Inspired by… Claire Coggan

Inspired by....Claire Coggan

I am delighted to introduce you to my lovely friend Claire, who I met three years ago when I started as a student on TSM.  She is such a warm, encouraging, enabling and empowering woman of God and I have been blessed by knowing her. I love her hunger for God and to pursue Him above all else, which has led her to have an exciting, miracle witnessing life.

We have been on the outreach team together at TSM where she has been so inspiring. I particularly love her heart for people and the way she naturally engages with them and it’s fun to watch their barriers go down as they get into such easy conversation with her. She is such a natural evangelist and the words she speaks over people are life giving. I have certainly benefited massively as I’ve watched her pull the gold out of the people she encounters on the street with prophetic words and encouragements. She also manages to make it look so easy!

Be Inspired by…

Claire Coggan

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What prophetic words have shaped your life/ministry?

Wow so many. I so value the prophetic in my life and the courage and obedience of those who have listened to God and stepped out in faith. God has spoken many words throughout my life that have encouraged me, loved me and called me higher as well as directional words. I remember as a young heavily pregnant mum being picked out in a meeting and receiving this word “You have received much ministry in your life and God has been lovingly and patiently undergirding you and establishing you and he hasn’t finished yet but one day you will stand as a woman of God and out of a depth of a wealth of experience you will minister to others” It was like God was reaching into my past and speaking words of hope and purpose into my present and my future all at the same time. When I remember this word it reminds me of all God has done in my life… and is still doing.

When we were first married we were given a word about having many spiritual children and over the years we have had the privilege of being a mum and dad to quite a few but I guess the most directional word for Tony and I came in 1989. We had just moved from Crawley to Brighton. A group of leaders prayed and prophesied over us that in the future God was calling us outside of the UK. At the time we had no thoughts of travel but three years later God spoke to us about going to serve a church in South Africa that had recently been planted in Pretoria. We were there for 18 months and during that time we had many God adventures as a family that left a deposit in us of things to come.

Throughout the 90’s as a couple we received several more prophetic words confirming us travelling to the nations in our latter years which we are now seeing the fulfilment of. In the last 4 years we will have been on 6 international ministry trips and 30 here within the UK!

Have there been any pivotal/tipping point moments in your life/ministry that have changed your direction?

Yes in 2007. I was working on staff at a church in Brighton where I was helping to administrate the Alpha Course and welcome and connect new people into the church. I was 52 and my husband 61 and with many vibrant young leaders coming through the ranks I think I believed I had had all my God adventures and that it was time for us to step back… but that was all about to change.

I was at a leaders weekend and in response to a word of knowledge, I received a prophetic word that came as a complete surprise. The word was calling me out of a cave and a place of hiddenness and speaking about becoming a woman of influence, authority and power in the Spirit, about seeing signs and wonders through praying simple prayers and calling out in me a gift of evangelism and healing.

Over the next three years God spoke three very similar words and on each occasion He spoke to me about leaving behind my role of administration. When God is bringing change in your life one of the ways I’ve noticed he prepares you is to start to loosen you from what you are currently doing and I was increasingly feeling a restlessness in my job and a desire to cut down my hours because I felt there was something up ahead. As God kept speaking to me I began to feel excited and expectant about a new season unfolding, one I hadn’t expected.

At the same time God began to speak about an increase of dreams and visions and shortly after I had a series of significant dreams where I was sharing Jesus with people outside of the church and praying for the sick in shops and supermarkets. Through this time I felt as though something was being woken up on the inside of me and I was feeling a strong connection to my early days as a Christian where I loved to share Jesus with people I met and where I carried a childlike lightness and boldness. It was like God was calling me back to my roots.

I had no idea God had so much fun and adventure up ahead for me and in 2011 I felt God say to leave my job and to begin a 9 month training course (Training in Supernatural Ministry at Kings Arms church Bedford) that would not only be equipping but be pivotal in releasing me into more of who God had called me to be.

We all hear from God differently. How do you hear from God?

I often hear God speak to me through scripture but also words & phrases, pictures and vague impressions and sometimes in my dreams.

I’m learning not to compare myself with others who I think are more prophetic than me. For many years I put prophetic people on a pedestal. I saw them as specially gifted but as God has revealed more of his love to me I have realised God loves to speak to me too. We may each have different ways of hearing God but he loves to speak to his children and it’s about learning to tune in. I want to grow in becoming more familiar with the sound of his voice because whenever I hear his voice it delights my heart. I treasure the personal encounters I have had with him. As I’m learning to lean in and listen to the Holy Spirit I’ve been amazed at the times I have thought it was my own thoughts when in fact it was God speaking.  I’m asking Him to speak to me for people I meet when I’m out and about. I believe God wants to show us what he thinks about the people we meet. He knows them and loves them and has a plan for their lives. I have stepped out with impressions and words I’ve felt God was saying and sometimes they’ve been right and sometimes not but I know God looks for my obedience, he’s told me he’s training me and I’m learning to hear His well done and to keep going again!

 Who has been an inspiration in your life or a spiritual parent to you?

Over the years God has given me a few spiritual mums and dads who have loved and parented me and I am so thankful for them and how God has provided them just when he knew I needed them the most. From my earliest days in the Brethren church where I first met Jesus I have warm memories of mums and dads who invited us into their homes for YPF* evenings which consisted of scrumptious feasts, times of worship followed by a talk. I remember as a new believer having a lady teach me about the importance of prayer and bible study. Then in the mid to late 70’s in the early days of the bible weeks as I sat listening to great teaching but floundering as emotional pain began surfacing in me which I didn’t know what to do with, God provided a wonderful lady who loved and mothered me through a very difficult season in my life and patiently taught me so much. In my early years as a wife and then as a mother God provided role models for me. I have been so blessed.

I love how in the kingdom its not just the older teaching the younger but there are so many young men and women who inspire me to live like Jesus and who make my life so rich.

My husband and children inspire me and I value the prophetic encouragements they speak into my life and their faithful walk with God.  I have many amazing friends too who inspire me. Sweet friends like Wendy Mann who pioneered the TSM* course and author of ‘Naturally Supernatural, the Normal Christian Life‘ She has loved and taught me so much about living from my true identity in Christ. Wendy inspires me because of the authentic way she seeks to live out what she teaches. My friend Jules, a lover of God who inspires me to pursue intimacy with Jesus above all things, my friend Julie who is such an example to me through the way she serves and demonstrates God’s kindness and Tracy my passionate loving friend who inspires me to be hungry for God and to believe him for the impossible. And there are so many others, too many to mention…

Now a spiritual mum myself I can see what a rich inheritance I have had and I want to pass on the same to others. *YPF Young People’s Fellowship

 What do you do whilst waiting for promises to be fulfilled?

I pray… though I am provoked to pray more often! I’ve also made a habit over the years of writing down Gods promises and regularly reading them and as a couple we try not to be passive.

A friend once gave me some good advice. She said if you are waiting for a taxi to arrive you don’t go and sit in a deckchair in the back garden but you look out of the front window waiting for it to arrive. Looking back at the promises God has given us I would say we have tried to be pro active and say yes to opportunities we believe God has opened up to us. Three years ago, knowing God’s word to us about travelling and giving away in our latter season, I said to Tony instead of booking our annual holiday this year why don’t we wait and see if God has any places he wants us to go instead. Soon after we received an invite to go to Clarens SA with Julian Adams and a team where we saw God do so many amazing miracles in people’s lives. It was an awesome trip and one I will never forget.

How have you coped with any disappointments in your life/ministry?

Life always includes disappointments big and small. Circumstances around my birth and a difficult upbringing plus failing at school and not achieving any qualifications were for a time a big disappointment to me but probably the biggest one over the years was my birth mother not looking for me and after tracing her, her reluctance to meet me. Over the years I have gone through many different emotions about it sometimes feeling sad and angry, sometimes passive and at others times peacefully trusting that God had a good plan in it all.

Just a couple of months ago, I had the joy of finally meeting my birth mother for the first time which has brought a lot of joy for us both.

I’m learning how important it is to bring my disappointments to God instead of just being a stoical and persevering Christian otherwise I never really get honest with God about how I am actually feeling. Intimacy and rest is what the Father wants me to enjoy with him and when I allow disappointment to create a distance I start to see God through that lens and it causes me to lower my expectations of his true nature and goodness towards me and others. God is a perfect Father who never disappoints or lets us down but is continually faithful and good and loves us extravagantly throughout all our disappointments and pain.

What has been the key to breakthrough in your life/ministry?

Being honest with God. Being honest with friends and learning to be thankful in all circumstances.

What do you want to see God do in your life?

That’s a really good question. I am so thankful for all God has done in me but I’m hungry to see more. I want to see his promises over my life that are not yet fulfilled…to move in greater authority and anointing, promises about speaking to thousands, seeing sick people get out of wheelchairs and people being set free. I want to lead more people to Jesus, and to know a greater intimacy with him and compassion for people he loves because I know it is only out of my relationship with him that I will truly love people as he does and be fruitful.

 What have been your biggest obstacles and how have you overcome them?

My biggest obstacles have been fear and intimidation around people in authority and also shame. I know these have held me back and especially concerning my voice. Shame has often caused me to hide in the shadows or driven me to try harder, work harder and compare myself with others but as God continues to reveal more of his love for me the freer I have become. It’s a journey and everyday I am learning to receive his love in greater measure. I am hiding less and becoming more courageous. His love makes me brave.

 Do you have a daily routine with God and what does that look like?

Yes, I’m an early bird and get up around 6.30am. I make a cuppa and sit in our lovely conservatory that overlooks the garden. Sometimes I put on worship music, something I want to keep prioritising. I talk to God and before I read the Bible I always ask him to speak to me and I journal things he shows me. I spend time praying for people God puts on my heart.

We met on TSM 3 years ago, and you were in the process of permanently moving to Bedford from Brighton. To someone on the outside this seems like a big move. How did the decision come about?

Three years prior to us moving we had both gone through a time of accelerated growth and equipping. Tony having seen the transformation in me had decided to attend the same course in Bedford that I had been on.

Over these three years we had both experienced a fresh revelation of the Fathers love together with God’s promises about our latter season coming more into view. God had spoken to us about being part of a team and ‘giving away’ both here and outside of the UK and we felt God was getting us ready for what was next. We were both feeling increasingly drawn to Kings Arms church and its core values. We knew also they were regularly sending people across the UK and to other countries on short-term ministry teams to be a blessing and encouragement to churches and as we prayed God made it clear that this was where he was leading us and where we were to be based.

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Wow, what an amazing journey. I am blown away by all that God has done and is doing in Claire’s life and His faithfulness through it all.

Something that Claire said that really stood out for me, and makes me feel so excited was;

 I was 52 and my husband 61 and with many vibrant young leaders coming through the ranks I think I believed I had had all my God adventures and that it was time for us to step back… but that was all about to change.

I just  love that we are always a work in progress and He has so much He wants to do in us and through us and that nobody is disqualified from that. I also feel that some of you needed to hear that today. If that’s you, take hope from Claire’s journey.

There’s always more with God!

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Inspired By series so far:

Inspired By Ladies

Wendy Mann

Helen Calder

Hazel Flood

Claire Smart

Emma Bourquaye

Liz Cosh

Claire Coggan

Patricia Monk

Katy Hollway

 


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