laughter and legend.

The community that greeted me the other Sunday morning, gave me a real sense of belonging. It was exciting to be in such a warm and openly friendly place. It felt liberating to be part of a community that I could openly share with others the week’s failures and successes.
The best part is they wanted to listen, they were sympathetic to my problems. Knowledge was shared with simple storytelling involving laughter and legend.
After introductions were exchanged we shared simple food and ate together.
This community overflowed with one common love and one common passion that contagiously spread throughout. We all spoke the same language we all choose to belong to this like-minded group of people.
I will treasure my first Sunday morning on my allotment.
When I asked “ how do you see the future church? I will think of myself on the allotment muddy and happy sharing bitter tasting salad leaves.
I will hold onto that openness and excitement in my memory for a long time.
I know that the allotment community won’t always be like this. Problems will arise, someone will use someone else’s wheel-barrow, allotments will become overgrown and this will all cause fiction between allotment holders: It’s real life.
All communities have their ups and downs, our church communities are no different. It would be so wrong to think we are perfect because we are Christians. We are people, annoying, funny, angry, happy, sad, flirtatious, depressed people and despite our differences we place ourselves and each other before God.
That’s what excites me about the church community we place ourselves and each other before God just as we are. When we meet as Christians we need to be real with each other. We need to be able to live our faith in our community’s as we are. Loved on our good days and bad days.
The church I belong to is a kind loving welcoming community. I value the teachings and the wonderful congregation that has supported our family for over 4 generations.
The allotment community just took it all to another level. My Sunday on the allotment felt like church, My little patch of mud is a God filled space overflowing with love and potential.

Salad Leaves Mix - Mesclun.jpg

1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Good News Translation.
5 After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God’s servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. 7 The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow.

Advertisements

Unplanned Retreat.

Day 31- Lent challenge – Retreat.

This blog is to author Paul Young.
2017 Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday I went on a personal unplanned retreat into a virtual world. An absorbing journey that seeks to provide answers to the question ” Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”
A journey that confirmed what I already knew. A journey that gave story to my pain. A journey into the pages of a novel. Deep into the pages of a book.
“The Shack” by Paul Young.
I know this book has it critics. It’s said not to be theological sound, incorrect in its teachings even a danger to the christian faith.
To me “The Shack” is a powerful novel telling a story of grief and pain. God’s love giving comfort to those who have been overwhelmed by tragedy. It does not try to be anything else. It tells a story; a story that tells us nothing new. A story that tells us God is good. A story that added depth and understanding to the questions that played on my mind.
The story brings the issues of forgiveness and places them in a modern world. It gives a voice to frustration and anger caused by pain, heart felt pain. Theirs real understanding that when bad things happen it hurts.The shack shows us, walks with us through our emotions to a place of forgiveness.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget or accept someone’s actions. It’s forgiveness that releases angry burdens that we carry. In that letting go of angry we heal slowly, we heal in love.
God is always their in our deepest hurts, regrets, and longings.
One of my deepest hurts was a short car journey to say goodbye to a special little person.
I could feel God was with us on that short journey. It was obvious and powerful.
The shack made me think more about the three people in the car that day. Seeing us as three individuals traveling together, each of us having a deep personal individual relationship with Jesus .
We were on the same journey in the same car, all with our own different emotional needs.
These needs were acknowledged and meet by God. Intimate conversations lovingly whispered. Our own taylor made personal emotional survival kit. Through the pain God did not leave us.
Taylor made support surrounded by love.
I knew all this all before reading “The Shack “. But it was not until reading the book did I realise how comforting that was to me. How important it was to me that the little person that I loved so much was not alone. Jesus her special friend was with her. Never leaving her, being where I could not.
As this little person told me herself so many times. “Jesus is my friend he’s always with me. He’s with me in the playground, he’s with me at bed time, he never leaves me”.

It’s strange how obvious some things are. How we deeply know them to the point that knowing becomes a feeling. We read listen, are told over and over again; We understand .Yet it took a trip to “ The Shack “ for me to realise the depth, vastness, greatness, wholeness and the comfort of what it means to know you are never alone.

IMG_7814
Isaiah 49:16 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jerusalem, I can never forget you!
I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

Melting points.

Day 24 – Lent Challenge – Refine.

Trying to find a person that fits the word refine is not easy. The more time I give to this the more I realise the refining that is beyond the human. Refining comes from God.
It’s the hollowing out, the deepness and deaths being refined by God takes us. The tears that flow and keep flowing as God hollows out our hearts.
It’s painful..
I’m writing this blog the morning after mother’s day. Feeling totally exhausted by the whole day. My heart is crying and confused.
Mother’s day reminds me the that the pain has a purpose. God uses the pain.
It’s the pain that shapes and moulds us. Theirs no hiding from it, nothing is hidden from God.
It’s a change to the core. God tells us he will take us through the fire to refine us like silver and purify us like Gold. The melting point of silver is 1761 degrees. the melting point of pure gold is 1945 degrees. Pain is that hot temperature that causes pain, melts our hearts.
I am angry and struggling with myself today. Angry that it took pain for me to find God not Joy. That’s why the tears that don’t want to stop today.
Tears full of why. It’s almost as if the tears stop the refining fire getting to hot. Gods way of stopping me boiling over. Allowing me to stay held in the crucible that is Gods love. The crucible that holds my heart in the fire.

IMG_5550
Psalm 56:8 The Message (MSG)

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.

Softening of the heart.

Day Severn – Lent Challenge 2018 – Search.

Being a foster parent is as challenging as it is rewarding., You’re expected to love and care for a child as if they are your own. On the other hand, you’re expected to let that child leave your home after weeks, months, or years: whenever the circumstances are deemed appropriate.

I thought I was able to do this by hardening my heart. Care for children with every last bit of me but not to love.
To love them equally as my own child and then lose them was to high a price to pay for me.
I cared and loved enough to make it work, but not enough to give them myself fully.
I harden my heart.

The whirlwind that arrived in our lives was a challenging little boy that I cared for passionately
Our lives were turned upside down we never stopped.
In the early months, chronic asthma and hospital admissions become routine. Nights in hospital chasing a wheezing hyperactive toddler high on steroids was the norm.

I was never ready to face the next day- Never sure what it might bring. Six months into his placement we received a phone call from his social worker “ Would we adopt this little boy as it was felt he was not suitable for adoption ”

The question was asked without warning: It was asked over the telephone, It was asked to an exhausted me, I was asked when I did not have time to listen.

I was angry.
I was angry that it was even asked of us.
Angry the way that it was asked.
Angry that I was asked to think about loving this little boy.

I was angry that in searching deep inside myself for the answer to his question I allowed my heart to soften.
Angry that my protection from love had been broken.

I allowed myself to feel the most powerful love for this child.
The love that I was trying not to give.
In the search for an answer, my heart softened and loved.
I felt the pain that love brings.

I was not afraid to love this little boy.
I often see that day as a milestone in my faith journey softening my heart to Love.
Two years after that phone call the loss I was protecting myself from became a painful reality. My softened heart no longer protected I was able to reach out and to feel the greatest love of all.
Gods Love.

IMG_7729.JPG
Psalm 16:5 Good News Translation (GNT)
You, Lord, are all I have,
 and you give me all I need;
 my future is in your hands.

Viewing life through the eyes of others.

Day Four – Lent Challenge 2018 – Hospitality.

Today’s Lent challenge prompt is “hospitality ” and I chose to share and say thank you, to one family that are very gifted in hospitality.
Its their total acceptance of who we are. Just as God excepts and love us so do they.
Viewing life through the eyes of others is never easy. It’s so easy to criticise those that do not think the way we do.
It’s so easy to think someone that is loud is rude.
It’s often just their way of hiding the true person. The person they are to afraid to show the world.
It’s only when we take time it get to know people do we discover the true them.
Many of my friends can’t see beyond my husband’s negative comments.

The phrases that comes from his mouth can be blunt and seem rude, but that’s not really him. He would be devastated to hurt someone’s feeling. But he also can seem rude, condescending, or downright mean. Making terrible mother in law jokes that are not funny, laughing at another person’s mis-fortune, or cracking inappropriate jokes.
We have found ourselves as a couple on the edge.
Church family has broken the cycle of us feeling rejected. It has broken the cycle of us not socialising.
Hospitality really is God given. It has only been through the church that we have felt this expectance and love.
So thank you to this wonderful family for inviting us into your lives, for sharing food together and laughing with us.

IMG_0511

Romans 12 The Message (MSG)

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Magnetic Sisters  

Life of mud and wellington boots.
Coloured pens that echo my thoughts.
Fluffy blankets in case my dreams.
Wild hair that lives its own life in its own time.
I dream.

Food cupboards sorted by colour and size.
Hair that’s brushed and not in your eyes.
Beds made, house neatly clean.
Magnificently sublime.
Magnetic sister.

Your hate has so much energy.
Physical punches aimed my way.
I would never fight, just flee
Shyly introverting
Quietly crying.
You hurt me.

Reborn I see your vulnerability.
I want to understand your pain.
It’s time to stop repealing
Stop guarding what we know.
We love each other so deeply.
I know want my love to show.

magnetic_dog_sisters_by_luxington-d53ju71

I’m Drowning.

I’m drowning,.
Surfacing looking for clean love filled air – God air
Breathing in as much as my mind and heart can hold.
Suppressing the urge to breathe it out.
Holding, searching always looking for another pocket of love air.
You would have thought God would make love air so it never runs out, always plentiful and easy to find.

God air is everywhere if we breathe hard enough and want it.
It’s not for sale, infused to perfection, blended and mixed.
Personalized to the last second of time.
Air that heals, Air that says “I Know “ Air that cry’s with you. Air that holds you until the next breath.
Air that’s in abundance yet, takes time to make, craft and blend.

It’s easier to breathe the old stale air of me.
Tastes so familiar no need to hold it, put in the effort to seek and make more.
Its air that once belonged to me.
It sinks to the bottom and takes you down
Down to a place that’s dense with old me.
A place that God air is hard to find.

Breathing it in is lazy – breathing it out hurts.
It’s thick. Chokes my creative thoughts.
It drags, pulls, takes me to places I don’t want to go.
Holding my breath not tempting to breath the foul old air of me.

Standing up in the clean air of love.
Breath that fills and inspires.
The amazing thing about God air is when you breathe it in it’s for you.
When you breathe it out others feel it too.

Angry air, chocking air breathed out by others that cross my path.
Drifting swills of soupy murky dark filled air.
Blown and directed at me.
Dragging me pulling to places I don’t want to be.

It’s tearing me apart inside. It’s you I want at my side.
It’s all the love and peace you bring
I need to learn to walk away, not to feel the hurt I do today
Hurting like it never hurt before.

My prayer today is just for me
Help me listen and see what it is you what from me.
Help me stop just long enough to see your love among the pain that litters and fills my life.
Help me stand up so tall that it’s only your air that I breathe.
Please calm the angry waters give me the strength to come up for air and reach out to you.
Amen