My daughters and I played a game this morning; the one particularly suited for long car journeys where you buy something and the next person has to remember what that something was and add their own etc…

Our shopping list was getting rather long, it included hippos and strawberry milkshakes and I’m sure there was a pair of old smelly socks too.

One of the most unusual items was one I came up with: ‘ a dose of affirmation.’ I don’t know why I chose it, but it just tumbled out as I was negotiating a round about on our way to a church service I was speaking at.

It was the church’s anniversary, a wonderful but rather quirky baptist tradition to mark each year where a speaker is invited. I was that said speaker and I quickly worked out that while there had been lots to be thankful and encouraged about over the year, with new people joining the church, they had also been going through a bit of a tough time. They had a load of squabbles over moved furniture, this had unleashed a torrent of power struggle unkindness. It seemed to me as if third agers where behaving like pre-teens! Yet whatever my view on the matter it was clear that many people were hurt and carrying lots of heart-ache. Friends had turned on each other over what seemed to be trivial things.

It’s a good job I went to the shop to buy a load of affirmation. As I prayed with people afterwards it was clear that this is what was needed: to keep going despite the heart ache.

Tonight I write this on a train heading off to speak on a show with Premier radio in London.

I’ve kissed my children goodnight and my wife too and to be honest I would rather be at home getting ready for bed myself… But then I chatted with my mum on the phone who was so excited about the idea of me being ‘on air’ and talking about Easter outreach ideas. She affirmed me tremendously, so much so it changed my outlook for the late night ahead! We need affirmation to keep on doing what we are called to do. Make sure you pick up a load to giveaway next time you ‘go to the shops…’


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