking about Him in general conversation etc.

  • Make time to spend with Him alone as well . There are creative ways to do this….Spending time in God’s word, listening to good Bible teaching is important for me, using books to help me read the Bible, sometimes music.

  • I personally like studying a whole book of the Bible for a while and working my way through it…but I know this can be a bit deadly for some people. But it really switches my lights on!

  • I also know I need times away and times in nature to get clear-headed etc again. I need time to STOP to focus on Him. It’s hard to keep going at a fast pace without breaks. For me that is not conducive to focussing on Jesus. Going to fast for too long gets me all shook up and distracted. My mind goes like a snow globe!! I serve from a place of anxiety and “it’s all about me” when I don’t stop well.

  • Having a variety of things that are helpful in spending time with God and changing it up is good for me.

- What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?

I think I said it already….it’s grace, grace, grace all the way down! ( I think I stole this from a mixture of CS Lewis and someone else! Maybe John Ortberg?)

My husband said this in a sermon on Romans 5 last year and it has stayed with me. “If this grace is really, really true, there is no need for hiding, no more need for striving and no more comparing ourselves to others.“

As Christian women we need to know both our WORTH as well as our unworthiness. We need to know how deeply widely and extravagantly loved we are. If we really got this we would have no need to secretly keep comparing ourselves to others. We would no longer have to strive to “perform” and be “up to scratch”. We also would not need to hide our true selves but be able to thrive warts and all.

This is not just positive thinking, weird,”you can be amazing”, make-up ad crap.

What I mean is we can take sin seriously and not run away from it. We can turn towards the dark side of ourselves and bring it all up out in to the light with Jesus. I don’t have to paper over how manipulative, selfish and self serving I really am underneath. I can be honest about this, feel shame and remorse, and have it dealt with deeply in an ongoing wonderful inner transformation. Now that is a real “complete makeover”!

It begins with understanding the real Jesus and what it means that he has given His life to deal with our sin. What’s in a name? With Jesus ….EVERYTHING!!! ( His name shall be called “Jesus” because He has saved the people from their sins”)

This way FREEDOM lies…(to mess with Shakespeare a bit). A real freedom of self forgetfulness! We can be on about something much bigger than ourselves now. The ego doesn’t have to run the show any more! Hallelujah!! Phew!!! This is a light burden indeed where you can find rest for your weary souls. You get to know the Lord of the universe as your soul mate in all of life. He made your soul, He knows you better than you know yourself. He is always with you. You live to bring HIM glory…. It’s no longer about you but Him. Frankly, this is a blessed and merciful relief! Hurrah!

- What's one thing you love about your local church?

I love my life group which eats together weekly and shares life and the word and prayer together. I also love that my church is outward focussed from the top down….and that we have a clear mission as a community even though we are quite a diverse bunch.

- What did you learn about God at a time you found hard?

I think I learned to ’pour your heart our before Him’ when one of my children was unwell a number of years ago. The hard times are where you grow. Nothing helps you learn to pray like something difficult happening with your kids!

- What are you passionate about?

Real, honest and deep connection with God and others matters a whole lot to me. Expressing things creatively in my music and in my words at work and home is also very important. Creatively putting things in to words and music is my main channel for this, but I am exploring some visual stuff too just for fun.

I have learned these two things, connecting and creativity, are at the core of everything I am and do in Him. It’s how I am wired.

I also am really passionate about great Bible teaching. Careful handling of ALL of the scriptures that gets out of the way and shows us what God is saying to us is vital. It is essential for the steady, real, long-lasting building up of God’s people and His kingdom. I really believe this.

- What do you enjoy doing when you rest?

Connecting! I love the movies, reading, time with good friends and family, British TV shows, going to anything arty. I am most content when Chis and I are resting together :) He is good at taking time to rest.

Nicky Chiswell November, 2015 (photo courtesy of Dave Macc Photography)

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