A story of Faithfulness, Favour, Growth and Love

Lavish Cardiff returned to it’s home church, Bethel Baptist, in March this year. We shared a powerful evening with uplifting worship lead by Rachel. Sdsc_0552he also shared an update from the Summit Centre, including the official opening of the centre by the Prince of Wales.

We then heard Mariam’s powerful testimony, which touched and moved the many women who came along to hear it. Mariam shared that when asked to share her testimony, she wondered why me, as her story is ordinary and she hadn’t achieved muchHowever, as we listened we discovered that her story was far from ordinary. Her story is one of faithfulness, favour, growth and love and this shone through everything she shared. Here story is very personal so no details are shared here, but we do share what she says God says about her as this applies to us all:

dsc_0531Unique: Psalm 139:13       Loved: Jeremiah 31:3

Special: Ephesians 2:10      Cared for: Ephesians 3: 17-19

Lovely: Daniel 12:3             Precious: Corinthians 6: 20

Strong: Psalm 18: 25        Important: 1 Peter 2: 9

Forgiven: Psalm 103:12       Protected: Psalm 12:13

Chosen: John 15: 16      I’m Family: Ephesians 2:19-22

I’m no longer a foreigner, and a stranger but a fellow citizen with God’s people and a member of His household.

Thank you again to Mariam and the ladies of Bethel Baptist Church for hosting us.

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Lavish 9th March at Bethel Baptist, Whitchurch

The next Lavish Cardiff event is on Saturday 9th March at 7.30 pm at Bethel Baptist Church, Whitchurch, CF14 2AA.

We are delighted to have Mariam as our speaker for the evening. Mariam will share her incredible journey of faith and God’s guidance and continued faithfulness in her life.

As always, this is a free event and all women are very welcome to attend. Please extend the invitation to any woman you know who would like to experience Lavish!

Please download the Lavish promo slide so you can publicise the event to women in your church and across your networks.


Bethel Baptist Church is on Penlline Road in Whitchurch, a few doors up from Barclays Bank. There is free parking in the car park behind the church (turn right off Penlline Road) or there is also a free car park further down off Merthyr Road.

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Lavish Lite September 2018

Lavish Lite, “café style”, in the Church of the Resurrection was a welcome and cosy retreat from the wind and rain lashing down outside.  And the tea, coffee and home-made cakes were shared from the beginning onwards, instead of just at the end of the night! 


Our speaker was Debs who worships at Victory Church in Cwmbran.  Debs’ path to becoming a Christian included first attending the local Anglican church as a child, then Brownies church parades, the power of Christian Union in secondary school, and then one night seeing Jesus who touched her and became real to her.   

Debs family life at home wasn’t easy, but after leaving school and a few setbacks along the way,  she achieved a degree in nutrition, got engaged and moved into her own flat.  Debs threw herself into life at 100 miles per hour, in a deep longing to avoid being a failure and overcome her low self-esteem.

Her life was full of busyness – a career in academia, family, running a church toddler group, leading the PTA, volunteering for everything in an attempt to make people like her through her actions.  This carried on for over twenty years, but it all came to a head when her Nan died and at the same time Debs was hit with a norovirus which laid her low for a month.  Once she stopped, it seemed impossible to get going again. 

Debs was not sleeping, she was aching all over; she developed a burning pain in her legs, then a severe case of facial flushing.  There followed a crazy period of doctor’s appointments and a barrage of tests before Debs was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia and photo-aggravated rosacea.  Fibromyalgia affects everyone differently and for Debs it included widespread pain, stiffness, lethargy, poor sleep quality and “brain fog”.  The rosacea was a chronic inflammation of the skin, possibly triggered by medication, and meant that Debs was allergic to most lights, except LEDs. 

Debs talked of her life as a journey taken with God, who has been with her every step of the way.  She was reminded of the song sung many times at Lavish, “never once did we ever walk alone”, and she shared many verses of scripture with us that she found helpful.debs.jpg

 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:18)


“…because God has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Even in the most difficult circumstances God will carry us through to the end.  Debs grieved for her old life, as she was forced to slow down and having counselling at Cardiff Christian Healing Ministry helped to come to terms helped.  She learnt that she had tried to fill her life by pleasing people, earning love by being productive, but she came to realise that God’s love is a free gift, not based on what we do. 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31: 3)

Debs got rid of the “should, oughts and musts” from her life, as God gave her permission to love herself and heal.  After all, if we look after ourselves, we can then be a better person for others. 

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12)

The process of healing was a messy one and Debs finally admitted that she was depressed and had been for a while.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8)

She was worried that Christians shouldn’t get depressed; she couldn’t own it.  But of course, as 1 in 3 people will struggle with their mental health in their lifetime, there is no reason for Christians to be exempt.  Why feel ashamed of taking antidepressants?  If you were diabetic, no-one would shame you for taking insulin. 

Debs is waiting on the Lord for healing, and as she waits she knows God is giving her strength.  God has our backs; we are surrounded with his protection and unfailing love. 

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Debs shared her memories of a sermon on Psalm 23 by Louis Giglio.  God lays a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  We are invited to have a relationship with God, to come to His table.  In the midst of trouble, God will sit with us.  But don’t let the enemy have a seat at your table!  Jesus laid down His life for you – He has already paid for your table reservation with His blood.

We had the opportunity for a personal response to Debs’ moving story, as Julie invited us to tell God what was on our hearts, as we made paper hearts and hung them on a tree branch.  We ended the evening by singing the song Oceans together, and shared Romans 5:1-5 with each other. 

Thank you to Debs for inspiring us through her testimony.  Thank you to St Mellons church for hosting a relaxing evening of fellowship and love.


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Lavish at Bethany Baptist June 2018

Lavish Cardiff’s June event was held at Bethany Baptist Church in Rhiwbina on a lovely sunny evening. The ladies of Bethany did a great job of hosting us – we have never had quite so many cakes to choose from.

Worship was led by Julie, a member of the Lavish team. Her worship was thought provoking and prepared us all for what Sue would share. The worship band was made up of ladies from different churches across the city.

Our speaker for the evening was Sue Hurrell who spoke powerfully about her story of life and what she had learnt from it. Sue had a Christian upbringing and her family’s focus was on education and the importance of working hard to succeed. She was a high achiever and did a degree and PhD in Cambridge.

Several things had happened that challenged her belief that if she worked hard she could achieve anything and tested her faith, but also made her realise she should depend on God. Firstly when she struggled to conceive a baby and went through IVF before becoming pregnant. But then another challenge faced her.  Her daughter was born 3 weeks early via an emergency c-section and ended up in the special care unit. This was a very anxious time for her. Her daughter eventually came home, but there were still issues and they could not explain why. During this difficult time the prayers and support of her church was amazing. Her daughter was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Sue explained how when you have a new baby you can feel as if the possibilities for them are endless, but having a diagnosis of disability causes those horizons to crash in. She said she had amazing health care professionals around her who enhanced the positives of her daughter’s progression. Sue described her daughter as having incredible strength. As a family they have tried never to let their daughter’s disability hold her back.

They had a key moment when a leaflet dropped through the door from a family looking for support for their child to have some innovative surgery in the US. Sue and her husband explored this for their daughter and through support they raised enough money to pay for the surgery on her spine. She said how a friend sent her a message during the 4-hour surgery suggesting she should listen to the song ‘Strength will rise as you wait upon the Lord’. She realised her strength could only come from God. After the surgery her daughter was soon able to take some steps using a walker and she shared the joy of her having muddy feet for the first time.

Sue shared how she realised she could use her skills and experiences to advocate and help other parents get what they need for their children. She also started a charity to support parents who are looking into the same spinal surgery, and continues with lots of campaigns for things that will improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and their families. She reflected that these skills are a gift from God and her calling is to use them. She reflected that God’s kingdom is an upside-down kingdom where the weak are strong and Jesus’s table has the disabled and marginalised people sat in the best seats. This is a powerful reminder of the individual nature of God’s love and how he doesn’t see the disability, but sees us all as equals.

Thank you Sue for sharing your story with us and the ladies of Bethany for hosting us.

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A story of Hope shared at Bethel Baptist

The first Lavish of 2018 took place in our home church, Bethel Baptist.  

Tristan asked all the women present to pray for the Lavish ministry, to help her and the leadership team discern God’s will as it goes forward.  She read from Ephesians 3: 14-21 – does God want to do immeasurably more through Lavish? Please could we ask you to pray too.

Bec lead us beautifully in worship using the 100th Psalm and a variety of songs and music  we focussed on returning to wholeness because of God’s amazing grace:

“Because of Jesus’ unfailing love, I am forgiven, I am restored.”

Hilary shared her experiences of pregnancy, miscarriage and motherhood. There were difficult times but God was there to give her signs of hope. One day she found herself buying spring bulbs and planting them In the depths of winter. The pot was a sign of hope for her, that spring would come. Sure enough, on her return home from the hospital with her new baby she walked up her front path to see the first green shoots poking out of her pot.

If you need advice on what to say to people you know who have had a miscarriage, There is help from  the Miscarriage Association’s Simply Say campaign,

We also heard from Lucy, who represents The Junction Cardiff, offering counselling support for baby loss or crisis pregnancy.  We saw a photo from The Empty Photo Project which shows real hurting people deep in the messiness of life. Can you be there for people during desperate times?  

Hilary closed her story with one of those God-incidences that we often experience in Lavish.  She led us all in the prayer for blessing from Ephesians, the very one that Tristan had opened the evening with:

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan, I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God—some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth— that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit.  And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ.”

Thank you, Hilary, for being honest, hopeful and helpful.  Thank you to the women of Bethel Baptist for your welcome, and giving us a beautiful space where we could come together, to listen and to share.

The next Lavish Cardiff evening is Saturday 16th June at Bethany Baptist Church, Rhiwbina, CF14 6LA. See you there.

PS Photos to follow

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Lavish 10th February 2018 at Bethel Baptist, Whitchurch

The next Lavish Cardiff event is on Saturday 10 February at 7.30 pm at Bethel Baptist Church, Whitchurch, CF14 2AA.

We are delighted to have Hilary as our speaker for the evening. Hilary will share her rocky journey to motherhood; in particular how God provided signs of hope, the value of ceremonies in dark times and how the wider church family provided practical help and support.

As always, this is a free event and all women are very welcome to attend. Please extend the invitation to any woman you know who would like to experience Lavish!

Please download the Lavish promo slide so you can publicise the event to women in your church and across your networks.

Lavish promotion slide Feb 2018

Directions and Parking: Bethel Baptist Church is on Penlline Road in Whitchurch, a few doors up from Barclays Bank. There is free parking in the car park behind the church (turn right off Penlline Road) or there is also a free car park further down off Merthyr Road.

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Lavish returns to St Mellons

Lavish Cardiff hit its five-year milestone, when we held our 15th event at the Church of the Resurrection, St Mellons on 30th September 2017.  Tristan reflected that over this time, women have laughed and cried together, prayed for each other, eaten lots of cake, and heard some amazing testimonies from other women.  It is these shared stories that are at the very heart of Lavish.

The women who gathered at St Mellons heard from our lovely speaker who shared her story of moving from respite fostering through to the adoption of children who have suffered trauma and abuse.

The charity Home for Good exists to find a home for every child that needs one, and encourages Christians to consider fostering and adoption.

I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. (Job 29:12)

That evening, at Lavish we all received a Home for Good leaflet, which outlined the reality of adoption today, where 62% of children in care are there because they have suffered abuse or neglect from their birth parents.  Missing out on the early building blocks of nurturing has lifelong effects on children, who may then go on to experience multiple moves, disruption and loss.  They may feel confused, insecure or scared, and many will experience attachment disorder or be aggressive in a bid to keep themselves safe in a world they perceive as dangerous.

Our speaker told us how her children were defined by a past which was not of their making, and how they demonstrated evermore challenging behaviour.  As a consequence, she experienced compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.

But her story was also one of hope and joy, as she told us how much support she had received and continues to receive from family, friends and her church, which has carried her and her children through the tough times.  We heard about the power of prayer; prayers for the children which God answered immediately.  Faith was turned into action, as her church family provided practical hands-on help.  She was constantly amazed by God’s love which is so powerfully manifested when people come together in His name.

This was a story of how prayer is uplifting – and our speaker reflected that she is always aware of God holding them all in the palm of His hand.

It was an inspiring story, and our time of worship picked up similar themes.

The end of the evening brought an opportunity to respond, through a meditation on an apple tree (the apples in my garden).

Thank you to our speaker for sharing her personal journey with us, and thank you to the ladies of St Mellons for making us feel very welcome on a wet evening.cakes

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